Thursday, February 24, 2011

If You Can Read This Without Raging For Change; There Is Something Wrong With You!

If You Can Read This Without Raging For Change; There Is Something Wrong With You!

Gov Walker Reveals Entire UnionBusting Strategy to Prank Caller ...
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You have to hear this: A blogger impersonating Tea Party billionaire David Koch called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and got him to reveal his secret plan to lure Democrats back to the state. Phenomenal. Check it out:

Billionaire Right-Wing Koch Brothers Fund Wisconsin Governor Campaign and Anti ...
Huffington Post (blog)
"We learned this week that the Koch Industries, Mr. Koch's company, opened a lobby shop hereright across from the Capitol. He and his team basically leased the place right before Governor Walker was elected and opened it the week of his inauguration," ...
See all stories on this topic »

The war on Wisconsin employees isn't just about the budget or Wisconsin: Koch toady Gov. Walker is just one soldier in the billionaire's offensive to kill labor. READ MORE

Americans for Prosperity is taking an active role in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign to destroy state workers' collective bargaining rights. READ MORE

Budget deficits are a ruse to conservatives. What they really want to do is change the basis of American life.READ MORE

In their attempts to constantly be balanced, the news media seem to have lost all ability to be accurate. READ MORE

American elites have turned their attention to the last bastion of organized labor, the public sector unions. The protests in Wisconsin shows it won't be so easy.READ MORE

Ministers have identified billions of pounds that Col Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan regime have deposited in London, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The online payment provider PayPal has frozen the account of Courage to Resist, which in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network is currently raising funds in support of  U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. PayPal was one way people–especially international residents–were able to contribute to the grassroots effort supporting the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower.

“We’ve been in discussions with PayPal for weeks, and by their own admission there’s no legal obligation for them to close down our account,” noted Loraine Reitman of the Bradley Manning Support Network (Support Network). “This was an internal policy decision by PayPal.”

“We exchanged numerous emails and phone calls with the legal department and the office of executive escalations of PayPal,” explained Jeff Paterson. “They said they would not unrestrict our account unless we authorized PayPal to withdraw funds from our organization’s checking account by default. Our accounting does not allow for this type of direct access by a third party, nor do I trust PayPal as a business entity with this responsibility given their punitive actions against WikiLeaks-an entity not charged with any crime by any government on Earth.”

The Support Network repeatedly requested and was refused formal documentation from PayPal describing their policies in this matter.

PayPal is a private company and thus under no legal obligation to provide Courage to Resist, the Bradley Manning Support Network, or anyone else with services. This was something made very clear to the Support Network by PayPal representatives.

“They opted to apply an exceptional hurdle for us to clear in order to continue as a customer, whereas we have clearly provided the legally required information and verification.  I think our dealings with PayPal should be a cautionary tale for any possibly controversial not-for-profit entity with a PayPal account,” Paterson said, “While there may be no legal obligation to provide services, there is an ethical obligation. By shutting out legitimate nonprofit activity, PayPal shows itself to be morally bankrupt.”


Courage to Resist registered the PayPal account in 2006. There were no issues with this account until supporters were encouraged to donate via PayPal to help fund the “Stand with Bradley Manning” public statement and petition effort ( ).

In late 2010, PayPal, MasterCard and Visa closed down payment services to WikiLeaks, severely restricting that organization’s ability to accept online donations.  Within days, Courage to Resist project director and Support Network steering committee member Jeff Paterson fielded lengthy calls from executives at PayPal regarding website content, the intended use of the funds being solicited in support of Bradley Manning, and accountings of the recent purchases (primarily envelopes, paper, and postage stamps) made with PayPal funds.

The PayPal account was briefly restricted at that time pending organizational “verification.” To meet PayPal’s standard verification requirements, the Support Network opted to open a line of credit with PayPal and provided Social Security numbers and other financial details in doing so.  Approximately a month later on January 29, 2011, PayPal decided that these standard protocols did not apply to Bradley Manning related efforts.

