Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

27 June 2010

Clippings for 27 June 2010

United States Social Forum: The Control of Public Media as a Social Justice Issue
Yana Kunichoff reports for Truthout: "The control of public media is a life-or-death struggle fought by diverse communities working toward social change against corporate-owned or undemocratic, government-sponsored media and professional journalists. The participation of marginalized and oppressed communities in shaping media systems is the only way forward for a democratic system of communication, and experiences from South America show this to hold true not only on the page, but in the field as well."

15,000 Progressive Activists in Detroit: Why No Media or Respect?
Sally Kohn reports for AlterNet: "It’s not surprising that the mainstream media is paying little attention to the 15,000-plus community organizers and progressive activists gathered in Detroit, Michigan this week for the second United States Social Forum. After all, the center-left political establishment isn’t paying attention either."

Big Banks Escape Toughest Limits in New Regulation Bill
Kevin G. Hall and David Lightman report for McClatchy Newspapers: "Like a hard-fought draw in a World Cup soccer match, consumers won sweeping new protections under a revamp of financial regulation that lawmakers agreed to Friday but large banks dodged the biggest hits that had been coming their way. The sweeping regulatory revamp affects everything from credit cards and mortgages to the structure of large global banks and who regulates the financial sector and how."

Wall Street 'Reform' in a Nutshell: The Politicians Lied, Media Applauded, and We Americans Will Suffer
Dylan Ratigan writes for AlterNet: "The same Washington spinsters who have driven our country into the ground seemed to be out in full force on Friday, claiming that their latest policy "victory" is the most "sweeping change" of our financial regulatory since the Great Depression. Actually, it is nothing more than window dressing."

More Stimulus Needed to Reduce Unemployment
Mark Weisbrot writes for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "It is sad to see that the U.S. Congress is having trouble even passing just $24 billion for unemployment insurance at a time when the economy is weak and unemployment is at nearly 10 percent. This shows the power of right-wing ideology in this country: Even the simplest, smallest and most obvious steps to relieve economic misery can be held back."

Hands Off Social Security: There Are Better Ways to Cut the National Debt
Robert Weiner and Jonathan Battaglia comments for The Palm Beach Post: "The Social Security Trustees' Annual Report on the program's finances comes out Wednesday, delayed from March by the health bill. It will be turned into a marketing tool by advocates of cutting Social Security to reduce the national debt. Among those, the president's newly appointed National Commission on Fiscal Reform (the 'debt commission') is threatening to strangle the economic lifeblood of seniors by denying the solvency of Social Security and then using the solvent funds for other purposes." Photo: Scott Nolan Smith

America Detached from War
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "Admittedly, before George W. Bush had his fever dream, the U.S. had already put its first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drone surveillance planes in the skies over Kosovo in the late 1990s.  By November 2001, it had armed them with missiles and was flying them over Afghanistan. In November 2002, a Predator drone would loose a Hellfire missile on a car in Yemen, a country with which we weren’t at war.  Six suspected al-Qaeda members, including a suspect in the bombing of the destroyer the USS Cole would be turned into twisted metal and ash -- the first “targeted killings” of the American robotic era."

5 Million Iraqis Killed, Maimed, Tortured, Displaced -- Think That Bothers War Boosters Like Christopher Hitchens?
Fred Branfman writes for AlterNet: "In 1970 a Lao villager who had survived five years of U.S. bombing wrote: In reality, whatever happens, it is only the innocent who suffer. And as for the others, do they know all the unimaginable things happening in this war? Do they? Do we? And if we did know about the innocent men, women and children our leaders kill, would it matter? Does it matter that those who justified the Iraqi invasion in the name of the people of Iraq have largely ignored their unimaginable suffering under U.S. occupation, as more than 5 million civilians have been murdered, maimed, made homeless, unjustly imprisoned and tortured -- and millions more impoverished? Would war supporters serve themselves and their nation if they wrote about both the humanity and suffering of, say, just 10 Iraqi victims -- and sought to convey how each represents at least 500,000 more? Is the suffering our leaders inflict on innocent civilians relevant to deciding whether to support our present war-making in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Would it matter if the N.Y. Times had run daily profiles and photos of Iraqi civilian victims since 2003, as it did of U.S. victims after 9/11?"

The Runaway General
Michael Hastings writes for Mother Jones: "How'd I get screwed into going to this dinner?" demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It's a Thursday night in mid-April, and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris. He's in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies – to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies. Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States. Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany's president and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops. McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him. "

Firing McChrystal Isn’t Enough. Fire the War.
Pierre Tristam writes for FlaglerLive.com: "Gen. Stanley McChrystal should never have been the top commander in Afghanistan. He’s a rogue and a bully, politically and militarily, and he’s dishonest in the most dishonorable way: he signed off on the cover-up of the killing by his own troops of Pat Tillman, the NFL star who became an Army Ranger. McChrystal falsified the documents that lied to Tillman’s family. 'The false narrative, which McChrystal clearly helped construct, diminished Pat’s true action,' Tillman’s mother, Mary, wrote." Photo: Bradley A. Lail/U.S. Air Force

Now What?
Fred Kaplan writes for Slate.com: "McChrystal is out, Petraeus is in. Civilian authority is reasserted, with no real compromise to the military mission. Good news, masterfully played. Now what? Or, to put it more crudely, so what? Yes, Gen. David Petraeus, who will be taking over command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, is a brilliant soldier, one of the rare and true strategic thinkers in the military today. But the description also matches Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the man Petraeus is replacing."

