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Each political note has its own anchor in case you want to link to it.
My intention is to make links only to publicly accessible, stable URLs. If you find a link to a page that requires subscription, please report that as you would report any other broken link.
Apple pioneered techniques for avoiding the low US corporate tax rate in order to pay next to no tax.
The loopholes that Apple uses would be closed, if not for the political power of business. "Free trade" treaties give business increased power to block such changes, so we must abolish them to break business's power.
A published letter allegedly proves that Gaddafi provided 50 million euro to Sarkozy's previous election campaign.Sarkozy says it is fake, and that is not impossible. However, his argument that this must be false because the campaign spent only 20 million is nonsense. Such a donation, if it occurred, would not have been entered in the campaign's official account books.
It appears certain chiropractic manipulations can cause strokes and death.
The FCC decided to require TV stations to report who bought their political ads, but failed to insist on non-obfuscatory formats.
Tar sand oil may be extracted in the US.
It is stupid to look for more fossil fuel to extract. We already have far more deposits than we can safely burn.
US citizens: call your senators to oppose CISPA. Also send email through this campaign.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Professor Loretta Capeheart is fighting to keep her job when the boss wants to fire her for criticizing his policies.
A UK supermarket cooperative will boycott Israeli export companies that deal with produce from colonies in the West Bank.
Connecticut has abolished the death penalty.
Workers in general would benefit from an increased minimum wage.
Evidence implicates top BP executives as well as its partners Chevron and Exxon and the Bush Administration in the deadly cover-up of the blowout in the Caspian.
This went so far as falsifying a report to the Securities Exchange Commission.
This is the full version of an article linked to in a pol note on April 26.
Shell grossly underestimated the size of an oil spill in Nigeria.
It looks like such minimization is standard practice for oil companies.
A UK store chain asks people to give an old piece of clothing when buying a new one.
It seems like a good idea, but the right way to cut down on wasteful purchase of clothing is to ensure the people who make it are paid decent wages. People will buy less, less water and fertilizer will be used, and the total income of the workers will increase even as the amount of work they do decreases.
Nothing stands in the way except the subservience of government to business. The "free trade treaties" are instruments constructed by subservient governments to carry out the orders they receive from business; we need to eliminate them, but they are the instrument, not the cause.
Pakistani human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar has received a US visa to speak at a discussion of US drone bombings.
The US refused for months to answer him, purely because of his activities as a lawyer for victims. Even though the US ultimately did the right thing, it was wrong to even hesitate.
What's wrong with Obama is not that he can't overcome Republican votes in Congress. It's that he doesn't even try.
Obama doesn't try because he is more interested in satisfying the oil companies, Hollywood and the banksters than in the American people. Just look at what he did with the free exploitation treaties with Colombia, Panama and South Korea — and now the TPP.
However, many Liberals who swallowed Obama's vague slogans in 2008 are still reluctant to recognize that they were had.
I wish we had mounted a primary challenge to him, so that at least for a while there's be a Democrat in the race that deserved our support, but I guess nobody could raise the money to try.
Jill Stein for president!
You might notice that some of these powers exist in the US as well under the PAT RIOT Act.
"Fighting terrorism" is an old excuse for fascism. The US-backed dictatorships in South America in the 1970s said they people they secretly murdered were "terrorists". This is why "fighting terrorism" does not justify any special state power over individuals.
Medical personnel are increasingly threatened during wars, for many reasons.
The US intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the trickery involved in finding Osama bin Laden, have fed the distrust of vaccination programs there although irrational suspicion of medicine, also found in the West, has contribute too.
This is above and beyond the unofficial tendency for the IPCC to give thugs impunity.
This doesn't include the lessons to learn from BP's concealment of a previous smaller disaster caused by the same corner-cutting practices, which Greg Palast is revealing.
Reporters investigating secret Pentagon PR contracts in Afghanistan were smeared by a dirty tricks campaign accusing them of working for the Taliban.
Under the unjust law signed by Obama last winter, this could have served as an excuse to imprison them without trial.
Secret emails of the Islamist party in power in Tunisia demonstrate that it was looking for ways to impose aspects of Shari'a law. And various other irregularities.
The Tunisian state has attacked the human rights of protesters in recent weeks.
A Lebanon newspaper reports a reporter resigned from al Jazeera because he was told to slant the news against Assad.
Al Jazeera has been accused before of slanting some news areas at the orders of the Qatari state, so I don't think this accusation is impossible. What is surprising is that this happens only rarely, allowing so many issues to be covered without state-imposed bias.
I don't know what al Akhbar stands for. Maybe it is pro-Syrian. (Syria has a lot of influence in Lebanon.) But even if that is so, I think the story is credible.
Curtis Johnson, age 55, must kill himself soon or be condemned to many years of suffering with no escape.
His last act will be to damn the laws that put him in this predicament.
He could spend his last few hours in front of the state capitol, and kill himself there. That would drive the point home to the ones who must act to fix this.
If he has some months left, he could start protesting that way each day. He might perhaps get them to change the law by his deadline — it is worth a try.
The TSA wants to search bus passengers in the US.
This has nothing to do with preventing terrorism. It is just a system for searching Americans as they travel.
The UK government wants to apply the motto of "open data" to personal information held by any state agency.
To require such a small number of people to get a permit for a peaceful protest is in itself tyranny, and it is clear that the military are working with the thugs to attack Americans' right to protest.
Spain plans to criminalize using the Internet to organize protests.
Everyone: Tell Shell's CEO: You can't profit from human rights abuse.
Correction about CISPA: the last-minute amendment didn't make it worse. Rather, it replaced dangerous vagueness with dangerous specific powers, making explicit the danger that was previously only inferred.
Chickens in factory farms get a broad array of drugs, and drugs whose use has been banned are still showing up in chicken feathers.
Republicans rejected a ballot petition in Michigan because of the size of the type.
The term "intellectual property" spreads confusion every time it is used. Here's an interesting article about copyright policy, with the completely evitable flaw of using "intellectual property" as a synonym for "copyright". Put that together with another article which equates "intellectual property" with patent law, and you're likely to be totally misled.
The article gains nothing whatsoever from that term. There was no reason to use it other than the feeling that (misled) readers expect it. Misled readers expect it because of articles like this one that use it. If the article always said "copyright", it would have been clear and correct.
When will they ever learn?
The Ridenhour prizes are awarded to heroic whistleblowers.
As "middle class" Americans slide down towards poverty, the term "middle class" becomes a euphemism for "not quite poor".
Private Prison Corporations Are Modern Day Slave Traders.
The TSA defends its decision to body-search a frightened 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy.
In a narrow but meaningless sense, this search was necessary. I wouldn't put it past a terrorist to hide a knife on his daughter. For thorough security, little girls must be searched.
In a broader sense, there is no reason to worry about the weapons that could be hidden on a little girl. Bringing a knife on the plane would gain a terrorist nothing: he couldn't do more harm with it in an airplane than he could do on the street.
On Israel's independence day, a small group of activists held a discussion criticizing the expulsion of Arabs in 1948. Thugs stopped them from leaving the building, and arrested one of them for speaking.
The Internet has made it much easier for the FBI to catch people who collect child pornography.
I see nothing to criticize in the FBI's methods in getting evidence against Cafferty. It steered well clear of entrapment. The characters in its nonexistent videos were described as unambiguously children, not stretching that term to the postpuberal. My only objection is to the idea that people should be imprisoned for having a collection of images based on what subject matter they depict.
And it seems to me that the FBI could just as easily to apply the same methods to prosecute people interested in any other kind of material. Material from Wikileaks, for instance.
Effectively purchased by agribusiness, Brazil's congress passed a law that will facilitate deforestation.
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has escaped from his guards, and describes how they tortured his family from someplace in Beijing.
Why the Israeli government tried to stop CBS from talking about what life is like for Palestinians.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the Violence Against Women Act.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The US has expanded drone attacks in Yemen, including situations where they don't know the identity of whoever is being bombed.
Israeli Army Chief Says He Believes Iran Won't Build Bomb.
The CIA agent who destroyed videos of CIA torture committed a crime, but he basks in impunity thanks to Obama's protection.
Coca Cola Company vetoed a plan to refill visitors' water bottles at Grand Canyon National Park.
Fortunately the park ultimately reinstated the plan.
This problem shows how it is dangerous for important activities to be funded by donations from companies. We need to get their funds by taxing them, so that they threaten not to pay.
Meanwhile, there is a world-wide boycott of Coca Cola Company for murdering union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala.
Rugged Operating System, used in industrial control systems, has a back door installed by the developer.
When it is activated, the devices could act as if they were running D-Rugged Operating System ;-).
If the system were free software, users could fix this problem; but if it were free software, such a back door would probably never have been introduced.
US citizens: state your support for the Progressive Budget.
Billionaire Polluter told the public that the flow rate of oil from the Big Spill was irrelevant to stopping the leak, and that the "top kill" was working, although engineers were telling the company otherwise.
The Royal Society says that humanity's priorities must include limiting population and consumption.
A study finds that fracking causes cracks in rock, which occasionally extend over 300 meters away. So it recommends that fracking not be allowed within 600 meters of an aquifer.
Maybe this is sufficient protection for water supplies, but it won't protect against global heating.
A large study finds that mobile phones do not cause illness for their users.
They do however subject their users to surveillance worse than Stalinesque.
The FBI is prosecuting a BP minnow, but not the BP sharks.
US citizens: support the workers of Station Casinos which is trying to stop them from unionizing.
Israel was going to demolish a West Bank colony built without government permission, but the extremists have made the state back down.
Germany has used copyright to suppress publication of Mein Kampf. The copyright will expire soon, so Germany is considering a more ethical way to combat Hitler's racism: explaining why it is wrong.
I hope the copyright industry won't push to extend copyright world-wide just so that Mein Kampf can be further suppressed. There is no limit to how small a tail the copyright industry will try to wag the dog with.
Plenty more laws like this are needed to stop these armed gangs from marauding around the US.
Media Jump On Idea That Social Security Is Going Bankrupt, Ignore Easy Way To Ensure Its Future.
US citizens: urge Obama to stand firm against CISPA.
School vouchers offer an excuse to divert public funds to religious schools , backed also by the broader privatization lobby.
170,000 students are on strike in Quebec against austerity plans.
The Bush tax cuts, preserved by the Republicans, amount to twice as much as the Social Security shortfall over the next 75 years.
And the military cuts called for by the law that set up the supercommittee would also cover it.
US citizens: tell Congress to cut bombers, not health care.
Obama's extension of drone attacks in Yemen appear to lack authorization from Congress.
Meanwhile, US drone attacks in Pakistan have been officially forbidden by the government of Pakistan.
Pakistan would be entitled to regard these attacks as an act of war.
The Dutch government has imposed a ban on selling pot to visitors.
It is noteworthy that the states reasons would evaporate if neighboring countries were to adopt the same policy that the Netherlands has had for decades. The cause of the supposed problem is therefore the prohibition in those other countries.
His girlfriend had to try to rescue the camera in the interests of justice so that the thugs could not destroy evidence against them.
For-profit US colleges joined ALEC.
Many of these colleges ought to be shut down so they cannot rip off the public; they are using ALEC to lobby to prevent that.
The Pirate Party in Sweden organized young artists to denounce the copyright lobby's pretends to speak for them. Now founder Falkvinge calls for a similar campaign in Germany and other countries.
Chen Guangcheng appealed to the Chinese state not to persecute his family.
I've read elsewhere that he is in the US embassy.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the Arbitration Fairness Act* (H.R. 1873, S. 987). Also send a message through this page.
The Cambodian soldier who killed Chut Wutty is dead. Supposedly he shot himself when he realized what he had done.
I am skeptical that a soldier who helped protect illegal loggers felt remorse about killing an environmentalist. If the soldier was in fact shot dead, I suspect he was killed or coerced by other soldiers, in order to make him the fall guy and protect his commanders from blame.
US citizens: tell the US not to allow experimentation with oil shale to pollute public land in the west.
He rejected it despite his confused support for the bogus concept of "intellectual property". In the specific issue of ACTA, that is a good sign. However, the monster is not dead yet; Europeans still need to support the organizations that fight against ratification of ACTA.
Meanwhile, the fact that he gives credence to the confused concept of "intellectual property" — and, worse, support for the idea of enforcing "it" more — suggests he might be disposed to support some other unjust measure for copyright enforcement, and wouldn't even know how to separate that issue from other unrelated laws and their unrelated issues.
ALEC will attack state targets for renewable energy.
A former CIA agent was so upset to hear his fellow agents called "torturers" that he destroyed video evidence of their torture.
The Harvard libraries have created a stir with a cry of distress about restricted scientific publishing. However, their recommendations are still timid. Michael Eisen shows what a really strong stand would look like.
Jill Stein says, if elected president she would pardon Bradley Manning.
Wal-Mart faces federal criminal probe tied to allegations of bribery in Mexico.
Colombian union leaders receive death threats from neo-paramilitaries.
If Obama's world were concerned with the truth, he might be embarrassed that this has happened just after he certified that Colombia was making progress ending the assassination of union leaders.
Israel retroactively authorized three "outposts", new colonies built without official government support.
The effect is to launch additional government-approved colonies.
Vietnam is tearing down mangrove forests for golf courses and shrimp farms. And not just a few — in decades they could be nearly gone.
"Free" (gratis, not libre) games for the iThings can convince children to spend lots of money.
Recall that Apple censors iBad software based on many other criteria and says this is for the users' sake.
Kenyans say UK agents kidnaped them in 2010 and handed them over to Uganda's torture police.
In Uganda's prison, UK and US agents interrogated them and helped to torture them.
China is beginning large efforts to control carbon emissions.
A Billionaire Polluter engineer faces charges for deleting text messages that belied BP's public statements.
UK welfare cuts placed great expenses for housing on local governments. Some near London are talking about moving the poor to other areas with lower rents.
I suspect that those areas, far from London, have no jobs at all.
The International Energy Agency says that humanity is failing to implement the measures necessary to avoid global heating disaster, and governments are to blame.
Humanity has an opportunity to act to avoid disaster, and must not lose that opportunity.
The Dutch copyright-enforcing cartel BREIN acts like a thug (in both senses of the word).
California is considering a bill to make the state get a warrant to access cell phone location data. The cell phone companies oppose it because they make lots of money from selling this data to the state.
Shell underestimated the size of an oil spill in Nigeria by a factor of 60.
It will be hard to prove that Shell knew the statement was false without internal documents. However, it is clear that we cannot trust an oil company to tell anyone the true size of an oil leak.
Argentina has begun collecting fingerprints and other biometrics of everyone entering the country, not to verify their identities but rather to build up a data base for use in tracking them in other ways.
I was going to visit Argentina in June for discussions about a free software law. Now that is out of the question. I will miss Argentina and my friends there, but some outrages must not be borne.
The TSA outdid itself, subjecting a married couple of
age 85 and 95,
in wheelchairs, to multiple feel-ups, and making them put $300 in cash
in the bin, from which it was stolen, and then the TSA rejected
[Reference updated on 2017-12-02 because the old link was broken.]
If TSA searches did a necessary job, perhaps one could argue that every system goes wrong sometimes and this is the price we must pay for safety. However, all we buy with this price is a ticket to security theater, and we'd rather skip the show.
A study estimates that typical web users would need to spend 250 hours a year to read the privacy policies they encounter.
It would not be worth the trouble, because the reliable way to prevent misuse of data is by preventing it from being collected, so privacy policies do little good anyway.
Planned Parenthood sees an inexplicable surge in women visiting and asking about abortions based on the sex of the embryo, and suspects that they are phony patients trying to create a phony scandal.
If this is true, they seek to use the irrational prejudice against women who abort a fetus because of its sex. There is nothing wrong with choosing on that basis.
In some cases, the motive for such a choice might be prejudice against females. There are other possible motives — someone might feel, "I have a boy/girl so now I want a girl/boy." If the motive is prejudice, it is foolish and could hurt people's feelings, but women are entitled to abortions for whatever reason.
Shareholders will confront American Electric Power with the 3200 deaths caused by pollution from its coal-powered electric plants in the past year alone.
That's more than one September 11 attack per year.
When appliances are connected to the Internet, they become vulnerable to attacks through the Internet. This includes attacks by the manufacturer through back doors that the appliances might have.
When you hear "Internet of things", think "danger".
Common Cause has called for an IRS prosecution of ALEC for lobbying in contravention of the rules for public charities.
The United States can't abandon the country [Afghanistan], but our troops must leave.
Palestinian hunger strikes draw attention to Israeli detention practice.
Anyone imprisoned without a fair trial deserves a "get out of jail free" card. The Palestinians arbitrarily imprisoned have not found that. What they have discovered is a chance of getting out by maintaining a hunger strike for months, which causes severe bodily damage, perhaps irreparable.
Elie Wiesel rebuked Netanyahu's attempts to equate Iran with the Nazi extermination campaign.
There is another plan for exporting tar sands oil from Canada: through New England.
Extracting that oil will inevitably cause disaster due to global heating, and it is well known which areas of the world are going to suffer the disaster first. (They are typically coastal or arid.) The people in those areas can morally justify sabotaging these pipelines based on the necessity defense. It might even prevail in court, if the judge is sincerely concerned about justice.
One point in this article is strangely confused. Why would anyone dream that the failure to stop global heating is due to democracy, and propose eliminating democracy as a "solution"? Everyone should know that the nondemocratic political power of business is directly tied to the failure to stop global heating; oil companies fund global heating denialists and arrange for mainstream media to pay attention to them. That the corrective to plutocracy is democracy should not be countintuitive.
Bahrain's suppression forces arrested a British TV news crew, which had come for the car race, but tried to cover protests in nearby villages.
Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike to protest the tyranny of their imprisonment without trial.
I am not impressed by Israeli claims that these people are "dangerous". Bring it out in court, or shut up.
The World Bank is financing the land grab in Africa.
Olympic parathugs attacked photographers taking photos of games venues from nearby streets.
A PBS program funded by Dow is functioning effectively as an infomercial for Dow.
The Globalization of Hollow Politics — and the popular backlash.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Union condemned the practice of punishment by Internet disconnection on mere accusation.
She also condemned DRM and cited the Free Software Foundation (Europe).
Interview with Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.
Paul Ehrlich reaffirms his concern about the population bomb , which is still ticking away as he predicted.
The UK's latest plan to help poor countries reduce carbon emissions: give them $100 million (a drop in the bucket) to build carbon capture and storage facilities (which have not yet been made to work).
Divestment by the Methodist Church from companies connected with the occupation of Palestine would ease Palestinian suffering.
Everyone: support CBS's presentation of the story that the Israeli occupation has pushed most Christians to leave the area of Bethlehem.
First they tried to take away his photos. They must have been in cahoots with the loggers.
How the NSA is setting up total surveillance of Americans, in the name of "protecting" us.
Here Amy Goodman interviews Appelbaum, Poitras and Binney.
A Mexican law allowing the state to get cell phone location data without a warrant is likely to help criminal gangs find their victims and kill them.
The US government spreads fear among Americans by asking people to report anything "suspicious". Many Americans refuse to do this because they recognize that it is likely to harm innocent people.
Another part of the same point is that they recognize it is very unlikely to have good consequences.
A nation of informers — both human and computerized — is exactly what the state is developing. Claims to the contrary are disingenuous if they are not simply lies. State violence is a bigger threat to American lives than any non-US-affiliated terrorists, and it permist state bullying that crushes our human rights.
The foundation for these attacks is the fear spread by security theater and by announcements in our buses and subways. The fear makes the pretense that this is protecting us seem plausible to too many gullible Americans. Even many who realize it is bullshit feel obliged to kowtow to it. We need to stop kowtowing and say we don't want to be "protected" this way.
Everyone: phone people in North Carolina to help defeat an anti-gay initiative which also threatens everyone else.
The US still allows feeding cattle brains and other nerve tissue to various kinds of animals, including chickens whose droppings are then fed to cattle. Whether this can transmit mad cow disease is not known.
I am not outraged on principle about feeding chickenshit to cattle. I don't know whether cattle dislike it; if it is mixed with other things, they may not notice. However, we had better make sure it is safe.
The "Internet of things" proposes to connect your appliances and your car to the Internet.
This means some company will collect data from your things and store it, then the state will find an excuse to collect it all. Stay away from it!
The House of Representatives passed CISPA with an amendment to extend it beyond "cybersecurity".
Even before that, CISPA was still very bad despite some other changes that shaved off certain bad points.
Charles Taylor has been convicted of crimes against humanity.
The latest Republican false accusation against Obama is that he wants to enforce environmental laws strictly and protect the environment.
It's only our biosphere and ordinary people that lack his support.
Thousands of monks protested in Tibet, and were repressed by Chinese thugs.
It resembles the US response to Occupy protests.
US citizens: call on the Senate Intelligence Committee to publish its study on torture.
Wal-Mart started to investigate reports its Mexican subsidiary had paid bribes to get permission to build stores, but then decided it would rather not know.
US Senate candidates report their campaign contributions on paper, which creates long delays in making the information public.
Large Indian Internet sites typically apply Internet censorship eagerly, deleting anything that someone objects to.
Free software activists in Bangalore organized street theater against Internet censorship.
I think they are making a mistake by conceding censorship of so-called "hate speech". Once you tolerate censorship of something, on whatever grounds, it is hard to object to censorship of anything else that someone can present as "disgusting" or wrong-headed. Views can be hateful, but not more hateful than gagging people.
