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Supreme Court to rule on eating shellfish


THE US Supreme Court is debating whether America should follow Biblical laws on eating shellfish.

Right or wrong?

The ban on ‘whatever is in the seas and waters that does not have fins or scales’ is passionately supported by conservatives.

However it faces opposition from Americans who experimented with shellfish in their youth, or have relatives or friends who have eaten shrimp.

Meanwhile, Republicans are accused of making political capital by fomenting hatred against so-called ‘Godless big-city mollusc-munchers’.

Norman Steele, from Dallas, said: “The Lord had it right, these are detestable things. Like it says on my t-shirt, flag and car – GOD HATES CRABS.”

But Tom Booker, from Pasadena, said: “We’re not forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to. Why can’t you enjoy your chicken just because I’m lustily devouring a big shiny red lobster?”

Nikki Hollis, from Chicago, added: “If my friends and I want to munch on a juicy oyster, that’s what we’re going to do.

“These small-minded people are just losing their shit because secretly they want to feast on bivalves.”

The pro-shellfish lobby has accused their opponents of ignoring other verses of Leviticus which prohibit tattoos, wearing garments of mixed fabric, and homosexuality.

Norman Steele said: “Shit, I don’t care if a couple o’ dudes want to ride each other’s assholes all night – ain’t none of my beeswax. Long as they ain’t eatin’ no scallops at the same time.”

via Supreme Court to rule on eating shellfish.

via Supreme Court to rule on eating shellfish.

Anonymous ‘spokesperson’ to spend year in jail without trial


Does Democracy and Justice still apply in the USA?

The federal trial against alleged computer criminal Barrett Brown has been delayed by six months. Now the activist once called the “spokesperson” of the Anonymous hacker movement will wait in prison for one full year before being tried.

Brown, 31, was scheduled to stand trial later this month for a slew of charges that have handed down in three separate indictments filed by the government since last September. Per the request of his attorneys, however, legal proceedings have been pushed back for six months, delaying the trial until September 2013.

Doug Morris, a public defender appointed to serve as Brown’s defense counsel, asked for an extension in order to evaluate the evidence against his client, the Associate Press reports. US District Judge Sam Lindsay obliged on Wednesday this week.

The AP adds that Brown’s trial for one indictment is now slated for September 3, 2013, with trials for his second and third indictments scheduled to start on Sept. 23. Brown was arrested on Sept. 12 last year and has been in law enforcement custody for the nearly six months since.

The AP describes Brown as having Brown “once served as de facto spokesman for Anonymous, a shadowy movement that has gotten attention for cyberattacks,” although he says he’s never represented himself as such. Although Brown has aligned himself with the Anonymous movement on several occasions in the past and have spoken broadly on matters relating to the group, he wrote from prison last year, “I am not and never have been the spokesman for Anonymous, nor its ‘public face’ or, worse, ‘self-proclaimed’ ‘face’ or ‘spokesperson’ or ‘leader.’”

Brown’s legal issues began last March when FBI agents raided his Dallas, Texas home with search warrants for computers that contained information pertaining to, among other things, the Anonymous collective, offshoot LulzSec and a number of private businesses that were investigated by both groups as well as Brown’s own Project PM, an independent think-tank he designed in part “to develop new methods by which to use the internet for positive change and to encourage others to adapt such methods.”

One day after the March 2012 raid, Brown wrote the FBI “fully intended to take a certain laptop, and did” when the feds raided his mother’s house shortly after the first incident. He also said that federal agents threatened both he and his mother with conspiracy to obstruct justice for the next few months, spawning Brown to lash out at the FBI in a series of YouTube videos and Twitter posts created in September 2012.

“I know what’s legal, I know what’s been done to me… And if it’s legal when it’s done to me, it’s going to be legal when it’s done to FBI Agent Robert Smith — who is a criminal,” claimed Brown in one of the clips uploaded to the Web. “That’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids… How do you like them apples?”

Hours after that video was uploaded to the Web, a SWAT team raided Brown’s Dallas, Texas apartment and placed him in custody for nearly one month before he was charged with threatening a federal officer. Once behind bars, though, Brown’s legal issues escalated.

While in custody, the Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments against Brown: In December, Brown was charged with sharing an Internet hyperlink that contained over 5,000 credit card account numbers, the card holders’ identification information and the authentication features for the cards.  One month later, Brown was charged with obstructing justice by “knowingly and corruptly conceal and attempt to conceal records, documents, and digital data contained on two laptop computers,” as he hinted at nearly one year earlier.

Attorney Jay Leiderman, who is not representing Brown in this case, wrote on his personal blog when the third indictment was unsealed that the hacktivist could face a century in prison if convicted on all counts.

“He is alleged to have made threatening YouTube videos aimed at the FBI agent that raided his home, he is alleged to have shared a link that contained credit card and access information, and he supposedly hid laptops when the FBI came-a-knocking. That’s right, that sorta stuff could cost you 100 years these days,” he wrote.

Brown is alleged to have shared a link to the credit card details in a chat room after seeing it posted in another. The trove of data contained within the link related to subscriber data pilfered by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a private intelligence company hacked by Anonymous in December 2011. Thousands of emails obtained in that compromise were later given to the whistleblower website WikIleaks and have been subsequently published online.

Upon release of the credit card numbers, Brown disavowed the hack. He said, “Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm’s servers.”

