Peace tax campaigners turned down by UK judge
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Peace tax campaigners turned down by UK judge

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Friday, July 22, 2005

The Peace Tax Seven, who are campaigning to have the 10 per cent of their taxes which go to Britain’s defence budget diverted to non-military uses, have had their case rejected by a High Court judge.

The judicial review was called for under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees freedom ‘to manifest one’s religion or beliefs’ and which was made a part of British law in 1998. The Convention includes the right to conscientious objection and the campaigners claim that this gives them the right not to pay other people to go to war on their behalf.

Their statement to the court said: “We want to make a positive contribution to society by paying our tax in full. We object in conscience to paying others to kill on our behalf, but current tax policy forces us to do just that.”

The courtroom had to be enlarged to make room for supporters and the judge listened to the case for three hours.

Roy Prockter, an accountant and campaign member as well as a Quaker, said that the judge told them that “our case has no possibility of being resolved in the British courts”. According to the Guardian, the judge suggested they take the case to Strasbourg. Roy said that the members were going to take time for reflection as they awaited the written judgment from the judge.

Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas/suicide note
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Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas/suicide note

This is the online suicide letter authored by Andrew Stack, the man believed to be responsible for flying a light aircraft into a building in Austin, Texas. It was originally posted at Stack’s site, http://embeddedart.com/. The hosting company, T35, took the site offline per an FBI request. The note is reproduced here in its entirety.

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than [sic] what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling [sic] from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report (http://www.synergistech.com/1706.shtml#ConferenceCommitteeReport) regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (http://www.synergistech.com/ic-taxlaw.shtml).

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

Note:

· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010

How To Pay Off Your 30 Year Mortgage In 12 Years?

By Mark J. Orr, CFP

Is the thought of making 360 monthly mortgage payments getting the best of you? Will the feeling of helplessness

just not let up?

Are you frustrated out of your mind when you think about all of the years you’ll be making those huge mortgage payments and all of the $100,000’s of interest charges that lie BEFORE YOU?

Have you tried everything from bi-weekly mortgage schemes, answering every internet refinance advertisement, sending the bank another $20 with each monthly payment, etc. to payoff your mortgage early — with little or no results?

And if you are like most Americans, you only stay in your home for an average of 5-7 years before you move to a new home. And then you start the thirty year mortgage process all over AGAIN!

How can you ever get financially ahead and pay off your mortgage if you keep beginning the process over and over again?

Well, what if your mortgage lender called you today and said something like…

“if you qualify for our new mortgage acceleration program, we would like to cut up to 18-22 years off your mortgage term. And we’re not going to change anything at all with your current payments”…

What would you say to an offer like that?

Is there even one homeowner in America that would honestly say “NO” to that program?

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That’s right.

There is an easy way to payoff your mortgage in as little as 12 years or even LESS. With no refinancing your current mortgage and without sending your lender larger or more frequent payments.

That is true whatever type of mortgage that you have — even if it is a fixed or an adjustable mortgage rate, 30 or even 40 years long, whether your mortgage balance is only $100,000 or over one million. It doesn’t matter.

And if you have credit card debt that makes you feel like you are drowning in high interest rates that result in huge monthly minimum payments, you can solve that problem as well.

In fact, I would suggest getting rid of that debt before starting to payoff your mortgage debt since personal credit card debt is non deductible off your income taxes.

I’m often asked questions like, are you sure that I don’t have to get a NEW mortgage? Do I have higher monthly expenses so that I have to change my current lifestyle? Am I ever locked into anything?

The answer to all of those questions is NO!

Well why hasn’t my bank told me how I can pay off my mortgage in less than half the time it takes your neighbors?

Let me ask you? Why would they? Why would they want to stop getting 30 years of interest income (your payments) and just settle for 7-14 years of payments? It is not to the lender’s benefit to tell you how get become debt free!

Did you know that with a 30 year mortgage at 7%, that about 80% of all your mortgage payments during the first 5 years of the loan are interest.

Did you know that it isn’t until some point in the 20th year that even half of your monthly mortgage payment goes towards paying down you principle (your loan balance)?

Let me give you an example of a typical client:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith earn $3,000 combined every two weeks in take-home pay (after taxes and benefits). Their normal monthly bills (excluding the mortgage) run $3,000 each month.

