December 7th, 2010

Why WikiLeaks Is Good for America

A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike.

It shouldn’t be.

In the past week, after publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables, secret-spilling site WikiLeaks has been hit with denial-of-service attacks on its servers by unknown parties; its backup hosting provider, Amazon, booted WikiLeaks off its hosting service; and PayPal has suspended its donation-collecting account, damaging WikiLeaks’ ability to raise funds. MasterCard announced Monday it was blocking credit card payments to WikiLeaks, saying the site was engaged in illegal activities, despite the fact it has never been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians have ramped up the rhetoric against the nonprofit, calling for the arrest and prosecution and even assassination of its most visible spokesman, Julian Assange. Questions about whether current laws are adequate to prosecute him have prompted lawmakers to propose amending the espionage statute to bring Assange to heel or even to declare WikiLeaks a terrorist organization.

WikiLeaks is not perfect, and we have highlighted many of its shortcomings on this web site. Nevertheless, it’s time to make a clear statement about the value of the site and take sides:

WikiLeaks stands to improve our democracy, not weaken it.

The greatest threat we face right now from Wikileaks is not the information it has spilled and may spill in the future, but the reactionary response to it that’s building in the United States that promises to repudiate the rule of law and our free speech traditions, if left unchecked.


The entire editorial can be read at

I know that there have been a lot of posts on this subject, so I understand if the mods feel that we have had enough, but I really liked this piece
The X-files: *facepalm*

Ted Turner calls for global one-child policy like China’s

Media billionaire Ted Turner called on world leaders Sunday to institute an international one-child policy akin to that being enforced in China.

The CNN founder said that under this scheme the world’s poor could sell their fertility rights and thereby profit from avoiding procreation, reports the Globe and Mail.

Radical solutions are needed, he said, because of the environmental crisis facing the planet.  “If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,” he explained.

China’s coercive approach to implementing their policy includes forced abortion, imprisonment, and fines many times greater than a family’s annual income. The policy has faced strong criticism from human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International.


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What cute little hats you guys have!

Felt Up at the Pat-down: Eugene Delgaudio's Laughable Homophobia

Every gay man knows the scenario: Some sweaty, balding, cross-eyed, toothless hog is overheard issuing a loud, public homophobic warning along the lines of "These homos had better keep their hands off ME!" No problem, Cletus. Your virtue is safe -- not only with me, but with any sentient human being blessed with the senses of sight and/or smell. Something tells me the ladies aren't exactly busting down your door, either, if you know what I mean, you Public Temptation, you.

I've always supposed such sentiments have two basic sources, namely (a) the belief that gay men value sex to the exclusion of everything else and will go to great lengths to get it, and (b) a crippling inferiority complex in regard to one's own attractiveness and potency. Mind you, it's never the Ryan Reynoldses or the Hugh Jackmans who act as though legions of gay men are just aching to get into their pants -- they, of course, could be forgiven for thinking that. No, it's the men with faces and physiques only a mother could love -- a mother or a plastic surgeon or a scout for "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

Does Eugene Delgaudio, a Loudon County, Va., supervisor and also president of the conservative non-profit organization Public Advocate of the U.S., suffer from this syndrome? Certainly he displays the familiar complex of symptoms. It's not that he's all that bad-looking: He looks rather like your middle school principal, or like every woman's first husband. But his bizarre projections about gay male sexuality have, to my way of thinking, dethroned Texan Congressman Joe Barton as the Elected Official Most Likely to Leave You Speechless and made that uncoveted title indisputably Delgaudio's own. Barton's apology to BP for having to endure a "shakedown" was merely pusillanimous, and comparing himself and his fellow Republicans to George Patton, Omar Bradley, and Ike so silly that Richard Nixon, who watched "Patton" over and over and over again, could have authored that particular howler.

No, Delgaudio is of a different, scarier order altogether, having claimed that TSA pat-downs "are part of the homosexual agenda." According to this logic, the TSA, which apparently has a non-discrimination policy as regards sexual orientation, has been infiltrated by homosexuals who are "getting pleasure" from performing pat-downs. This is all part of a "wide-scale homosexual agenda," says Delgaudio, fostered by "Radical Homosexuals" whose ultimate goal is, is . . . is what, exactly? Forcing heterosexual employees out of the TSA so that gay staffers can feel up every single male passenger who comes through the security checkpoint?

