In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Links of the day 3/6/2008 Wikileaks WINS! And so do the women of Norway


Thank you Judge Julius Baer.

(could he be related to the great Boxer Max Baer who was the father of the man who played Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies)

Freedom Of Information Wins too!

Exposure of crooks and liars wins too!

Bank drops lawsuit against Wikileaks

The Swiss bank pursuing legal action in the US against whistleblowing website Wikileaks has dropped its lawsuit days after a judge reversed a decision to shut down the website for publishing leaked documents.

Julius Baer had been pursuing court action against Wikileaks after the website published documents about the bank's offshore accounts.

In court papers filed yesterday the Swiss bank did not give a reason for dropping its lawsuit and still reserves the right to refile it later.

The decision by Julius Baer to drop the lawsuit comes following a volte face on Friday by US judge Jeffrey White who reversed a previous injunction ordering the closure of Wikileaks.

Last month judge White ordered the removal from Wikileaks of the documents relating to Julius Baer and the closure of the website.

This came after the bank sued Wikileaks and San Mateo company Dynadot, trying to stop the alleged "unlawful dissemination of stolen bank records and personal account information of its customers".



Fool's gold for Brown? Criticism mounts over sale of precious metal

With the price up 250%, many are questioning his decision as chancellor

Interactive: Gold reaches new high

Larry Elliott and Ashley Seager ,

Wednesday March 5 2008

About this article

This article appeared in the Guardian on Wednesday March 05 2008 on p31 of the Financial section. It was last updated at 00:14 on March 05 2008.

Gordon Brown's decision to sell half of Britain's gold reserves nearly a decade ago was coming back to haunt him last night as the price of the precious metal looked poised to break through the $1,000 an ounce barrier for the first time.

With the dollar plunging and the credit crunch continuing to bite, investors have sought a safe haven for their cash in gold - pushing its price to almost four times the level at which the Bank of England dumped 395 tonnes of the metal on the market at the turn of the millennium.

Alistair Darling, the chancellor, will be questioned in the Commons tomorrow about the decision of his predecessor, which the Conservatives said last night had cost the exchequer £4bn - double the losses suffered by the Bank of England on Black Wednesday.

The gold price this week set a new high of $989 (£498) an ounce. Although it dipped slightly yesterday, analysts said it was only a matter of time until it burst through the $1,000-an-ounce level. The Treasury's gold sales between 1999 and 2002 netted an average price of $275 an ounce.


Thank You, Norway.

Ladies I think we need this law Norway has. We women here in America deserve equal rights. If they won't give us equal rights we must take them by getting laws passed like Norway's.

Norway recognizes the worth of their women and their contribution's to society.

Are we not head of households? Do we not have families, mortgages and bills to pay?

When will the men in this country realize we women are not going back to the kitchen's barefoot and pregnant.

Why do American men deny their grandmothers, mother's, sister's, wives, and daughters equal right's. Are we women less important to the men we reared and love then say his golf partner?

When will we women use our power of the ballot ( there's more women in this country than men ) to rid ourselves of those in congress who deny us as equal citizens deserving equal treatment.

If I could change just one thing in our Constitution it would be "All men and WOMEN are created equal". Why our founding Mothers didn't push for WOMEN to be included in the Constitution must have been an oversite or did they just assume it meant women too?

Equal Rights Amendment

Section 1. Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

In my opinion section 3 should be thrown away.

The Equal Rights Amendment was written in 1921 by suffragist Alice Paul. It has been introduced in Congress every session since 1923. It passed Congress in the above form in 1972, but was not ratified by the necessary thirty-eight states by the July 1982 deadline. It was ratified by thirty-five states.

Background on ERA (NNT January 1994)

Constitutional Equality Amendment Information

Original Equal Rights Amendment, introduced in Congress in 1923, written by Alice Paul:

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

You're fired!

Imagine you're one of the 13 men on this all-male board of a large company and are told five of you must go to be replaced by women. Unlikely? Not in Norway, where they're enforcing a law that 40% of directors must be female. By Yvonne Roberts

Thursday March 6, 2008

Rolf Dammann, the co-owner of a Norwegian bank, recently had his skiing holiday interrupted by some unwelcome news. The government had published a list of 12 companies accused of breaking the law by failing to appoint women to 40% of their non-executive board directorships. His company, Netfonds Holding ASA, was one of the dirty dozen - attracting international attention.