They live in a home worth $250,000 with a $200,000 current mortgage balance with 25 years remaining on the loan. Their loan interest rate is 6.25% with a monthly payment of $1,539 (excluding taxes and insurance).

With this set of assumptions, how long would it take the Smiths to FULLY pay off their mortgage with this financial strategy?

Just under 10 years!!

How much interest would the Smiths save over their 30 year original mortgage plan without using this strategy?

$261,700

So they saved over a quarter of a million dollars in interest and saved years of writing and mailing those hefty monthly mortgage checks! After paying off their mortgage, they get to keep that $1,539 payment every month and use if for their kid’s college or to prepare for retirement, travel or whatever they want!

All with no re-financing and without sending larger or more frequent payments to the lender. They were never locked into anything and retained complete flexibility.

And your interest savings could be much much more — especially if you have a jumbo mortgage or have a higher interest rate.

There’s an old saying that those who understand interest, collect it while those who don’t… pay it!

To learn more about how you can pay off your mortgage quicker than you ever thought possible, please visit the website listed in the author BIO box.

About the Author: Mark J. Orr is a Certified Financial Planner serving clients throughout the USA. To learn more about how to pay off your own mortgage in less than half the time it will take your neighbors please visit: CutYearsOffMyMortgage.com

Source: isnare.com

Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=208337&ca=Finances

2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
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2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

Friday, March 3, 2006

The possibility of large-scale protests in the face of the 3,000 journalists covering the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, has event organisers and the Government worried.

The group “Black GST” – which represents Indigenous Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty – are planning demonstrations at prominent Games events unless the Government agrees to a range of demands including an end to Aboriginal genocide, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the signing of a treaty.

The Black GST say they hope the focus of the world’s media will draw attention to the plight of indigenous Australians during the Games. Organisers say supporters are converging from across Australia and from overseas. Organisers say up to 20,000 people may take part in talks, rallies, colourful protests and many cultural festivities designed to pressure the Federal Government on Indigeneous rights issues. They want the Government to provide a temporary campsite for the supporters, saying “organised chaos was better than disorganised chaos.”

The 2006 Stolenwealth Games convergence, described by organisers as the “cultural festival of the 2006 Commonwealth Games,” was virtually opened on March 2nd with the launch of the official “Stolenwealth Games” website. Scoop Independent News and Perth Indymedia reported that the launch was held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The site contents were projected via wireless laptop by the Stolenwealth Games General Manager, and a tour of the website was given on the big screen. He said “overwhelming amusement was the response from the audience.” The group say permanent access points to the website are being set up at public internet facilities across Victoria during the coming weeks.

“Interest in the Stolenwealth Games is building all over the world and this fresh, exciting and contemporary site will draw in people from Stolenwealth Nations around the globe to find out about the latest news and events,” said a Stolenwealth Games spokesperson. “We have been getting many requests from around the world wanting to know about the Stolenwealth Games. We have provided many ways that individuals and organisations can support the campaign by spreading the word.”

The Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group (VTOLJG) which represents the first nation groups of Victoria, has announced its support to boycott the 2006 Commonwealth Games until the Government “recognises Traditional Owner rights.” The group asserts that culture has been misappropriated in preparation for the Games.

Organisers of the campaign say they welcome the formal support from the Traditional Owners. “While some seek to divide and discredit Indigenous Australia, this support is further evidence that the Aboriginal people are united in opposition to the ongoing criminal genocide that is being perpetrated against the Aboriginal people” said Black GST supporter and Aboriginal Elder, Robbie Thorpe.

“We now have endorsement from the VTOLJG and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for the aims and objectives of the Campaign and we are looking forward to hosting all indigenous and non-indigenous supporters from across Australia in March,” he said. The Black GST group have said “the convergence will be held as a peaceful, family-focussed demonstration against genocide, and for the restoration of sovereignty and the negotiations towards a Treaty.”

But the campaign has received flak in mainstream media, such as Melbourne’s Herald Sun, who wrote: “the proposal to allow BlackGST to set up an Aboriginal tent embassy at a site well away from the Commonwealth Games will be interpreted by some as the State Government caving in to a radical protest group. A major concern for the Government… is to protect the event from disruption… no chances should be taken…”

The Black GST has been planning the convergence for months, calling for Aboriginal people and their supporters to converge on Melbourne. The Melbourne-based Indigenous rights group have called on thousands of people concerned about the plight of indigenous Australians to converge on Melbourne during the Games, which they have dubbed “the Stolenwealth Games”. But the choice of Kings Domain has made conflict almost inevitable, as the area is one of the areas gazetted by the State Government as a “Games management zone”.

