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UK Tory MP who helped kill Legal Aid is wiped out by defending himself against sexual assault claim

Alan sez, "At least he's got the sense to own up and say he's sorry. Nigel Evans used to be in Parliament. While there he helped cut legal aid. As a result, people who are charged by the government but found innocent can't recover costs. Mr Evans is now looking at a (UKP) 130,000 legal bill (plus VAT) after defending successfully against an allegation of sexual assault. Of course, were he in the US he'd be in the same or worse shape."

He's been wiped out, and has pledged to try to undo the damage he's done to Legal Aid if he gets reelected. Meanwhile, the real victims of this are poor crime victims, especially women in abusive relationships, who are grappling with a system where only rich people get lawyers.

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Canada's Digital 150 Strategy: Cynical, lazy and so 1867

John sez, "We Canadians are looking forward to our 150th birthday coming up in 2017. As part of the celebrations, the Harper Conservative government has released its Digital Canada 150 strategy paper with the idea of propelling Canada forward to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age and be a global leader by 2017. While the document has some good points and is definitely not as actively terrible as some of their recent actions (like attacking Elections Canada or stifling science), the strategy is still extremely disappointing."

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Australian civil servants ordered to fink on colleagues who criticize gov't online

Australia's far-right crybaby government is so terrified of civil servants criticizing its policies that it has ordered government employees to snitch on any colleagues who breathe an unhappy word about the politicians of the day online, even if the criticism is anonymous, because it is "unprofessional." Civil servants are also banned from editing Wikipedia in ways that make politicians and their policies look bad.

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UK Tories call for a national of slaves

Charlie Stross is on fire in this essay on the true meaning of the UK Exchequer George Osborne's promise to produce a Britain with 100% employment: he is proposing nothing less than a nation of slaves. Cory 31

Rob Ford and Canada's neoliberal agenda


If you've shaken your head in wonder that Canadians -- gentle, sensible Canadians -- had elected a drug-addicted, violent, lying buffoon to run its largest city, this excellent account of the rise of the Canadian neoliberal right by historian Paul Cohen is required reading. Cohen draws on disparate threads from Preston Manning to Mike Harris and connects them to Stephen Harper, Rob Ford, and the rise of a nasty, ugly Made-in-Canada version of Thatcherism, Reaganism, and modern neoliberalism.

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Poster campaign: Anyone but Rob Ford for Mayor

Rethink (an ad agency that does viral media) has teamed up with No Ford Nation to putup joke election signs in Toronto for an Anyone-But-Rob-Ford campaign. They feature photos of scruffy, disreputable fellows with captions like, "The current mayor threatens to kill people and gets publicly drunk. IF ELECTED I PROMISE I WILL JUST GET PUBLICLY DRUNK."

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UK Tories ban sending books to prisoners


Writing in Politics.co.uk, Frances Crook (chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform) decries the latest nasty Tory tough-on-crime initiative: denying books from the outside to prisoners, many of whom spend more than sixteen hours per day in their cells. This follows on a ban on homemade birthday cards from prisoners' children, and a ban on underwear and other comfort items from outside (women prisoners are hit very hard by this as they are not supplied with undergarments otherwise and spend months wearing the same underwear and bras).

As Crook points out, banning books, birthday cards and underwear has nothing to do with rehabilitation for criminals, and everything to do with pandering to a vicious public who want to see everyone who is locked up made as miserable as possible.

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Drunken, swearing Rob Ford lurches around after photo-op with child

A new video has surfaced of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford swearing, stumbling and cursing in front of City Hall after having his picture taken with a young boy whose mother identified as a fan of the mayor. The mayor, who had promised that he would stop drinking, smoking crack, taking marijuana, hanging out with murderers and notorious gangsters, and suppressing evidence in criminal investigations, would not comment on the video. His brother, councillor Doug Ford, told reporters that his brother kept his promises, but when confronted with the video, he clarified that the mayor only keeps political promises, and not promises about his obvious, glaring, horrific substance abuse problems.

Rob Ford heard swearing, slurring speech in new video

Young Oxford Conservatives leader abuses DMCA to censor reporting of his calling Mandela a "terrorist"


Jeff Vinall, a Conservative Party activist who is director of communications for the Oxford University Tories and is a second year law student at Brasenose College has abused the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to censor a website that reproduced a posting from his Facebook account in which he called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist," shortly after Mandela's death.

