US want to extradite UK citizen for *not* breaking the law!

March 30, 2012

This is one crazy story, but I swear it’s true – have a look at http://juliasblog-the-fight-of-our-lives.blogspot.co.uk/ if you don’t believe me…

Basically, British citizen Richard O’Dwyer, who lives in Britain and hasn’t been to the US since a trip to Disneyworld when he was five, has been running a website where he provides links to various TV shows and movies. Remember that: he doesn’t host the video files himself, he merely provides links to other sites, which he has no connection with. He was arrested for this in the UK, but not taken to court because, basically, he has not broken the law in the UK, and any trials based on providing links have failed.

But that’s not good enough for the US government. They are trying to extradite Richard to America to put him on trial… even though it’s not clear that his actions are criminal in the USA! Bsically, they want to bang him up in a hellhole of a federal prison and force him into some kind of plea-bargain. And this is all too possible, as we have an insane extradition treaty with the USA, hurried through parliament after the 9-11 thing. According to the treaty, UK citizens can be extradited to the US on the flimsiest charges, whereas there’s no way at all that America would extradite their citizens here for such a ridiculous “crime”.

I swear, this is all true – check out the blog I linked to above, and also have a listen to the 28 March episode of the radio show Off The Hook, which is available as a podcast at www.2600.com. Absolutely crazy…

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UK: Don’t let the utilities companies rip us off any more!

March 28, 2012

News of another 38Degrees campaign, this time to make sure the gas and electric companies don’t rip us off any more. The email sent to me by 38Degrees put it very well, so instead of paraphrasing I’ll reproduce the whole email here:

It’s incredible! In just a couple of weeks, over 200,000 of us have signed up to the Big Switch – a people-powered effort to stop gas and electricity companies from ripping us off. But if we’re going to take on these big energy bullies and win, we need to be bigger… much bigger.

The Big Switch is making history. [1] It’s a simple idea – using the internet, we bring together gas and electricity customers across the country in a pledge to switch their supplier. Then we work with consumer experts at Which? to negotiate cheaper rates on our behalf. Once we’ve driven the hardest bargain possible, we switch to the supplier offering the best deal.

At the beginning of April the Which? negotiators will be rolling up their sleeves to start negotiating the cheapest prices. That means there are just 72 hours left to sign up to get involved. Don’t miss out, click here to sign up:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/the-big-switch

A quick reminder of how this works:
1. Sign up – join other 38 Degrees members to get a fair deal on gas and electricity
2. Share it with your friends – the more of us who get involved, the stronger our bargaining position
3. Bargain – we work with Which? experts to negotiate with gas and electricity companies
4. Switch – If you like the deal we negotiate, switch easily online [2]

Sign up now, you can always pull out later if you like. [3] Then forward this email to any friends and family who also want cheaper bills:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/the-big-switch

Thanks for being involved,

Becky, James, David, Cian, Hannah, Marie and the 38 Degrees team

PS: After more than a year of controversy and debate, the government has got its NHS plans through parliament. Now, we need to decide together what we do next. Shall we carry on our work to protect the NHS? There’s still time to vote YES or NO for continuing to campaign to protect the NHS. Click here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/NHS-vote

Please, can everyone take the 2 minutes or so to get this thing going properly?  Also, I would urge you to join 38Degrees movement, as I have, to make it easier and more effective to let your parliamentary representatives know what you want them to do.  It’s all very easy to set up – check the links on the 38Degrees website.

Cheers!!

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Minimum price for alcoholic drinks? Come on, ConLibs, give us a break!

March 23, 2012

According to the Guardian, a minimum price for alcoholic drinks is on the cards… and it might be more than 40 pence per unit!

The government claim it’s to tackle binge drinking.  But you’d have to be pretty dense to swallow that one whole.  Sure, there is a problem with some people “pre-loading” with a bottle of vodka or something before they hit the town.  But these drinkers aren’t going to be affected by this minimum price.  They’ll still be buying their Smirnoff or whatever.  It’s the poor who will be really affected by this.  It’s those on fixed incomes who buy the “budget booze” – and a 40p per unit minimum price will make the supermarkets’ cheapest vodka cost £11.20 a bottle.  Not a problem for most folk, but a pretty drastic hike for those on fixed incomes – those who could really do with a drink after all the other crap that’s been thrown at them by our Con-Lib government.

