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

29 October 2010

Kenneth King on Germs Gone Wild

Community Bridge opens this week with Kenneth King, author of Germs Gone Wild: How Unchecked Development of Domestic BioDefense Threatens America.

King holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University. King has taught writing at colleges and universities in Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, clerked for the Hon. Eugene Siler, Jr. of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and worked as a staff attorney for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund. He was on the faculty at Western Kentucky University before resigning to complete this book.

Ed Hammond, former director of the Sunshine Project gives Germs Gone Wild the following review: "A superb guided tour of the demented world of twenty-first century bioweapons research in America, where dangerous new labs seem to pop up on every street corner, the lines between offense and defense blur, and people who question the wisdom and safety of it all are derided by their own government."

Other resources:
Preliminary Observations on the Oversight of the Proliferation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 Laboratories in the United States, Oct. 4, 2007

DHS Lacks Evidence to Conclude That Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Can Be Done Safely on the Mainland, May 23, 2008

Perimeter Security Assessment of the Nation's Five BSL-4 Laboratories, Sept. 2008

BSL-4 Laboratories Improved Perimeter Security Despite Limited Action by CDC, July 2009

Observations on DHS's Analyses Concerning Whether FMD Research Can Be Done as Safely on the Mainland as on Plum Island, July 30, 2009

High-Containment Laboratories: National Strategy for Oversight Is Needed, Sept. 2009

MP3 File

The Hudspeth-Jenkins Debate

This is a rebroadcast of the debate sponsored by KTWU Channel 11 and the Topeka/Shawnee County Chapter of the League of Women Voters between Cheryl Hudspeth, Democratic challenger, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Republican, for the second congressional district of Kansas. This debate originally aired on KTWU on October 19th.  Community Bridge and KSDB thank KTWU for making this audio available for rebroadcast to our listeners.

MP3 File

25 October 2010

Clippings for 24 October 2010

Biggest Document Leak in History Exposes Real War
Rachel Oldroyd reports for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: "For the first time the files reveal just how much the American military detailed the escalating violence in Iraq, and how this contrasts markedly to what the politicians said in public. This is the story behind the pronouncements - the uncensored detail Washington did not want us to know."

PROMO from TBIJ on Vimeo.

An Open Letter on the Needed Response to the Upcoming Wikileaks Report
Josh Steiber writes for Znet: "This is an anticipatory letter aimed to advise you on your response and responsibility for the coming Wikileaks release, expected on October 23rd. Based on the White House’s response to the last leak about Afghanistan, the temptation seems strong to once again divert attention away from accountability. I write as a young veteran who once fully embraced the concept of a preemptive war to keep my fellow citizens safe and, as President Bush declared, because “America is a friend to the people of Iraq.” I now hope to preempt your response to the information regarding that war in which I fought. When I learned in school about the design of the American system of government and all the noble qualities it represented, invading Iraq seemed to me, at the time, to be a surefire way to make the world a better place."

The Elephant in the Foreclosure Fraud Room: Second Liens
Zach Carter writes for AlterNet: "Investor lawsuits against mortgage servicers could be even more damaging than these other lines of legal inquiry. The four largest banks hold nearly half a trillion dollars worth of second-lien mortgages on their books - loans that could be decimated if investors successfully target improper mortgage servicing operations. The result would be major trouble for the financial system. The result would be major trouble for too-big-to-fail behemoths."

Watching the Collapse
Kevin Drum reports for Mother Jones: "Noam Scheiber writes today about two different views of the recession. The first, represented by Johns Hopkins economist Chris Carroll, relies on a model that says recovery depends on three things: wealth, unemployment expectations, and access to credit. As they recover, so will the economy: 'The beauty of Carroll’s model is that it explains, with uncanny precision, consumer behavior going all the way back to the late ’60s. Those three simple variables — wealth, unemployment, and credit — tell you most of what you need to know about changes in the saving rate, and their predictive power has held up even through 2010.'"

The Perfect Storm
Robert Reich writes on the Robert Reich Blog: "It’s a perfect storm. And I’m not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I’m talking about the dangers facing our democracy. First, income in America is now more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of Americans. The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us."

Obama Administration Handed Over Detainees Despite Reports of Torture
Angus Stickler reports for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: "President Barack Obama's government handed over thousands of detainees to the Iraqi authorities, despite knowing there were hundreds of reports of alleged torture in Iraqi government facilities.  Washington was warned by the United Nations and many human rights organisations that torture was widespread in Iraqi detention centres. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal the US’s own troops informed their commanders of more than 1,300 claims of torture by Iraqi Security forces between 2005 and 2009."

Veteran Suicides Outnumber US Military Deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan
Nadia Prupis reports for Truthout: "More than 1,000 veterans in California under 35 died after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan between 2005 and 2008 - three times as many California service members who were killed in conflict overseas, according to a recently published Bay Citizen report. Investigative journalist Aaron Glantz studied the cases of Reuben Paul Santos, Alex Lowenstein and Elijah Warren to shed light on a growing trend among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have died through high-risk behavior and suicide after being discharged. In particular, veterans who returned home to California died through motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents and unintentional poisoning; in addition, veterans were two and a half times as likely to commit suicide as Californians of the same age who had not served in the military." Photo: Ken Harper / Flickr

ACLU Sues Ashcroft
ACLU reports: "In al-Kidd v. Ashcroft (10-98), the Ninth Circuit affirmed an Idaho district court and held that former Attorney General John Ashcroft could be held personally liable for damages if he adopted a post- 9/11 policy of using the material witness statute as a pretext to arrest and detain suspects without probable cause to believe that they had committed a crime. The Solicitor General’s certiorari petition is pending. The plaintiff in the case, Abdullah al-Kidd, is a 37 year-old African-American, U.S. citizen born in Kansas who converted to Islam while attending the University of Idaho, where he was a standout running back on the football team."

Lawless Courts
Jacqueline Stevens reports for The Nation: "One day in April, J. Dan Pelletier, a government adjudicator, faces a video camera in an Atlanta immigration court. At the same moment, in a Stewart Detention Center mini-court in the Georgia hinterland, two dozen men in orange and blue jumpsuits seated behind a low rail are watching Pelletier on a monitor wheeled in front of a vacant dais. Pelletier addresses the men brusquely: 'I have been told each of you has admitted the allegations and conceded removability back to your home country. Is there anybody in this group that does not want an order of removal to their home country?'"

