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

19 March 2011

Clippings for 19 March 2011

Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, and the Threat to Rights and Security
Political Research Associates's comprehensive investigation, Manufacturing the Muslim Menace details a systemic failure to regulate content in nationwide counter-terrorism training. Myths perpetrated by trainers may put the rights of millions of Muslim Americans at risk from the very public servants who have sworn to protect them. Downland the complete report here (PDF file). Photo: Flickr, Asterix611

Islamophobia Can Create Radicalization
James C. Zogby comments for Arab American Institute: "Let me state quite directly: Islamophobia and those who promote it are a greater threat to the United States of America than Anwar al Awlaqi and his rag-tag team of terrorists. On one level, al Awlaqi, from his cave hide-out in Yemen, can only prey off of alienation where it exists. Adopting the persona of a latter-day Malcolm X (though he seems not to have read the last chapters of the 'Autobiography' or learned the lessons of Malcolm's ultimate conversion), he appears street-smart, brash, self-assured and assertive - all of the assets needed to attract lost or wounded souls looking for certainty and an outlet for their rage. Like some parasites, al Awlaqi cannot create his own prey. He must wait for others to create his opportunities, which until now have been isolated and limited - a disturbed young man here, an increasingly deranged soldier there."

CBO: Obama Understates Future Budget Deficits By $2.3 Trillion
The Associate Press reports via the Huffington Post: "A new assessment of President Barack Obama's budget released Friday says the White House underestimates future budget deficits by more than $2 trillion over the upcoming decade. The estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that if Obama's February budget submission is enacted into law it would produce deficits totaling $9.5 trillion over 10 years – an average of almost $1 trillion a year. Obama's budget saw deficits totaling $7.2 trillion over the same period." Photo: Jehlum Post

9 Million Laid-Off Americans Lost Health Insurance In Last Two Years: Study
Laura Bassett reports for the Huffington Post: "During the last two years, 57 percent of Americans who lost a job that provided them health insurance -- nearly 9 million people -- could not afford to regain coverage, according to a new study published by the Commonwealth Fund, a longtime advocate of health care reform. In addition, 19 million Americans who tried to buy a health plan in the individual insurance market between 2007 and 2010 were either rejected due to a prior health condition or unable to find affordable coverage that fit their needs, according to the Commonwealth Fund report.

REPORT: In 12 States, GOP Plans To Slash Corporate Taxes While Increasing Burden on Working Families
Paul Breer and Kevin Donohoe report for Think Progress: "ThinkProgress has been documenting conservative efforts to shift the burden of record budget shortfalls onto middle-class Americans, while simultaneously doling out tax cuts to corporations. While progressive governors have proposed raising revenue from those who can afford it, alongside painful cuts to programs, Republican governors have unveiled budgets that cut taxes for corporations and raise them on the middle-class and working poor. In this report, ThinkProgress evaluates the priorities conservatives have set in twelve states..."

Afghanistan MIA From Deficit Debate
Bill Boyarski writes for Truthdig.com: "While Republicans race to cut spending, including outlays for education, health care and social services, they never mention one of the real reasons for the deficit: the cost of the war in Afghanistan and the mess we’ve made in Iraq. President Barack Obama ignores it, too, as he cautiously moves to the right, proposing minor reductions, letting the Republicans control the debate. Aiding and abetting them are cable news, Internet news outlets and most of the print media."

Ex-Goldman Banker Behind WSJ 'Smear Campaign' Against Elizabeth Warren
Zach Carter reports for the Huffington Post: "A Wall Street Journal editorial writer who has been closely involved with the paper's recent attacks on Elizabeth Warren is a former Goldman Sachs banker. The same editorial writer, Mary Kissel, is readying another piece critical of Warren and the new consumer agency, according to a source familiar with the coming article. Like most major newspapers, the Journal does not disclose the authors of its editorials. Kissel recently appeared on the John Batchelor radio show as a representative of the Journal's editorial board to discuss Warren, and repeated the main arguments used in the editorials."

