Obama-GOP deal raises taxes on poorest earners

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/deal-raises-taxes-poorest-earners/

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 — 5:50 pm

Quarter of tax savings will go to richest one percent

The plan to extend Bush-era tax cuts that President Barack Obama struck with the Senate Republican leadership will result in lower taxes for wealthy and middle-class Americans but will mean a tax hike for the very poorest earners.

According to an analysis in the New York Times, the Obama-GOP deal will mean that individuals earning less than $20,000 and families earning less than $40,000 will see a small tax hike.

“It will come to a few dollars a week,” Roberton Williams, an analyst at the Tax Policy Center told the Times. “But it is an increase.”

As part of the deal, Obama agreed to drop the Making Work Pay credit that was created as part of the stimulus package, and replace it with a lower payroll tax. That lost credit — of $400 or $800 — is greater than the amount low-income earners will save from the lower payroll tax, meaning, in total, they will pay more.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/deal-raises-taxes-poorest-earners/

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Barney Frank: I Won’t Vote For Tax Cut Deal

I know a lot of my sisters don’t like Barney Frank because he is supposedly soft on trans-issues.  But I’m a multi-issue person and Barny Frank is up there in the 10% or so of Democrats who are still real progressive Democrats and not total corporate sell outs, therefore I love him.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/barney-frank-tax-cut-deal_n_793944.html

Nick Wing
Posted: 12- 8-10 05:26 PM

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced Wednesday that he would vote against the White House’s recent tax cuts deal, but admitted that the package would likely pass despite increasingly vocal opposition from House Democrats.

“No, I won’t vote for it. I don’t think that I should be coerced,” Frank told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, before conceding that he was “afraid that it is” going to pass anyways.

“I do not believe that raising the marginal rate from 36 to 39 percent on hundreds-of-thousands of dollars is going to affect their spending patterns,” Frank maintained, countering a popular claim by Republicans that allowing taxes on the wealthiest Americans to revert to their pre-Bush rates would damage an already weak economy.

Frank also brought up a common critique of the Senate process, saying that the Democratic caucus in that chamber — and in the House, for that matter — had achieved a majority consensus on not extending the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent of Americans, but that Republicans were allowed to trump them because of filibuster rules.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/barney-frank-tax-cut-deal_n_793944.html

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Hackers Give Web Companies a Test of Free Speech

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/technology/09net.html?_r=1

By ASHLEE VANCE and MIGUEL HELFT
Published: December 8, 2010

A hacking free-for-all has exploded on the Web, and Facebook and Twitter are stuck in the middle.

On Wednesday, anonymous hackers took aim at companies perceived to have harmed WikiLeaks after its release of a flood of confidential diplomatic documents. MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, which had cut off people’s ability to donate money to WikiLeaks, were hit by attacks that tried to block access to the companies’ Web sites and services.

To organize their efforts, the hackers have turned to sites like Facebook and Twitter. That has drawn these Web giants into the fray and created a precarious situation for them.

Both Facebook and Twitter — but particularly Twitter — have received praise in recent years as outlets for free speech. Governments trying to control the flow of information have found it difficult to block people from voicing their concerns or setting up meetings through the sites.

At the same time, both Facebook and Twitter have corporate aspirations that hinge on their ability to serve as ad platforms for other companies. This leaves them with tough public relations and business decisions around how they should handle situations as politically charged as the WikiLeaks developments.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/technology/09net.html?_r=1

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“Operation Payback” attacks Mastercards and Censorship

From Infoshop News:  http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20101208174118826

Wednesday, December 08 2010 @ 05:41 PM UTC

Contributed by: Anonymous

MasterCard’s Canadian website remains unavailable after WikiLeaks supporters struck back Wednesday at perceived enemies of the site’s founder Julian Assange.

MasterCard website down in WikiLeaks attack
Company says credit card system is secure and operating:

Manifesto video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZNDV4…r_embedded

MasterCard’s Canadian website remains unavailable after WikiLeaks supporters struck back Wednesday at perceived enemies of the site’s founder Julian Assange.

They also attacked the websites of Swedish prosecutors, the Swedish lawyer whose clients have accused Assange of sexual crimes, and the Swiss authority that froze Assange’s bank account.

MasterCard Canada spokesman Jim Issokson told CBC News the denial of service attack on the company’s website has not affected any credit card transactions.

“MasterCard’s systems have not been compromised,” he said, “At this time the issue appears to be the result of a concentrated effort to flood our corporate website with traffic and slow access.”

MasterCard and Visa severed their relationships with WikiLeaks Tuesday, under pressure from the U.S. government. Visa’s Canadian website is still operating.

MasterCard is working to get things back to normal.

“We are working to restore normal service levels,” Issokson said, “[however] there is no impact on our cardholders’ ability to use their cards for secure transactions globally.”

The online campaign took the form of attacks in which computers across the internet are harnessed — sometimes surreptitiously — to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.

Early Wednesday, a group taking responsibility for the online attacks, Operation Payback, led media to a YouTube video in which it states its objectives.

Wave of support

The online attacks are part of a wave of online support for WikiLeaks that is sweeping the internet. Twitter was choked with messages of solidarity Wednesday, while the site’s Facebook page hit one million fans.

A group, which has previously focused on the Church of Scientology and the music industry, has promised to come to Assange’s aid by knocking offline websites seen as hostile to WikiLeaks.

‘We want transparency and we counter censorship .…’
— Message from website activists

“While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons,” the group said in a statement on its website. “We want transparency and we counter censorship .…This is why we intend to utilize our resources to raise awareness, attack those against, and support those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy.”

It was not immediately clear which attacks the group was responsible for, although activists on Twitter and other forums cheered the news of each one in turn.

Claes Borgstrom, lawyer for the two women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sweden in August, talks to media at his office in Stockholm Wednesday. (Anders Wiklund/Associated Press)The website for Swedish lawyer Claes Borgstrom, who represents the two women at the centre of Assange’s sex crimes case, was unreachable Wednesday.

The Swiss postal system’s financial arm, Postfinance, which shut down Assange’s new bank account on Monday, was also having trouble. Spokesman Alex Josty said the website buckled under a barrage of traffic Tuesday, but the onslaught seems to have eased off.

“Yesterday it was very, very difficult, then things improved overnight,” he told The Associated Press. “But it’s still not entirely back to normal.”

While one internet company after another has cut its ties to the websites amid intense U.S. government pressure — Amazon.com, PayPal, EveryDNS — the French government’s effort to stop a company there from hosting WikiLeaks has failed — at least for now.

The web services company OVH, which is among those hosting the current site — http://wikileaks.ch — sought a ruling by two courts about the legality of hosting WikiLeaks in France. The judges said this week they couldn’t decide on the highly technical case right away.

WikiLeaks evoked the ire of the U.S. government last spring when it posted a gritty war video taken by Army helicopters showing troops gunning down two unarmed Reuters journalists. Since then, the organization has leaked some 400,000 classified U.S. war files from Iraq and 76,000 from Afghanistan that U.S. military officials say included names of U.S. informants and other information that could put people’s lives at risk.

The latest leaks have involved private U.S. diplomatic cables that included frank U.S. assessments of foreign nations and their leaders.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2010…z17Xiqa4c4