Obama Accuses Republicans of Peddling "Snake Oil"
Caren Bohan reports for Reuters US Online Report Politics News: "President Barack Obama, fighting to keep Democrats in control of the Senate, accused Republicans on Friday of peddling discredited "snake oil ideas" about the economy. On a five-day sprint through western states, he also entered the highest profile race of the November 2 congressional elections -- a contest between Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle."

White House Goes into Bunker Mode
Howard Krutz writes for The Daily Beast: "Imagine if the Chilean mining disaster had happened here in the States. President Obama would have been hammered for 69 days for failing to rescue the men, right up to the moment the first one was pulled to safety. That’s the sensibility inside the White House these days: If there’s a bad story out there, even one far removed from the presidential orbit, the Obama crowd will own it. Every administration feels besieged at times, pilloried by the press, misunderstood by the public. But conversations with White House officials suggest a team that feels almost snakebit during a midterm election that is likely to produce substantial losses."

Memo: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck to Plot 2010 Election
Lee Fang reports for ThinkProgress: "While the Koch brothers - each worth over $21.5 billion - have certainly underwritten much of the right, their hidden coordination with other big business money has gone largely unnoticed. ThinkProgress has obtained a memo outlining the details of the last Koch gathering held in June of this year. The memo, along with an attendee list of about 210 people, shows the titans of industry - from health insurance companies, oil executives, Wall Street investors, and real estate tycoons - working together with conservative journalists and Republican operatives to plan the 2010 election, as well as ongoing conservative efforts through 2012."

NAACP Catches Ties between Tea Party, Racist Extremist Groups
Eric Dolan writes for The Raw Story: "The Tea Party movement has links to white supremacists, anti-immigration groups, 'birthers' and other 'extremists,' according to a report released by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  The 94 page report, entitled Tea Party Nationalism (.pdf), investigates six national organizations "at the core" of the Tea Party: FreedomWorks Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and the Tea Party Express."

Racist Elements in the Tea Party?
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III writes for Truthout: "If there are links between the Tea Party and racist hate groups as the report indicates, then, as NAACP CEO and President Benjamin Jealous states, 'These links should give all patriotic Americans pause.' The members and leadership of the Tea Party should 'distance themselves from those Tea Party leaders who espouse racist ideas, advocate violence, or are affiliated with white supremacist organizations.' They have no place in our 'one Nation under God'; they have no place in our politics."

The Extremist GOP
The Editors at The Nation write: "The GOP's lurch toward extremism extends far beyond the ideological cleansing of moderate RINOs, 'Republicans in Name Only.'... Broadening the debate is fine. But when one party pulls that debate toward extremes that even its most radical leaders have recently rejected, the prospect of political dysfunction, if not explosion, grows exponentially.... Joe Miller, running strong for an Alaska Senate seat against Murkowski, supports repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, which provides for the direct election of senators; wants to privatize Social Security; and is against abortion even in cases of rape or incest." Photo: Flickr

SarahPAC Candidate "Should Be in Jail"
Greg Palast reports for Truthout: "'What he [Griffin] did was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail.' That's hardly the kind of endorsement a candidate for Congress expects. But that is the conclusion of voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after digging into the evidence of Congressional candidate Tim Griffin's role in directing the Republican National Committee's (RNC) racially biased attack on voters known as 'caging.' A brutal mano-a-mano race in Arkansas' Second District has become a showdown between Sarah Palin's banner carrier Griffin (funded by SarahPAC) and Democrat Joyce Elliott, who has drawn homeboy Bill Clinton back to Little Rock."

AZ Immigration Law Writer Running For Office In Kansas On Voter Fraud Platform
Rachel Slajda reports for Talking Points Memo: "For the most part, the Republican machine that churns out allegations of voter fraud in the weeks before an election operates in the shadows, a few steps away from the actual Republican Party. Not so in Kansas, where the Republican candidate for secretary of state is running almost entirely on a platform of preventing voter fraud, especially by illegal immigrants.The candidate, Kris Kobach, is promising to check identification at polling places, require proof of citizenship when registering and turn the secretary of state's office into an enforcement powerhouse."

How the Kansas Chamber and Corporate Special Interests Encourage Illegal Immigration
WorkingKansas.com writes: "Let’s  face it, illegal aliens are not flocking to Kansas for our mild summers–and certainly not our mild winters. Illegal aliens are coming to Kansas for jobs. And a host of Kansas’ more unscrupulous employers are more than willing to put these folks to work, taking a job from one of 100,000 unemployed Kansans. And why wouldn’t they? The pay is cheap and there are no benefits. Job theft by illegal aliens takes a few different routes in Kansas. Among the most popular of those routes is the practice of misclassification. Put simply, misclassification is the practice of treating working Kansans as independent contractors instead of as employees. Many dishonest employers will deliberately classify employees as independent contracts and, in doing so, skirt filling out appropriate paperwork, such as the I-9 (immigration form) and paying taxes, workers compensation and unemployment insurance, gaining an unfair advantage over those Kansas employers who do play by the rules."

Polluter-Funded Groups Spending Almost $70 Million on Anti-Clean Energy Ads
Josh Dorner reports for ThinkProgress: "Amid an unprecedented surge in mostly secret money into this year's election campaign, a new report released yesterday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund details how 13 right-wing groups - including large secret money groups like American Crossroads, the US Chamber of Commerce, and American Action Network - have spent more than $68.5 million this year on 'misleading and fictitious televisions ads designed to shape midterm elections and advance their anti-clean energy reform agenda.'... The New York Times reports this evening that 'nearly half' of the Chamber's $149 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors. (The Chamber claims to have 300,000 members.) 'Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors.'"

"Natural" Gas Industry Shills Use the Media to Mislead the Public - Here's How to Spot Them
Maura Stephens reports for AlterNet: "In papers everywhere we hear arguments such as the one that appeared recently in the Rochester (NY) Business Journal, in an article by economist Raymond J. Keating, under the heading 'N.Y. is missing out on economic opportunity.' Keating wrote, 'Environmentalists are claiming that hydraulic fracturing threatens groundwater supplies and are using anecdotal evidence to support their claims. Yet years of evidence have demonstrated that the fracking process is safe.' This is not just misleading; it's artful misuse of the language. Or, as my mother would have put it in her habitually blunt way, it's a lie."  Photo: a wellhead for hydraulic fracturing, with injection pipes. Source: dpcusa.org

The Environmental Dangers of Hydraulic Fracturing
Sara Lee writes for the Defenstrator: "Carter Road, in Dimock, Susquehanna County, has earned the nickname “ground zero,” as it gains fame in the natural gas controversy of Pennsylvania. Residents of Carter Road organized to file suit against Cabot Oil and Gas after 14 wells used for drinking water became undrinkable. (See "Passing the Buck on Water Contamination" for details of the lawsuit). While Cabot denies that deep rock fracking caused the water contamination, the company was heavily fined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and later forced to plug three wells in Dimock."