Read more

Donations made via Visa, MasterCard, and Discover–along with checks and money orders–remain unaffected. Funds donated to Bradley Manning’s defense fund are used for legal defense expenses, public awareness efforts, and minimal administrative costs. Information regarding donations, including a fiscal accounting of funds, is publicly available on the Internet at

Manning is an American soldier who has been held in solitary confinement since June 2010.  He is currently being held in pre-trial confinement at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, and is not expected to face court martial until at least October 2011. Manning has been convicted of no crime and has a Constitutional right to a fair trial. The Support Network is dedicated to ending Manning’s extreme and illegal pre-trial punishment, ensuring he receives civilian legal representation of his choosing, and thwarting efforts by the U.S. government to hold a secret trial, out of sight of media and supporters. The Support Network has no organizational ties to WikiLeaks.

6:55 Tweet from @WikiFugasPT   "Portuguese newspaper Expresso got 772 cables from Lisbon (from Politiken). Will start publishing on Saturday."
6:20  Here's full transcript of that chat Assange did at Swedish paper today...Julian in the lion's den...
5:05  Wired:  Pay Pal denies anything political about it freezing that Bradley Manning support fund.  "Asked why, if the Courage to Resist account was opened in 2006, PayPal hadn’t raised the issue of linking it to a bank account earlier, Nayar did not have an immediate response. He said only that nonprofit organizations are allowed to open accounts easily and quickly."
4:00 I'm told by my a source in Sweden that the country's largest paper will be hosting live chat with Assange in just a few minutes. Here is link.
3:45  David Leigh of The Guardian, who has turned on Assange quite bitterly (and the favor has been returned) with new column lecturing Assange on his post-ruling behavior today.   "The climax of almost a quarter of an hour of oration came when he complained of 'this ridiculous time I have to spend on this nonsense!'. Such was his dismissive reaction to a reasoned 28-page ruling by the district judge, Howard Riddle, who no doubt burned some midnight oil composing findings he knows will be scrutinised carefully by an appeal court."  At least Leigh declared that Assange's work had been "hugely important."
3:30  We covered it early this morning, now Yahoo! on to Pay Palcutting off a support Bradley Manning group.
3:15  Only hours left in special one-day sale of e-book for my The Age of WIkiLeaks ends today: 99 cents here and equivalent in UK. It works for Kindle, Blackberry, iPhone, Android, iPad, web reading, more. It’s now the bestselling WikiLeaks e-book (over NYT, Guardian and Domscheit-Berg) at Amazon and has been hailed by Dan Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, more. Print edition here.
1:40 Important piece by Michael Scherer at Time responds to Matt Drudge’s siren call that Qaddafi considered Obama “a friend.” Scherer deeply explores State Dept cables on this before concluding that anything positive Qaddafi said was “ploy” in attempt to meet Obama and maybe get weapons from us. “It appears to have been a public relations ploy, an attempt by the self-described ‘king of kings’ to associate himself with the popular American president. According to secret State Department cables, it did not describe a friendship that actually existed.”
1:30 Al Jazeera English linked to this video as example of Qaddafi party mentioned in cables. (h/t KEvin Gosztola)
11:10 Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now! on Assange extradition ruling, latest on Bradley Manning and Glenn being targeted in the HBGary scandal. “Not particularly surprising,” he says of ruling. “Will be appealed multiple times, so will be quite awhile before resolution.” A “lot of oddities” in how Swedish authorities handled. What’s “quite disturbing” is aspect of Swedish law that sex case hearings will be “secret,” like a “Star Chamber.” Claims “so few people in American media willing to defend WikiLeaks.”
10:10 Full extradition ruling.
9:50 Oh, dear: Assange’s mum says ruling amounts to political and legal “gang rape.”
9:15 Assange reaction as summarized by tweets at Channel 4: “Assange:It was a rubber-stamping process…. it comes as no surprise but it is nonetheless wrong.” Also: “It is false that I have said the CIA & Pentagon were involved in initial allegations, I have never stated that.” And: “I have never been a fugitive, so why is my bail £200k?” Finally: “I call on all those people in Sweden that have seen evidence of abuse of process to step forward, to not be scared…. Let the bravest journalists speak” about abuses. 
9:10 A key section of today’s court ruling: Sweden must also get OK from UK before allowing Assange extradition to US.