Picture, if you will, the security line at a major airport. Say, LaGuardia, the day before Thanksgiving. You're a TSA agent working a double shift, and the line is stretching back beyond the Hudson News stand, past Auntie Anne's Pretzels and into the food court. It's 7 a.m., they're in a hurry, they're mad, and there's no end to them. You feel like a heel for making the great-grandmother in the wheelchair open her luggage, and you're trying to explain to the Asian teenagers that they just don't have the proper form of ID. The big guy holding the cowboy boots is mad as hell that he has to surrender the half-gallon bottle of Mountain Dew he just bought, and the couple in matching sweatsuits is holding you personally responsible for their missing their connection to Vegas. Given the hygiene of some of the people in line, you'd take a salary cut if you could compel them to keep their shoes on. There are five or six toddlers screaming at the top of their lungs, and you don't blame them. You'd like to scream yourself, or walk away, but money's tight, jobs are scarce, and this one has job security and benefits.

Let me put it another way: Can you imagine a less erotic space than an airport security line? Can you imagine a person less inclined to cop a quick feel than a beleaguered TSA agent? Can you imagine taking the job just for the jollies you're going to get from placing your hands on the sagging flesh of Joe and Josephine Q. Public?

I've seen plenty of homophobia in my time, plenty of bigotry of all kinds. I can understand why some people are frightened by the idea of repealing "Don't ask, don't tell." Though I can't agree with them any more than I can agree with the people who stand behind the Defense of Marriage Act, I will go to my grave defending the right of people to express their opinions in earnest, even if their opinions are anathema to me and even if they are pitifully ill-informed. And I'm not easily shocked -- I live in New York City. But Delgaudio has stunned even me. In a fund-raising letter he sent to Public Advocate members last spring, he says that "Radical Homosexuals are storming through Washington demanding passage of their agenda." If they get their way, he says, Radical Homosexuals "will terrorize day care centers, hospitals, churches and private schools." If same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, we'll see "wedding-gown clad men smooching," then "skipping hand-in-hand down to adoption centers to 'pick out' a little boy for themselves."

He certainly has an apocalyptic vision, a Sodom and Gomorrah way of looking at things. And like all great prophets, he has visions and dreams dreams: He tells us of driving "to a mailshop hidden deep in a nearly deserted stand of warehouses." In this secreted bunker, "long-haired, earring-pierced men [are] scurrying around running forklifts," loading carton after carton with "pro-homosexual petitions." Then comes the paranoid rip in the narrative: "Suddenly a dark-haired man screeched, 'Delgaudio, what are you doing here?' Dozens of men began moving toward me. I'd been recognized." Oddly, they don't assault him, and they don't even try to feel him up. Rather, they laugh at him: "This time, Delgaudio, we can't lose." Cue the Satanic laughter and Tubular Bells -- we're in the halls of Hell, and it's ruled by gay men and lesbians.

I'm not blaming the entire Republican Party for his madness, and I'm not blaming Loudon County, where his colleagues compelled Delgaudio to apologize for, among other things, calling transgendered individuals "it." I'm not even blaming the primitive wing of the conservative movement; this guy makes Sarah Palin look like Margaret Chase Smith. I am saying that we're taking certifiable loony tunes entirely too seriously, we're electing them to office, and they're not only not apologizing for their hallucinations but are sticking by them.

Politics Daily
' jules
  • schmiss


WikiLeaks: British Police Arrest Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police over sexual assault claims in Sweden, according to Sky sources.

A fresh European arrest warrant has been received by Mr Assange's lawyer - as anger grows in the US over the latest leaked embassy cables by the whistleblowing website.

Sky sources have said officers from Scotland Yard detained the 39-year-old Australian at around 9.30am.

Labelling the move as a "political stunt", Mr Assange's solicitor Mark Stephens said his client wants to find out what allegations he faces so he can clear his name.

Two women in Sweden have claimed they were sexually attacked when Mr Assange visited the country in August. He denies the claims.

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Here's a good article about the rape charges against Assange, pushing back on the significant amount of confusion going around about what exactly the "sex by surprise" laws mean and how he is accused of violating consent.


WikiLeaks had threatened to issue an encryption code that would release all of the remaining cables, if Assange was arrested.

But our sources say there are no current plans to do that.

