- Steve Marsh GM Contamination Case Fails in Australian Supreme Court (Global GMO Free Coalition, May 29, 2014):
Global GMO Free Coalition Media Comment: 28/05/2014
Western Australian farmer Steve Marsh (#IamSteveMarsh) has lost a landmark case which could have protected his organic status, after his property was contaminated by GM canola from a neighbouring farm.
The verdict was handed down Wednesday and can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.wa.gov.au/_files/Judgment%20Summary%20-%20Marsh%20v%20Baxter%20(CIV%201561%20of%202012)%2028%20May%202014.pdf
Marsh, an organic farmer from Kojonup, south of Perth, Western Australia, lost organic certification for most of his farm when GM canola contaminated his crop. He took action by suing his neighbour Michael Baxter in the Supreme Court of WA, in a landmark world’s first trial which started earlier this year. Continue reading »
- Couple Fined $746 for the Crime of Feeding Homeless People in Florida Park (ZeroHedge, May 30, 2014):
It is a well known historical trend that as discontent and dissent spread within a society, the power structure will look to demonize unpopular or weak minorities in order to deflect frustrations away from the true culprit, the power structure itself. Many feared in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 that Muslims would serve as such a scapegoat, and indeed in many ways this occurred, although not to the extent that many feared. In my opinion, it is homeless people that are being increasingly demonized and treated as subhuman. I think that if we want to see how the state and crony corporate status quo will treat everyone in the future, all you have to do is look at the current “war on the homeless.” Continue reading »
- Florida couple threatened with jail time for feeding homeless in violation of local ordinance (Natural News, May 27, 2014):
A Florida couple who has been feeding homeless folks in a public park for over a year was cited recently for allegedly violating a local ordinance. Daytona Beach police officers says Debbie and Chico Jimenez are not allowed to serve home-cooked meals at Manatee Island Park without the proper permits, and threatened to arrest them on top of giving them each a $373 ticket for serving the homeless without permission.
NBC News reports that the couple’s ministry, known as “Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word,” has been serving healthy meals every Wednesday at the park for over a year. The Jimenezes claim that police officers never told them that they needed a permit, and are often at the park when the meals are being distributed. Only recently, they say, did it become a problem.
“We were given 10 days to either pay the fine or tell them we’re going to court,” stated Debbie to reporters. “We’re going to court. The police don’t like it. But how can we turn our backs on the hungry? We can’t.”
Continue reading »
May 24, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told attendees at a Family Research Council pastors retreat that Senate Democrats want to limit free speech through amending the Constitution.
“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does,” Cruz said at the FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall 2014 event in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. “This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment.”
- Congress reaffirms indefinite detention of Americans under NDAA (RT, May 22, 2014):
The US House of Representatives approved an annual defense spending bill early Thursday after rejecting a proposed amendment that would have prevented the United States government from indefinitely detaining American citizens.
An amendment introduced in the House on Wednesday this week asked that Congress repeal a controversial provision placed in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that has ever since provided the executive branch with the power to arrest and detain indefinitely any US citizen thought to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda or associated organizations.
“This amendment would eliminate indefinite detention in the United States and its territories,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), a co-author of the failed amendment, said during floor debate on Wednesday, “So basically anybody that we captured, who we suspected of terrorist activity, would no longer be subject to indefinite detention, as is now, currently, the law.”
“That is an enormous amount of power to give the executive, to take someone and lock them up without due process,” Smith added. “It is an enormous amount of power to grant the executive, and I believe places liberty and freedom at risk in this country.” Continue reading »
- Cries of ‘Injustice’ as Occupy Wall Street Organizer Sentenced to Prison (Common Dreams, May 19, 2014):
Cecily McMillan, the Occupy Wall Street organizer convicted of felony assault of the police officer she says sexually assaulted her, was sentenced Monday to three months in prison, five years of probation and community service.In a case that has shined a spotlight on what critics charge are systemic failures in the U.S. justice system, the sentence was met with immediate condemnation on Twitter:
- Giving NSA the boot – California bids to end spying on its citizens (RT, May 20. 2014):
The state of California is looking to pass a law stating the federal government would need a warrant from a judge if it wants to search residents’ cellphones and computer records. The bill passed the state senate with just one person voting against.
The bill was introduced following information that was leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who showed that US citizens had been subject to massive internal surveillance by the NSA.
“The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution is very clear. It says the government shall not engage in unreasonable search and seizure,” said the bill’s author, Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu of Torrance, to Reuters. “The National Security Agency’s massive and indiscriminate collecting of phone data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a threat to our liberty and freedom.” Continue reading »
- They Can’t Outlaw the Revolution (Truthdig, May 18, 2014):
By Chris Hedges
Update: On May 19 Cecily McMillan was sentenced to three months in jail and five years of probation, plus community service. Click on the word Guardian and the words Huffington Post to see articles on the sentencing.
RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was. Continue reading »
- N.Y. Occupy Wall Street activist faces 7 years in prison (Al Jazeera, May 18, 2014):
An Occupy Wall Street protester could be sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday after being convicted of second-degree assault against a New York City police officer. Cecily McMillan maintains she elbowed NYPD Officer Grantley Bovell in the eye in a reflexive reaction to having her breast grabbed.
McMillan, 25, said Bovell grabbed her right breast from behind as he led her out of Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012, a charge Bovell denies. Her legal team has vowed to appeal her conviction.
“As soon as the sentence is imposed, we plan to appeal,” said Martin Stolar, McMillan’s attorney. “The appellate process takes some time, but that’s certainly something we plan to pursue. There are number of questions, a number of legal errors that we think the judge made.”
The NYPD did not return calls to Al Jazeera, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
A jury of eight women and four men convicted McMillan on May 5. Barred from conducting research during the four week trial, some of the jurors have since said publicly that they were “shocked” to learn the felony conviction carries a two-to-seven-year prison sentence. Nine of the jurors have since written to Justice Ronald Zweibel and asked for leniency in her sentencing. Continue reading »
- The FCC Issues its Proposal on Net Neutrality as Protesters Are Tossed from Hearing (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 16, 2014):
As spring unfolds here in the Northern Hemisphere, the future of the free and open Internet hangs in the balance. As such, I strongly believe everyone should have at least some understanding of what is at stake. When most people hear or read the words “net neutrality” their eyes glaze over with a feeling of confusion and despair: “I can’t remember, am I supposed to be for or against this?” This is exactly how the lawyers and lobbyists in D.C. want it, but unless the citizenry is informed we could lose the most important weapon of free speech in the history of mankind.
Recognizing the convoluted nature of the subject, I did my best to lay out what “net neutrality” is and what is at stake with the current FCC rule-making process in my recent post: Say Goodbye to “Net Neutrality” – New FCC Proposal Will Permit Discrimination of Web Content.
Continue reading »
- Internet Freedom’s Expiration Date (Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2014):
Sales taxers are holding hostage the renewal of a rare bipartisan success.
The idea of taxing email is no more popular today than when President Bill Clinton signed the Internet Tax Freedom Act into law. But a dedicated congressional minority now wants to allow states and localities to tax email—unless these governments are given new powers to collect sales taxes on e-commerce.
On Nov. 1—three days before Election Day—the Internet Tax Freedom Act is due to expire. In place since 1998 and renewed three times, it wisely prohibits taxes that discriminate against the Internet. State and local governments can’t impose burdens online that don’t exist offline. And multiple jurisdictions can’t tax the same online transaction—a critical consumer protection in a country with more than 9,600 taxing authorities. The law also bans email taxes and new taxes on Internet access services. Continue reading »
- Thai court orders country’s prime minister to step down (FOX News, May 7, 2014):
BANGKOK – Thailand’s prime minister was ordered by a court to step down Wednesday in a divisive ruling that handed a victory to anti-government protesters who have staged six months of street protests — but does little to resolve the country’s political crisis.
The Constitutional Court found Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of abusing her power by transferring a senior civil servant in 2011 to another position. It ruled that the transfer was carried out to benefit her politically powerful family and, therefore, violated the constitution — an accusation she has denied.
The ruling also forced out nine Cabinet members but left nearly two dozen other ministers in their posts, including Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, who was quickly appointed the new acting leader.
- “The U.S. Supreme Court Decision … Means the Nation Has Entered a Post-Constitutional Era” (Washington’s Blog, May 6, 2014):
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
“We Are No Longer a Nation Ruled By Laws”
Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist Tangerine Bolen and others – sued the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans.
The trial judge in the case asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys.
The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.
- Vermont Senate approves GMO labeling law by huge majority (Natural News, April 24, 2014):
The Vermont Senate has given decisive approval to a measure that would require the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, meaning the state could become the first one in the country to enact such a law.
“We are saying people have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, a Democrat. The vote was 26-2 in favor of GMO labeling.
- Supreme Court refuses to stop indefinite detention of Americans under NDAA (RT, May 1, 2014):
The United States Supreme Court this week effectively ended all efforts to overturn a controversial 2012 law that grants the government the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process.
On Monday, the high court said it won’t weigh in on challenge filed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and a bevy of co-plaintiffs against US President Barack Obama, ending for now a two-and-a-half-year debate concerning part of an annual Pentagon spending bill that since 2012 has granted the White House the ability to indefinitely detain people “who are part of or substantially support Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.”
The Obama administration has long maintained that the provision — Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 — merely reaffirmed verbiage contained within the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, signed by then-President George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Italian Court Upholds Ban on Monsanto MON810 Corn Cultivation (Sustainable Pulse, April 24, 2014):
A regional court in Italy has upheld the country’s national ban on the planting of Monsanto’s MON810 corn.