Jon Stewart was on Larry King Live last night, and didn't let the fact that he was on CNN deter him from criticizing the network. He said to King, who is leaving CNN, "you're the last guy out of a burning building." When King asked later why Stewart picks on CNN so much, Stewart replied that it's because "you're terrible."

Beneath Juan Williams' Reality
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Last week, Fox News kingpin Bill O'Reilly set off a firestorm on ABC's The View when he declared that " Muslims killed us on 9/11 " After apologizing on set, O'Reilly retreated to his safe zone at Fox News where he and his colleagues quickly defended O'Reilly's bigotry. On Monday, O'Reilly invited National Public Radio analyst and frequent Fox News contributor Juan Williams to counter his claim that "there is a Muslim problem in the world." Surprisingly, Williams told O'Reilly he was "right." Citing the "paralysis" of "political correctness," Williams admitted that when he "see[s] people who are in Muslim garb" on an airplane, "I get worried. I get nervous." Two days later, NPR fired him. Williams' statements and subsequent termination sparked wide-ranging reactions in the media over whether NPR's response was proportional or appropriate. Regardless of whether NPR should have fired Williams, it was certainly the outlet's right to do so. And given the firing of other media figures for controversial statements, NPR's decision advances the idea that there shouldn't be a double standard surrounding the treatment of Muslims by the media. As Salon's Glenn Greenwald Tweeted yesterday, "watch how many people who cheered when [previous media figures] were fired scream CENSORSHIP!! all day over Juan Williams." Within right-wing circles, that number was large. Upon word of Williams' dismissal, a myriad of conservative pundits and lawmakers immediately lambasted NPR, calling for boycotts and the governmental defunding of NPR. While Fox News made sure Williams walked away with a $2 million contract, O'Reilly is determined to suspend public funding for the outlet, declaring, "it's over for NPR. " Appearing on the O'Reilly Factor yesterday, Williams stood by his original comments. Williams' original comments could have opened a constructive dialogue about entrenched Islamophobia, if handled in a more professional manner. However, as the American Prospect's Adam Serwer notes, "it's clear from the context that Williams wasn't merely confessing his own personal fears, he was reassuring O'Reilly that he was right to see all Muslims as potential terrorists." And, in standing by such statements without any clarification, Williams fails to address what the Washington Post's Greg Sargent notes as the central issue: Williams' original "instinctual feeling" is 'irrational and ungrounded, and something folks need to battle against internally whenever it rears its ugly head.'"

First Interview with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller on Juan Williams Firing
Rodney Ho writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Call me lucky. I had a pre-scheduled interview this morning with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller this morning before her speech at the Atlanta Press Club Newsmakers luncheon at the 191 Club in downtown Atlanta. So lo and behold, the entire Juan Williams firing blew up the past 24 hours. I happen to be the first person to talk to her about it. She basically said he was on NPR as a news analyst and wasn’t supposed to express opinions, something he had done time and time again on Fox News. This was just the final straw. Commentators, in contrast, are specifically called that on NPR and are supposed to be opinionated."

Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint Take Aim at NPR Funding
Josh Silver writes for the Huffington Post: " The reactionaries of the far-right are clawing and scratching at their latest red meat: National Public Radio's decision to fire Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims on Fox News Channel. It's hard to work up too much sympathy for Williams -- a once esteemed journalist who has repeatedly embarrassed himself in recent years as a soloist in Bill O'Reilly's amen chorus. He was warned multiple times by NPR about providing commentary on Fox News that violated his employment contract. And his reward for the noxious comments that cost him one job was a new $2 million contract from Fox, announced Thursday."

Press Freedom Index 2010: U.S. ranks No. 20, Eritrea worst
Melissa Bell reports for the Washington Post: "Reporters Without Borders, the journalism watchdog group, released its Press Freedom Index for 2010, tracking media freedom across 178 countries. The report measures the violations of press freedom in the world, taking into account murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats as well as censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment. The United States remained in the same position as it occupied last year: No. 20 on the list, behind most of the Northern European countries, New Zealand, Japan and Estonia."

Media, Stop Ambushing Female Candidates
Mega Tandy writes for In These Times: "There is a fear both subtle and obvious running rampant through our news media. It is not fear of a U.S. economy stuck in recession, or more housing foreclosures, or Obama-care, or the Tea Party, or feigned socialism, or terrorist attacks, or the flu, or immigrants. It’s the fear of women—specifically, fear of women politicians and leaders. Because of this fear, female politicians, candidates and leaders face blatant sexism and misogyny in both corporate media and parts of the blogosphere for challenging the male-dominated political system."

Defend Free Speech on the Internet
Christopher Calabrese writes for Save the Internet: "In 2006, America Online censored e-mails that referenced a blog entry questioning the company’s e-mail fee system. In 2007, AT&T cut out lyrics critical of the Bush administration during its live feed of a Pearl Jam concert. That same year, Verizon Wireless decided that text messages from pro-abortion-rights group NARAL to its supporters were too “controversial,” so it cut off access to the group’s text messaging program. Preserving network neutrality means preventing these violations of free speech. An ACLU report released this week suggests that broadband carriers be held to the same “common carrier” rules that have long been applied to telephone networks, railroads and public highways. “Freedom of expression isn’t worth much if the forums where people actually make use of it are not themselves free,” the report points out."

Soros Donates $1 Million to Media Matters
Michael D. Shear report for the New York Times: "Media Matters, the liberal activist group that wages a rhetorical war against Fox News Channel and others in the conservative press, will announce on Wednesday the receipt of a $1 million donation from the philanthropist George Soros. In a statement obtained by The Caucus, the organization says it plans to use the money to intensify its efforts to hold the Fox host Glenn Beck and others on the cable news channel accountable for their reporting. “Fox has transformed itself into a 24-7 G.O.P. attack machine, dividing Americans through fear-mongering and falsehoods and undermining the legitimacy of our government for partisan political ends,” the group will say in the statement, to be released Wednesday afternoon."