More at The Guardian's liveblog

Update 2: Also, some thoughts on the phrase "sex by surprise" from a native Swede.
  • merig00

Kathy Griffin Gets Booed By U.S. Troops After Calling Bristol Palin Fat

Comedian and self-proclaimed “D-lister” Kathy Griffin hosted VH1 Divas Salute the Troops which was taped for an audience of servicemen at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California, and aired last night. The ribald and unconventional comedian set the tone for the night when she joked about Bristol Palin and her supposed weight gain while competing with Dancing With The Stars. But the joke fell flat, as the military men and woman in attendance lustily booed the host for taking a shot at Sarah Palin’s daughter. Ms. Griffin has used the Palin clan for her “comedy” material before. Last summer, while filling in for a vacationing Larry King, she had on as guest Sarah Palin grand-baby daddy Levi Johnston. This was a follow-up to Johnston’s attending the Teen Choice Awards as Griffin’s guest the night before. She later revealed that the “romantic” relationship between Johnston and herself was merely a publicity ploy (duh!)
Griffin may have been guilty of misjudging her audience on this particular joke, but she went with it, even challenging the audience to boo more (which allowed her to “own” the failed joke.) Watch the clip from VH1 below, which includes a subject-changing introduction of Jersey Shore’s Snooki and Mike “The Situation” Sorrento:


Mods could we get a tag for Kathy Griffin? :)
  • luomo

Nobody represents the American people

Nobody represents the American people

The disconnect between the actions of the government and public opinion is the central fact of American politics today. It doesn’t seem to matter whether liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans are in power. Only minor, marginal reforms ever take place. The basic outlines of American economic policy and foreign policy remain the same, even as Congress and the White House change hands. The changes promised by progressive Democrats and Tea Party Republicans are quickly discarded after the elections.

The changes that do take place are often the opposite of those that majorities of Americans want. Most Americans want Social Security to be strengthened and American manufacturing protected. But the conversation among elites inside the Beltway-New York bubble is about cutting Social Security and more one-sided "free trade" deals with mercantilist nations that, unlike the U.S., protect and promote their domestic industries.

Many Americans have come to the conclusion that nobody represents them in Washington anymore. They are right.


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Michael Lind is Policy Director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation and is the author of "The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution."

  • homasse

Elizabeth Edwards gravely ill :(

Elizabeth Edwards gravely ill with cancer

Elizabeth Edwards, stoic as her husband's presidential ambitions collapsed, her marriage crumbled and cancer sapped her strength, thanked her supporters online Monday as word spread the disease may take her life within weeks.

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered," Edwards wrote on her Facebook page. "We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."

The Edwards family issued a statement that said doctors have told Edwards that further treatment for her cancer would be unproductive. And a family friend who is among those who have gathered with Edwards at her North Carolina home told The Associated Press that she is gravely ill.

Edwards was briefly hospitalized last week and received treatment, but doctors have now told her that she may only have up to a couple months of life left, the friend said. The friend spoke on condition of anonymity because of the personal details divulged.

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Man Gets 50 Year Sentance For Burning A Child

An ex-con babysitter was sentenced to 50 years in prison Monday for using a shower to severely burn an 8-year-old autistic child after she soiled herself while in his care.
Victor Acosta II, 31, opted in the middle of his trial last month to instead plead guilty to injury to a child-serious bodily injury.
Under terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to ask state District Judge Mary Roman for no more than 50 years Monday. Because of a prior trip to prison for robbery, he faced a minimum sentence of 15 years.
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Fuck this man and fuck this woman for defending him. This is so fucking rage-inducing!

Source is hand-flapping to calm himself.

Cast of Bones For Congo

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Hooray for the Cast of Bones! We are so pleased that the word got out to the cast of Fox’s hit show Bones. They heard the call and they stepped up to the plate! This week we’ve been promoting the viral campaign for helping the conflict in Congo and Emily Deschanel along with Michaela Conlin,TJ Thyne and Tamara Taylor posed for this photo to help out with the cause! Thanks guys! You can join to!

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Elizabeth Edwards dies

HAPEL HILL, N.C. — Elizabeth Edwards, the political wife whose public battle with breast cancer, coping with marital infidelity and continued advocacy for the downtrodden raised her profile above that of her husband, died Tuesday. She was 61.

Edwards died at her Chapel Hill home, where family and friends had gathered in recent days after doctors informed her that her cancer had spread and recommended that she not undergo further treatment.

Edwards was first diagnosed with cancer in the waning days of the 2004 presidential campaign, when her husband, then-U.S. Sen. John Edwards, was the Democratic nominee for vice president. The couple didn't disclose her illness until after the election.

The cancer went into remission after surgery and months of treatment, but it resurfaced in early 2007, as John Edwards was mounting a second run at the White House. The Edwardses agreed at the time that they wouldn't allow the cancer to derail his candidacy.

Because the cancer had moved into her bones, her doctors said at that time that it was no longer curable but could be treated.