Jeremy Hammond, a hacker and activist from Chicago, has been behind bars for over one year while awaiting trial for charges relating to the Stratfor hack. Federal proscutors say he spearheaded the hack as a member of the groups Anonymous and LulzSec. He stands to face the rest of his life in prison if convicted.e

via Anonymous ‘spokesperson’ to spend year in jail without trial — RT USA.

via Anonymous ‘spokesperson’ to spend year in jail without trial — RT USA.

Walmart Strikers Prepare For Black Friday Protests Across Country


DALLAS — On Thanksgiving afternoon, as freshly stuffed Americans prepared for the shopping bacchanal known as Black Friday, hundreds of Walmart workers readied themselves for a wholly different experience: joining strikes and labor actions planned for the next two days at some 1,000 Walmart stores around the country.

Here in Dallas, as well as in Miami and the San Francisco area, Walmart employees were planning to walk off work and demonstrate early Thursday evening, as shoppers began to arrive in pursuit of the ultra-cheap deals known as doorbusters. The strikers sought to protest low wages and a lack of benefits, while also challenging what they allege has been a pattern of Walmart’s retaliation against workers who try to organize. They hoped to use the Black Friday spotlight to sway shoppers to their side.

“It’s a question of education,” said Josue Mata, a maintenance worker at Walmart in Wheatland, Texas, and a member of OUR Walmart, the labor group that is coordinating the strikes. “We have to show people that we’re not just a crazy bunch of protesters.”

But Walmart, the world’s largest retail chain, was banking on the labor actions amounting to not much in the face of enormous consumer demand for what it provides best: a wide array of products at some of the very lowest prices available. “We don’t expect this to have a significant impact,” Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “The overwhelming majority of our associates are excited for our Black Friday events.” (The company calls its workers “associates.”)

In short, the protests aimed at Walmart on what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year may constitute a test of the nation’s sympathy for low-wage workers — many of whom earn so little that they qualify for food stamps — against the powerful American yearning for a great deal.

In Dallas, about 200 people were expected to protest Thursday night, according to Colby Harris, a three-year employee in the produce department of the nearby Lancaster, Texas, store who has become a public face for the workers’ movement. “This is only getting bigger,” he said over breakfast at Waffle House on Thursday morning.

Despite a notoriously unfriendly attitude toward unions, Dallas has become a main center for the strikes, along with Los Angeles and Chicago. Harris’ store was one of the first to host protests back in October, when, for the first time in Walmart history, its retail workers in 28 states went on strike.

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, Harris, Mata and 200 others — including Walmart employees, organizers from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and activists from the local Occupy chapter — planned to meet at a hotel in South Dallas. The group would then split up to picket at multiple stores and regather around 10 p.m. at the Walmart Supercenter in Wheatland. In Miami and San Leandro, Calif., protesters were planning flash mobs complete with dance routines.

Mata acknowledged that approaching the bargain-hungry might be difficult. “The classic question [from local reporters] is, ‘Why don’t you just accept what you have?’ They say, ‘You should be thankful you have a job.'”

Like other strikers, Mata said many Walmart jobs pay barely enough to survive. According to the company’s internal pay plan, recently obtained by The Huffington Post, employees can work at Walmart for decades before they make much above minimum wage. And as the largest private employer in the U.S., Walmart has an outsized influence on working conditions in the retail industry as a whole.

Walmart says it has done little beyond the norm to prepare for the Black Friday strikes, which it expects to be minimal. But a handful of sources around the country as well as news reports claimed that Walmart managers were intimidating workers into not protesting. Vanessa Ferreira, an Orlando, Fla., Walmart worker, was charged with trespassing when she went on strike this week. Another worker in Oklahoma told The Nation that managers at his store informed workers they would see smaller bonuses if protests disrupted Black Friday shopping.

On Tuesday, OUR Walmart filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Walmart of retaliating against striking workers. The previous Friday, Walmart had filed its own complaint with the NLRB, alleging that the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which supports OUR Walmart financially, has illegally picketed in order to gain union recognition. Walmart has repeatedly denied that it has ever retaliated against its workers.

Fearing police and security confrontations, the strikers adjusted their plans to go inside the stores, according to Alan Morrisette, a field organizer for the union’s Making Change at Walmart Campaign. All demonstrations on Thursday and Friday would be held outside the stores, he said.

Walmart did not comment on how it plans to handle striking workers. “Each store has an individualized plan of how they will get customers in and out of stores and deal with large crowds,” said Lundberg. “If a walkout does happen at an individual store, the store management will judge that on a case-by-case basis. We think there are going to be so few of these it’s best to be handled individually.”

One worker in the Chicago area, who asked that her name not be mentioned for fear of losing her job, told The Huffington Post that managers earlier this week covered up her store’s employee rights notice, which informs workers of their right to concerted action. Her managers also implemented a new program that would give workers an extra 10 percent discount on Walmart purchases for working on Black Friday, she said.

Harris and Mata said the program, dubbed “associate appreciation day,” had been recently implemented in their Dallas-area stores as well. “They’re trying to get on our good side to get us to forget what it’s like most of the time,” said Harris.

In an ideal world, Harris said, Walmart would meet all of the strikers’ demands by publicly committing to raise pay, improve benefits and not impede workers’ efforts to unionize. But even if the company simply reached out to OUR Walmart to express an interest in compromise, he would be happy, Harris said.

“We already consider this a victory,” said Harris. “People are hearing us, and Walmart knows we’re not going to stop.”

via Walmart Strikers Prepare For Black Friday Protests Across Country.

via Walmart Strikers Prepare For Black Friday Protests Across Country.

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