Taking the Public Out of Public TV
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports:" A multi-part FAIR exposé of PBS's most prominent news and public affairs programs demonstrates that public television is failing to live up to its mission to provide an alternative to commercial television, to give voice to those "who would otherwise go unheard" and help viewers to "see America whole, in all its diversity," in the words of public TV's founding document. In a special November issue of studies and analyses of PBS's major public affairs shows, FAIR's magazine Extra! shows that "public television" features guestlists strongly dominated by white, male and elite sources, who are far more likely to represent corporations and war makers than environmentalists or peace advocates. And both funding and ownership of these shows is increasingly corporate, further eroding the distinction between "public" and corporate television. There is precious little 'public' left in 'public television.'"  UPDATE: Sign FAIR's petition to bring back Now to Friday nights.

'Editor & Publisher' Fires Entire Editorial Staff
Greg Mitchell reports for The Nation: "Just received an e-mail from my former managing editor at Editor & Publisher (my exit came in January after 10 years) Shawn Moynihan:  'The editorial staff of Editor & Publisher has been eliminated by its new owners, Duncan McIntosh Co. inc. As such, I’m writing to let you know I am no longer E&P’s managing editor/online editor.'  One of my old colleagues in the once-sturdy VNU/Nielsen magazine unit, Tony Case, was first with the news. Top editor Mark Fitzgerald and tech editor Jim Rosenberg also were axed. The new editor works for owner Duncan McIntosh who took over in January—his other titles, based in Irving, Ca., are boating and fishing magazines. Richard Prince has a more lengthy report here."

22 October 2010

Cheryl Hudspeth Candidate for Congress

In her only debate with Lynn Jenkins, Cheryl Hudspeth came out swinging to show the night and day difference between the two candidates and why Hudspeth wants to serve the people of the Second District, not corporate interests as Jenkins has chosen to do. In this interview Hudspeth discusses education, the need to reign in the military budget, supporting the middle class and implementing clear energy in Kansas.

MP3 File

Update on Manhattan's Proposed Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Community Bridge opens this week with Christopher Hopkins, Iraq Veteran and K-State student, in a discussion of his efforts to form a local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and his experiences at the US Social Forum. Then Debbie Nuss, Dusty Garner, and Joshua McGinn of the Flint Hills Human Rights Project join us for an update on the proposed new anti-discrimination ordinance for the City of Manhattan. At the Human Rights and Services Board on October 14th, the radical religious right let their opposition to equality for all Manhattanites be known loud and clear. Our guest try to make sense of the what was said and bring the focus back to the real issue: LGBT people are discriminated against in Manhattan.

MP3 File

19 October 2010

Guadalupe: Undocumented Youth in Search of the American Dream

Approximately 2 million undocumented children are educated in American schools, hold American values, know only the U.S. as home and who, upon high school graduation, find the door to their future slammed shut. As a follow up to the screening of the film Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth on K-State in September, 2010. The film explores the challenges that face undocumented youth and the gridlock around immigration reform in the United States.

The panel was moderated by Michael Kaye, law professor at Washburn University, and included: Roberta Farrell, Immigration Attorney; Amanda Morales, Ph.D., Graduate Student Advisor K-State College of Education; Jonathan Willmouth, Immigration Attorney; Rep. Sydney Carlin, state legislator; and Erin Fleming who works extensively with undocumented youth-many of whom are actually pictured in the film. Fleming is part of the KS/MO DREAM Alliance-a local Kansas City group made up of mostly undocumented youth, as well as national projects such as The DREAM Is Coming and United We DREAM. The panel walks through the life of an undocumented youth trying to go to college and explore the roadblocks she encounters.

MP3 File

17 October 2010

Clippings for 17 October 2010

Conservatives Push Absurd Lie that Wall Street Hustlers Were Innocent Victims ... of Poor People
AlterNet is proud to present this excerpt from senior writer Joshua Holland's new book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy (And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America).  Joshua Holland writes: "Perhaps the most pernicious right-wing lie of late is that the Wall Street hustlers who came close to bringing the global economy to its knees in 2008 were just innocent victims of government-sponsored programs that forced them to lower lending standards in a misguided effort to increase home ownership among the poor (read: dark-skinned). It’s an alluring story line for those who are ideologically predisposed to blame “inner city” people instead of MBAs in suits roaming the executive suite. It’s also patent nonsense—a Big Lie that has nonetheless become an object of almost religious belief for some on the Right."  Photo: AFP/File - Timothy A. Clary

Why the U.S. Has Launched a New Financial World War -- And How the the Rest of the World Will Fight Back
Michael Hudson writes for CounterPunch: "What is to stop U.S. banks and their customers from creating $1 trillion, $10 trillion or even $50 trillion on their computer keyboards to buy up all the bonds and stocks in the world, along with all the land and other assets for sale in the hope of making capital gains and pocketing the arbitrage spreads by debt leveraging at less than 1 per cent interest cost? This is the game that is being played today."

Why Is the White House Against Freezing Foreclosures in the Face of Rampant Fraud?
Nomi Prins provides the following analysis for AlterNet: "At first, there was a deafening silence from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on the foreclosure front. It was as if they: 1) didn't read the news; or 2) were afraid someone would notice afresh their incompetence in dealing with the ongoing housing crisis and deteriorating economy, while convincing everyone that the bank bailouts and subsidizations were good for us."

Stop the Anonymous Hit Men: Make Shadowy Campaign Money the Issue
Paul Rogat Loeb comments for Truthout: " We need to talk about the ads of all the front groups from the Chamber of Commerce to Karl Rove's American Crossroads and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity. We also need to highlight the Republican justices who overruled a century of legislative precedent to enact Citizens United, and talk about how Republican senators have stood in unison to prevent requiring corporate interests to at least put their names on their ads."

Personally Invested in Mortgage Banks, House Republican Opposes Fixes for "Foreclosure-Gate"

Lee Fang reports for ThinkProgress: "Many lenders, like Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Ally Financial, have halted foreclosures, while Democratic lawmakers and a cadre of a bipartisan state attorney generals have called for a wider foreclosure moratorium and investigations into the banks' practices. However, most Republicans have balked at any attempt to seriously respond to the banks' fraudulent foreclosures. In particular, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said last Sunday that he opposed any efforts to expand a moratorium on foreclosures. 'Now, come on, people have to take responsibility for themselves,' said Cantor." Photo: republicanconference / Flickr

The Rachel Maddow Show: "Rachel Maddow reveals the history of the Chamber of Commerce advocating the business benefits of outsourcing American jobs even as they spend millions of dollars accusing Democratic candidates of doing the same."

