December 14, 2010 archive
Dec 14 2010
Dec 14 2010
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrested in Britain on Swedish allegations of sex crimes, was conditionally granted bail by a British court today, an article by Reuters says this morning. The article notes that “Judge Howard Riddle, who had earlier granted Assange bail under stringent conditions, said Assange must remain in custody until the appeal is heard within 48 hours.”
Riddle, who last week said that Swedish authorities would need to show some convincing evidence if they wanted to oppose bail for the 39-year-old Australian when he appears in court to oppose extradition to Sweden, today granted Assange bail with conditions until another hearing on January 11.
Mr Assange had been refused bail Wednesday December 08, 2010 and sent to Wandsworth prison when he appeared before Judge Riddle to answer a Swedish extradition application.
The Brisbane Times reports that “Mr Assange, 39, won his temporary freedom after his lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, gave Judge Howard Riddle a temporary address where the WikiLeaks founder would stay and agreed to post a guarantee of £200,000 ($US315,280).”
…Mr Assange had not been given any of his mail, including legal letters, since he was jailed.
He was on 23½-hours-a-day ”lock-down” at Wandsworth. He was kept under surveillance on infrared video.
Ahead of his court appearance, Mr Assange blasted Visa, MasterCard and PayPal for blocking donations to his website.
In a defiant statement from behind bars, he claimed the firms were “instruments of US foreign policy” but vowed their actions would not stop the whistle-blowing website from continuing to publish thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables.
Last week, in the wake of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal shutting down donations processing for WikiLeaks, the organizations credit card processor DataCell ehf of Iceland announced its intention to sue Visa and Mastercard, with DataCell CEO Andreas Fink stating that the company “has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again,” and that “The suspension of payments towards Wikileaks is a violation of the agreements with their customers.”
Visa should “just simply do their business where they are good at – transferring money,” Fink wrote.
Dec 14 2010
Nine-year-old Khalida Shah was eventually sold in Jalalabad, but her transformation into collateral began in Laghman Province, where her father pledged his poppy crop for a $2000 loan, and when those poppies were eradicated in a successful episode of America’s unending War on Drugs, Khalida became a “bride” of the 45-year-old creditor.
“It’s my fate,” the child says.
Dec 14 2010
Obama says he remains committed to engagement based on ‘trust and candour’
The comments are the closest the US president has come to making a public statement on the release of US embassy cables by Wikileaks
Ed Pilkington in New York
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 December 2010
President Obama came the closest he has yet to making public comments on the WikiLeaks release of US embassy cables, when he told a gathering of diplomats from around the world yesterday that he remained committed to engagement based on trust and candour.
Obama has so far given no official response to WikiLeaks, leaving that to his secretary of state Hillary Clinton who has condemned the publication of thousands of classified state department documents as “an attack on the international community”.
Dec 14 2010
“All I ask is a tall ship…and a star to steer her by…” You could feel the wind at your back, about you… the sounds of the sea beneath you. And even if you take away the wind and the water, it’s still the same. The ship is yours…you can feel her…and the stars are still there.”
I have spent the last seven years of my life building something.
And that something is about to be thrown away — for, essentially, false ideas of economic sensibility and stupidity.
I have been accused, by those who have never met me, of being self absorbed, self referential, and unempathetic. Also, unengaged, politically — you know the type. The person with big passions who never goes anywhere. Never protests. A keyboard kommando.
This despite the fact that I believe in things deeply, and as far as empathy goes, I am and have been the kind of person to spend my last dime on helping a friend. I suppose my lack of empathy, my soullessness, as I have been accused of recently, has to do with not being interested in donating to this political candidate or that, or voting for this supposed Democrat or other because Republicans are worse.
In a general sense, I want to believe I care about my fellow man. Politically I am a socialist.
I believe, generally, that people who work to make a better life for everyone, who care about their society and labor to make it better, deserve to have a leg up when times are hard. And, in general, what liberals believe, myself among them is, you shouldn’t have to go to a church or a synagogue or a mosque to receive charity while professing faith in a god in which you don’t believe — or even a god in which you may believe, but that your belief or your faith isn’t the point. That benefit is yours BY RIGHT — by living in a society in which everyone is in the same boat together.
