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Each political note has its own anchor in case you want to link to it.
US citizens: sign this petition for Congress to finish enacting a whistleblower protection law.
As 100 people protested Bush forces recruiting in Washington DC, the police tried to stop the march through harassment and lies.
The US and other powers are trying to pressure Zimbabwe in the UN.
Bush, who has stolen two presidential elections, is no real supporter of democracy. So the US support for democracy in Zimbabwe is probably motivated by someone's greedy plan. But whatever it is, it can't be as bad as Mugabe's terror regime. So we should be glad that, for once, this amoral giant is doing something good. We should reserve our condemnation for when it does evil.
I'm sure it will give us plenty of opportunities.
The Swedish Pirate Party will sue to overturn the new Swedish surveillance law.
More and more private jets are being sold — even some jumbo jets normally used as airliners. They spew out CO2, and US tax law subsidizes their use.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose extension of oil drilling (offshore, ANWR), and sign this petition with the same point.
The oil will be much more valuable in 50 years (for uses other than combustion) than it is today. For now, let's leave it in the ground.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
NASA climatologist Hansen says: put oil company executives on trial for endangering humanity by lying about global warming.
High officials connected with Cheney took the initiative in instituting torture policies.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the Zimbabwe runoff election, saying that Mugabe's violence was too great. He will not ask people to die voting for him.
Some have criticized Tsvangirai for this decision, but I will not. There is a level of violence at which peaceful resistance becomes impossible, and if he says Zimbabwe has reached it, I will take his word for it. If foreign pressure cannot force Mugabe out, I think armed resistance is called for.
Many former US officials have said that the official story about 9/11 is bullshit, and the investigation was a sham.
A U.S. school district wants to put RFIDs in students's schoolbags.
The Bush regime's torture policies were instigated from the top.
Obama supports the FISA bill to authorize warrantless wiretapping in the future, while saying he will "try" to remove the retroactive immunity provision.
That shows how enthusiastically he will defend our rights: he will sign them away for the future, while trying ineffectively to legitimize their violation in the past.
Three years ago, Bush forces Marines massacred Iraqis in Haditha. Their relatives have got no justice.
It's not unusual for the Bush forces fighters to kill Iraqis. What's rare is to have enough attention and evidence to build a case about it — most of the time it was quietly forgotten. But even with attention and evidence, it's no use. The treaty that Bush demands from the "Iraqi" government is designed to allow this to continue.
This year's dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will be the biggest ever.
I wonder if there is a way to provide nitrates for plants without having so much of them wash away into the river.
The UK has proposed a vigorous plan for renewable energy.
But it fails to limit the burning of fossil fuel.
US voters: find out whether your representatives and senators are supported by the oil companies.
US citizens: sign Kucinich's petition supporting his effort to impeach Bush.
Mugabe has admitted that his election is a sham, saying he will not give up power no matter what the voters say.
That article says that Tsvangirai did not win enough votes to avoid a runoff, but there is every reason to believe that those figures were falsified by Mugabe too.
Most of Zimbabwe's neighbors have condemned Mugabe's tyranny. President Mbeki of South Africa is his last shield.
Mbeki is also responsible for millions of HIV infections, due to his persistent opposition to all the effective measures to prevent them. He also supports the policies of the empire of the megacorporations. His existence is a pestilence.
The Bush forces cancelled the case against an officer who did not investigate the killing of prisoners on a technicality: the wrong man was present in certain meetings.
Command influence is a big danger in military "justice", because it is built into the system. The judges take orders from the military command, and so does the prosecutor, and so does the defense attorney.
I won't say that the improper meetings that occurred are ok; perhaps they were a real problem. But command influence does not always manifest itself so explicitly. The judge in this trial doesn't need to meet with Bush to know that Bush would rather have the blame limited to as low ranks as possible.
The Veterans Administration is testing drugs improperly on veterans, and putting them at risk.
I agree with Obama that the VA should respect the rights of experimental subjects when treating veterans. But when he describes those who fought in the occupation of Iraq as having "sacrificed...for our country", he legitimizes an unjust war of aggression. This is part of why I do not support Obama for president.
Amnesty International implored the European Union not to be cruel to rejected asylum seekers. The EU did not listen.
Samina Malik's conviction was overturned on appeal, but UK law continues to prohibit the mere possession of books that explain methods that "terrorists" might use.
In effect, it is a system of censorship that only applies to those that the authorities see fit to persecute.
Several major US ISPs agreed to censor Internet access.
The first target of this censorship is sites and newsgroups that supposedly contain "child pornography". This term is dishonest, since the law defines "child" as "anyone under 18". For instance, Americans of age 16 are hardly children. They are sexually mature, almost half of them have had sex, and any normal adult will find them attractive. But our government calls them "children", with the implication that being attracted to them makes you a pervert.
The danger of censorship goes far beyond this specific instance of censorship. Once ISPs agree to censor the Internet for one kind of thing, they can easily censor other things. In effect, they have now constituted the Great Firewall of the US.
The editors of Uruknet report that Google has repeatedly dropped its pages from the index.
European governments are starting to recognize the harm done by biofuel made from food crops.
Ireland's no vote on the European constitution-in-disguise is so uncomfortable for Europe's leaders that they don't want to accept it. They are trying to demand that Ireland must vote again and say yes this time.
This resembles what Mugabe did after he lost the election.
This treaty in printed form was 269 pages long, thus almost impossible to understand.
A truce between Israel and Hamas has begun. If it holds, Israel has promised to relax the siege of Gaza.
Burmese paramilitaries attacked protestors who demanded the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
"Pro-government militias" under a military regime do not arise spontaneously from public enthusiasm. They are organized by the government, and their members get some sort of rewards or privileges. Thus, calling them "paramilitaries" seems appropriate.
A Turkish publisher has been sentenced to prison for publishing a book that acknowledges the genocide of the Armenians.
One of the causes of the food shortage in Africa is that the US, the IMF and the World Bank forces African governments to adopt policies damaging to the millions of small farms.
Clorox is raking in money after corrupting the Sierra Club into advertising Clorox chemical products.
Rep. Conyers is under strong public pressure to hold impeachment hearings but still refuses.
An open letter to Conyers explaining why impeachment is necessary.
Environmentalists disagree over whether it is safe to dispose of CO2 in the deep ocean, where it would remain for hundreds of years.
It seems to me that if the total amount that could be disposed of there only equals 16 years of human production, this method is at best a stopgap. We may have need for a stopgap as part of a real solution. However, today's governments, subservient to the megacorporate empire, will seize on any stopgap as an excuse to put off real solutions.
Russia has accused four men including an ex-cop and a member of the spy agency of the murder of journalist Politkovskaya.
McCain wants to drill for oil at the expense of the environment, supposedly to reduce oil prices.
The world is burning too much oil already.
It's not just the government that censors the internet in China. PR corporations do it too, as in the US.
The European Parliament voted to imprison rejected asylum-seekers for up to 18 months before deporting them.
When so many governments around the world trample human rights to maintain the control of the megacorporations over their countries, there is a large population of people that have valid grounds for political asylum. Hence the pressure on governments to deny asylum even to people that qualify, often by denying plain facts about oppressive regimes.
At the same time, many people wish to move to Europe for economic reasons — for instance, to escape the poverty that the megacorporate empire spreads. It is legitimate in principle for a country to reject such migrants, but this carries with it the duty to help those countries resist and escape the harmful influence of the empire; for instance, to abolish the sweatshop treaties which do the dirty work.
The sweatshop treaties are usually called "free trade" treaties, but that name is dishonest. These treaties typically impose requirements for patents and copyrights, requirements that restrict trade. The purpose of these treaties is rather to transfer power from (possibly democratic) governments to business. Thus, they are designed to reduce governments' power to control business, and to in some cases to increase the megacorporations' power to do so.
Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, told the EU that Bolivia would pull out of negotiations on a new sweatshop treaty if this directive is approved.
I hope he follows through on this. My only criticism is that he was willing to entertain such negotiations in the first place. On trade issues, the EU is just as bad as the US; any trade treaty that the EU of today is willing to sign is surely harmful.
Canada's president apologized for the policy of forcing native children to attend church boarding schools. Canada will pay compensation to the survivors.
The US had a similar schools policy, with disastrous results. (Many books describe the strife that this caused in the Hopi tribe.) These schools, which were designed for assimilation, must have played a big role in the loss of many of the native languages.
A large fund has been set up to support projects that reduce the destruction of the Congo rainforest.
Even if some of these projects are effective, I doubt they can overcome the profitability of logging. So I think more is needed. I wonder if it is possible to identify through biological tests which part of the world some wood originated in.
Hundreds of homosexual couples have married in California, but Christian fanatics find the idea offensive and have arranged for a referendum to ban the practice.
Although the Bible says that Jesus preached people should love each other, Christianity often manifests itself as hatred.
Egypt says it has brokered a truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Israel seems to cast some doubt on whether this is real.
The US response speaks of Hamas' "loaded gun" and does not mention Israel's loaded cannons pointing in the other direction. This reflects the extreme bias of the US government in the matter.
Protesters against Bush's imperial procession in London clashed with police as they tried to reach Whitehall, the street where the UK's government buildings are located.
I am glad to read that the protestors condemned Bush's temporary occupation of London as well as his "temporary but forever" occupation of Iraq.
Everyone, but especially US citizens:
Three Palestinians from Gaza received Fulbright scholarships to study in the US, but Israel would not allow them to go. Write to Ms Rice saying the US should pressure Israel to let them travel and study.
Former governor Jesse Ventura, who has demolition experience, says that he is convinced that 9/11 was an inside job.
Nader's entry into the presidential race has made Obama talk a little more progressive, but it's just talk so far.
A part of Australia is creating a centralized data base of all students, and many parents are angry.
Those who are debating the danger of unauthorized misuse are being distracted from the bigger danger: authorized misuse, by the government and its agents. Collecting data about people while they are young gives the government a head start on total information about everyone, and governments do not always use this information for good.
Teachers don't need a database to recognize their students. If schools need some of these data, they should keep only what is needed, in a decentralized way, and discard it when no longer needed.
US Citizens: The Senate is making another attempt to retroactively legalize the phone companies' illegal surveillance. Phone your congresscritter, thank the House for blocking this a few months ago, and ask him/her to do block it this time too.
You can also send an email, but phone calls carry more weight.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Bush wants the "Iraqi" government to agree that Bush can decide arbitrarily whether Iraq has been "attacked", and then retaliate. This appears designed as a legalistic excuse for attacking Iran.
Lithuania proposes to let people vote through their cell phones.
This would make it easy for the election administration to record how you vote, delete your vote, change your vote, etc. The phone company could do these things too, unless something I don't see prevents it.
Write a letter to the government of Afghanistan on behalf of reporter Sayed Kambakhsh, who is facing the death penalty for "blasphemy" for redistributing to fellow students a document he obtained from the net. In the UK, Hicham Yezza is also being punished for downloading information from the net.
In Stockholm: Join the protest outside parliament against the Swedish surveillance law on Wednesday, June 18, at 8 a.m. when the parliament votes on it.
Sweden is about to pass a surveillance law that would let the government listen to nearly all phone calls and read nearly all emails, without any court supervision. The proponents describe it with lies, of course.
Uri Avnery's program for peace between Israel and Palestine starts with an apology.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who helped negotiate the Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, condemned the influence of the Israeli Hawk Lobby in the US, and says it falsely accuses people of "anti-Semitism".
Now the supporters of the Israeli Hawk lobby are proving Brzezinski's point by doing that very thing to him.
Note how this article refers to Brzezinski as "Obama's advisor". They don't care about Brzezinski as such; what they want is to make Obama toe the line.
Two Iraqis accused of shooting prisoners have been held prisoner since 2003, without trial. They smuggled out a letter asking to be released or given a trial.
A major ISP in the UK has taken the side of the music factories against its customers, the public.
Virgin's customers should cut off their service. But, more than that, this shows that we must organize to loudly condemn and oppose the very idea of stopping people from sharing — no matter how it is done.
The politicians and executives that support draconian laws against copying do not expect to face widespread condemnation from the people they have attacked. We need to teach them a different expectation. We need to show them that anyone who attacks sharing will be considered the enemy of society.
Ireland's referendum rejected the EU constitution-in-disguise.
Voters were right to distrust any treaty drawn up by today's politicians to "reform" the EU. The EU needs reform, but they will try to make it worse, not better. Most EU governments and politicians are subservient to business, and any constitution they propose had better be studied long and hard for booby traps. If it is hard to read, that is a very good reason to reject it. This treaty in printed form was 269 pages long, thus almost impossible to understand.
It is no surprise that these same politicians are trying to insist that the constitution is not dead. They know what their bosses want, and they are very persistent.
A spectacular Taliban attack freed nearly all the prisoners in Kandahar prison.
CO2 pollution protestors seized and stopped a coal train in the UK.
A Maoist movement that believes in multiparty democracy won the elections in Nepal, but now faces the threat of a coup by the Western-armed royalist army.
Mao was a disaster for China, so I am skeptical of anyone who calls himself Maoist. It sounds like this movement is a lot better than Mao, but I do not know enough to think about whether I could support it.
McCain tries to hide the fact that he is a neocon, and that he supported the lies that were used as the excuse to invade Iraq.
We used to call these people "cons", and subsequently "ex-cons".
Ethiopia is using a brutal terror campaign to defeat rebels in the Ogaden region.
The Bush regime treats Ethiopia as an ally, using Ethopia as a proxy for the Iraq-style occupation of Somalia. In effect, the "War on Terror" only applies to terrorists that Bush does not find useful.
A major leader of the UK Conservative party resigned his position to campaign against increases in pretrial detention.
Many others think he made a tactical error. Perhaps they are right; I do not know enough to judge that. But I agree with everything he said about the issue itself.
Mugabe arrested the main Zimbabwean opposition leaders, charging one of them with treason.
The Ethiopian government did something similar.
A doctor in the US was sentenced to prison for collecting body parts from corpses and making them available for medical purposes.
The failure to screen these body parts for diseases was a dangerous act of negligence: it exposed people gratuitously to the risk of infection. This should be punished. But the rest of what he did was not wrong.
This doctor saved, for the most meritorious possible use, parts of corpses which would otherwise have been thrown away. Is that "plunder"? Relatives of the deceased people claim to be "victims", but they are guilty of something much worse: they sought to deny others needed medical care, apparently for no reason except corpse fetishism. They deserve no sympathy.
There ought to be a law that relatives of a dead person who wish to veto taking organs for transplantation must first have a face-to-face conversation with someone that needs a transplant and is so far down the list that he probably won't get one. He will ask them questions such as, "Why is burying that heart (liver, kidney, tendon, whatever) in a grave so important that it should keep me from getting the operation I need? Is something hidden inside a corpse more important than a living person's health?"
Or just legislate that everyone's body is available for transplantation. I don't think many corpses will object.
As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, NATO has started to say "We must win this fight for the sake of NATO."
This means that (1) what's good for Afghanis is no longer the point, and (2) NATO has adopted the Bush regime's attitude that it must never allow anything to fail, because that would mean admitting fallibility.
The US Supreme Court restored the right of habeas corpus for the prisoners in Guantanamo.
But how can the thousands of secret prisoners elsewhere, whose captivity is not acknowledged, exercise this right?
A judge dismissed the trumped-up charges against artist Steven Kurtz.
The Bush regime prosecutors could not have failed to know that these charges were unjust. I think they were implementing the regime's arrogant attitude toward the public: "The Government Is Never Wrong." Anyone who the regime accuses, even by mistake or through confusion, must be convicted of something, by hook or by crook.
Grinding people down persistently for years often succeeds in crushing them, innocent or not. It worked with Kurtz' colleague, who pled guilty to some of the same charges that were now dismissed. It takes physical stamina as well as mental firmness to stand up to the pitiless attacks of an evil machine.
US citizens: Phone your congresscritter to support the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would stop the federal government from arresting patients who are using medical marijuana legally under state law.
Marijuana is less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, so it should not be more illegal. This is just a first step, but it is an important step.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
After a conference in Bil'in on peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation, the attendees went to a nonviolent protest at the annexation wall, and were attacked by Israeli troops.
The protestors included European officials. Perhaps this will have an effect.
The anti-abortion movement has come out in the open with its real aims: prohibition of contraception.
This shows that their real concern is not a matter of "right to life" for embryos that have no brain, or fetuses whose brains are not yet wired up to function. Their aim is to force everyone to live according to their perverse religion.
Tyson Foods lied to the public and to the government when it said its chickens were not given antibiotics.
Both McCain and Obama are supporting Bush's exaggerated claims about Iran.
Music sharing is not only good for society, and ethical. It can even benefit the musicians.
Harvard Professor Matory reports on the censorship pressure that has "disinvited" three visiting academic speakers who were known for supporting the Palestinian cause. His faculty resolution to reaffirm academic freedom was defeated.
A museum exhibit showing maps of Palestine was closed under pressure from the Israeli Hawks lobby. The exhibit has reopened allowing admittance only with guided visits.
I call it the "Israeli Hawks lobby", rather than the "Israel lobby", because it represents only one side of Israeli politics, and does not represent all Israelis or Israel's real interests. It is easier to oppose these hawks in Israel than in the US where the Israeli Hawks lobby reigns supreme.
Gordon Clown got his 42-day-detention law through the House of Commons, just barely.
The law is likely to be blocked by the House of Lords, but this vote is still a loss for Britain. It shows that Clown is determined to crush the last shreds of the Rights of Englishmen.
It was predictable, after the compromise that extended pre-charge detention to 30 days when B'liar wanted 90, that the B'liar/Clown regime would come back later saying "meet me half-way again". Compromise with fascists is self-delusion; the only thing to do is oppose them.
The Bush regime is protecting companies and Iraqis that ran off with 23 billion of unaccounted funds.
Did the Bush forces use phosphorus bombs in Mosul?
Protestors against Bush plan to march in London even though the Clown regime has banned the march.
Kucinich again introduced articles of impeachment against Bush.
In order for this to have an effect, the rest of the house must support it.
The Bush regime admits it may have trouble imposing the colonization treaty it wants on Iraq.
US citizens: Phone your congresscritter and demand that he/she support Kucinich's articles of impeachment against Bush.
Here's one person's open letter to the House Judiciary Committee: http://erispress.com/Open_Letter-HJC.html.
Star Simpson, arrested by police nincompoops that mistook lights on her shirt for a bomb, avoided prosecution by taking blame for the police's mistake.
