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

18 February 2011

Clippings for 18 February 2011

"Facts Still Matter ..."
Bill Moyers, Truthout: "While 'most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence,' the research found that actually 'we often base our opinions on our beliefs ... and rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions.' These studies help to explain why America seems more and more unable to deal with reality. So many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the 'Do Not Disturb' sign, that they pick and choose only those facts that will serve as building blocks for walling them off from uncomfortable truths." Photo: Grahamtastic; Edited: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t

Obama’s Budget: Freezing the Poor
Amy Goodman writes on Truthdig.com: "President Barack Obama unleashed his proposed 2012 budget this week, pronouncing, proudly: 'I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending—domestic discretionary spending—to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.'

Home Sweet Wall Street
Robert Scheer comments for Truthdig.com: "A most dastardly deed occurred last Friday when the Obama administration issued a 29-page policy statement totally abandoning the federal government’s time-honored role in helping Americans achieve the goal of homeownership. Instead of punishing the banks that sabotaged the American ideal of a nation of stakeholders by “securitizing” our homesteads into poker chips to be gambled away in the Wall Street casino, Barack Obama now proposes to turn over the entire mortgage industry to those same banks."

Interactive: The Chopping Block
Michael Linden, Michael Ettlinger write for Center for American Progress: "Get out your axe! Before last fall’s elections, House Republicans promised to cut $100 billion from the budget. Furthermore, they said they would do so without touching entitlements, defense spending, or veterans’ services. This portion of the budget, known as “non-security discretionary spending,” makes up less than 15 percent of the federal budget. Though it is a relatively small slice of the overall budget, conservatives routinely ignore other kinds federal spending—like defense and tax expenditures—and instead focus their ire on this one part."

Boehner's Spending Cuts Would Kill 1 Million Jobs
Megan Carpentier reports for Talking Points Memo: "At a press conference yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters that if some federal jobs were lost as a result of his proposed spending cuts, 'so be it.' How many jobs are we talking about? According to federal budget expert Scott Lilly at the Center for American Progress, Boehner's proposed spending cuts could kill almost 1 million jobs."

House Republicans' Spending Plan for Remainder of FY 2011 Cuts Funds for Title X Family Planning, Health Reform Law
National Partnership for Women and Families writes: "House Republicans on Friday unveiled a revised version of their plan (HR 1) to fund the government from March 4 through the end of fiscal year 2011, proposing to eliminate funding for the Title X family planning program and to cut funds for a range of other health care programs, Politico reports (Nather, Politico, 2/11). The program helps provide family planning and reproductive health services to low-income women, including contraceptive counseling and supplies, pelvic and breast exams, safer-sex counseling, and basic infertility counseling. No Title X funds can be used for abortion services (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/10)."

Recommended Audio: Rachel Maddow - GOP Goal
Rachel Maddow laid out very well in her opening segment how the struggle going on now in Wisconsin and other states is not about whether the state of Wisconsin has a financial crisis. It doesn't. This is about busting the largest organization that organizes, gets out the vote and raises money for the Democratic Party, the public sector unions.

Wisconsin Is a Battleground Against the Billionaire Kochs' Plan to Break Labor's Back
Adele Stan reports for AlterNet: "As some 30,000 protesters overwhelmed the state capitol building in Wisconsin today, Democratic state senators hit the road, reportedly with State Police officers in pursuit. The Dems left the state in order to deprive Republicans the necessary quorum for taking a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's bill to strip benefits and collective bargaining rights from state workers. Newsradio 620 WTMJ reported that the Democratic senators were holed up in a Rockford, Illinois, hotel, out of reach of Wisconsin state troopers. Now, it seems, Republican lawmakers are beginning to waver on their support for the union-busting bill."