As an atheist, I especially believe this. Justice for a lifetime of societal contribution, when a person falls on hard times does not deserve as a response, spiritual warfare.
That a LIFETIME of work, of dedication, of heartache, deserves some recompense when times get bad.
But, what I feel, too many people who espouse liberal views don’t understand — that feeling that everyone deserves the basics of health care, food and clothing, that general empathy — means nothing unless you actually EXHIBIT it in your own life.
Even if you demonstrate politically, even if you genuinely care about everyone, for example, people being able to go to the doctor when they’re sick — that belief translates into NOTHING if you don’t actually live the values you espouse when times are hard.
It translates into nothing because it doesn’t matter if you espouse it or believe in it, demonstrate it or even call your congressman about it. It doesn’t matter if people see you believe in a thing, if you cannot or will not show that same spirit to the people around you, in your own life.
Anyway (and I apologize for being roundabout about this) I have worked for many years on a project into which I’ve poured my life, my heart and my soul.
And this is the nature of who I am, people being different.
Dec 14 2010
From our friends at Project Censored:
“Nominations are being accepted for the Fair Sharing of the Common Heritage Award. These submissions can be published or unpublished articles, or works in progress that express the ideas behind the original economic and social theories of Alfred Frederick Andersen. Andersen believed that every sentient being – human and non-human – has a right to the fair share of the material and economic benefits of the Common Heritage Wealth. Included in this Common Heritage are all earth’s natural resources: such as land surfaces, sub-surface minerals and fuels; water and air, as well as cyberspace; indeed the entire physical environment.
Dec 14 2010
Today’s Federal judge ruling on the unconstitutionality of Obama’s mandatory medical can be put in my diversion category. I have to currently take up space here in Marxachusetts due to financial concerns so I can testify to the suck factor of these “plan enhancements”. In the early days of the Mass medical nightmare I downloaded the application which is far more intrusive than the 2010 US Community Census questionaire. It is let’s say IRSesque and the original implied that if you were over 55 years of age they would just bill your estate for past medical expenses.
Anyway even “your” body is no longer “yours”. It belongs to big pharma and the nanny state which insists you don’t smoke, eat french fries and Twinkies or ride a bicycle without spandex and a funny looking helmet. We lost the war on drugs cause you can throw a rock from one CVS to the next. The answer is in the pill you asked your doctor for. Google it to see if Feinstein and Goldtein Attorneys at law have a class action suit for you.
Now I don’t mean to make light of people who do have genuine health problems but there are well documented studies of the ill effects of marketing on medicine.
Then there was this.
It did take me a bit longer to come up with the term Marxachusetts.
I am more of a naturalnews guy myself.
I don’t own a cell phone, never bought a bottle of Purelle and I don’t have a problem mucking out three stalls so I don’t need a gym for exercise. The insurance companies know you have a life. They know you can’t/won’t stay on the phone 45 minutes bitching about lab fees they didn’t cover. Note how during “open enrollment” they don’t even tell you what IS covered and or the plans read like your 1040 long form in biz/legal Orwellian doublespeak.
My impressions from the RFD channel show that big ag wants to position itself to feed the developing world, ie, the countries Wall Street sent your job to.
Oh, and the most important of all is in spite of them telling you, promising you and making you sign a retarded HIPPA medical record privacy statement the real fact is your medical records are about as private as a Facebook page.
I have of several computers the chart of legal users of “your” “privat” medical records. And yes, they historized that site months ago.
And Jessie Ventura to feature Pilots for 911 truth.
Dec 14 2010
cross-posted from Main Street Insider
We’re nearing the end of our first season and to finish it off we are providing a couple summaries relating to changing the filibuster. Today we look at what is called the “Constitutional Option,” which applies only to the first day of a new session of Congress. This is expected to come up at the beginning of the 112th session.