To be forced to apologize and praise those who wronged her must have been humiliating, and clearly was unfair, but what is more important is how it affects the rest of us. This confirms the police's idea that they must never be blamed for mistakes. If they make a mistake about you, that is your fault; you should have known better than to do anything they might be confused about.
As long as police get away with blaming their mistakes on the victims, they will continue to treat the public with contempt.
Ten years from now, Lake Mead may be mostly empty and the Hoover Dam may produce no electricity. Scripps researchers predict a 50% chance that will happen by 2017.
Global warming is part of the cause.
The TSA has abruptly abolished the right to board a plane without showing ID.
As the article explains, this and the "no fly" list are "security theater", with results that are unjust.
The people of Afghanistan seem to have given up hope for the Afghan government, which cannot provide security.
The high price of oil has made geothermal electric generation economically feasible.
Bush wants a treaty to station the Bush forces permanently in Iraq, with power to arrest and imprison people, exempt from Iraqi law. In effect, it would make Iraq a permanent colony.
B'liar's first attack on the Rights of Englishment was a law making it easy for any level of government to spy on people without a warrant. This law was supposed to be for the sake of stopping "terrorism", but in fact it is used for matters as small as putting out garbage on the wrong day.
This same law makes it a crime not to hand over your encryption keys on demand.
Uri Avnery on why Obama bowed down to the Israeli hawks.
It may not be just a pretense.
Obama has a solid record as a pro-business Democrat — what we would have called "right-wing Democrat" in the 70s.
Bush wants a treaty to station the Bushg forces permanently in Iraq,with power to arrest and imprison people, exempt from Iraqi law. In effect, it would make Iraq a permanent colony.
1/3 of the CO2 we put into the atmosphere goes into the oceans, making them more acidic. This will eventually kill the plankton and coral, eliminating the rest of the food chain.
The Bush regime is trying to admit only its supporters to the kangaroo trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The 9/11 victims' families are being kept out; apparently Bush does not want them to see what's happening.
Bush's War on the Constitution puts every American in danger.
Anyone who has sworn an oath to defend the US Constitution has the duty to protect the country from public enemy number one: Bush.
How much change would Obama make in US Middle East policy? Probably not much.
I am not very impressed when politicians say that will give us "change". Bush gave us lots of change...for the worse.
US citizens: call your senators' offices and say, either fix the Lieberman/Warner global warming bill, or drop it.
You can also sign this petition (which also leads to more information), but a phone call has more impact.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Obama partially backed off from his statement that Jerusalem should belong to Israel only.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers gained a major concession from Burger King, which will now pay agricultural workers an additional penny for each pound of tomatoes.
This extra cost is tiny (one pound of tomatoes is enough for probably 20 burgers) for Burger King; the fact that Burger King resisted so long and hard is an indication of intends greed and callousness.
The "Iraqi" government, trying to act with independence, says it will not permit unrestricted movement of the Bush forces troops in the future.
The Iraqi government is sovereign only in Bush's pretense. It exists only because Bush set it up, and cannot maintain itself in power. For it to defend any sort of real sovereignty will be difficult.
Everyone: sign this petition rebuking McCain and Obama for going overboard in supporting Israel and disregarding the Palestinians.
Republican opposition killed the Senate's climate change bill.
Disney World is teaching children to insist that "everyone must be fingerprinted".
Supermarket discount cards have a similar effect.
The mass extinction now begining could be disastrous for the world. Every species' extinction means the loss of something irreplaceable. Sometimes what is lost is a way to cure diseases.
This shows another reason not to make biofuels from food crops or on land that could be used for food crops.
It is also a reason to press hard to end human population growth.
Mugabe's troops attack opposition supporters at the grass-roots level, while denying food to everyone tagged as an opposition supporter.
Israel has explicitly threatened to attack Iran.
I read elsewhere that one of Ahmadinejad's supposed threats to destroy Israel had been misinterpreted, and that his actual words were a prediction that Israel would disappear sooner or later. Predicting someone's demise is unfriendly, but it is not as bad as a threat. Israel, which already has nuclear weapons, is the one that is doing the threatening.
It seems to me that Olmert may be trying to start another war so that he won't be indicted for corruption for all the money he received from Talansky.
New Zealand has released Amir Mohebbi and Ali Panah from prison. But it still wants to deport them to Iran, where they might face execution for converting to Christianity.
Here's more info on the proposed Iranian law that would make conversion a capital crime.
Bush wants the "Iraqi" government to allow US attacks against any country from permanent bases in Iraq.
US citizens: sign the petition in favor of equal rights for marriage regardless of gender.
Sweden is about to pass a nasty bill authorizing effectively total surveillance of Internet communication.
Mugabe has banned international food aid organizations, claiming that they help the opposition, whose members and leaders he is attacking and arresting.
Since Mugabe is trying to use starvation as a weapon against the opposition, any food aid not under his control tends to defeat that tactic, and thus could be said to help the opposition. But there is nothing wrong with that. The rest of the world should be giving the opposition in Zimbabwe a lot more help, including military help. A few divisions would suffice to make it possible to have a free election.
It is interesting to compare this case with Iraq. Iraq was kept hungry for 12 years by US-imposed sanctions, and did not have a real internal opposition to Saddam Hussein. Yet Bush claimed his invasion was meant to help the Iraqis. If he were really moved by such concerns, he would have refrained from invading Iraq, and would invade Zimbabwe now.
The Bush regime doesn't mind doing business with people that the US has accused of corruption.
That's because Bush's motto is, Corruption R Us.
100,000 people's movements were tracked through their cell phones for a scientific study.
This is a reminder that Big Brother can track anyone's cell phone. Do you want all your movements to be tracked?
Remember that the only way to stop most cell phones from reporting their whereabous is to take the batteries out.
Bush plans to turn the occupation of Iraq over to mercenaries. This will allow him to pretend to have withdrawn US troops from the Bush forces, because he pretends that the mercenaries are not troops.
Mercenaries in Iraq are subject to no laws at all. If official soldiers kill prisoners, they are subject to military justice. Even though that is a parody of justice, biased in these cases in favor of the soldiers, it is better than nothing. However, mercenaries in Iraq regularly go unpunished even when they rape other mercenaries.
In Washington DC, people are now forced to show their papers to travel around the city.
Exxon said, for the second time, that it has stopped funding organizations that lie about global warming. Apparently it wasn't true the first time. And it isn't true this time either.
A reporter at MSNBC says that the staff was systematically pressured to slant stories in favor of attacking Iraq.
Slacktivism can result from the human tendency to laziness, but it can also be organized by companies.
Remembering the massacres of 19 years ago, when China crushed its democracy movement.
This is not mere history: the resulting injustice still operates today, since China continues to suppress democracy in the same way. All the more reason to keep the heat on.
To keep the memory of the massacre alive, we should stop calling that place Tienan Mén (gate of heavenly peace). If you are going to Beijing, ask for directions to Sha Xuésheng Mén (gate of killing students). The x is pronounced like "ch" in German "ich", the acute accent indicates a rising tone, and the second and third e's are pronounced like "u" in "put".
Readers have posted several comments on the article that express extreme cynicism: "You can't criticize China since your country's government is bad too." Such cynicism is made to order for despots in all countries, since it sets a threshold for criticism that nobody can meet. It despises humanity and gives up on making anything better.
Amnesty International is equally aware that every government can violate human rights, and nearly all of them do. Unlike the cynics, it aims to make things better. So it organizes pressure on every country from people in other countries.
Venice has launched a campaign against bottled water.
Bush's political appointees in NASA altered reports to cover up global warming, says an official investigation.
The investigation found no proof that Bush or his men specifically told them to do this, but that signifies nothing. If they were given their instructions orally, there would be no proof to find.
Plamegate isn't over: there is new evidence touching Cheney.
China has added a bunch of nasty reasons to the usual reasons you should stay away from places where Olympic games are being held.
The production of biofuels in the US and Brazil was attacked at the FAO summit.
Lula's response was a distractive irrationality. There are plenty of other scandals in use of oil and coal, but that doesn't address the question; people can't eat them.
The problems with biofuels made from food crops have been published for over a year now, as you can see from previous links here. Yet I'm no expert on this field: all I did was keep my eyes open, which anyone can do. So what can we say about politicians who have kept their eyes shut?
The occupation of Palestine costs Israel dearly, stunting economic growth.
This is small potatoes compared with the injustcie it does to the Palestinians, but if it helps convince Israelis to end the occupation, it matters.
Can anyone hear the voices of the poor and hungry?
I think the answer is, "Yes, if the mainstream media don't distract us from them."
As Colombia presents possibly fabricated evidence connecting Chávez to the FARC guerrillas, Uribe uses this to distract attention from the his own much better documented ties to Colombia's terrorist paramilitaries.
High oil prices have renewed interest in space solar power, which would be safe and produce no chemical or radioactive pollution on Earth.
This is one of many reasons why we are not compelled to build nuclear power plants.
An ice shelf in the Arctic is starting to disintegrate. Scientists predict that there will be no ice in the Arctic in summer a few decades from now.
Every decrease in Arctic ice causes more absorption of sunlight and more warming — a dangeroust positive feedback system.
Another dangerous positive feedback system is release of methane from permafrost. Research shows this is increasing.
Global warming will enable crabs and sharks to return to the waters around Antarctica, where they could wipe out many species that have been protected from them for millions of years.
Russia and China support a treaty against deploying arms in space. Who opposes this? The US, of course.
Venezuelan President Chávez has proposed a law along similar lines to the unjust U SAP AT RIOT Act.
Withholding evidence from defendants is the road to unjust convictions. The other provisions sound bad too. The Bush regime is in no position to criticize, but those who have opposed the PAT RIOT Act and supported Chávez should implore him to drop this plan.
Israel has apparently relented on letting Palestinian students leave Gaza to study in the US.
Israeli agents harrassed and tried to intimidate the Physicians for Human Rights.
Mohammad Qatanani, fighting deportation to Palestine, told a US court of his torture in an Israeli prison.
They also threatened his family, a tactic used also by the Bush regime in Iraq.
The world's major ISPs are accused of planning (and signing secret contracts) to make Internet users pay for access to all but a few favored web sites.
I have no objection in principle to charging users for total bandwidth of downloads as long as it is done without discrimination based on what is downloaded. However, someone pointed out to me that this might lead more people to put passwords on their WiFi. That would be a bad result.
It may be possible to avoid that result through neighborhood-based campaigns urging people not to lock each other out. I wonder if there are any unlocked WiFi activists in the area of Texas where this is being tested.
An airline security bully threatened to arrest a man in Heathrow Airport for wearing a shirt with a picture of a cartoon robot with a gun.
If the bully were so stupid that he believed the cartoon robot could actually shoot someone, it would be hard to be a angry at him. Someone so badly retarded is not fit for the job, but it's not his fault that he is retarded.
However, what really happened is much worse. That bully was perfectly aware that the cartoon robot could not shoot anyone. But he thinks he should forbid it anyway, because he has lost all sense of proportion.
An open letter to Admiral Fallon (recently retired) implores him in the name of his oath to the constitution to denounce the lies Bush is now using to excuse attacking Iran.
Oppose the deportation of Hicham Yezza, who is being punished for being innocent of "terrorism" charges.
Yezza was originally accused simply for having printed a document he obtained from a US government web site. This reveals the tyranny of the UK's laws.
If you sweat while in a plane because you are afraid of flying, you may get fingered as a terrorist.
The whole idea is absurd, because even if the system works, what good could it do? Whatever the crew could do to oppose a would-be hijacker with a little advance warning, they could just as well do when he starts to act. Only when there are armed police in the plane (and that's a small fraction of the time) would the advance warning be useful.
McCain is defending the lies that Bush told to justify conquering Iraq.
The Bush regime is holding least 26,000 "disappeared" prisoners whose whereabouts are secret. Some are kept on ships, where they are beaten.
The ships can also hand them over to other evil governments where they can be tortured and Bush can pretend not to be responsible. Bush said he stopped doing this, but he lied.
Americans that close their eyes to the evil of the Bush regime make themselves co-responsible for it.
Republicans are planning to steal the 2008 election by stopping many Democrats from voting.
A hunger striker outside McCain's office in Phoenix demands the truth about the 9/11 attacks.
Virginia Commonwealth University got research funds from Philip Morris by allowing that company total control over releasing the results. The university officials who signed the contract are not even allowed to talk about it.
The article obscures some of the facts by using the vague term "intellectual property". That term potentially refers to a large set of diverse laws — but most places where it is used really mean only one or two of them. We cannot tell which of these laws are actually meant here, because the term hides that.
It is always a mistake to use the term "intellectual property". See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html.
Participate in the Day of Action against Starbucks on July 5.
Chinese parents protested the faulty construction of schools, which caused the death of their children in the earthquake.
Even after 60,000 dead, the Chinese official's primary wish is to try to deny and bury problems. That is why they were not corrected in the first place.
The same thing occurred during the SARS outbreak several years ago: Chinese officials denied the scope of the problem until that was impossible.
It happened again a couple of years ago when a toxic chemical spill menaced the water for a city. As long as this continues, the inhabitants of China will have lousy government. So can Americans, if Bush achieves his aim of making the US government follow the Chinese model.
There are nonviolent protests against the annexation wall in the Palestinian village of Ni'ilin. The wall threatens to surround that region completely and cut it off.
Uri Avnery: Olmert is part and parcel of corruption that spreads from conquest and occupation of Arab lands.
The Bush regime acknowledged paying other countries to contribute troops to the occupation of Iraq.
That is not immoral in itself; in a just war, this would not be an unjust way to fight it. But it shows the regime's claims of support from other countries are part fake.
Why Gaza has to pump sewage into the sea: to avoid overflows like this one which killed 5 people.
In Kurdish Iraq, cell phone cameras have led to the death of hundreds of women.
It is plausible that this happens in the rest of Iraq too, but it may be too dangerous there to collect any statistics.
Why Gaza has to pump sewage into the sea: to avoid overflows like this one which killed 5 people.
The Bush regime acknowledged paying other countries to contribute troops to the occupation of Iraq.
That is not immoral in itself; in a just war, this would not be an unjust way to fight it. But it shows the regime's claims of support from other countries are part fake.
In Kurdish Iraq, cell phone cameras have led to the death of hundreds of women.
It is plausible that this happens in the rest of Iraq too, but it may be too dangerous there to collect any statistics.
Gaza lacks fuel to run sewage treatment plants, so it has to pump sewage into the Mediterranean, which kills the fish and makes the sea dangerous to swim in.
The Israeli government probably considers this a plus, since it impedes any attempt to swim to a ship, and contributes to the starvation of everyone in Gaza.
President Carter called Israel's starvation of Gaza one of the worst human rights crimes.
The Isreali representative thinks it is irresponsible to admit the facts about Israel's nuclear weapons because that might lead people to compare the international attitude towards possible Iranian nuclear weapons with the international attitude towards actual Israeli nuclear weapons.
Israeli soldiers shot protestors in Gaza, killing one of them and wounding many.
The arrest of Hicham Yezza and the plan to deport him has ignited protests at the University of Nottingham against the unjust UK "anti-terrorism" laws, that make it a crime to read a book (if the government claims you are doing it for "terrorism").
The CIA has admitted using drowning torture, but continues concealing when it has done so.
A campaign to break the siege of Gaza, by delivering relief supplies by ship, asks for various kinds of support.
The Union of Concerned Scientists warns the US: act now to reduce global warming drastically, or it will soon be too late.
The Bush regime removed a judge from the phony trial of a Guantanamo prisoner because the judge tried to make the trial fairer.
The fact that this is even possible illustrates one reason these military courts are fundamentally unjust: the judge works for the prosecution.
Polluters can easily get awards for being good to the environment, when big companies dominate the organizations that give the awards.
Many US restaurant chains misrepresented the calories in various dishes — sometimes giving values only half the real ones.
I don't believe their claim that this was because the investigators just happened to receive oversize portions. These chains must carefully manage the portion sizes.
An organization funded by coal companies called senators to oppose a bill to reduce global warming, and pretended to be a citizens' group.
Airline security idiots told Marnina Norys she could not board a plane with her necklace, which had a 2" pendant in the shape of a gun.
The arguments offered to defend them show the insane frame of mind of the security state: grasp at straws to justify whatever they do, rather than admit being mistaken. That insanity is much more dangerous than any non-state-sponsored terrorists.
George Monbiot tried to arrest John Bolton (a Bush regime official and neocon) for war crimes. Bolton escaped with the help of his bodyguard.
Here's what Monbiot said about it.
Note how the Hay festival's response misses the point. Monbiot attempted to arrest Bolton after his speech, thus respecting freedom of expression. However, freedom of expression is not an excuse for mass murderers to escape punishment for their crimes.
100 nations agreed to a treaty to ban cluster bombs.
The states that refuse to ban them are the US, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan. Shame on them all!
Photographer Bill Henson faces prosecution in Australia for nude photos seized from an art exhibition. Many respected artists have come to his defense.
This shows where the perverse crusade against "child pornography" naturally leads.
Global warming will cause reduced rainfall in the US southwest, which will make it hard to find water for the growing population.
The US Congress voted to investigate the Pentagon Paid Propaganda Pundit Program. The US TV networks, which were used by these "military experts" to prevent propaganda for attacking Iraq, continue to refuse to recognize it.
McCain is trying to turn a global warming bill into a subsidy for nuclear power.
The US and EU and Canada want border guards to check everyone's laptops for unauthorized copies. They are trying to impose this nasty law through a treaty, secretly negotiated, so as to bypass democracy.
The prohibition of sharing can only be enforced with draconian cruelty. This shows that prohibiting sharing is wrong.
The copyright companies keep asking for draconian cruelty, and corporocratic governments keep proposing to give it to them. This illustrates why corporocratic governments are unjust and their actions are illegitimate.
Israeli police order Palestinians to come for an interrogation, then make them wait in line days without talking to them, effectively ruining their lives.
Since imprisonment without trial is normal in Palestine, nobody there has any rights, and any Palestinian could be punished for anything, up to and including summary execution, at any time.
A US businessman gave $150k to Olmert, under the table.
Whether this was a bribe, or a secret campaign contribution, either way it was corrupt.
Israel tried to block Desmond Tutu from starting the UN investigation of the shelling that killed 18 sleeping Palestinians in their home. But he has finally arrived in Gaza to begin.
But that was far from unique. Israeli forces are destroying farms and businesses in Gaza, making a substantial fraction uninhabitable, and thus exacerbating the poverty and starvation even worse.