US Chamber of Commerce: Shoot the Messenger Whatever the Cost
R.P. Segel writes on Triple Pundit: "Bill McKibben wrote a piece last week in which he looks past the Koch brothers, who are finally getting the scrutiny they deserve, to the number one enemy of climate action: the US Chamber of Commerce. According to McKibben, the US C. of C. 'spent more money lobbying in 2009 than the next five biggest players combined; they spent more money on politics than either the Republican or Democratic National Committees.'  And while they claim to represent 3 million businesses, the majority of their funding comes from just 16 companies. Given the fact that the Chamber has been expending so much effort attempting to thwart any attempt to control carbon emissions, it’s not hard to guess who has been filling the Chamber’s pot."

Who Is Bankrolling A Lawsuit To End The Ban On Foreign Money In US Elections?
Ian Millhiser reports for  ThinkProgress: "When President Obama warned that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision 'will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our election,' conservatives began damage control literally before the President could even finish his sentence. Justice Sam Alito infamously mouthed the words 'not true' while Obama was speaking. Of course, we subsequently learned the Chamber of Commerce was raising money from foreign corporations and then placed this money in the same account which funds their political attack ads. Someone is now bankrolling a lawsuit to undermine the longstanding ban on political contributions by non-U.S. citizens."

UN Reported Only a Fraction of Civilian Deaths From US Raids
Gareth Porter and Shah Noori report for Inter Press Service: "The number of civilians killed in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids last year was probably several times higher than the figure of 80 people cited in the U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan published last week, an IPS investigation has revealed. The report also failed to apply the same humanitarian law standard for defining a civilian to its reporting on SOF raids that it applied to its accounting for Taliban assassinations."

FOIA Eyes Only: How Buried Statutes Are Keeping Information Secret
Jennifer LaFleur reports for ProPublica: "Anyone can request information from U.S. officials under the Freedom of Information Act, a law designed to allow people to know what their government is up to. When a government agency withholds information from a requester, it typically must invoke one of nine FOIA exemptions that cover everything from national security to personal privacy. But among that list is an exemption-known as b(3) for its section in the FOI Act-that allows an agency to apply other statutes when denying information requests. New data compiled by the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of journalism and transparency groups, shows that agencies have applied more than 240 other laws in withholding information over the last decade."

Bradley Manning's Torturous Treatment Met By Growing Resistance
James Ridgeway reports for Mother Jones: "The solitary confinement of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, is now approaching its tenth month. In addition to sporadic on-the-ground protests, a growing chorus of media and activist voices is calling for an end to Manning’s appalling treatment. Implicitly or explicitly, they link the accused WikiLeaker’s fate to that of tens of thousands of other US prisoners held in solitary, and shed new light on a widespread and torturous practice. Yesterday the ACLU sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, charging that the 'gratuitously harsh treatment" of Manning "violates fundamental constitutional norms.'"

Nuclear Experts: Japan Nuclear Disaster Unprecedented -- No Way to Know About US Impact
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "In the days after a massive earthquake battered Japan – triggering a deadly tsunami, shifting the earth several inches off its axis, and most frighteningly, damaging one of the most powerful nuclear power plants in the world – many nuclear engineers sought to reassure the American public that while the crisis was a serious one for Japan, there was no cause for Americans to be alarmed. But experts interviewed by AlterNet cautioned that the events taking place in the Fukushima No. 1 power plant are simply unprecedented, and noted that the situation appears to be deteriorating.

Saying No to the Nuclear Option
Sarah Laskow reports for The Media Consortium: "Faced with the nuclear crisis in Japan, governments around the world are confronting the vulnerabilities of their nuclear energy programs. And while some European countries, such as Germany and France, are already considering more stringent safety measures - or backing off of nuclear development altogether - in the United States, the Obama administration is pushing forward with plans for increased nuclear energy production. Ultimately, these questions are the same that the country faced after last summer's Gulf Coast oil spill. As we search for more and more clever ways to fill our energy needs, can we write off the risk of disaster? Or are these large-scale catastrophes so inevitable that the only option is to stop pursuing the policies that lead to them?" Photo: Farm4static/Flickr

Fracking Debate Heats Up as New Jersey Seeks Ban
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout: "New Jersey lawmakers advanced legislation last week that would make their state the first to ban the controversial and largely unregulated practice of hydraulic fracturing, aka 'fracking,' used to drill for natural gas. The New Jersey Senate Environment Committee approved the legislation amid a public debate over proposed regulations for an estimated 10,000 fracking wells that could soon be established in the Delaware River Basin."