"I work in a man's world. I don't come across many women and that's the challenge," Dammann says. "The law says a non-executive director has to be experienced, and experience is difficult to find in women in my sector. People have had to sack board members they've worked with and trusted for 20 or 30 years, and replace them with someone unknown. That's hard."

This month, Norway set a new global record. It now has, at 40%, the highest proportion of female non-executive directors in the world, an achievement engineered by the introduction of a compulsory quota. Two years ago, after several years of voluntary compliance had failed to lead to a sufficient number of female board members, 463 "ASAs" - publicly listed companies over a certain size - were told to change the composition of their boards or risk dissolution.

"A woman comes in, a man goes out. That's how the quota works; that's the law," says Kjell Erik Øie, deputy minister of children and equality, in the centre-left "Red-Green" coalition government in Oslo. "Very seldom do men let go of power easily. But when you start using the half of the talent you have previously ignored, then everybody gains."

In 2002, only 7.1% of non-executive directors of ASAs were female. When they introduced the 40% quota, the government had expected a widespread rebellion, but by the final deadline for compliance - February 22 this year - only a handful of companies had failed to meet it. Most ASA boards have acquired between two and four new women in the past several months. It is not exactly an army on the march, but it is a step in the right direction and has allowed Norway to buck an international trend; in Britain, women fill only 14.5% of non-executive board positions and one in four of the FTSE 100 boards still has no women at all. The number of women holding executive directorships in FTSE 100 companies actually fell last year to the lowest level for nine years, according to research by Cranfield business school. And the picture is similar all over Europe. Only 2% of boardroom posts in Italy are held by women, and in Spain the figure is 4%.

According to the Norwegian government, the quota is not simply a strike for equality; it makes sound economic sense, too. Last year, Goldman Sachs, the global investment company, published a paper in which it outlined the economic reasons for reducing gender inequality and using female talent fully. Not only would this increase growth, the paper said, it would "play a key role in addressing the twin problems of population ageing and pension stability".

So what is stopping companies from appointing women to their boards? Catalyst, an influential New York thinktank, has published a list of the barriers to female advancement to board level. Top of the list is women's lack of management experience, closely followed by women's exclusion from informal networks; stereotypes about women's abilities; a lack of role models; a failure of male leadership; family responsibilities; and naivety when it comes to company politics.

Imagine then, given these hurdles, that at one stroke British CEOs were required by law to sack at least two men, if not more, from their boards and replace them with women whom they presumably believed to be inexperienced, unproven, possibly not fully committed and ... well, female? How on earth did the Norwegians manage it?

In Norway, unlike in the UK, the law does allow for such affirmative action. Attitudes are different as a result: it is interesting that when avid Cameron suggested last weekend that he would operate a quota of women cabinet members, the former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe said she would be "grossly insulted" to be given a frontbench job on those terms.

However, even in Norway the quota went ahead only after years of ferocious debate and some resistance. As one male non-executive director who has survived the recent cull of boards put it, "What I and a lot of people don't understand is why it is seen as good for business to swap seasoned players for lip gloss?"

You read that ladies your nothing more than lip gloss! As if women know nothing about business. Should we try and find who this misogynist is and flood him with emails condemning his comment? He doesn't care that most of us worked for decades as assistant's and secretaries and that we did most of the work many men claim as their own! Men always taking credit for the work we women do, grrr.

Continued here,,2262450,00.html


Brad Blog does it again!!!

BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 3/6/2008 1:12AM

Exclusive: Former Republican Governor Says New Mexico State Officials Investigating Rep. Heather Wilson Vote-Buying Charges; Says Republican U.S. Congresswoman 'Shrugged' at Allegations When Confronted With Them

News Director of Albuquerque's KKOB Offers New Reason for Spiking Stories; Anchorwoman Who Resigned in Protest Dismisses New Excuse, Says Powerful Station Buckled Under Pressure from Wilson's Campaign BRAD BLOG Obtains Scripts of Original Spiked Radio Reports...

32-year award-winning news veteran and New Mexico's ABC field producer, Laura MacCallum, quit her job as afternoon anchor at Albuquerque's 50,000-watt blowtorch KKOB-AM 770, after she read an email from her News Director, Pat Allen, which said, among other things, "if there was anything to it the bloggers would have picked this up, let alone other news agencies."