As always, one-pager below the fold…
Dec 14 2010
I’ve been off and on the telephone this afternoon, after learning that Senator Durbin, was going to vote “yes” on the Obama Tax Cut Deal. I asked, why? Because of the compromise, I was told, i.e, child-care tax credit, $250 for Seniors and Disabled, earned income credit (which we’ve had for so long now, anyway). I was trembling with anger. I did go into a rant, not once, several times. The last call I made, I asked point blank: Why do we keep bending over backwards to the screaming, whining, already rich Republicans and a few Dems? Sen. Durbin has lost my vote and so has President Obama, who’s demonstrated that he has a very good pair of knees! Thank you, the Staffer said, and click!
The Roll Call is still going on, and it is being held open for Senators who have been unable to return due to inclimate weather conditions.
Right now, 79 Senators have voted for the bill, while 11 have voted against it!
I am seeing stars. Called Sen. Durbin’s office back again. I have a proposal, I said –what if I simply offered my house and, whatever Social Security I may have coming to me, to the government now, instead, of it taking from me incrementally? This is where we are headed — Americans have been and are being bled to death — what is to become of them? We are headed toward 3rd world status — we have nothing left to give. The wealthy will be walking amongst dead bodies on the streets — people who hung on as long as they could. How on earth could things be so perverse. I read the rules concerning Unemployment Insurance, why couldn’t we have simply extended those benefits, as is provided for in the rules, in bad economic times? At the worst time of our country, we extend tax cuts that benefit the upper 1% to 2% of the wealthy to the tune of $700 billion to be paid back over the next 10 years. And Social Security will be defunded by those still working Americans by 2% that will not be paid into Social Security Trust Funds, yet individuals must pay taxes on their total income for the year. . . . . I went on — I will not ever vote Republican, but Sen. Durbin has lost my vote. She was the only one of the staffers I spoke to today that seemed to have any concern!
Yahoo/Reuters couldn’t wait to get the news out! Tax deal clears first test in Congress!
By Andy Sullivan and Kim Dixon Andy Sullivan And Kim Dixon – 56 mins ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s bipartisan tax plan was on its way to passing its first test in Congress on Monday but a major Wall Street firm warned that damage to America’s strained finances would outweigh any short-term economic boost.
The $858 billion package, which would keep lowered income-tax rates from expiring at the end of the year, picked up 62 votes in the 100-seat Senate. Voting continued but the tax measure had effectively passed a procedural hurdle and will now go to a full vote in the chamber on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Both chambers of Congress could approve the bill by the end of the week, despite complaints from many Democrats that Obama has given away too much to the Republicans who will soon enjoy greater clout in Washington.
“I think we’ll pass a bill, as opposed to simply not passing anything,” House of Representatives Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said at a news conference. He said he aimed to get a bill to Obama by the end of the week.
Income taxes would rise by an average of $3,000 per household if Congress doesn’t act by January 1 — an unlikely outcome, Hoyer said. [$3,000? for those below $200,000?]
Many economists say the deal could boost the sluggish economy, in part because of a payroll tax credit and extension of jobless benefits, at a time when Congress has shown little appetite for spending-based stimulus efforts. . . . .
But Moody’s Investors Service warned it could move a step closer to cutting the United States’ top-notch triple-A bond rating in the next two years if the package becomes law.
“From a credit perspective, the negative effects on government finance are likely to outweigh the positive effects of higher economic growth,” Moody’s analyst Steven Hess said in a report.
The report could give additional ammunition to Democrats in the House who say the package gives away too much to the country’s wealthiest 2 percent as the country is struggling with budget deficits that are higher as a percentage of the economy than any time since World War Two. . . . .
We can only hope that the House will remain steadfast in its stand against this dreadful bill, which will actually backfire against Americans. There must be a way to demand that Unemployment Insurance be extended NOW without the “provisos” attached by Obama’s tax cut deal!
WE MUST NOT GIVE UP!!!! CALL YOUR REPS. — KEEP CALLING, KEEP WRITING, KEEP DOING EVERYTHING WITHIN YOUR POWER TO FIGHT THIS BILL!