Under the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act, any area gazetted as a management zone is subject to a range of specific laws – including bans on protesting, creating a disturbance and other activities. The protest bans will be in effect at different times and places, and offenders can be arrested. A spokeswoman for the Black GST, which advocates peaceful protest, said the site had been chosen because it was close to where the Queen will stay on March 15. “We figured that she is only in Melbourne for 27 hours or something like that so we thought we would make it easy for her to come next door and see us,” she said. “We are a very open, welcoming group, so she will be welcome to come and join us.”

Kings Domain is the burial site for 38 indigenous forefathers of Victoria. Black GST elder, Targan, said trade union groups have offered to install infrastructure at the site. The group initially worked with the State Government to find a suitable camp site, but the relationship broke down when the Government failed to meet a deadline imposed by the protesters. “While we are disappointed the ministers were not able to meet deadline on our request, we thank them for their constructive approach towards negotiations and the open-door policy exercised,” said Targan.

A spokesman for Games Minister Justin Madden said the Government was still investigating other sites. Victoria Police Games security commander Brendan Bannan said he was not convinced the Black GST represented the views of most indigenous people. “We are dealing with the Aboriginal community and they don’t seem to support it at all … the wider Aboriginal community don’t support disruption to the Games at all,” he said.

The Government was told that Black GST supporters would camp in Fitzroy Gardens and other city parks should it fail to nominate a site. A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavan Jennings said the Government was taking the issue seriously, but had not been able to finalise a campsite before the deadline.

Under special Games laws, people protesting or causing a disturbance in “Games management zones” can be arrested and fined. While prominent public spaces such as Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Albert Park and the Alexandra Gardens fall under the legislation, such tough anti-protest laws cannot be enforced in the nearby Fitzroy Gardens.

Games chairman Ron Walker has urged the group to choose another date for its protest march through the city, which is currently planned to coincide with the opening ceremony on March 15. The group believes that an opportunity to gain attention for indigenous issues was lost at the Sydney Olympics and has vowed to make a highly visible presence at the Games.

The Black GST said the Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s sacred flame, burning over many years at the Canberra site will be carried to Melbourne before the Games, and its arrival would mark the opening of the protest camp from where a march will proceed to the MCG before the Opening Ceremony.

Black GST claims supporters from all over Australia, including three busloads from the West Australian Land Council, will gather in Melbourne during the Games for peaceful protests.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavin Jennings had offered Victoria Park to the protesters. Victoria Park, former home of Collingwood Football Club, where one of the strongest statements of Aboriginal pride, when St Kilda star Nicky Winmar in 1993 raised his jumper and pointed to his bare chest after racial taunts from the Collingwood crowd.

Black GST, which has labelled the Games the Stolenwealth Games, said the State Government had failed to find a suitable venue. Black GST may encourage protesters to camp in prominent parks such as Fitzroy Gardens and Treasury Gardens. Graffiti supporting the action has also appeared in central Melbourne.

Melbourne City councillor Fraser Brindley has offered his home to the Black GST organisers. “I offered my home up to people who are organising visitors to come to the Games,” he said. Cr Brindley will be overseas when the Commonwealth Games are held and has offered the free accommodation at his flat at Parkville. He said he agreed with the protesters’ view that treaties needed to be signed with indigenous Australians. “I’m offering it up to the indigenous people who are coming to remind Her Majesty that her Empire took this land from them,” said Cr Brindlley. Nationals leader Peter Ryan said: “This extremist group has no part in the Australian community.” Melbourne councillor Peter Clarke said the actions were embarrassing and that he would try to discourage him. “It’s not in the spirit of the Games,” he said.

Aboriginal elder, Targan, said the possibility of securing Victoria Park was delightfully ironic. “There’s a lot of irony going on,” Targan, 53, a PhD student at Melbourne University, said. “GST stands for Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty. We want the genocide of our people to stop; we want some sovereignty over traditional land, certainly how it is used, and we want a treaty with the government,” Targan said.