Wisconsin Crowds Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver
John Nichols reports for The Nation: ""I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment,' shouted Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights."  Photo: Mark Hirsch/Getty

What Wisconsin's Governor Is Really Threatening
Stephanie Taylor writes for Salon.com: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has declared war on state workers, almost literally. First, he proposed a state budget that would cut retirement and healthcare for workers like teachers and nurses, and strip away nearly all of their collective bargaining rights. But even more significantly, he announced last Friday that he had alerted the National Guard to be ready for state workers to strike or protest, an unprecedented step in modern times. This would be the first time in nearly 80 years that the National Guard would be used to break a strike by Wisconsin workers, and the first time in over 40 years that the National Guard would be used against public workers anywhere in the country. The last time was the Memphis sanitation strike in 1968, just before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination."

IVAW to Justice Department: Investigate INC Ties to Iraqi WMD Intelligence Fabricator "Curveball"
Thomas Buonomo writes for Iraq Veterans Against the War: "On 15 February 2011, the Guardian reported that Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, code-named 'Curveball' by U.S. intelligence officials, admitted to fabricating knowledge of Saddam Hussein's alleged biological weapons program. Despite clear warnings from CIA officials, the Bush administration used Mr. Janabi's information in public statements and reports to Congress that influenced its vote to authorize military force against Iraq."

Announcing Progressives United

Russ Feingold Launches 'Progressives United' To Combat Corporate Influences In Politics
Amanda Terkel reports for the Huffington Post: "When some senators retire, they decide to take lucrative lobbying jobs. Others go straight to Wall Street. But Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, who lost his re-election bid in November, is continuing on his principled -- and often lonely -- path by starting an organization to combat corporate influence in politics, an effort he hopes will spark "a new progressive movement" that will truly hold elected officials accountable."

'Voluntary' Immigration Program not so Voluntary
Suzanne Gamboa reports for the Associate Press: "A voluntary program to run all criminal suspects' fingerprints through an immigration database was only voluntary until cities refused to participate, recently released documents show. The Obama administration then tightened the rules so that cities had no choice but to have the fingerprints checked. Thousands of documents made public by the Homeland Security Department provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the administration scrambled to quiet the criticism and negative publicity surrounding the immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities."

One Company's Toxic Agenda or Our Poisonous Way of Life? Marie-Monique Robin's "The World According to Monsanto"
Leslie Thatcher writes for Truthout: "When I reviewed 'The World According to Monsanto' over two years ago, I was hopeful a new administration would craft a new approach to genetically engineered food and the regulation of industry overall, but as we have documented at Truthout, the US government continues to act like a fully owned subsidiary of Monsanto, threatening retaliation against an ally that moved to ban GMO corn in accordance with the desires of a vast majority of its population, approving the deregulation of GMO alfalfa virtually ensuring the end of organic beef as an available option for Americans, and, most recently approving sugar beet planting this spring 'despite an earlier court ruling that government approval for planting the beets violated environmental law.' Monsanto's war against independent science also continues. 'The World According to Monsanto' remains an essential read for all citizens, especially any who eat."

Fight for a World Without Coal
Chris Hedges comments for Truthdig: "The writer and philosopher Wendell Berry, armed with little more than a copy of William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and his conscience, has been camped out for three days with a handful of other activists in the governor's outer office in Frankfurt, Kentucky. Berry, who is 76 and the author of a number of important books including the 'Unsettling of America' and 'Life Is a Miracle,' has been sleeping on the floor of Gov. Steve Beshear's reception area since Friday night with 13 others to protest the continued blasting of mountaintops in eastern Kentucky and the poisoning of watersheds, soil and air by coal companies."

Recommended Audio: GRITtv - Conspiracy Tactics From the Chamber
GRITtv: "In the war of information around WikiLeaks, the story just keeps getting messier. The latest chapter involves Anonymous, the group of hackers who targeted banks that denied WikiLeaks funding, a private security firm called HBGary, Bank of America, the CIA and our good friends at the US Chamber of Commerce. Spying, data mining and smear campaigns against progressive bloggers and union members and activists are just part of the mess, which is still unfolding. Lee Fang from Think Progress and Michael Whitney at FireDogLake have been following the story closely, and they join Laura to discuss what we know so far about the sleazy tactics being used by the banksters and their US Chamber allies."

