Friday, December 10, 2010

                  Baker, CA - world's biggest thermometer

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are preparing for charges of spying to be filed by the United States government, based on rumors they are hearing from lawyers in the US that an indictment is being prepared or has already been filed, his lawyers say today.

Charge him with spying. I'll bet Sarah Palin wishes she'd thought of that.

According to WikiLeaks Central: " Jennifer Robinson, one of the lawyers for Julian Assange, told The Guardian that the US government may be about to press charges against Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. She said that the legal team had heard from "several different US lawyers rumours that an indictment was on its way or had happened already, but we don't know". Ms Robinson told ABC News that "Our position of course is that we don't believe it (the Espionage Act) applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of Wikileaks and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the U.S."

I sure hope they are just rumors, though. I hope this doesn't mean that our esteemed rulers are so caught up in rage that they've lost control of themselves.

On the other hand, Barak Obama may think it's a clever political strategy. I confess that when I was reading about it, in several stories on my Google news page, I completely forgot about the 9.8 percent unemployment rate, the fact that my Democratic president seems to go looking for people to cave in to, and the fact that the rich in this country were just given a free pass to keep on getting richer, keep on getting off scott free when it comes to our shared mutual responsibility as citizens for taking care of this country, and the people in it, the ones they are getting filthy rich off. The ones whose labor creates all that wealth they now control.

Vladmir Putin, Veggie Quesadilla

As has Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin, the "alpha dog" (so referred to by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in one of the diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks), has publicly questioned the arrest and detention of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is jailed in London awaiting extradition to Sweden, where he is being investigated for sexual assault charges that still seem somewhat spurious, and are probably part of an effort by the US and its allies to discredit Assange.

"Why was Mr. Assange hidden in jail? Is that democracy?" Putin is quoted as saying by Agence France Press in an an article I read on the Turkish daily Hurriyet's web site. "As we say in the village: The pot is calling the kettle black," Putin said.

A commenter pointed out Putin's hypocrisy, since Russia has "one of the highest journalist mortality rates in he world."

Well, yes and no. There were five journalists killed in Russia in 2009, when the Philippines was by far the deadliest place for journalists with 33 killed, according to Reporters Without Borders. This year, when Mexico leads with eight, there have been none in Russia so far. Of course, one is one too many, but Russia seemed to acquire a reputation as a dangerous place for journalists in 2009 after the much publicized murder of Natalia Estemirova, a reporter who had a reputation as a human rights advocate, particularly having to do with the rebellious region of Chechnya, which is often said to be a CIA project.

Reporters Without Borders, by the way, which receives funding from USAID, that arm of the US government that actively supports opposition movements against progressive leaders worldwide, does not have that good of a reputation among progressives, for various reasons-- for example, their highly inaccurate assessments of the media in Venezuela -- and it is not a supporter of Assange. On their website, when Assange released the documents about the Afghan War, they slammed what they called his "incredible irresponsibility."

For a rather sickening report on Reporters Without Borders see:

Meanwhile, efforts to fight back and support Assange and WikiLeaks continue, as brave hackers try to shut down web sites like, Master Card, Visa and PayPal that have joined in the onslaught against Assange. A 16 year old hacker has been arrested in the Netherlands, however, so we will see if that takes any wind out of the hacker's sails.

I only hope that all the documents are successfully released. That this information sees the light of day has the potential for being one of the most consciousness raising events in history. Efforts are underway now -- like capitalism's assault on Net Neutrality, which I have written about in several earlier posts -- to control the internet precisely so things like WikiLeaks don't happen, so that we don't know, and if we don't know we can't anything about it. We remain powerless.

As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the leaked cables reveal how much our leaders hate democracy. They are one more damning proof that their agenda has nothing to do with democracy, or promoting democracy or human rights or anything but is about increasing their own personal power and the power of the American Imperial Empire.

Meanwhile, I've been enjoying the remains of my veggie quesadilla, which I bought back in Baker, CA, at the Mad Greek Restaurant, one of my favorite stopping places.  I'm sitting here in Park City because they will not unload me -- apparently the lumber I was loaded with is the wrong length for construction purposes, I am being told, anyway. Oh well. I will sit here until my capitalist masters decide what they want me to do.

The Mad Greek, incidentally, sits off the I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It's a delightful place to stop and eat -- although I may be somewhat prejudiced, because it is also the friendliest-to-truck-drivers place I know of. We get a 20 percent discount, plus a free drink, plus, they punch your little card each time and after 20 punches you get a free meal or a free gift such as a Mad Greek coffee mug or a Mad Greek hat or a Mad Greek T shirt. And there is truck parking. Nice, pull-through truck parking right behind the building, not a half mile away.

But the food is very good, and reasonably priced. I especially like the breakfasts, but they do some mean roasted chicken, if you get there before it runs out each day. Most often however I get a veggie quesadilla. Spinach, mushrooms, lots cheese, and it comes with a delicious dipping sauce, based on balsam vinegar I think, that tastes dry at first but then explodes in flavor and makes you jump up and shout "magnifique!" I like Mad Greek, too, because the dining area is a pleasant, airy-feeling place decorated in that way that people who take good care of their places and their patrons decorate places when they decorate them themselves.

There's a Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque on Gibson just north of San Pedro that is that way and is my favorite restaurant in town. Every available space on the walls and in the rafters is full of decorations, but whoever put them up has a unique sense of color and balance and the way to use those elements in design, and is a genuine artist, I think. In the Mad Greek's case, there is a lot of cheap white reproduction Greek statuary that looks like it came from the local lawn and garden center, and the autographed pictures of Greek celebrities, and of American celebrities who have stopped to eat on  their way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and posters of the Greek Islands and all kinds of Greek souvenir and memorabilia type things. It's a collage. A living work of art always in progress.

I'm sorry I haven't taken any pictures inside of it, or if I have I can't find them. The ones you see here were taken up and down the main street of Baker and as I was leaving town on the interstate.

 Taken from the truck, behind the trucker friendly Mad Greek Restaurant, in the Mad Greek Restaurant's truck parking lot.

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