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Thu, 01 Dec 2022
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Kim Dotcom Judge Quits After Calling US 'the Enemy'

© Agence France-Presse/Michael Bradley(R) Flickr/Andrew McMillan (L)
Kim Dotcom (L) and Judge David Harvey (R)
New Zealand Judge David Harvey has stepped down from the Kim Dotcom trial after making remarks that could cast doubt on his impartiality. Harvey was to oversee the extradition case against the internet entrepreneur, who is wanted by the US.

­Last week, Judge Harvey, who is also an internet law expert, was a featured speaker at a conference discussing the TPP treaty - a multilateral treaty between the US and ten other countries, whose copyright provisions have been described as stricter than ACTA, the copyright law recently rejected by Europe.

Harvey noted that under the terms of the treaty, those who change regions on region-restricted DVDs would be classed as criminals.

"We have met the enemy, and he is US," summed up Harvey.

The expression is a pun on the earlier phrase "We have met the enemy, and he is us" adopted by environmentalists from a 1970 cartoon.

But few were in the mood for wordplay.


Florida Customer Shoots Suspects During Internet Cafe Robbery

Authorities in central Florida say two men were trying to rob an Internet cafe when a 71-year-old patron began shooting his own gun, wounding the suspects.

Surveillance video shows two masked men entering the Palms Internet Cafe around 10 p.m. Friday. The Ocala Star-Banner reports one pointed a gun at customers while the other swung a baseball bat.

The video shows patron Samuel Williams pulling a handgun and shooting. He continues firing while the suspects fall over each other as they run out the door.


San Bernardino Declares Fiscal Emergency Ahead of Bankruptcy Filing

© Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
Roxanne Williams asks the San Bernardino City Council, which on Wednesday declared a fiscal emergency and voted to file for bankruptcy, to do what it can to save the city. The Inland Empire city faces a $45.8-million budget shortfall.
San Bernardino leaders' decision means the city could avoid months of state-mandated mediation as it seeks bankruptcy protection.

US, California - The San Bernardino City Council on Wednesday declared a fiscal emergency, an acknowledgment that the city is nearly broke and a legal maneuver that will allow leaders to file for bankruptcy protection without going through months of state-mandated mediation.

The action comes a week after the council voted 4 to 2 to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, prompted by warnings from interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller that the city faced a $45.8-million budget shortfall and might not have enough money to make the August payroll.

San Bernardino becomes the third California city to declare insolvency in the past month, joining the Central Valley city of Stockton and Mammoth Lakes, in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compton in L.A. County also appears to be on the brink of financial collapse, according to city officials.

"The proposed action has torn the city apart, turned friends into enemies,'' said San Bernardino Councilwoman Wendy J. McCammack. "The action that's taken tonight will affect everyone ... but the city will survive.''

Along with declaring a fiscal emergency, the council voted to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, both approved by a 5-2 margin. The council next week will begin the difficult process of crafting a survival budget, until its attorneys can file with the federal Bankruptcy Court.

Card - MC

Consumer Watchdog Fines Capital One for Deceptive Credit Card Practices

Capital One
© unknown
Capital One — which is known for its catchy television ads with Alec Baldwin — received a regulatory rebuke for misleading customers.
Capital One, one of the nation's biggest banks, will reimburse $150 million to more than two million customers for selling them credit card products they could not use or did not want, as the nation's new consumer watchdog leveled its first enforcement action against the financial industry.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday hit Capital One with findings that a vendor working for the bank had pressured and deceived card holders into buying products presented as a way to protect them from identity theft and hardships like unemployment or disability.

The regulatory actions, totaling $210 million including fines to authorities, take aim at one of the financial industry's growing profit centers and increasingly controversial practices. Several other banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC, were sued in June by the Hawaii attorney general, accused of improperly selling similar so-called add-on products, which consumer advocates typically regard as costly and ineffective.

Light Saber

John Brennan, Man Who Stripped In Front Of TSA, Found Not Guilty

© The Associated Press
Portland, Oregon - An Oregon man who stripped nude at Portland's airport security to protest what he saw as invasive measures was found not guilty of indecent exposure.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge David Rees ruled Wednesday that John Brennan's act was one of protest and therefore, protected speech.

Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Joel Petersen argued that Brennan's strip-down was an act of indecent exposure.

"I was aware of the irony of removing my clothes to protect my privacy," Brennan said from the witness stand on Wednesday.

On April 17, Brennan arrived at the airport intending to take a business trip to San Jose, Calif. He works with groups in Silicon Valley and flies out of Portland International Airport about once a month.

When he reached the gate, he declined to go through the airport's body scanners, instead choosing the alternative metal detector and body pat-down. After the pat-down, Transportation Security Administration officer Steven Van Gordon detected nitrates on the gloves he used to check Brennan.

