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

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."

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