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People Power! Lawyer objects to demand for photo ID, is arrested then sues

Attorney files lawsuit against state alleging false arrest and imprisonment, seeks $700,000

Norman Christopher Usiak was in a hurry. The attorney from Frederick had briefs to file, and in the rush, he couldn't remember where he put his wallet. He was wearing dark pants and a white T-shirt, an un-lawyerly ensemble a police officer described as "looking disheveled."

It was 4:10 in the afternoon and the Maryland Court of Appeals building in Annapolis closed in 20 minutes.

The regular bailiffs had gone home, replaced by a police officer for the Maryland Department of General Services, which runs and secures state office buildings.

Usiak signed his name in the register but refused the officer's demand to show a photo Identification.

Police wrote in a report that the attorney told them he left his driver's license in his car and didn't feel like walking back. Usiak said he refused out of principle.

Cloud Lightning

Raising Awareness of Pakistan's Flood Victims

Image
© Robert Gauthier
Haroon Mushtaq and his nephew, Ahmed Choudry, 4, join others at a Westwood demonstration demanding relief aid for Pakistan flood victims.
For a disaster that has displaced millions, financial support has lagged behind that offered to victims of Haiti's quake. An Anaheim man and others started their own group, Americans for Flood Relief.

When monsoon rains began inundating regions of Pakistan, Anaheim resident Essam Ulhaq felt a wave of sadness. His parents' homeland was devastated. News images of displaced people became so painful to view that he stopped looking at them.

Ulhaq, 25, was shocked that some of his friends knew little of the disaster - never mind donating to relief efforts. He would tell them that millions were now homeless, that they needed all the help they could get. To raise awareness, he and some friends decided to start their own group, Americans for Flood Relief.

Such is the complicated story of aid to Pakistan, Ulhaq and others say. For a natural disaster that has displaced an estimated 20 million people and submerged one-fifth of the country, financial support has lagged far behind that offered to victims of the Haiti earthquake and other recent disasters.

Coffee

Wikileaks - The Real Stuff - A Response To Israel Shamir

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© Unknown
Israel Shamir recently published his opinion on the Wikileaks exposé and in the process took issue with those who had dismissed the leaks as a distraction. While I wasn't named by Shamir as one of the dissenters, I had waxed skeptical in a recent Sott.net editorial on the topic.

I sent the following letter to Shamir:

Dear Shamir,

You title your last missive Wikileaks - The Real Stuff, yet you fail to point to anything "real" or valuable in the Wikileaks documents. Can you point to any detail, either within the documents or within those documents that have been published by the mainstream media that was not already publicly available?

Alternatively, can you point to some evidence that the release of the documents has in some way effected a sea-change in the general public opinion of the US misadventure in Afghanistan? I ask this because, such is the hype surrounding the release of the documents, I think we are all justified in expecting 'big things' as a result.

I don't doubt that the coverage of the Wikileaks documents by the mainstream media has lent extra weight to the long-established truth (as purveyed most notably by the alternative news sites) that civilians are being murdered in Afghanistan, but the precise number of dead is all important, as is where to lay the blame.

Do you really think the Wikileaks documents and the mainstream media reporting on them serve up a dish of raw Truth to the public? Or is it possible that it has been cooked to some extent?

Che Guevara

People Power! Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?

US foreclosure activity April 2010
© RealtyTrac
US foreclosure activity April 2010
Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles - and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere "nominee" - an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff's legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear - while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

Hourglass

Connecting the Dots: Whistling Past The Graveyard

July 2010 saw extreme weather and the further apparent collapse of our planet's eco-system come front and center. Despite these dire warning signs, the psychopaths in power continue to do their best to obfuscate the facts and embroil as many normal human beings as possible in conflict, strife, suffering and death.

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© thepolarproject.com
On July 15th, three months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, BP announced it had successfully capped the gushing oil well. Its vice president Kent Wells was so relieved that he said, "I am very excited that there's no oil in the Gulf of Mexico." It's hard to know what to make of such a comment after his company leaked 5,000,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps he thought that with the oil flow halted, BP was suddenly off the hook and free to carry on as normal? Apparently so, as the company announced several days later it will soon begin drilling to even greater depths off the coast of Libya. So did this latest effort to cap the well actually work? We can't know for certain because we have to take BP's word for it. Remember that it was in BP's interest to underestimate the oil flow rate; the lower the oil flow rate, the less they have to pay the US government and the local Gulf population in fines and compensation. The true cost to the whole planet may be higher than anyone could have imagined.