Do Limbaugh and such tell lies about electric cars because they hate the very idea of conservation?
Or is it because they have business relationships with oil companies that want to maximize the consumption of oil?
The wells might cause disasters as BP and others have done. If they avoid this, the oil will boost global heating and melt more ice. The companies probably think that's great, while tens of millions die of the consequences.
The US has agreed to give Karzai's government control over night raids in Afghanistan and control over prisons.
These two decisions are the right ones. The night raids decision is right, because Karzai's men in control will reduce the killing and injury of civilians in those raids. As for the prisons, both countries abuse prisoners and there is someting to be said for letting the Afghan government have real sovereignty.
I remain skeptical that Karzai's government can ever stand on its own. It is corrupt and inspires little loyalty; we never hear of Afghans who join the Taliban, then shoot the other Taliban soldiers as enemies of Karzai's government. Thus, I think that any resources, human or financial, put into propping it up will be wasted. However, with these two decisions those efforts will do less harm while they continue.
The UN will study the life situation of US aboriginal peoples as it has studied those of other parts of the world.
Wikileaks cables confirm the US government knew about BP's blowout in the Caspian sea, but helped conceal this from the public.
This article was abridged; full version later.
Meet the Media Companies Lobbying Against Transparency (of their political advertising).
Tax Day is a good opportunity to protest the US government's heavy spending on military and war.
Craig Murray's evidence about UK torture has been fed into the investigation of former minister Jack Straw.
A right-wing plutocrat said, "I think (the ultra-wealthy) actually have insufficient influence (in Washington)." But they are working on fixing that.
The Corporations United decision (I call it by a descriptive name rather than its dishonest official name) represents phony democracy.
Facebook has a history of blocking the posting of links about certain controversial political issues.
Australia's high court affirmed that the ISP iiNet has no obligation to filter copyrighted material out of its users' communications.
The expert is right that copying is not theft, and that people refuse to consider it so. However, I am skeptical of the claim he makes when he uses the term "illegal downloading" too. Downloading copyrighted material is not in general a crime. Even uploading without authorization is usually not a crime, though it may grounds for a lawsuit. Unless Australia has a particularly nasty law about this, his description is misleading.
One of the nasty things the copyright industry is doing is trying to make unauthorized copying a crime. The US tried that in ACTA but had to give it up.
Citizens of California: phone Senator Boxer to oppose the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline. Republicans are trying to make the senate pass a bill requiring it.
US citizens: call on the EPA and Obama to put strong limits on carbon emissions from power plants.
The TSA defends its actions in ordering a 4-year-old they had terrorized to stop crying and stand still for a pat down.
In 10 years, if another mother disobeys orders and goes to comfort her little child, they will arrest her or even shoot her. SWAT teams already do that sort of thing, then justify it based on violence in their imagination. That is the spirit of rigidity and zero tolerance, which is the spirit of America.
The Vatican told US nuns: stop caring for the poor so much and start focusing on abortion.
Bassem Tamimi, nonviolent protest leader from Nabi Saleh, was granted bail. This could mean recognition that the false case against him has collapsed.
US citizens: call your congresscritter to support the WORK Act that would allow low-income women to count raising children as work.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Wealthier people have less compassion.
Some cardiologists own specialty cardiac hospitals which boast of better-than-usual patient outcomes. But it's not because the hospitals are better.
It turns out that these hospitals select the healthier and wealthier patients, and the doctors make more effort to treat them than they do similarly ill patients in the other hospitals where they work.
The silly scandal about prostitution should not hide the real scandals of the Summit of the Americas, which were found in Obama's statements and actions.
The Japanese government relaxed radioactivity standards for food after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, so some food stores have set stricter standards. The government now wants them to stop doing that.
I don't know whether the revised standards add up to significant increased danger for people who eat the food. They might have been hypercautious before.
An independent nuclear engineer, given access to the Japanese government's data, reports on what really happened in the Fukushima.
Meltdowns penetrated the pressure vessels and the containment structures, releasing radiactive fuel into the ground.
He draws a lesson, too:
If you have to assume something, then you are not prepared.
In particular, redundancy for a certain apparatus — such as, backup electric generators, or connection to the power grid — is a useful precaution against random equipment faiures, but inadequate against systemic problems, since they can make all the similar pieces of equipment fail at once.
Two years after the Big Spill, many people exposed to the oil are still sick.
John Brennan says that stripping and putting his clothing through the TSA's X-ray machine was the right thing to do.
I think people should have the right to go naked in public if they wish, and should not have to give a reason. It should never be illegal to have an appearance that someone else feels distate for.
Journalist Laurie Penny says she understands why the Occupy movement detests journalists — because most of them take orders from the 1%.
US citizens: sign this petition for the Pentagon to stop buying from Rosoboronexport, which is a principal supplier of arms to Assad.
The rate of teen pregnancy in the US has decreased greatly in recent decades, but is remains highest in the states that are religious and conservative.
This may relate to the established failure of abstinence-only "sex education". However, that causes another problem that is more frequent: it fails to help teenagers who need help to enter the world of sexual relationships.
UK agents threatened Libyan exiles with deportation to Libya if they did not cooperate with the UK and Gaddafi.
It is possible for indigenous tribes to survive — if they can keep their lands.
However, logging countries are murdering the Awa tribe to cut down the trees on their land.
You can tell the politicians who are subservient to business because they criticize Argentina's nationalization of its oil company.
The company was privatized by a previous right-wing government as a give-away to the rich.
Privatizing state assets is generally harmful and wrong except when the result is a competitive marketplace for the public.
In typical thug form, they seem to have falsified evidence to accuse him of violent actions — although that would hardly be an excuse even if true.
The Prime Minister bends over backwards to defend Bahrain's interests.
With international aid for water treatment, cholera in Haiti could be wiped out in months.
Instead, Haiti will be the testing ground for a questionable vaccine used in a way that won't eliminate cholera even if it works.
Applying Darwinism to economics shows why laissez-faire does not serve the general good.
We must regulate business.
The UN authorized sending 300 monitors to Syria.
Syria has excluded the international press, making it impossible to check on reports of government attacks. This is why I believe those reports are generally true, even though some fabrication may occur. Maybe these monitors will fill the gap.
100,000 protested in Prague against austerity.
The House Agriculture Committee wants to cut food stamps for 46 million Americans.
This is to keep military spending increasing as was previously planned.
Republicans want to eliminate the Lacey Act that cuts down on illegal logging around the world.
It isn't 100% effective — it has not stopped Asian Pulp and Paper from cutting down rainforests — but that could only be a reason to make it stronger.
Don't be fooled by the bill that pretends to correct the injustice of imprisonment without trial.
US citizens: call for thorough safety regulations for undersea oil drilling.
US citizens: sign this petition to cancel the F-35 aircraft program.
The US and India endorsed the coup against Maldives President Nasheed, which suggests they encouraged the coup too.
The pattern of support suggests the coup was organized because of his efforts to curb global heating, by governments that don't want to help.
Now that ALEC has dropped voter-ID laws, right-wingers will run their campaign through the National Center for Public Policy Research
Having promised no subsidies for future nuclear power plants, the UK government is considering hidden subsidies.
Governments should not subsidize business without getting stock in return.
Tennessee plans to legislate that crimes can be committed against embryos.
This could lead to punishment for abortions, and even for women that try to commit suicide while in early stages of pregnancy.
Florida Governor Scott appointed a "task force" to study the "stand your ground" law. All the legislators in it supported the law.
Guardian: In the state-orchestrated grab for cyber-territory we have to work together to ensure our online freedom is protected by law.
In contrast to Anonymous' digital protests, governments attack dissenting web sites too.
Anonymous is to Chinese government digital attacks as a popular protest is to the "spontaneous rallies" of tyrannical states.
The Formula 1 race in Bahrain has become the focus of protests.
The race, and the teams that persist in racing give the foolish excuse that sport is above matters of life or death, and freedom or tyranny, so it should not be "used for politics". But the reason they won't stop is that they are being paid. In effect, paid for political propaganda for Bahrain.
Supporters of Wikileaks will start a US foundation to receive funds on Wikileaks' behalf.
What's the Difference Between War Crimes and Regular Old War?
Sign this petition to Obama for mortgage relief for US homeowners.
Then they arrested him and pressed false charges. He was actually prosecuted, but acquitted. Meanwhile, the thug department tried to bury his complaint.
The article focuses on the point that they apparently did this because Kennedy-Macfoy is Black. However, I think that the reasons for their choice of victim are a minor detail. Attacking and framing innocent people would be no more acceptable if they chose victims at random with no racial bias, or if they chose people for their political activities (which they often do).
The thugs will stop terrorizing people when they get properly punished for doing so. If they don't go to prison for this, it will be a miscarriage of justice.
20,000 people protested the construction of a coal-fired power plant in China, fearing the pollution it would generate.
They stormed and destroyed local government buildings after the government refused to consider their protest.
BP covered up dangerous practices that caused an oil well blowout in the Caspian sea, according to someone who was there.
This enabled BP to use the same dangerous practices later in the Gulf of Mexico, and cause the Big Spill.
For the populace, austerity is cruel stupidity.
But it's great for the banksters.
EFF: Yes, CISPA Could Allow Companies to Filter or Block Internet Traffic.
Since 2010, fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico have seen fish and crustacians with a wide variety of2 unprecedented deformities. Sometimes 50% of the catch is deformed.
The article describes these animals as "mutated", which claims their DNA has been altered. However, the article does not report any tests which might determine if that were so. The deformities could have been caused during development by the influence of chemicals on the developmental signaling that generates the animal's body plan.
It is no surprise that animals are missing both eyes and eye sockets, because the two probably develop together in response to a single starting signal at that place in the embryo. If that signal or its recognition is suppressed at the crucial time, neither the eye nor the socket will develop.
I find it noteworthy that these defective animals manage to reach adulthood in large quantities. Surely they are less able to avoid predation than healthy animals, so why weren't they eaten? Perhaps because the predators that would have eaten them are missing or defective too. In other words, the problem may be more ecologically extensive than this article shows.
In any case, it seems likely that the Big Spill has damaged fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for decades. Obama, true friend of the oil companies, downplays the damage just as Jindal does.
A few days ago I read a message from the League of Conservation Voters endorsing Obama. Obama has authorized undersea oil drilling in the Arctic, where cleanup would be even harder. I suppose the endorsement was based on "lesser of the two evils" reasoning, but it did not express any misgivings about Obama. I can't stomach this "lesser" evil any more than I could stomach a deformed and dying fish.
The computer science community can organize to overcome organizations such as the ACM that restrict access to papers published by scientific conferences.
More about the prosecution in India of Sanal Edamaruku for "insulting religion".
Polluters are lobbying to redefine the mission of the Illinois Pollution Control Board to include "emergency" actions to protect polluters from financial setbacks.
Why the Israeli state is terrified of peaceful protest.
I want Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and the near-embargo of Gaza. I don't want the Israeli state to "destroy itself". However, if it continues to crush democracy for the sake of occupation, it could delegitimize itself completely.
The planned extradition of Richard O'Dwyer has focused attention on the general injustice of the one-sided UK-US extradition treaty.
The UK must cancel this treaty.
The Formula 1 car race in Bahrain, the centerpiece of the Bahrain regime's "everyone's calm and contented here" PR campaign, has instead inspired renewed protests.
It is amusing to read the article's concern that these protests might overshadow a mere car race. Horrors!
The protesters are responding to the regime's violence with violence of their own.
It is natural, and I can't blame them, but it plays into the hands of regime supporters such as the US government.
The CIA wants to conduct drone bombings in Yemen without identifying the people to be killed.
Past experience shows this will lead to killing many civilians.
For the Israeli government, the worst thing that can happen with Iran is a diplomatic nuclear deal between Iran and other countries.
Congress is considering a bill that would to require a tracking device in all new cars starting in 2015.
This is in addition to punishment without trial for people accused of owing a lot of back taxes. I am in favor of collecting taxes from rich people, but punishment without trial cannot be acceptable.
Obama activated the US-Colombia free exploitation treaty by pretending not to see that Colombia continues to tolerate the murder of unionists.
(The words "deeply disappointing and troubling" hardly do justice to this injustice.)
Putting provisions into the treaty to require Colombia (and the US) to uphold some rights of workers was a nice idea, but if the states simply disregard those problems, these provisions do no good.
It is absurd to think that free exploitation treaties can do any good for the 99%. We must cancel them all.
The FBI shut down many web sites and mailing lists by seizing an server which also runs an anonymizer service that someone used to send a bomb threat.
Since the anonymizer was designed to save no relevant information, seizing it was useless for finding the person who sent the threat. I suspect the FBI wants to make people scared to run anonymizers.
I suggest running them on separate small computers.
The newest World Bank sleaze: loans for "development", supposedly to improve the life of the poor, go through banks and even hedge funds which can redirect the money to their own profit.
The European Stability Mechanism creates a totally unaccountable organization that can demand any amount of money from any of the member governments.
Formerly secret government papers show that the British Empire fought Communist rebels in Malaya using familiar methods: strip-searches, censorship (even of concerts), and death squads.
When the UK sought to set up the US base on Diego Garcia, and planned to exile all the natives, it set up planned a deception campaign to cover up the fact that they lived there.
Members of the US Secret Service are being punished for having sex with prostitutes.
It is a typical prudish US sex scandal, much ado about nothing. The only conceivable concern of the government is that it might lead to blackmail, but that concern only exists if the US government makes an irrational fuss as it is doing.
If an agent indeed tried to deny a prostitute her pay, that was wrong; but if that's the issue, they should say so.
Ban Ki-Moon says that Syria has reduced the violence since the UN cease-fire but not ended it.
Two of the Cuban Five have an art show in the UK.
The Cuban Five were imprisoned in the US for trying to warn Cuba about terrorist attacks organized by US-based Cuban expatriates.
Obama proclaimed support for "open government" but his actions don't fit his words.
Obama opposes CISPA but supports Lieberman's senate bill, which is not as sweeping but is dangerously vague.
Obama retreated before the banksters on regulation of financial derivatives.
ALEC says it will cease its support for voter ID laws and "stand your ground" laws.
Henceforth it will only lobby for "economic" measures, such as crushing unions and prohibiting municipal free Internet access points.
US citizens: call your congresscritter and senators to support the RESTORE act, which would use BP's fine money to try to restore the damage of the Big Spill.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Also send them mail through this page.
FCC Chairman Genachowski rebuked TV broadcasters for opposing plans for an FCC data base on political ads they show.
What it was like to get an abortion in the US in 1978.
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Admits Ahmadinejad Never Said Israel Should Be 'Wiped Off the Face of the Map'.
The US needs to reduce military spending the way Nixon and Eisenhauer did.
Big Brother Is Not Your 'Friend'.
The EFF's FAQ explains the dangers of CISPA in detail.
Israel, acting in a spirit of paranoia, barred entry to many people who were not coming to protest. Even some Israelis were not allowed to go Israel.
I disagree with the article on one point. Even if a passenger did intend to participate in the Bethlehem peace ceremony, that hardly qualifies as "solid legal grounds" for barring that person.
By excluding visitors to Palestine, Israel proved that the West Bank is run as a prison.
Israel promised not to allow new "settlements" in the West Bank, but winked as new ones were built. Now, facing a court order to dismantle some of them, the government wants to build other new colonies to replace them.
Some of the expansionists who build them also repeatedly attack earby Palestinians.
The Israeli army arrested a Palestinian woman for "attacking soldiers" who were taking away her 3-year-old child.
Palestinian farmers trying to work their land cut off by the annexation wall face a series of hurdles. Getting a permit is just the first one.
Ex-marine Ross Caputi says he shares the views of Tarek Mehanna — that Iraqis and Afgans attacking US troops are simply defending their homelands from occupying armies — and dares the US to prosecute him too.
I must partially disagree with one of Caputi's side points. It is true that "jihad" means "struggle" in general, and does not imply it is against non-Muslims. However, there are Muslims who advocate trying to conquer the world and impose their dominion over the non-Muslims. Several countries have trampled human rights in the name of Islam.
However, that issue is a digression from the main point of the article. Publishing articles advocating any views, even Muslim world dominion, is not terrorism.
Most comments in Israel about the officer who smashed a nonviolent protester in the face with a rifle support the officer. When regrets are expressed, they are regrets for what this will do to Israel's image. They cannot see the injustice of the act.
This reminds me of the Americans who were ready to disapprove of the costs of the occupation of Iraq but unwilling to question it on moral grounds.
The US Congress is trying to sabotage talks with Iran just as they look promising.
This makes sense if their goal is to do whatever Netanyahu wants. He would consider a peaceful resolution of this dispute a disaster, since it would leave nothing to distract attention away from Israel's occupation of Palestine.
Many Americans can reduce their federal income tax to zero by working less, making less money, and doing more things for themselves instead of paying others to do them.
I am not against taxation on principle: a welfare state requires taxes. If the US government were using its money for ethical purposes, which would include some military preparedness along with helping the poor, research, support for the arts, and other things, I would not regret paying taxes. But given what the US government is now, a machine for transferring wealth to the rich, I don't see why non-rich should not resist in any way they can.
The UK government told an activist he will be jailed if he protests anywhere near Olympic games sites.
When the UK gave independence to African colonies, it destroyed most of the papers describing atrocities carried out by the colonial governments.
It kept the rest of the papers secret although legally they were supposed to be released long ago.
The ACLU wants the US to own up to its missile strike in Yemen that killed many civilians, and explain whether it has given compensation for their deaths.
It is not currently possible to look at a YouTube video with an ordinary browser without running nonfree software, which you shouldn't do; but there is a youtube-dl script that can fetch the video.
Abdel Hakim Belhaj, tortured by Gaddafi after UK and US help, has sued former UK minister Jack Straw after MI5 sources said he as minister approved the operation.
Tim Berners-Lee spoke against proposed UK surveillance legislation.
House Republicans propose to cut food stamps and other aid to the poor, to avoid the pre-programmed cuts in military spending that they pressured Obama to agree to.
Twitter says it will make a commitment in writing, to its employees that file patent applications, not to use the patents for aggression.
I have proposed for 20 years that employees demand this of their employers, in some of my speeches on the danger of software patents. I am very glad to see that a prominent company will set an example.
Citizens of Massachusetts: call your state legislators to support spending on reproductive health services.
US citizens: call on Congress to reform the 1872 mining law that charges nothing to companies that mine US natural resoures.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose HR 4089, which would weaken protections for wilderness areas.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: call on the US government to demand Bahrain release nonviolent protest leader al-Khawaja.
US citizens: call on Obama to label GMOs in food.
The US military is intervening in Hollywood to ensure its movies are positive propaganda for the military. And now perhaps in music videos too.
The for-profit spying lobby campaigns for CISPA.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian farmers are impoverished because the Israeli hoops they must jump through to reach their farmland make farming unfeasible.
Fossil-fuel subsidies are the real job killers.
Medical insurace companies have a PR campaign saying it's unfair to require them to spend 60% of their income on medicine.
Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Hoang Hai faces 20 years in prison for criticizing the state.
The approved builder of a UK nuclear power plant demands increased guarantees of future income.
Nuclear power plants are so expensive (as well as risky) that none will be built without tremendous subsidies. And once the state pays so much, it is unconscionable to allow a private company to walk away with the results. The UK claims future nuclear plants will get no subsidy; Obama is proud of these giveaways to business.
The US government is trying to prevent Megaupload from paying lawyers for its defense and to rule all experienced copyright lawyers off limits.
Six Rigged Rules Corporations Use to Dodge Taxes.
The World Bank has spent billions to privatize water systems and plans to increase that.
The claim that corporations are obligated to place shareholders' gain above all else is not a law, not a moral principle, just a right-wing lie.
Corporate executives may fear they will be replaced if they don't push the stock price up by the end of the year. They may lack the moral fibre to disappoint the board or the shareholders, but that is not the same thing as being legally required or morally obligated to go all out for their gain.
As Andreas Ias was riding a bicycle with a group of pro-Palestinian activists near Jericho, an Israeli soldier hit Ias in the face with his rifle. Nothing unusual about this, but this time it was caught on video.
The government says this does not represent the Israeli army. As readers of these notes are aware, it represents many armies all too well.
US citizens: tell your senators to oppose an attempt to make it harder for workers to vote on forming a union.
The protest was about the imprisonment of other protesters.
Istanbul, Tokyo, Baku, Doha and Madrid are competing for the 2020 Olympic Games .
Whichever city "wins" will suffer as a result . The effects may extend to the whole country it is in.
If you live in Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid, better start organizing now for your city to "lose". Baku and Doha are in countries too authoritarian to let people organize; paradoxically, it is only in those countries that the games might do no harm, mainly because the elites there can do all the harm they wish without an excuse.
Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa are pushing that country to prosecute Mugabe for his grave human rights violations.
Since the problem is growing, the annual cost now are less than that. Towards the end of the century, the annual cost will be more than 2 trillion dollars.
"Micro-labor" is a new form of piecework, offering businesses an easier path to eliminating workers' benefits such as health care and pension contributions.
This is one further reason why these necessities should not be tied to employment.
Tennessee and Arizona are in a race to attack science, women, and poor people.
The way company profits are distributed has only an occasional loose relationship with who earned them.
Stephen Downs, who defends American "terrorists" caught by FBI sting operations, say that the charges are based on lies and that the US is turning its courts into a platform for show trials.