The Imperial Defense of Pentagon Bloat
David Sirota writes for TruthDig.com: "Beware the sophistry of budget talking points—especially those seeking to deter any criticism of defense spending. That’s the lesson of these last few weeks, as Establishment Republicans desperately try to thwart both progressives and tea party conservatives who are pressuring Congress to reduce Pentagon bloat. The latest talking point du jour has been around in one form or another for years. It asks us to forget that (A) America spends more on defense than all other major nations combined and (B) the Pentagon, whose annual budget is now approaching World War II levels in inflation-adjusted terms, has lost track of trillions of taxpayer dollars. In light of those troubling truths, we are nonetheless urged by Beltway Republicans to focus on the fact that defense spending is “4.9 percent of our gross domestic product, significantly below the average of 6.5 percent since World War II,” as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial proclaimed."

This Year, Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan
T. Christian Miller reports for ProPublica: "More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields. More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010, according to a ProPublica analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks contractor deaths. In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures."

Rule of Law Is Alive and Well Outside the United States
David Swanson writes for WarIsACrime.org: "The World Justice Project on Thursday published a 'Rule of Law Index,' and there's no easy way to say this. Let me put it this way: as when rankings on education, infant mortality, work hours, lifespan, retirement security, health, environmental impact, incarceration rates, violence, concentration of wealth, and other measures of quality of life come out, it is time once again for we Americans to shout 'We're Number One!' more loudly than ever. Because, of course, we're not."

Recommended Audio: CounterSpin -  Jodi Jacobson on Tea Party and Social Issues
This week on CounterSpin: The New York Times says democrats are "wielding" issues like abortion rights in hopes of frightening voters about Republican victories in upcoming elections, whereas Republicans really just want to talk about the economy. Same goes for the Tea Party: we're told not to focus on the movement leader who calls rape "part of God's plan," because actual Tea Partiers really only care about fiscal issues. What's going on, or not going on, here? We'll hear from Jodi Jacobson, editor in chief of RHReality Check, whose recent piece is titled, "Social Issues and the Tea Party: By Their Leaders Ye Shall Know Them."

Social Issues and the Tea Party: By Their Leaders Ye Shall Know Them
Jodi Jacobson reports for HR Reality Check: "In a late September column for RH Reality Check, Amanda Marcotte asked: "Is the Media's Tea Party Delusion Coming to An End?"  The answer quite obviously is no. Over the past several months, as Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey and other mad-hatters have stumped for office, I have listened and read in disbelief as one after another otherwise respected media representative or outlet continues to suggest that the Tea Party is not interested in 'social conservative issues.'"

How Democracy Dies: Lessons from a Master
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber."  Photo: AP - Matt York

Violent Hunter of Progressives Tips His Hat to Glenn Beck for Inspiration - He 'Blew My Mind'
John Hamilton reports for Media Matters for American (via AlterNet): "Byron Williams, a 45-year-old ex-felon, exploded onto the national stage in the early morning hours of July 18. According to a police investigation, Williams opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers who had stopped him on an Oakland freeway for driving erratically. For 12 frantic minutes, Williams traded shots with the police, employing three firearms and a small arsenal of ammunition, including armor-piercing rounds fired from a .308-caliber rifle. When the smoke cleared, Williams surrendered; the ballistic body armor he was wearing had saved his life. Miraculously, only two of the 10 CHP officers involved in the shootout were injured."
For more information on this issue, visit Media Matters for America.

Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda
Rachel Tabachnick writes for Talk to Action blog: "A May 2010 Vanguard documentary, Missionaries of Hate, shows the impact of a conference in Uganda featuring Scott Lively and the "kill the gays" bill proposed in their Parliament, but it took more than one conference to demonize Uganda's gay population.  For years there has been a multi-faceted effort by western politicians and evangelists to promote a politicized Christianity in Uganda. Jeff Sharlet exposed the role of The Family in his book by the same name and his newly released C Street House. Kapya Kaoma produced a report on western evangelical involvement in Uganda in The Public Eye. Charismatic evangelicals, now organized under the authority of apostles, have declared Uganda as a prototype in Transformation movies. The situation for gay Ugandans is dire, but for the groups who have helped to bring this about, Uganda is a prototype to be replicated in countries around the globe. Following are six reasons why we should be paying more attention."

Conservatives' Big Hypocrisy: Turning Women Candidates (Who Are Anti-Sex and Anti-Woman) into Sex Symbols
David Rosen writes for AlterNet: "Sexuality is as important to politics as it is to the entertainment industry. The 2008 presidential campaign was a testament to the power of charismatic, highly sexualized candidates capturing national media attention and driving the election. Barack Obama and Sarah Palin represented the future of the American political candidate: sexy, articulate, a saleable commodity. The 2010 election is a replay of 2008, but with a likely very different outcome due in small part to the presence of the sexy sisters, the “new” Republican woman represented by Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Nikki Haley and Michele Bachmann, among others."

Climate Zombies
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Brad Johnson, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "One of the defining characteristics of the current Republican Party is the near-unanimous denial of the science behind the threat of global warming pollution. "The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones," writes the National Journal's Ron Brownstein. Many of the candidates -- whom Daily Kos blogger RL Miller has dubbed the "climate zombies" -- are signatories of the Koch Industries' Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks' Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to "Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures." The Koch oil billionaires have pumped $1,125,400 into the campaign accounts of congressional candidates and $332,722 to state-level candidates, 87 percent to Republicans, and have contributed $1 million to the Proposition 23 campaign to kill California's AB32 climate legislation. But Koch's main influence is through its Astroturf arm, Americans for Prosperity, which has spent $649,188 in attack ads while organizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort for its Tea Party members across the nation. The polluting power of Koch Industries and other fossil fuel giants over the GOP in the Tea Party age is overwhelming. "[S]kepticism about climate science has become one of the many litmus tests for candidates backed by the surging right," Nature magazine's Jeff Tollefson observes. The denialism is an excuse to oppose green economic policies that would bring jobs back to America and clean the air, and would also limit the influence of the fossil fuel industry's dirty money on our nation's politics."

Family Research Council Leads Fight Against Opponents of Anti-Gay Bullying
Media Matters for American reports: "Family Research Council president Tony Perkins recently suggested that gay youths who committed suicide after being bullied were actually responding to their "despair" after being told by gay-rights groups that "they are 'born gay' and can never change." The FRC has long sought to minimize anti-gay bullying and attacked those who seek to stop it.