Posted deadlines for Christmas delivery
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Posted deadlines for Christmas delivery

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In the United States of America and other parts of the word, as Christmas and the holidays draw near, shippers have released information on shipping deadlines. Remember to always clearly label and address your holiday packages.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Glasgow-Oban and Mallaig train diverted onto wrong track in points mixup
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Glasgow-Oban and Mallaig train diverted onto wrong track in points mixup

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A ScotRail train travelling from Glasgow to the towns of Oban and Mallaig in Scotland accidentally diverted onto the wrong track tonight. Some passengers initially thought the train had derailed when it swerved and braked hard at Ardlui.

Two sets of points at Ardlui railway station had been incorrectly set. The train hit them at 19:50 at sufficient speed to potentially damage them, although the train was able to reverse after they had been inspected.

The service was stranded at the station for some time. Although much of the train snaked away from the platform, the rearmost door was still aligned with the platform, allowing passengers including our correspondent to get off and see the situation for themselves. Several passengers photographed and videoed the surreal scene on mobile phones.

No other trains were struck in the incident, but the train to Glasgow in the opposite direction was also left waiting at the platform while the situation was resolved. The diverted train ultimately reversed off the points and away from the station, then realigned itself with the platform. It was able to continue with a 30 minute delay.

The incident adds to troubles on the West Highland Line this weekend. On Friday a train leaving Oban at midday departed without reservation slips marking seats booked by passengers, and that train was delayed for 40 minutes at Crianlarich, where the train joins with the Mallaig service to form a single train heading to Glasgow.

More serious incidents occurred in 2012, when a train heading from Oban to Glasgow struck a landslip caused by heavy rains but did not derail, and in 2010, when a train derailed, caught fire, and was left dangling over a nearby road. Trains travelling both to and from Glasgow struck trees on the line on the same day in 2011, one near Crianlarich and one near Ardlui.

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Mobile operator Orange bills French doctor €160,000 for one month of Internet use
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Mobile operator Orange bills French doctor €160,000 for one month of Internet use

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In a third case of staggering sums billed for “unlimited” Internet access reported this week, a French emergency-room doctor from Fontainebleau beats all records with a €159,212 (US$237,417) bill. The telephone-number-sized bill covers one month’s use of an unlimited 3G dongle on Orange‘s network; the beleaguered Dr Jean Spadaro has been battling this for six months.

“To begin with I thought it was a joke”, said Spadaro, confirming a story from l’Observateur du Valenciennois; The same newspaper that revealed last week a similar case — Eric Gernez, a café owner in Petite-Forêt near to Valenciennes — who received a bill for €45,000. Christophe Aupy-Fargues, head of an insurance brokerage firm in Saint-Herblain, west of Nantes, and another unlimited 3G dongle user, confirmed to Ouest-France on Monday the blocking of payment on a bill for €39,500 demanded by Orange.

“I subscribed in November 2008 to a basic internet access by 3G dongle at €30 per month […] seeing my bills reach sums going up to €860 in April, I decided in May to subscribe to unlimited access by 3G dongle with Orange business at €50 per month. When I saw my bill for May, I couldn’t believe my eyes: €159,212, for one month’s connection, it’s impossible, especially as we don’t use it all of the time” added Spadaro, the father of two children, aged sixteen and nineteen.

On opening the envelope in June, he expected to read an amount neighbouring the cost of his subscription; but, to his horror, it was €159,212; a demand large enough to make an emergency-room doctor’s head spin.

When I saw my bill for May, I couldn’t believe my eyes: €159,212, for one month’s connection, it’s impossible

Spadaro claims France Télécom (Orange’s parent company) never explained to him that the “unlimited” package only related to the time spent surfing on the Internet — not the volume of traffic — limited to one Gigabyte per month. The package’s quota corresponds to moderate usage (reception of simple emails for example). As normal Internet users, the members of the Spadaro family surfed Facebook, YouTube, sent emails with attachments, received same, &c. That volume of traffic proved to be costly. €0.17 per Megabyte, or €170 per Gigabyte. Until the bills arrived, the Spadaro family were using the Internet, ignorant of the cost being incurred.