Read on for the web's best comprehensive summation of the current state of our planet...

Propaganda

Another Insult to Christianity... Meet the Methodist Friends of Israel

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© N/A
The damaged face of a Palestinian child by the hands of Yahweh's "chosen people."
A few weeks ago the Methodist Church's annual conference did a very courageous and praiseworthy thing. It voted to boycott products from Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine, regarded as illegal under international law, and to encourage Methodists across Britain to do the same.

"The decision is a response to a call from a group of Palestinian Christians, a growing number of Jewish organisations, both inside Israel and worldwide, and the World Council of Churches," said the press release.

Christine Elliott, Secretary for External Relationships, remarked:
"This decision has not been taken lightly, but after months of research, careful consideration and finally, today's debate at the Conference. The goal of the boycott is to put an end to the existing injustice. It reflects the challenge that settlements present to a lasting peace in the region."

Sherlock

Beware Julian Assange and Wikileaks - Darlings Of The Mainstream Media

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© AP Photo
Mainstream Media darling - Julian Assange
A friend recently asked me what I thought of the wikileaks business. He said that he was still a little idealistic, and thought perhaps that there are still some "good guys" out there who can really make a difference. I wondered, in terms of the wikileaks documents, precisely what kind of change my friend, and presumably many other social justice activists, are hoping for?

The documents in question describe US military activity in Afghanistan, in all their gory and criminal details. I presume then that the difference that the documents (and their purveyor, Julian Assange) will make, is nothing less than the halting of the American Empire's unholy crusade across the Middle East and Central Asia. Now that would be nice!

My friend correctly noted that we are talking about war crimes here - the exposure of the dirty details of the illegal US occupation of Afghanistan and the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Now that Assange had made it safely into the arms of the mainstream media, surely there is a chance that this evidence could effect a mass awakening among the world public who might yet stand up and take down the evil doers.

Arrow Down

China: Foxconn Faces Fresh Suicide Fears as 14th Worker Dies

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© AP Photo
Father Ma Zishan and sister Ma Liqun mourn the death of Ma Xiangqian outside a Foxconn factory in Longhua. Mr Xiangqian killed himself in January.
Foxconn, the Chinese maker of Apple's iPhone, is investigating the death of a packaging plant worker, following a string of 13 staff suicides at its factories earlier this year.

The 22-year old woman died on Wednesday after falling from a dormitory building at its Kunshan plant in eastern Jiangsu province, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer said on Friday.

Thirteen Chinese employees have committed suicide this year at Foxconn plants and an affiliate by jumping from buildings, including 10 in the southern city of Shenzhen.

It was unclear whether the latest death was a suicide. The company said it was working with local authorities to investigate.

The suicides at Foxconn - which generates revenues of $40bn annually making everything from iPads to desktop computers and televisions - have put the spotlight on working conditions for millions of factory workers in China, the "workshop of the world".

Bulb

Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech

Graduation ceremony
© The Daily Mail
The 2010 Graduating Class of Coxsackie-Athens High School.
Comment: The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." 
The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" 
Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

Che Guevara

Until they are awake, they are a threat to you

Image
© Unknown
How can the Social Services in Great Britain so readily separate loving and caring parents from their children? How can family men Police officers fire 50,000 volts into grannies? How can a group of youths stab a father to death for a supposed insult? The answer in all examples is the same. Lack of spirit. These people are drones (droids) and are a massive threat to your life. You must consider them the platoons of the psychopath banksters. They are your enemy.

The greatest tragedy of the last 40,000 years of human life must certainly be the indifference felt to suffering. The lack of empathy felt by millions towards their starving million fellow sentients on the surface of this blue globe. This is the true story; not that psychopathic and malevolently minded people search for glory and outside happiness by killing, raping, pillaging and conquering. These violent tendencies are easily understood, we feel, for deep down in our darkest corners we can understand rage, misdirected passion, mistakes, and the folly of hate.

What we, as a resistance movement, have a real problem with is the unsympathetic way that our fellow people can disregard a problem, walk past someone struggling in the street; continue to pay taxes to a puppet-murderous government, continue in their finance jobs, and generally be totally indifferent to the suffering of others on a massive scale. We all know them. We have all shared time with those who astonish us with their lack of care. We feel almost as if we are in the company of droids. Of robots.