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chris colfer

(no subject)

Questions abound after uptick in hate crimes at university campuses

It all started when some jerk punched Lauren Meyer in the face.

The UW-Whitewater freshman, an out lesbian, was wearing a "Legalize Gay" T-shirt that day in September.

At the time, the assault was an anomaly. But then a string of other hateful acts followed, and not just at UW-Whitewater but at UW-Platteville and UW-Stout, too.

"All I know is it shouldn't be happening, but it is, and it's kind of a little disconcerting," said Meyer, 18, as she sat in the campus gay-pride center at UW-Whitewater one day last week.

Each new incident raised questions — why now, and why these campuses? Definitive answers continue to elude campus officials, but some things seem clear, based on data reviewed by the State Journal and interviews with dozens of people:

• Hate crimes on the University of Wisconsin System's 13 four-year campuses are relatively rare, although some campuses have a lower threshold for defining a hate crime, making comparisons difficult.

• While hate crimes are rare, harassment isn't.
Eight campuses recently surveyed students and staff on campus climate. Those who said they'd personally experienced offensive, hostile, exclusionary or intimidating behavior in the last two years ranged from 11 percent at UW-Eau Claire to 25 percent at UW-Milwaukee.

• The rash of hate crimes on UW campuses is not part of a national trend — if it is, experts haven't yet picked up on it.

• Hate crimes are rarely solved — only about 25 percent nationally — but when they are, the perpetrator is most often a male under age 25 who does it for excitement or peer validation. "Most of them are not members of a hard-core hate group," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
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source: Wisconsin State Journal
mus | like a bird in a cage

G20 law gave cops 'wartime' power, resulted in mass rights violation: ombudsman

The Ontario government was opportunistic when it gave police wartime powers during the G20 summit in Toronto, resulting in a mass violation of civil rights in peacetime, ombudsman Andre Marin said Tuesday.

The Liberal government quietly promoted the use of a "likely illegal regulation" to give police "extravagant" powers on the eve of the June summit, Marin said. Police, he added, compounded matters with deliberate miscommunication about the reach of their new powers.

"Apart from insiders in the government of Ontario, only members of the Toronto Police Service knew that the rules of the game had changed, and they were the ones holding the 'go directly to jail' cards," he wrote in his report.

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I feel like I know her
  • maclyn

And it seems to me that you lived your life like a shitebag in the wind.

Mind when the media took it upon themselves to decide that Diana was “the people’s princess” even though she had just as little to do with us untitled scum as the rest of them? Well, Aaron Porter would do well to remember that just because the media treat you like you’re King of the Students doesn’t make it so.

NUS has been basically an irrelevance for many students for a long time now, with the closest a lot of us get to them being flashing an NUS extra card in a shop. Others (including me) attend institutions where the student population has repeatedly rejected having NUS organise on campus, because they’re basically useless to us and in some cases would actually be detrimental to student organisation, as well as food and drink prices in unions. Given that, perhaps it was inevitable that when a real crisis happened, the NUS would be no help at all.

In his tenure as NUS president, Porter has abandoned the idea of free education and proposed a graduate tax, attacked those who occupied Millbank as a “tiny minority” who apparently weren’t ‘real’ students (whatever that means), and then, in a desperate attempt to claw back some credibility and power after the movement ran away from him, was forced into a humiliating admission of “spineless dithering” on his part. I’d propose that that statement was the most truthful and relevant thing Porter’s said during this entire attack on students all across the UK, because the latest move from NUS has again been to push for lobbying of MPs, and to reject the UK wide demo on vote day in favour of their own candlelit vigil by the Thames. Oh, and we should all spend the day lobbying our MPs instead to tell them just how mistaken they are about fees increases.

There’s two problems here. First, the idea of lobbying, with specific reference to the NUS call to lobby Lib Dem MPs. The thing about this approach is that it largely depends on the belief that MPs simply haven’t thought through the consequences that fee rises and cuts will have for young people who’re seeking education. The idea of free education has been under attack for years, with further attacks on the idea that the arts are worth studying at all, and thinly disguised snobbery towards any institution that’s not an ’ancient’ university. These attacks don’t come out of politicians being misguided, it’s part of a concerted agenda to privatise education, delimit what is worthy of study (and what is worth studying is what’s immediately valuable to UK capitalism) and further turn educational institutions into cash machines that are basically closed to people without money, much like the US. This isn’t some mistake, it’s a mission. There might well be a significant number of MPs who will vote against this week’s bill, due to personal convictions or political expediency, but the amount of them who will truly believe that education should be free at the point of demand and genuinely accessible, and who wont buy into the limiting of what people can study, will unfortunately be much smaller.