Into the Valley of Death Rode the... 15?
Richarl Schickel reviews Restrepo for Truthdig.com: "Restrepo was the name of an American Army outpost in Afghanistan’s beautiful, dangerous Korengal Valley. It was built and maintained, from May 2007 until July 2008, by 15 members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade with the goal of interdicting Taliban troops as they moved freely through the valley, aided occasionally by the local inhabitants, who also at times at least pretended to be allied with the Americans. The outpost was named for an American soldier, a medic, who was killed early in the fighting, and “Restrepo” is, as well, the title of a documentary film by Sebastian Junger—he of “A Perfect Storm” and currently the author of the best-selling “War,” which draws on the same material as the film—and the well-known combat photographer Tim Hetherington. Together and separately they visited the outpost 10 times, for stays of up to a month in duration." Photo: National Geographic Films / Tim Hetherington

Carrie Battan writes for The Nation: "This week, the Obama administration decided that the private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater—now Xe—is the most qualified organization to guard US consulates in Afghanistan, and has been awarded nearly a quarter-billion dollars to do so. Xe officials swear up and down that they've cleaned up their act and departed from the ways that made the Blackwater name infamous, but Jeremy Scahill, author of the book Blackwater, tells Keith Olbermann otherwise during his appearance on Countdown. 'They've cleaned up their act about as much as BP has cleaned up the Gulf,' Scahill says. 'Who knows what they're doing around the world right now on behalf of the US government?' What's almost more frightening is America's dependence on private defense operations and the fact that among them, Xe is the leader. 'If you review all of the companies and you determine that Blackwater is your best company, then you know that this country is in serious, serious trouble with its national security policy.'"



Gutting Public Education: Neoliberalism and the Politics of Opportunism
Anthony DiMaggio, Truthout: "America's political and economic elites have declared a war on working, middle-class and poor Americans. Now that war is coming to a head with the draconian cuts in education, among other vital services, under the economic recession. Progressive critics of Republicans and Democrats have attacked the return of 'Hooverian economics' in recent years - understood as the do-nothing approach to dealing with the economic crisis and declining state budgets." Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Kevin Steele, fling93

Teach Media Literacy
Jarred Keller writes for The Atlantic: "In the Internet age of unlimited information, clear truths and facts are often in short supply, a problem frequently exacerbated by performers in the blogosphere and the 24-hour news cycle. Not only has the participatory net led to a surge of sites, aggregators, and blogs espousing different ideologies or values, but rampant competition among them to be your most trusted source in news. "

Obama Making BP Pay Is Good Government, and That's Why Republicans and the Corporate Media Are Freaking Out
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "Last week, the nation witnessed an act of good governance when the Obama administration put the full-court press on oil giant BP to set aside $20 billion in assets to compensate the thousands of Americans whose livelihoods -- and in some cases, lives -- are being devastated by the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. It was an example of exactly what government is supposed to do; whatever it can, within the limits of the law, to protect its citizens’ interests. "

Gulf Oil Spill's Wildlife Toll: Sharks Near Shore, Turtles Incinerated
Patrik Jonsson reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "A sunbathing family spots a beached baby dolphin covered in oil from the Gulf oil spill. The family tries to scrape off the oil until a wildlife officer, jaw hard-set, carries it to shore. On its way to a sea mammal rescue center in Panama City, the dolphin dies."

Documents Show Vast Cleanup of Plum Island Land
Frank Eltman reports for the Associated Press: "Government documents obtained by The Associated Press show extensive efforts since 2000 to remove vast amounts of waste and contaminants from Plum Island, site of top-secret Army germ warfare research and decades of studies of dangerous animal diseases. Yet some environmentalists remain concerned about the secrecy surrounding the 840-acre, pork chop-shaped island off northeastern Long Island _ and they're dubious of any claims that pollution has been remedied."  Photo: AP Photo/USDA-ARS

Save the Trees, Save the Planet
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "What would the wealthy nations of the West (and their rising rivals in the East) do if they actually wanted to prevent catastrophic warming? Here in Africa, the obvious answer is that they would find the ways and means to discourage deforestation—the ruinous practice of clear-cutting for timber, charcoal and arable land that accounts for at least 20 percent of the atmospheric carbon burden. Save the trees, and you might just save the planet."