WikiLeaks Says Funding Has Been Blocked after Government Blacklisting
David Leigh and Rob Evans reports for The Guardian: "The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks claims that it has had its funding blocked and that it is the victim of financial warfare by the US government. Moneybookers, a British-registered internet payment company that collects WikiLeaks donations, emailed the organisation to say it had closed down its account because it had been put on an official US watchlist and on an Australian government blacklist." Photo: Andrew Winning/REUTERS

FCC Calls for Clearer Phone Bills
Kim Hart writes for Politico: "The Federal Communications Commission wants to make cell phone bills a little less confusing. At the agency’s monthly meeting Thursday, Chairman Julius Genachowski will recommend ways to help consumers avoid “bill shock,” or surprise when they find unexpected charges. Complaints about unexpected charges — the most extreme cases reaching tens of thousands of dollars in fees — have been mounting. A recent survey found that 30 million Americans, or one in six mobile phone users, have experienced bill shock. More than half of those noticed an unexplained increase of $50 or more on their bill."

NPR Bans Employees From Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's Rallies
Danny Shea reports for the Huffington Post: " NPR has reminded its employees that they are not allowed to participate in the upcoming rallies led by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. 'NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them,' Senior Vice President for News, Ellen Weiss, wrote in a memo Wednesday morning. 'This restriction applies to the upcoming John [sic] Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies.'"

That New Super WiFi? What’s in It For You?
Ryan Singel reports for Wired: "In late September, the FCC announced it would be freeing up spectrum from television broadcasters and opening it to public use to create “super Wi-Fi.” Tech industry groups and public interests groups hailed the new “white-space spectrum” as a way to expand upon the success of the open frequencies that allow anyone to set up a Wi-Fi radio hot spot in their house or coffee shop, without needing to buy spectrum or get a license. But what will this super-Wi-Fi look like in practice? Will it replace the 3G service we pay for for our smartphones? How fast will it be? Will we need new equipment or can our current laptops and cellphones just be upgraded?"

FCC Chairman: Why We Need More Wireless Spectrum
Om Malik reports for GigaOm: "For FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, it’s been a rough summer. He’s come under fire from all sides over his and the FCC’s stance on net neutrality. We haven’t been shy in unloading on the man either, expecting him to do more than he has and he can. But if there’s one bright spot for the FCC Chairman, it’s been the recent order to free up under-utilized TV spectrum and use it for broadband and other open wireless transmission purposes."

Think Again: Just What Exactly Is Fox News?
Eric Alterman writes for the Center for American Progress: "Fox News Channel is often described as a cable news station. On occasion, the words “conservative” or “biased” are attached to that description. But few dispute the journalistic orientation of the overall enterprise. This is a mistake. Fox is something new—something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And it does so at a hefty profit, thereby turning itself into the political equivalent of a perpetual motion machine." Photo: Village Voice

16 October 2010

C-Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy

We open this week with Allie Loush from Sunset Zoo to fill us in on Spooktacular that happens on October 23 - 24 and other events happening at the zoo. Then author Jeff Sharlet returns for a discussion of his new book: C-Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, which features Kansas’ own Senator Sam Brownback and a significant player.  "C-Street" is the sequel to Sharlet's book "The Family." In “C-Street” Sharlet’s undercover research and investigative work answers some of the country’s biggest questions: how political fundamentalism endures in America; why, despite the collapse of the old Christian Right, it is as big a threat to democracy as ever before; and where, in a time of political upheaval and culture wars, fundamentalist politicians really intend to lead the country.

For more information about "The Family" see our November 9, 2009, interview with Sharlet.  In addition, we have previously posted a collection of Sharlet's writings, which are available here.

Sharlet is also the author of "God's Senator" - an in-depth exposé about Sam Brownback and his extremist fundamentalist beliefs that appeared in Rolling Stone in July 2006.   Unfortunately Rolling Stone has pulled the article from their archive, however it can be read on Thomas Paine's Corner.

MP3 File

10 October 2010

Clippings for 10 October 2010

10-10-10: Slavery and Climate Change
Mark Hertsgaard writes for The Nation: "From the standpoint of human survival, it makes no sense: our media and political systems are losing focus on climate change long before the problem is solved—indeed, while it manifestly continues to get worse. You can help change that on October 10. That's the date of a Global Work Party intended to celebrate climate solutions and press governments for change. Some 4,483 actions (and counting) are planned in 174 countries, says Jamie Henn of 350.org, one of the groups coordinating the event. "To build a grassroots movement that can challenge Big Oil and deliver real climate action, we need to root that movement in community solutions to the climate crisis," says Henn. 'By making climate solutions real and visible, we can build broader support for the type of transformation we need.'" Photo: 350.org

Unemployment at 9.6 Percent: Largest Cuts in Local Government Jobs in 30 Years
David Rosnick reports for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "The economy lost 95,000 jobs in September - 77,000 of which were temporary Census positions - while the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent. Including downward revisions in payroll employment for July and August, there are 110,000 fewer jobs than reported one month ago. Though the overall rate of unemployment did not change in September, different populations were not similarly affected by employment changes." Photo: Philo Nordlund / Flickr

DOJ's Troubled Case Against Uthman
Dafna Linzer reports for ProPublica: "A security mishap in court filings earlier this year led to the accidental release of the government's case against Uthman, one of the 48 men the Obama administration plans to keep imprisoned.... Until now, it has not been possible to assess the strength of the government's case against the detainees because the identity of the witnesses and other evidence has been redacted. But this examination, based on reviews of previous judicial opinions and court filings, as well as interviews with senior government officials, former military prosecutors, intelligence officials and other key players makes clear for the first time the extent of the weaknesses in the evidence."

Judge to US: Yes, Really, Torture is Illegal
Karen Greenberg reports for Mother Jones: "Finally, it seemed, the moment had arrived. The jury pool had been whittled down to 65, the final voir dire was set to begin, and lawyers on both sides were ready with their opening statements. Anticipation was high, and so, clearly, was nervousness. For the first time in more than a year of pretrial hearings, security held the press and observers on the ground floor of the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Anyone who took the elevator to the 26th floor without clearance from the US Marshalls was turned away."

Broken Promises: Thousands of Veterans Denied Crucial Care
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout: "The Army tacked a five-month extension on Sgt. Ryan Christian Major's term of military service in 2006, and that November, just five days after his original discharge date, Ryan was critically injured when an underground bomb exploded during a foot patrol in Ramadi, Iraq.... For many Americans, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is startling: more than $1 trillion has been spent on the conflicts. At least 5,670 service members have been killed, and 91,384 have been wounded in conflict or evacuated from the war zone for treatment of wounds or illnesses. But for soldiers like Ryan and their families, the true costs of war cannot be summed up with numbers printed on a page. They have paid a price higher than most Americans can imagine, and now veterans' advocates say Congress and the government is in no way prepared to compensate them for their effort and sacrifice."