The shelling might have been an accident, but these raids certainly are no accident.
Burma's military rulers decided to imprison Aung San Suu Kyi for 5 more years. The UN ignored this issue because it was begging them to allow aid to the Burmese cyclone survivors.
In effect, it used those survivors as hostages.
Palestinian students in Gaza have been blocked from traveling to Europe to study — some for up to 7 years.
Other Gazans die, because Israel blocks them from traveling to hospitals for treatment.
Palestinians have to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop illegal Israeli settlements from stealing their land.
Bush has resumed the FBI's spying on political opposition, as in the 60s.
Bush and McCain are trying to justify war by pretending that Iran is a military threat to the US. Or will be. Does that sound familiar?
Chinese whose children died in collapsed school buildings are protesting to the government even though officials begged them not to.
Carter called on Europe to stop following the US and start talking with Hamas.
Ancient City of Babylon Destroyed by US Occupation Base.
The plans for "stabilization" of CO2 at levels such as 550ppm are fundamentally impossible, since that level of warming would melt lots of permafrost, releasing a lot more greenhouse gas. Thus, it is absolutely essential to cap CO2 at a lower level.
1/3 to 2/3 of the subsidies for carbon emission reduction are going to projects that would have been done anyway.
This does not necessarily mean the subsidy has no good effect. Rather, it is an inefficiency in the subsidy, which might or might not make another method better.
I tend to favor taxes on emissions, because that would affect all parts of the economy. For instance, how do we reduce the long-distance transport of food, but only when its pollution is more?
A tax would have this effect.
The Bush forces are still not accounting for their spending, so billions just disappear.
You can also send an email, but phone calls have more effect.
The government of Portugal has admitted that the CIA flew prisoners through Portugal. Such prisoners were typically headed to be tortured by the US or other countries.
The State of Oregon is trying to copyright its laws, and giving a nasty company preferential access to them.
I think this same company, Thomson West, is the same one that has a virtual monopoly over access to many US court decisions.
The Dalai Lama says that China is planning massive colonization of Tibet — after the Olympic Games.
UK police arrested a graduate student for downloading an al Qa'ida manual to study for his research. He got it from a US government web site.
Although that student has been released, the UK officials continue to claim that this is an "illegal document" which you "should not send to any Tom, Dick or Harry", in effect announcing their intention to imprison people for what they read.
These tyrants are the real threat. Britons, don't let the tyrants distract you by pointing at other minor enemies, while they attack your freedom.
Obama and Clinton propose to tax just 20% of the windfall profits that oil companies have obtained through cartels and war. That's not enough! The tax should be at least 80% of this windfall.
Of course, the companies pretend that the world will end if they are taxed at all. But that's backwards. To let them have money with which to fund lies about global warming is more likely to end the world.
Burma's military rulers have finally agreed to allow foreign aid and aid workers to help the victims of the cyclone.
The Dalai Lama keeps trying to reach out to China, and China in response keeps lying about him.
This persistent dishonesty of the Chinese regime seems to be the model for the Bush regime. These regimes continue lying because many people believe the lies. China has fooled many Chinese about the Dalai Lama, just has Bush has fooled many Americans about Saddam Hussein.
Both of these regimes manipulate people by appealing to their patriotism, but loving your country does not mean loving or obeying the corrupt, dishonest people that control it. Mencius pointed out 2500 years ago that such regimes have no legitimacy.
McCain happily accepted the endorsement of John Hagee, who believes that Hitler was divinely ordained to make Jews move to Israel to fulfill prophesies. Hagee now wants Israel to get into a war with Iran, so as to fulfill more prophesies, and end the world.
This sort of "friendship for Israel" might well cause more war. And these insane Christians have been very influential over US policy towards Israel under all recent presidents, the only exception being Bush I.
Hagee's claim that the Catholic Church (at least at the level of the pope) helped Hitler might be valid; it probably is based on the book Hitler's Pope. It puzzles me, however, that Hagee doesn't consider this a reason to praise the Catholic Church.
This article describes the Bush family's long-term ties with Nazi Germany in detail.
The high price of oil is making driving more expensive.
That is a good thing, since oil will get more scarce in the future. High prices will motivate people to change their arrangements to use less. Reducing taxes would mean trading society's present discomfor for future agony.
The high price of oil is causing increases in air ticket costs and reduction in flights.
That is good too, in the long run.
Perhaps speculation is responsible for the current high price. In a few months, who knows, it might be back down to $100 a barrel. But looking at a period of years, oil will get more expensive, and people will fly less.
So if your city is thinking of investing in airport expansion, preparing for flights that won't arrive, make sure to prevent this folly. Invest in conservation instead!
Many airports are not far above sea level. Expanding them is even stupider.
A long-term feedback mechanism controls the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, but it can't cope with the rapid emissions caused by human activity.
A review of the film War Inc.
(I have not seen it.)
Oxytocin sprayed into the air makes humans keep trusting those who betrayed them.
Will the Republicans and Democrats spray this into the air at voting booths next November?
Cisco considered Chinese censorship and internet surveillance "opportunities" for business.
Hillary removes Bill Clinton as first husband.
China imprisoned Guo Quan, apparently because he criticized the government's response to the earthquake.
I do not know whether the response to the earthquake deserves criticism, but I've seen claims that schools collapsed while private buildings nearby survived. Perhaps those schools were not built strongly enough to survive a big quake.
Charlie Black, McCain's campaign advisor, says it was ok for him to do PR work for dictators, because the US government approved of his choice of dictators.
Lebanon seems to have pulled back from the brink of civil war through an agreement between various factions.
In an overture to China, the Dalai Lama asked Tibetans to cease protests for a month out of concern for the earthquake.
Congress has given veto power to Philip Morris in writing a bill to regulate tobacco sales.
The FBI is trying to recruit infiltrators to spy on protest groups. They say it is because they suspect protestors are "terrorists".
Their definition of "terrorist" is much broader than yours or mine, but they don't really need to believe these protest groups include terrorists. That is just excuse is just cover for sabotaging protests.
Do you use Charter Communications as your ISP? Do you know anyone who does? Customers should write to denounce the plan to track users' web browsing for commercial purposes.
Carbon nanotubes could be dangerous like asbestos — nobody knows what will happen when objects made of them are put into landfills.
Global warming is likely to damage the growth of the plants that caribou eat.
Bush is afflicting the US with secret laws, secret even from Congress.
The claim that "if you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about" is absurd in the US for many other reasons. Many activities (sharing music, smoking pot, talking about US government support for terrorism) are illegal even though they are not wrong. And if you don't do any of them, many police and prosecutors will happily lie to put you in prison if they consider you a threat to the state.
Republican Boehner wants protection from illegal wiretapping — but only for himself, not for you.
The Netherlands has banned electronic voting machines.
Canadians: call your MPs again to oppose your government's plans to give Hollywood new power over you.
China is using surveillance cameras and face recognition to set up Police State 2.0.
US companies are helping, and the rulers of countries such as the US and the UK want to follow the same path. Now the UK wants to make a data base of all phone calls and emails.
To talk about the possibility that this data may be "lost, traded or stolen" is missing the point. The worst danger is that the government which collected it will use it.
Former Alabama Governor Siegelman talks about Karl Rove's prosecution of Democrats such as himself.
The Pakistani army is using collective punishment to try to end suicide bombings by Taliban-like fanatics.
Aside from the general injustice of collective punishment, it is not likely to achieve a victory in the long term.
Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa are facing violence from local people who think they are taking away jobs.
Perhaps one solution is to organize some of these refugees into an army, so they can return to Zimbabwe and kick out Mugabe.
The Bush regime seems to have a secret list of Americans to arrest in the event of a "national emergency". Even large protests could qualify.
Every patriotic American belongs on this list, so how can I find out if I have made the grade?
Iran claims it busted a US terror network.
Israeli politics is corrupted by foreign billionaires that fuel the electoral campaigns and turn the politicians into their pets.
The Democratic leadership in Congress wanted to fund the occupation of Iraq and avoid debate on the issue, but Republicans thwarted the move. Bush can still count on most Democrats to be scared to end the occupation.
So what good are those Democrats?
Agribusiness gets rich by shafting farmers and consumers, even as it leads the latter towards unhealthy eating.
Windows Vista gratuitously refused to record certain TV programs as a form of Digital Restrictions Management.
Chicago is following London's path in installing surveillance cameras everywhere along with software to analyze the video.
I hope that this "cost/benefit ratio" is not limited to considering the monetary cost. That would be tantamount to treating government surveillance, which is easily used to crush protests and dissent, as no cost.
Even places that no terrorist would bother with are subject to surveillance against people just taking photos.
I urge everyone to stop and take pictures of weigh stations. Saturate this pointless and harassing police surveillance.
Drug marketing: payola for doctors.
US citziens: Demand an investigation of Rep. Don Young, who secretly altered a bill after Congress had approve it and before passing it to Dubya for signing.
A massive study attributes 90% of the wildlife changes around the world to human-caused global warming.
Yet businesses are still funding global-warming-denial organizations.
Since this fake citizens' group conceals the source of its funds, we are entitled to suppose it is the oil companies.
McCain calls for more Reagan-style trickle down economics, and wants 4 more years to reduce Iraq to quivering submission.
The Bush regime dropped its phony trial against Mohammed al-Qahtani, apparently embarrassed that the case against him was based solely on confessions extracted by torture. Now al-Qahtani faces only life imprisonment without trial.
The UK will conduct an investigation into the killing of Iraqi prisoner Baha Mousa.
This is the first stage in what an ethical government does when its agents have killed prisoners. I hope the UK does the whole job.
People who have climbed Ayers Rock give bizarre credence to superstitious ideas that it must not be "polluted" by climbing it or taking away loose stones.
The article seems to confuse the isues of damaging the mountain and offending the aboriginal tribe. Real damage to the mountain seems unlikely as long as people don't use picks.
The Burmese junta has succeeded in blocking nearly all aid to the victims of the cyclone, in effect holding them hostage.
As long as the rest of the world is afraid of a military confrontation with the junta, it will tend to learn the twisted lessons that this article seems to recommend. I think the lesson to be learned is "Invade Burma". But that has to be part of a larger lesson, including "Don't invade Iraq".
US citizens: sign this letter calling for a GAO investigation of the Pentagon Paid Propaganda Pundit Program.
The US nuclear power plant manufacturers want government subsidies, and say that there should be nothing shameful about that. It has corrupted former environmentalists to work alongside the PR company that also worked for Clinton, Clinton, Berlusconi and B'liar.
I agree that "government subsidy" is not necessarily bad. Remember that when greedy right-wing jerks object to subsidies for things that help most people's lives.
An NPR program downplayed concerns about suicide as a side effect of prozac. Turns out the program is funded by the company that makes prozac.
NPR ought to adopt a clear and firm position about conflicts of interest, rather than trying to get away with as much as it can.
A New Zealand anarchist reports on how his protest camp was attacked, and many there were arrested and accused of "terrorism". There appears to be no evidence for that accusation.
Obama gave the Bush regime a jab, by calling on the State Department to talk about Saudi Arabia's abuses of human rights.
Bush and the EU plan to cement software patents in both America and Europe through a nasty treaty.
In the UK, the world's leader in orwellian high-tech surveillance, stores now use biometrics to monitor customers and employees.
US citizens: call your congresscritter and say, "Don't vote any money to continue the war." And if you support any senator as a presidential candidate, call that candidate's office and say, "Don't vote any money to continue the war."
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Michael Klare: An Oil-addicted EX-superpower.
The increased power of Russia and China could turn into benefits for the world if the rivalry helps other countries escape from being dominated by either of them or the US.
Hamas has agreed to accept any treaty approved by a referendum of Palestinians. True friends of Israel (like true friends of the Palestinians) should pressure Israel to negotiate with Hamas, and pay the price for lasting peace.
Instead, Bush has given the Israeli government total support, to the point where Palestinians are on the point of giving up on the very idea of a separate state to coexist with Israel.
Supporting whatever Israel does is not friendship.
An Israeli participant in the weekly Bil'in protests shouted "enough violence", so an Israeli soldier shot him. He plans to continue protesting.
McCain's campaign is full of PR people that have represented dictators and bigots.
Here are the full details.
A famous Indian "barefoot doctor" has been accused of carrying a note for one of his patients, an imprisoned guerrilla. 22 Nobel laureates denounced these these charges and called for him to be freed.
The way state-organized militias, supposedly fighting against the guerrillas, clear off the people that live in areas where there are resources to mine, reminds me of Colombia and its paramilitaries, which supposedly existed to fight the guerrillas but actually stole land from the peasants in places far away from the guerrillas.
Lots of chocolate contains palm oil produced on that stolen land.
Remember also how the Bush regime has accused lawyers and guards for terrorist suspects of carrying messages for them? These charges were laid for political purposes, and maybe the ones in India were too.
And doesn't India have a responsibility to provide medical care for prisoners?
A letter shows Einstein's complete rejection of religion in the usual sense of the word.
The Canadian government uses copyright to obstruct political criticism.
Police in the UK have forbidden protestors from calling the Church of Scientology a cult. One protestor was charged with a crime for carrying a sign saying that.
Vince Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Manson, calls for Bush and his co-conspirators to be tried for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
But their crime goes beyond the mere murder of so many people. To launch a war of aggression is itself a crime under the principles established at Nuremberg.
US citizens: call your senators and tell them to override the FCC decision that allows more media concentration.
If you want to donate aid money to help the Burmese, do it through http://www.uscampaignforburma.org.
Canada is prosecuting an author for "hate speech" for a book that apparently criticizes Muslims.
I have not seen the book, and I do not know whether I would agree with anything in it. But that is irrelevant: censorship is more dangerous than anything that a book might say.
Haitians rioted to demand the return of kidnaped President Aristide, so his enemies fabricated accusations of murder against them.
Global warming may threaten koalas.
The Burmese military rulers have seized foreign emergency relief supplies.
They also demand payment of import duty on relief supplies. Paying this would support their regime.
I support the proposal to deliver relief supplies in defiance of their power, since they are in no way the legitimate rulers of Burma anyway. If it is necessary to defeat the Burmese army in order to do this, so much the better — then Aung San Suu Kyi could take office.
Tsvangirai says he will return to Zimbabwe for a run-off election but only if international observers can make sure it is fair and free.
There are 5 million orphans in Iraq, according to official statistics of the "Iraqi" government.
Uri Avnery, who saw the Israeli war of independence as a participant, explains how it resulted in the expulsion of Palestinians.
The film Body of War describes how a soldier in the Bush forces was wounded and permanently paralyzed, then became an activist for Iraq Veterans Against the War.
When Congress tried to restore effective enforcement of sex discrimination laws, McCain did not support it.
A number of employers in the UK are planning a blacklist database to identify anyone that has ever been accused of crimes, or other bad work habits — never mind whether they have been convicted (or even charged).
Two men took photos on a ferry boat, and our paranoid police started an international search for them. It turns out they were just taking pictures, as we all do.
To suspect people of being terrorists because they take pictures is as absurd as suspecting them because they breathe. Maybe the ferry boat captain who photographed those two is a terrorist. You never know, right?
1/3 of the women in the US military get sexually assaulted during their period of employment. Some are then murdered, and the commanders often call it "suicide".
This problem is small compared with the number of deaths of Bush forces soldiers, which is itself small compared with the number of Iraqis that the Bush forces have killed. But it parallels the general attitude of the Bush forces towards a wide range of corruption.
The Clown regime seems likely to miss half its stated environmental goals, and these are concentrated especially in the area of global warming.
The EFF is fighting an attempt to twist copyright law to give the software developer total power over execution of the program.
Victory in this case will not eliminate the practice of restricting how users run proprietary programs. It will only limit the developers to using contracts as the means. This will not make users free. If you want freedom, you must reject proprietary software and use free software .
Even as the EFF fights this attempt to stretch copyright power, it perhaps unwittingly encourages future such attempts, through its use of the term "intellectual property" to describe copyright.
That propaganda term is biased: it gives people the wrong idea of the basis for thinking about copyright issues. In addition, it is confusing: it encourages people to conflate copyright with other totally different laws that raise different issues.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html for more explanation.
Using that term in this article was totally gratuitous. Avoiding it would have been trivial.
The EFF ought to stop using that propaganda term, and teach other people to reject it too.
Iraqi Bush forces have arrested the leader of Al Qa'ida in Iraq.
Someone else will replace him, as he replaced the previous leader. This will not eliminate that organization. Bush's only chance to do that was in 2003: all he had to do was not invade Iraq.
Shi'ites and Sunnis are fighting in Beirut.
There is a danger this will restart the civil war.
In the UK, the Minister of Police Power calls for harrassment of suspects.
ASBOs mean that the local authorities can order people to stop doing literally anything they don't like. If the victims don't obey the order, they can be imprisoned, if if the activity is not a crime at all.
This is obviously unjust, but not very effective at deterring unruly teenagers, who consider the ASBOs a badge of honor. So now the Minister of Police Power calls for further nastiness.
The latest thing for governments that say they want to eliminate poverty is to ask the megacorporations that run the sweatshops to expand their operations.
At the base of this absurd idea is Reagonomics and trickle-down, but they have stopped explicitly arguing for that. Instead they take it for granted.
Marijuana use in the UK is falling, but the Clown regime wants to increase penalties so as to look "tough on drugs".
The ACLU and EFF made the FBI back down from using the U SAP AT RIOT act to search library records.
We know that the FBI has often violated even the lax rules of the U SAP AT RIOT act.
But let's not confuse "violating the rules" with "unjust". The power to search without even a court order is fundamentally unjust. The U SAP AT RIOT act must be eliminated.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say, " No compromise with Bush on FISA. Defend our freedom; don't increase Big Brother's spy powers, which are already too much, and don't let the phone companies off the hook for their illegal spying."
Small changes in how we live are not enough to avert environmental disaster.
The USDA refuses to ban the use of meat from very sick cows even though agribusiness is asking for this.
The New York Times is spreading propaganda for attacking Iran, just as it spread propaganda for attacking Iraq in 2002.
US TV stations that were platforms for the Pentagon's propaganda "military experts" have still said nothing about the issue.
NPR intends to keep using its Pentagon "expert".
Rising sea level threatens Alexandria and is destroying Egyptian farmland with salt.
Due to global warming, glaciers are melting earlier, so the water is not available when needed for agriculture.
A UK police official justified allowing Chinese police into London because otherwise China would have sent the Olympic torch through another city. And he excused them for punching protestors because it was a "natural reaction" to possibly "losing face".