Allen was referring to MacCallum's on-air, investigative reports covering allegations of a vote-buying scheme by New Mexico's U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson at a recent Republican Delegate Convention. The 1st Congressional District Congresswoman is vying for her party's nomination to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated this year by outgoing Pete Domenici. MacCallum ran the stories about the charges on KKOB several times, in several different variations --- including several different interviews and sound bites from both the former Republican Governor of New Mexico, David Cargo, an eye-witness to the story, and a current spokesman for the state GOP, Scott Darnell.

The stories were run, five different versions in all, over a two day period before they were spiked by station management allegedly after pressure from Wilson's office. The BRAD BLOG has obtained the scripts of those original spiked reports (posted at the end of this article), though the complete audio is said to have been "dump[ed] make room for new stuff," according to Allen tonight.

In the email to MacCallum, sent last week by the News Director after he'd received several phone calls from Wilson spokesperson, Whitney Cheshire, he informed his afternoon drive news anchor that he'd "pulled" the stories from the station's on-air news rotation. After reading the email from Allen, MacCallum told us she became livid. "I probably had flames coming out of my ears," she explained this afternoon during a long phone call. She immediately resigned in protest.

The BRAD BLOG has now spoken at length to Allen, MacCallum, and NM's former Gov. Cargo, as well as several others involved with the story and/or looking into it for further details. Suffice it to say, contrary to Allen's memo, "the bloggers" have now picked this up, and, according to MacCallum and other sources, so have several of those "other news agencies" that Allen referenced in his email.

Moreover, Cargo tells us today that the charges of felony vote-buying are now under investigation by both the Secretary of State's office as well as the state Attorney General. Further, he told us of his confrontation with Wilson about the allegations some weeks ago. Her response to the charges left the former Governor "stunned"...

A New Reason Offered for Spiking the Stories

Allen confirmed that he had, in fact, heard several times from Wilson's representative, Cheshire, as the stories were rolling on KKOB on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 26th & 27th.

Though she had complained about the stories, Allen says that Cheshire's calls weren't the reason he'd pulled them. He told us that he removed the stories because MacCallum hadn't gotten comment from Wilson or her campaign. He hadn't mentioned that particular reason in his memo, however. Instead, he gave several other explanations for spiking the stories. Nor did he mention that point to reporter Dennis Domrzalski, whose well-sourced scoop on MacCallum's resignation also offered a number of details of what allegedly occurred at the February 17th GOP Delegate Nominating Convention in Bernalillo County, NM, according to three different sources.

This is a must continue reading


EPA Chief thumbs his nose at Bush's Supreme Court.

EPA Chief Flouts Supreme Court Ruling

By Paul Kiel - March 5, 2008, 4:56PM

It was a landmark ruling by any measure. On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and that it had to act. The justices made the choice clear: the agency had to determine whether greenhouse gases contribute to climate change or not. Environmental groups exulted that, after several years of stalling, the administration would finally be forced to do something.

Except that they didn't. Nearly a year after that ruling, which required the EPA to make a decision, the agency still hasn't. And with Administrator Stephen Johnson at the helm, there's no sign that it's going to happen anytime soon.

This is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Johnson, in blocking California's attempt to regulate greenhouse gases, has made it clear that the EPA considers them pollutants. As Georgetown Law professor Lisa Heinzerling, who wrote the lead brief in the Supreme Court case, Massachusetts v. EPA argues, "Johnson concluded that California's problems aren't "compelling and extraordinary" because they're no worse than the very bad problems the rest of the country faces as a result of climate change." That reasoning, she says, made explicit the EPA's view "that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare." That leaves Johnson with no choice, she writes.



Reader Blogs

NAFTA leak was from Harper's Chief of staff

By Cyberwanderer - March 5, 2008, 11:20PM

Despite Canada's Conservative Prime Minister Harper denial that his men leaked the alleged Obama's NAFTA "wink wink", Canada's public broadcaster is reporting tonight that the source is his Chief of staff Ian Brodie.

Canada's national paper Globe and Mail also reported that Ian Brodie actually mentioned it was Clinton's campaign that made the comment. But somehow, CTV news reported it was Obama. It was puzzling why they emphasize it was not Clinton when the news was about Obama having made the comment.