Vinall sent a DMCA takedown notice to the hosts of the UK-based website Political Scrapbook after an initial demand to censor their reporting was declined. The DMCA is an American statute and notices issued under it have no standing in the United Kingdom; furthermore, it's clear that the brief quotation from Vinall qualifies as fair use under the American copyright law and fair dealing under English and Welsh copyright law.

In my opinion, Vinall is trying to have his cake and eat it too. I think he believes that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, but he also believes that saying this aloud brings him and the party into disrepute. At the same time, I think he believes that repudiating his tasteless remarks will alienate a sizable number of Conservative supporters who also hated Mandela and cheered his death -- so using bullying, censorious tactics to suppress the reporting of his remarks is way for him to suppress news of the remarks without having to issue an insincere apology through gritted teeth that would disgust the party's reactionary wing.

However, the Streisand Effect is in full effect; The Oxford Tab has picked up the story and reproduced Vinall's remarks. They have spoken to Apartheid refugees, who expressed shock and horror at Vinall's callous remarks and his willingness to take the side of the totalitarian monsters who branded Mandela a terrorist and imprisoned him for a quarter-century.

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Rob Ford's pitiable moment on Jimmy Kimmel

Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford flew to Los Angeles for an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show. What followed was more than a little awkward. Kimmel is a great pains to hide his dislike of Ford, but he's not entirely successful. The hardest part comes at the end, when Kimmel confronts Ford with the fact that he is an out-of-control alcoholic, whose blackouts, binges, abuse and dangerous behavior are putting him, the city, and the people he loves at risk. Ford's total denial is genuinely pitiable. Joey Davilla has a very thorough writeup of the appearance, with links to the other parts of the video.

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David Cameron's porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children


Patrick Rock, a Thatcherite who served as special advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and played an influential role in the Prime Minister's national Internet censorship plan, has been arrested for possession of images depicting the sexual abuse of children. The National Crime Agency is conducting forensic analysis of the computer networks at the Prime Minister's office/residence, Number 10 Downing Street.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford demands removal of Pride flag from City Hall


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford -- who has steadfastly refused to attend the city's massive, economically vital and glorious Pride parade -- has pitched a tantrum over the decision to fly a rainbow flag from the auxiliary flagpole at City Hall. The flag was raised in solidarity with LGBT activists and athletes in a project led by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam at the request of Pride House TO. Ford says he tried to get the flag removed, and has pasted Canadian flags over his office window and the doors of city hall.

Wong-Tam characterises this as evidence of Ford's long-suspected homophobia, which strikes me as extremely plausible. The article in the Globe and Mail points out that Ford recently told reporters that he would not attend Pride festivities even if he was not away with his family, this being Ford's usual excuse for missing it.

Wong-Tam hypothesizes that Ford has "let it all hang loose" and other councilors agree. I wonder if he thinks a dog-whistle for the city's bigots will win him votes come election day.

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Podcast: What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like?

Here's a reading of a recent Guardian column, What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like? which debunks the UK government's stupid arguments for its national anti-porn firewall:

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Canadian Wifi spying: Harper's secretary spins, lies, and slanders in Parliament

Following on this week's Snowden leak detailing how Canadian spy agency CSEC illegally intercepted free airport Wifi and used it to track Canadians as they moved around the country, Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, stood up in Parliament and issued a non-denial saying that the CBC had it all wrong, but not saying in what way.

The most shameful part of this was when Calandra used ad hominem to distract his audience from his government's criminal acts, slandering journalist Glenn Greenwald by calling him a "porn-spy," incorrectly stating that Greenwald had sold the leaked documents to the CBC, and then making a big deal out of the fact that Greenwald's bank account is in Brazil. The last part would be a bit mysterious, except for the fact that Greenwald lives in Brazil.

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Video of the ritual destruction of a Guardian laptop with the Snowden leaks, as ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron


Remember when UK Prime Minister David Cameron ordered government officials to go to the offices of the Guardian in London and demand the symbolic destruction of a laptop with the Edward Snowden leaks on it? It was a bizarre kind of high-tech exorcism, a bizarre ritual in which one of many, many copies of the Snowden documents were ritually destroyed, because, in the Prime Minister's words, "We've had enough debate about them."

The Guardian has posted a video of the exorcism, showing how the stern officials oversaw the piece-by-piece systematic destruction of the machine. It's not embeddable, but it's a remarkable piece of footage that you should really go and watch.

Revealed: the day Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ – video

(via Techdirt)