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

17 August 2010

Clippings for 15 August 2010

Forget A Double Dip, We're Still In One Long Fall
Robert Reich writes for Business Insider: "It’s nonsense to think of the economy heading downward again into a double dip when most Americans never emerged from the first dip. We’re still in one long Big Dipper. More people are out of work today than they were last year, counting everyone too discouraged even to look for work. The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to highest level since February. Not counting temporary census workers, a total of only 12,000 net new private and public jobs were created in July — when 125,000 are needed each month just to keep up with growth in the population of people who want and need to work."

Are You Ready For How Bad It Will Get?
Graham Summers writes for iStockAnalysis: "For months now I have averred that the US economy was not in recovery and that in point of fact all talk of "recovery" was a load of BS. I realize this view is far from the consensus. Even those who are in the bear camp aver that the Stimulus did in fact bring us out of recession at least temporarily. However, I would strongly contend that the recovery was in fact non-existent for the following reasons..."

Study: Extending Bush Tax Cuts Would Be Boon for Wealthy Individuals
Jay Heflin reports for The Hill: "An analysis released this week by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) shows millionaires will receive, on average, a $103,834 tax cut next year if Congress extends the breaks enacted by former President George W. Bush. The sizable refund would affect 315,000 returns out of the 161 million taxpayers who file, according to the JCT. Results from the committee prompted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday to renew the vow by Democratic leaders only to extend the breaks benefiting individuals earning less than $200,000 per year and couples making less than $250,000."

The Bush Tax Plan vs. the Obama Tax Plan in One Chart
Erza Klein illustrates the proposed tax cuts for the Washington Post.  A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year -- and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation's millionaires, according to a [nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation] analysis released Wednesday.


The Job Crisis: What Hit Us?
Bob Bennett writes for the Huntington Post: "The US is stuck in an economic quagmire featuring near ten percent unemployment. As politicians argue about the solution -- massive tax cuts or increases in Federal spending -- what's missing is a succinct analysis of the problem. Why has America lost 8 million jobs?"

Mass Delusion – America Style
JimQ writes for The Burning Platform: "The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion. They include the South Sea Company bubble, Mississippi Company bubble, Dutch Tulip bubble, and Salem witch trials. It appears that mass delusion has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America. In the space of the last 15 years the American public have fallen for the three whopper delusions..."

America's Biggest Jobs Program Is the US Military
Robert Reich writes on the Robert Reich's Blog: "America's biggest - and only major - jobs program is the U.S. military. Over 1,400,000 Americans are now on active duty; another 833,000 are in the reserves, many full time. Another 1,600,000 Americans work in companies that supply the military with everything from weapons to utensils.... If we didn't have this giant military jobs program, the U.S. unemployment rate would be over 11.5 percent today instead of 9.5 percent." Photo: Ed Yourdon / Flickr

Recommended Audio - American Soldiers Are Waking Up


What Social Security Can Teach Us About the Future of Health Care
Richard Kirsch writes for New Deal 2.0: "At the heart of the right-wing attack on the new health care law's individual mandate is the fact that law has the potential to become like Social Security, a popular entitlement that is an integral part of the American social fabric. Whether that promise is realized depends on no small measure on whether Congress will make improvements over time in the health care law to assure that health coverage is affordable."

Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty: A State-By-State Analysis
Paul N. Van de Water and Arloc Sherman report for the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: "Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, according to the latest available Census data (for 2008), 19.8 million more Americans would be poor. Although most of those kept out of poverty by Social Security are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1.1 million children. (See Table 1.) Depending on their design, reductions in Social Security benefits could significantly increase poverty, particularly among the elderly."

In Florida, Slavery Still Haunts the Fields
Mischa Gaus reports for Labor Notes: "The trailer, 24 feet deep by 8 feet wide, is muggy this early August afternoon in Manhattan. Eight of us - church ladies, iPhone-wielding denizens, curious tourists - mop our brows as we clamber inside for a look at one the most shameful secrets of the American system of food production: modern-day slavery among farmworkers."