Proposed: an ISP that will go all-out to protect customers' privacy.
A lawsuit seeks to require a state agency to reveal what chemicals companies are using for fracking.
Trade secrecy is antisocial; the US patent system supposedly exists to discourage the practice. To require everyone to disclose all secrets would be tyranny, but when an activity threatens public health, that is valid grounds. Companies should be allowed to keep secrets only when there is no public interest in requiring disclosure.
China's leadership promises to crack down on corrupt officials, starting with Bo Xilai.
It will be hard to succeed at this without more democracy and less censorship.
While I wouldn't put it past a scheming high-level official's wife to have someone killed, I'd expect her to have enough self control not to do it personally. It seems more plausible that this is a frame-up, pinned on Bo's wife for political reasons. Is anyone investigating the possibiliy that someone else killed Mr. Heywood?
Israel blocked 50 passengers in Ben Gurion airport simply because they wanted to meet with Palestinians. Hundreds of others were blocked in Europe based on obviously false accusations.
Israel's position is that it shouldn't be criticized until it gets as bad as Syria. Next Putin will say that criticism of Russia's repression is not allowed because Russia isn't as bad as Iran, and Obama will say that criticism of US human rights violations is off limits because it isn't as bad as China.
Sergey Brin says the Internet's freedom is under attack "from all sides".
When the thugs attacked Occupy Wall Street, they smashed all the laptops of the people they arrested, and claimed it happened by accident. But the Free Network Foundation's radio tower, they simply stole.
Perhaps the radio tower was shot while trying to escape.
The Spanish neofascists now in power propose to criminalize various currently used forms of nonviolent protest in order to "make the people fear the system more". These include:
Passive resistance, which would be considered an "attack against authority" and equated with terrorism.
Messages calling for resistance that "affects public order" would be considered "organized crime". These could include any protests that the government wasn't notified about in advance. Any or all participants in a protest of the indignados could be imprisoned.
"Intimidating behavior" would be treated as "violent attacks" against the suppression forces. The thugs often lie and say protesters attacked them, but video can prove they were lying. However, "intimidation" can be very subtle; if thugs fabricate such charges it will be impossible to prove they are lying.
Americans are driving less; younger Americans are driving much less.
I suggest the reason Congress hasn't noticed this is that it listening to companies, not Americans.
When Facebook paid a billion dollars for Instagram, what it paid for was Instagram's users, and its data about those users.
In other words, part of the requisite for trusting an online service with your data is a commitment that will be binding on successors of the company.
Ten Egyptian presidential candidates were barred from running, with no reason given.
13 ways the US government tracks us, and some that are on the way.
The US government is democratic in form, but it has largely converted itself into a government of occupation for the empire of the megacorporations. In other words, a banana republic.
Obama's JOBS bill is tailor-made to encourage fraud and lead to stock bubbles like the 90s .com bubble.
This will make it dangerous to invest in companies that have been public for less than 5 years.
Two Mexican bikers face charges of terrorism for revving their engines.
The crowd at a festival thought they heard gunshots, panicked, and couldn't get away since stalls had blocked the streets.
In the US, they'd have to rev their engines for some sort of political opposition group to get accused of terrorism.
The US government uses sexual humiliation to demoralize its populace.
A new Tennessee law says schools must allow teachers to deny evolution and global heating.
Kuwaiti writer gets 7 years imprisonment for tweeting a claim that Kuwaiti Shi'ites are loyal to Iran.
Such a statement, in Kuwait, could be aimed at stirring up intersectarian hatred and persecution of Shi'ites. I think that is a bad thing to do, and I hope it fails; but making it a crime to state such a claim is directly injust.
A UK mining company is using children as miners in the Congo.
The Olympic Games contracted to Adidas to make uniforms, and Adidas contracted with factories in Indonia, which pay workers around $2.50 for a 10-hour work day.
Daniel Davis exposed how the US is pretending that the war in Afghanistan is a success. The US government can't prosecute him, so it ignores him and te truth.
200 young Afghans wanted to protest that the government doesn't respect women's rights, even the right not to be murdered; but only 30 arrived. The rest were too scared to show up, or were prevented by their families from participating — which proves their point.
The UN will send observers to Syria hoping to put the cease fire back together.
CISPA, Cybersecurity, and the Devil in the Dark
The Internet defeated SOPA with the help of many of the same businesses that are ready to acquiesce to CISPA. CISPA is the test for whether the users of the Internet can block an oppressive law.
The first US/UK oil sanctions against Iran were the prelude to the CIA-organized coup in 1953.
I don't agree with all of the article's conclusions. I do not believe that the Iranian government launched its nuclear program for the sake of nuclear power plants; however, Iran seems to be willing to offer concessions on uranium enrichment now.
Don't forget that the world needs to reduce its use of fossil fuels.
US jobseekers now face criminal background checks carried out by sloppy companies.
Every recession in the US tends to lead to new demands and indignities on people looking for jobs; employers swamped by applicants grab for any excuse to reject some of them. These burdens tend to become permanent, perhaps because the level of unemployment has slowly risen over the long term.
Climate scientist Michael Mann denounces the attacks of the global heating deniers, who do disregard science for political ends.
UC Davis has pressed charges against students and professor who carried out the bank blockade.
Professor Nathan Brown calls for protests against UC Davis Chancellor Katehi until she quits.
In the BP annual meeting, one shareholder-protester asked if the board was preparing an escape pod to leave Earth when it is devastated, and whether tickets could be purchased. Others raised serious questions, but got no answers.
The EPA made tenuous excuses to disregard the danger of pesticide 2,4-D.
10,000 joined an Occupt protest in Papua New Guinea against a plan to allow the legislature to remove judges, and appear to have stopped it
Occupy Detroit Rallies to Save School for the Deaf.
This is to highlight the fact that Israel tends to refuse to allow people entry if they intend to cooperate with Palestinians in any fashion.
Airlines are supporting the Israeli government by cancelling these people's tickets and not refunding their money.
The airlines' argument that they might be required to transport the passengers home is bullshit if these passengers have already paid for the return flight.
Mexican soldiers are accustomed to impunity, so they terrorize everyone, from innocent travelers asleep in a bus to acclaimed human rights lawyers.
The Syrian army started shelling again, which means the cease-fire is not holding.
We should not criticize Kofi Annan for trying this. It was worth a try.
Protesters against Swaziland's absolute ruler were crushed by the army.
Don't believe Bahrain's PR — its oppression of dissent continues.
The suicide rate in Greece increased 40% in early 2011 compared with 2010.
I suspect that the death rate from illness increased too, but the figures are not available yet. I also suspect that things have got worse since a year ago.
Sanal Edamaruku debunked a "miracle" on TV, so he now faces arrest for blasphemy.
Why the best solutions are so often "off the table".
The idea of buying the friendship of everyone in Afghanistan (or Vietnam) is interesting partly because that's almost what the US did. In 2002, it seemed that the war was essentially over and it was time to fund development projects. Unfortunately they didn't work, and turned into gifts to a small fraction of Afghans.
Uri Avnery: Gunter Grass's criticism of Israeli policy mostly sensible and partly mistaken, but it wasn't hostile, and Germans should not be barred from criticizing Israeli policy because they're German.
Uri Avnery was German too, until 1933.
In the US, Big Brother is getting bigger.
The US subsidies for US nuclear power add up to many billions in corporate welfare.
Everyone (even if you don't use Facebook): tell Facebook to drop its support for CISPA.
CISPA is the unlimited NSA Internet surveillance bill that also allows blocking sites.
US citizens: call on Obama to order federal contractors not to discriminate on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In Spain: sign this petition against the plan to make peaceful protest a crime.
Citizens of India: sign this petition to annul India's Internet censorship rules.
US citizens: call on the US to stop opposing the establishment of global marine reserves.
Marine reserves not only protect endangered species, they can also increase the total number of fish available to catch. That is because the mature fish in the reserve produce young that eventually leave the reserve.
US citizens: tell the Department of Agriculture not to approve genetically modified corn that is made for use with the dangerous pesticide 2,4-D.
US citizens: call on the Attorney General to act firmly to protect the right to vote against voter suppression laws.
US citizens: tell the EPA to make strong regulations to curb industrial CO2 emissions.
In the US (and maybe elsewhere): tell companies to stop supporting ALEC.
Here's the message I gave:
Americans are waking up to how ALEC-promoted unjust laws endanger their rights, their well-being and even their lives. If you fund ALEC, we will consider you to blame for what ALEC does. Please cut off your support to ALEC forthwith.
See www.ALECexposed.org for more info.
In the US: tell NPR and PBS to reject political attack ads even though the law requiring to do so was just struck down.
Of course, NPR and PBS should not run any ads. They don't admit they run ads; they call their ads "enhanced underwriting". I decided to support the petition nonetheless because the petition calls them "ads", and thus also works against the pretense.
US citizens: tell Obama to do a thorough and proper investigation of Wall Street's crimes, not an inadequate investigation with too few staff.
10 Big Companies That Pay No Taxes (and Their Favorite Politicians).
An expensive, experimental program of cholera vaccination has started in Haiti.
This is instead of building an infrastructure to provide safe drinking water, which would prevent many diseases.
India's government says Indian airlines are forbidden to pay the EU's tax on CO2 emissions.
I think it will relent when those airlines face fines or exclusion from flying to Europe.
What is significant here is only that India has declared its opposition to curbing global heating. When Indian officials say that they won't agree to a deal to achieve that goal unless this tax is cancelled, in effect they say they won't agree to any plan that is effective. That puts them in the planet-roaster camp, with the US.
People in developed countries should eat 50% less meat (especially beef and pork) to curb global heating, and reduce the use of fertilisers by 50%.
Eating less meat is wise, since it would lead to better health and longer life.
Tasmanian forests, home to threatened animals, need to be protected from logging.
People, cities and churches are moving lots of money out of the big banks.
Have you moved yours?
The oil companies say they have improved safety measures since the Big Spill, but the UK still has more than one significant safety problem per week. I expect the US has them much more often.
Protesters say BP's use of dispersant sunk a lot of the oil to the sea bottom, from which it rises and re-pollutes the shore.
March 2012 was the hottest March ever recorded in the US.
Will this convince the skeptics, or will they wait for a record-breaking July and August?
It appears the US welcomed the coup against President Nasheed of the Maldives. I doubt the goal was to stop him from campaigning to halt global heating, but has anyone proposed an explanation?
The UK is talking about banning brands from cigarette packages.
The opposition is dishonest, pretehding that this discouragement to marketing is a prohibition of tobacco. I would oppose prohibition of tobacco, dangerous and harmful as that drug is, but prohibition is not the policy being proposed.
The real obstacle to this may be from free exploitation treaties. Uruguay and Australia have tried partial measures along the same lines and have been attacked for it this way.
Thanks to Clinton's "welfare reform", aid to poor children is at the lowest level in 50 years, while poverty spreads.
I disagree with the interpretation that Clinton destroyed the Liberal movement's moral authority. Rather, he betrayed the Liberal movement and denied it the support of the Democratic Party. It still has the support of people like me.
The signatures on the Walker recall petition were very carefully checked and proved to be 97% valid.
Forced evictions in China lead thousands to protest across the country every month.
Navajos and Hopis protested together against a senate bill inviting the tribes to give up their water rights.
They seem to be afraid that the Navajo president will agree to this deal.
French people have sued the state for racial profiling.
Vietnam's new Internet censorship regulations will require users to give their real names.
It is not surprising to find such rules in China, and now in Vietnam. Requiring people to indentify themselves for postings is a tool of tyranny. I urge people to reject communications platforms such as Facebook and Google+ which require real names.
Under international law, Israel cannot justify attacking Iran because it is not under imminent threat.
A UN-brokered cease fire in Syria is partly effective.
The Real Invisible Hand: George Orwell, and Why We Got JOBs not Jobs.
In Poland the state can access communications traffic records with very little controls, and did so almost 2 million times in 2011.
Perhaps the officials are nostalgic for Communism.
Lloyd's of London joins environmentalists in warning that undersea drilling in the Arctic is dangerous.
Would it be interesting drop several gallons of oil in a few places on Arctic coasts to measure how much of it remains how long? Spills of that size must be frequent from ships, so a few artificial ones won't do grave harm, and we might learn something from them.
Trayvon Martin's killer faces charges of second degree murder.
US unions want the US Labor Department to invoke CAFTA provisions against Honduras for denying workers' rights.
Given that CAFTA exists, I will be glad if it can do some good against for lable rights. However, I doubt it will do enough good to outweigh the harm done by free exploitation treaties, whose general effect is to turn every country into a banana republic.
Several presidents from Latin America will tell Obama that the War on Drugs must be stopped.
They have recognized that when a war is on drugs, it attacks almost randomly and everyone becomes a target.
If the US implements the US-Colombia free exploitation treaty, that would reduce the US' political leverage to improve labor rights conditions in Colombia.
However, Obama isn't inclined to use that leverage anyway, since implementing the treaty would mean disregarding the continued murders of unionists. Apparently he intended this party of the treaty as a false promise, to be ignored once it convinced the US Congress to vote for the treaty.
An appeals court ruled that violating web site terms of service is not a crime.
As well as being the right policy, it is also a sensible legal decision. It is hard to be confident that courts won't stretch laws for the sake of corporate power.
CEOs reduce their taxes by using a corporate jet "for safety".
Shahzad Akbar, Pakistani human rights lawyer, has sued the US government for killing civilians in Pakistan with a drone bomber. Since then, he has been unable to get a visa to revisit the US.
The US government says that this is not retaliation for his lawsuit. Do you believe that?
In the Jordan Valley, Israeli repression hits every aspect of life.
I don't see anything wrong, in general, with diaspora Jews' sending money to help Israeli Jews live better. And one can ask why diaspora Palestinians (and other Arabs) don't provide such donations to poor Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. However, it would take tremendous sums to compensate materially for the effects of the denial of land and water, and no amount of money could make up for the tight restrictions on construction.
Everyone: call on Honduras not to criminalize taking the morning-after birth crontrol pill.
Everyone: rebuke the city of St Petersburg for arresting people for carrying signs in favor of equality for gay people.
US citizens: tell Democrats to go beyond the millionaire's tax and end the Bush tax cuts.
The US is exhausting itself in an arms race with nobody.
The pesticide that kills bee colonies may be getting in via high-fructose corn syrup.
It should be easy to see if bees fed another substance are safe. Meanwhile, high-fructose corn syrup carries pesticides into beehives, maybe it carries them into you and me.
China has imprisoned hundreds of Tibetan pilgrims who went to a ceremony in India.
The president of Guatemala calls for drug regulation instead of drug prohibition , but isn't bold enough to say he will pull his country out of prohibition.
That probably means he will allow his country's policy to be controlled by Obama, who isn't bold enough to tolerate medical marijuana even though over 75% of Americans want him to.
Malaysia is considering a law to end imprisonment without trial and recognize political freedom of speech.
Malaysia is not blatant tyranny like China or Iran, but it still has a long way to go to fully respect human rights. For instance, Malaysia must allow anyone to practice any religion, or no religion. This law can be a major step in the right direction.
Facebook "apps" that some persons run get access to everything their "friends" make visible to them, and may hand all that info to a company.
While this article shows that there is currently a way to turn that off, I expect that Facebook will take any necessary steps to ensure that most users don't do so. The purpose of those apps is to get access to that data, and I'm pretty sure that benefit figures, to Facebook's advantage, into the financial arrangements between the app developer and Facebook. Facebook will make sure it does not lose that advantage.
Chinese high school students, worn out from studying many hours a day with little vacation for standardized tests, burned their textbooks.
The US is in the process of making its education system just as bad.
The US ordered UK and Canadian airlines to give details of passengers flying between the UK and Canada or Cuba, and to apply the US "no fly" list to them.
The British acquiescence in this demand is a remarkable display of the "special relationship" between the two countries. The usual name for that relationship is "master-slave".
You should not board an aircraft in the UK, because they use X-ray scanners (unsafe!) and don't allow you the option of feeling you up instead. This is one more reason to take a train to some other country and fly from there.
US citizens: CISPA is the new Internet Blacklist Bill, using "security" as the excuse this time. Phone your congresscritter and say no, and sign this petition too.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: tell Obama to prevent oil drilling in the Arctic.
The European Court of Human Rights approved the extradition of Babar Ahmad to the US.
Here is an interview with Babar Ahmad.
As far as I can see, all he is accused of is stating opinions, which is supposed to be a human right that we respect whether we agree with them or not. When the US gets its hand on him, will it accuse him of something that would honestly constitute terrorism, or will it stretch the term as it often does?
Looking at the larger issue, the UK's one-extradition treaty with the US is unjust for two reasons: because it is one-sided and because it abolishes protections such as dual criminality (the principle that you will not be extradited for an act that isn't prohibited in the country where you are).
Israeli occupation observers report on a Palestinian family made homeless, and a Palestinian man released from prison in Israel but not given his ID card back.
The state invited him to ask for his ID card at the prison in Israel, knowing he cannot go there because he has no ID card.
Requiring people to use ID cards is itself tyranny.
Peter Beinart's book which exposes the lies of the Israeli right wing makes them so uncomfortable that they have launched a campaign of personal vilification to distract attention from what it says.
I got a small dose of such vilification myself, after my visit to Palestine and Israel in 2011. The more prominent the author, the stronger the vilification.
The Israeli government evicted the right-wing activists who had seized the home of a Palestinian family.
The government's policy is to do precisely this, but slowly over a long term. When individuals rashly rush things, that causes embarrassment.
Israeli soldiers disguised as civilians entered the Palestinian village of Rammoun. Three villagers who didn't recognize them accused them of being thieves, whereupon the soldiers shot them all.
One of them was shot again later, while already wounded. He died.
10 years on, the Israeli annexation wall that snakes around through Palestinian territory is almost twice the length of the border between Palestinian territory and Israel.
Large gaps remain in the wall, where construction has been stopped by lawsuits. Evidently the cessation of suicide bombings for many years is not because the wall blocks them.
Israel is building more new housing in East Jerusalem and demolishing Palestinian homes.
The revenue of a casino and a "nonprofit" bingo operation in California funds more such construction.
Obama knows that Israeli construction makes peace impossible, but he only cares about staying in office.
Wellcome Trust will push for free access to research it funds.
I can't tell from this article whether this will include the freedom to redistribute articles, which is also necessary.
In the US: Tell AT&T to stop supporting ALEC.
Ni Yulan defended poor Chinese people who were left homeless for the Olympic games. The thugs atatcker her so badly she is permanently disabled, and kept her in an unofficial "black jail" in a hotel. Now she has been framed for not paying the hotel.
The UN's world happiness report put China at number 112 out of 156. So China banned it.
Individual Chinese know they are unhappy, but the idea is they should not know they aren't alone.
Pharma companies seek to invent new diseases to convince Americans they need more medicines.
A widely used herbal remedy, aristolochia, causes kidney disease and cancer.
Many human rights organizations called on Obama to get human rights defender al-Khawaja freed from Bahrain's prison before he fasts to death.
The agreement giving the Afghan government control over US night raids has loopholes that Humvees will drive through.
The Republican Party wants to encourage driving rather than biking.
Whatever it takes to burn more oil faster.
Marlyand adopted a law forbidding employers from demanding employees or applicants social media passwords.
Protestors oppose a high-speed train line in Italy through the Alps to France.
What would they rather travelers do? Drive? Fly?
This line, with a further an extension inside Italy, would make it just feasible to take a train from Paris to Milan instead of flying. That will attract many more travellers to use the line. The existing train line can't possibly achieve that.
The Syrian army bombarded a refugee camp in Turkey, and Assad has effectively rejected the UN's cease-fire plan.
A software patent has halted the development of systems to transmit medical images for several years.
Software patents generally do harm because a large software package needs to combine thousands of ideas. Each time an idea is patented, the patent is ready to cause a disaster like this one. Some disasters are bigger than others, but disaster is all they can cause.
It is too bad the article equates patents to "intellectual property". The author probably felt it was obligatory to use that fashionable term.
Even worse, the article speaks of "theft" of this mysterious reified substance. Patent infringement is not theft; a patent is an artificial government-imposed monopoly. One of the reasons to reject the term "intellectual property" for patents is that it leads people to try to construct strained analogies such as these between patents and physical property. These analogies are misleading, and they generally encourage support for stricter patent law. That's another reason to reject the term.
The US cyberspying bill is "even worse than SOPA".
Obama wants to use the TPP to criminalize even private sharing of copies of music.
The propaganda term "copyright theft" is a simple falsehood today, and always has been: copyright infringement is not theft, and in many cases is not a crime at all. However, our enemies want to change the law to match their lie. Apparenltly TPP stands for "Tyrants Punishing People".
Another point of the TPP would be to apply to patent law a "loser pays" rule that ACTA applies only to some other laws. I am not sure whether this is good or bad (does a plaintiff that loses have to pay the defense legal fees?), but it is silly for a treaty to specify this.
This reflects a general tendency of the misleading term "intellectual property": by generalizing about these unrelated laws, it encourages making them more similar. It also encourages and paves the way for one treaty to deal with several of these laws together, as does the TPP. It is therefore unfortunate when anyone uses that term.
The MPAA thinks Obama can get it something like SOPA, and they are working on it now.
Dodd of the MPAA described this as a new backroom deal.