'Saving' Social Security from Its Previous Rescue
Jim Naureckas writes for Extra!: "Way back in 1983, corporate media helped sell the dubious notion that Social Security needed saving by a blue-ribbon commission (Extra!, 1–2/88). The panel—headed by future Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan—raised payroll taxes and the retirement age for the ostensible purpose of accumulating a large surplus to help finance the retirement of the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. That this surplus, loaned to the general federal budget in exchange for Treasury bonds, would also help to finance the Reagan-era tax cuts for affluent taxpayers was treated as a complete coincidence."

How Immigration Reform Got Caught in the Deportation Dragnet
Seth Freed Wessler reports for ColorLines: "When President Obama entered the White House, he promised to push a 'comprehensive immigration reform' bill in his first year. Doing so, he apparently calculated, would require a compromise. To garner bi-partisan support for opening new paths to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US, the president, congressional Democrats and key Beltway advocates came together around a troubling political strategy: They would endorse a hawkish buildup of deportation and border security in hopes of creating space for broader reforms.... Almost two years into the Obama presidency, however, no bi-partisan support for a broader bill has emerged from this hawkishness - in fact, the few Republicans who once backed immigration reform have fled. Worse, the Democrats' would-be political trading game conceals a larger, more troubling fact: Even if the strategy eventually works, the 'comprehensive' schema Obama supports will undermine itself with its massive and indiscriminate deportation dragnet." Photo: Erin Hollaway 

Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite
Isabel Macdonald reports for The Nation: "In Lou Dobbs's heyday at CNN, when he commanded more than 800,000 viewers and a reported $6 million a year for "his fearless reporting and commentary," in the words of former CNN president Jonathan Klein, the host became notorious for his angry rants against "illegal aliens." But Dobbs reserved a special venom for the employers who hire them, railing against "the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flouting US law" and even proposing, on one April 2006 show, that "illegal employers who hire illegal aliens" should face felony charges."

Recommended Audio: Media Matters - An Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders
Sunday, September 23 - Bob McChesney interviews Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on WILL AM580. Bernie Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Listen to McChesney and Senator Sanders talk about the American political climate and call to comment.  Download MP3 file.

The Chamber's Foreign Influence
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Following the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in January, the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken record-breaking steps to influence the 2010 midterm elections. Pledging to spend an unprecedented $75 million this year, the Chamber is in the midst of launching one of the largest partisan attack campaigns to defeat Democrats, including candidates like Jack Conway (KY), Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), Jerry Brown (CA), Rep. Joe Sestak (PA) and  Rep. Tom Perriello (VA). Having aired more than 8,000 campaign ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates alone and having spent 85 percent of its current expenditure on Republicans, the Chamber's spending has "dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending." It is well-established that the Chamber has used dues from corporations like health insurance giant Aetna to try to defeat health care reform, received contributions from bailed-out banks to lobby against Wall Street reform, and solicited funds from Fox News' parent company News Corporation for its election season attack campaign. But a new ThinkProgress investigation reveals that the Chamber is leveraging foreign companies to help fund its activities. Foreign corporations that join the Chamber pay dues that go into the Chamber's general account, which the Chamber then employs to fund its attack campaign. The Chamber "firmly denies the charge, saying its internal accounting rules prevent any foreign money from being used for political purposes." But, as a New York Times editorial notes today, foreign money is fungible, so "it is impossible for an outsider to know whether the group is following its rules." "We want to know what the system is. Basically, they claim they have a system, it's not enough to simply trust them, we need to verify," said ThinkProgress' Editor-in-Chief Faiz Shakir on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday. While Congressional members and watchdog groups are calling for further investigation into the charges, such campaign actions fall into "something of a regulatory netherworld" leading campaign finance watchdogs, lawyers, and current and former federal officials to believe regulatory agencies like the IRS or the FEC will not examine them closely. Thus, with the Citizens United ruling and the Chamber's abuse of its 501(c)(6) standing, the Chamber is set to use 'unlimited money from donors who have no fear of disclosure.'" 

Recommended Audio: Rachel Maddow - Campaign Finance Reform We Can Agree on
Rachel Maddow addresses the concern about The Chamber of Commerce's donations to Republican candidates and the potential for foreign influence in American elections.

Conservatives Redefine the Abuse of Power
Adam Serwer writes for The Americna Prospect: "Liberals and conservatives love to accuse each other of shredding the Constitution while the other is in power. "The Pledge to America," the GOP's much maligned attempt at a governing agenda, begins by decrying "an unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary." What's interesting about this round of accusations from the right is that they ignore the very real abuses of power the Obama administration has carried over from the Bush administration in favor of mindless attacks on the administration's efforts to expand -- or even just maintain -- the welfare state."  Photo: Flickr/fibonacciblue

GoolsbeeGate: The GOP's Latest Obama "Scandal"
David Corn writes for Mother Jones: "If the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives in the coming congressional elections, Americans can expect to see subpoenas flying like pigeons around Washington next year. Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican likely to take over the House oversight committee, has pledged that if the GOPers win the House, he will double the size of his staff in order to mount multiple investigations of the Obama White House. But will these be real probes or trumped-up witch hunts? A taste of what's to come can be found in the Republicans' current effort to whip up an Obama scandal: GoolsbeeGate."

Recommended Audio: Morning Joe - Ari Berman on How to Revamp the Democratic Party
Howard Dean helped the Democrats take control of the House in 2006, and his 50 state strategy laid the groundwork for Obama's exhaustive grassroots campaign.  So why is he out of the picture in Washington these days? Ari Berman talks with the hosts of Morning Joe about his new book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, why the right manages to harness their movements better than the left and what it will take to revitalize the Democratic Party.

5 GOP Candidates Who Want to Force Rape Victims to Bear Their Attacker's Child
Tana Ganeva reports for AlterNet: "The GOP has always pandered to the right-wing base by promising to strip women of the right to control their own bodies. In the interest of not alienating sane people though, many Republican lawmakers make an exception in cases of incest and rape, and when a mother's life is in danger. But a group of ultra-conservative Republican Senate candidates -- recently propelled to victory in the primaries by Tea Party groups who claim to oppose government intrusion into people's lives -- want the government to force women to carry fetuses to term, even in cases of incest or rape. Rachel Maddow, in her show on Wednesday night, called this group the 'Bear Your Rapist's Baby Caucus.' According to Raw Story, at least 78 GOP candidates for the House would qualify for this extreme voting bloc.