This is a must read article!

Losing Iraq and Afghanistan

By Ivan Eland
March 6, 2008

Editor's Note: The Bush administration has succeeded in getting the U.S. press corps and much of the public to focus on minor security improvements in Iraq and on the need for more allied troops in Afghanistan, while missing the bigger picture.

In this guest essay, the Independent Institute's Ivan Eland steps back and looks at the troubling wide-angle reality:

America is an amazing place—one of the wealthiest and freest nations on earth. Yet because Europe has so many more cultures and languages in one contained area, Americans, compared to their European brethren, seem like country bumpkins in their knowledge and understanding of what is happening in the world.

Unfortunately, this tin ear for global affairs sometimes afflicts U.S. leaders and media, too.

The obliviousness of the American people, politicians, and press is especially acute when it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Iraq, the media, always concerned that they might be branded as "liberal" or "unpatriotic," portray dramatic improvements in Iraq because of the U.S. troop surge orchestrated by the heroic Gen. David Petraeus.

In fact, this portrayal has been so rosy—and so accepted hook, line, and sinker by the American people—that the Republicans will attempt to use progress in Iraq against the Democrats in the 2008 election!

In Afghanistan, the press coverage has been more accurate concerning the worrisome resurgence of the Taliban, but the media and the Democrats seem to think that the United States could still win if more troops—U.S. or NATO—are inserted, or if the U.S. were to get its meek allies to put more of their existing forces into battle against enemy fighters.

If the American public is deluded over the surge in Iraq, it is simply ignorant of what is going on in Afghanistan.

At the risk of being a "nattering nabob of negativity," I would argue that the United States is still losing—and ultimately will be defeated—in both of these brushfire guerrilla wars.

Others are pointing in the same direction. In an important new book, Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq, William R. Polk, who has experienced insurgencies in the field, concludes from history that in the mid- to long-term—absent genocide by counterinsurgency forces—insurgents almost always prevail.



Tsk Tsk Tsk Senator Obama. This is truly disappointing.

Obama's Sub-Prime Conflict

By Dennis Bernstein
February 28, 2008

I remember my first piggy bank: a little pink piggy, made of plastic, with a little slot at the top. The slot was big enough, perhaps, to fit a half dollar, a great deal of money to me at the time.

"A penny earned is a penny saved," my father told me, as we dropped the first few coins into the opening, and I heard them hit bottom and bounce. And I can't tell you how excited I was when we broke it open, after a year or so, and I couldn't fit another penny into the slot.

I tallied up my stash—close to five dollars, I recall— and decided what I would do with my small fortune. I bought a kite, and my imagination soared even higher than my beautiful Chinese box-kite as to what I would save up for next.

My pop gave me a powerful push in the right direction, when it came to savings: A penny saved really was a penny earned.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for the 1,406 people who lost much of their life savings when Superior Bank of Chicago went belly up in 2001 with over $1 billion in insured and uninsured deposits. This collapse came amid harsh criticism of how Superior's owners promoted sub-prime home mortgages. As part of a settlement, the owners paid $100 million and agreed to pay another $335 million over 15 years at no interest.

The uninsured depositors were dealt another blow recently when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court decision to put any recovered money toward the debt that the bank owners owe the federal government before the depositors get anything.

But this seven-year-old bank failure has relevance in another way today, since the chair of Superior's board for five years was Penny Pritzker, a member of one of America's richest families and the current Finance Chair for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the same candidate who has lashed out against predatory lending.

During a recent campaign stop in south Texas, Obama met with San Antonio-area residents who had been particularly hard hit by the sub-prime meltdown. He expressed dismay over how lobbyists for the sub-prime lending industry had spent more than $185 million in the last several years for their cause.

"To give you a sense of what that kind of lobbying gets you," Obama said, a "CEO of the largest sub-prime lender was promised a $100-million severance package at a time when more than two million Americans were facing foreclosure, including nearly 14,000 right here in San Antonio."

Though Superior Bank collapsed years before the current sub-prime turmoil that is rocking the world's financial markets – and pushing those millions of homeowners toward foreclosure – some banking experts say the Pritzkers and Superior hold a special place in the history of the sub-prime fiasco.