ALEC pushed for the "stand your ground" law in Florida, and in other states too.
The UK now admits it is compelled to support Karimov, the tyrant of Uzbekistan, in order to use the highway to Afghanistan.
The US is in the same boat.
Thus, another benefit of pulling out of Afghanistan will be that the US and UK can stop supporting Karimov.
How about suggesting to Craig Murray that he point the link there to avoid the paywall?
The European Union proposes to ban "Hacking Tools".
This adds insult (using "hacking" as synonymous with "security breaking") to injury (banning useful programs).
The Egyptian military has whitewashed its of women.
Uganda has declared tyranny by banning an important opposition group.
US border guards harass award-winning documentarist Laura Poitras every time she enters the US, trying to get her notes, footage and sources.
When she decided to note down their questions, they threatened to prosecute her claiming that her pen was a weapon. More dangerous than a sword, perhaps?
The Palestinian Authority arrested Palestinians for publishing criticism of it.
60,000 protested in France against nuclear power, in a "human chain reaction". The world's media took no notice.
The supposed recovery has not spared US workers from layoffs.
Another important Russian journalist was attacked on the street. When the thugs appeared, they did not seem interested in what had happened to her. This suggests the attack was organized by the state.
Everyone: call on China to release film-maker Dhondup Wangchen.
The UK asked the US to kidnap exiled Libyan opposition activist Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Bouchar. They were tortured first by the US government and then by Gaddafi's men.
Now the UK is considering a law to block courts from handling their case and similar cases, as the US has already done.
It was Dubya's men who ordered this monstrous evil, but Obama has a duty to prosecute them. Instead, he does everything possible to cover up their crimes, and thus makes himself responsible for them.
Unending copyright is creating a book desert, a period of many decades whose books are nearly all out of print.
It is clear this is caused by copyright because the desert begins at the year when books start to be under copyright today.
How this leads to their unavailability is not self-evident. My guess is that the hassle of determining who has the rights to an old copyrighted book, plus the risk of being wrong about the answer, plus the difficulty of negotiating with heirs who imagine their titles are far more valuable than they really are, have combined to lead publishers not to even think about reprinting an old copyrighted book, except for those so successful they were in print not long before.
If you live near the coast of the US, find out if you're likely to be flooded in the next few decades due to sea level rise.
Everyone: call on the governor of Louisiana to move the Angola 2 out of brainwashing conditions.
Here's what I put in as the personalized message:
Prolongued solitary confinement is a form of brainwashing. Whether Woodfox and Wallace are killers or not, they should not be subject to an inhumane punishment. Likewise, stopping prisoners from reading is inhumane.
Please put an end to this abuse.
US citizens: Tell Obama and Dodd, no to SOPA 2.
US citizens: call on Obama to regulate fracking for safety as he said he would.
US citizens: sign this petition against the Big Brother "cybersecurity" bill.
Everyone: call on Oxford University Press to follow academic standards of citation and disclosure.
More information about what it's doing wrong.
Registration of web sites in Lebanon will make it easy to censor them.
Hey there, shock capitalism: here come the Olympic Games and celebration capitalism, which have almost the same effect.
Activists fight "cyber-security" bill that would give NSA more data.
Please help; see the urgent note published in this batch.
Five persistent right-wing myths exposed.
Specific reasons why US dissidents have reason to fear they will be labeled as "al Qa'ida supporters" and imprisoned. And US government representatives refused in court to say this was impossible.
In 1972, the Limits to Growth study predicted economic collapse around 2030. The world is right on track for it.
Uri Avnery: two viewpoints on the Passover story, viewed from weakness and from power.
Arizona is considering a law that would define a woman as pregnant since her last menstruation before conception.
By this logic, every fertile woman would be considered pregnant all the time.
Even aside from the law's attempt to reduce abortion rights, that may not be a matter of semantics. Women have been prosecuted for things they did while pregnant. Imagine combining this with that.
Prosecutors in the US are almost never punished, even for causing grave miscarriages of justice, such as concealing evidence that proved the innocence of accused people on trial and causing false convictions.
The US has an "economic recovery" for the 1% only.
Given how many unjust laws they have imposed, this is no surprise.
There is a campaign to pressure web sites to ban all prostitution ads, because some of them are placed by pimps that force women into prostitution.
The author says, "Many prostitution ads on Backpage are placed by adult women acting on their own without coercion; re not my concern". But they are the article's concern, since its demand is that Backpage stop publishing those ads too.
I am in favor of action against anyone that coerces or threatens prostitutes, but that can be done without harassing other prostitutes.
Obama's men raided the state-licensed Oaksterdam University medical marijuana training school.
The school's founder, legalization leader Richard Lee, says he will step aside from running it but that it won't close.
The UK is exporting Internet surveillance technology to other states that can also punish people for what they say or read.
Tunisia's Islamist government has used a law left over from Ben Ali's dictatorship to imprison people for mocking Islam.
Confirmation that Judge Garzón was singled out unfairly by the Spanish Supreme Court. This article (in Spanish) says that the listening to defendants' discussions with lawyers was approved by the prosecutor's office following a standard procedure that other judges have also approved.
Whether or not this policy is just, to punish one judge for doing this and not criticize the other judges who did it too (let alone change the policy) shows that the real goal was "Get Garzón".
Farmers around the world are resisting Monsanto's domination of farming.
Hungary's intellectuals are fleeing because anyone who criticizes the regime gets accused of some sort of crime.
Increased use of fertilizer in the past 50 years has increased emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.
If only there were a way to collect it in balloons for the farmers to sell.
Tunisian thugs attacked a protest of unemployed university graduates, breaking the legs of some of them.
I am not sure whether there's any legitimate measure by which the state can give these graduates jobs. (Curbing corruption would help in the long term.) But even if they are barking up the wrong tree, they shouldn't be attacked for doing so.
Colleges are acting as collection agencies for US government student loans, blocking defaulting, penurious graduates from applying for further education or jobs.
The result is that higher education, for many low-income Americans, is just a trap.
If someone is in arrears on a loan for a bachelor's degree, it might be wise to think twice about his prospects before lending him more money for a Ph.D. Even if he is personally diligent and not to blame for his unemployment, he might still find no job with a higher degree; competition is often even stiffer at that level. But that's a different matter from blocking him from employment or furthert schooling.
A proposed anti-abortion measure in New Hampshire could leave poor women without medical care.
These fanatics are "pro-life" for fetuses only.
German officials discussed their surveillance trojan with officials from the US, UK and France.
I think this technique, like interception of phone calls, is legitimate as long as courts keep close control over it — something we Americans cannot rely on today. However, the vulnerabilities that make this possible can be exploited by others.
Despite Apple's profits, it still cadges handouts from nearly-broke city governments.
I wonder why Austin offered that subsidy. Did Apple say, "Another city offered us $20 million; pay us $21 and we will choose Austin instead"? I have no information about this case, but that is a common practice, and it has led local and state governments across the US into spending lots of money on "jobs programs" that make no sense except as handouts to business.
Airport security theater harms passengers directly, and everyone indirectly.
The claim of 500 deaths per year due to people who drive instead of flying in order to avoid TSA checkpoints is an extrapolation of an estimate that was made for 3 months in 2002.
I don't think we can extrapolate confidently from ten years ago to today. People have had time to get used to TSA inspections; meanwhile, the TSA has made them more inconvenient and offensive than in 2002.
Besides, that estimate presumes everyone who decided not to go through airline security drove instead. Surely some took a bus while others stayed at home. It would not surprise me if the actual number of extra fatalities due to the TSA were as low as 100 a year or as high as 1000 a year.
How the US Uses Sexual Humiliation as a Political Tool to Control the Masses.
Many Americans are adapting calmly to the current high price of gasoline, which has not yet equalled the 2008 peak.
These price fluctuations are annoying because they are unpredictable. The goverment should take the uncertainty out of the matter by telling Americans when the price of gasoline will be $5 per gallon (perhaps in 2014), when it will be $6 (perhaps in 2015), when $8 (perhaps in 2017), and so on. And then adjusting the gasoline tax to make prices follow the schedule.
Libyans rallied in Benghazi for disarmament of the militias.
The leader of the military coup in Mali has agreed to hand power back to civilian rule.
That still leaves the issue of how to deal with the Islamist butchers who have overrun the north of that country.
Saleh's replacement as president of Yemen seems to be no more democratic than Saleh.
People are not protesting him; is that because they like him better or because they are more afraid?
Jim Hansen says that limiting global heating is a great moral issue, and calls for a worldwide tax on carbon emissions to avoid disaster.
Amnesty International calls for the release of Bahraini political prisoner Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.
He has been on hunger strike for two months, so he is probably only a few weeks away from death.
160 countries have signed the treaty to ban land mines, but the US is still holding out.
The US mainstream media gave widespread attention to Rep. Ryan's assault-the-poor budget but hardly mentioned the progressive caucus' Budget for All.
Airline pilots conceal incipient mental health problems because they fear losing their jobs. America's weak social safety net means they might end up on the street with their families.
In other words, this spectacular (though rather unlikely) danger of a pilot cracking up and crashing a plane is a small consequence of the large, everyday harm that modern American society does to the non-rich. The best chance to make sure our flights are safe is Occupy Wall Street.
Tim Christopher's has been put in a special restrictions cell just for questioning whether his legal fund should accept donations from a certain company.
Christopher heroically blocked an oil drilling lease auction in order to protect the shore and the environment, at the price of two years' imprisonment for himself. Three cheers for Tim Christopher, and shame on President Obama for not pardoning him.
Leading climate scientists say it is too late to avoid 2C of global heating, and it will be hard to stop at 3C.
Jor-El, are you building your spaceship?
The US is considering rules to stop hired children from doing certain kinds of farm work that can be dangerous. These rules would not apply to children working on their family's farm.
Therefore, some Republicans have introduced the "Preserving s Family Farms Act" to block these rules. Typical Republican dishonesty, to block regulation of employee working conditions and raise "family farms" as a red herring.
If Republicans cared about family farms, they wouldn't have driven most of them bankrupt under Reagan.
Wall Street titans support financial speculation tax! (A late April Fool.)
The US needs a national conversation about ensuring that those legally eligible to vote are permitted to vote.
Preventing what Dubya did in 2000 to steal that election needs to be part of this conversation.
Users are suing Google about its new policy of combining the data it gets from all its services.
I find Google's argument, "The better to serve you with my dear," to be an insult to our intelligence. At the same time, I think this is a secondary issue. Whether or not Google combines all this data, the FBI can collect it all, keep it for 5 years (under Obama's new policy), and combine it. The problem is not that Google combines it too. The problem is that it is collected at all, by anyone.
The article errs when it says that Facebook uses only data that users did knowingly hand over. In fact, Facebook does lots of surveillance.
Corrupt police in the UK delete police files for those with money to pay.
This reminds me of the fictional "Google cleaner" in Cory Doctorow's story, "Scroogled".
Computers in cars can lead to exhaustive surveillance of drivers.
Note OnStar, being a cell phone in the car, implies tracking of the car's whereabouts at all times. License plate recognizing cameras also threaten to enable Big Brother to track all cars in the US. And if you carry a cell phone with you, that too tracks you and can be remotely converted into a listening device.
The EPA, with Obama's backing, has set limits on CO2 emissions from future power plants. But these limits are weak.
With these limits, future coal-fired power plants can only be built if they promise later to install facilities to capture much of the CO2 emissions — but that is future technology, a chicken that hasn't hatched. We can't depend on a promise that can only be kept if technology advances.
Limiting use of coal could limit the practice of mountaintop removal for coal mining, which destroys the environment and people's health. But not necessarily — the US might mine the coal and sell it for China to burn.
The proposed standards have other loopholes too.
This rule will do some good but it is just the first step towards a policy that would limit greenhouse gas emissions enough to protect us from their deadly long-term effects.
The United Arab Emirates shut down the National Democratic Institute and jailed its staff, just as Egypt did earlier.
The National Democratic Institute is to some extent an instrument of US foreign policy (it was involved in the US-sponsored coup in Venezuela), so perhaps shutting it down on those grounds can be justified. However, jailing its staff is shocking.
US citizens: call your senators to support a bill to raise the US minimum wage. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Then, as thugs are wont to do, they made false accusations against the victims.
Canada plans to make its warrantless Internet spying bill even worse.
After Todd Stave rented a building to an abortion clinic, Christian fanatics began making threatening calls to him and his family. So he organized his friends into Voice for Choice, which gives the nastiest ones a mild taste of their own medicine.
Foxconn's truth is nastier than Mike Daisey's fiction.
Why did well-paid factory jobs with medical benefits and safety regulations get replaced with these sweatshops? Clinton together with the Republicans adopted laws and treaties to make it happen.
Zuckerberg is wrong: Americans do care about Internet privacy.
I urge Americans who care about privacy to do as I do, and refuse to surrender their privacy. How about starting by boycotting Amtrak until it stops interfering with passengers' privacy?
The CIA's source of torture ideas has been leaked.
Thousands of Bahrainis braved attacks by the government's suppression forces in support of an imprisoned protest leader who has been on hunger strike for two months.
The US government trained terrorists in 2005.
Specifically, the US military trained members of the Mujahideen-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group which at the time was on the US list of designated "terrorist" organizations. Providing any sort of assistance to a banned group, even advice about how to respect human rights, is a crime according to the Supreme Court. Providing military training is unquestionably a crime — so will those responsible be prosecuted?
The Mujahideen-e Khalq were reported recently to have helped Israel kill some Iranian nuclear weapons development scientists. That's not exactly terrorism, but the organization may do terrorism also.
However, the US can't make this so by saying so. To ban organizations arbitrarily without a trial is tyranny.
A broad range of US organizations called on Congress to facilitate a diplomatic deal with Iran.
Islamists in Tunisia resist the abolution of the death penalty.
Does the support for the death penalty in the US come mainly from Christians? I think so.
A Tuareg uprising in northern Mali has morphed into a jihad to slaughter Christians (and probably any non-Muslims).
Don't fall for the line that Islam is a religion of peace.
Assad's shelling is sending thousands more Syrians into flight.
Mutant H5N1 bird flu virus papers to be published in full.
The US has agreed to hand over prisoners to the Afghan government, despite the risk they may be tortured.
However, if the US forces stay in Afghanistan until the day it is clear the Afghan government won't torture them, that would require them to stay forever. And the US tortures prisoners too. This transfer may be the least bad of a bad set of alternatives.
Users are organizing to pressure pinterest.com for changes its Terms of Service.
This is good, but this method of resistance can't do the whole job. In general, the users have much less clout than the site. People who believe they can't stop using Facebook will be unable to pressure Facebook this way.
I think we need laws to regulate these Terms of Service, just as laws regulate landlords' terms of service for leasing an apartment.
Arizona keeps almost 3000 prisoners in conditions comparable to brainwashing.
Google invites news sites to require visitors to fill out Google marketing surveys before they can see an article.
With few exceptions that occur rarely, I won't identify myself to any web site. Since I view web pages by having a server run the equivalent of wget, I wouldn't be able to fill out these surveys even if I wanted to. I'm automatically safe — but you are not.
Building a long-term campaign against war with Iran to oppose the long-term campaign for war.
Space exploration by humans is far more effective than robots.
Panamanian indigenous people fought with loggers cutting down endangered trees in their traditional lands.
The US soldiers in Afghanistan are cynical about the war. They know that the US is effectively funding the Taliban.
I expect they know of other reasons to be cynical, too. Why continue this farce?
The Secret Torture Memo Cheney Didn't Want You To See
Drug policy reform organizations condemn Obama's raids on state-licensed medical marijuana facilities.
With most Americans supporting medical marijuana, Obama nonetheless broke his promise to stop these federal raids. He's such a coward he will cave in to a mere shadow of a threat.
Nuclear power reactors planned for the US depend on government subsidy in the form of loan guarantees. They may get cancelled because the government conditions don't add up to enough of a subsidy.
Even if it were expensive, it would be better than the alternative.
CIA to UK: "Protect our torturers, or we will refuse to warn you about bomb plots."
The UK government seeks to adopt legislation to stop courts from revealing information about US torture practices. It wants to terrify Britons into supporting that legislation. So it announced that the CIA refused to give the UK details of a terrorist plot in the UK.
The plot apparently was not carried out. Either it was thwarted anyway, or it never existed. However, there are more important points to make here.
Assuming the CIA really did what was reported, that wasn't directly a matter of concealing torture practices. The CIA could have told the UK everything relevant about the supposed plot without revealing anything about torture.
Thus, this refusal was more in the nature of a threat: "change your laws to protect our torturers, or we will let you down when you need us." Some special relationship, eh?
That is, if these events really happened as reported. Maybe the CIA made up the plot so has to create an opportunity for the threat. Or maybe the UK government, which wants to protect US torturers, made up the whole story.
The only thing we can be sure of is that this does not excuse the torturer protection law that the UK government wants.
The Intelligence Bureaucracy That Ate Our World.
Bush muzzled the FDA because he didn't want to protect Americans' health if that would annoy business. Obama continues the practice, perhaps because he's afraid to do anything Republicans might criticize.
Improper and unsupervised use of the latest antimalarial drug is helping the malaria parasite develop resistance.
The lack of proper medical care for the poor can kill you even if you have the money to pay for your own medical care.
The WTO's appeals board upheld the decision that banning flavored cigarettes is a forbidden "barrier to trade".
For the WTO, childrens' lives are of no account if they get in the way of business. Americans, kill the WTO before it kills your children!
Obama's policy forbidding US diplomats to talk with Iranian diplomats puts the US on a track that almost assures war.
Proposing a "fair trade Israel" certification for Israeli products that don't benefit from or promote the occupation.
Education bureaucracy and No Child Left Behind are turning US education into a test-passing pressure piston.
Arizona legislators plan to limit the law to criminalize offensive Internet postings, but not enough — it would still be an unconstitutional attack on freedom of speech.
In the US, it is effectively impossible to buy soybeans which don't have Monsanto's patented genes.
A lawsuit charges the CIA is illegally ignoring FOIA requests.
Lakota activists have launched a hunger strike against the Keystone XL planet roaster pipeline.
If that pipeline is built, it will harm millions through global heating. Cancelling that pipeline is not enough to prevent planet-roasting, but it's a necessary step.
An investigation into the failure to show undercover infiltrator Mark Kennedy's tapes to protesters' defense team found nobody to blame.
The thugs probably feel they got home free. This will not do much to avoid future miscarriages of justice like this one, which was only exposed after some protesters were convicted.
The US will ease trade sanctions against Burma as a reward for holding an election in which opposition candidates can win.
Have the opposition victories been recognized by the state? I thought the official results would take a week to announce.
Obama plans to try accused Sep 11 conspirators in military kangaroo courts.
Like everyone accused of any crime, these suspects deserve a fair trial. Obama has shown he is soft on human rights, and also that he is timid when facing opposition.
As usual, other thugs lied to help them cover up their crimes.
The US and Afghanistan are negotiating to give Karzai's forces control over night raids.
In this deal, which presumes US troops would remain in combat in Afghanistan after 2014, Afghan soldiers would be in charge of each raid.
This might make them less destructive to civilians.
The FARC released their last prisoners from the government forces, as a peace gesture.
Will the government release any FARC prisoners as a peace gesture?
The worst terrorists in Colombia are the government-linked paramilitares. They never had any principles except greed, and I doubt they ever took prisoners.
The U.N. Human Rights Council condemned Israel's colonization of Palestinian territories and launched an investigation into it.
United Nations Still Denies its Troops Brought Cholera to Haiti
The UN also pretends that its troops in Haiti are "peacekeepers" rather than occupiers meant to prevent the poor from electing who they wish.
International Criminal Court says it cannot investigate alleged Israeli crimes in Gaza because Palestine is not a state.
However, this might change if the General Assembly declares Palestine a state.
Prominent British theater figures called on the Globe Theater to rescind its invitation for Israel's national theater company to perform there.
By virtue of being the "national" theater company, it represents the state. It also endorses the occupation by performing in Israeli colonies in Palestinian territory. I think therefore that it is entirely appropriate as a boycott target.
The UK LibDems are resisting Tory plans for secret trials.
The crucial issue about any such proposal is to ensure that the UK can be held accountable for complicity in torture by other countries (such as Pakistan, the US, and formerly Libya) which wink at torture and protect state torturers.
Many companies pay very little taxes in the UK and the US by shifting their profits into countries that have low tax rates for businesses.
Rather than changing tax laws to offer "US" companies an incentive to bring profits to the US without being taxed, the US should change its tax laws to tax some of those profits anyway. The existing system does a bad job for the 99%, so there is no reason to cling to it.
A man is being prosecuted in the UK for having the wrong "kind" of book.
UK rivers are drying up, making it necessary to catch wild fish and keep them alive in tanks.
Thugs lie so frequently that their "side" of the story signifies nothing.
Voters concerned with the environment, with human rights, and with reducing the power of business do have a better candidate to vote for: Jill Stein.
Hana Shalabi, who went on hunger strike when imprisoned without trial, was released from Israeli prison but forcibly exiled to Gaza.
The Israeli army demolished the houses of Susiya on the grounds that the nearby colony was erected very close to it. Now the residents live in tents, so the army plans to demolish them too.
The US leaked a report that Israel had made a deal to use Azerbaijan's territory and airports as a refueling point for attacking Iran.
The speculation is that this was announced so as to impede an attack. Obama appears to prefer to avoid war with Iran, but he doesn't dare say so.