Does he believe that people in general are allowed to punch protestors that make them lose face? Or is this a special privilege for Chinese thugs only?
A principled UK government would have told China to take its thugs elsewhere. But the Clown organization is not known for principle.
The recession has turned Sick-o into Sick-o squared.
Polish police attacked and arrested protesters when they were sleeping, after the protest, then made various obviously dishonest excuses for it.
There were riots in Somalia over food prices.
I think there is something more going on. The article talks of "old 1000-shilling notes." I wonder whether the US-imposed regime that controls Mogadishu has caused hyperinflation, or tried for other reasons to replace the currency.
The US has started constructing a DNA database of everyone in the US. It is being done gradually: only for newborn babies, who are too young to defend their rights.
US citizens should go to another country to have babies.
All the surveillance cameras in London have had almost no effect on street crime, even though that is supposed to be their purpose. The authorities say, "It will work, once our surveillance goes deeper."
They also would like us to assume that the system is safe as long as access is limited to "authorized" people. But that does nothing to protect Britons from the worst threat: Big Brother.
Since the B'liar regime used "anti-terror" laws to sabotage protests, do you believe that the Clown regime won't use CCTV to find and sabotage opposition if it ever works well enough?
The state of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, voted for and declared "autonomy" but not secession.
The state powers described in this article do not seem controversial to me, since in the US every state has them. At the same time, I suspect that foreign oil companies have something to do with this, and that somehow it is a scheme to keep the oil revenues in their own hands.
I hope that the Democracy Center will provide a useful analysis of this.
Many members of the African National Conference, including Nelson Mandela, are on the US "terrorist" watch list and need waivers to visit the US.
This is not the only way the US is nasty to foreigners. It takes fingerprints of them when they enter the country, and for that reason alone everyone should stay away from the US if possible.
It certainly is right to remove the heroes of the fight against apartheid from this list. However, it sounds like this is just an example of a broader problem. If even the Secretary of State cannot get them removed, something very strange must be responsible. Does anyone know what?
Maybe someone in Rep. Berman's district can ask him what it is.
Bush's corrupt system of contractors in Iraq repeatedly kills Bush forces soldiers.
According to George Soros, the financial crisis is partly due to right-wing ideology. Markets are unstable, and government intervention is periodically necessary for them to work well for society. But the US government regulators came to believe right-wing propaganda telling them to place their faith in the invisible hand.
A South African woman is in difficulties because she cannot get a national ID card. It requires a fingerprint, but she has no fingers.
To require citizens to give the government their fingerprints for ordinary life activities is unjust even if they do have fingers. National ID cards should be abolished everywhere.
The Bush regime is sending a fleet to the Caribbean as a threat to invade countries there.
They are fortunate that the US army has been sufficiently worn down in Iraq that it could not occupy a substantial country against determined Iraq-style resistance.
An Iraqi man, imprisoned for a year but never tried, was made to kneel for two hours to a US flag. Wonder of wonders, he now hates Americans.
The US owes him, and all Iraqis, an apology.
Mugabe's run-off, which gives him a second chance to threaten voters, may be delayed for up to a year — meaning yet more chance to do so.
Shark attacks against humans are increasing; is it due to human destruction of their food sources?
The theory that it is due to more people spending more time in the water does not hold water, because that is a gradual trend.
Bush's Iraqi government denies that Iran is supporting the Mahdi Army. Evidently Bush's control over it is not complete.
Bush wants an excuse to attack Iran. The Shi'ite SCIRI party that controls the Iraqi government is quite friendly with Iran. They both would like to destroy the Mahdi Army, but for different reasons.
For KBR, Iraq is anarchy. Its staff take advantage of this by operating the most outrageous rackets, such as looting, and selling the Bush forces' weapons. The local managers support the rackets and punish anyone that tells about them, which I suspect means they are getting a share.
Folklore has it that military quartermasters, soldiers in charge of supplies, also frequently sold those supplies. But I doubt that the US Army gave dishonorable discharges to soldiers who reported such crimes.
The mortgage crisis was fueled by fraud in which all kinds of participants connived.
Fraud is wrong, but I think that the responsibility of individuals for this kind fo fraud is diminished by the fact that they were invited and encouraged by the institutions that they were supposedly defrauding. It would be legitimate to prosecute those who provably committed fraud in exceptional degree, but we must hold the institutions (ultimately the government) responsible for the overall problem.
Retired Justice O'Connor is campaigning to end election of judges, because it gives the rich a way to corrupt them.
As part of Bush's War on Integrity, the EPA chief for the Midwest has been fired for doing her job.
The local Chamber of Commerce has been corrupted too. That's not news, it's standard practice, but it's important to see how it happens. Their reasoning is, "For the sake of local jobs, let the employers pollute." If everyone accepts that, we won't have more jobs, but we will have a lot more pollution.
Why is Obama's connection with Rev. Wright treated as a scandal, while Bush's connection with Sun Myung Moon is not?
Rather than conserve oil, Bush is launching a new Cold War against Russia and China for control of the dwindling supplies.
McCain has similar ideas.
Unlike the first Cold War, in which countries that respected human rights most of the time opposed Communist dictatorships, this will be a contest between two groups of brutal tyrants, both of which deserve the opposition of all people of good will.
I think these evil regimes will use this Cold War as an excuse to become even worse. Both sides will sponsor terrorists to attack the other side, and then both sides will use the "terrorist threat" as an excuse to further trample the human rights of their people.
If the US apologizes to the people of Iraq for conquering and destroying their country, and to the people of Iran for overthrowing their democracy in 1954, it would go a great way to reducing the desire of Islamic extremists to practice terrorism against the US. And if the US cooperates with Russia and China to develop alternative energy sources instead of starting another Cold War, they won't be victims of each other's terrorism. That is the way to be safe.
Uri Avnery contrasts Israel's independence and the Palestinians' catastrophe.
Will the Iraqi militias that Bush is paying turn around and become enemies of the US?
I think they will not follow a path like that of Al Qa'ida, because they are not idealistic enough to care. But they are likely to prove unreliable allies.
The Zimbabwe election commission released results, but they differ from the counts posted at polling places and give Tsvangirai a lower total which would justify the run-off Mugabe intends to have.
It seems Mugabe is trying to prevent that run-off from being held freely, and the opposition refuses to participate in it.
Clinton wants to eliminate the gasoline tax so that Americans can produce more CO2 this summer.
The magnates of Eastern Bolivia are stirring up racial hostility to try to break away from Bolivia, and keep the wealth of their region for themselves instead of supporting poor Bolivians with it.
Police in the UK stopped a showing of On The Verge at Southampton University, threatening students with prosecution. University officials helped the police and conveyed these threats. The film depicts police attacks on protests.
It would be interesting for a group of students to show it and dare the police to prosecute them.
2.5 million refugees have fled Iraq. Hardly anyone wants to return, but they are having trouble living anywhere else.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that President Chavez had increased Venezuela's food production. That is what I recalled from my first visit there, but, more recently, price controls have caused food shortages.
Mario Uribe, President Uribe's cousin and advisor, was arrested for collaborating with paramilitary thugs.
Although the paramilitaries pretend that their purpose was to oppose the guerrillas, their main activity is organized crime. For instance, they serve Coca Cola Company by killing union organizers and their families.
They are also known for attacking villages to terrorize the inhabitants into selling their land, very cheap, to people like Mario Uribe. I heard one of the victims speak in Spain; he lives there, sponsored by human rights organizations, because he would not be safe in Colombia. There was no guerrilla activity near his village, and the army seemed to close its eyes to the attack by the paramilitaries.
President Horrible (in Spanish it sounds enough like Uribe) gave the paramilitaries an amnesty, whose effect is that they get to keep this land that they extorted. People interpret the amnesty as intentional aid to them.
That's just the sort of person that Bush would want as an ally.
US citizens: Tell the EPA to oppose an expensive project to drain vital wetlands to please a few wealthy landowners.
Jesse Jackson reminded Americans that the US owes Haiti an apology as well as food aid.
Oxfam calls on Israel to stop starving Gaza.
Uri Avnery explained when the Annapolis "peace process" was announced that it was a failure from the outset.
This article from Jewish Voices for Peace analyzes the situation today.
It is misleading to compare the siege of Gaza to apartheid in South Africa. Although South African forced the Blacks to live in special zones, it did not lock them up in those zones and starve them.
Timothy Garon was denied a liver transplant because he had used marijuana to cope with the pain of his liver disease.
I've been told that the active ingredients in marijuana relieve nausea like nothing else, but only when smoked.
Victims of politically motivated prosecutions, and their witnesses and their lawyers, have been the targets of strange burglaries and even arson.
I do not doubt that these crimes were organized by the state. The evidence points that way, and there is no reason to find it incredible. Even Nixon arranged burglaries, and Dubya is far worse.
When we condemn government surveillance, the usual response is that "If you are not doing anything wrong, you have no reason to object if we know everything that you do." That's not true under a regime that might frame you or burn down your house if it doesn't like what you are doing.
Sami al-Hajj, a journalist freed after 6 years imprisonment in Guantanamo, did not hesitate to condemn the way the captives are treated there after being imprisoned without trial.
Microsoft has built a new back door in Windows for the use of the police.
In regimes where the police do things like ship you to Syria to be tortured, this is a threat to your human rights. Organizations that oppose government policies cannot trust Windows — or any non-free software, because users cannot tell what those developers have done.
An Australian musician says he was duped into contributing to an anti-"piracy" video.
The EFF is campaigning with Congress against unlimited searches of travelers' computers at borders.
The Supreme Court approved state ID requirements for voting which will tend to exclude poorer voters that don't have the required ID cards, can't afford them, etc.
This is part of a general Republican strategy to lock up elections by excluding voters that won't support them, and continues the method used by Bush to steal the 2000 election.
Here's the text of Rev. Wright's speech, which led Obama to break with him.
There are things in it I disagree with. Above all, the religion: I am sure that an omnipotent, omniscient that allowed all the suffering and injustice of our world would not deserve anyone's admiration. And I don't believe such a being exists anyway.
Secondly, and much less important, I do not believe that the US government produced HIV. Nobody in 1980 could have done such a thing; even today, genetic engineering is nowhere near advanced enough. Indeed, HIV has been found in tissues from people who died long before that.
I do not condemn Wright for saying that, I just disagree with it. To have made the AIDS virus would be only a couple of grades worse than what the US government has done in Iraq, so I reject the claim that the government would never do something so bad, but I don't believe it did.
Meanwhile, I admire Wright's principal points regarding race (both repentance and reconciliation), and regarding oppression and empire. I'd rather have him as president than either of the Democratic candidates.
Why did Obama denounce Rev. Wright? Here's one theory:
Genetically modified soybeans do not improve crop yields.
They might have some other advantage, but when we compare that against the dangers (to health, to ecosystems, and to farmers' rights), we must not weigh them against hypothetical benefits.
Fiji bottled water, which engages in the absurd practice of bottling water in Fiji and shipping it to the US, is reaching for absurd straws to greenwash this practice.
A US bombing raid in Somalia killed the leader of Al Qa'ida there, along with several people in nearby buildings — bystanders, presumably.
The Ethiopian army occupies Somalia with US help. Ethopia's government is a dictatorship that pretends to be a democracy but imprisoned the leaders of the opposition — just the sort of regime that Bush would love. I would hate to be ruled by the sort of Islamist regime that brought stability and peace to Somalia until the Ethopian conquest, but it is clear that the Bush-sponsored occupation is even worse.
As the WHO looks for a new system of funding the medical research that the big drug companies don't do — essentially, research that would save lots of lives rather than make fairly wealthy people more comfortable — these drug companies are using dishonest PR techniques to sabotage the negotiations.
The governments that support the drug company positions are those that serve as the national representatives of the megacorporations. Their citizens would be very unhappy if they knew what "their" governments were doing "on their behalf", but the government and the corporate media hide it. And democracy has been corrupted and weakened to the point where their wishes count for nothing.
Everyone: make phone calls and send email in support of Professor Al-Arian, facing persecution in the US.
Israel plans to close Palestinian orphanages, dumping some 300 children onto the street.
The article says where to send your complaints.
China has publicly convicted 30 people for protests in Tibet with sentences up to life imprisonment.
I wonder how many have been disappeared secretly, like the young Panchen Lama and his family.
Ministers must be held responsible for the persistent use of torture by British troops in the Bush forces.
I'm sure the troops that carried out the torture were a small minority of the British contingent in the Bush forces. After all, only a small minority of any army is directly involved in guarding prisoners, and those who committed torture must be a fraction of them. But this detail changes nothing about the government's responsibility. It is an attempt to confuse and distract.
Israel rejected Hamas' offer for a cease-fire.
Apparently Israel finds it more useful to attack the Palestinians than to end the missile attacks on Sderot which provide an excuse doing so. Israeli authorities are aware of how rarely those missiles hurt anyone.
What do Palestinian children learn from the occupation?
There is a lot of opportunity for diplomacy between the US and Iran, if the US government wants to do it.
The Iraq War Morphs Into the Iran War.
The US government is concerned about the danger of malicious features in IC chips.
This is a rational concern: in fact, most PCs contain malicious features already, for treacherous computing.
Since the US government already uses malicious software to spy on computer users, I am more worried that the US government will put malicious features into our computers than about whatever Chinese crackers may do to them.
When Ecuador's government was a puppet of the US, Chevron praised its judicial system so as to get an environmental case transferred to Ecuador. Now that Ecuador is no longer subservient to business, Chevron's media supporters say the opposite.
Business is good at ting plausible lies, and has experts available for hire to do so, and for convincing newspapers to present a picture that supports them. Therefore, we must distrust all policy arguments offered by business even if they seem superficially plausible. Without an honest, independent investigation, we cannot know whether they are true.
Burger King's vice president anonymously posted nasty comments to attack the Confederation of Immokalee Workers.
The Confederation of Immokalee Workers asks restaurant chains to pay a tiny price increase for tomatoes to give the tomato pickers a substantial boost in their poverty-level wages. Some have agreed, but Burger King has refused.
The Pentagon's secret corruption of "military experts" is explicitly illegal, but that law depends on Bush to enforce it.
British agents interrogated prisoners in Pakistan who were being tortured by Pakistani guards. Some of these prisoners were then shipped to the UK without extradition hearings, and arrested and convicted of "terrorism". One must suspect they were convicted based on confessions extracted by torture.
Here's how the British agents collaborated with the Pakistani torturers.
What the agents did was illegal, but the Clown regime will surely find a ridiculous excuse not to prosecute them, just as it cites "privacy" as an excuse not to admit the wrongs it has done. Its view is that laws are tools of power over the public, not limits on what it can do to the public.
Britons must defend themselves above all from the principal terrorist threat, their government.
The UK government is more concerned with cutting taxes for the rich than with health, so it is kicking people out of hospitals early if they cannot pay.
While the government's propaganda staff call these people "health tourists" I suspect that many of them are simply undocumented. And some of them are babies.
I am not surprised that Andy Finlay gets death threats. I would categorize him as a murderer.
Riad Hamad, founder of the Palestinian Children's Welfare Fund, was bound with tape and tossed into a lake. The police call it suicide.
Here's a letter he sent to Bush.
I don't think the author of that letter would commit suicide, or write a "suicide note" implying doubt about the rightness of his cause. It seems more plausible that someone (working for the Bush regime?) murdered him and faked the note.
The UK's surveillance law, introduced by B'liar as a vital security measure, is being used to investigate littering.
Another injustice in this law is that it requires people to hand over their own encryption keys or face imprisonment.
In Memphis, the police are asking citizens to report anyone taking pictures. Anyone who "talks a little bit radical" is supposed to be a potential terrorist.
This shows clearly that the so-called "war on terrorism" is really a war on each and every one of us. The frequent warnings for citizens to "be alert" against the unlikely danger of non-state-sponsored terrorism are meant as a distraction from the ever-present danger of a tyrannical state. And the jittery trigger-happy state it induces leads to real harm to innocent victims, as Star Simpson and several others have discovered.
I have seen video so violent that it repelled me. (Some of it was sexual, some was not — it's a minor detail.) I hope to avoid seeing any more of it, but I condemn this attempt to censor it.
The Clown regime is planning to prohibit the mere possession of "extreme pornography". The excuse is that one man who liked violent pornography committed crime.
It is true that victims of real violence suffer. (Never mind that in making movies of violence, typically nobody is actually hurt.) The true oppressive spirit of this law starts to show in the prohibition of images of sex with corpses. Are we supposed to believe that corpses can suffer? Or are some cruel prudes trying to impose their prejudices by force?
The prohibition on images of sex with animals is also wrong. Some animals like sex with humans—male dophins are quite enthusiastic, and male dogs seem to like it too. Should you be imprisoned for taking pictures when a dog humps your leg? The parrot that made love to me in the Jurong Bird Park did so of his own free will. (I would never have dared to ask.) Is this photo going to be a crime? Will I be saved only because it is not obvious just what the parrot is doing to me?
The crimes committed by the occasional pervert are nothing against the crimes committed by B'liar in Iraq. So if they want to prohibit video that inspires violence, it would make more sense to go after war movies.
The Sarbanes-Oxley law gives protection to corporate whistleblowers, but Bush's Labor Department has effectively made it nothing.
An Indian Dalit woman died in the hospital because high caste doctors refused to treat her.
Over 12,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan a year have tried to commit suicide, but the Veterans Administration said it was under 800.
The Bush forces appear to be dropping cluster bombs on Baghdad.
This violates a treaty, but Bush doesn't care about adhering to treaties, except for treaties like NAFTA which allow him to say that the US has "promised" to mistreat its own people.
There is a lot to criticize about the ways Russia and China restrict their citizens, but the Bush regime is much more concerned when they fail to restrict their citizens.
Ever since Clinton, the US government has had no real interest in how other governments treat human rights. It has used its influence and power to prevent copying. It is most against commercial copying, but it tries to prevent the public from sharing also.
Canadians! Protest at the Public Policy Forum's push for unjust copyright law in your country.
I don't know which city this event is in, because I know only what it says in that article. But you can find out where it is. Print copies of that article (50 copies would be good) so you can hand them out to people that attend, especially media.
The TV networks have said nothing about the way the Pentagon's group of "military experts" fooled them. Perhaps because it was illegal for the Pentagon to do this.
"Bio-plastic" bags are supposedly biodegradable, but in landfills they either do not degrade or they produce methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas.
