Former prime minister builds network of Christian allies as he prepares to launch a religious ‘offensive’ in North America.
Let’s hope he doesn’t run for president.
A musician has spoken today of his shock at being removed from a train for “behaving suspiciously” by writing a list of songs which included the band name “The Killers”.
I guess music is terrorism these days..
For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.
Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.
JVH: Naomi Klein suggested that “disaster capitalism” is striking in Haiti. Would you agree?
RR: Absolutely. This is disaster capitalism on steroids. Number one, you have had an earthquake that ravaged the infrastructure of a country which has been made poor over the centuries. Secondly, you have more than 20,000 troops and massive amounts of capital circulating there. Plus, the Haitian government has been a very passive partner in the aftermath of the earthquake. That is a perfect recipe.
The reconstruction conferences in Montreal and Miami are indicating that Haiti will be rebuilt along the lines of the organizations attending them: the U.S., Canada, the World Bank, the Clinton Foundation, the IMF, major business corporations such as the Royal Caribbean Lines, the Soros Foundation. Haiti is like a blank board in their minds. It is going be a feeding frenzy soon.
Last week the Big Picture had a feature with pictures of Kim Jong-il.
somebody went all cheezburger on it.
AN 82-year-old Catholic priest, father Marques Barbosa, became an unwitting porn star when he was shown on Brazilian TV last week having sex with a 19-year-old altar boy.
He was the “star turn” in a report on the SBT TV programme Conexao Reporter which also included charges by three former altar boys that they had been sexually abused by local priests.
Barbosa was caught on a hidden camera in the north-eastern state of Alagoas.
In a scene reminiscent of non-violent civil rights confrontations from the 1960s, Ohio Tea Partiers quickly turned ugly when facing off with health care advocates in front of Ohio Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s office Tuesday.
In shocking video taken by a Columbus Dispatch reporter Doral Chenowith yesterday, Tea Party protestors mock a seated counter-protestor with a sign indicating he has Parkinson’s disease. They then proceed to hurl wadded up bills at him shouting, “I’ll decide when to give you money!”
On March 17th outside of Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s (D-OH15) district office teabaggers mocked and scorned a man who had a sign stating that he had Parkinson’s. They told him “he’s in the wrong end of town to ask for handouts”, called him a communist and threw dollar bills at him to “pay for his health care”.
In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance.
Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis, revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that.
So he hired an attorney — not because he wanted to sue anyone; on the contrary, the shy African-American teenager expected his insurance was canceled by mistake and would be reinstated once he set the company straight.
But Fortis, now known as Assurant Health, ignored his attorney’s letters, as they had earlier inquiries from a case worker at a local clinic who was helping him. So Mitchell sued.
In 2004, a jury in Florence County, South Carolina, ordered Assurant Health, part of Assurant Inc, to pay Mitchell $15 million for wrongly revoking his heath insurance policy.
Much of the trial record of the Mitchell case is bound by a confidentiality order and not available to the public. But two orders written by the presiding judge, Michael G. Nettles, a state circuit judge for the 12th Judicial District of South Carolina, of Florence County, describe the case in detail. Judge Nettles wrote the orders in response to motions by Assurant that the jury’s verdict be set aside or reduced.
In the motions, Nettles not only strongly denied Fortis’ claims but condemned the corporation’s conduct.
“There was evidence that Fortis’ general counsel insisted years ago that members of the rescission committee not record the identity of the persons present and involved in the process of making a decision to rescind a Fortis health insurance policy,” Nettles wrote.
Elsewhere in his order, Nettles noted that there were no “minutes of actions, votes, or any business conducted during the rescission committee’s meeting.”
The South Carolina Supreme Court, in upholding the jury’s verdict in the case in a unanimous 5-0 opinion, said that it agreed with the lower court’s finding that Fortis destroyed records to hide the corporation’s misconduct. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal wrote: “The lack of written rescission policies, the lack of information available regarding appealing rights or procedures, the separate policies for rescission documents” as well as the “omission” of other records regarding the decision to revoke Mitchell’s insurance, constituted “evidence that Fortis tried to conceal the actions it took in rescinding his policy.”
In affirming the trial verdict and Nettles’ order, Toal was as harsh in her criticism of the company as Judge Nettles had been. “We find ample support in the record that Fortis’ conduct was reprehensible,” she wrote. “Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell’s life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety.”
A federal investigator who has reviewed Assurant’s remaining records says that they showed that once a person with HIV was targeted with a fraud investigation, the company made a greater effort than usual to cancel the person’s insurance. Policies and medical records were scrutinized to a greater extent than others being scrutinized, he said.
The investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the motive for focusing on people with HIV was simply the high cost of treating the illness: “We are talking a lifetime of therapy, a lifetime of care … a lot of bills. Nowadays someone with HIV can live a normal life for decades. This was about money.”
No evidence has emerged that any other major American company purged policyholders simply because they had HIV. But an investigation last summer by the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as earlier ones by state regulators in California, New York and Connecticut, found that thousands of vulnerable and seriously ill policyholders have had their coverage canceled by many of the nation’s largest insurance companies without any legal basis. The congressional committee found that three insurance companies alone saved at least $300 million over five years from rescission. One of those three companies was Assurant.
Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG and Hypo Real Estate Holding AG’s Depfa Bank Plc unit were charged with fraud linked to the sale of derivatives to the City of Milan.
Judge Simone Luerti scheduled the trial of the four firms, 11 bankers and two former city officials for May 6, Prosecutor Alfredo Robledo said after a hearing in Milan today. The banks allegedly misled the city over swaps that adjusted interest payments on 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) of bonds sold in 2005.
Prosecutor Robledo alleges the London units of the four banks misled Milan on the economic advantage of a financing package that included the swaps and that they earned 101 million euros in hidden fees.
He also claims the banks violated U.K. securities rules by failing to inform Milan in writing that for the swap deal the city was a counterparty to the lenders rather than a customer. Banks abiding by the rules of the Financial Services Authority are required to shield customers from conflicts of interest and provide them with clear and fair information that isn’t misleading.
Officials for the FSA in London didn’t have an immediate comment.
The comments by UBS are really funny:
UBS and “its exponents are confident that they will be able to demonstrate, in the course of the trial, that no criminal plot was conceived,” the Zurich-based bank said in a separate statement.
Translation: yeah, sure we broke that law, but we didn’t plot to break the law.
Next time some spoiled bank CEO complains that people are criticizing him for taking a $10 million bonus paid out of taxpayer money, just point him to this story.
Ready for another long, drawn-out copy and paste controversy to overtake your every waking moment for a year or two? Good: Microsoft just mentioned in a Q&A session here at MIX10 in no uncertain terms that clipboard operations won’t be supported on Windows Phone 7 Series… so that’s that.
The bacteria on our hands could be used in forensic identification, in the same way as DNA, say scientists.
Researchers in the US discovered that the “communities” of bacteria living on a person’s skin are different for each individual.
The team took swabs from keyboards and were able to match the bacteria they found to the computer owners.
Letting your dog clean your keyboard isn’t that bad an idea after all…