Noam Sheizaf: nothing can end the occupation of Palestine except putting pressure on Israel.
An Israeli human rights lawyer discusses Israel's slow movement towards explicit rejection of human rights. There were cases he took to the Israeli Supreme Court which he believes would now only uselessly legitimize injustice.
Haitian farmers are worried about US "donations" of hybrid seed that could result in long-term dependance.
US-imposed Haitian president Martelly received 2.5 million dollars in payments from a Dominican Republic senator.
That senator's construction companies won many contracts in Haiti, worth around $200 million, and these payments may explain how.
The US Congress is pushing the US into a commitment for war with Iran, listening to AIPAC and disregarding the American public.
It may be impossible to hold the next scheduled election in Afghanistan in 2014, so there is talk of advancing it to 2013 or postponing it (probably forever).
Considering how fraudulent the last election was, cancelling the next one would only admit what is already the case.
Isrealis "bought" a Palestinian family's home from a fraudulent "owner", then invaded it with the help of soldiers and forced the family out. Netanyahu gave the thieves permission to remain there.
His colleague who made a racist insult was not punished at all, while ordinary citizens have recently been prosecuted for such insults. Insults must not be a crime, but any public employee who says such things while carrying out a public function should be fired.
Several multinational companies say they will not buy from Asia Pulp and Paper, which destroys forests in Indonesia.
This is good, but there are plenty of others willing to buy that company's paper, if not in Europe and the US then in China. Stronger action is needed.
How to stop factory fishing ships from wiping out the fish off Senegal's shore.
EU rules to promote biomass energy are leading to cutting down of forests.
Cameron wants to repeat Thatcher's mistake: privatizing "council housing" which is built to rent to poor people.
Although the privatization works by selling these homes at subsidized prices to the people who rent them, they subsequently get sold again in the regular housing market, and become useless to the people that need council housing. Unless the state builds new council housing to replace what gets privatized, the result is that poor people once again can't find homes to rent.
Bhutan warns that the world's suicidal path must be changed.
Human activity is unsustainable in many ways: it cannot continue for very long as it is now. That alone does not imply it is suicidal; when one resource runs out, we may be able to use another. However, global heating is more or less suicidal for civilization even if some humans might hang on in a devastated world.
The ACLU found that different US cities have a hodge-podge of different rules about access to saved cell phone location data.
It is not enough to require a court order for access to this data. Phone companies should not be allowed to save it without a court order telling them to store it.
Some state elected officials have complained to the US government about Obama's raids on state-licensed medical marijuana activities.
This is another one of Obama's treacheries.
Senator Franken is campaigning against surveillance by companies such as Facebook and Google.
It is most important to campaign against government surveillance. However, since the government can take whatever personal data these companies have collected, they are in effect arms of government surveillance too.
Europe is making progress on accountability for torture, but Obama protects the torturers in the US.
The thugs said they handcuffed these children to protect themselves, apparently feeling they were threatened by the children.
These children reportedly fought other kids in ways that endangered them. Some action was called for to put a stop to that, but there was no need to make it so cruel.
However, the arrests of other children, for 'rudeness' and a harmless prank, were totally gratuitous. They simply reflect the general trend towards rigid cruelty on the part of US thugs and schools. The "zero tolerance" fad taught them that arresting children is the thing to do.
Putin shut Red Square because a protest was planned.
Everyone: call on Delaware to revoke Massey Energy's charter.
US citizens: cry "fowl" about the USDA's plans to let poultry companies do their own inspections of chickens and turkeys.
In the US: call on ALEC's corporate sponsors to end their support.
US citizens: phone your senators to call for effective regulation of toxic chemicals. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: oppose the plan to give parts of the Tongass National Forest to a company for logging.
Israel's secret plan to expand its colonies in Palestinian territory has been exposed.
Honduras is about to ban emergency contraception.
Abortion is already banned. Thus, the coup-installed government which kills journalists and opposition leaders will kill women too.
The US and other countries are discussing aiding the Syrian rebels.
There is a report that the US and Turkey are already arming them.
I might support aiding Syrian rebels if they were in a position to win and if they were likely to establish a regime better than Assad's. I have doubts about the latter, because I'm worried that this might lead to forcing Alawites into exile (and it isn't clear where they could go). Meanwhile, I see no chance they could win. But they could get lots of civilians killed.
European and other factory fishing boats are overfishing the waters off West Africa.
Perhaps Europe should fund a coast guard for Mauritania.
Europeans Pushing Back Against Austerity.
Grading teachers and schools by their students' standardized tests puts pressure on teachers to improve their students' answers.
The difficulty is that the disastrous harm to the public, causing tens of millions of deaths, is likely to take a few decades to materialize.
Neoliberal economic policies in South Korea ap pears as an economic success, but the people there are the unhappiest in the developed world.
Iraq's vice president, a Sunni that the government wants to arrest, has remained at large for months.
I don't know whether al-Hashemi was running Sunni death squads, but it was well known that Shi'ite death squads connected with a major Shi'ite party were operating in Iraq. I have not heard that al-Maliki had tried to arrest those Shi'ites. Thus, whether or not al-Hashemi is guilty as charged, the govermnent's policy is sectarian bias.
Aung San Suu Kyi's party claims victory for nearly all the seats that were contested in Burma's parliamentary by-election.
We will find out in a week whether the government counted the votes honestly.
Arizona is on the verge of passing India-style Internet censorship, or perhaps even worse.
The Department of Homeland Security says that Internet voting is "premature".
Understatement of the year?
CNN is stirring up war fever with imaginitive reports of an army of Hezbollah agents in the US waiting to attack.
US citizens: tell Attorney General Holder, stop lying about how the U SAP AT RIOT is being stretched.
I am disappointed that this campaign uses the propaganda term "Patriot Act", but I think it is worth supporting anyway.
That term isn't the law's official name. The law's official name is an acronym: the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.
If we are going to treat that series of initials as words, U SAP AT RIOT or PAT RIOT are just as valid as USA PATRIOT or PATRIOT.
US citizens: phone your senators to support a tax increase on millionaires. Also send a message through this page.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the Restore Public Trust Act, which would ban members of Congress from feeding data secretly to Wall Street.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: call Senator Leahy to urge him to demand release of Obama's assassination policy.
In the Boston area: oppose the coming MBTA fare increase and service cuts.
Senators Who Voted To Protect Oil Tax Breaks Received $23,582,500 From Big Oil.
Now that prosecutors can't put GPS devices on people's cars without a warrant, they want to use cell phone location data without a warrant instead.
I think it is an injustice even to collect so much data about everyone. A state that collects massive data about everyone is a police state. A warrant should be required before the data can be saved for even a short time.
America Needs Healthcare, Not Health Insurance.
Mass privatization put former communist countries on road to bankruptcy, corruption.
Students were required by their schools to work in Apple factories in China.
Chubu Electric is building a 59-foot wall around a nuclear power plant, but seismologists say that tsunamis at that spot could be up to 69 feet.
The US has given approval for construction of new nuclear power plants, disregarding safety flaws.
The UK government wants a law to allow the state to monitor who people call and what web sites they visit, without even a warrant.
Weren't the Lib Dems opposed to such things? Why aren't they fighting it now?
Republicans want to destroy the USPS, and are using a phony deficit created by their unreasonable legal requirements as an excuse.
Dolphins are still sick from the Big Spill, and many kinds of arthropods in marshes have been badly hit.
Naomi Wolf explains how she has foregone interviews for fear of being put in prison without trial.
The English Language Arts Exam (a New York State required test, I think) is designed to trick the students.
Professor Enrique Dans has been sued by the Spanish music industry's organization, Promusicae, for saying it acts monopolistically.
I've read elsewhere that it is an officially established monopoly, which leaves no room for doubt that it acts monopolistically.
Others tell me that Promusicae also acts as the music companies' lobbying organization, comparable to the RIAA in the US.
Tar balls from the Big Spill are still washing up on Gulf beaches, and some have been found to contain deadly bacteria.
The US government is trying to frame Aristide for drug trafficking.
Obama has boasted about drone attacks in speeches, but his officials refuse to confirm in court that they really occur.
We can respond, "No-bama?"
This reminds me of his denialist response to the Wikileaks cables, claiming that they were still secret even though they had been published. And that reminds me in turn of how Dubya's official rejected "reality-based" thinking.
As regards war and human rights, Obama is not significantly better than Bush, and I doubt McCain would have been very different either. I an proud I did not vote for Obama, but that is a rueful kind of pride when I think of what he and Dubya have done to my country.
Guatemalan troops helped sugar plantations kick peasants off their lands, but now that it is obliged to give them aid, it says it can't find them.
Hungary has weakened judicial independence and shut down the main independent radio station.
ICANN plans to help governments seize domain names.
I think this increases the need for an alternative DNS system that does not depend on ICANN and that governments would find hard to mess with.
A Turkish variant of Islam, named Gülen after its founder, has got taxpayers to fund 130 religious "charter schools" in the US.
I would guess that Christian sects have done this too, but I don't have information about that.
Harry Potter e-books have no DRM, but they carry EULAs that teach children an antisocial lesson. As of today, the terms include this:
12.3 You may not and may not permit others to do any of the following things in relation to any book or extract: § sell, distribute, loan, share, give or lend the book or extract to any other person including to your friends (except in the limited circumstances explained at 12.1 above); § print-on-demand or copy or burn the book or extract to a device whose principal function is to act as a storage device, for example, a CD/DVD or USB stick;
That is not a good lesson to teach to children.
China has shut web sites which were used to spread rumors (apparently false) about a military coup.
Where truthful information is blocked, rumors will spread.
The UN rebuked India for allowing soldiers in Kashmir to arrest and kill arbitrarily with impunity.
Some Chinese from Suzhou who complained about confiscation of their land have been imprisoned secretly.
Thanks to a global monitoring system, it is effectively impossible to hide a nuclear test. This removes one objection to the US' signing the nuclear test ban treaty.
Shell claimed its untested technology would reclaim 95% of the oil spilled from a leaking undersea oil well, and the US government believed it.
Is the US government a sucker, or was it paid to believe, or what?
Iraq is threatening severe Internet censorship.
The inhabitants of some towns near Fukushima can return home soon.
"Suspicious activity reporting" means keeping dossiers on anyone that someone feels suspicious about.
These are the root hairs of the sapling US police state.
Marwan Barghouti, framed for terrorism but still committed to nonviolence, calls for an end to Palestinian cooperation with Israel.
That cooperation was meant to prepare the path to peace, but since the Israeli state has no intention of following that path, it only maintains the occupation.
Facebook together with mobile apps makes it easy to find girls (or boys) that are currently somewhere near you, and learn a lot about them before you go meet them.
If Zoe found out that half the men who picked her up in the bar in the past month had found her through Girls Around Me — rather than meeting her there by chance — would that bother her? I don't know, but I see no rational reason why she should think that's worse than finding her via match.com.
Would it bother her to know some of them told a false story to start a conversation? I would find it difficult to tell even such a small lie, but I think most people would shrug it off as insignificant. ("Honey, I have a confession to make. When I met you at the bar, it was no accident. I just had to meet you.")
However, she might rationally be concerned that someone frightening will stalk her this way some day. It's not an everyday occurrence, but it happens at some point to a lot of women.
The law allowing imprisonment without trial is being challenged in court by people who fear their political activities might be grounds to imprison them.
If the law provided for punishing corporations without trial, they'd have a better chance with our current supreme court.
Genetically modified wheat emits a low level of peppermint odor to scare away aphids.
For aphids to evolve a defense against this, they would need to change their alarm chemical. I expect that would be difficult. They could easily evolve to ignore their alarm odor, if the selective pressure were high enough, but they'd pay a continuing penalty for that so the net result would still be beneficial.
I would guess that these plants will be pretty safe for wildlife, since peppermint has not caused an eco-disaster. But that is not certain. If this is widely adopted, the quantity of peppermint odor coming from wheat could vastly exceed the quantity that comes from all the peppermint in the world, and that could have unprecedented effects on wildlife — which might be disastrous or not. This would have to be studied.
Meanwhile, if the plants are patented they would attack the rights of farmers. And if they pollinate across distances, they would pollute other farms and put them in danger of being sued.
A student was suspended from school in Indiana for using a common expletive on Twitter.
This is one wrong piled on another. Even if a student wrote a "dirty word" on the blackboard in school, it has no business suspending him for that.
A Catholic school in the Phillippines is denying some students their diplomas for posting prank photos and wearing bikinis. Three cheers for the parents who have sued the school.
An audit of the Foxconn factories that build iThings found people working overtime and not getting paid for it, blocked fire exits, and plenty more.
Public pressure might eventually make Apple make Foxconn clean these things up. However, making Apple stop abusing its own customers will be more difficult.
Aung San Suu Kyi says the coming Burmese election is neither free nor fair.
A Republican attack ad used an edited audio recording attack Obama's health care bill based on something that never happened.
I think this amounts to a lie. It's also irrelevant to the issue, and an insult to people's intelligence.
Obama's anti-regulation team has blocked the regulation of several highly toxic chemicals for years. They won't even tell us which chemicals the EPA wanted to ban.
Obama created the anti-regulation team as part of his general right-wing policy of surrendering to business. I'd rather have an admitted 1960s Republican as president than this crypto-Republican.
US citizens: call for stronger EPA regulations to limit CO2 emissions.
US citizens: tell Obama to tax financial transactions and stop trying to interfere with doing so elsewhere in the world.
Recent breakthroughs in Pre-Zen studies.
Republicans are obsessed with abortion but have little interest in protecting fetuses from birth defects due to toxic chemicals from the environment.
Some Republicans want to punish pregnant women who do anything that hurts a fetus. Strange that they don't care about the problem when a factory causes it.
Republicans and Democrats ignore the one way to reduce health care costs.
The article says "all parties", but it really only talks about the Republican Party and Democratic Party. I think the Green Party has a better stand.
An eye-witness denied Zimmerman's claim to have been attacked and badly injured by Trayvon Martin.
Why are people presenting indirect evidence about whether Zimmerman's nose was broken? Wasn't he examined by a doctor after the event?
It is an injustice to criminalize stating one's opinions — the UK's law against racist insults violates the fundamental right of freedom of speech. However, public employees who make such insults against members of the public in the course of their work should be fired, since treating people of all races as persons is part of their job.
As for the strangling, that was a crime of violence.
US citizens: Tell Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose broad "cybersecurity" bills that threaten to give the government total access to our personal data.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
David House is suing the US for confiscating his computer at the border, and the judge refused to dismiss the case, meaning that the government may have to yield up information about its motives.
The FBI told agents they could break the law.
I don't believe people are morally obligated to obey unjust laws, for instance laws against copying and sharing, or against gay sex, or against abortion. Some laws are valid; for instance, the law against murder is an obvious example. But that law is not the reason why murder is wrong.
However, when state agents break laws, the result is arbitrary rule. We can't tolerate that.
France: new biometric ID database found unconstitutional.
The US-backed pro-"government" militias in Somalia, and the Ethiopian troops, are killing and torturing prisoners.
400 Afghan women are in prison for running away from forced marriage, or for being raped.
The Taliban would be worse, but this is not good enough to fight a war for.
Senator Collins has introduced a bill to require proper safety tests for X-ray body scanners, and EPIC is suing to demand the same thing.
Ultra-orthodox rabbis in Brooklyn cover up sexual abuse of children, just like the Catholic Church.
A general strike against austerity in Spain shut down cities and major industries.
A pesticide related to some widely used ones damages bees' ability to navigate and to produce queens.
Thus, while it doesn't kill bees directly, it can wipe them out.
The UK says that Werritty defrauded donors to Fox's "charity".
This raises the question: what did Werritty tell Moulton the money would be used for.
Dictator Mugabe and his party get the money from Zimbabwe diamond fields.
Chinese companies do the mining, and also construction, and they abuse workers terribly.
One of Mugabe's youth militias have taken over some areas and has blocked their opposition deputies from coming to them.
What the EU data retention directive really means.
Research into possibly dangerous variants of flu virus faces censorship.
The danger of mutated viruses is obvious. The danger of censorship is not as obvious but it too can affect millions.
Global heating will cause disastrous weather events around the world.
An airline pilot who went mad during a flight faces criminal charges.
What is the sense of prosecuting someone for madness? That cannot be deterred by penalties. His life is already ruined; isn't that enough?
The current House of Representatives is the most anti-environment in the history of the US.
The Republicans behave like an invading army, aiming to loot and destroy as much as they can get away with. Most of their attacks have been blocked, but from time to time the Democrats join them.
The Red Cross plans to use funds donated to help Haitians to build a hotel instead.
US citizens: pledge to resist the WTO when it attacks laws needed for purposes more important than mere trade policy.
Fukishima reactor 2 has been examined with sensors and the radioactivity is worse than expected. The other two damaged reactors can't be examined because they are even more radioactive.
An official panel found that the UK riots of last summer were caused by giving poor youth no stake in society and bombarding them with advertising for luxury goods.
The right-wing coalition has used the riots as an excuse to make things worse.
Exclusive: How the Sierra Club Took Millions From the Natural Industry Gasand Why They Stopped.
Brune ended the relationship after he became executive director of the Sierra club, but he tried to conceal the fact that it had previously existed, though he refused to tell an outright lie about it.
Although burning gas produces less pollution than burning coal, fracking adds to the greenhouse gas output and eliminates any advantage. This is in addition to polluting water supplies.
However, the deeper lesson is about getting close to companies to try to change their practices: the chances of success are small.
It would not surprise me if the same energy companies that cozied up to the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, leading them to think this would result in passing a climate protection bill, were also funding lobbying to make that bill fail.
When the 57 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation were prepared to offer Israel a peace deal, Hamas tried to kill it with a terrorist attack. But they went ahead anyway, and it was Israel that has rejected the offer for 10 years.
Israeli occupation policy is to continue the occupation of Palestine and block any long-term solution, because most Israelis like the status quo. Thus, Israel will not choose between "one state" and "two state" long-term solutions until international pressure such as sanctions makes continuing the occupation of Palestine cease to be attractive.
Israeli interrogation policy has a special exception to facilitate torture of "security suspects".
Israeli school textbooks convey prejudice designed to produce soldiers ready to dehumanize Palestinians.
It doesn't always work. Here are interviews with three Israeli conscientious objectors who will soon go to prison for refusing to serve in the army. One of them was formerly an officer.
This can be compared with stories that Palestinian textbooks use to dehumanize Jews (though reportedly that was corrected in the 90s).
Regarding prejudice in US textbooks, see the book Lies My Teacher Told Me.
Tel Aviv University Lecturer Anat Matar participated in a quiet solidarity rally for hunger-striking prisoner Hanaa Shalabi. Now the university is going to "investigate" Dr. Matar for this "illegal protest" at the request of a right-wing group.
It sounds a lot like McCarthyism to me.
If this is what academic freedom means in Israel, Israeli universities can hardly claim any sympathy against the Palestinian boycott call. If this is what democraticy means in Israel then there isn't much of it left.
The UN rebuked the Israeli law that would force the Bedouin of the Negevto settle in specific towns.
The European Parliament will vote on ACTA in June. All opposed, get active now!
Everyone: sign this petition to ban trade in rhino horns.
Just banning the trade won't magically end poaching, but it will make enforcement easier.
I wonder if it would be possible to develop a cheap convincing fake rhino horn that only laboratory analysis can distinguish from real rhino horn. All the sellers would sell the fake, and the rhinos would be safe.
Another idea is to inject a chemical that has harmful effects on humans into the horns of living rhinos. It would not hurt the rhino if it stays in the horn. (Of course, this could be verified first.) If this were done to 10% of the rhinos, it would scare off purchasers.
In the US: phone Walmart and say they should not sell Monsanto's genetically modified corn.
Walmart mistreats its workers in many ways, so you shouldn't buy from them. But you can phone anyway.
Activists in South Africa are petitioning a court to investigate torture in Zimbabwe.
Extrapolating from Obama's other behavior, I expect the answer is yes.
US states are still resisting the REAL ID plan to turn drivers' licenses into a national ID card.
India's government has arrested Tibetan activists , and sealed others in their dorms and neighborhoods, to stop them from marring a Chinese tyrant's visit with unsightly protests.
Other Indians should protest on the Tibetans' behalf, against China's treatment of Tibey and against the tyranny of their own government.
An undersea well near Britain is leaking various gases including methane and hydrogen sulfide. The gas could poison marine life, and could even cause explosions.
The engineers can't find where the leak is coming from, so they can't try to seal it. But the company says we should not worry; the situation is "stable" and there is no danger. That would be reassuring, if we could trust them to be honest if that were not the case.
Shell says it will be safe to drill in the sea near Alaska. That would be reassuring, if we could trust them to be honest if that were not the case.
The UK budget cuts have brought about another recession.
No surprise there.
The Pirate Party got over 7% of the vote in regional elections in Saarland, Germany.
Iran buys Internet surveillance equipment from a Chinese company which also resells US equipment.
Boston will have to pay Simon Glik $170,000 because thugs arrested him for making a video of them.
Mozambique has a boom due to fossil fuels.
The inhabitants certainly deserve what they get from the trickle-down, but this increase in fossil fuel extraction adds up to death for many of their grandchildren.
The Internet Society has hired Paul Brigner , a SOPA advocate at the MPAA.