9:00 Norway daily Aftenposten with new cables on US keeping Al Jazeera photog Sami al-Hajj in Sudan after release from Gitmo. My source there translates and summarizes thusly: “Claimed that the only journalist held at Gitmo ‘requires extreme caution and attention on behalf of the Sudanese authorities because he poses a much higher risk than the previously returned detainees.’ Al-Hajj was arrested by Pakistani intelligence in border areas towards Afghanistan in December 2001, and later transferred to the Americans who labeled him as an ‘enemy combatant.’ Amnesty Int’l criticize the US for handing over freed Gitmo prisoners to known torturists in Sudan, Libya and Yemen.”
8:35 State Dept. spokesman PJ Crowley weighs in via Twitter (with hash tags, no less): “The  #JulianAssangerape case is a matter between  #Britain and  #Sweden. Notwithstanding claims to the contrary, the U.S. is not involved.”
8:20 Judge grants bail to Assange on same terms as previous. Appeals to high court, to be heard next week.
8:15 Pay Pal freezes account of Bradley Manning Support Network. “We’ve been in discussions with PayPal for weeks, and by their own admission there’s no legal obligation for them to close down our account,” noted Loraine Reitman of the Bradley Manning Support Network (Support Network). “This was an internal policy decision by PayPal.”
8:05 @EstherAddley of Guardian tweeting latest from court, as Assange fights for bail (again).
7:40 Assange loses extradition ruling in London today, must face charges in Sweden—but appeals. If loses that, could face extradition in ten days. He will be “detained in custody” because no system of bail in these matters in Sweden. “In his summary the judge also accused Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, of making a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. He added that Assange had clearly attempted to avoid the Swedish justice system before he left the country, saying ‘It would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden.’
7:25 The Telegraph with useful timeline of Assange sex case developments over past seven months.
12:00 Assange ruling coming at 10 am Thursday, UK time. As noted earlier, Assange team expects it to go against them, but will appeal, and that will last months. Hackers threaten to go after Brit and Swedish gov’t sites... Australian officials complain US “frustratingly slow” to brief them on what was to come in WikiLeaks cables.
I linked to the live tweeting of this event earlier but here is wrapup plus the tweeting at WL Central: editors from the five news outlets involved in the first stage of Cablegate (inc. NYT and Guardian) debate it. Bill Keller continues his WikiLeaks-changed-nothing charade.
From Independent in London: Nations prepare for “hacklash”—that would be hacking protest—as judge’s ruling on Assange extradition arrives tomorrow morning 10 am (UK time). Assange lawyers “expect the worst.” Anonymous “has called on supporters to flood British government websites with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, a relatively simple method of shutting down a website by flooding it with requests for information.”
No photos of Mariah “Cash And” Carey singing for Qaddafi’s son in 2009 but at left there’s one of Beyonce doing same the following year (along with Usher).
Chronicle of Higher Education on yet another derivative: UniLeaks. “WikiLeaks, scourge of governments worldwide, now has a copycat for academe. And the new group is itching to publish your university’s deepest secrets.”
Still awaiting word on judge’s ruling re: Assange extradition. But as we note way down below today: If he loses, as many expect, appeal will likely delay outcome for another nine months maybe. UPDATE: I’m now told that decision will come down at 10:30 am tomorrow, UK time.
Reuters gets new cables on Libya pressing oil companies to pay its huge $1.5 billion fee related to settling terrorist claims. “The cable suggests Gaddafi intended foreign oil companies to provide full funding for the scheme, which at the time was a key factor in improving ties between Libya and the United States.”
Jeremy Bernstein at NY Review of Books with a valuable look back at episode revealed, then largely forgotten, in one of the early cables via WikiLeaks in December: Qaddafi, with screw loose, and a specific and dramatic incident involving “loose nukes.” And by the way: despite his much-publicized promise to give up nuclear weapons programs, “there remained and still remains a nuclear research program centered in Tajura, about ten miles east of Tripoli.”

Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied upon arriving at a US airport. READ MORE

The economic Top 1% owns more than 90% of us combined. 400 people have as much wealth as half of our population. If people understood just how concentrated wealth has become in our country and the effect it has on our politics, our democracy and our people, they would demand our politicians do something about it. Egypt exposed the power that the people have. One million Egyptians proved that you can shut down a powerful regime through a mass demonstration of non-violent force. Here in the US, according to public opi...