I wonder what happens to them in the ocean? If they do degrade naturally there, they would reduce the plastic bag pollution that kills marine life.
But there is also the problem that this plastic is made by growing corn, and thus competes with making food.
China says it will meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama. However, any agreement is unlikely.
When China says it is willing to meet with him if he renounces violence and Tibetan independence, this is just part of a persisent campaign to misrepresent where the Dalai Lama stands. He champions nonviolence, and abandoned independence as the goal many years ago.
Warnings that someone might try violence are a standard excuse nowadays for suppressing protests or driving them to obscure locations where they can easily be ignored. We saw that practice at the US political conventions in 2004, and will probably see it again this summer.
Why did the Bush regime start talking about the alleged Syrian nuclear reactor, after months of stonewalling? Some suggest this is a ploy by some officials to derail talks with North Korea.
Police in New York who shot and killed an unarmed man on the street have been acquitted of all charges.
If the events happened as the police described them, then this verdict would be justified. But I don't trust what they say, because lying in court is standard practice for police. (See many previous pol notes.)
The UN agency that feeds the Palestinians of Gaza is about to suspend deliveries for lack of fuel. Fuel delivery in Gaza is crippled because the workers are on strike, since Israel won't let them have fuel to deliver.
Mugabe's police raided the opposition headquarters and arrested everyone there.
Scott Ritter thinks the Syrian building that Israel bombed was a nuclear reactor, but without the facilities to extract plutonium for making bombs. He also points out that Israel violated international law, while Syria had not violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
A student confronted Ashcroft with the war-crimes conviction of a Japanese soldier for waterboarding. Ashcroft responded with quibbles.
What struck me about this is that Ashcroft designs his words as soundbites, intending them to be absorbed without thought or context. This is clearest when he says "They can't see either" about the students protesting with bags over their heads. The fact that they cannot see is irrelevant to anything, but it takes a few seconds' thought for a person to recognize that. Ashcroft hopes that his audience won't think about his words even that long.
China sent a ship full of arms to Mugabe's dictatorship, but workers refused to unload it, so the arms could not be delivered.
The Bush regime claims that Israel bombed an unfinished Syrian nuclear plant intended to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. A congressman said he does not trust the Bush regime on such questions.
At the same time, Syria says that Turkish mediation has created a possibility of peace between Syria and Israel.
I wonder if the two are related.
The Bliar/Clown regime has a policy that it can freeze someone's assets without trial, by arbitrary order. A judge ruled that this policy is illegal because Parliament never approved it.
If Parliament approves this, that won't make it legitimate. Confiscating someone's money on the mere order of an official is always an injustice.
Pro-business Western politicians are trying to placate China over the protests that their people are making.
The idea that China might abandon its policy of "engaging the West" is an absurdity, given how much Chinese business profits from that. China is now Capitalist, not Communist, even though this has not changed much in terms of freedom.
India's ban on testing the sex of fetuses has proved ineffective, to the point where tougher laws are being proposed to try to stop the practice.
The reasoning behind this prohibition is fallacious.
The desire to abort female fetuses reflects a social prejudice against women. I agree with Indian feminists that this prejudice is cruel and groundless. However, banning the symptom will not get rid of the prejudice.
The lower number of females will mean that many men cannot marry and will have no children. The end result will be less population growth in the future, and that is very very important.
The workers on Irish Ferries are paid low wages and are forbidden to go ashore. That's because these boats (which travel between Ireland and Britain) are officially registered in Cyprus.
The Mahdi Army says that the Bush forces killed 800 people, mostly civilians, in Sadr City.
In Boston on April 30: Benefit Concert for the Children of Gaza.
Iraqis see the US Embassy as the castle of the occupiers.
Some US stores have started limiting large purchases of rice because not enough is available.
Any further WTO agreement is to be feared as long as the rich country governments have more negotiating power, and use it on behalf of their corporate masters.
In the specific area of food, the reason there has been no agreement is that the rich countries refuse to drop their subsidies to agribusiness. Many poor countries have mostly stopped producing food because their farmers could not compete with the subsidized imports from the US. (One thing Chavez has done in Venezuela was to support a renewal of food production there.)
Perhaps the increased prices will restore food production around the world. Eliminating the subsidies would still be desirable for other reasons (we could use the money subsidize wind power, etc., instead).
However, the next worry is that food production will be limited by availability of land, water, or fertilizer made from petroleum. We need to stop human population growth.
Bush and the presidents of Mexico and Canada are meeting quietly with their masters planning how to weaken safety standards and allow China to export through duty-free through Mexico.
Police are accustomed to feeling they are above the law: attack people on the street, they lie in court, and they park in no parking zones and assume that their "brothers" won't give them tickets. However, one cop just discovered that he may not be immune from parking fines.
I am not a zealot for the enforcement of parking regulations, but I enjoy seeing cops get the treatment they usually think they should only dish out.
I've been saying ever since 2001 that a government that doesn't respect human rights is more dangerous than underground terrorists. Now we can demonstrate this with figures.
Under 3,000 Americans were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Over 4,000 Americans have been killed in the conquest and occupation of Iraq, and that doesn't count the many wounded, or the loss of freedom we have all suffered. The supposed reasons for this war were lies, so nothing excuses the harm it does. Thus, even for Americans, Bush is the worst enemy.
It's true in the UK too. 52 Britons were killed by terrorist attacks, while 176 were killed in the occupation of Iraq, not to count the wounded or the loss of freedom that all Britons have suffered.
The conquest of Iraq has imposed much greater suffering on Iraq; Bush and his cronies are responsible for all of that, since it was their crime that caused it. My point is that Bush is worse even without counting this.
Investigating the Pentagon's pet pundits.
The corruption of Earth Day into a marketing event is the result of a persistent long-term business PR campaign.
The capitalist will sell you the planet he (and the rest of his species) are living in.
When Kenya abolished the school fees that had been imposed by the IMF, 1 million poor children started attending school.
Additional "skeptics" about global warming have been outed as being on the PR industry's payroll.
Businesses such as Wal-mart pretend to be green while lobbying against laws to protect the environment.
Mugabe's men are doing a partial recount of the election, in districts where the opposition won, and seem to be trying to use it to cheat.
The Miss Landmine beauty contest highlights what landmines do to civilians.
Most countries are ready to ban landmines. Guess which one obstructs it?
The scandal of corporate media "military experts", managed by the Pentagon and paid by the military-industrial complex, is part of a campaign organized by Reagan and continued by George I to revive the US appetite for foreign wars.
Arizona is considering a vague bill that would cut off funding to schools that "denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization" or "overtly encourage dissent" from those values, including democracy, capitalism, pluralism and religious tolerance.
I support democracy, pluralism, and religious tolerance, but I find it dangerous to support them in this way. The way that quotes were taken out of context to misrepresent the Raza program suggests that this is a plan to do wrong.
As for capitalism, that isn't a value, it is merely one method that can be used to organize an activity. Sometimes it provides good results, and sometimes bad results. Elevating it to a "value" is a mistake.
After talking with Jimmy Carter, Hamas announced its willingness to accept and live by a peace agreement with Israel if the Palestinians clearly accept it.
By Israel's response to this, we can measure whether Israel's government wants peace.
Gordon Clown's regime in the UK has given the Bush regime real time access to spy on cars on the highways of the UK.
Paraguay has elected a moderate leftist president.
It remains to be seen how much he will resist the bullying of the US. Arguing with Brazil about who gets how much money from the Itaipu dam will not build unity.
The guards at Guantanamo appear to have destroyed video evidence of their torture activities.
This would appear to be a criminal act in its own right. But will they be prosecuted? Surely not by Bush; he won't even prosecute the male contractors that rape female contractors in Iraq.
The wives of imprisoned Cuban dissidents held a protest in Havana. The police arrested them.
The ocean has become less effective at absorbing CO2 since 10 years ago. This will make future global warming even worse than expected.
Global warming is causing bigger storms at sea.
The "military experts" that provide "analysis" on US were systematically recruited as mouthpieces by the Bush regime, and many are paid by its corporate cronies. Now the details of how this was done have been exposed.
When I read about the tours that were used to feed these "analysis" biased information, they remind me of the way the Soviet Union used to do the same thing.
One of the people carrying the Olympic torch in San Francisco pulled out a small Tibetan flag. Chinese and US police attacked her.
This must be what Peter Ueberroth calls an "exhilarating experience".
Israel arrested an important Palestinian non-violent activist, accusing him of being a "terrorist", but with no evidence for the claim.
According to Patrick Cockburn, al Sadr wants to make a common front with Sunnis to expel the Bush army of occupation, but the Sunni militias, now getting support from the Bush regime, would rather reconquer the parts of Baghdad that Shi'ites took over.
If they think Bush will support them while they do that, they are fools; what he wants above all is an appearance of peace in Iraq and especially in Baghdad. They ought to join with al Sadr.
Reagan's appointees destroyed the CIA's commitment to objective analysis, and converted it into a tool for fabricating support for political goals. Bush took advantage of this when fabricating excuses to conquer Iraq.
US citizens: support the Responsible Plan for ending the occupation of Iraq.
The goal of restoring Iraq's unity may be unachievable, but I see no harm in trying, as long as failure in that goal is not allowed to derail the rest.
US citizens: sign this petition calling on the major presidential candidates to talk with Hamas.
John McCain's New Economic Advisor Is an 'Innovator' at Hurting Workers.
In Basra, women face danger everywhere, and can be imprisoned by their husbands if they demand a divorce.
The Bush forces' invasion is responsible for this, but I think there is no way to undo what has been done. Certainly the continued Bush occupation does nothing about this problem.
Israel continues expansion of its colonies in the West Bank, showing contempt for the idea of peace with Palestinians.
The former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff says he was kept in the dark about torture practiced in Guantanamo. He believed that the Geneva Conventions were still being followed.
The other injustice of Guantanamo, aside from torture, is that people have been imprisoned for long periods without trial.
The Bush regime twists language to deny that torture is torture.
After World War II, the US executed Japanese soldiers as war criminals for waterboarding American troops.
A Pentagon institute calls the Iraq war `a major debacle'.
This story gives a false figure for the number of civilians killed in Iraq. The figure obviously comes from Iraq Body Count, but that organization does not claim its count represents all the civilians killed. It represents only the deaths that IBQ can identify and verify. The total must be considerably more. The best estimate for the total of Iraqi civilians killed is around a million.
Those who want to keep the Bush forces in Iraq always say that Iraq's civil war would get worse without them. It might get worse or it might get better, no one can say. A couple of weeks ago the "Iraqi" forces (filled with the Badr brigades of SCIRI) fought with the Mahdi Army in Basra. The Bush forces supported this attack. Without Bush and his arms, money and troops to back them up, they would not have tried it.
I suggest resolving Iraq's future by inviting al Sadr, the anti-al-Qa'ida Sunni groups, the Kurds to work it out, offering withdrawal of the Bush forces as the carrot if they reach an agreement. The negotiations could be in Switzerland, and representatives of Indonesia (mostly Muslim, distant, and moderate) might be able to help them reach agreement.
YouTube suspended the accounts of two anti-Scientology activists without even notifying them, and refuses to explain why.
This makes two reasons why using YouTube to post videos is a bad thing:
1. Because YouTube only distributes them in Flash, and free software support for Flash is impeded by software patents.
2. Because that gives YouTube a lot of power.
Any web site can host videos, so post them yourself in Ogg Theora format.
Chinese people who got HIV from blood transfusions were arrested when they tried to meet with Premier Wen Jiabao.
Why didn't the New York Times cover the Winter Soldier events of the Iraq Veterans Against the War? It offers bad excuses.
India applied crushing security to the Olympic torch ceremony, turning it into a shabby failure and bringing shame on itself.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the "Personal Use of Marijuana...Act of 2008."
Unequal treaties imposed by the US and other wealthy countries have ruined the farmers in Haiti and poor countries.
Rising grain prices could act as an inducement for people to start producing it again, but that is easier said than done.
Bush is starting to verbally acknowledge the need to reduce CO2 emissions, but his proposal is really just a delaying action to hold off reductions.
Resistance is growing in the UK to attempts to ban photography.
Berlusconi, il ducino, came back to power in Italy. Berlusconi is a semi-fascist and a loyal poodle for Bush.
The reason he escaped some prosecutions for corruption is that he changed laws to make the statute of limitations shorter.
Corporations employ spies to infiltrate NGOs in order to defeat their campaigns.
Earth Day, like Christmas, has been perverted into a marketing event.
Evidence that most of the population of Latin America descended from white men and indigenous or black women may not indicate that the former killed the indigenous men, but rather result from the bigotry of colonial society.
The Burmese generals are imprisoning people for campaigning for a No vote in the constitutional referendum. They have not announced to the Burmese people what the constitution says, but leaked copies indicate it would make Aung San Suu Kyi ineligible for office for having married a foreigner.
If this constitution is "approved" by this unjust referendum, it should be regarded as no more legitimate than the EU constitution which was "approved" by pretending it wasn't a constitution.
Amnesty International estimates that China will execute almost 400 people during the Olympics — most of them secretly.
An 8-year-old boy was suspended from school for sniffing a marker for a moment. When the principal was informed by a toxicologist that it is not feasible to get high by sniffing a marker, he made the school get rid of all of them just to make sure nothing miraculous would occur.
Eathan should learn a lesson from this — a lesson about tyrants and freedom. But I doubt anyone has suggested this interpretation to him. Most children do not think of seriously applying what they learn about tyranny to the way adults treat them. I was an exception.
Is Starvation Contagious? As Haiti starves, few countries pay attention, but it is spreading.
14-year-old Omar has been released from prison in Iraq. He had been imprisoned for 7 months.
The organization Anonymous is holding repeated protests against the Church of Scientology. This one focused on the Church's policy of ordering members to discontinue contact with relatives that leave the Church.
Note how the church spokesperson's response is misleading. She says that she has a relationship with family members. Maybe that is true, but did they leave the church, or did they never join? I am sure that church members are encouraged to continue to talk with their relatives who have never joined the church.
Meanwhile, secret church documents have been leaked, including some that describe how the church punishes people.
Specially chosen Chinese police have accompanied the Olympic torch in several countries, giving the public a taste of Chinese police attitudes. Host country police shared the culpability by keeping them secret.
I commend Australia (and Japan, I read elsewhere) for refusing to allow the Chinese thugs entry.
The US police and policies toward protests will soon face a similar test, when the protests against the Republican and Democratic national conventions occur. In 2004 their policies were designed to cordon off protest to places where everyone could ignore it.
The Colomb family was framed on charges of drug trafficking by police operating from bigotry.
This family had good luck; not everyone who is framed in the US manages to show it. (Some are even executed.) The family's access to the court system gave them the chance to be exonerated.
Now imagine that a similarly overzealous prosecutor accuses a foreigner of "terrorism", and that the victim cannot even go to court. Imagine that the jailhouse snitches can be tortured, not just offered early release. That shows why the Guantanamo prison and the other secret US prisons are so evil.
Zimbabwe's opposition calls for a general strike.
Drought has become more frequent in parts of Uganda, leaving many people hungry. Perhaps this is due to global warming, which is predicted to cause drought in many places.
Global warming combines with human waste runoff to destroy coral reefs. Protecting the reefs from direct human action doesn't help.
A small, localized nuclear war could damage the Earth's ozone and thus endanger people all around the world.
The head of the IPCC says rich countries have failed to lead with the necessary sacrifices for a new climate treaty.
So negotiations are on hold waiting for Bush to be unable to sabotage them.
I have an idea. Obama, Clinton and McCain could get together to appoint a shadow negotiating team, and other governments could talk with that team, snubbing official US representatives. They probably would not have trouble getting the Green Party on board too. This team would have no authority to commit the US to anything now, but other countries could have confidence that the next president would accept.
The IMF has lost its grip on middle-income countries, and as a result, is running out of money to keep poor countries down.
Six cities in the US shortened the yellow light period, creating unsafe driving conditions, in order to make more money from their automatic cameras that issue traffic fines.
Using cameras to issue traffic fines should be illegal itself.
Venezuelan President Chavez accused the US of instigating the protests against China over its actions in Tibet, and opposes those protests. I am very disappointed by that position.
The US does sometimes organize protests to destabilize other countries, but I don't think it is doing so here. If it were, why would it allow the Chinese police to come in for the torch events? I think Chavez is mistaken about this accusation.
More importantly, Chavez has taken the wrong side in a struggle much like Venezuela's. I can understand Venezuela's need to seek allies to strengthen its hand against Washington, but always supporting those allies no matter what they do is not right.
Due to a starvation treaty with the US, India pays $400 per ton of rice to a US company, while Indian farmers are going broke getting only $200
Protests are following the Olympic Torch to Buenos Aires.
It is amusing to see the tremendous concern given to the question of whether this torch is extinguished. It verges on superstition. Do they think that this would be some sort of omen?
Suppose the torch were extinguished — would that prevent the games from being held? Certainly not. Would that convince China to respect human rights of Tibetans and Chinese? Would it convince the US to respect human rights of Americans and Iraqis and Haitians and many others? I doubt it.
So what are they worried about? Why do various unjust governments seem to care so much about this? Why do they let Chinese police come along to jump on anyone that waves a Tibetan flag?
I think they are worried about the appearing less than omnipotent. Their message to anyone who disagrees with the corporate empire is, "We are in total control, and you can't change anything. So give up!"
If protestors can extinguish a torch, who knows, maybe some day they can change government policies such as torture, invasion, censorship, and imprisonment of dissidents.
US citizens: sign this petition in support of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act before the public FCC hearing on April 17th.
Uri Avnery on Israel's hidden anti-peace agenda.
Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine: Israel Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust.
Ecuador's President Correa has fired a number of army officers accusing them of working with the CIA and Colombia.
Some of them had been told about Colombia's attack on FARC negotiators in Ecuador before it occurred, and kept it secret from the Ecuadorian government. This sounds like treason to me.
A British court ruled it was illegal to drop the investigation into BAE's bribery.
B'liar ordered it halted in response to Sa'udi pressure.
The court's decision is admirable, but Clown has decided to nullify it by changing the law to legalize what was done. In effect, he wants power to connive at corruption.
Of course, he will only do this when powerful interests are involved.
Cuba is moving step by step towards a freer economy.
I hope that it won't follow China's path which led to capitalism but not to human rights.
40 million Americans are on the edge of lacking the money to buy food. 11 million sometimes miss meals out of poverty. Bush's cuts in funding for food banks makes their situation worse.