Oh, and before anyone says this plan will help stop underage drinking – well duh! there’s already a way to stop that.  It’s called enforce the laws we already have.  In the UK it is illegal to sell booze to anyone under 18, and most places ask to see ID of any alcohol customer who looks under 25.  Hitting poor adults in the pocket is no solution to the problem of children drinking.

Come on, Cameron, give us all a break!  You want to take benefits away from the poor, now you want to make it impossible for them to even have a drink more than once a month.  The figures being bandied about might seem small change to those who aren’t poor.  But believe me, this will make a big difference to a lot of people!

 

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Don’t let them destroy the NHS!

March 15, 2012

I got an email from 38 Degrees earlier, regarding the government’s plans to reform the National Health Service here in England, and the government’s constant refusal to publish the risk report (a report commissioned by the government to find out what negative blowback the reforms may cause).

Of course, there must be something bad in that report, otherwise the government would be showing it off.  We need to know what bad stuff is in the report, and quickly – the House of Lords will be debating and voting on the reforms this Monday 19 March.  David Babbs of 38 Degrees explains it better than I do, so here’s the email he sent to me:

Dear Martin,

On Monday afternoon, the House of Lords starts the final voting on the NHS changes. An influential crossbench Lord, Lord David Owen, has agreed to deliver the Save Our NHS petition. He will carry it right into the House of Lords chamber, just before the debate starts.

Thepetition bears the names of over half a million of us. It speaks of our fears for the future of our NHS: services broken up, creeping privatisation, money diverted from patient care. These are the kind of risks which could be in the government’s risk report. But the government is still won’t publish that report, despite legal orders to do so.

During Monday’s debate, Lord Owen will call a vote blocking the NHS changes until the risk report is published. [1] Our petition will remind Lords that the public care about these risks to the future of our health service. It could persuade some wavering Lords to vote the right way.

It’s quite a long shot, to be honest. The government seems determined to ignore everyone’s concerns and force things through. But incredible things can happen even this late in the day – it’s definitely worth a try.

You’re one of the 500,000 names already on the petition. But the bigger it is, the more powerful our message to the Lords. So please can you forward this email to your friends, family and workmates, and ask them to sign by Monday morning?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/Save-our-NHS

As the Lords gather to decide whether or not to press on with changing the NHS without knowing all the risks, let’s send them a reminder. Let’s remind them that across the UK, hundreds of thousands of us know what it feels like to arrive at a hospital or a doctor’s surgery, tired, sick or frightened for someone you love. And that we know how much we rely on our NHS in those situations to give us the care we need.

Each name on our petition is a reason for the Lords to think twice before gambling with the future of our NHS. It will show them that although we all know the NHS isn’t perfect, we know that it’s pretty amazing. It will remind them that when we talk about risk registers, we’re talking about threats to a health service which is the envy of the world.

This could be the final opportunity for your friends, workmates and family to stand up for the NHS before the key votes happen. So please can you forward this email and ask them to sign the petition?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/Save-our-NHS

Thanks for being involved,

David, Hannah, Marie, James, Becky, Cian and the 38 Degrees team.

PS: Whatever happens next week, we know we’ve tried pretty much everything to stop these changes going ahead. Legal teams, billboard adverts, local meetings, letters to MPs, and big petitions. The petition will need to be printed by Monday morning. This could be one of our last opportunities to make sure politicians hear our message, so please ask people to sign before then. Can we get it past 600,000? https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/Save-our-NHS

So please please pleeeze sign the petition, and forward 38 Degree’s message to your friends.  We have to try and get the Lords to stop this insane act in its tracks.  Cheers!


UK citizen to be extradited to USA for “copyright infringement”.