The big news this week from Saudi Arabia is that upon his return to the Kingdom, King Abdullah has decided to implement a massive $36 billion payoff to his people to stem off any revolt. The question is, when will banker puppet Obama engage in similar tactics. More and more people are aware of the sham that is his presidency and as the people realize they have been sold out to make sure the financial oligarchs got their record Christmas bonuses and can fund his 2012 run he will need to give a pay raise to the 15% of...

We speak to constitutional law attorney and legal blogger Glenn Greenwald about the Assange case, allegations of torture by the U.S. Army to alleged whistleblower Army Private Bradley Manning, and a recently disclosed plot by three private intelligence firms to target WikiLeaks and its supporters, including Greenwald, who has publicly defended the organization. A British judge ruled today that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexual crimes. Assange pl...

Wisconsin state troopers were dispatched Thursday to try to find at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats who have been on the run for eight days to delay a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip collective bargaining rights from nearly all public employees. Meanwhile, the state Assembly appeared close to voting on the union rights bill after two days of filibustering the measure with a blizzard of amendments. Democrats reached an early morning deal after 43 hours of debate to limit the number of re...

Here's my "something has to give" plan. How about Wisconsin passes a law that takes the estate tax level back to 2001? And let's say the first million's tax free. The collective net worth of the esteemed group on the Forbes 400 from Wisconsin comes to around $21.7 billion. That would make Wisconsin's share of their estates at the time of passing around $4 billion. We just paid down the debt. Now, while the Wisconsin Group for Growth calls for sacrifice, I'm sure even they wouldn't expect these billionaires to volunt...

Thousands of people have gathered in the Indian capital, Delhi, to take part in a rally to protest against rising food prices and unemployment. A steady stream of protesters, carrying red flags, has been marching through the streets of central Delhi since early morning. The rally has led to massive traffic jams in the city. Trade unions who have called the rally say nearly 40,000 people will attend a meeting at the Ramlila grounds. Thousands will then march to parliament, they say. Security is tight across the ...

Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident. It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public. Tags: Obama Illusio...

Corporate America and its servants in the Democratic and Republican parties care nothing for the education of Black, inner city school children, and the proof is in Detroit, for all to see. The State of Michigan has ordered Detroit to close down half of its public schools, and increase class sizes to 60 students. That’s double the number that any respectable educator considers suitable for classroom work, and tantamount to a declaration that Detroit’s public school students will not be provided an education. In a mo...

Israeli jets bombed sites across Gaza Thursday after a Palestinian rocket slammed into a house in the southern city of Beersheva, raising tension along the enclave's border. The Israeli military said it had targeted several Hamas camps in Gaza during early morning raids, after a rocket fired from the coastal strip struck Beersheva for the first time since Israel's devastating 2008-2009 Gaza war. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the Israeli airstrikes or the rocket fire into Beersheva. A crater ha...

A US beauty queen has become the latest victim of the economic downturn -- she is homeless and faces losing her day job, months before vying to be crowned Miss USA. Miss Colorado USA Blair Griffith and her mother have been living with a family friend since being evicted last November, after her father died and her mother suffered a heart attack. She had only been crowned the previous month. "It was a difficult thing to go through to sit there and go, 'Where are we going to go now?'" the 23-year-old told local 9news ...

What should not be missed when contemplating the illegal and immoral aspects of this information operation directed against the citizens of the country and high level government officials is that it is just one more instance in an ongoing pattern of information manipulation and outright deception on the part of the military in recent years. A few recent examples include the use of retired generals posing as independent military analysts to spout information coordinated by the Pentagon, intentional deception to cover...

Pay in the private sector has been stagnant or falling for decades, health insurance coverage has been dropping, and traditional pensions have all but disappeared. the evidence suggests a different culprit: private-sector employers. The problem is not that public-sector pay and benefits are out of control. The problem is that pay in the private sector has been stagnant or falling, health insurance coverage has been dropping, and traditional pensions have all but disappeared. Back in the late 1970s, public- and pr...

A UK judge has ruled Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden, dismissing fears his human rights are at risk. Pro-WikiLeaks campaigners tell Channel 4 News the process has become a "joke". Julian Assange has branded his extradition hearing a "rubber-stamping process" after a British judge gave the go-ahead to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Swedish authorities who want to question him over sexual assault and rape allegations. Speaking outside Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south east London after the ...