NPR: The Saga Continues
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship comments for Truthout: "There’s no more scrupulous or versatile broadcast journalist than NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling. He is one of those reporters who keeps his eye on the sparrow – that is, on small details from individual lives that add up to significant issues of public policy. As he described in a special report this week how the United States Army is clarifying guidelines 'that should make it easier for soldiers with traumatic brain injuries from explosions to receive the Purple Heart,' it was mind-boggling to think that right wingers in Congress were at that very moment voting to eliminate the modest federal funds that make such essential and authoritative reporting available to anyone in America who cares to tune in."

NPR Defunding Vote: Don't diminish Democracy to Settle a Political Score
The Christian Science Monitor comments: "Republicans in Congress have wanted to defund public broadcasting for decades. Now, after former National Public Radio fundraising executive Ronald Schiller was caught saying that NPR would be “better off in the long run without federal funding,” they’re on the verge of making that happen. A vote could happen this week.  Last week’s video sting certainly makes it easier to repeat the talking point that public radio doesn’t deserve public support. But careful research of public media in other democracies shows the opposite is true."

Senator Al Franken to Introduce Bill Making Net Neutrality Violations a Crime
Eric W. Dolan reports for the Raw Story: "While House Republicans push to eliminate new net neutrality regulations adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced Monday he will introduce legislation to make violations of net neutrality a crime. 'I'm introducing a new bill that would call violations of net neutrality out for what they are - anti-competitive actions by powerful media conglomerates that represent violations of our anti-trust laws,' Franken said at this year's South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas."

A Fox Alert for Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB
Ilsey Hodge reports for The Guardian: "In the 7 March issue of the Tribune, Mark Seddon reported on the threat that Glenn Beck, 'as a sort of hired gauleiter on Fox News', poses to American democracy. The article hit the nail on the head when it comes to Beck's paranoiac propaganda. Seddon, however, misses the broader danger of the Murdoch-owned Fox News: the media outlet's audience is growing even as its programming veers away from broadcast journalism and shapes instead a rightwing political operation. Consider the facts: more than twice as many Americans watch Fox News as watch CNN, the next most popular cable news channel, and almost five times as many as watch MSNBC. Fox's audience cuts across age, gender, race, education, and income level. The average Fox News viewer is a male between the ages of 30 to 49 – far from most people's perception that mostly seniors watch Fox. So where Seddon pointed to a fabled minority audience of 'not-so-bright … American citizens', Fox is instead popular among a wide swath of well-educated, contributing members of society. Fox's audience includes your neighbour, your cousin and the guy in front of you in line every morning at Starbucks."

Julian Assange Tells Students that the Web Is the Greatest Spying Machine Ever
Patrick Kingsley reports for The Guardian UK: "The internet is the 'greatest spying machine the world has ever seen' and is not a technology that necessarily favours the freedom of speech, the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, has claimed in a rare public appearance. Assange acknowledged that the web could allow greater government transparency and better co-operation between activists, but said it gave authorities their best ever opportunity to monitor and catch dissidents. 'While the internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen,' he told students at Cambridge University. Hundreds queued for hours to attend."

Study: Majority of Consumers Obtain News From Online Sources
Nadia Prupis reports for Truthout: "For the first time, 21st century consumers are reading the news online more than in print, according to the 'State of the News Media 2011' report by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism. Only television remains the most-used resource for news among American adults, but the gap is closing. In fact, most sectors of the American news industry began to recover in 2010 after two difficult years - but technological advances present old and new media alike with increasingly complex challenges."

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