So, given that it’s not just about one bill, and not just about some Lib Dem betrayal (many of us aren’t surprised at all, because a generally social democratic, pro capitalist party like them were always going to run into a bit of cognitive dissonance when they actually got power, and were never going to take long to drop the policies that appeal to young people and students) then it’s more than fair to say that lobbying MPs is not going to solve this. This is a long term fight to stop education cuts, and to preserve the rights of people who aren’t of the upper classes to get an education without jumping through scholarship hoops, so this repeated rejection of big demos and focus on lobbying days that NUS champion just isn’t going to cut it as a strategy.

Some people find it perplexing that an organisation called the National Union of Students can be so utterly out of tune with the way the wind’s blowing among the people they wish to represent. However, we need to take into account that an NUS position is a classic career move for those who want a job in politics, particularly people who are dying to become a Labour MP. Aaron Porter stood as an independent for the NUS presidency, but is in fact a Labour member. After talking to Porter on the Daily Politics Show, Andrew Neil probably got it dead on when he said “I think I was talking to a future MP there!”. If Porter wants a career as an MP, he’s going to have to play the game and avoid rattling any cages, and that basically rules out doing anything that will actually make any difference, or make people feel a sense of cohesion, power and optimism.

So, we get useless shite like a candelit vigil, an idea which has unfortunately spread to some individual student representative councils, for example Glasgow uni’s. Candelit vigils are usually held to mourn something that’s already happened, or something happening that is outside of our power to change because we are removed from it. That is not the case here, and apart from anything else, asking people to stand quietly and hold a fuckin candle while this vote happens is a great way to demotivate everyone. I wont be trekking to Edinburgh to melt a bit of wax, and I doubt the NUS demo will pull many folk away from Parliament Square either, no matter how many pleas they put out.

Porter is guilty of a massive dereliction of duty as a student representative, and I’ve outlined why. He has no interest in following the wishes of most students across the UK, because it doesn’t fit his political and personal interests. The campaign against cuts and fees has officially run away from NUS, and they’ve nobody to blame but themselves. Students of all stripes, and future students too, don’t want a king, they want a voice, and unfortunately from Porter’s point of view, they’ve found it themselves.


Iranians defy clampdown for Student Day protests

Iranians defy clampdown for Student Day protests: Iranian students have defied a security clampdown to stage anti-government protests throughout the country, witnesses and opposition groups say.

Unconfirmed reports say about a dozen people have been arrested, including at Tehran University in the capital.

Last year's protests led to clashes with security forces as students lashed out over the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This year's protests appear smaller, and there are no reports of violence.

Pro-government rallies have also been held across the country.

The annual protests are held on Student Day, Iran's annual commemoration of the killings of three students during anti-American protests in 1953.

In recent years, students have used the 7 December anniversary - known locally as 16 Azar - to demand greater political freedom.
Mobile videos

Leaked mobile footage from campuses in several Iranian cities, including Tehran, Ghazvin and Tabriz, showed students chanting anti-government slogans and singing protest songs.

Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi is reported to have met the families of jailed student activists and condemned the authorities' attempts to stifle freedom of expression.

The Iranian authorities arrested thousands of people during the mass street protests that followed the 2009 election that returned President Ahmadinejad to power, amid opposition claims of widespread fraud.

More than 80 have been sentenced to prison terms under Iran's security laws.

Source has a video. More can be found here. And here's an analysis of what the protests today mean, just for good measure.
TWW: Josh/Donna Hallway

White House takes Twitter question from ghost of fictional character

This was probably a first for Robert Gibbs.

During a Twitter Q&A on Tuesday, the White House press secretary answered a question posed by @McGarrysGhost, an account inspired by fictional "West Wing" character Leo McGarry.

McGarry, who was the president's chief of staff in the award-winning series, asked Gibbs, "Was the tax deal brokered yesterday intentionally designed as a de facto second stimulus package?"

Gibbs laughed as he answered.

"We'll take our first Twitter question from Leo Thomas McGarry, which if I'm not mistaken was Josiah Bartlet's chief of staff in 'West Wing.' So I'm entirely sure this is a made-up account, but it's a good question." 

"The package was not brokered intentionally to do that. ... The president was animated to ensure that the agreement helped our economy grow and create jobs," Gibbs said.

The McGarry account has 1,467 followers.

The character was played by John Spencer from September 1999 to December 2005, when Spencer — who won an Emmy for the role in 2002 — died suddenly of a heart attack.