But the cause of this problem is a broad range of right-wing policies that result from the dominion of the corporations.
If a political program doesn't make the megacorporations scream, it fails to address the problem. If the corporate media don't try to deride a candidate, then he's not going to take away their power.
Indonesia ordered ISPs to block access to Youtube because one of the videos there criticizes Islam.
The censorship order has been canceled, but it illustrates the widespread tendency of Muslims (and their governments) to try to suppress criticism. Many Muslim countries explicitly deny religious freedom and freedom of expression.
It is a bad thing to access Youtube if you use Adobe's non-free, binary-only Flash player. The only way to access Youtube and maintain your freedom is with Gnash. But that doesn't justify blocking access to the site.
Ben Allbright, who helped torture prisoners for Bush in Iraq, now wrestles with his conscience, and is embarrassed by the Americans around him who consider him a hero — Americans who "don't care about right and wrong".
Allbright is torn between his ethics on one hand, and a misplaced loyalty to the US government on the other. Perhaps he could make peace with his past by taking that loyalty away from the US government, and the Americans that approve of torture, and giving it instead to the ideals that they have betrayed.
Florida sells unlimited water-pumping rights in drought-stricken State Park to Nestle for $230
This is a particularly flagrant and stupid instance of a widespread corrupt policy. Most state governments (and most national governments) openly boast of bending over backwards to attract business from other states and other nations. In the small, it could seem that the one that wins this "competition" has gained. But the overall result is that the citizens lose and the companies gain.
Not long after Bush praised the "Iraqi" government's attack against al Sadr's Mahdi Army, General Petraeus urged reconciliation between them.
I think that this vacillation reflects a fundamental dilemma for Bush: al Sadr demands the end of the occupation, so Bush wants to destroy him, but Bush can't dominate Iraq if he is actually fights al Sadr.
The European Parliament rejected a proposal to punish people accused of sharing music on the internet.
Maybe this is the end of the EU's string of attacks on sharing, but it won't eliminate the unjust directives already adopted.
The Bush forces are finding it necessary to take cover inside the Green Zone, as resistance attacks start to hit.
Universal Music Group claims that throwing away a promotional CD is illegal.
If Universal were able to establish this claim, it would be able to ruin anybody simply by mailing him so many promotional CDs that he could not afford to rent space to house them. Perhaps it could establish a musical group called "White Elephant" for the purpose.
But I'm sure Universal does not expect to establish this claim, and I doubt it even really wants to. (The question isn't actually relevant to the case anyway.) Rather, it has a more subtle plan. Universal is presenting absurdly extreme copyright demands so as to make its real extreme copyright demands seem moderate by comparison. Thus, this absurd claim can do harm even if it is sure to be rejected.
Massachusetts voters: call your state representative and state senator to support medical marijuana legislation.
You can also send the message through this site but a phone call carries more weight.
Massachusetts voters: if your state senator is on the Ways and Means Committee, call in support of reducing penalties for marijuana.
This site will tell you if your state senator is on that committee.
Clinton continues to use PR businessman Mark Penn despite his work for the sweatshop treaty with Colombia and other nasty causes.
I can understand how a business might hire a PR firm regardless of who its other clients are and what they do. When a candidate acts that way, that seems to imply that the candidate has lowered the election to mere business.
Iraq war coverage has gone down by a factor of 6 from early 2007.
I wonder why this has happened. It is sure convenient for Bush, and for McCain. Did someone arrange this?
Experts associated with the Iraq Study Group say that the Bush regime has made no progress towards its announced goals in Iraq.
I don't know what will happen in Iraq if the Bush forces are withdrawn. A new outbreak of fighting might occur. However, their presence in Iraq contributes to the tensions that might cause this fighting, so keeping them there is no solution.
Supporters of China demonstrated in San Francisco along with protestors.
I wonder who those supporters were. I suspect they were Chinese people whose reside in the San Francisco area and who see this issue through the foolish eyes of nationalism.
We see the same foolish nationalism when Americans are manipulated into supporting Bush's occupation of Iraq through their patriotism.
In Zimbabwe, after Mugabe covered up the election results and demanded a rerun, armed men are telling citizens "Vote for Mugabe or you die".
Businesses have set up a phony consumer group to lobby for further deregulation and more sweatshop treaties.
High prices for grain have caused riots around the world as poor people cannot afford to eat.
Making biofuel from food crops is part of the problem.
2/3 of Americans want the Bush forces withdrawn within a year, according to a recent poll.
US citizens: sign this petition to Rep. Murtha calling for no more funding to continue the occupation of Iraq.
The accused liquid explosive airplane bombers are on trial in the UK, and prosecutors seem to continue to claim that they could have succeeded.
It is possible that the accused were really thinking about trying to use liquid explosives, but they didn't get beyond that. If they had, they would have found that the method doesn't work.
Israel continues expansion of its "settlements" on Palestinian land, creating ever more obstacles to the possibility of peace.
Giant media companies are trying to attack the concept of fair use in copyright law, and doing so by lying about the Berne Convention.
Even if the Berne Convention doesn't conflict with fair use, it is still bad. For instance, it says that every written work is copyrighted even if it is published without a copyright notice. And it requires copyright to last for a ridiculously long time. The Berne Convention should be abolished, and likewise the sweatshop treaties ("free trade" treaties) that refer to it.
Illinois representative Monique Davis told Rob Sherman he had no right to testify to a state committee, because he is an Atheist.
Bigotry against various religions still exists in the US, but most people are ashamed to show it, because many others condemn it. However, our society has not yet learned to condemn bigotry against Atheists.
New technologies put your privacy and autonomy at risk even inside your skull.
Influential members of Congress own lots of stock in companies that profit from the occupation of Iraq.
Biofuel production has combined with climate change, eating lots of meat, oil shortage, and "free trade" to produce a scarcity of grain, causing a big price increase which is making poor people go hungry around the world.
Protests against China have begun in San Francisco.
Isn't it pathetic the way some people consider a sporting event more important than freedom? How these protests affect the "Olympic movement" is insignificant compared with the oppression that they denounce.
Israel is gradually expelling Palestinians from much of the West Bank by demolishing homes and not allowing new ones to be built.
Israeli soldiers shoot and threaten Palestinians that are obviously not armed.
But it's not just with guns and bombs that Israel kills Palestinians.
Bush wants the "Iraqi" government to sign an agreement so the Bush forces can remain there as long as he wishes (but not "permanently"). Perpetual occupation on the installment plan?
A network of state and private surveillance systems work with US systems to implement pervasive surveillance.
The Olympic torch was guarded in France much as a tyrant is guarded from the people he oppresses.
But they were unable to prevent the protests from being very effective.
The Clown's police in London told protestors that even t-shirts were forbidden as a protest.
It is no surprise that the police commander subsequently denied this. Lying is second nature for police.
The protests have convinced the president of the IOC to voice a token criticism of China, although he reserves the harshest criticism for the protestors, by exaggerating their protests into "violence".
It is interesting to note the comment in the first article that responds to the article by criticizing the occupation of Iraq. This reflects a fundamental confusion about what the point is.
If you want to support human rights, you must resist the tendency to attack foreign critics of oppression by saying "Your country is bad too." Maybe it is, and what then? Arguing about which country is worse is a distraction.
Every year the Bush regime publishes a condemnation of China's contempt for human rights. These criticisms are valid. Every year the Chinese government publishes a condemnation of the US disrespect for human rights. These criticisms are valid too. Both of these governments trample human rights, and they are both wrong. The wrongs of one do not excuse or legitimize the wrongs of the other.
The way to advance the cause of human rights is to insist on justice in each country and all countries. If pressure for human rights someday establishes in China a just government which puts the US to shame, that would be a great step forward for the whole world.
As the surveillance society extends, privileged people are given exemptions.
I think this will be a general trend, a consequence of surveillance in a society of great inequality.
Red-light cameras are a nasty system even if applied fairly, because the driver gets the ticket days (at least) after the event, when he no longer remembers the circumstances enough to argue the case. They ought to be abolished, not improved.
Barack Obama and Rev. Wright represent the two sides of Martin Luther King Jr.
Mugabe wants to hold a do-over election instead of releasing the results of the last one. And he has sent thugs to take over additional white-owned farms, a move the opposition interprets as threatening violence.
Now British officials predict that Bush will soon attack Iran.
Changes in cosmic ray indicence are not relevant to global warming.
James Hansen says global warming is worse than the projections have said, and that the EU's target for reducing CO2 levels, 550 ppm, is too high. He says that we have to keep CO2 at 350 ppm to maintain a planet recognizably like the Earth we know.
The occupation of Iraq continues to protect other countries from invasion by the US.
Aristide's pilot testifies about Aristide's kidnaping by US soldiers.
Neither Clinton nor Obama plans to end the occupation of Iraq. Now, while they are still contending with each other, is the best time to pressure them to do so.
A Chief Rabbi in Israel calls for revenge attacks against Palestinians, particularly children.
Doesn't he know that Israel has got its "revenge" in advance for years of hypothetical future Palestinian attacks? For each Israeli that Palestinians have killed, in recent years, Israel has killed more than ten Palestinians. How much more revenge does he think they need? 100 times? A thousand times? Would killing half the Palestinians satisfy him, or does it have to be all of them?
A professor is suing students for publishing their class notes.
The term "intellectual property" used by the professor's lawyers is a term of confusion and intimidation.
Poor Haitians rioted because the increasing cost of food is starving them.
The relays of the Olympic Torch face protests, and some people are refusing to participate.
US government has excluded reporters from seeing where its bombs fell on Sadr City in Baghdad, much as China excluded reporters from Tibetan protests.
The EU is investigating Microsoft's corruption of ISO.
Oil from tar in Alberta contributes very heavily to global warming.
The problem may be self-limiting, since global warming can cause drought which would make it impossible to extract the tar.
The administrators of the Popline health information search engine temporarily censored searches using the term "abortion", saying that they were obeying Federal censorship laws.
Another Bush regime employee in Iraq who was raped by colleagues tells her story.
How ironic is her continued support for Bush's conquest of Iraq. The fact that her attackers are not prosecuted is no accident. It is a consequence of the zone of no law that Bush's cronies need in order to loot Iraq. And the lack of interest by Federal prosecutors may have something to do with Bush's firing of all the ones that had integrity.
The Czech government agreed to install US anti-missile interceptors on the pretext that they are not directed towards Russia.
The fear is that these interceptors would enable the US to threaten Russia with a nuclear attack. The US has never promised not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.
Salmon populations in the US Pacific coast have crashed, and the US is considering a total ban on fishing. But even that may not bring them back.
The Bush regime brazenly declared the Fourth Amendment void to excuse "military" surveillance of Americans.
Melting of ice sheets can cause large earthquakes even if the area does not generally have earthquakes.
The US Army's PR officers are trying to convince us that imprisonment without trial in Guantanamo is ok because the prison conditions are nicer now.
Curfews in Iraqi cities are not just annoying.
Opposition candidate Tsvangirai claimed victory in Zimbabwe's presidential election. The government has inexplicably refused to publish any results.
After two Saudis called for believers in religions other than Islam to receive certain forms of respect, a prominent cleric called for their execution.
Many Muslim countries do not recognize religious freedom. Several of them have the death penalty for "blasphemy" and for Muslims who convert to any other view.
The Bush regime is considering sabotaging hostile blogs by cracking in and altering the text in embarrassing ways.
If your blog criticizes the Bush regime (or any other unscrupulous government), keep a backup copy of the text you actually wrote, and keep it on a free operating system so that it's harder to break in and alter that copy. This way, if your site gets cracked and your text gets altered, you will be able to blow the whistle.
Continuing Bush's War on the Environment, the EPA will delay its mandated action on greenhouse gases till after Bush leaves office.
Citizens of San Francisco: support the proposal to name a waste treatment facility after President Bush.
Comcast agreed to stop penalizing BitTorrent traffic.
I don't think it is unreasonable to give lower priority to large data transfers, when the net is loaded, as long as that is done fairly for all large data transfers.
Heathrow airport's terminal 5 fingerprinting scheme was canceled.
Terminal 5 has been an engineering disaster, but at least it is not a human rights disaster.
(It turns out this article was from last year. I did not see that. Sorry.)
Russian government insiders say Bush will attack Iran on April 6.
I would not take the integrity of those Russian officials for granted, and they could also be mistaken. However, I also would not be surprised if they are right.
An Arab instructor in an Israeli university, who is a pacifist, faces dismissal for refusing to declare his "respect for the uniform of the Israeli army".
European oil companies are shipping biofuel back and forth across the Atlantic to take advantage of loopholes in subsidy laws.
There is increasing recognition that biofuels do not serve conservation purposes when they are made from food crops grown using unsustainable fertilizer inputs and/or in land cleared from rain forests. This leads to pressure to correct the badly implemented programs to promote use of biofuels. To which the industry makes absurd responses such as "we can't afford a change in policy now".
Thousands of refugees from New Orleans were given federal aid money, and subsequently told that they had received too much. Now they are ordered to return tens of thousands of dollars.
Those people probably spent the money building new homes, and probably decided what sort of house to build based on how much they had received. In other words, the government led them down the garden path and now has shafted them.
A Bush regime official embezzled millions of dollars meant for "promoting democracy in Cuba" in his previous job.
Since Bush doesn't support democracy in the US, why would he try honestly to promote it anywhere else?
A defense lawyer in a Guantanamo kangaroo court claims that Bush is using these fake trials for electioneering.
Stalled Assault on Basra Exposes the Iraqi Government's Shaky Authority.
Cory Doctorow says his editor was attacked by an insecurity guard in London's Spitalfields market after he took a photo. The guard tried to confiscate his camera, but he escaped.
Ralph Nader writes to Congress calling for the Impeachment of Bush.
The US Forest Service has been corrupted by Bush's War on Integrity.
US law defines George Washington as a terrorist.
Many of the Sierra Club's members smell a bad odor in the organization's deal to endorse some Clorox products, especially since the organization's charter says it is not allowed to endorse any products.
Some theaters in Japan have canceled showings of a movie about the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors war dead including war criminals, after threats.
Al Sadr has called for a cease fire with the "Iraqi government" forces.
The Bush regime decided to disown responsibility for the attacks on the Mahdi Army, after they ran into trouble.
The torture of prisoners in Guantanamo has driven some guards to seek psychiatric help out of guilt.
The UK continues its policy of imprisonment without trial, but judges are starting to trim it back.
Mugabe has lost the election in Zimbabwe, despite all his efforts to cheat.
But Mugabe may not allow the results to be recognized. The electoral commission has not announced any results.
Philip Morris has cunning plans to defeat present and future tobacco control measures that encourage smokers to quit.
The Chaos Computer Club published the fingerprint of a government minister as a demonstration that biometric security is not so trustworthy afterall.
If I am attacked by armed thugs, I'd rather have them steal my ATM card than cut off my finger.
White Americans are angry at Rev. Jeremiah Wright because he reminds them of truths they would rather forget.
McCain cites Osama bin Laden to justify the continued occupation of Iraq.
Since 2001 there has been a persistent pattern in the "bin Laden" tapes: they say just the thing to help Bush and his associates domestically. It suggests that whoever makes these tapes — whether it is Osama bin Laden or someone else — is in cahoots with Bush.
That fits in with the theory that Bush either set up the 9/11 attacks or arranged to prevent them from being stopped.
Pressure increases for a boycott of the Olympic Games.
New York City issued a broad subpoena to the developer of TXTmob for all the private information about the text messages sent with the system. The developer argues that he should not have to give this information.
He should have made sure to discard all this information as soon as the system did not need it any more.
Note the arrogant attitude of the New York police towards citizens: after violating thousands of citizens' rights, they call their actions a success. What did they succeed in doing? Keeping protests down to a level that could be mostly ignored, as if they did not happen.
Business owners that wish to show a movie about police violence face threats of imprisonment.
Canadian organizations find it is illegal to use Google Docs because they have a legal requirement to protect personal data.
The fact that Google Docs makes you vulnerable to the U SAP AT RIOT act is an indicator of a fundamental problem: to use Google Docs means giving up control of your computing, and your data. It's a mistake for anyone to do this. Whether or not you are legally required to maintain control of your data, you deserve that control.
One Iraqi police unit switched sides when ordered to attack the Mahdi Army.
Several Chinese intellectuals have published a petition to the Chinese government calling on it to respect the human rights of Tibetans and others.
When the government of China carries out censorship — of anything — it violates the rights of everyone in China, of whatever ethnic group.
I am sure the US government's warning about surveillance in China is justified, but visitors to the US must be equally concerned about government surveillance, given the U SAP AT RIOT act, the illegal spying by telephone companies, the spy taps in telephone companies, the tracking of the location of cellular phones (why do you think they are required to have GPS capability?), RFIDs, and so on.
Uri Avnery on Israel and the rights of its Arab citizens.
FEMA distributed trailers to the refugees from Hurricane Katrina even though it already knew that they emit toxic levels of formaldehyde.
Wal-mart failed in a bid to use trademark law to suppress parody merchandise.
The Mahdi Army says that those attacking it are the Badr Brigades militia of SCIRI, not the Iraqi police and army.
Since the Iraqi police and army are full of men of the Badr Brigades, this could be a distinction without a difference. In any case, what is clear is that the Bush forces are using airplanes to support SCIRI against the Mahdi Army. Meanwhile, the demand for "militias to give up their arms" is just a way of putting a nice face on a demand for the Mahdi Army to give up and let SCIRI slaughter it.
Increased fighting in Baghdad has led to a curfew. The occupation's "Green Zone" enclave was hit by rocket and mortar fire.
As China brought journalists back to Lhasa to show them a pretty face on things, some monks showed up to say the Chinese story was a lie.
Tim Stevens, who uses marijuana to treat nausea caused by HIV, used the necessity defense to win acquittal for the charge of possession of marijuana. In Texas, yet!
The prisoners of Bush's Iraqi puppet government in Fallujah are kept in unhygienic conditions and don't get enough food.
One of the leaders of the Bush-arranged overthrow of Haiti's President Aristide is now being sought for drug smuggling.
I wonder what caused his falling out with his former masters.
Bush tried to intimidate and punish allies that would not support his plans to conquer Iraq.
For another country to have "bad relations" with the US can be painful, like going to the dentist. But in the long term it is necessary to avoid a much worse problem: subjection.
As the SCIRI militia in Iraqi uniforms fights with the Mahdi army, Bush is elated.
The biggest lie in Bush's statement is the pretense that Iraq is a "sovereign nation". The sovereignty of the Iraqi government is just a pretense.
