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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,783

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Canada Supreme Court Strikes Down All Current Restrictions on Prostitution

Source: Reuters / National Post

@Reuters: Canada Supreme Court strikes down all current restrictions on prostitution, including a ban on brothels and street solicitation

Supreme Court declares Canada’s anti-prostitution laws unconstitutional in landmark ruling

Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News
Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

OTTAWA — Canada’s highest court has declared prostitution laws unconstitutional and has given Parliament a year to make them Charter-compliant should it wish to continue to impose limits on the sex trade.

It means being caught in a bawdy-house, living off the profits of another’s prostitution and soliciting sex in public will remain crimes until December 2014, but that legal brothels could be a reality in Canada by next Christmas should Parliament decide to do nothing.

In a landmark, unanimous ruling Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada found bawdy-house laws that make it a crime to be caught unlawfully in what is essentially a brothel are “grossly disproportionate” to the intent of the law, which is to prevent community nuisance.

Big cheers from lobby of #scc as prostitution laws declared unconstitutional #cdnpoli—

Tobi Cohen (@tobicohen) December 20, 2013

“Parliament has the power to regulate against nuisances, but not at the cost of the health, safety and lives of prostitutes,” wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLaughlin who referenced the case of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton who targeted prostitutes in British Columbia.

“A law that prevents street prostitutes from resorting to a safe haven such as Grandma’s House while a suspected serial killer prowls the streets is a law that has lost sight of its purpose.”

Read more: http://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/2013/12/20/supreme-court-strikes-down-canadas-anti-prostitution-laws

Uganda Passes Tough New Law Against Homosexuality (Life Imprisonment)

Source: Associated Press


— Dec. 20, 2013 6:54 AM EST

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan lawmakers on Friday passed an anti-gay law that punishes "aggravated homosexuality" with life imprisonment.

The bill drew wide condemnation when it was first introduced in 2010 and included the death penalty, but that was removed from the revised version passed by parliament.

Although a provision for the death penalty was removed from the original bill, the law passed Friday sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for the new offense of "aggravated homosexuality," according to the office of a spokeswoman for Uganda's parliament.

The bill was introduced to parliament by a lawmaker who argued the law was needed to deter Western homosexuals he accused of "recruiting" Ugandan children.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/uganda-passes-anti-gay-law-punishes-aggravated-homosexuality-life-imprisonment

BBC: Greenwald on Why WH Panel NSA Report is Vindication of Snowden Reporting

@ggreenwald: NSA report warns: "Americans must never make the mistake of wholly 'trusting' our public officials" (p 114) (via @DanBoches)

@theCCR: RT @ShayanaKadidal: NSA rpt calls for "effective end of National Security Letter authority, which would be replaced with court orders" https://t.co/BPlDRWbJQ3

Russia Passes Amnesty Bill (Includes Greenpeace Crew and Pussy Riot Members)

Source: Associated Press


— Dec. 18, 2013 7:20 AM EST

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's parliament has voted for an amnesty bill that includes crew members of a Greenpeace ship and jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band.

The State Duma on Wednesday voted 446-0 in favor of the bill, which mainly concern first-time offenders, minors and women with small children. The move has been largely viewed as the Kremlin's attempt to soothe criticism of Russia's human rights records ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year.

The amnesty makes two members of the Pussy Riot band eligible for release and will allow investigators to drop charges against the 30 members of Greenpeace's ship detained in Russia's Arctic in September.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/russian-amnesty-bill-include-greenpeace-crew

Influential Country Singer Ray Price Dead at 87

Source: Associated Press

Dec 16, 7:06 PM EST



DALLAS (AP) -- Ray Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders who had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams, died Monday. He was 87.

Price died Monday afternoon at his ranch outside Mount Pleasant, Texas, said Billy Mack Jr., who was acting as a family spokesman. Billie Perryman, the wife of family friend and spokesman Tom Perryman, a DJ with KKUS-FM in Tyler, also confirmed his death.

- snip -

Perhaps best known for his version of the Kris Kristofferson song "For the Good Times," a pop hit in 1970, the velvet-voiced Price was a giant among traditional country performers in the 1950s, `60s and `70s, as likely to defy a trend as he was to defend one. He helped invent the genre's honky-tonk sound early in his career, then took it in a more polished direction.

