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Germany rejects Sarkozy call for internet regulation

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© UnknownNot right in the head
Hamburg - German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich rejected on Wednesday calls by French President Nicholas Sarkozy for governments to regulate the internet, saying Germany had demonstrated a better way with self-regulation by web companies.

Sarkozy's insistence on tougher privacy and copyright laws, which are on the agenda of this week's G8 summit in Deauville, France, has been opposed by both web libertarians and business leaders.

After a media outcry in Germany last year against Google's Street View photo panorama service, top companies adopted a code of good practice for 'geo-data' services. Images of homes and people can now be blurred on request by anyone who feels their privacy is invaded.

In an opinion article for the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland, Friedrich said, 'We'll achieve more for our citizens with the privacy codex than we could have done with an ad-hoc law.

Vader

Best of the Web: As world burns, G8 leaders fiddle ... with the Internet. Seriously?

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© UnknownHumans... or something else? World leaders gather in France to chart our course towards collective destruction
Sarkozy, Obama, and the other leaders at the G8 should be evaluating the policies that have brought them to the brink of financial ruin. Unfortunately, their attention will be elsewhere: on Internet regulation, for one thing.

President Obama will join other G8 leaders today at the posh, French seaside resort of Deauville. On the agenda: proposed global regulations for the Internet, post-tsunami Japan, and military escapades in North Africa. Bizarrely absent from the top priorities listed by hosting head of state Nicolas Sarkozy is the most urgent issue of all: the need to rein in massive government over-spending and debt.

One needn't travel to France to get a clear view of this problem. Here in the US, for example, federal revenues will top $2 trillion this year, but federal spending will approach double that amount. Such reckless spending has set the stage for a battle royal between Democrats and Republicans over raising the national-debt ceiling.

House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio has correctly warned that increasing the debt ceiling without a firm commitment to slash spending would signal to investors that America still is not serious about kicking its spending addiction.

Control Panel

Sarkozy hails World Revolution, but says now time for tighter Internet control

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© Sean Gallup/Getty Images French police walk past the Deauville International Center, venue of the upcoming G8 Summit, on May 24, 2011 in Deauville, France
The G-8 (Group of Eight) Summit officially opens on Thursday in Deauville, France under very heavy security. This international forum represents eight of the world's major economies, which are France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia, the United States, Japan and the UK. This year, the holder of the rotating presidency is Nicolas Sarkozy, whose responsibility is to host and set the agenda of the forum and determine which ministerial meetings will take place.

In a separate, two-day pre e-G-8 session in Paris today, the French President addressed 1500 'movers and shakers' of the Internet, including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Niklas Zennstrom of Skype, Eric Schmidt of Google, executives from Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay and the billionaire head of the News Corp empire and arguably the world's most powerful media mogul, Rupert Murdoch.

Sarkozy is in favor of tougher regulations for the Internet, and knows that he would encounter resistance from the major players. While he lauded the role social websites have played in helping organize revolutions in the Arab World, he also insisted that ground rules were necessary to curb terrorism and child abuse. He balanced his desire for regulation with some strokes:
'You have changed the world . . . it has been a total global revolution. What has been unique in this revolution is that it belongs to nobody; it has no flag, no slogan, it is a common good. What is also unique about this revolution is that it was done without violence. It was not fought on battlefields but on university campuses.'

MIB

The End of Hope and Change

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© ReutersPresident Obama is poised to sign an extension of the PATRIOT Act -- and normalize Bush-Cheney national security policies
It isn't strictly accurate to say that Barack Obama once cared about civil liberties violations in the PATRIOT Act -- he has actually raised detailed objections to the decade old legislation at least twice. In 2005, then-Sen. Obama signed a letter laying out specific concerns that stretched to almost six pages. The next year, the former constitutional law professor took to the Senate floor, where he congratulated his colleagues for "a real, open, and substantive debate about how to fix the PATRIOT Act," and encouraged them to keep up their efforts: "I urge my colleagues to continue working on ways to improve the civil liberties protections after it is reauthorized," he said.

Dollar

Propaganda Alert! Shrimpers, not oil, causing hundreds of turtles' deaths along Gulf of Mexico, scientists say

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The numbers are startling: Hundreds of sea turtles have begun washing up into bays and onto beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Six hundred of the mottled, soup-plate-shaped reptiles came ashore in just four states in 2010, six times the annual average. This year, 563 have been stranded.

Blame the oil that fouled those waters after the BP spill?

