Scotland storm blackout hitting thousands

From BBC:

8 December 2011

Police have told people in Scotland not to travel, as winds of up to 165mph (264km/h) affected the country, leaving more than 30,000 people without power.

As the Met Office issued its highest warning, a red alert, hundreds of schools have shut and bridge and road closures are causing disruption.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland were also being hit by wind and rain.

Winds of up to 90mph (144km/h) and possible blizzard conditions are expected in north Scotland into Friday.

The severe weather hit many other parts of the UK, including:

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Denying Access to Plan B: An Act of Political Cowardice

From RH Reality Check:

by Lorraine Berry, SUNY Cortland
December 8, 2011

Fool me twice. I’m an idiot.

I keep thinking someone in this administration is going to take a stand that will mean something.

It’s a small thing, really, but a huge thing when you’re a teenager. You need access to emergency contraception and you can’t get it because your government is controlled by fundamentalist body haters who think that sex is for procreation only.


I’m still hunting for the right words to say. Nearly 40 years after abortion was made legal in this country, 50 years since we’ve had the Pill, and women are still told, day-after-day, that the only thing that matters about them is their ability to bear children. And if bearing a child costs you your life, well, what greater sacrifice can you make? (And besides, there are plenty of women to replace you.)


To visit the local cemeteries is to see this philosophy carved in stone–acres of stones that tell the same story. One man will be buried with two, often three, wives. He died in his 80s. The first two wives died in their 20s or early 30s, but the third wife grew old with him. Frequently, there are newborns whose death dates approximate the death dates of their mothers.

We tell ourselves that this was before modern medicine. That puerperal fever, or ruptured uteri, or hearts weakened by childhood diseases and then too weak to bear the strains of pregnancy, that these things are all things of the past.

But, we maintain maternal mortality statistics because pregnancy is still potentially deadly. And lest any American think that we have the best health care system in the world, ask yourself why our rates of maternal death are among the highest in the industrialized world?


The FDA cannot find a single reason why Plan B contraception can’t be on a shelf where anyone can buy it. Katherine Sebelius, and her boss, Barack Obama, they moved the football again.

We were all so happy when Obama chose a pro-choice champion to head HHS. But, it turns out, just like her boss, she’s a political coward.

So what, the right wing thinks teenagers shouldn’t be having sex? How has that changed in all the years that we’ve been talking about it?

Sebelius, no doubt ordered to by her boss, overruled the FDA, denied scientific evidence, to make moralistic assholes happy.

I really thought you were going to hold the football steady this time, Obama. I really did.

I’m an idiot. I keep hoping against hope that you’re not going to throw women under the bus. That you can stand up to the ladies who swoon at the Concerned Women for America. You think they’re going to vote for you because you said no to Plan B?

I know you’re not stupid.

You’re a coward.


Go To this Link and Sign the Petition.

Tell the Obama Administration Its Decision on Plan B® Is Unacceptable

On December 7, the Obama administration interfered with a decision from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA was about to follow medical experts’ recommendations and remove an age restriction on the emergency contraceptive Plan B®. At the last minute, the Secretary of Health and Human Services overruled the recommendation that would have allowed women of all ages to buy Plan B® without a prescription.

The Obama administration has broken a key promise to the American people that it would base its decisions on sound science and what’s in the best interest of women’s health. We had a major opportunity to improve young women’s access to contraception, which is the best way to reduce the need for abortion, and the Obama administration missed the mark.

Add your name to our letter expressing your disappointment to the Obama administration.

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“By Imbeciles Who Really Mean It”: Lost Verities and Dirty Hippies

From Common Dreams:

by Phil Rockstroh
Published on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 by

Regardless of the dissembling of corporate state propagandists, free market capitalism has always been a government subsidized, bubble-inflating, swindlers’ game, in which, psychopathic personalities (not “job creators” but con job perpetrators) thrive. By the exploitation of the many, a ruthless few have amassed large amounts of capital by which they dominate mainstream narratives and compromise elected and governmental officials, thereby gaming the system for their benefit.

Historically, the system has proven so demeaning to the majority of the population that the elite, from time to time, have, as a last resort, due to fear of a popular uprising, introduced a bit of socialism into the system, allowing a modicum of swag to funnel downward, and, as a result, the ranks of the middle class have been expanded. For a time, the bourgeoisie are bamboozled by the sales pitch that one day they will be affluent enough to be freed from the taxing obligations of a dismal, debt-beholden existence, when, in fact, they sowed their fate (like those swindled by opening their bank accounts after receiving email from parties claiming to be momentarily cash-strapped Nigerian royalty) by their own greed i.e. by their self-imprisonment within their own narrow, self-serving view of existence.

These stultifying circumstances will level an atmosphere of restiveness and nebulous rage. In general, the middle class can be counted on to detest the poor…blaming those born devoid of societal advantage and political influence for the impoverished circumstances that were in place long before the happenstance of their birth. Moreover, in a bit of noxious casuistry, as despicable as it is delusional, all too many members of the middle class have been induced by grift artists, employed by the ruling elite, to blame their own declining social status and attendant beleaguered existence on the poor.

“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.” –John Donne

This has proven to be an effective, time-tested grift: Because as long as the animus of the middle class remains fixated on the poor, the criminal cartels known as the economic elite can continue to ply their trade. Of course, in reality, by their greed and complicity, what the middle class has gained is this: trustee status in the capitalist workhouse.