He reached the Billboard Hot 100 eight times from 1958-73 and had seven No. 1 hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country chart from 1952 to 1989. "For the Good Times" was his biggest crossover hit, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard pop music singles chart. His other country hits included "Crazy Arms," "Release Me," "The Same Old Me," "Heartaches by the Number," "City Lights" and "Too Young to Die."

"If you got a pop hit, you sold a lot more records," Price said in 2000. "It was my style, really. I sang ballads, sort of laid-back. I'm still a country boy. I don't pretend to be anything else."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/country-singer-ray-price-dead-87

O.k., I think it's for real this time.

NSA Staffer: Snowden Didn't Dupe Coworkers Out of Passwords


Andy Greenberg, Forbes Staff
Covering the worlds of data security, privacy and hacker culture.

SECURITY | 12/16/2013 @ 8:30AM |3,015 views
An NSA Coworker Remembers The Real Edward Snowden: 'A Genius Among Geniuses'

Perhaps Edward Snowden’s hoodie should have raised suspicions.

The black sweatshirt sold by the civil libertarian Electronic Frontier Foundation featured a parody of the National Security Agency’s logo, with the traditional key in an eagle’s claws replaced by a collection of AT&T cables, and eavesdropping headphones covering the menacing bird’s ears. Snowden wore it regularly to stay warm despite the air conditioning in the underground NSA Hawaii Kunia facility known as “the tunnel.”

His coworkers assumed it was meant ironically. And a geek as gifted as Snowden could get away with a few irregularities.

Months after Snowden leaked tens of thousands of the NSA’s most highly classified documents to the media, the former intelligence contractor has stayed out of the limelight, rarely granting interviews or sharing personal details. A 60 Minutes episode Sunday night, meanwhile, aired NSA’s officials descriptions of Snowden as a malicious hacker who cheated on an NSA entrance exam and whose work computers had to be destroyed after his departure for fear he had infected them with malware.

But an NSA staffer who contacted me last month and asked not to be identified–and whose claims we checked with Snowden himself via his ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner—offered me a very different, firsthand portrait of how Snowden was seen by his colleagues in the agency’s Hawaii office: A principled and ultra-competent, if somewhat eccentric employee, and one who earned the access used to pull off his leak by impressing superiors with sheer talent.

The anonymous NSA staffer’s priority in contacting me, in fact, was to refute stories that have surfaced as the NSA and the media attempt to explain how a contractor was able to obtain and leak the tens of thousands of highly classified documents that have become the biggest public disclosure of NSA secrets in history. According to the source, Snowden didn’t dupe coworkers into handing over their passwords, as one report has claimed. Nor did Snowden fabricate SSH keys to gain unauthorized access, he or she says.

Instead, there’s little mystery as to how Snowden gained his access: It was given to him.

“That kid was a genius among geniuses,” says the NSA staffer. “NSA is full of smart people, but anybody who sat in a meeting with Ed will tell you he was in a class of his own…I’ve never seen anything like it.”


No Question Now. '60 Minutes' is Deliberate Right-Wing Propaganda.

Two pro-NSA, anti-Snowden segments in a row.

@GregMitch: John Miller has been propagandist for FBI/police/CIA for years.

@apblake: 60 Minutes journalist tasked to report on the NSA used to work for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. So there's that.

@ggreenwald: 60 Minutes journalism: former DNI official & FBI spokesman - soon to be NYPD official - "interviews" NSA chief http://t.co/wvEGO9ducb

@MicahZenko Remarkable how media outlets allow US govt officials to defend policies w/out challenge, no matter who is in the WH

@mattblaze I'm concerned 60 Minutes may be depleting the strategic softball reserve with its NSA questions.

@ggreenwald: He's against mass, suspicionless surveillance RT @AriMelber NSA "Snowden task force" sent team to Hawaii...trying to understand his psyche.

@attackerman NSA tells 60 Mins that Snowden cheated on tests, etc, beating NSA vetting.

@shaneharris: This 60 Minutes report on NSA has gone from one-sided to misleading. No critics? No skeptics to question the cyber Armageddon claims?

@dangillmor: Hey, young people: Believe it or not, "60 Minutes" once stood for solid, deep, important journalism. I know, that sounds absurd now.

@tnyCloseRead Quick pivot on @60minutes from Snowden character-trashing to how NSA will save us all from cyber attacks...