The Right's War On Women
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and Ian Millhiser write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Yesterday on the House floor, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) blasted the Republican "anti-woman, anti-child agenda." Noting that Republicans have yet to bring up any legislation aimed at tackling the jobs crisis, she added, "[Republicans] have had time to bring forward an extreme anti-woman agenda." This assault has been aided and abetted in recent weeks by anti-choicers at the state level as well, and by slick public relations campaigns aimed to convince Americans of the evils of abortion providers. The right is not only targeting abortion services, but also other essential services that provide contraception and other family planning services and programs that provide food and nutrition for many women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If opponents of choice get their way, it will leave women nowhere to turn -- nowhere to get essential family planning services, nowhere to get an abortion, and nowhere to get support once they are pregnant."

Think Again: A Real Tea (Pity) Party
Eric Alterman writes for the Center for American Progress: "In its apparently endless quest to assuage the sensitive feelings of all the victimized right-wingers in America one day at a time, The Washington Post published Steve Hendrix’s sob story of the pain and suffering experienced by Washington’s 'tea party residents' who live in a city where 'home can at times feel like enemy territory.' How bad is it? Well, a man at another table in a coffee shop said 'sorry' and walked away from one guy. And another one had to experience the pain of being asked whether 'your boyfriend listens to Glenn Beck.' Apparently, the notion that self-proclaimed 'tea party patriots' listen to Glenn Beck is the kind of thing one hears 'in the left-wing news media ... they don't know any real tea party people.' No wonder Tea Party member Brian says, 'I fear for my country.' He is, after all, 'just more tolerant than they are.'"

Radical States
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and Ian Millhiser write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "When President Obama took office amidst the worst recession in three generations, he immediately focused his energy on enacting a comprehensive plan to revive the nation's economy. Newly elected Republicans, however, have interpreted their temporary rise to power in an entirely different way. Where Obama saw an immediate need to grow the nation's economy, GOP leaders are seizing their moment to force longstanding GOP fantasies upon the people they govern. Several GOP-led states are pushing plans to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights. Twelve states are considering unconstitutional bills "nullifying" the Affordable Care Act. Arizona Repub licans are lining up behind a plan to unconstitutionally strip citizenship from millions of Americans. New Hampshire Republicans have returned to the GOP's favorite pastime of denying gay Americans their constitutional rights. Given the opportunity to lead, far-right politicians have decided instead to ignore the nation's needs and pursue their own narrow, unpopular ideological vendettas."

A Conglomerate’s Tack to Quash a Parody Site
Noam Cohen reports for the New York Times: " Satire, George S. Kaufman once said, is what closes on Saturday night. And if that doesn’t happen, some corporations may try to close it down in court. In December, a fake news release was sent out by a group claiming to be Koch Industries, the oil processing company owned by Charles and David Koch, the Republican donors, arts benefactors and global warming skeptics. Under the headline “Koch Industries Announces New Environmental Commitments,” the fake release said that after 'a recent internal and thorough company review,' the company would be 'restructuring its support of climate change research and advocacy initiatives.'”

Tea Party Patriots Investigated: The Tax-Dodging Treasurer
Stephanie Mencimer reports for Mother Jones: "The finances of the nation's largest tea party group have increasingly become a subject of concern—and outrage—to conservative activists. Some question whether donations to the organization, Tea Party Patriots, have gone to advance the movement, or just the careers and jet-setting lifestyles of its leaders. What they don't know is that the group has had a man with an unusual background managing its money: He was sanctioned by the IRS several years ago for failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes related to a failed business that pushed him into bankruptcy. He also happens to be married to one of the group's leaders." Photo:

House Votes to Stop FCC from Enforcing Net Neutrality; Punishes Public Servant
FreePress writes: "On Thursday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a pair of amendments to a massive bill that would slash the federal budget. One amendment, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules it enacted in December to protect Internet users from discrimination online."

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