There is a whole lot going on in politics today, but it seems like Wikileaks continues to steal the show and set the debate.
As I write this, Julian Assange is sitting in British custody and awaiting extradition to Sweden on some strange sex charges. Many in the media are calling these accusations of rape, but some reports claim that the translated police complaints actually refer to an issue with a broken condom. The crime he's being charged with is relatively low level though, and Sweden promises not to continue the extradition chain to America. What Julian should be afraid of then, is that the British may choose to send him straight to D.C. instead of Sweden.
Then the American government will have to torture him to keep the truth hidden.
The latest round of diplomatic cable releases have proven a great embarrassment to the American political establishment - and an excuse to make heavy-handed threats against internet freedom, alternative media, and journalism in general.
Lieberman personally contacted Amazon.com to get the Wikileaks site pulled from their hosting services, and newspapers like the New York Times have been cautioned by other senior officials to watch what they're saying. Financial service companies from Visa and MasterCard to PayPal have all fallen to pressure to cut off Wikileaks donations. Colleges have warned students that linking to, talking about, or even reading the leaked documents could be bad for their entire careers.
In response, those three websites experienced some down time today as the internet fought back. DDOS attacks clogged up the servers and slowed business to a crawl.
So despite a lot of sound and fury from public officials in powerful positions, Wikileaks is still online and the major corporations that supported the government's secretive agenda are not.
Is this the first hint of a new turning, a new conflict that pits the political power of information-age upstarts against the established industrial-era elite? I say, bring on this non-violent fight for the freedom of information.
On a forum I visit, someone posted a graph of global trade in nominal terms and claimed it was irrefutable evidence that Obama has really turned the economy around.
The graph was provided without context, but a smart and skeptical poster tracked down the source data on global trade.
So anyway, I spent the last little while building up some line graphs out of the currency-adjusted trade volumes coming in and out of the United States from August 2005 to October 2009.
We are indeed, "off the bottom" in that our international economic activity is higher than its lowest post-bubble point. However, there is definitely no indication of a trend toward recovery and I'm pretty certain the momentum is pointing toward further declines and new lows.