@MicahZenko: That was embarrassing for 60 Minutes: Two public relations segments for the NSA. Worse than bogus Amazon drone video.

Followed by a segment on how Egyption Copts (Christians) are being abused by Muslims and the Muslim Brotherhood (which is true as far as it goes, but lots of different groups are being abused in Egypt). This after the false Benghazi story debacle, the simple-minded disability fraud segment, and the Jeff Bezos Amazon commercial. 60 Minutes of facsimile Fox News.

Actor Peter O'Toole Dies Aged 81

Source: BBC

Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia star, dies aged 81
10 minutes ago

O'Toole announced he was retiring from the stage and screen in 2012
Actor Peter O'Toole, who starred in Sir David Lean's 1962 film classic Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his agent has said.

The Irish-born star began on the stage in Bristol and London aged 17, but his big break was when Sir David cast him as British adventurer T E Lawrence.

It earned him the first of eight Oscar nominations, with others coming for such films as Becket, The Lion in Winter and Goodbye, Mr Chips.

He received an honorary Oscar in 2003.

He had initially refused to accept the award.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25393557

The 1% is Hogging So Much of Our Income That It’s Holding the Economy Back


The 1% is Hogging so much of our Income that it’s Holding the Economy Back

(By Anthony W. Orlando)

- snip -

Or, as the late economist Michal Kalecki used to say, “The workers spend what they get and the capitalists get what they spend.” What he meant by that was that the rich can afford to save more of their income—and, indeed, we find that the One Percent continue to save 15 to 25 percent, while the saving rate of the 99 Percent has plummeted close to zero. If too much money goes to the One Percent and not enough to the 99 Percent, the economy will save more and more and spend less and less, until there isn’t enough consumer demand to justify increasing production and investment. Thus, the economy will slow down.

For awhile, the 99 Percent were able to make up for lower incomes by saving less and borrowing more, and for awhile, the economy indulged them with rising asset prices—first in the stock market, then the housing market—and falling interest rates. But this was not sustainable. Eventually, interest rates hit zero, households spent all their savings, incomes couldn’t keep up with debt payments, and asset prices stopped rising. Hence, the Great Recession.

The only real solution is to pay them higher wages.

Here’s how Hanauer frames it: “If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25 percent more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?”

When those workers earn more, they also invest in health and education, making them more productive. They’re also less likely to go out on strike, resulting in less uncertainty and more investment. Higher wages also force companies to invest more in advanced technologies that reduce costs, increasing productivity and global competitiveness.

More equal societies also don’t have to waste resources on what the economist Samuel Bowles calls “guard labor,” employing people to keep the lower classes in line. Bowles estimates that one in four Americans are working as guard labor, everything from factory supervisors to police officers.

And our government is more likely to invest in public resources that we all need to be productive—infrastructure, research and development, safety and quality standards—if all Americans feel that they’re “in it together” and not separated by class, and thus they’ll all benefit from the investments.


Anthony W. Orlando is a Lecturer in the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Los Angeles. This op-ed is an excerpt from his new book Letter to the One Percent, published this month by Lulu Press, Inc. To learn more, visit www. LetterToTheOnePercent. com.

N. Korea Executes Leader's Uncle as Traitor

Source: Reuters / Associated Press

@BreakingNews: North Korea's official news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle has been executed as a traitor - @AP, @Reuters

@Reuters: North Korea says Jang, previously powerful man who helped Kim Jong Un to power, guilty of "attempting to overthrow the state": KCNA


Dec. 12, 2013 4:54 PM EST

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea on Friday announced the execution of Kim Jong Un's uncle, calling the leader's former mentor a traitor and "worse than a dog."

The announcement came only days after Pyongyang announced through state media that Jang Song Thaek — long considered the country's No. 2 power — had been removed from all his posts because of allegations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing and leading a "dissolute and depraved life."

Jang was seen as helping Kim Jong Un consolidate power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago. Jang was the latest and most significant in a series of personnel reshuffles that Kim has conducted in an apparent effort to bolster his power.

Some analysts see the purge as a sign of Kim Jong Un's growing confidence, but there has also been fear in Seoul that the removal of such an important part of the North's government — seen by outsiders as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms — could create dangerous instability or lead to a miscalculation or attack on the South.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nkorea-executes-kim-jong-un-uncle
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