The ruling cites the precautionary principle, which allows governments to take protective measures without having to wait for the risks to become fully realised.
Information from GM Watch
The court case was brought by a farmer from the Friuli region, Giorgio Fidenato, in an attempt to overturn the ban on planting MON810.
Refuses to Hear Hedges v. Obama Case
The US Supreme Court has further enhanced the administration’s ability to detain anyone, at any time, on any pretext today, when it refused to hear the Hedges v. Obama case, meaning an Appeals Court ruling on the matter will stand.
The case stems from a 2012 lawsuit brought by Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky and others, and sought to block the enforcement of a 2012 National Defense Authorization Act statute that allows the president to unilaterally impose indefinite detention on anyone, without access to courts, if he personally believes something they did “aided” the Taliban or al-Qaeda.
- “Crimes against Peace”: Historic Class Action Law Suit against George W. Bush (Global Research, April 21, 2014):
The case for Aggressive War against George W. Bush and his Administration.
On March 13, 2013, my client, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a class action lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz in a federal court in California.
She alleges that these six defendants planned and waged the Iraq War in violation of international law by waging a “war of aggression,” as defined by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, more than sixty years ago. (The current complaint can be found here).
- Americans revoke citizenship over tax law (PressTV, April 27, 2014):
The number of American expatriates giving up their citizenship has recently surged because of a controversial tax law, a report says.
Federal officials have increased pursuit of what they refer to as potential tax evaders in recent years, the Associated Press reports.
In 2013, the US government reported a record 2,999 people renounced citizenship or terminated permanent residency.
- Telecom firm fails in first known FISA court surveillance challenge (Al Jazeera, April 25, 2014):
For the first known time since the U.S. government began collecting data about Americans’ phone calls in bulk after the 9/11 attacks, a telecommunications company has questioned those surveillance activities in court, according to a judge’s opinion unsealed on Friday.
That company, whose name was redacted from the opinion, did not directly challenge the government’s right to make companies turn over “telephony metadata” — information about the phone numbers customers dial and the time, data and duration of such calls.
- NY Times Reporter: Untold story of Fukushima is the radiation issue, gov’t doesn’t want us talking about it; A lot going on that’s never reported by media — Afraid of being imprisoned under Japan’s new secrecy law; All officials have to do is say the info is secret (AUDIO) (ENENews, April 25, 2014):
- At 52:00 — Host: Is there an untold story about Tohoku that you… believe should be told?
- Martin Fackler of the New York Times Pulitzer-Prize nominated reporting team: Yeah… it’s so hard in Japan to talk about the radiation issue, like how bad is it really… There is a sense that if you even talk about these issues, you’re hurting the poor people of Fuksuhima. Therefore, we shouldn’t talk about it. That’s just not right… The folks who don’t want us to talk about it are the government, because they don’t want to pay compensation… I feel like there is a lot going on in Fukushima that just doesn’t get talked about in the local media, not necessarily for government cover-up sort of issues, but self restraint or self censorship. Even papers that are pretty strong in their reporting on Tepco in some ways, like the Tokyo Shimbun, won’t talk about these issues because they’re afraid that somehow its unpatriotic to talk about radiation. There’s a lot of questions and issues that are not being talked about, and I think they should be talked and if there is damage to the people of Fukushima that’s the responsibility of Tepco…
- Host: Are you at all afraid of this new secrecy law affecting your sources, for example, on the nuclear issues? Continue reading »
- Feds Beg Supreme Court to Let Them Search Phones Without a Warrant (Wired, April 23, 2014):
American law enforcement has long advocated for universal “kill switches” in cellphones to cut down on mobile device thefts. Now the Department of Justice argues that the same remote locking and data-wiping technology represents a threat to police investigations–one that means they should be free to search phones without a warrant.
In a brief filed to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in the case of alleged Boston drug dealer Brima Wurie, the Justice Department argues that police should be free to warrantlessly search cellphones taken from suspects immediately at the time of arrest, rather than risk letting the suspect or his associates lock or remotely wipe the phone before it can be searched.
- Everything You Need To Know About The End Of Net Neutrality (Huffington Post, Updated April 25, 2014):
It may be the end of the Internet as we know it.
That was the reaction from consumer advocates and some websites after the Federal Communications Commission announced new rules governing Internet service on Thursday. The rules effectively put an end to net neutrality, or the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally.
“Definitely, consumers are the losers,” said Todd O’Boyle, a program director at Common Cause, a left-leaning public interest lobbying group. “The sites they rely on on a daily basis may not work in a way they’ve come to rely on.”
The FCC insists, however, that the new rules would not harm Internet users. In a blog post Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said there had been “a great deal of misinformation” about the proposal, which he said would not permit “behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet.”