March 14, 2012

Full story here

I’m really angry about the lopsided extradition agreement with the USA.  A UK citizen allegedly commits a crime, in the UK, and the USA can have the person gift-wrapped and delivered to America, where Richard O’Dwyer could be sent down for ten years; but it doesn’t work the other way: no way would the US extradite a US citizen to the UK when that suspect has not allegedly committed a crime on UK soil.

I think that the extradition treaty should be scrapped.  Screw our “special relationship” with the USA.  What has the US done for us lately?  Oh yes, they’ve made British troops in Afghanistan even more a target by allowing a drunk, mentally-unstable soldier to leave his base after curfew and murder several women and children.  Thanks, USA.  And I almost believed that the USA would improve with Obama supposedly at the helm…


UK citizen to be extradited to USA for “copyright infringement”.

March 14, 2012

Full story here

I’m really angry about the lopsided extradition agreement with the USA.  A UK citizen allegedly commits a crime, in the UK, and the USA can have the person gift-wrapped and delivered to America, where Richard O’Dwyer could be sent down for ten years; but it doesn’t work the other way: no way would the US extradite a US citizen to the UK when that suspect has not allegedly committed a crime on UK soil.

I think that the extradition treaty should be scrapped.  Screw our “special relationship” with the USA.  What has the US done for us lately?  Oh yes, they’ve made British troops in Afghanistan even more a target by allowing a drunk, mentally-unstable soldier to leave his base after curfew and murder several women and children.  Thanks, USA.  And I almost believed that the USA would improve with Obama supposedly at the helm…

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Greenwald on Vandersloot

March 7, 2012

I hate rich people who use their wealth to try and silence critics. In the UK, there are so-called “super-injunctions” which stop the media from printing stories and also stop anyone from revealing that the injunction was taken out! And of course, all over the place there is the threat of libel suits, which usually bankrupt the poorer party long before the case actually gets heard. One rule for the rich, another for the poor. I know, that’s how it’s always been… but it still pisses me off, and that is justification enough for me to rant about it on here.

Anyway, this Vandersloot is a right dodgy one who needs an eye kept on – after all, he’s bankrolling Republican nut Mitt Romney’s attempt to become the next president of the USA. If Romney wins, he’s gonna owe Vandersloot a hell of a lot – and when the most powerful person on earth owes you favours, that doesn’t bode too well for those who’ve exposed his evil deeds in the past.

I’m a Brit, and I don’t know much about Vandersloot. But Salon writer Glenn Greenwald does – so I urge you to take a look at what he’s written about the puke. My unfortunately very cursory look into Vandersloot makes it look like he’s into running pyramid schemes, he sells “cure-all” quack medicine products and diet supplements, and, the one thing that really enrages me: he uses intimidation to silence his critics. As Greenwald says in the linked article:

In the last month alone, VanderSloot, using threats of expensive defamation actions, has successfully forced Forbes, Mother Jones and at least one local gay blogger in Idaho to remove articles that critically focused on his political and business practices (Mother Jones subsequently re-posted the article with revisions a week after first removing it). He has been using this abusive tactic in Idaho for years: suppressing legitimate political speech by threatening or even commencing lawsuits against even the most obscure critics (he has even sued local bloggers for “copyright infringement” after they published a threatening letter sent by his lawyers). This tactic almost always succeeds in silencing its targets, because even journalists and their employers who have done nothing wrong are afraid of the potentially ruinous costs they will incur when sued by a litigious billionaire.

Numerous journalists and bloggers in Idaho — who want to write critically about VanderSloot’s vast funding of right-wing political causes — are petrified even to mention his name for fear of these threats. As his work on the Romney campaign brings him national notoriety, he is now aiming these tactics beyond Idaho. To allow this scheme to continue — whereby billionaires can use their bottomless wealth to intimidate ordinary citizens and media outlets out of writing about them — is to permit the wealthiest in America to thuggishly shield themselves from legitimate criticism and scrutiny.

Please please please, check out this Vandersloot. And if you can vote in US elections, do not vote for anyone who might be a Vandersloot glove puppet. It’s already been established he’s got his hand up Romney’s ass… who knows where else his wandering mitts might have been?

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