If Brigner's job were managing a factory, perhaps it would not matter what views he expressed in his previous job. However, I expect his job will include speaking for the Internet Society, and I don't believe he can do so and be considered sincere.
Company computers that trust the company's self-signed certificates can snoop on and even take control of employee's interactions with web services — even their banks.
Walmart and many other big store brands get their workers through multiple layers of temporary agencies. They pay these workers piecework, speed them up on threat of being fired, use up their bodies, then fire them , while paying them peanuts.
These companies should be required by law to take direct responsibility for everyone working in their plants.
In a rejection of freedom of speech, the UK has sentenced a student to prison for making racist remarks .
Most articles are mysterious about what this "crime" consisted of — apparently to keep Britons in ignorance of just what might land them in jail. One article shows what he said:
His words are racist and nasty, and I don't agree with them one bit. But they do not threaten to hurt anyone. They only express hostility. It is tyranny to imprison people for mere insults no matter what the details.
The US "state secrets privilege" has been used to stop victims of US torture from suing, so as to conceal information about how they were tortured. Now we find it has also been used to conceal a stupid failure of intelligence against Afghanistan.
I wonder if that operation, had it been carried out, would have provided intelligence about the planning of the Sep 11 attacks.
Western governments have been secretly pressuring the Egyptian civilian government in waiting to declare an amnesty for the military rulers, accused of killing and arresting protesters.
In the US: participate in nonviolent direct action training April 9-15.
The Sierra Club accepted $25 million from the fracking industry, and its executive director falsely said it had not received them.
I wonder what they told themselves to justify their decision to accept secret donations from companies they should have been campaigning to stop.
Extreme weather events were more frequent in the last decade than before.
MPs in the UK want to censor search engines world wide.
The TSA had Bruce Schneier removed as a witness in a congressional hearing about the TSA.
Simple ways to defend the good parts of Obama's health care law.
These are indeed good aspects. The bad part of the law is the part whose validity is being challenged before the Supreme Court: the requirement to buy insurance from a private insurer. If the law is invalidated, it will be because of Obama's surrender to those companies.
The anchors of prominent news programs make so much money that they might well tend naturally to support politics for the rich.
The Federal Trade Commission is considering solving a tiny part of the problem of corporate surveillance of Internet use.
Poor Bangladeshis sold their kidneys and then did not get paid.
I am not sure that sale of kidneys for transplant is a bad thing. And if it were legal, the sellers might at least get paid. (Though in a country with high corruption there is always uncertainty about that.)
The death of coral in the Gulf of Mexico has been traced definitively to the Big Spill.
The US required cities and states to buy, from the banksters, billions of dollars worth of fixed-rate loans as a hedge against possible high interest rates. Then the US drove down interest rates to cater to the banksters, making our cities lose while the banksters win.
The result is thousands of jobs lost.
ALEC "scholarships" amount to illegal gifts to legislators.
Despite Rights Concerns, U.S. Plans to Resume Egypt Aid.
With the JOBS Act, Congress proposes to smooth the way for all but the largest companies to succeed — by defrauding their investors.
The WTO and NAFTA may be used to block the regulations needed to prevent more financial crises.
Yet another reason we must abolish these treaties.
US TV broadcasters are fighting tooth and nail against publishing who paid for political ads.
After Obama's betrayal of many Democratic Party pledges about civil liberties (many listed in this page), will the party maintain its pledges for the coming election, or abandon them?
US citizens: file comments in support of birth control coverage in health insurance.
US citizens: tell the FDA to ban Bisphenol A in food packaging.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the progressive Budget for All and reject the Ryan anti-non-rich budget. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Murder, mutilation, misogyny and madness are part of the nature of war.
Thousands of US atheists and seculars participated in the Reason Rally in Washington DC.
The UK plans to increase the retirement age along with life expectancy, so that people would be required to work until age 71 or even 74.
In a society with a labor shortage, this policy would make perfect sense. If more workers are needed, each person needs to work for more years. But what's the good of this in a society with high unemployment.
Former vice president Cheney had a heart transplant.
Now that he has one, does he feel sorry for the victims of war and torture that he is responsible for?
Spain is entering the cycle where austerity produces a budget shortfall that demands more austerity.
A majority of Israelis oppose attacking Iran, and some protested in Tel Aviv to show their opposition.
Muslims in Pakistan kidnapped a Hindu girl and forcibly married her to a Muslim man. They also claim she converted to Islam.
The article says she was "forcibly converted", but that would require a mind control device. She may have been forced to pretend to convert.
When this was exposed, they intimidated her into denying it, or else lied and said she had denied it.
Pakistan has sentenced people to death for "blasphemy" because they criticized Islam. This arrogant disrespect for the rights of non-Muslims has been a strong current in Islam since Mohammed's day.
Thet Sambath, filming about the motives behind the Khmer Rouge mass murder, says that people connected with the crime are trying to kill him before he can finish it.
Facebook has put an outrageous trademark claim on the word "book" into its terms of service.
To be dependent on Facebook, or any other specific company you could not replace with another, is to make yourself vulnerable to unbounded legal aggression. Don't be a fool — unfriend Facebook today rather than accept these terms.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, indigenous human rights activists are being framed for murder.
This is even worse than Obama's plan.
Internet Society Hires MPAA's Paul Brigner: Just Flip Over and Shake?
A general strike against austerity measures shut down Portugal's main cities.
As usual, austerity causes a further downturn and makes it harder to pay the debt, which predictably leads to need for a further "bailout" and more austerity. It is like putting ice on someone with hypothermia.
Obama's new forest service rules weaken the protection for wildlife.
The campaign to ban regular feeding of antibiotics to farm animals has won a court victory.
The EPA admits that its regulations about acid rain are inadequate, but refuses to tighten them anyway.
A right-wing politician such as Obama makes business his main constituency.
Indians have started a campaign against the government's harsh Internet censorship.
Malawi has adopted the unjust practice of criminializing insulting the president.
France and Ecuador both have similar unjust laws, as well as other countries that have been mentioned in previous notes here but which I don't recall.
Using civilian satellites to document Sudanese army bombing of civilians in South Kordofan.
Silent Spring Dawns Hot, Dry and Merciless.
The March heat wave broke thousands of temperature records across the US, day after day.
The heat wave is over in Massachusetts, because the weather still fluctuates. "If you don't like the weather in New England, wait five minutes", though this time we had to wait a few days. But that doesn't mean global heating has stopped. There will be more, worse heat waves, and they will become more frequent. And they will happen in summer and kill vulnerable people. By ten years from now it will be worse.
Don't let the temporary return of non-extreme weather lull you into a sense of security.
Sarkozy's plan to criminalize the mere viewing of Islamist web sites is running into some opposition.
Note how Sarkozy cites the prohibition of "child pornography" as a precedent for prohibiting access to a political opinion. The idea that this was the thin edge of the wedge is no longer just a theory. It is an excuse for censoring all sorts of things.
No matter how disgusting some works may be, censorship is more disgusting.
A Big Polluter whistleblower says that a BP deep sea drilling platform lacks the engineering documentation needed for safe operation. He says it is an accident waiting to happen.
Given BP's culture of cutting corners on safety, I find it entirely plausible that they are taking reckless risks yet again.
While Obama "expedited" part of the planet-roaster pipeline, protesters were put in a cage miles away, where neither Obama nor TV camera would notice them.
Just like Bush.
The US' problem isn't Big Government, it is government obeying Big Money.
Cory Doctorow explains the distortions of copyright in practical terms.
My article explains the conceptual distortions which facilitate the passage of unjust copyright laws.
Computerized barter systems are spreading around Greece.
It is a nice fillip that it (probably) uses free software — though I can't be certain, because it says "open source", and there are a few open source programs which are not free.
But I also worry about the idea that the system knows about all the dealing.
Obama's new nominee for head of the World Bank has the support of Jeffrey Sachs.
Was it wrong for Mike Daisey to make false statements?
I think it was wrong. If he did not want to stick to the truth, he should have criticized a fictional company, or said "It would be easy for XYZ to happen", rather than saying presenting exaggerations as real events.
I also criticize movies that say "based on a true story" when they have willfully changed things.
The real facts about Apple products are sufficient reason to refuse to use them.
By contrast, there was nothing wrong with making false statements about himself to Foxconn in order to get evidence about Foxconn.
Fools are criticizing the French government for not predicting that Mohamed Merah would commit murder.
What they want is impossible; this cannot be predicted. There are surely at least 50 people who show such "warning signs" and don't engage in violence, for each one who does so. It would be tyranny to imprison them all, and short of that, there is not much that can be done which wouldn't be worse than the disease.
However, a few measures that might help could be possible. For instance, he could have been denied permission to have firearms.
US citizens: tell the IRS to enforce tax laws against right-wing political groups that pretend to be "social welfare" organizations.
US citizens: call on the SEC to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending.
The murders of union leaders in Colombia continue. Ricardo Ramon Paublott Gomez, a leader in the union in the Coca Cola plant, was shot and killed in January.
Sergeant Bales has been charged with murdering Afghan civilians.
The article says he is being kept in an "isolated cell". I hope he is not getting the same inhumane treatment as Bradley Manning. Bales is accused of murder, while Manning was heroic whistleblowing, but no prisoner (whether accused or convicted) should be kept in long-term solitary confinement.
Nevada is running out of water, and either Las Vegas or a farming region will have to do without.
The proposed pipeline will probably not solve the problem for long. Global heating will make the American west dry up even more, so the problem will come back. A solar-powered desalinization plant is the only sustainable way to keep Las Vegas supplied with water.
New antidepressant drugs are worse than old ones, even ineffective. They were approved because of one-sided publication of studies.
In the arid land of the West Bank, Israeli colonists have taken dozens of natural water sources away from Palestinians.
US citizens: phone your senators to support S.2204, which would repeal tax breaks for big oil.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Everyone: support Greenpeace's campaign against Shell's arctic drilling.
Former IAEA officials accuse its current head of twisting the facts to suit the enemies of Iran.
This accords with a Wikileaks cable that said he was in cahoots with the US.
Remember when Boehner and the Republicans committed Congress to budget cuts cross the board if the Supercommittee didn't make a deal? Now he wants to exempt military spending from those cuts.
This shows his real goal: to impoverish most Americans.
Students at UC Davis have permanently shut a branch of US Bank on campus.
Sarkozy plans to criminalize reading, using one murderer as an excuse.
A thousand people rallied in New York to condemn the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Repress U, Class of 2012: Seven Steps to a Homeland Security Campus
Move your money (and organizations' money) out of the big banks, which not only caused the economic crisis and practiced massive fraud, they also invest in fossil fuels.
Kony 2012 shows what's bad about Kony and the LRA, but the other side isn't good.
There are a couple of points in the article I don't agree with. Even though the US government generally has a business-related motive for any action, including an intervention, that doesn't necessarily mean the action is wrong. On occasion, what's good for US business happens to be the right thing for other reasons.
Secondly, if the US tries to stamp out a kind of nasty practice in one place while supporting a government that does the same nasty practice in another place, that might support the conclusion that the US is hypocritical, but that doesn't imply that it is wrong in both cases. It could be doing right in the first case and doing wrong in the second.
Thus, a US intervention against the LRA could be justified (though it might also be unnecessary now in Uganda). But that doesn't justify US support for Uganda's government on other issues.
Alarming rhetoric in push for cybersecurity bills.
Scotts Miracle-Gro has admitted putting highly toxic pesticides in birdseed, despite warnings from employees, and has been offered a plea deal with a fine that's tiny compared with the profit it made.
Why haven't the managers responsible for falsified papers been prosecuted?
US citizens: tell Obama not to build the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline.
That page focuses on the minor issue of gasoline prices, but what's at stake here is avoiding global heating disaster.
Here's the message I used.
The Keystone XL pipeline would be a disaster for the world, since it would commit to use of a large reservoir of oil that produces more CO2 than ordinary oil. To use the tar sands oil would be an act of folly, and if you make the decision to do so, future generations will hold you resposible.
Some states, under the control of the reality denial party, are opposing teaching about global heating as well as evolution.
The biotech giant companies are distributing pseudoscience to children, making false claims about the benefits of genetic engineering.
NSA whistleblowers say the NSA can and regularly does spy on Americans' communications.
And when the NSA hesitates to spy directly on US communications, it gets Canada to do the job.This is why I distrust the "internet of things".
Iran and the IAEA came very close to agreement about inspections. The talks broke down because Iran refused to allow issues, once settled, to be reopened.
I think Iran's position was unreasonable. This is a matter of inspection, not criminal prosecution. I would expect nuclear facilities and possible nuclear facilities to be inspected repeatedly like elevators.
The EPA whitewashed fracking-related pollution problems in water in Pennsylvania.
Obama's plan to impose Summers as head of the World Bank has come apart.
Romney's advisor says he's like an etch-a-sketch: after he wins the nomination, he can "hit the reset button," and whatever he said during the primary campaign can be forgotten.
The FBI complains about how inconvenient it is to need a search warrant.
If they could investigate anyone with no limits, they could surely prosecute a lot more people — maybe everyone.
US citizens: send a comment to the FDA calling for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
US citizens: call on Congress to keep the interest down on student loans.
US citizens: tell Congress to move election day to Sunday.
This is desirable, but not enough. Another the reason minority groups and poor people don't vote is that Republicans have taken action to stop them. And another reason is that there is rarely anyone good to vote for.
Russia and China supported a UN resolution threatening some sort of action against Assad if he does not end the violent repression in Syria.
Israel tortures and brainwashes thousands of Palestinian children and teenagers, pressuring them into confessions that are surely often false. Over 90% of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards.
An Israeli right-wing group calls for accelerated demolition of Palestinian homes, effectively acknowledging the goal of ethnic cleansing.
Hana Shalabi, imprisoned by Israel without trial for a second time, refuses to eat and is close to death.
I hope I will have the courage to escape from prison this way if it is called for.
Occupy Wall Street tried to set up a camp in Freedom Park, but the thugs violently attacked them to enforce new rules set up to ban protest camps.
Cameraman ZD Roberts was attacked by New York Thug Department while covering an Occupy protest — for the second time.
Banksters' bonuses were cut by 25% and they can't make ends meet. They might have to quit the country club or take care of their dogs at home.
Bolivia under Evo Morales has made great economic strides by rejecting surrender to the corporatocracy.
Large mines are being developed in Afghanistan, so it can pay for continuing occupation. Now we know what the war is for.
The mines won't be ready until 2024, so I suppose Obama will want us to prop up Karzai's corruption until then.
There is evidence to show Trayvon Martin's killer did not shoot in self-defense.
When sites require facebook accounts to post comments, it means that a person's comments on all sites can be tied together, which adds up to broad and intimidating surveillance.
The Internet tends to create near-monopolies, one for each activity. (Not every activity has developed a near-monopoly yet.) Due to the weakness of democracy today, these are not regulated like the old near-monopolies, the phone company and the post office. So they use their power to worm their way into controlling more and more activities.
British troops in Afghanistan are restricted in handing prisoners over to Afghan custody because Karzai's men are likely to torture them.
This creates a conundrum about what to do with prisoners when NATO troops are removed from Afghanistan. They cannot remain permanently in Afghanistan to guard those prisoners, they cannot take the prisoners out of Afghanistan, and they cannot hand them over to Karzai. Some of them are probably prisoners for no good reason, but not all.
Google has provided legal arguments to defend Hotfile (and Megaupload).
The UK's right-wing government will destroy planning regulations so that business can easily trash the environment and public health.
Privatizing infrastructure is a big handout to business with no benefit for the public.
That's why right-wing governments want to do it: they serve business, not the public.
Miami Occupier Tells of Violent SWAT Raid.
Tell the Toll Group to stop intimidating union supporters and stop firing truck drivers for taking an emergency bathroom break
Requiring drivers not to stop when they feel weak or sick is not only illegal, it could cause a fatal accident.
Obama has taken another step backwards in requiring contraceptive coverage.
You'd think that fingerprints would be sufficient for the purpose of verifying that the intended person is being released. So why do they want iris scans at all? Perhaps so they can track people's movements on the street. So it is very important to refuse.
Staying in jail longer should be part of the aim of protests where one gets arrested. The freedom riders of the 60s aimed to fill the jails to the bursting point.
The Supreme Court gutted age discrimination law, so a bill proposs to reverse the decision.
Everyone: call on HP to stop providing biometric systems for checkpoints in the Israeli annexation wall.
China's large investments in solar and wind power put the US to shame.
A carbon emission tax could solve the US deficit problem, if only lunatic officials were not in the way.
Germany plans to push for renewable energy even while phasing out nuclear power.
The Syrian government is tricking users into visiting a fake YouTube site which installs malware into their systems.
I suspect that this only targets Windows (which is malware in its own right), and that you'd be safe if you use GNU/Linux. Does anyone know?
ITU control of the Internet would exclude civil society.
The US control of the Internet leads to injustices such as domain name seizures, but that doesn't mean the ITU would be better. Russia and China surely don't care about defending netizens from the US government and its masters in Hollywood. Obama and the US Congress would love to let the ITU adopt regulations comparable to SOPA, since then they could say, "We have no choice: the ITU has forced it on us."
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose HR 5 which would shield hospitals, drug companies and doctors from responsibility for negligence.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: tell US ISPs not to attack people who share.
Romney's old company, Bain, owns a Chinese company that makes surveillance cameras.
For something of very general use, such as pencils or general purpose computers, it is valid for the manufacturer to argue that it can't control how purchasers use them. That argument is inapplicable for surveillance cameras in China because repression is their most significant use.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support legislation to discourage a war with Iran. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose the cartel cable companies want to start. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a Bahraini protester sentenced to life imprisonment for protesting, has been on a hunger strike for weeks.
In the US, people can be informally imprisoned for life with no trial at all, just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The UK has proposed another pointless criminal law against harassment or violence that drives someone to suicide.
This law would be ineffective in discouraging those practices. The perpetrators surely do not expect the victims to kill themselves (which is a rare event), so they will not worry about being prosecuted under this law, and thus will not be deterred.
An effective policy would have to address the violence as such, not just in the rare case where it leads to suicide.
Meanwhile, if Nosheen Azam said she feared being killed, doesn't that suggest someone else attacked her? That is a crime already, and this proposed law would not apply.
I think she would have been more true to herself had she held out for a public defeat for the thugs.
Austerity in Portugal appears to have killed 1000 people in February.
A Syrian official defected and published documents showing Assad's personal involvement in plans to crush demonstrations.
Persecution of homosexuals is sweeping across Africa.
The corporate-run World Water Forum is the first step in a plan to privatize the natural world and abolish the right to water.
If the natural world is privatized, poor people will be compelled to sell their shares (if they got any in the first place), and then will have no water. It is one way to do population control, but not a humane way.
After the UN-approved intervention in Libya to protect civilians was stretched into a drive to oust Gaddafi, the Russia and China are unwilling to approve interventions to protect civilians.
Five accused terrorists were shot dead in Bali.
The alleged terror plot is plausible, but the fact that all the accused participants were shot dead is fishy. It suggests that the thugs wanted them dead to avoid putting them on trial to demonstrate their guilt, as the US apparently did with Osama bin Laden.
Israel has held Ahmad Qatamesh prisoner without charges for a year after taking his family hostage to get ahold of him.
He is apparently being used as a political football.
Meanwhile, this shows the Palestinian Authority also holds people prisoner without charges for political reasons.
Many video games are developed as propaganda, either for specific countries and causes, or for war in general.
The UK's treasury-robbing government wants to privatize existing roads.
60 women in Alabama have been jailed through a law that equates fetuses with children.
It is not totally unreasonable to punish actions that risk causing the birth of a defective child. Unless it is very severely damaged, it will be a person after it's born, so if it is impaired then, a person will have been harmed. However, this must be done by laws that explicitly concern fetuses, not by equating fetuses with children.
The EFF is looking for prior art to abolish a software patent that is being used for extortion against many US cities.
I wish them luck — please help if you can — but eliminating software patents one by one is as useless as trying to eliminate malaria by swatting mosquitos. Every software patent is a threat to the field of software, and we need to get rid of them all at once.endsoftpatents.org
A radical artist who doesn't want to make art super-expensive for the 1% got funding with Kickstarter.
A copyright collecting organization in Belgium wants libraries to pay for allowing volunteers to read books aloud to children.
These libraries should strike back: they should tell the volunteers to read only public domain books, and post signs condemning the collecting organization and calling on people to oppose it.
Oil company executives face criminal charges due to an oil well leak off the cost of Brazil.
It is not clear from this article why individuals should face charges. The mere existence of a leak should not be a crime. However, if they directed workers to take reckless risks like those that led to the Big Spill, that would justify charges.
The US' failure to charge anyone for the Big Spill simply shows that Obama is in the oil companies' pockets.
It must take special talent to be in so many pockets at once.
Papuan independence activists have been convicted of treason in Indonesia for a peaceful protest, and sentenced to three years in prison.
The dictator of Belarus executed "terrorists" convicted after an unfair trial.
The US also carries out bogus trials.
US citizens: call on the US to protect the sea life in Bering sea canyons.
US citizens: call on state attorneys general to defend the state election laws that limit corporations' election spending.
US citizens: tell the FCC not to allow more media consolidation.
US citizens: tell Republican presidential candidates you don't like their talk about war.
Dharun Ravi was convicted of a crime for putting up a webcam in his room and watching his roommate. And then teasing or insulting him about being gay.