Noncooperation With Evil in the Streets of Arizona
Randall Amster comments for Waging Nonviolence: "The history of nonviolent social change is filled with injunctions to refuse compliance with unjust laws and policies. As Gandhi once famously said, 'non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.' Reflecting on the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. observed that 'what we were really doing was withdrawing our cooperation from an evil system.... We were simply saying to the white community: We can no longer lend our cooperation to an evil system....' These teachings were alive and well during the demonstrations in Arizona against SB 1070."

Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia are (RATS) Protecting the Oligarchy and Rewriting the Constitution
Richard Stitt writes for Buzzflash: "Both Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas describe themselves as "originalists," meaning that they believe they possess the innate knowledge of exactly what the Founding Fathers intended when they penned the U.S. Constitution. Given such an almost reverent standard it is fair to ask a few questions regarding the Judiciary branch of government which, in my opinion, no longer represents the people of our country. It has become so deeply immersed in right-wing ideology that there is little resemblance to the this branch of government today and when the Founding Fathers established it."

Far-Right, Lawless "Sovereign Citizen" Movement Growing
J. J. MacNab reports for The Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report: "Jerry Kane and his young son were active participants in the sprawling subculture of 'sovereign citizens' in America: hundreds of thousands of far-right extremists who believe that they - not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials - get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and who don't think they should have to pay taxes. While law enforcement officers may disagree on how to deal with or even label this extremist subculture, one thing is certain: it's trouble."

The Racists Return
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "Among the most revealing aspects of life during the Obama presidency is the panoply of responses to a black family in the White House. What made so many of us proud of our country on Jan. 20, 2009, has increasingly provoked expressions of hatred from the far right. That is troubling, but not nearly as troubling as the behavior of conservatives who excuse, embolden or simply pretend to ignore the bigots surrounding them." Photo: White House/Pete Souza

Americans Are Losing Their Civility
Leonard Pitts Jr. comments in the Lawrence Journal World: "Can we be candid here? Can we just say this plainly? The public is a bunch of rude, obnoxious jerks.  OK, so I overstate. A little. Yes, there are exceptions. I’m not such a bad guy and you, of course, are a paragon of civility. But the rest of them? A cavalcade of boors, boobs, bums, bozos and troglodytes.  So it is small wonder the tale of Steven Slater has hit a nerve. The precise sequence of events is still being sorted out at this writing. The initial story was that Slater, a flight attendant for JetBlue, got into it with a woman who cursed him when he asked her not to stand up to retrieve her bags while the plane was still taxiing. At some point, Slater was apparently hit in the head; his attorney says the woman slammed the storage bin on him.

Kansas Voter Initiative Plan Draws Agriculture Groups' Ire
John Hanna writes for The Kansas City Star: "A Kansas politician's plan to allow voters to enact laws without going through the Legislature is drawing criticism from major farm groups, and a fellow Republican leader said Friday that the idea worries agriculture leaders. Kris Kobach, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, said he's not surprised interest groups oppose his voter initiative plan. As residents of other states can, Kansas residents could put proposed laws and state constitutional changes on the ballot for voters' approval."

Americas Social Forum Calls for Agriculture Based on Solidarity
Natalia Ruiz Diaz reports for Inter Press Service: "Small-scale agriculture based on the principles of solidarity and cooperation is the only way to guarantee food sovereignty in Latin America, said peasant and indigenous activists meeting in the Paraguayan capital this week."

Cafeteria Kickbacks: How food-service providers like Sodexo bilk millions from taxpayers
Lucy Komisar reports for In These Times: "At the end of the 2006 school year, children’s nutrition advocate Dorothy Brayley had a disturbing conversation with a local dairy representative. He had come to her office to discuss participation in the summer trade show of food providers she runs as director of Kids First Rhode Island. At the time, the state’s schools were buying 100,000 containers of milk each week. The salesman for Garelick Farms, New England’s largest dairy, told Brayley that Sodexo—a food and facility management corporation that managed most of the state’s school lunch programs—was paying Garelick more than competitors in order to get a bigger rebate."