Another Antarctic ice shelf has collapsed. Scientists predicted this might happen within 30 years, 15 years ago. Things are getting worse faster.
Since ice shelves float on the ocean, the loss of one does not affect sea level. But the loss of the ice shelf enables ice on land to move faster into the ocean, and it also increases absorption of sunlight (since ice is a better reflector than water), which speeds further warming.
Some evidence suggests that US government agents may have organized the 9/11 attacks.
Mugabe is holding another blatantly rigged election.
McCain talks about curbing lobbyists but lets them raise funds for him.
Many Americans are in thrall to "pay day loans" which can charge up to 800% interest.
Honoring Katharine Gun, the translator who sacrificed her career and risked prosecution to expose B'liar's spying on the UN, in an attempt to stop an unjust war.
Ms Gun is an example of the best in humanity.
Public presure on supermarkets is forcing the British fishing fleet to move towards sustainable practices.
This partial step forward shames the UK government, which would have mandated sustainable practices years ago if it had the right values and priorities.
Nanotechnology in foods could do amazing things, but nobody knows whether the nanomaterials are safe to eat.
The major drug companies give doctors lots of gifts to get them to prescribe their products. Massachusetts is considering a law to ban this practice.
The head of the Federal Trade Commission has quit to become an executive of Procter & Gamble, after serving that company by protecting it from FTC regulations. "The real corrupting influences are the things that are legal."
As propaganda for war with Iran, the Republicans take facts about Iraq and graft them onto Iran.
Speaker Pelosi made a strong statement condemning China in support of Tibetan protestors.
Her condemnation of the Chinese occupation of Tibet is entirely correct. What a shame that she fails to condemn in similar terms the equally devastating and equally unjust occupation of Iraq by the Bush regime.
The "Iraqi" police have attacked al Sadr's Mahdi army in Basra.
Al Sadr has responded with peaceful protests by his supporters, condemning the US and its puppet government in Iraq.
Here's some background information.
The "Iraqi security forces" are largely under the control of SCIRI and the Badr brigades. Thus, in effect this is a battle between the Badr brigades and the Mahdi army.
Al Sadr has shown a high level of integrity and patriotism throughout the Bush occupation of his country. I doubt that he respects the rights of women or non-Muslims, but neither do the other sides. Iraqis would do well to support al Sadr.
The American Physical Society refused to publish a paper after the authors refused to hand over the copyright. But the physicists have launched a campaign to make the APS change its policy. Bravo!
Pakistan wanted to censor Youtube, so it sabotaged the Youtube site (for users all around the world) by generating a false DNS entry.
The TSA plans to do random checking of luggage on Amtrak trains, to make Americans feel even more insecure.
As anyone who has watched The Longest Day is aware, bombing a train does not require riding the train. So this is totally absurd as a "security" measure. But they will probably claim, after years in which there continue to be no bombs on trains in the US, that this is all due to them.
I never take Amtrak trains, because they demand ID to buy a ticket. Anywhere I can go by train in the US, I can also go by bus without showing ID, and that is what I do.
Protests against the Chinese occupation of Tibet have spread around the world. Meanwhile, China has admitted that it has arrested nonviolent protestors.
This reminds me that I have seen the text of one of Jeremiah Wright's "scandalous" statements. He suggested that US support for Israel's cruel occupation of Palestine may have been part of the cause of the 9/11 attacks. It seems entirely plausible to me, and not "anti-semitic" at all. He also accused Israel of being racist, and that seems a good description of the occupation policies, which are often compared with apartheid in South Africa.
Sanal Edamaruku of Rationalists International dared a self-proclaimed black magician to kill him on live TV. The magician said he could do it, but failed, with hundreds of millions of Indians watching.
Hooray for rationalism, and hooray for Mr. Edamaruku.
Everyone: sign the petition for global standards on biofuels, to reject the kinds that drive up food prices or chop down rainforests.
All the "free trade" treaties weaken democracy by transferring power from states to global business. None of the candidates acknowledges this issue.
NAFTA and other recent US free trade treaties directly attack democracy, by allowing companies to sue in special international courts against any laws that they claim reduce their profits. Obama does raise this issue; the others do not recognize it.
I think Nader is against all the sweatshop treaties, but I do not have confirmation of this.
China imprisoned Yan Chunlin for saying that human rights are more important than the Olympic games
Chinese people should not make the mistake of taking sides with the Chinese government against Tibetans. The means used by the Chinese government for maintaining its control of Tibet, which include censorship, restriction of journalists, and imprisonment of dissenters, trample the freedom of Chinese people just as they trample the freedom of Tibetans.
Sick Palestinians continue dying because Israel blocks them from leaving Gaza for medical care.
Genetic research shows that the Spanish conquerors of Latin America killed most of the native men, then mated with the native women.
The teachers union in the UK voted to oppose military recruitment that presents a distorted picture of what being in the UK military means.
The quote at the end from the "ex-soldier, Terry" is misleading. A 6-week experience of military training may or may not show what military training is like. It certainly does not give a taste of what it is like to shoot civilians, or to fight with guerrilla forces that don't want you occupying their country.
Uri Avnery endorsed Barack Obama for president of the US. He is sure that McCain and Clinton are nothing good for peace between Israel and Palestine, but he thinks Obama might, even though he doesn't say so.
I do not share his doubts because I do not expect politicians to do better than they say.
Israeli troops have beseiged the Arab-American University in Jenin. They have forced journalists to leave, much as China has done in Tibet.
Perhaps Israel is taking advantage of the immunity from criticism that results from the fulsome support that foreign leaders offer to Israel.
Pakistan's new prime minister will try to free the judges that were imprisoned by President Musharraf.
A much larger number have been gravely wounded, and an even larger number suffer from PTSD. But all that is nothing compared to the million-plus Iraqi death toll from the invasion.
The article has a few inaccuracies. Iraq Body Count does not try to estimate the number of Iraqi dead. Rather, it counts those deaths that can be firmly established, producing a lower bound.
Also, neither Clinton nor Obama plans to fully withdraw the Bush forces from Iraq.
Soot from burning coal, diesel and wood is a large part of human-caused global warming.
Protesters for Tibet intruded on the lighting of the Olympic Torch. China and Greece failed to stop them completely at the ceremony, but Chinese television suppressed all mention of what occurred.
Isn't it sad to see the "idealistic" Olympic officials who believe (or at least say) that sport should be kept pure of distractions such as human rights? They reminds me of the "open source" supporters that think technology should be kept pure of distractions such as human rights.
President Chavez is destabilizing the right-wing government of Peru by offering free health care to poor Peruvians.
Peruvian President Garcia's masters in Washington have far more money than Venezuela does. They could win the competition for Peruvians' hearts and minds instantly, if they were willing to try. But they are too greedy to provide free health care even to Americans, and all they want to do to poor Peruvians is exploit them. Chavez' charity embarrasses Garcia by exposing him for what he is.
There is one error in the article: as far as I know, Chavez has never supported the FARC, except in false accusations by the Colombian government.
People are arrested and imprisoned in the US just for following a hyperlink to a site that is said to contain "child" pornography.
Even if we put aside the issue of censorship, enforcing it this way is an outrage.
The same is true of the US corporate media: it is not very hard to find out the things they don't say, but most Americans don't bother, and the result is that Bush repeatedly gets away with lies.
US citizens: call your senators to support the Foreclosure Prevention Act.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Peace activists in the UK were stopped and questioned under "terrorism" laws after a camera automatically recognized their car's license plate. They had been put on a list for reasons that had nothing to do with terrorism.
The fact that this is considered legal shows that "anti-terrorism" law is a lie. The real threat to citizens of the UK is not the occasional terrorist. It is their own government.
The UK police have bullied theaters to cancel showings of an independent movie. The movie might offend the public, since it shows explicit violence — real footage of the police.
Bush is continuing the occupation of Iraq with the same scare tactics and lies that he used to start it.
5 years ago, Cheney and McCain said that the Bush forces would be "greeted as liberators" in Iraq.
Here's the report about Saddam and Al Qa'ida that the Pentagon wanted to discourage people from seeing.
In Iran's phony democracy, many opposition candidates have been barred from running, so that reformers have no chance.
The BBC's Digital Restrictions Management has been cracked. And the article has a quote that criticizes DRM.
A new attempt to negotiate a climate change agreement is headed by B'liar.
He will probably let Bush stop him from making any progress.
Dubya, who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War, now says that being in a war is romantic.
Massachusetts voters: ask state legislators to support medical marijuana legislation.
Troy Davis was railroaded into a murder conviction, and the witnesses have recanted their testimony, but the Georgia Supreme Court refused to give him a new trial. They'd rather kill an innocent man than admit a mistake.
The European Commission is investigating Microsoft's dirty tricks in trying to rig the ISO standardization of OOXML.
Bush's Iraqi quisling militias have gone on strike because he has not paid them regularly.
When Chinese officials say they will talk with the Dalai Lama if he abandons the protest campaign, they know he is not running it, so the whole statement is a lie.
An increasing number of states are rejecting the REAL-ID US plan to turn drivers' licenses into national ID cards. The US response is to punish citizens.
I think states should call the US government on its threat, say "Go ahead and bully our citizens — we are not scared."
Outrageous proposals like this serve a real purpose: they make other measures, which ought to be outrageous, sound acceptable by comparison.
There must be a reckoning for this day of infamy (the invasion of Iraq).
A man shot a burglar who turned out to have a badge. Now he faces first degree murder charges.
There is a systematic reason why there is so much SWAT team activity. I've read that the federal government offers funds for SWAT teams, so local police departments decide to create a SWAT team in order to get some of that funds. Once the SWAT team exists, it asks to be given missions, and if there aren't enough missions that really call for a SWAT team, it gets sent on other missions that don't. The result, every so often, is that someone gets killed, and some innocent citizen gets put on trial for defending himself.
When the tame US mass media criticize the occupation of Iraq, they do it shallowly, taking for granted that Bush deserves to succeed in his conquest.
To discuss a war of aggression and conquest in terms of whether it is "worth fighting" is like discussing a bank robbery in terms of whether it is "worth the risk."
An agribusiness lobby withdrew funds to the University of Minnesota, after a scientist there published a study that concluded biofuels made from food crops could make global warming worse.
Sequoia Voting Machines' threat worked: the county that owns the voting machines was scared into canceling the independent evaluation.
Union County should reject these voting machines on the grounds that, if their manufacturer seeks to block investigation of them, they cannot be trusted.
Protests spread to other areas of Tibet as thousands of troops impose martial law in Lhasa.
Some Tibetans accuse the Dalai Lama of playing into China's hands by abandoning the cause of Tibetan independence. The Chinese government calculatingly accuses him of organizing an uprising, knowing this is false, and thus manipulates him into opposing it ever more strongly.
The Bush forces continue to sweep Iraq's civilian dead under the carpet, but independent estimates range up to 1.4 million.
Iraq Body Count's conservative approach is useful for some purposes, but estimating the total number of Iraqis killed is not one of them. The actual number must be much larger.
I think the figure of "around a million killed" is the most plausible. As long as the Bush regime prevents efforts to make a more accurate count, we are entitled to estimate its murders as best we can, and hold the regime responsible for them.
The Chinese-backed dictators of Burma refused even to meet with the latest UN mission.
If I were the president of the US, I would have considered military intervention years ago to liberate Burma. But first I would have tried to find out whether Burmese wanted such help.
"Myanmar" is the name used by the dictators; the Burmese democracy movement asks people to reject that name.
The RIAA lost its case against Tanya Anderson. Now she is going to sue the RIAA for malicious prosecution.
Sequoia Voting Machines is trying to prevent the study of its machines for security flaws.
I'm not surprised that its letter used the term "intellectual property", because intimidation is what that term was designed for. Use of the term "intellectual property" nearly always indicates someone is either confused or trying to confuse the public.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html for more about this issue.
UK teachers condemned the government's plan for a biased (propaganda) description of the conquest and occupation of Iraq.
The UK environmental agency says that the environmental study of Heathrow airport extension was not properly done.
The idea of "balancing" desire to travel against pollution is obsolete in a world where global warming is driving the atmosphere and the ocean out of balance. I also suspect it is insincere, a public mask that hides a private surrender to business.
Government policies generally are too favorable to business, against the interests of the general public. Whenever this favoratism is reversed, as it ought to be, business screams bloody murder. Therefore, whenever business does not scream, most likely government policies remain too favorable towards it.
The US "terrorist" watch list is expected to have a million names on it by July, at the rate it is growing. Its maintenance is so shoddy that it includes names of terrorists known to be dead — entries that can cause real problems for living people with the same name.
When something is kept secret from the people it affects, whether it is so-called evidence against you, or the source code for the software you run, it is likely to conceal something very shoddy (no real evidence, bugs, etc.).
With three congresscritters on the list, out of some 450, one senator out of 100, and one senator's spouse out of around 100, it suggests that about 1% of Americans meet with harassment through the list.
Chinese police and soldiers in Tibet are said to be crushing protestors, since China has expelled all foreign journalists.
UK police want to record DNA samples of 5-year-olds in case they grow up to be criminals.
I think it is despicable to ask for fingerprints from library patrons, and I would refuse to borrow from that library.
The UK government wants to censor coroners' statements about preventable deaths of soldiers.
A thorough military study found absolutely no sign of contacts between Saddam Hussein and Al Qa'ida. Although the study is not secret, the Pentagon is trying to make the study inconvenient to obtain.
Salvia Divinorum is a short-term hallucinogen whose danger is close to zero. But some states and countries are prohibiting it anyway.
It would make more sense to teach people how to use it in comfortable situations, with friends, just as we do with more dangerous recreational activities such as mountain climbing. The reason that is not being considered is obvious: safety is not the motive, just an excuse. Those legislators are prejudiced against hallucinogens.
As violence increases in Iraq, the Clown regime has decided it is "safe" and will force 1,400 refugees to return there or starve.
Syria has been doing the same thing — and the Bush regime cited those "returning" refugees as proof that Iraq was safe.
A UN agency wants coca leaves to be illegal.
The Bush regime bailed out the bankers, and did nothing for the people whose houses they have taken. Meanwhile, it decided to ruin the man who wanted to prevent this.
How Palestinians can extend non-violent protest against the occupation
The Bush regime uses secrecy orders and reprisals to cover up its acts of torture.
The Clown regime plans to do live testing of Dirty Uranium weapons in Scotland.
A Guantamo prisoner's lawyer accuses the Pentagon of altering a combat report to frame him.
The site RateMyCop.com, which gave citizens a place to comment on the behavior of policemen in their communities, was shut off without notice by its hosting company. Apparently cops complained.
Police are accustomed to immunity for their violence and lies; they do not want anything to make it easier for citizens to have a way to complain.
Massachusetts citizens: phone your state representative and state senator in support of H.4468, the marijuana decriminalization bill.
In the US: tell the FCC that phone companies should not restrict organizations from sending you text messages at your request.
After Congress cancelled the DOD's "Total Information Awareness" program, Bush restarted it in the NSA. It looks at where who you talk with, by email and text messages. It tracks web browsing.
Combined with the Bush regime's general disrespect for human rights and rule of law, "We know everything" translates into "We can crush anyone at any time."
New York Governor Spitzer resigned due to a sex scandal: he paid for prostitution. So what?
It was hypocritical for Spitzer to prosecute people for prostitution while using the services of prostitutes himself. Of these two things, the one he should not have done was the prosecution. There is nothing wrong about being a prostitute, or being the customer of one. The law against this is unjust.
If you don't like prostitution, don't be a prostitute or the customer of one. I never have been, not out of disapproval, but because it is not what I want. I want to make love with my sweetheart, not just have sex. But if you would like sex with someone very attractive, and you don't need love to go with it, I don't see any harm in your paying a skilled professional sex-partner to please you, just as I pay skilled professional chefs and musicians to please me in other ways.
The EU is standing up to US pressure for surveillance of airline passengers.
Chinese police in Lhasa are fighting to crush large protests.
The US/UN occupation of Haiti has created super rich while making poverty worse.
The House of Representatives rejected immunity for illegal spying by telephone companies, and instead set up an official investigation with subpoena power.
It's a small step, but at least it is real resistance to tyranny.
Tibetan monks are protesting in Lhasa and Delhi against Chinese rule.
I recently read Born in Tibet, by Chögyam Trungpa. ("Reborn in Tibet" would be a better title, since he was considered to be the reincarnation of an important lama, and every aspect of his life was shaped by this.) The last third of the book describes his escape to India, going hungry and evading patrols, after Chinese troops attacked and destroyed monestaries and shot the leading monks for no particular reason.
Hamas proposed terms for a cease-fire (again), but Israel still refuses to negotiate.
The International Criminal Court wants Uganda to hand over the leaders of the Lords Resistance Army, who mutilated people and kidnaped children to be soldiers or whores. But Uganda's President Museveni has made a peace deal in which they will face traditional justice instead.
I tend to think Museveni is right in this, if the peace deal is a legitimate peace deal and not an excuse for a whitewash (and it sounds like it is the former).
The EPA dismissed a top scientist from a panel because she has written about the health dangers of a certain chemical. The companies that Bush works for consider this "bias".
Bush's Middle East commander resigned, apparently because he opposed invading Iran.
Maybe now Bush will go ahead with the attack he has been talking about for a few years — if the next commander doesn't quit too.
Iraq's Surging Violence.
Pepsi is using tiny donations to make Americans feel good about wasteful bottled water.
The article says how small the donation is, but does the bottle say? Usually such products are very vague: they say things like, "a portion of the proceeds will be donated". It is best to assign no significance to vague statements about donations to charity.
Schwarzenegger commutes daily by airplane, producing lots of CO2 and setting a bad example.
Sign the petition of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for better wages for migrant tomato-pickers.
60,000 soldiers who fought for Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD. The Veterans Administration is skimping on their treatment.
It is typical Bush regime behavior to betray those whom it uses, unless they are rich and important enough to have special influence.
People who imagine that joining the US Army means "serving their country" are fooling themselves twice: even aside from the unjust wars of conquest that they are used for, this regime doesn't serve the country, only the rich people that control it.
UK police arrested people for giving food to the homeless, citing absurd distortions of the law as an excuse, but their real motive was to protect the sales of MacDonalds.
(This sort of thing has gone on in the US as well.)
Alabama Governor Siegelman was framed for political reasons and convicted in a dishonest trial.
The Society of Automotive Engineers dropped DRM on its journal following a boycott by the MIT Library.