Ravi was charged with "intimidating" the roommate. Hostile teasing is mean, and people shouldn't do that, but merely insulting someone should not be a crime. If he made threats, that should be a crime. I don't know what Ravi actually said.
As for the webcam, that was just a prank.
One ironic point about the article is that it treats the Amazon Swindle as a legitimate product, taking no notice of the way it attacks readers' freedom and should never be used.
The small publishers should start selling without DRM, and should let independent book stores sell copies for them.
The UK will allow information on all drivers, including their credit card numbers, to be stored in an Indian outsourcing company.
This decision means Britons will have fewer jobs and less privacy, but a corporation will make more money.
Note that the issue exists because of the decision to implement a congestion charge based on general surveillance. It could have been implemented another way.
The UK wants cameras at filling stations to detect uninsured cars and refuse to let them get gasoline.
Given the UK's austerity, these drivers won't be able to buy insurance. What they will do is arrange for their friends to buy gasoline for them, which they could then siphon from one car's tank to another.
The same system spies on everyone, so everyone should object to it. As for detecting drivers that don't pay, an old-fashioned security camera whose images are viewed only when there's a reason would suffice for that.
A study shows babies grow up smarter if they are fed whenever they are hungry.
The US has sold irreplaceable helium for party balloons, and now it has become permanently scarce.
They used to support Mubarak for his protection. Supporting the oppression of most people can't be justified, but Muslims must recognize religious freedom, which includes the freedom to argue for or against any religion.
The thugs in Venezuela have checkpoints all the time on major highways between cities. They check everyone's papers, regardless of whether they suspect the people of anything. They don't usually kill, but often they arrest people demanding fines which are effectively ransoms/bribes. They even do this to government officials (an official I know told me this happened to him). The problem is older than Chavez's presidency.
It is typical of oppressive regimes to attack dissidents protesters with distracting side issues. When China says that these protests are encouraged by "supporters of the Dalai Lama", they might as well say "Tibetans".
The US military has a ray that causes people to feel an unbearable sensation of heat — at a distance of half a mile.
Just like drones, this will find its way to the thugs, who will find it even more fun than pepper spray for hurting people that want to practice democracy.
During the great Irish potato famine, there was plenty of food in Ireland, but landlords exported it and starved the poor.
This offers a lesson for today, with a billion people hungry and another billion overweight.
Uri Avnery: Israel unleashed a battle in Gaza with a targeted killing of someone easy to replace. Was this justified, or even advantageous?
In general, it is legitimate to kill leaders of an enemy army in war. But not when a truce is holding.
Indian police have linked the bomb attack against the Israeli embassy to Iranians.
This doesn't surprise me; it confirms that the attacks were tit-for-tat.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter saying to sign Chellie Pingree's letter saying don't use ammoniated meat ("pink slime")in school meals.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: call on the US delegation to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to protect tuna from destructive fishing methods.
US citizens: phone your senators to oppose McCain's cybersnooping bill. Also send them messages through this page.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The overfishing of sharks resulted in destruction of scallop fisheries.
The US-Korean free exploitation treaty was rushed into effect before the Korean election, in which the opposition party is expected to win thanks to the strength of public disapproval of the treaty.
The opposition should cancel the treaty immediately, rather than allow the US to play for time by "negotiating" changes.
Denmark blocked access to Google and Facebook saying they had "child pornography".
Censorship attacks basic human rights, and must not be tolerated except in an emergency such as war.
The World Water Forum has become a corporate trade show, so activists have set up the Forum Alternatif Mondial de l'Eau to organize to implement the recognized right of access to water.
A court in India ordered all the country's ISPs to block access to sharing sites.
At the corporate-run World Water Forum, the hot idea is digital ration cards for water.
Rather than condemn the landless poor to flee in search of a place that will let them have water, it would be far more humane to discourage people from giving birth to them. The world needs subsidized contraception and subsidized sterilization.
The NSA snoops on effectively all of Americans' digital and telephone communication, and records it permanently.
A former manager says we are very close to a "turnkey totalitarian state".
Do you find it hard to believe Obama would intervene to keep a journalist in prison in a foreign country?
Privatizations are generally arranged to benefit businesses, so the state doesn't get a fair price. And that's just the beginning of how the citizens lose.
Sign this petition to stop bailing out AIG and start taxing it.
US citizens: tell officials to extend whistleblower protection to the Public Health Service and NOAA.
By 2050, conventional pollution is expected to kill 3.5 million people per year. I say "conventional pollution" because that figure does not count greenhouse gases and the effects of global heating, which if not stopped will eventually kill tens of millions per year, but perhaps not until later than 2050.
Sabu did more than just inform on a cracking group — he set it up, effectively acting as a provocateur. He recruited people to be crackers so the FBI could punish them.
In the UK, support for fracking is "growing rapidly in some political circles", but not in the public.
I think that is corporate money at work.
Iraq's implosion after conquest illustrates what intervention in Syria might lead to.
Witnesses in Afghanistan insist that more than one soldier participated in the latest massacre.
I wouldn't give unreserved trust to the US officers' claims. However, witnesses can easily be mistaken about people they saw, unless they already knew and recognized those people.
The Congolese Army is preparing an offensive against Rwandan gangs and the LRA, but it might kill thousands of civilians instead.
Two senators say that the US government is stretching the unjust provisions of the U SAP AT RIOT act, and doing so for purposes that are not even crucial for national security.
This promotes anxiety that makes people unnatural with other people's bodies.
We must stop accepting "terrorism" or "child pornography" as excuses for warping technology into a system of oppression of everyone.
Two Pakistani UN soldiers have been convicted of raping a Haitian boy.
It is bullshit to refer to the UN troops as "peacekeepers". Peacekeepers prevent war from breaking out between two armies. That was never the case in Haiti. What this UN mission is intended to prevent is an outbreak of democracy.
Israel won't connect Palestinian villages to the electric grid, so Europeans funded solar power for them. Israel plans to demolish the solar panels because they don't have permits (which Palestinians basically can never get).
I agree with the UN official: the goal of this harrassment, which extends to many other areas of life, is to drive Palestinians off their land.
Progressives must proudly repeat the arguments for abortion rights and contraception, not shy away from these issues.
Obama's health care program has provisions that increase costs and provisions that decrease costs. By considering the former and ignoring the latter, Republicans make false attacks.
False statements by Republicans are hardly news in general. What's really noteworthy is that a national health service, such as most developed countries have, would save tremendous amounts. Of course, Republicans oppose that.
Republicans want to go in the opposite direction by privatizing Medicare.
Haitians are ready for democracy, but the US won't allow it.
Americans judge Obama on gasoline prices, and Republican war talk raises gasoline prices — leading Americans to support those Republicans.
Wanting low gasoline prices is foolish, short–term thinking, but I am not surprised to see that from Americans.
Karzai demanded that the US pull its troops out of Afghan villages.
If the US does not obey, that will imply that in fact the US is occupying Afghanistan.
Pumping water from aquifers for farming in China emits more CO2 than New Zealand.
When the aquifers are depleted, where will they get water? And how much CO2 emissions will that require?
MPs accused Shell and Cairn of totally inadequate emergency plans for undersea drilling in the Arctic.
Too bad they have the US government on their side.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support HR 780, which would end funding for the war in Afghanistan except for withdrawing US forces.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Everyone: call on the Governor of Kansas to oppose the "Let Doctors Lie" Bill, designed to encourage them to trick women into having babies with birth defects.
The US senate rejected an amendment that would have allowed undersea oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildife Refuge and elsewhere, as well as authorizing the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline.
Keeping that oil in the ground is necessary to protect species all around Earth, including humans.
The US could be a force for good in the world if its own policies were better than these.
PayPal has clarified its censorship policy, which it will apply book by book.
The total amount of censorship will be much less, but it is still wrong to censor by restricting the act of payment.
A PAC is campaigning to unseat Rep. Lamar Smith, enemy of Internet users.
(The host name is humorous but it is a real campaign.)
Major US ISPs are setting up to punish their clients based on complaints from Hollywood and the record companies.
This plan, which was arranged by every Internet users's enemy, Obama, takes advantage of the fact that ISPs are allowed to terminate anyone's service more or less at will; users have no right to continued service. That is a general injustice of the Internet today, and this is just one manifestation of it.
More info about the school that demanded a girl's Facebook password.
Phosphorus in Chicago's sewage fuels the dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi.
Thoreau's wildflower records lead to an estimate of 2.4C of warming since 1850.
Arizona is considering a law to allow women to be fired for using contraception.
Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye is in prison for revealing the truth about a US bombing, and Obama seems to want this to continue.
On fundamental human rights issues, Obama is little different from Bush. Both deserve to be tried for conspiracy to commit torture.
Some unknown technology company has challenged the validity of a warrantless FBI search of records about individuals.
Understanding national security in the broad sense, these searches threaten it more than the terrorists (and dissidents) that the FBI investigates.
Wall Street's shift from long–term gain to short–term greed started in the 80s.
US health care in 2037 could cost more than the median income, if current trends continue.
The fix should include a national health system, which can cut costs by 50% while providing equally good service.
The US is keeping lots of secrets about Bradley Manning's trial. Reporters have petitioned for publication of official steps.
The melting would take centuries, but it would be a world–wide disaster nonetheless.
Many economists have implored Obama to support, not oppose, the European Union's emission–trading scheme for airplanes flying in and out of the EU.
It is insane to fight against efforts to reduce global heating. Doing so is the sign of a government so subservient to business that it will follow a suicidal path on command.
Tar sands oil extraction will emit even more CO2 than previously estimated, by destroying peat bogs and releasing their stored carbon.
Peat bogs are carbon sinks, so their loss will increase subsequent global heating too. This means that pledges to restore the land as it was are bogus (greenwashing), since they do not plan to replace lost bogs.
The world has plentiful supplies of fossil fuels, but we dare not burn them because it will roast the Earth.
Citizens of Massachusetts: phone your state legislators to support extending the Bottle Bill (required deposits on drink bottles) to other kinds of bottled beverages. Also sign this petition.
US congresscritters have signed letters calling for suspension of aid to the coup–installed government in Honduras.
The best way to buy a congresscritter is with an offer of a million dollars a year job after leaving office.
Democrats in Congress asked Obama to support Jeffrey Sachs as head of the World Bank.
However, Obama seems to want Larry Summers, who advocated giving the banksters what they wanted.
In the US: rally at Walmart stores against selling Monsanto's GMO corn.
The Syrian opposition obtained and leaked Assad's private emails.
The messages show he had contempt for the "reforms" he announced. However, the article does not say they include orders to commit violence against Syrians, so they shed no light on that.
Assad received advice not to attribute a bombing in Damascus to al Qa'ida, but that doesn't indicate whether the bombing was really carried out by al Qa'ida.
Greg Smith quit Goldman Sachs and said that the company has a culture of preying on its clients.
This demonstrates the need for a strong Volcker Rule to stop banks from doing this.
The International Criminal Court has issued its first conviction: Thomas Lubanga was convicted of forcing children in the Congo to fight.
The biggest problem of the ICC is that the US, since Bush days, has opposed it and gone all-out to weaken it. This is because Bush (and Obama I presume) didn't want to be accused there of torture and other crimes against humanity.
US military leaders say that going to war with Assad's army is a very bad idea.
There are reports that the US is secretly arming the rebel underground. That might be legitimate if they could win — and if it were clear that most Syrians prefer them to Assad, something which is not certain. However, if they can't win, arming them only leads to useless casualties.
International trade benefits every country in terms of increasing its GNP. But if the country doesn't have a strong democracy, the 1% will snap up the increase and leave most people with only a cut in pay. Thus, the arguments for increasing international trade are valid only so long as it doesn't weaken democracy.
However, every "free trade treaty" attacks democracy by enabling businesses to make states race each other to the bottom.
But they are not about to give up.
There was a large spike in infant deaths in the US northwest in the weeks following the Fukushima disaster.
The article covers several topics; you need to scroll through it to reach this topic.
US citizens: call on Obama to pull US troops out of Afghanistan this year.
Bassem Tamimi`s trial clearly shows that nonviolent protest organizer is being framed.
The recent outbreak of fighting in Gaza started when Israel assassinated two militant leaders, saying they were planning an attack in Israel, and that they were responsible for a previous attack. But that seems to be false.
Israeli soldiers shot people in a funeral procession.
The army says these were "warning shots". If they couldn't avoid hitting people with warning shots, that was incompetent. If they didn't try to avoid hitting people, that was dishonest. Which was it?
In the Palestinian village of Seefer, people must spend an hour crossing a checkpoint on foot to get water.
They cannot drive cars, and they cannot have visitors.
The motive for these restrictions is to drive them off their land, which is also why they stubbornly refuse to leave.
Noam Gur decided to go to prison rather than participate in repression of Palestinians.
The US and Europe are no longer the main consumers of oil, and the other users are much more efficient. This means the US will need to make radical improvements in efficiency or be priced out of the market.
US citizens: oppose oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
US citizens: call for AIG to start paying taxes again.
In the US the police now require a warrant to attach a GPS tracker to your car, but San Francisco has invented another method to get it: inviting you to pay for a parking space through the Internet.
For "Internet of things", read "massive surveillance".
Shell's wacky solution to Arctic oil spills is to train dogs to sniff spilled oil.
If they were looking for an ounce of spilled oil, that would be a reasonable method to find it. However, if the problem is a hundred tons of oil broken up into tarballs scattered along miles of shoreline, they wouldn't need a dog to find them. It would suffice to dig up any foot of the shore to find some. But they wouldn't pay for this to be done.
The London Olympics will leave London with a permanent burden of new surveillance systems, repression, and debt.
Nowadays, the Olympic games are a handout for corporations. If your city is proposed as a site, fight back before the decision.
The World Water Forum has been designed to help transfer the world's water resources to the wealthy, and to undermine the human right to water.
Stating that access to clean water is a human right is vital for stopping companies from buying up all the water and leaving none for the poor. At the same time, we cannot eliminate real limits on resources by proclaiming human rights to use them. If we want fewer regions of the world to be under water stress in 2050, we must subsidize and encourage contraception.
US veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan will return their medals to the NATO summit to state their rejection of those wars and demand a pull-out from Afghanistan.
Nitrates from fertilizer are contaminating the drinking water in parts of California.
Occupy Education debated the Gates Foundation about its standardized-testing approach to education.
India granted a compulsory patent license for cheap manufacturing of an anti-cancer drug.
The WTO rules permit compulsory licenses, but the US has persistently pressured poor countries to let people die rather than exercise that option. Al Gore was doing this job as vice president in the 90s.
After the massacre that killed an Afghan family, the US mainstream media are worried that the war may suffer.
This massacre differs from many others in that the chain of command did not give an order for it. The direct responsibility falls only on the person who decided to kill. For the other massacres, the US government shared in the direct responsibility.
At another level, the war is responsible for all, because it is inevitable that such crimes happen occasionally in a war. Soldiers are under great stress, and some will crack. Many others find excuses to kill wantonly in accord with the rules of engagement, so that they won't be punished. This is why it takes very strong reasons to justify a war.
Slovak voters rejected the corrupt government that privatized their social security, but right-wingers still want to do this in the US.
Several states have passed laws allowing obstetricians to intentionally lie about of birth defects that they see when examining a fetus.
The goal of these laws is to trick women into having babies with birth defects. Wouldn't you like to have a birth defect?
The UN rapporteur on torture has accused the US of "cruel and inhuman" treatment of accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.
He also accused the US of blocking him from finding out whether Manning was tortured.
It looks like Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's previous election campaign.
What an ingrate he was, supporting the Libyan rebels! Now he has no Gaddafi to turn to. ;-}
Tony Nicklinson, who is almost totally paralyzed and can communicate only by blinking, has petitioned for help in killing himself.
I suppose he would jump at the chance to live a normal life, but there is no way to give him that. The question is, should he be forced to endure years more of "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable" life, in which he cannot achieve anything?
Japanese officials were warned the day of the earthquake of a danger of a meltdown at Fukushima, and covered it up.
In towns near Fukushima, children are not allowed to play outside. People fear to air out their futons and won't buy local vegetables.
Is this fear irrational? In one sense, yes. I suspect that children playing outdoors in cities near Fukushima are at more risk from car accidents than from radioactive fallout. (But I don't have real figures, and it would be interesting to check this.) In another sense, no. After a series of lies from TEPCO and officials, parents have a rational reason to distrust what officials and their scientific employees say now about the amount of risk.
Obama wants warrantless access to cell phone location data. This article argues that this should be unconstitutional.
However, I think it is not enough to require a warrant for the government to access this saved data. It should not even be collected without a warrant about an individual.
New biometric ID cards in France attack the rights of every citizen.
Tanya McDowell faces 5 years in prison for "stealing" access to a better public school.
The root of the problem is the fact that cities in most states fund their schools from local property taxes. Thus, poor people's children get a worse education.
Glyphosate, aka roundup, has damaging effects on cattle that eat "roundup-ready" corn, and makes the corn vulnerable to disease even though it doesn't kill the corn directly.
It is wiping out monarch butterflies by killing off the milkweed that their caterpillars eat.
That article links to another article saying that glyphosate residue hurts people's intestinal bacteria.
Bill Gates claims that GMOs are the solution to world hunger, but he's ignoring a study which says that they don't help.
Today's GMOs are the agricultural equivalent of proprietary software. Perhaps that's why Gates wants us to use them.
Greg Palast reports on falsified safety records at the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island.
There is some confusion in what he says about the strength of the earthquake in Japan. An earthquake at 9.0 on the Richter scale involves 10 times the shaking amplitude as a 8.0 earthquake. Anyway, it was actually the tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster. (Of course, underwater earthquakes often cause tsunamis.)
But this does not invalidate the overall point. Wikipedia says a study in 2008 warned that Fukushima Daiichi could be damaged even by a 7.0 earthquake, but it was ignored. TEPCO also refused to take precautions against large tsunamis despite being warned. This sustains Palast's main point.
Republican candidates say the planet-roaster pipeline is needed to reduce gasoline prices. However, the pipeline presumes high gasoline prices, since otherwise it won't be profitable.
High prices are needed to encourage conservation measures, including improvement of mass transit and more efficient cars, as well as renewable energy provision.
These candidates' policies would increase both the supply of oil and the use of oil. Evidently their real goal is to increase oil companies' profits, and never mind the damage done.
Amerindian groups are suing to block a large solar power development in the Mojave desert.
I can well believe that the planners of the project failed to consult local people properly. That seems to happen frequently. However, the claims stated in the article seem exaggerated and bogus. I am skeptical that anyone in the Mojave Desert ever heard of Aztec gods, except via modern books about them. The claim that a horned toad appears at the center of the Aztec "calendar stone" seems strange too.
Nobody knows where the Mexicas (later called Aztecs) lived before 1100 AD or so. Their myth said they started migrating from a place called Aztlan, but if it ever existed, it can't be identified now with any real place. It's not clear those migrations really occurred at all. The northern part of what is now Mexico was inhabited, at the time of the Aztec empire, by different peoples with different beliefs and unrelated languages.
Meanwhile, it is clear that the Maya inhabited their current territory since at least 2500 years ago. (Perhaps we could assert a larger number, but I don't have access to my books about it here.) Whether their ancestors ever passed through what is now the Mojave desert, it is impossible to tell. There are some partial similarities of beliefs between the Maya and the Aztecs, but also great differences.
Petroglyphs of Kokopelli abound in the American southwest. All petrogyphs should be protected, but that can surely be done without cancelling the project.
I find it noteworthy and disturbing that Biden arranged to meet with them in Honduras, hosted by coup-installed President Lobo. In effect he has pressured them to grant legitimacy to the coup.
Airplanes given by the US to Afghanistan are being used for drug trafficking.
With all the "development" projects that achieved nothing, at least this project has contributed to Afghanistan's economic development.
US government spending on birth control is a very good investment for society.
It also helps reduce global heating and other environmental degradation, especially in the US, since people in the US use resources more wastefully than elsewhere.
Internal documents show New York thugs had programs to investigate all Muslims in certain communities, based on their religion alone. This also shows Bloomberg made false denials of this. Since he was in charge, he was wrong whether he knew this was false or not.
Citizens of Massachusetts: support the Massachusetts bill to legalize marijuana.
In the US: rally on March 15 to tell Obama to reduce mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
CNN presented a corporate PR strategist as a commentator "on the left".
Rationalist International's sting operation against a very expensive Indian faith healer.
The US, with its government controlled by business, is not one of them.
Former US generals and intelligence officials say, don't attack Iran.
Republican redistricting knocked Kucinich out of the House of Representatives.
Bogus research purporting to demonstrate that abortions lead to mental illness has been debunked. It looks like the researchers stretched the truth to prove the point they had in mind.
Israel attacked Gaza, and militants in Gaza retaliated with rockets aimed (as usual) at civilian targets.
Both sides were wrong.
Users of cell phone apps fail to consider what the apps might do with their personal data.
Saudi Arabia holds people prisoner without trial, apparently for intending to hold a protest.
Perhaps the reason most of them have not been tried is that torture has not yet extracted the desired confessions from them.
The partially-censored contract for the environmental study of the Keystone XL pipeline reveals a conflict of interest.
It's fine to make the builder pay the cost of the environmental study, but whoever does the study should not be beholden to the builder.
Obama and Holder are trying to nail the coffin shut on the idea that Americans have legal rights.