Although, there is no need to fret: The run of neoliberal capitalism is about over. Don’t mourn: This late stage, rapacious, mutant economic strain has leveled destruction on community and the planet itself as well as the hearts and souls of too many of those imprisoned within its paradigm.

At this point, the situation comes down to this: paradigm shift or perish.

The hour is amenable to reevaluate, reorganize and re-occupy. Doing so will prove helpful in withstanding false narratives.

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Occupy SF regroups after early-morning raid

From SF Gate:

Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

San Francisco’s Occupy movement was left reeling after police raided the 142-tent encampment before dawn Wednesday, arrested 70 protesters and confiscated truckloads of goods.

Police moved in after Mayor Ed Lee gave up hope of negotiating a voluntary departure from Justin Herman Plaza with the leaderless Occupy movement. The mayor, who had said repeatedly that tents would not be allowed in the plaza, repeated that warning Wednesday and said he meant it.

Supporters of the city’s 2-month-old Occupy encampment regrouped Wednesday evening in the plaza to discuss how to continue without a logical center.

“It is clear we need to evolve as a movement,” said Philip Oje, 26. “(Camping) has been a good method of raising awareness – we just need to figure out how to get back into the plaza.”

Other ousted campers said that if they couldn’t move back into the plaza, they would re-form the camp elsewhere in the city or look for vacant, foreclosed homes they could occupy.

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Using Debt to Crush Democracy: How Financiers Are Waging Warfare Against Nations

From Alternet:

Recent debt protests from Iceland to Greece and Spain suggest that creditors are shifting their support away from democracies and crushing national self-determination.

By Michael Hudson
December 6, 2011
  *This article appeared in the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung on December 5, 2011.

Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history.

Debt has been the main dynamic driving these shifts – always with new twists and turns. It polarizes wealth to create a creditor class, whose oligarchic rule is ended as new leaders (“tyrants” to Aristotle) win popular support by canceling the debts and redistributing property or taking its usufruct for the state.

Since the Renaissance, however, bankers have shifted their political support to democracies. This did not reflect egalitarian or liberal political convictions as such, but rather a desire for better security for their loans. As James Steuart explained in 1767, royal borrowings remained private affairs rather than truly public debts [1]. For a sovereign’s debts to become binding upon the entire nation, elected representatives had to enact the taxes to pay their interest charges.

By giving taxpayers this voice in government, the Dutch and British democracies provided creditors with much safer claims for payment than did kings and princes whose debts died with them. But the recent debt protests from Iceland to Greece and Spain suggest that creditors are shifting their support away from democracies. They are demanding fiscal austerity and even privatization sell-offs.

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Obama Road Tests Hopey-Changey Big Lie 2.0: He’ll Reincarnate as Teddy Roosevelt if You Are Dumb Enough to be Fooled Twice

From Naked Capitalism:

Yves Smith
December 7, 2011

Wow, I have to hand it to Obama’s spinmeisters. They’ve managed to find a way to resurrect his old hopium branding by calling it something completely different that still has many of the old associations.

And we have a twofer in Obama’s launch of his new branding as True Son of Teddy Roosevelt. Never mind that Teddy, unlike Obama, was accomplished in many walks of life and had meaningful political accomplishments (such as reforming the corrupt New York City police department) before becoming President at the tender age of 42. The second element of this finesse is that Obama is using the Rooseveltian imagery to claim he will pass legislation to get tough on Big Finance miscreants. That posture, is of course meant to underscore the idea that you just can’t get the perps with the present, weak set of laws.

Team Obama may have planned to wheel this new, improved image out later, with the timing accelerated by Judge Jed Rakoff’s decision against a proposed $285 million settlement between the SEC and Citigroup over a bum CDO in which Citi allegedly wielded considerable influence over its contents so it could bet against it. The SEC has gone on a full bore media offensive against Rakoff, with enforcement chief Robert Khuzami’s becoming uncharacteristically accessible to the media and also using scheduled speaking engagements to take issue with Rakoff’s ruling. And on top of Khuzami’s own efforts, the media has taken up some other dubious plants by the SEC. The biggest howler is a story in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. Titled “Financial Crimes Bedevil Prosecutors,” not one of the sources for the story is a prosecutor!

The centerpiece of the piece is one David Cardona, who just joined the SEC. Gee, you think he is going to do anything other than sell the party line? And what was his last job? At the FBI, investigating financial crimes, which by the way, resulted in pretty much no criminal cases, except, curiously, Taylor Bean. But doesn’t count, since the wronged parties were even bigger fish.

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Tim Geithner backs Merkel-Sarkozy eurozone rescue plan

Ah one of the Masters of the Universe Meets with the Puppets…

From The Guardian UK:

Treasury secretary endorses Franco-German rescue plan as US remains anxious about European debt crisis spreading

in Brussels
, Wednesday 7 December 2011

US treasury secretary Tim Geithner on Wednesday gave strong backing to Franco-German plans to resolve the sovereign debt crisis by reshaping the eurozone through tougher budget discipline.

The US is anxious to see that the European debt crisis does not drag it and the rest of the world into renewed recession. Geithner said he had “a lot of confidence” in what the countries were doing.

“We are very encouraged with the progress that is being made,” Geithner told reporters following a meeting with French finance minister Francois Baroin on the second day of his whirlwind trip through Europe.

The meeting came ahead of discussions with Europe’s centre-right leaders at their congress in Marseille, where he met French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel along with new Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy. After the talks in the Mediterranean port city he will fly to Rometo meet Mario Monti, Italy’s new technocrat prime minister on Thursday.

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