No, government scientists say, there is a more mundane local culprit: shrimpers who are ignoring regulations to prevent endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles from becoming ensnared in their nets.

The tale of the turtles illustrates the complexity of establishing cause and effect in assessing the ecological impact of the spill.

Comment: No, it's real simple actually. BP bought up many scientists in the Gulf region and their job is now to clean up after the paymaster to smooth its return to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.




Vader

US: Patriot Act Provisions Extended Just in Time

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© The Associated Press / Charles DharapakPresident Obama, who awoke early Friday to approve the bill from an international summit in France, had warned Congress that any interruption in the surveillance authority would threaten national security.
President Obama signs on from France after Congress passes the bill. Opposition to the government powers in the terrorist surveillance law brings together conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.

Acting with minutes to spare, President Obama approved a four-year extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, after Congress overcame mounting opposition from both parties to narrowly avoid a lapse in the terrorist surveillance law.

Obama, attending an international summit in France, awoke early Friday to review and approve the bill, directing that it be signed in Washington by automatic pen before the provisions expired at midnight Thursday Eastern time.

The administration had warned Congress that any interruption in the surveillance authority would threaten national security.

Passage came late Thursday after a protracted political struggle that played out over several months, a sign of increased unease with powers granted to the federal government to investigate citizens and foreigners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Conservative Republicans, many of them elected with backing from the "tea party" movement, and liberal Democrats resisted attempts to extend the three expiring provisions of the act.

Heart - Black

Dick Cheney: 'I Worship the Ground Paul Ryan Walks On'

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© The Associated PressCheney reportedly expressed great admiration for the House budget chairman Wednesday.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't want Paul Ryan to run for president - he likes the House Budget chairman too much.

"I worship the ground the Paul Ryan walks on," Cheney said Wednesday during a rare public appearance, the Houston Chronicle reported. "I hope he doesn't run for president because that would ruin a good man who has a lot of work to do."

Support for Ryan's budget plan, which includes an overhaul of Medicare, has become an early litmus test for the GOP presidential field. The plan was also a definitive issue in the special election in New York on Tuesday, where Democrat Kathy Hochul won one of the most Republican-friendly congressional seats in the country. Democrats have heralded that victory as a sign that Americans oppose Ryan's plan.

Vader

US: The End of Hope and Change

President Obama is poised to sign an extension of the PATRIOT Act - and normalize Bush-Cheney national security policies
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© Reuters

It isn't strictly accurate to say that Barack Obama once cared about civil liberties violations in the PATRIOT Act -- he has actually raised detailed objections to the decade old legislation at least twice. In 2005, then-Sen. Obama signed a letter laying out specific concerns that stretched to almost six pages. The next year, the former constitutional law professor took to the Senate floor, where he congratulated his colleagues for "a real, open, and substantive debate about how to fix the PATRIOT Act," and encouraged them to keep up their efforts: "I urge my colleagues to continue working on ways to improve the civil liberties protections after it is reauthorized," he said.

President Obama has now stopped talking about the civil liberties violations he once knowledgeably identified. If all goes as expected, he'll soon sign a four year extension of the PATRIOT Act, quadrupling down on an earlier mistake. This is particularly notable due to the way this latest extension is being passed: Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid had promised a week long debate on the legislation so that abuses identified by civil libertarians could be addressed. The fact that Reid's word proved worthless means that Sen. Rand Paul's worthy amendments may or may not be considered depending upon his adeptness at procedural maneuvering.

Comment: "They weren't about getting Osama bin Laden, nice as that was." (Sigh)




Video

Face to Face with Professor Anthony J. Hall

Chris Cook, special guest host and editor of pacificfreepress.com interviews Dr. Anthony Hall in this week's installment.


War Whore

Canada drops 240 'smart' bombs on Libya, won't reveal cost of mission

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© Monaerik
Canadian warplanes have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libyan targets since March 31, the military says.

But the Canadian Forces have deemed several other key aspects of the country's mission in Libya too sensitive for public consumption.

That includes the cost to taxpayers of those 227-kilogram bombs, the price tag of the Libya mission to date, and whether or not Canadian jets are part of the escalating NATO attacks on the capital of Tripoli.

Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette revealed the number of bombs in the weekly briefing on Canada's participation in the NATO-led air campaign over Libya. Just a week earlier, he deemed that information off limits, for "operational security" reasons.

Blanchette said military intelligence and counter-intelligence experts reconsidered the request, but he made no apologies for taking a week to decide.

"We will always err on the side of caution until we have a chance to thoroughly consider the impact on operational security."