The doctor’s bills, not listed in detail, are €53 for February, €346 for March, €860 for April before soaring to more than €159,000 in May. Spadaro also claims, with evidence of his letters in hand, he had increased the number of protest actions and received, in response, “warnings with threats of seizure”.

Battle-weary after six months of contacting his operator, Spadaro has lost all patience. “Since June, I’ve spent hours writing emails, letters or calling Orange to ask for an explanation. I’ve been passed from call centre to call centre, from customer services to debt collection. No one at Orange was able to give me the slightest clarification. A real wall”, he said. He has never contacted a consumer association, “due to lack of time and also because I trusted the people with whom I was speaking”.

At the end of last week he stumbled upon the article on the Observateur du Valenciennois internet site concerning the case of Eric Gernez. He then also threatened Orange with the press. “The result did not tardy”, he continues. “A customer services representative and a debt collector immediately contacted me by email November 16. And immediately afterwards I received a credit for €136,529”. A first credit having already been sent to him in June, Orange now considers the dossier as “definitively resolved”.

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This resolution does not satisfy Jean Spadaro at all, who simply wishes that the bill be cancelled. “I have been a client with Orange for 17 years. I don’t want to attack their image, but here, enough is enough. It’s a question of principles”, he says, highlighting that “on forums, dozens of subscribers tell similar stories”. Furthermore, the two credits do not reimburse him for all of the additional fees he has incurred. “The following months, Orange tried to debit the sum from my account, causing rejection fees from my bank and unpaid fees from the operator. Around €35 each time”.

Exasperated by the whole affair, Spadaro awaits the end of his current contract with Orange in February next year. “I will cancel all of my subscriptions to Orange: 3G+ dongle, but also mobile telephone and internet”, he promises. He has been a client with the operator since 1997.

We will work with each client

Orange has promised to work with each case of overbilling. Interviewed on France 2 on Wednesday, Jean-Paul Cottet, director of the business market for France, said that the number of problems were marginal. According to him, 4,000 professionals have opted for a package with a 3G key. It is “a 24/24 but not unlimited offer. Out of these 4,000 cases, there are 1% which are a problem” he explained, listing about thirty such “absurd bills”. “We will correct that”, he promised. “We will work with each client”.

Jean-Paul Cottet pointed out that the general public offers better protection to the client. Once the authorised download limit is reached, the service quality diminishes but there is no overbilling.

Asked about the information given to clients about the conditions of billing elements not included in the package, Elizabeth Alvez, communications representative for the regional department for the North of France, said that “all the tarification information is available at points-of-sale and on orange.fr. This information is given as part of the dialogue between the client and the vendor. We are obliged to communicate the prices.” Nevertheless, one must first of all take the time to read the entire contract with the salesperson before signing.

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Andrea Muizelaar on fashion, anorexia, and life after ‘Top Model’
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Andrea Muizelaar on fashion, anorexia, and life after ‘Top Model’

Monday, November 26, 2007

In the 18 months since Andrea Muizelaar was crowned winner of the reality TV series Canada’s Next Top Model, her life has been a complete whirlwind. From working in a dollar store in her hometown of Whitby, Ontario, to modeling haute couture in Toronto, she had reached her dream of becoming a true Top Model.

But at what cost? Unknown to casual television viewers, Muizelaar had been enveloped in the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, which inevitably became too much for her to bear. She gave up modeling and moved back to Whitby, where she sought treatment for her disorder, re-entered college, and now works at a bank. Where is she now? Happy and healthy, she says.

Recently Andrea Muizelaar sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in a candid interview that stretched to nearly two hours, as she told all about her hopes and aspirations, her battle with anorexia, and just what really happened on Canada’s Next Top Model.

Contents

  • 1 Andrea’s beginnings
  • 2 Andrea on her road to modeling, and America’s Next Top Model
  • 3 Experience on Canada’s Next Top Model
  • 4 The message she wrote to her fans on her facebook group
  • 5 Her brief modeling career
  • 6 “Happy and healthy”
  • 7 Source
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Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right
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Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right

Monday, November 12, 2007

In a recent interview with the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the Americas, Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone remarked to him that Americans have trouble relating to centuries-long conflicts that exist between peoples around the world, including those in Asia. Many Asian countries dislike each other tremendously, and the conflict over Tibet is just one enduring multi-national battle.