Libya's ruling family tried to coerce billions of dollars from Libyan and foreign oil companies, and its leader Muammar Gaddafi exhorted the United States to sow division in Saudi Arabia, leaked American diplomatic cables reveal. One cable seen by Reuters, sent from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, shows Gaddafi's government exerting heavy pressure on U.S. and other oil companies to reimburse Tripoli the $1.5 billion Libya had paid in 2008 into a fund to settle terrorism claims from the 1980s. The amount was the initi...

A political activist says Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is readying to flee the country, as violent civil unrest continues and rebels continue to take power of towns close to the capital Tripoli. Eyewitnesses in Tripoli say the government is escalating its crackdown on anti-government protesters, and it is hard to know how much ground Mr Gaddafi has lost to local protesters. Tripoli is still held by pro-Gaddafi forces. Tanks have been seen in the suburbs and the streets are quiet as any protest would almost certai...

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators. The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military ...

The deeper story is that Davis allegedly actively aided and abetted terrorism. Indeed, one of South Asia 's largest news agencies (ANI) reports that - according to Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service - Davis was giving nuclear and biowarfare materials to Al-Qaeda: "Double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret CIA documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al-Qaeda terrorists with "nuclear fissile mater...

The global banking cartel, centered at the IMF, World Bank and Federal Reserve, have paid off politicians and dictators the world over — from Washington to Greece to Egypt. In country after country, they have looted national economies at the expense of local populations, consolidating wealth in unprecedented fashion – the top economic one-tenth of one percent is currently holding over $40 trillion in investible wealth, not counting an equally significant amount of wealth hidden in offshore accounts. IMF imperial op...

A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244. A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was e...

According to pro-labor protesters in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) may be taking a page from former Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak and cutting off internet access to key protest organizers within the state Capitol building. If you are in the Capitol attempting to access the internet from a free wifi connection labeled “guest,” you cannot access the site The site has been used to provide updates on what is happening, where you can volunteer, and where supplies and goods are needed to support...

The anti-choice legislation being proposed at both the national and state levels since the 112th Congress kicked off in January is truly reaching movie-villain levels of evil. And the proposed bills just keep coming -- they're being announced with such regularity that it's been hard to catch one's breath. One of the freakiest pieces of potential legislation was proposed in South Dakota earlier this monthand would have made killing an abortion provider in the state a "justifiable homicide."
Let that sink in for a moment: It would have legalized murder.
The pro-choice community breathed a sigh of relief when that bill was shelved later in the month, but now the fight is back on. Nebraska has picked up where South Dakota left off, introducing its own piece of "justifiable homicide" legislation.
Is your head spinning yet? Just wait, it gets worse: the Nebraska bill actually goes even further than the bill from South Dakota. Here are the details, via Nick Baumann and Daniel Schulman at Mother Jones:
The legislation, LB 232, was introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, a devout Christian and die-hard abortion foe who isopposed to the prodedure even in the case of rape. Unlike its South Dakota counterpart, which would have allowed only a pregnant woman, her husband, her parents, or her children to commit "justifiable homicide" in defense of her fetus, the Nebraska bill would apply to any third party.
"In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that's something that's unprecedented in our society," Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday. Specifically, she warned, it could be used to target Planned Parenthood's patients and personnel. Also testifying in oppostion to the bill was David Baker, the deputy chief executive officer of the Omaha police department, who said, "We share the same fears...that this could be used to incite violence against abortion providers."
This is truly horrifying stuff. Abortion providers and their families are already regular targets of violence by anti-choice extremists. Dr. George Tiller was famously gunned down in Kansas in 2009, but he was only one of eight abortion providers murdered since the early '90s (there have been an additional 17 murder attempts against abortion providers).
This week, Rachel Maddow has been in Kansas interviewing abortion providers about what it's like trying to provide critical services to women in the face of threats. Here's one of those interviews, which aired on her show last night:

Ga. Law Could Give Death Penalty for Miscarriages
Under Rep. Franklin's bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was "no human involvement whatsoever in the causation" of their miscarriage.

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