Asylum or U.S. ‘justice’? Easy call

Glenn Greenwald on Julian Assange:

For several reasons, Assange has long feared that the US would be able to coerce Sweden into handing him over far more easily than if he were in Britain. For one, smaller countries such as Sweden are generally more susceptible to American pressure and bullying.

For another, that country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Swedish law permits extreme levels of secrecy in judicial proceedings and oppressive pre-trial conditions, enabling any Swedish-US transactions concerning Assange to be conducted beyond public scrutiny. Ironically, even the US State Department condemned Sweden’s “restrictive conditions for prisoners held in pretrial custody”, including severe restrictions on their communications with the outside world…

Grayson: ‘Fast and furious’ will fizzle

Here’s that rare Democratic politician who has a knack for getting to the heart of the matter — whatever the matter — in a hurry:

Former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson (D) on Wednesday blasted Republicans in Congress for continuing to grill U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the “fast and furious” gun-running scandal.

“Why won’t they launch an investigation of why 50 million Americans don’t have health care?” he asked on Current TV. “When are we going to see those investigations?”
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee chose to hold Holder in contempt of Congress over the Department of Justice’s refusal to release certain documents pertaining to the failed operation.

Regarding the environment, this is the worst Congress ever

This piece from Common Dreams is news of a sort, but few environmentally conscious citizens will be surprised by it:

… Everyone knows that we are facing an unprecedented environmental crisis– right?

Wrong. This news seems never to have gotten to America’s Republican legislators. In the face of these huge and escalating threats, the GOP majority over the last year has voted no fewer than 247 times (nearly once a day for every day the House was in session) to weaken environmental protections that have been in place for decades and to defeat needed legislation.

This according to a report released on Monday by Representatives Henry Waxman, a member the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Edward Markey a member of the Committee on Natural Resources. They have called the 112th Congress the most anti-environment ever…

Common Dreams is a fine organization, but the blandly satirical tone of the piece is annoying. It’s not as if the current crop of wing-nut Republicans hasn’t heard the “news” regarding climate change, threats to fresh water and food supplies, and so on. For a variety of reasons, they simply don’t care.

The new doctor

She’s very nice, the first visit took an hour. I talked to her about my thyroid and asked if she’d feel comfortable taking over the monitoring. She said yes, and asked why. “Well, you know that personality type that endos have?” I said.

She snickered and said, “You mean ‘asshole’?”

She was actually more current on the newest thyroid range than the endocrinologist, is open to alternative treatments and has been in practice for 20 years. I told her I really don’t like to take medicine, and I avoid radiation as much as I can, so if she wants me to take something or have a test, she needs to convince me there’s a really good reason. She didn’t seem to have a problem with that; I think I’m going to like her.

Turns out the practice has been open for almost two years, but the hospital system refuses to advertise it. (Which is why I never heard of it before.)

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