Boon? or Bust?
David Norlin writes for the Kansas Free Press: ""Boon!"  was the headline for Tim Unruh's Salina Journal piece Sunday, Sept. 26.  It laid out how Clay Center (and Herington, Junction City, Abilene, and many others) are laying out the welcome mat for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.  Count the benefits:  Bud's Tire service sales tripling, with guaranteed overstock buyout/bailout; referrals for boat sales, doctors, and dentists; full restaurants; swelling campground rentals; pipeline spouses as public service volunteers; pump station/power generation cash cutting Clay Center's electric rates "up to" twenty percent; six million dollars for a 14.5-mile transmission line; and most heart-warmingly, 1,000 charity bucks from TransCanada and 500 from the pipeline company for Clay Center's Orchestra, which just lost funding from the Kansas Arts Commission. "

Tribal Councils in US and Canada Uniting Against Oil Sands Pipeline
Elizabeth McGowan reports for SolveClimate: "Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States are singing the same tune in opposition to TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Last week, representatives from Canada's First Nations traveled to Washington, D.C., to explain how mining of tar sands for heavy crude oil is causing severe health problems and environmental upheaval across their communities. They've also joined forces with Native American groups in the U.S., calling on tribal councils along the Keystone XL's route to come out against the proposed pipeline."

Follow Wyoming on Fracking Regs
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "Frank Sinatra once said that if he could make it in New York, he could make it anywhere. Thanks to new drilling rules, environmentalists can now say the same about Wyoming. To review: Wyoming is as politically red and pro-fossil-fuel a place as exists in America. Nicknamed the “Cowboy State” for its hostility to authority, the square swath of rangeland most recently made headlines when its tax department temporarily suspended levies at gun shows for fear of inciting an armed insurrection. The derrick-scarred home of oilman Dick Cheney, the state emits more carbon emissions per capita than any other, and is as close as our country gets to an industry-owned energy colony. So, to put it mildly, Wyoming is not known for its activist government or its embrace of green policies."

Against 'Bullying' or On Loving Queer Kids
Richard Kim comments for The Nation: "When I read that 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi had committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after two other students posted a video of him having sex with another man online, my heart dropped. Tyler grew up in New Jersey and played the violin, and I did too. I don't know what life was like for Tyler before he chose to end it, but my early high school years were spent improvising survival strategies. I mentally plotted the corridors where the jocks hung out and avoided them. I desperately tried to never go to the bathroom during the school day. I was Asian and gay, stood 5'2", weighed 95 pounds and when I got excited about something—which was often—my voice cracked into a register normally only heard among Hannah Montana fans. If it weren't for the fact that I ran really fast and talked even faster and enjoyed the protection of a few popular kids and a couple of kind-hearted teachers—well, it's not hard to imagine a similar fate."

How the Phone Companies Are Screwing America: The $320 Billion Broadband Rip-Off
David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick report for AlterNet: "Since 1991, the telecom companies have pocketed an estimated $320 billion --- that's about $3,000 per household. This is a conservative estimate of the wide-scale plunder that includes monies garnered from hidden rate hikes, depreciation allowances, write-offs and other schemes. Ironically, in 2009, the FCC's National Broadband plan claimed it will cost about $350 billion to fully upgrade America's infrastructure. The principal consequence of the great broadband con is not only that Americans are stuck with an inferior and overpriced communications system, but the nation's global economic competitiveness has been undermined."

Web of Dependency: The Thin New Line
Randall Amster J.D. Ph.D., comments for Truthout: "In just a few short years, it has become increasingly apparent that humankind is fast approaching a technological tipping point. Particularly in the West - the First World, the Developed Nations, or whatever self-consciously superlative designation you prefer - a thoroughgoing dependence on 'high technology' for life-sustaining essentials is evident in all spheres of modern society. The hardware of our lives, from food and energy to transportation and shelter, is entirely bound up with the workings of a highly mechanized and digitized global economy. And no less so, the software of our existence - communications, community, entertainment, education, media, politics, and the like - is equally entwined within that same technocratic system." Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Joseph Hatfield, 96dpi

Do ISPs Pay Minorities to Oppose Net Neutrality?
Gred Sandoval report for CNET: "The Los Angeles Times has raised questions about the financial relationship between some large telecommunications companies and influential minority groups. According to the report, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications have poured big money into the coffers of such groups as the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Urban League, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."

Group: Merger Should Include Public Affairs Programming Support
Juliana Gruenwald writes for the National Journal: "A union representing online, film and television writers Wednesday called on federal regulators if they approve the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal to require the combine company to donate at least $10 million a year for a decade to support public affairs programming on television and online. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the Writers Guild of America East said it hopes the commission and the Justice Department will block the proposed merger. But if regulators approve the deal, the combined company should "contribute significant resources to the production of truly independent content," the guild said.

Right-Wing Tilt on Sunday Morning: The conservative records of talking-head lawmakers
Jim Naureckas and Alyssa Figueroa write for Extra!: "Lawmakers talking about U.S. policy issues are the bread and butter of the Sunday morning news shows—NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday. An Extra! study of the lawmakers who appear on these shows finds they have voting records that tilt to the right. Extra! studied the guests on these four programs from January 25, 2009—the first show after Obama’s inauguration—until April 25, 2010, more than a year into his administration. Guests who were current members of the Senate or House of Representatives, or former members since 2001, were tallied by voting record (in the 111th Congress or, for former lawmakers, the most recent available) according to the VoteView system."

Ten Ways Your Mobile Phone Company Tried to Screw You in 2010
Josh Levy writes for the Huffington Post: "According to the Chinese calendar, it's the year of the Golden Tiger. But for mobile users in the US, 2010 is the Year Wireless Carriers Tried to Screw You.  Don't think the phone companies' actions warrant their own year? Check out how they've systematically conned consumers using hidden fees, self-imposed hardware limitations, restricted speech, and the mangling of perfectly good software."

AT and T: No One Can Stop Our "Paid Prioritization"
Nate Anderson reports for Ars Technia: The "paid prioritization" train is leaving the station, and not even the FCC's drive to "reclassify" Internet services as limited common carriers can derail it. Net neutrality advocates, incensed when AT&T's predecessor first suggested the need to charge some Internet companies for "using his pipes free," won't be pleased to hear that AT&T won't let such deals be halted by the FCC. Even if Chairman Genachowski succeeds in bringing ISPs under "Title II"—a prospect that looks increasingly unlikely—AT&T says it will have no effect on its ability to charges companies more for priority Internet access."