100,000 Americans Die Each Year from Prescription Drugs, While Pharma Companies Get Rich
Daniela Perdomo reports for AlterNet: "How many people do you know who regularly use a prescription medication? If your social group is like most Americans', the answer is most. Sixty-five percent of the country takes a prescription drug these days. In 2005 alone, we spent $250 billion on them. I recently caught up with Melody Petersen, author of Our Daily Meds, an in-depth look at the pharmaceutical companies that have taken the reins of our faltering health care system by cleverly hawking every kind of drug imaginable. We discussed how this powerful industry has our health in its hands."

Supreme Court on R-71: Names on Petitions Can Be Made Public
Chris Grygiel reports for the Seattle PI: "The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the names of people who signed petitions in an attempt to overturn a new gay rights law in Washington could be made public, a victory for state officials who said the case was a test of open government laws.  Justices ruled 8-1 in a case called Doe V. Reed. Only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. They heard oral arguments in Washington, D.C., April 28. The ruling dealt broadly with claims by foes of the new gay rights law that disclosing their names would violate their First Amendment rights. However the justices said the plaintiffs could go back to a lower court to try to get a specific exemption on other grounds - and the chief lawyer for people who signed the Referendum 71 petitions said he would do so.

Will President Obama Abandon the Open Internet?
Joe Torres writes for the Huffington Post: "Perhaps the greatest freedom in a democracy is freedom of speech. Throughout our nation's history, people have died fighting not only for our right to speak, but for our right to be heard.The Internet is the greatest communications network ever created because it allows us to speak for ourselves without first asking permission from corporate gatekeepers. This is possible because of the principle called Net Neutrality, which prevents Internet service providers from discriminating against content online. But Net Neutrality and the open Internet may be in serious trouble. Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has been holding closed-door meetings with Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Google that could pave the way for a corporate takeover of the Internet by curtailing our ability to speak online."

Internet 'Kill Switch' Approved By Senate Homeland Security Committee
Bianca Posker reports for the Huffington Post: "The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has approved a cybersecurity bill, Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), that would give the president far-reaching authority over the Internet in the case of emergency. As The Hill explains, the bill, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, and Tom Carper, would give the president "emergency authority to shut down private sector or government networks in the event of a cyber attack capable of causing massive damage or loss of life." The original bill granted the president the authority to "indefinitely" shut down networks, but an amendment to the PCNAA, approved yesterday, mandates that the president "get Congressional approval after controlling a network for 120 days."

Former Government Officials Hired to Lobby as Congress Looks to Rewrite Telecom Law
Paul Blumenthal writes for the Sunshine Foundation: "As leaders in Congress announced a series of hearings this June to tackle huge telecommunications issues with a focus on the Internet, the top phone and cable organizations that control the majority of the access to the Internet have hired 276 former government officials to lobby both the Congress and the executive branch. According to data obtained from lobbyist disclosure forms and the Center for Responsive Politics, seventy-two percent of the lobbyists hired by AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the US Telecom Association have previous government experience. These organizations combined to spend $20.6 million lobbying the federal government in the first quarter of 2010."

FCC Stops Comcast-NBCU Shot Clock Again
John Eggerton writes for Broadcast and Cable: "The FCC is stopping the shot clock on the Comcast-NBC Universal merger for a second time. Thursday, June 24, had been day 50 on what is an informal 180-day deadline for vetting the deal. The review began March 18.  The commission says that the companies returned incomplete answers and did not follow the directions in responding to a May FCC request for a raft of information from both on everything from organizational structure and channel lineups to copies of all programming agreements and detailed discussions of all deliberations in making content available online. The commission sent letters to the two Thursday, informing them that the FCC would put the brakes on vetting the merger until such time as they had complied fully."

Rolling Stone McChrystal Profile: The End of Fly-on-the-Wall Reporting?
Walter Shapiro writes for Politic Daily at AOL: "This week the entire journalistic pundit pack embraced the control-the-message dictates of political spin and corporate public relations as they excoriated Gen. Stanley McChrystal for allowing a Rolling Stone reporter to spend a month with him and his entourage. The derogatory towel-snapping mockery that cost McChrystal his Afghan command was often depicted as less of a mistake than his naiveté in cooperating with a magazine profile-writer."

Who Is Attending These "Secret" FCC Net Neutrality Meetings?
Matthew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "Anger and confusion remains high over these private "back door" meetings that the Federal Communications Commission has been holding with various "stakeholders" regarding its proposed open Internet rules. Reform groups are still up in arms over the Tuesday gatherings, which appear to have focused on a legislative solution to the problem. Congress, it should be noted, is exploring rewriting the Communications Act in response to the current FCC logjam on the issue."

Industry-Funded Study Wrong (Again) on Net Neutrality and Investment
Moira Vahey writes for Free Press: "This week an industry-funded study from New York Law School generated some misleading news about Network Neutrality and broadband investment. Though we have shown over and over again that Net Neutrality will boost innovation and economic growth and spark job creation, we know all too well that Telco lobbies and industry groups would have us believe that the FCC’s plan to bring Americans universal affordable broadband and protect the open Internet is somehow bad for business."

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