According to Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger, it is not that Americans do not have these deep-seeded conflicts; it is that they do not remember them and thus have no context in which to see them as they resurface in our political culture.

On the same day he spoke to the Dalai Lama’s representative, Shankbone sat down with Unger, author of The New York Times best-seller House of Bush, House of Saud. In his new book, The Fall of the House of Bush, Unger attempts to fill in some of the blanks of an epochal narrative in American politics. Using a mix of painstaking research, interviews with cultural and political leaders and delving into previously classified records to come up with some overview of how America has arrived at this particular political moment.

To make sense of such complicated history, Unger draws upon three themes: He illustrates the conflict within the modern Republican Party via the oedipal conflict between George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. Things are not well within the House of Bush. Bush Jr. has not only shut out his father and his allies from his administration—something Bob Woodward discovered in his interviews with the President—but he also appointed many of his father’s bitterest enemies to key cabinet positions.

Unger’s second theme draws upon this Bush family feud: many of Bush Sr.’s foes happen to be leaders of the neoconservative movement, who had been working against the President’s father since the 1970’s. Back then the neoconservatives did not have a base of political support within the Republican Party, which brings Unger to his third theme: the marriage between the neoconservatives and the Christian right to create a formidable ideological block.

Unger is a Fellow at the Center for Law and Security at NYU’s School of Law. In addition to his work at Vanity Fair, he is a former editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, and former Deputy Editor of the New York Observer. A journalist of the old school who believes in verifying his sources’ veracity, Unger illuminates the Republican Party’s ideological struggle between the old and the new and traces its history for those who do know it.

Unger disputes the recent assertion by The New York Times that these forces are dead; they are thriving. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Craig Unger about his book, The Fall of the House of Bush.

Contents

  • 1 On the likelihood of an attack on Iran before the 2008 election
  • 2 This history behind the Bush family feud
  • 3 Bush appoints his father’s enemies to his Cabinet
  • 4 Paul Wolfowitz and the Office of Special Plans
  • 5 What the neoconservatives want
  • 6 The Christian right and the neoconservatives
  • 7 Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Christians
  • 8 On the press
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Source
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Thousands gather in London to protest against government cuts
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Thousands gather in London to protest against government cuts

Monday, March 28, 2011

File:2011 UK protests.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of people joined marches in London on Saturday against public sector cuts by the British government. One union estimated up to half a million people travelled from across the country to demonstrate as the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition implements wide-ranging spending cuts.

According to reports, a small group of protesters dressed in black threw paint and smoke bombs at the Oxford Street branch of Topshop, and demonstrators in Piccadilly threw smoke bombs at the Ritz Hotel. The protests have targeted the government and a number of retail outlets, following on from the UK Uncut campaign which has demonstrated outside retailers including Vodafone and Topshop to raise awareness of alleged tax system abuses by the businesses.

The violence came to a head on Sunday as police stormed Trafalgar Square and the protesters ran, throwing bricks and bottles at riot officers. “I have never seen such a fast escalation of violence in my life,” one witness to the violence in the square said. “Everything just kicked off, glass everywhere, police hitting people, people being dragged across the floor. I just can’t believe it.” Clashes in the square finally ended in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The protesters grabbed metal barriers and hurled them over police lines, using them as battering rams.

Senior members of the TUC, the federation of 88 of the country’s unions, were quick to dissociate the disruptive actions of the “few hundred” with those of the earlier peaceful protest, claiming that the violence of a minority should not detract from the message behind the main march.

The Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, addressed hundreds of thousands of peaceful marchers assembled in Hyde Park, and attacked the planned spending cuts. “Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the best of the services we cherish because they represent the best of the country we love,” he said.

The Metropolitan Police said approximately 4,500 officers were policing the event, and 214 demonstrators were detained. On Twitter, the force reported two significant incidents of violence and that four police officers have been injured; one is being treated in hospital. They also said protesters had thrown light bulbs filled with ammonia at officers on Oxford Street.

Small protests have been ongoing in the U.K. since early this month, mainly in the northern city of Sheffield. In the biggest of these, 5,000 people attended a protest march on March 12 in Sheffield, with demonstrators marching from Devonshire Green, an open space in the city centre, to the venue of the Liberal Democrat spring conference. Barricades were set up after “violent incidents”, though only one arrest was made.

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