"The [sub-prime] financial engineering that created the Wall Street meltdown was developed by the Pritzkers and Ernst and Young, working with Merrill Lynch to sell bonds securitized by sub-prime mortgages," Timothy J. Anderson, a whistleblower on financial and bank fraud, told me in an interview.

"The sub-prime mortgages," Anderson said, "were provided to Merrill Lynch, by a nation-wide Pritzker origination system, using Superior as the cash cow, with many millions in FDIC insured deposits. Superior's owners were to sub-prime lending, what Michael Milken was to junk bonds."

In other words, if you traced today's sub-prime crisis back to its origins, you would come upon the role of the Pritzkers and Superior Bank of Chicago.

One Failure to the Next

Superior was founded at the tail end of 1988 in the wake of the failed Lyons Savings Bank. The Feds were trying to keep a lid on the magnitude of the S&L post-deregulation crisis and were selling failed or failing thrifts for a song, along with a lucrative package of special benefits.

Chicago's billionaire Pritzker family and their partners bought Lyons Savings for a quite reasonable $42.5 million, but were also given $645 million in tax credits. The kicker was that the buyers only had to come up with $1 million in cash, and got access to the $645 million, and all the bank's deposits insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC).



Sarkozy's brother joins Carlyle as an adviser

By David Litterick
Last Updated: 12:39am GMT 04/03/2008

Private equity giant Carlyle has hired Olivier Sarkozy, the UBS banker and half-brother of the French president, to run its financial services business.

Mr Sarkozy has been one of the key players at UBS, where he was the joint global head of investment banking at its financial institutions group.

Mr Sarkozy has worked on some of the most high profile deals in the sector in recent years, from the sale of MBNA to Bank of America to the sale of ABN Amro. He said he would continue to be an advisor to UBS.



Venezuela decrees state of general alert

The Venezuelan government has completed 90 percent deployment of its military force.
·"The mobilization of the National Armed Forces is not against the Colombian people."
·The United States reiterated on Monday its support to Colombia.

CARACAS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government decreed on Wednesday state of general alert, completing 90 percent deployment of its military force in zones bordering with Colombia.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Gustavo Rangel announced that the deployment of soldiers, combat tanks and airplanes has almost been concluded in the states of Zulia, Tachira and Apure, bordering with Colombia.

"The mobilization of the National Armed Forces (FAN) is not against the Colombian people," said Rangel at Fort Tiuna, headquarters of the Defense Ministry.

Rangel stated that Colombia headed by President Alvaro Uribe is being used by the United States to take over Venezuela's oil.

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the envoy of 10 battalions to its border with Colombia after Colombia's Armed Forces headed an aerial and land attack against Colombian rebels in Ecuadorian territory.




03/06/08 AFP: Iraqi president to visit Turkey after incursion Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will travel to Ankara Friday for a two-day visit, a week after Turkish forces ended a military offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, officials said Thursday.

03/06/08 Reuters: Minibus bomb wounds 2 in Hilla Two people were wounded when a bomb exploded inside a minibus in the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

03/06/08 Reuters: Roadside bomb kills 1, wounds 5 in northern Baghdad One person was killed and five wounded by a roadside bomb in northern Baghdad's al-Waziriya district, police said.



03/06/08 AP: Troop depression on rise in Afghanistan U.S. troop morale improved in Iraq last year, but soldiers fighting in Afghanistan suffered more depression as violence there worsened, an Army mental health report says.

03/06/08 AP: Britain confident NATO will find more troops for Afghanistan Britain expressed confidence Thursday that NATO will be able to find extra troops for Afghanistan in response to Canada's threat to pull out its contingent unless it gets more support.

03/06/08 Xinhua: Militants attack 3rd mobile telecom signal tower in S. Afghanistan Taliban militants attacked a signal tower of a mobile telecommunication service company in Zabul province of southern Afghanistan, destroying a guards room near the tower, the police said Thursday.

03/05/08 : DoD Identifies Army Casualties (part 1) Spc. Steven R. Koch, 23, of Milltown, N. J...died Mar. 3 in the Sabari District of Afghanistan, of wounds suffered during combat operations. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team...

03/05/08 : DoD Identifies Army Casualties (part 1) Sgt. Robert T. Rapp, 22, of Sonora, Calif...died Mar. 3 in the Sabari District of Afghanistan, of wounds suffered during combat operations. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team...

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