The Clown regime plans to take fingerprints of domestic airline passengers.
They say they will destroy the records after a day "except when police want to keep them". Given the Clown's penchant for total surveillance, the police might ask to keep all of them.
In 2006, after the bogus "liquid explosive" scare, the UK began forbidding air travelers to take any carry-on baggage. If travelers arrived with laptops, they lost those laptops, because airlines said they did not allow laptops in checked baggage either. Although the UK changed that rule some weeks later, I decided not to take the risk of using airports in the UK. I recommend that everyone avoid them.
I am planning to visit the UK in a couple of months, but I will take the train in and out.
A New Guantanamo in Africa?
EU laws restricting sale of seeds are wiping out many varieties, just the opposite of what humanity needs.
The FBI have an unlimited back-door into the systems of a major cell phone network company. This allows the FBI to spy however it wishes, and with no one in a position to enforce the weak US laws that remain.
I once heard an interview with an expert on phone tapping and law. He said that, in the past, police were not allowed to directly operate on phone company systems or data. When they got an order for a wiretap, they took it to the phone company, the phone company implemented it, and the police received only the data that the order called for. That shows what a system is like in which laws defend people's rights.
In the US today, the law is just an excuse for the government to bully the public.
The FBI is spending 4 billion a year convincing losers to join in idle talk about plans for "terrorism", so as to put them in prison.
When US government agents say "We are protecting you from a big threat, but for national security reasons we won't tell you any details," we have to presume this is a lie, fabricated by a series of exaggerations. Calling a hand grenade a "weapon of mass destruction" is blatant dishonesty, and we cannot trust anything such a person says.
The US government has a history of lying about threats in order to get public support for something nasty. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which never happened at all. Until they let us study the "evidence" they have, and judge for ourselves what it really shows, we must dismiss it.
If they were interested in real terrorists, they would investigate Bush and Cheney.
US torture in the conquest of the Philippines, around 1900, was covered up, minimized and defended much as it is today.
The main reason for decreased killing in Iraq is not Bush's semipermanent troop increase, but hiring 80,000 Sunnis as mercenaries.
It does one good thing — it gives Iraqis some income. But it would be a crying shame if Bush succeeds in his war of conquest and avoids the prison sentence he deserves.
Bush's invasion of Iraq has made lots of Iraqi widows. Here's how they live.
Bush and Uribe fabricated an accusation that Chavez gave money to the FARC. Here's how they twisted the text. Both Clinton and Obama supported Bush in this calumny, calling Colombia's attack on the FARC negotiating team "defense".
Isreali extremists, whose religious school was attacked, say they will take revenge by stealing more of the Palestinians' land.
In effect, they have admitted that stealing Palestinians' land counts as violence against them. But the Palestinians that they thus attack are not chosen because of anything they did. They are simply those that happen to be "in the way". So this would be collective punishment, reprisals against civilians.
And what does this say about all the land these extremists have already stolen? If revenge is the way you look at this, the Palestinians are entitled to a much bigger one. On the other hand, this particular assault can be undone — by handing back the stolen land.
Guinea-Bissau has become a failed state under the control of drug traffickers.
I doubt that even a strong government would have prevented this. The traffickers can offer so much money that few officials would say no to it, and can also threaten to kill (or simply fire) anyone that did not cooperate.
The root cause of this problem is drug prohibition, which makes cocaine so expensive and profitable, and thus gives traffickers their strength.
Clown is continuing B'liar's policy of massive surveillance in every way possible, and has put over 1 million minors into its DNA data base.
The Burmese dictators plan a referendum on a new constitution that will ensrhine their power permanently. Anyone campaigning against this constitution faces imprisonment.
If we embarrass them enough, perhaps they will pretend that their constitution is not a constitution, like the EU ;-!
A Burmese witness tells of how the troops shot the protesting monks.
Aristide's supporters held a large protest despite repression by the UN occupying forces.
Governments trying to curry favor with China blocked several Tibetan protests.
Normal street levels of car exhaust cause stress reactions in the brain.
Clown's government is reevaluating targets for CO2 reduction, and may make them more strict.
At the same time, it wants to build coal-fired power plants that will greatly increase emissions.
There is no telling whether the plans to install coal capture storage will ever be implemented, or even whether it will work.
Long-term targets don't translate directly into action. So I am glad to read that the UK proposed budget includes substantial tax increases to discourage CO2 emissions.
The fact that stock traders disapprove of these plans is a sign they may be on the right track. To eliminate poverty and end global warming will have a substantial cost. The rich want to shrug that cost onto middle-class and working people, so they criticize any plan which doesn't do that.
Dalits in India still face caste prejudice even if they convert to Christianity.
One of Clown's ministers had to apologize for falsely denying that CIA torture flights used UK facilities.
The developed world needs to prepare for "environmental migrants" forced to flee their homes by climate change.
Since it is largely the developed world that generates the greenhouse gas, it is fair that it bear the burden of people made destitute by global warming.
Big drug companies spend twice as much on advertising as on research.
US citizens: tell your senators to support the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act. It will transfer subsidies from oil companies to renewable energy development.
US citizens: support noncommercial low-power radio in US cities. More information here
The government of Sri Lanka is accused of arresting hundreds of people and secretly killing them.
Is it sucking up to the Bush regime?
The UK Clown regime is trying to trick young people into getting biometric ID cards by offering "incentives" to trick them before they know better.
UK activists remixed the police paranoia posters to talk about police surveillance.
Now what we need is for people to print and post thousands of them.
The FBI uses cell phones as listening devices.
If I could count on the FBI only to do this to mobsters, I would not be worried about it. But under a regime that labels dissidents as "terrorists" and manufactures supposed "terrorist plots" in order to arrest people, while giving its cronies immunity, we must expect the FBI's capabilities to be used less and less against people doing wrong, and more and more against people doing right.
Until your government becomes a reliable defender of human rights, if you have a cell phone with batteries in it, you should warn everyone you come in contact with: "I may be carrying a bug".
Iraq has three civil wars in parallel.
Clinton says she will ban the use of mercenary "contractors" in Iraq. Obama doesn't want to go that far.
Note that the question is only meaningful because both of them plan to continue the occupation of Iraq. Nader for President!
Bush will veto a law to prohibit torture by the CIA.
He says this is to "protect" the US, but the real issue is how to protect people against government torturers (of all countries). A country that fails to oppose torture is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Electric companies use dirty tricks to get approval for dirty coal-powered electric plants.
Someone set off a bomb at the door of a military recruiting office when no one was there, then sent letters about it to the US capitol.
The US armed forces regularly drop bombs much more powerful than this one, and these bombs kill civilians for real, not just potentially. So they are in no ethical position to complain about this.
Nonetheless, this is a foolish way to protest against US military recruiting, since it many Americans will identify with the military and feel that the attack was against them. It is much better to do things that make the recruiters ridiculous.
Palestinians shot 8 Israeli religious students in a school associated with the colonization of Palestinian land.
Israel has killed some 50 Palestinian civilians in recent days. It would be unjust to condemn the killing of 8 and disregard the killing of 50.
Students protested their school's ban on hugs with a 20-minute group hug.
Global warming and resulting climate change are likely to empty Lake Mead by 2021, but severe water shortages are likely to start years before that. Don't move to Nevada or Arizona.
Global warming is likely to help tropical insects that feed on crops move to the currently temperate zones, where they could devastate whatever agriculture is left.
After burning all the oil, if the temperature increase has not wiped out civilization, we can burn gas hydrates from under the ocean bottom and make things even hotter.
40% of the ocean has been heavily affected by human activity.
The Colombian army invaded Ecuador to kill some FARC guerrillas, who were in Ecuador to negotiate freeing some of their hostages.
I suspect that President Uribe sought to sabotage those negotiations from succeeding, as well as to pose as courageous. If he had simply wanted to attack the FARC, he could have attacked them in Colombia, and could have attacked something other than a negotiating party.
The FARC is a terrorist organization, and so is the Colombian state. The government of Colombia (including Uribe and other influential politicians) has close ties with the "paramilitary" gangs that are a form of violent organized crime. These gangs attack union leaders on behalf of the companies where they work (see killercoke.org), and attack villages to drive people off their land and make them sell it. (I heard a speech by a witness/victim who now lives in exile thanks to help from Amnesty International.)
The fact that only the FARC is labeled as "terrorist", and the government of Colombia is not, reflects the corrupting influence of the US government. Truth cannot come from a base of lies.
Catholic Iraqis face attacks and kidnappings, and have had to flee from Mosul.
Democrats in the House of Representatives stood up to Bush on immunity for illegal spying, but they seem too timid to continue standing up to him.
The US government took away domain names to cripple foreign web sites about Cuba, without going to court, and without notifying the sites' operator.
The vote counts in Russia's parliamentary election are such round fractions that they must have been chosen by hand.
Leaked documents show the US tried to use Fatah to overthrow the elected Hamas government, starting in 2006.
Amnesty International condemns Israel and Hamas for attacks on civilians.
Palestinians have recently killed 3 Israelis, including one civilian. Recent Israeli attacks have killed over 100 Palestinians, and the UN estimates around 50 of them are civilians. Note how Israel tries to label everyone they kill as an enemy fighter. This sort of dishonesty resembles what we have seen from the Bush regime and the UK police.
Israel's cruel blockade of Gaza reinforces support for Hamas, because Gazans "have nothing left but their self respect".
The Israeli high court found a strained excuse to disclaim responsibility under international law for what its boycott does to everyone in Gaza. It completely ignored the principle that collective punishment of civilians is a war crime.
Bush claims he can govern Iraq without congressional approval, even to the point of making commitments for further wars.
Bush has long shown contempt for the laws Congress passes, with "signing statements". Now he is moving further, declaring contempt for whether congress acts at all.
Wikileaks won reversal of the court-ordered shutdown of its domain.
After Philip Morris' drew criticism for a program that funds possibly corrupt tobacco research at universities, it announced it would route funds to universities through a different path in the future.
Voters in Brattleboro, VT, voted to instruct the police to arrest Bush for extradition to countries prepared to prosecute him, if he appears there.
Of course, Bush should be entitled to a proper hearing before extradition.
Nine Inch Nails released an album with permission to copy, and seems to have made a lot of money from it.
The police in the UK are asking the public to report photographers that look suspicious. This is likely to result in harassing lots of innocent people, as well as building paranoia beyond what actual danger warrants.
In the UK, the ones most likely to take photos and use them in ways you may not like are the police themselves. You won't find them standing around on the street using cameras, since they have thousands of cameras preinstalled for the purpose. So perhaps people should call the hot line to report "security" cameras.
This campaign also seems intended to intimidate people away from trying to note down those "security" cameras, so it might be good to start a public project and get thousands of people involved. If you are in the UK, you can participate too.
The US Army systematically mistreats troops that complain of rape or sexual abuse.
US laws against "material support" for terrorism amount to imprisoning people for thoughtcrime.
That these suspects are censored and forbidden to tell their story to the public is in itself an injustice.
The plans to deport the man who was acquitted are another injustice — and the refusal to say why, combined with the absurd claim that this is for his privacy (while not allowing him to deny it), can only be treated as malicious tyranny. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to individuals accused of crimes, but not to governments. When governments block us from investigating apparent acts of tyranny, we must treat them as guilty.
The end of the article quotes arguments that try to argue that we should tolerate this injustice on the grounds that otherwise the US government might do something even worse. It sure might — but the argument is fundamentally misguided. Each act of tyranny that is not resisted and defeated paves the way for further and worse tyranny.
If we wish to protect Americans from attack, these acts of tyranny should be the first priority to protect ourselves from.
"I was kidnapped by the CIA" -- the story of Abu Omar and the Italian prosecution of his kidnappers.
It is interesting that the CIA practice of kidnapping people and delivering them to other countries for torture began under Clinton.
Foreclosure Plans Benefit Banks, but Do Little for Homeowners.
This is what you get from government of the people, by the flunkies, for the corporations.
Public concerns about surveillance have helped to block the UK scheme to track all cars in order to charge for where they are driving.
However, the UK already tracks all car travel. That too is orwellian, and must be abolished, for freedom's sake.
War in Gaza and the possibility of peace.
Matt Gonzalez, Nader's running mate, shows how Obama's record does not accord with the hope that people have placed on him.
Of course, Clinton and McCain are worse.
In 1997, Clinton and Gore made the Kyoto treaty ineffective. The Senate had already ruled out any effective treaty.
Police attacked lawyers in Pakistan who were protesting Musharraf's coup against the Supreme Court. The former chief justice remains under house arrest.
The Dutch government is talking about banning a film that criticizes Islam. Its cited reasons are pure cowardice; the idea is to sacrifice the human rights of Dutch people to the demands of religious fanatics.
The maker of the film wants the Koran to be banned, so he is no supporter of freedom of expression, any more than Muslim fanatics are. Neither of them should be censored for this.
The Russian presidential election was rigged with a heavy hand. The main democratic opposition candidate was not allowed to run.
Kasparov's campaign was also blocked at the outset, with a crude maneuver whose only possible purpose was to spit on the idea of a free election.
The US continues fighting in Somalia.
I have seen no news for many months about the Ethopian troops that occupied Somalia "temporarily" and then showed no sign of leaving. Bush is lucky to have found a proxy dictator to occupy the country for him since he had worn out his own army.
Israeli "retaliation" in Gaza is killing lots of civilians. A child died slowly of a bullet wound because the Israeli bullets make it too dangerous to take her to the hospital.
In previous incidents, Israeli soldiers have shot people who were obviously not threatening them, and lied about it. If Safa's father had tried to bring her to the hospital, they might have done it to him.
Olmert threatens to kill even more Palestinians, saying he expects them to blame their own leaders for Israeli attacks.
Of course, that will not happen. They do want an end to the fighting, but Hamas offers that, while Israel rejects it.
Stiglitz: the Iraq war is causing the US recession.
The "war on terror" is bogus, says former UK minister Michael Meacher.
We have always known that the invasion of Iraq was planned because of oil and the other reasons offered were bogus. This articles shows that the same was true of the war in Afghanistan. The war was planned before the 9/11 attacks. The Bush regime rejected an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, apparently preferring war, and then arranged not to catch him.
Meacher suggests that the Bush regime knowingly allowed the 9/11 attack to happen. I suspect that the regime helped it along.
Even Business Week admits that "US" multinational corporations' success does most Americans no good at all.
Business week used the propaganda term "intellectual property", so I should point out that this term is biased and confusion, and should never be used.
The major record companies got hundreds of millions of dollars from companies such as Napster, in the name of the musicians. Now they don't want musicians to get any of it.
If this money is distributed based on the frequency of infringement, nearly all will go to superstars, meaning that the contribution to supporting music will be essentially nil.
Two thirds of Israelis support talks with Hamas.
Some European Union leaders have demanded that Israel stop its attacks on the Palestinians.
Bush ridicules the idea of a meeting with Raul Castro because it would mean "embracing a dictator", but cheerfully announces his plans to meet with the dictators in charge of China and Saudi Arabia. People are not supposed to notice the double standard.
Only a person of no integrity can participate in the Bush regime.
Students in Tennessee are protesting a nasty bill to require schools to monitor students' Internet use.
Their proposed letter has one flaw: it repeats the propaganda term "pirated", giving it undue legitimacy.
Nonetheless, it is great to see students actively fighting back.
Palestinians face a water shortage because of several Israeli policies. Taking 80% of the water in the occupied territories is just the first of them.
19 years after the giant Exxon Valdez spill, which was not a mere accident since it happened because Exxon broke safety regulations, Exxon has defied the court and refused to pay damages. Now it hopes that Bush cronies on the Supreme Court will spare it from ever paying.
Palast mispronounces the digraph "xx". The correct pronunciation is like German "ch" in "ach".
The government of Afghanistan controls only 30% of Afghanistan.
(It's doing better than the "Iraqi" government.)
Republicans who support retroactive immunity for phone companies' illegal spying now want bigger cash payoffs.
The official 9/11 investigation report gave incorrect information about the alleged hijackers, hiding their contacts with a man tied to the Saudi government.
An Israeli journalist details the pervasive bias verging on deception that is normal in most of the Israeli press.
Bush forces veterans plan to meet to speak about the war crimes they committed or witnessed.
The ACLU and EFF are intervening in the Wikileaks case.
A CBS station in Alabama "lost its signal" for part of 60 Minutes — precisely the part that talked about political dirty tricks against former Alabama governor Siegelman.
I have not followed the Siegelman story and I have no opinion about him. However, there is certainly something sleazy in this blanked-out signal, and in the fire that destroyed the witness's house.
Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks have killed two Israeli civilians, and Israeli attacks have killed over 40 Palestinian civilians. Each side says its attacks are reprisals for the other side.
(In later news I saw that both numbers had gone up, but the disproportion remains.)
Gush Shalom warned Israel: make peace with the secular PLO or face an Islamist enemy in Palestine. Israel did not listen, even helped this happen. Now Uri Avnery warns, make peace with Hamas or face a Taliban-like enemy.
The soldier who told about UK participation in handing over prisoners to the US for torture has been censored by the Clown regime.
Over 1% of US adults are in prison — a world record.
The president of the Obesity Society has been hired to lobby for restaurants against a rule requiring restaurant menus to give the number of calories in dishes.
Perhaps he thinks that the mission of his organization is to promote obesity.
The Bush regime has hushed up a US/Canadian environmental study of the Great Lakes because it found evidence that pollution is killing people in the region.
Save a copy of the report — if the Bush regime shuts down the Center for Public Integrity web site, you may need to post it somewhere else.
The UK sentenced people to prison for taking part in "terrorist training", which consists of activities such as paintball if your thoughts are wrong.
The judge claims that the crime here consists of actions, but since those actions are not a crime except when combined with certain thoughts, we can see that the judge is mistaken. This is thoughtcrime.
The US Air Force now censors what the troops read, as well as what they write. Troops are not allowed to read blogs, only the mainstream media that stay within a narrow range of "acceptable" viewpoints.
The FCC appears to have been irked by Comcast's meeting-packing and will hold another hearing.
The case for Israel to negotiate with Hamas.
A 1997 Microsoft internal memo called for recruiting phony "independent" supporters.
Israel confiscated and ransacked the schools run by a charity organization that it says is connected with Hamas.
The justification for that is rather strained, but shutting down the stores which were only tenants makes no sense at all. And a five-year prison sentence if the shopkeepers return to their shops is crazy. I can only interpret these actions as reflecting the desire to make Palestinians suffer on any excuse.
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