Trader Joe's is one of a batch of new corporations wrapping their push for profits in feel-good green slogans and promises of fair labor practices. But at least a few of their products aren't coming from fair labor at all.  The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community organization of farmworkers in Florida, have gotten other corporations like Whole Foods and Subway to sign a pledge to buy tomatoes from growers that have good labor practices--after workers in Florida have been rescued from conditions that have been legally deemed slavery.

Trader Joe's still refuses to sign. GRITtv's Laura Flanders spoke to Kate Caldwell, Human Right to Work with Dignity Director at the National Economic Social Rights Initiative, and Nancy Romer, General Coordinator with the Brooklyn Food Coalition, about the reasons behind the protest.



The Unique Quality Of "Lifelong Heterosexual Monogamy"
Andrew Sullivan writes the Daily Dish for The Atlantic: "Ross is at his most Catholic today in his column on marriage equality, and I'd like to start a response by saying that he has conceded many secular points: that the life-long, monogamous heterosexual nuclear family is not natural and it is not the default definition of marriage in world history. Abandoning these defunct arguments - defunct because they are transparently untrue - is a helpful throat-clearing for which I'm most grateful."

USPS to Struggling Publications: Take a Hike
Mega Tandy writes for In These Times: "A familiar foe is once again threatening the future of many U.S. magazines and newspapers—and it’s not the Internet. The U.S. Postal Service’s recent proposal to hike postal rates has print publications even more worried about their future."

Google-Verizon Should Prompt FCC to Demand Net Neutrality
Susan Crawford and Lawrence Lessig comment for the San Jose Mercury News: "Candidate Barack Obama told America that he believed in an open and "neutral" Internet -- one where the owners of the wires didn't get to pick and choose which applications would run on the network. Soon after Julius Genachowski was appointed as President Barack Obama's choice to head the Federal Communications Commission, he outlined a clear and ambitious plan to turn that commitment into a reality."

A Paper Trail of Betrayal: Google's Net Neutrality Collapse
Matthew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "Like the rest of the technology world, we're wondering why Google has chosen to ally itself with Verizon, issuing a set of joint net neutrality recommendations that critics charge would significantly weaken the Federal Communications Commission's ability to protect the open Internet.  The whole approach just seemed so at odds with Google's past fiery statements on the issue. Maybe we misread the search engine giant's previous statements, we worried. Until this month, wasn't Google one of net neutrality's biggest advocates? So this morning we re-read three Google documents again—filings with the FCC going back to 2007, shortly after Google's Eric Schmidt first asked the public to 'take action to protect Internet freedom.'"

For Better or Worse, Google Is a Nation-State
Mathew Ingram writes for GigaOm: "It’s no secret that Google isn’t the plucky young startup it was just a few years ago; it’s a colossus now, with more than $20 billion in annual revenues, over 21,000 employees, and business operations that reach into hundreds of countries. But Google’s problems go far beyond those that stem just from being a large company. The combination of its size, its far-reaching ambitions and global expansion, and its impact on so many aspects of our lives has given it a whole new class of problems. In many ways, Google might as well be a nation-state, and it continues to struggle with all the issues that come along with that status. Photo: Flickr/ Stu Spivack

The FCC Needs to Do the Right (and the Hard) Thing
Susan Crawford writes for GigaOm: "Back in November 2007, I remember sitting in my office one evening and reading then-Senator Obama’s Technology and Innovation Platform for the first time. I was genuinely excited about this PDF. I was particularly taken by a paragraph that appeared right up front:
. . . Because most Americans only have a choice of only one or two broadband carriers, carriers are tempted to impose a toll charge on content and services, discriminating against websites that are unwilling to pay for equal treatment. This could create a two-tier Internet in which websites with the best relationships with network providers can get the fastest access to consumers, while all competing websites remain in a slower lane. Such a result would threaten innovation, the open tradition and architecture of the Internet, and competition among content and backbone providers. It would also threaten the equality of speech through which the Internet has begun to transform American political and cultural discourse. Barack Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others. . . .

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