"For me, time slowed down," Brennan said. "I thought about nitrates and I thought about the Oklahoma City bombing."

Brennan said before his trial that after months of angst every time he went through security, the nitrate detection was the final straw for him, a wordless accusation that he was a terrorist.

So he took off all his clothes.


I'm Finally Leaving America's Crazed Police State

police state
© benfrank.net
Dudes, I'm done with this. I'm leaving the United States today, and won't be back for a while. I recently visited my childhood hometown and noticed a whole bunch of brand new surveillance cameras at nearly every intersection and street corner; this is just a town, mind you, not some city of national or international significance.

After doing some research, it turns out the cameras are "high-definition" 24/7 surveillance cameras, manufactured and operated by Sprint Nextel Corp, and paid for through federal Department of Homeland Security grants to the town's local police department.

In fact, the number of these cameras in my hometown has reportedly tripled over the past couple years. There are as many as six of them at each intersection, they aren't red light traffic cameras (topic for another article altogether, though). Here's a photo I took of the cameras.

Do you really think these are there to make your 10 minute drive to the Applebee's safe from terrorists? Do you?

On another note, I was recently at a ball game: they now ask you to rise twice to sing the national anthem and pledge your allegiance. As a child, I only remember this occurring once, normally at the start of the game.

It was recently revealed that the NSA, according to a former high-ranking official there, is building "dossiers" on MILLIONS of American citizens and may be routinely spying on countless Americans on U.S. soil, in clear violation of our laws and principles as a nation.


Priests Could Be Ordered to Report Confessions of Sex Abuse to Police

UPDATE: The prospect of government forcing priests to report what was said in confession is the sign of a "police state mentality", says a priest and law professor.

Australia - Hundreds of years of Catholic tradition in the confessional could be overturned by Victoria's inquiry into child sex abuse.

Priests would be ordered to reveal crimes told to them in private confessions under one proposal before the inquiry.

But priests say they will resist being forced to reveal secrets of the confessional.

Priest and law professor Father Frank Brennan said the move would be a restriction on religious freedom.

"If a parliamentary inquiry were to recommend a law by parliament saying that priests were forced to disclose anything revealed to them in the sacrament of confession I think that would be a serious interference with the right of religious freedom," Father Brennan said today.


Retired Judge Whitlam Heads Inquiry into Church Handling of Priest Who Admitted Sexually Abusing Boys as Young as 10

Anthony Whitlam
© Andrew Taylor
Anthony Whitlam, QC.
Australia - The Catholic Church has appointed a retired Federal Court judge to head an inquiry into its handling of a NSW priest who admitted sexually abusing boys as young as 10.

Antony Whitlam, QC, a former federal politician and the son of the former prime minister Gough Whitlam, was appointed to lead the independent inquiry jointly commissioned by the Bishop of Armidale, Michael Kennedy, and the Bishop of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher.

A statement from the two clergymen did not outline the terms of reference for the inquiry other than to say that it would look at ''the processes related to the management of 'Father F''', who has been the subject of media reports in relation to allegations of abuse of children.

''Further details of the inquiry process will be developed in consultation with Mr Whitlam, QC,'' the statement said.

Father F, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was removed from public ministry after a meeting with three clergy in 1992, following continued allegations of abuse after he was moved from the Armidale diocese to Parramatta.


Shit-stirrer Sheriff Arpaio is at it again - Obama Birth Certificate 'Definitely Fraudulent'

Barack Obama
© AFP Photo/Jewel Samad
US President Barack Obama.
The long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April 2011 is fraudulent, claim investigators acting as a posse for Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The posse had earlier said the certificate may have been a computer-generated forgery, but now they say they are positive that the document is a fake.

Mike Zullo, the posse's chief investigator, said numeric codes on certain parts of the birth certificate indicate that those parts were not filled out. He added that those sections asking for the race of Obama's father and his field of work or study were completed.

Zullo said investigators previously did not know the meaning of the codes, but they were explained by a 95-year-old former state worker who signed the president's birth certificate.

So-called "birthers" believe that President Barack Obama is not eligible to hold America's highest office because he was allegedly born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and thus is not a natural US citizen.

Comment: The birth cert issue is obviously a distraction from the real reason why Obama isn't fit to rule: he's a psychopath.


Virgin Mary Statue 'Bleeding' in Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LA - Believers are flocking to this Baton Rouge neighborhood to see a statue of Mother Mary with their own eyes. You see, everyone here believes the statue is bleeding.

Hai Nguyen is the owner. His daughter translated for him and says he was doing lawn work when the unexpected happened.

"He looked up and saw blood coming down."

Blood dripping from the side of Mary's face, and the word spread quickly.

"He don't know how to explain it. He just know that maybe God sent a message through Mary."