Here are some key points to understand regarding the changes:
What is net neutrality and why is this happening?
Net neutrality is the idea that your Internet provider must treat all Web traffic equally. A court decision in January struck down FCC rules meant to ensure that Internet providers do not discriminate by blocking or slowing certain content.
That decision opened the door for Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut deals with content providers, which would pay to stream their content in an Internet “fast lane.”
After the ruling, the FCC said it would revise its rules. That’s what happened Thursday.
What do the new rules say?
The new rules would allow companies like Netflix to pay Internet providers to stream their videos and other content more quickly. That could create two lanes on the Internet, fast super-highways that big tech companies can afford and a bumpy backroad where less fortunate websites dwell, consumer advocates say.
Verizon, which sued the FCC for the right to cut such deals, said Thursday that it had no intention of preventing customers from viewing certain sites.
Verizon and other Internet providers “have always made clear that we support an open Internet and we have publicly committed to ensuring that customers can access the Internet content they want, when they want and how they want,” the company said in a statement.
The FCC said these deals would still be fair because Internet providers would be required to reveal how they handle traffic, how much they charge companies for access to fast lanes, and whether they’ve given preferential treatment to their own content.
That last part could become especially important as Internet providers are increasingly becoming entertainment companies. AT&T said this week it plans to launch a new online video service. Comcast owns NBC Universal, which includes 30 cable networks, 26 local TV stations and part of the streaming service Hulu.
Internet providers would be required to act in a “commercially reasonable manner,” according to the FCC, which will vote on the proposed rules later this year.
What could that mean for me, in English, please?
First off, the web could get more expensive. The impact on the average Internet user will likely not be felt right away. But over time, websites would probably pass on to consumers the costs of paying for high-speed access, according to Harold Feld, a senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge.
In addition, it could become difficult to view certain websites owned by companies that can’t afford to pay for access to an Internet fast lane, Feld said.
On top of Internet users potentially paying more, they would also be more confused, Feld said. Under the proposed rules, people would need to make sense of a fragmented Internet landscape where the time it takes to load an online video would depend on whether that website paid extra to their Internet provider. Consumers may start choosing their Internet providers based on which websites they like to visit.
Feld compared the situation to the exclusive deals that AT&T and Apple once made that only allowed AT&T subscribers to purchase the iPhone.
This sounds pretty frustrating.
It would be. Under the FCC’s proposed rules, the quality of online streaming services like Netflix or HBO Go would depend on whether those services are paying your Internet provider or not, Feld said.
“It will become more fragmented and more frustrating,” he added.
The proposed rules could affect not just entertainment, but also education. If schools use an online curriculum made by a company that cut a deal with Verizon, students who subscribe to Verizon’s Internet service at home would have an advantage over other students who subscribe to another provider, Feld said.
- President signs law, bans himself from entering the US (Sovereign Man, April 24, 2014):
Folks… you just can’t make this stuff up.
A few days ago the President of the United States signed into public law bill S. 2195, now known as Pub.L. 113-100.
The law aims to “deny admission to the United States to any representative to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States and poses a threat to United States national security interests.”
In other words, if the US government thinks that if you have been spying on the United States, then they won’t let you in the country.
Gee, let’s think for a moment– who has been engaging in espionage against the United States? Anyone?
Ah, right. The US government. Mr. Obama himself. The entire US intelligence network. They’ve all been engaging in espionage against the United States, especially its citizens.
But let us not forget, the law also bars entry for folks who have engaged in terrorist activity against the United States.
Just so that we don’t mince words, my dictionary defines terrorism as the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
Once again, the US government. Violence? Check. Intimidation? Check.
- Obama’s First-Amendment Defense of Political Liars (Washington’s Blog, April 18, 2014):
By Eric Zuesse
President Obama, through his U.S. Solicitor General, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, has now stated that lying in political campaigns isn’t merely protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, but that it is an especially protected form of speech, which must not be hindered by any state government, such as by the state of Ohio. Ohio has outlawed such intentional deception of voters, and has established heavy criminal penalties against it, when it can be proven. The idea behind this law is that any democracy in which lying in political campaigns isn’t penalized by severe penalties, won’t remain a democracy much longer, but will instead descend into a kleptocracy: theft of elections themselves (via lies), so that they become just nominal “elections,” which are controlled by whatever aristocrats can put up the most money, to lie the most effectively, to the biggest number of voters: lying-contests.
- New court decision destroys the last element of the justice system (Sovereign Man, April 18, 2014):
In the Land of the Free, people grow up hearing a lot of things about their freedom.
You’re told that you live in the freest country on the planet. You’re told that other nations ‘hate you’ for your freedom.
And you’re told that you have the most open and fair justice system in the world.