Jon Corbett, who found a way to trick the TSA's body scanners, says the TSA is trying to intimidate reporters.
NPR presents stories that glorify fracking and minimize the danger.
If the US indeed has oil reserves bigger than Saudi Arabia, we dare not extract and burn that oil.
A US soldier was arrested after wanton murder of Afghan civilians.
I suspect this reflects a general hostility between US troops and Afghans which only rarely manifests itself as murder.
The UK banned mephedrone, but usage has increased nonetheless.
US citizens: tell Attorney General Holder to release the purported "justifications" for Obama's targeted assassination campaign.
US citizens: tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop rubber-stamping license renewals for nuclear power plants.
US citizens: tell your governer to reject a deal to privatize prisons which would require imprisoning enough people to keep them 90% full.
What if prison is the disease, not the cure?
Jeffrey Sachs as president of the World Bank would stop its destructive practices.
Blue sharks are a threatened species because of overfishing for shark's fin soup.
A hoax ad said that MacDonalds would give a gratis "happy meal" to anyone who has been stopped and searched three times on the street by the New York Thug Department.
The US reached an agreement to transfer Bagram prison and its prisoners to Karzai's control.
Although the US is responsible for assuring these prisoners won't be tortured, experience shows neither the US nor Karzai can be trusted to refrain from torture. Moreover, while the US focuses on preventing release of prisoners, I fear that it won't pay enough attention to releasing those who were imprisoned for meaningless suspicion.
Jonathan Corbett describes a simple, reliable method to fool the TSA's body scanners.
The TSA response says, in effect, "Ignore our flaws, have faith in us."
I'm not worried that this will endanger the safety safety of flights because, as Bruce Schneier has explained, this aspect of the TSA's security checks are mere theater anyway. The real dangers of the TSA are (1) radiation exposure from x-ray scanners and (2) the danger to our freedom from letting them go fishing through our pockets and handbags for grounds to arrest people.
With Deep Packet Inspection, both totally tyrannical countries and occasionally tyrannical countries can spy on all your nonencrypted Internet communications.
The Senate narrowly blocked a Republican plan to force approval of the planet-roaster pipeline, thanks to strong public opposition.
UN top torture official denounces Bradley Manning's detention.
It is noteworthy that the people who support Obama on this are right-wing extremists, because Obama is indistinguishable from a right-wing extremist. In the 1970s, many of Obama's policies merited the label "right-wing extremist".
I wouldn't dream of voting for a right-wing extremist like Obama. Occasionally he has done the right thing, and I've said so, but these are the exceptions to the general practice. This is a regime of the kind that someone like Bushbama would offer; to invade in order to restore our freedom and democracy.
Peaceful protesters in Russia face prison terms of up to 7 years for their protests.
However, that's less than what the US Congress voted to do to peaceful protesters, who can face 10 years in prison.
Putin is right to compare Russian repression with US repression, and the US may be worse. Of course, that is no excuse for Putin. "We're not as bad as the US" is not a valid justification for trampling human rights.
US citizens: tell the FCC to investigate the deal Verizon wants to make with Comcast.
US citizens: call on the FAA not to let drones spy on people in the US.
US citizens: phone your senators to oppose McCain's "cybersecurity" Internet surveillance bill.Also sign this petition.
A deputy minister in Syria announced he was defecting. This was announced also in Russia Today, which suggests it is not a hoax.
There's a report that 13 French officers are prisoners in Syria.
Sibel Edmonds reports that NATO is training Syrian dissidents in Turkey and smuggling arms into Syria.
I'm inclined to believe her because of her past history as a whistleblower. Her testimony about US government foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks was gagged by the US government.
Arming the enemies of a dictator is sometimes the right thing to do. Of course, the US wouldn't be doing it for the sake of freedom and democracy. It would be doing this for political reasons involving Israel, Lebanon, Hamas, Iran, etc. However, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still the right thing.
But it isn't right thing in all situations. It isn't always wise.
Paypal has imposed censorship on publishers, demonstrating how the Internet exposes users to a loss of freedom: you always depend on companies as intermediaries, and they can cut off their services whenever they don't like what you're doing.
The Big Lie: One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Cover Up Revealed
The book estimating deaths from Chernobyl has some questionable science, and I have doubts about its conclusions, but the article's overall point seems valid despite that.
International Women's Day needs to return to its radical roots and throw off corporate-funded mildness.
Cheetahs, following their favorite prey, are being hit by global heating.
If you unexpectedly receive "child pornography", the last thing you should do is report it to the police.
However, just deleting the files may not be safe either. Police investigating you for some other reason might find the data of that deleted file, and then not believe you received it by accident.
I put the term in quotes because US law dishonestly defines images of young adults even of age 17 as "child pornography", despite the fact that most Americans of age 17 have had sex. Perhaps in the UK the term is limited to children.
To punish people for possessing some sort of published work — whether "child pornography" or "terrorist information" or anything else — is simply wrong. And it regularly hurts the innocent.
A leaked Stratfor report involves interviews with US military officers reported as saying that secret US military teams were on the ground in Syria.
Greek credit default swaps are being voided under government pressure. Why didn't the US treasury do that?
The UK wants to build new nuclear power plants, and all the sites will be vulnerable to flooding due to global heating.
The Red Cross has been allowed into Baba Amr after being kept out for several days.
Why the delay? Some reported that Assad's men committed massacres. Others say they planted evidence to blame supposed armed gangs. What is clear is that there was no possible legitimate justification.
This article claims the western media are framing Assad in conjunction with mysterious gangs of snipers.
I would not put it past the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to do such things. But it is also possible for Assad to pressure people to lie. I doubt that gangs of snipers could have operated for months fighting the Syrian army, or that protesters would have failed to recognize what was going on, or that they would have taken the side of snipers against the army if the army was not attacking them. I also doubt that soldiers would have defected if they hadn't really been ordered to kill civilians.
Delaying the Red Cross seems like the ultimate proof, because that was in the hands of Assad's army and nobody else.
In a part of Nigeria, lead dust from mining is making thousands of children sick.
The article fails to mention that burning the coal will produce lots of CO2, which will kill the reef. It needs to stay in the ground.
Since 1990, the percentage of people without access to clean water has been reduced to 10%.
This is a great achievement, but we ought to give priority to reducing births to the point where the population starts to slowly decrease.
Someone hoaxed France 24. She pretended to be the Syrian ambassador to France, and said she was resigning in protest against Assad's actions.
Canada's elections last year were sabotaged by robocalls that told people the wrong place to go to vote.
Republicans have done this in the US, too, but Canada's judges are taking the matter seriously.
The UK's libel reform proposal is inadequate to protect the public debate.
A whistleblower says Walmart's subcontractor told him to falsify employees' time sheets.
As long as Walmart uses disposable subcontractors it will be almost impossible to prevent that. The practice must be banned.
New Zealand plans to replace journalistic privilege with an ersatz version where journalists can't refuse except at the first step.
UK TV channels are under pressure to hand over hours worth of unbroadcast footage of riots, and say they object to being turned into evidence gatherers.
The jet stream becomes more wavy and the waves move more slowly, and this can lead to either a heat wave or a big rain.
AIPAC silences its opponents through intimidation of advertising companies.
China proposes to follow the US in officially legalizing imprisonment without trial for "terrorists" and related crimes (such as political opposition).
A US court rejected the case of organic farms afraid of contamination by Monsanto's patented genes.
Tunisia is debating whether freedom of speech extends to criticizing religion, and whether it extends to attacking secularists.
Christian prosyletizers are moving into US public schools.
Jello Biafra talks about his decision to participate in the boycott of most Israeli cultural institutions.
The Palestinian areas separated from Jerusalem by the annexation wall get no emergency services, and almost no public schools.
Thus, students and a teacher were left to burn to death inside a school bus, while the only public school is terribly overcrowded.
AIPAC is working for the 1%.
A video shows patients in a Syrian hospital who have been tortured there.
Fleeing refugees report seeing their relatives slaughtered by troops.
Wisconsin's voter ID law ruled unconstitutional.
Internet dating sites are careless with users data, even when they don't sell it to advertisers.
Several members of LulzSec have been arrested, after one member betrayed the others.
If I remember right, some of LulzSec's actions released bystanders' personal info. I think it's not right to do that sort of thing. However, their other actions were minor compared with the wrongs of the organizations they targeted. The US disregards those wrongs.
Schools and employers demand to see job and sports applicants' Facebook passwords.
In this case, it is not Facebook's fault, and they do the same with other similar sites. The conclusion is, don't use a social networking service for private communication. Use email.
Amazon appears to treat self-published authors pretty well, but it can unilaterally drop the price of their books. And when it does, the authors are the ones who lose.
Santorum said that unwed mothers were "building more criminals".
Since their children are likely to be poorer, and lack educational advantages, they may have a somewhat larger chance of becoming criminals. If so, the two principal ways to avoid this problem are (1) birth control and (2) abortion. Just what Santorum wants to prevent them from having.
Karzai has approved a declaration affirming Islamic law over women's rights.
I originally supported the intervention in Afghanistan because of the Taliban's tyranny, especially towards women, so I regret this as defeat for the intervention. However, I think this defeat is now inevitable because the intervention has failed.
It seemed to have a chance, at first. An Afghan government with clear popular support might have been able to advance women's rights. However, Karzai and his government's corruption can hardly convince Afghans of anything about ethics.
It would be absurd to maintain women's rights in a country by occupying it permanently. We must recognize defeat and stop prolonging the war with useless bloodshed.
Virginia's legislature has directed state agencies and staff to refuse to cooperate with imprisonment without trial, in the name of the Constitution.
After a large protest in Moscow about Putin's fraudulent election, 1000 protesters refused to leave and stayed in the square. Russian thugs attacked and arrested them, then beat their prisoners.
Holder misrepresents the issues when defending Obama's power to kill without any supervision by the courts.
Talking about "real time" supervision is another red herring. Soldiers in battle must decide immediately whom to shoot, so it would be absurd to require them to ask a court's approval. However, targeted killings like that of al Awlaki are planned at high levels, and once ordered, they can take months to carry out. Asking courts to consider each case would be no practical difficulty.
Diesel exhaust causes lung cancer, but not enough is being done to reduce it.
I expect that trains (even with diesel engines) emit much less pollution than trucks, for the same amount of cargo. Thus, this is one more reason to encourage use of trains rather than trucks.
Under Dubya, the US was building a new Interstate highway mainly for trucks to drive from Mexico to Canada. Wasn't that stupid? An electified train line would have been much cheaper, used less space, produced less pollution, and burned less oil. However, the oil companies dislike the idea of burning less oil.
Google+ isn't meant to be used, just to get people to give Google their biographical data.
Many gratis Android apps pass personal data to advertising networks.
I expect that these are all proprietary. Can someone confirm that for me?
The Israeli raid on the unfinished Osirak reactor was credited with stopping Saddam Hussein from getting nuclear weapons, but it may have done just the opposite.
Was it pure stupidity (or rather, greed and overconfidence) that led Hussein to attack Kuwait in 1991? A leaked report said that the US ambassador to Iraq had said, "We don't care if you invade Kuwait, feel free." Perhaps Hussein fell into a trap carefully laid to take advantage of his greed and overconfidence.
Aid groups say the CIA is to blame for a resurgence of polio in Pakistan.
"Vultures" who speculated on Argentina's defaulted debt at pennies to the dollar, and are now pushing for repayment in full, are getting support from the US government.
Argentina should offer to renounce its claims to the Falkland Islands, whose inhabitants are considered British and want to remain so, in exchange for UK's explicit support on this issue.
Flood insurance in flood-prone areas in the UK is getting much more expensive.
This is inevitable and necessary so that people will stop living and stop building in those areas. Global heating makes floods more likely.
Guernsey is trying to set itself up as a world-wide libel extortion state
Australia will require Muslim women to remove face coverings when they are required to identify themselves for other legal reasons.
I think this is a legitimate policy, precisely because it is so narrow. It avoids the wrongs of the laws in France and the Netherlands.
Warmer winters mean Canadians will be unable to play street hockey.
I hope they notice this before they build the planet-roaster pipeline.
Putin faked his way to "victory" as president of Russia.
Citizens of Massachusetts: oppose "3-strikes" minimum punishments in Massachusetts.
Ralph Nader suggests that the next goal for Occupy should be to raise the minimum wage.
"Americans have made it clear that they equate releasing innocent civilians with being 'soft on terrorism'."
Mexico allowed warrantless access to people's cell phone location data.
Homeland Suppression is searching Twitter and Facebook postings for some very common words, including enriched, IRA, prevention, pirates, radicals, hurricane, storm, snow, watch, earthquake, help, hail, aid, relief, interstate, hacker, China, worm, and social media.
Marrying "Drill, Baby, Drill" and "Yes We Can": Obama has been promoting Arctic undersea oil drilling ever since he was elected.
The US gave Guantanamo prisoner Majid Khan a plea bargain to cover up how he was tortured.
He has been promised a sentence of no more than 19 years, but that is meaningless since he may be kept in prison for life regardless of "sentence".
Billionaire Frank VanderSloot, who is an executive in Romney's campaign, has blocked media covered of his political and business activities by threatening to sue journalists and publishers.
Putin's cronies are forcing magazines, radio stations and web sites to censor criticism of Putin.
The House of Representatives passed a bill imposing ten years in prison for disrupting certain government activities, including any that involve presidential candidates.
Even visiting foreign dictators would get this protection from protests.
Under international law, US leaders are guilty of planning a war of aggression against Iran.
The article says the same is true of Israeli leaders, but I think it may not be correct, since Israel and Iran are already in a state of war.
If it were a virtual certainty that Iran would make nuclear weapons and use them to attack, I think that would justify (under certain conditions) a pre-emptive strike to prevent it from doing so. However, intelligence says this isn't so.
Bush deserves to be tried and punished for invading Iraq, but not executed, because capital punishment is barbaric.
How Andrew Breitbart damaged honest people and organizations with lies.
Like Steve Jobs, he made the world a worse place.
Dubai has expelled 50 Syrian permanent residents for a peaceful protest against Assad's violence in front of the Syrian embassy.
Some have lived their entire lives in Dubai. They can't go to Syria.
The Illinois law against recording the police has been ruled unconstitutional.
Shawan Jabarin had the good fortune to be allowed to travel outside the West Bank — for the first time since he became head of a human rights organization.
Not allowing people to travel is typical of tyrannical regimes. For instance, the Soviet Union was famous for stopping many people from travelling, particularly including Jews who might want to move to Israel.
The UK government cooperated with a construction industry blacklist of workers who supported unions or were considered troublemakers.
The victims have tried suing but in the past usually lost.
A professor studying health and safety issues of oil drilling was also recorded in the blacklist, but it isn't clear why the the list maintainers were interested in him. Perhaps they worked for other clients besides construction companies.
The father of one of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is trying to prove that Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi didn't do it. I presume he wants the real bomber to be convicted.
Australia is fighting against "investor-state" provisions in the TPP.
Bravo, Australia, but the treaty will only do harm even without that.
The latest brilliant right-wing idea: privatized police forces.
If the thugs that beat you and lie about it are not employed by the state it will be even harder to punish them for it.
Egypt's Ministry of Education has ordered schools to keep students out of political activities, even debates and blogs.
Israeli troops shut down two Palestinian TV stations giving the pretext that they don't have Israeli permits (which would be impossible to get).
Santorum must be very glad that it is becoming difficult for Americans to go to college.
This is one of many reasons the US needs to increase income taxes for the wealthy.
Elsevier dropped its attempt to eliminate the US public access policy, with the result that the Research Works Act has been defeated.
Scientists should not relax now. We should follow up this victory to gain more victories for science against the journal publishers.
For the first time, one of the US torture lawyers faces official embarrassment. But this is far short of the trial for crimes against humanity that he ought to face.
The CIA has made the procedure to request declassification effectively impossible to use, by charging a lot of money for it.
The US has involved psychologists in torture since the 1950s. But they are not punished.
Dirar Abusisi was kidnapped by Israel from the Ukraine, then imprisoned without trial and denied medical care for kidney stones.
Stanford students support a Palestinian graduate, a nonviolent activist, who was arrested by Israeli thugs at a protest on charges that are probably fabricated.
Even if a protester does really push a thug, that is hardly a valid reason to put him in prison. It is an excuse.
Netanyahu is cracking the whip, making Obama promise to attack Iran when Israel does.
Note how this article presumes that war with Iran would be justified and even necessary if sanctions "fail". However, as we know, for the US to attack Iran would be futile, unjustified, and disastrous.
Our CO2 emissions are making the oceans more acidic than they have ever been, as far back as we can measure.
Our ability to measure past ocean acidity goes back 300 million years. We don't know if the oceans were ever more acidic before that.
I think the Permian extinction, which wiped out 96% of species in the ocean, was the worst in the Earth's history. But Obama and the oil companies are not satisfied with tying that record. They are aiming for 100% with Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline.
It is no surprise that Sarkozy is the enemy of French Internet users, but it is frightening that Twitter is supporting his attack.
A reporter went undercover at a shipping fulfillment warehouse to document the sweatshop conditions.
When you buy from the Internet instead of a store, are you supporting this?
Note the peculiar demand of the editors that McClelland couldn't lie about her name or work history. Why not? It wouldn't affect the validity of the report. It was recently pointed out that this is a recent change in the policy of US media and is linked to the diminution of invstigative reporting.
Our labor laws need to be changed sufficiently to allow these employees to unionize. One necessary change might be to ban the use of temporary agencies to get workers to do a job that is permanent.
US citizens: tell the FDA to make rules to stop massive use of antibiotics on animals.
This could save your life when you have an infection some day.
China has tightened regulations about soot in the air, and credit bloggers for pressuring for this.
Perhaps the Chinese rulers will eventually realize that democracy is beneficial for society. But it's the US rulers that affect the world most. Will they ever learn this?
The world has learned nothing from the Big Spill; deep water oil drilling is proceeding faster than ever.
If we are "lucky" and avoid further disasters from the wells, burning all that oil is sure to cause one.
A disease that causes lambs to be born deformed spread to the UK thanks to global heating.
In sub-Saharan Africa, most land belongs to the state. So when the state sells it to foreign companies, the farmers are helpless.
Individual title is no solution either. (As the article notes, many of these lands are used collectively, not individually.) In the early 20th century, the US used individual title to destroy many Amerind reservations. It divided up the land among the members of the tribe, and their poverty compelled most of them to sell it to non-Amerinds.
With real democracy, these governments would not sell farmland to foreigners. I wonder whether some foreigner institutions pressured them to start selling land. The World Bank or IMF, perhaps?
Karzai and Obama have been unable to agree on a framework for US troops to remain in Afghanistan.
The main issue is that Karzai wants to restrain US night raids, something the Afghan people demand. Karzai's government may be too corrupt and despised to remain in power without the US' propping it up, but if it is ever to have any chance of not being despised, this is it.
As for the prisons, we know that both the US and Karzai's government are likely to torture prisoners, but if the US stops torturing it might have a chance to break the habit.
Assad's regime blocked the Red Cross from providing food and medical treatment to civilians in Baba Amr, while the army reportedly is shooting and arresting lots of people there.
On the Internet, censorship implies surveillance.
Each US soldier in Afghanistan costs around a million dollars a year.
This isn't the main reason to bring them back to the US. The main reason is that they achieve nothing but death.
Jeffrey Sachs: How I would lead the World Bank.
Some prominent supporters of Israeli hawks have joined the campaign to remove the Mujahedin-e Khalq from the US list of arbitrarily banned "terrorist" organizations.
It has been noted that this campaign is well funded, and reported that Israel and the Mujahedin-e Khalq work together to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. That suggests that the campaign is funded by US backers of the Israeli hawks. who coordinate with the government of Israel.
If they coordinate with the government of Israel, and that coordinates with the Mujahedin-e Khalq, does that mean the campaign violates US anti-"terror" laws? The question is amusing, but irrelevant in practice. The US has no intention of enforcing these laws even-handedly.
The US policy of banning "terrorist" organizations without trial is ipso facto injust. If an organization carries out violence it should be put on trial, along with its members. The practice of banning organizations arbitrarily is turning the US into a dictatorship where nobody has any rights. Your bowling club could be put on the "terrorist" list even if all it does is bowling.
The Virginia attorney general's campaign to get climate scientist Michael Mann's emails (as a fishing expedition looking for some sort of accusation to mak) has failed.
Although science has won this battle, it looks like the planet-roasters have won the war. Their well-funded lie campaigns have convinced millions of US religious lunatics that global heating is a fabrication, and meanwhile Obama would rather ship Canadian oil than protect the world from the damage it will do.
BP agreed to pay about 8 billion dollars of damages to some of the people harmed by the Big Spill.
When Venezuela and OPEC push oil prices up, they help avert global heating disaster.
Companies with power over many people's communications, such as Google, must be watched.
I think all email services should be regulated to protect the rights of their users.
Spanish Internet users are trying to overload the agency that enforces the SOPA-like Ley Sinde.
US psychiatrists have invented a disease, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which simply consists of a tendency to argue with "authority" rather than obey.
How convenient for "authority" if people who resent how they are treated are led to take drugs rather than organize.
The Department of Homeland Suppression's internal memo about the Occupy movement was dangerous even though it wasn't outright menacing.
Since Lamar Smith failed with SOPA, now he wants to impose warrantless surveillance of Internet users through ISPs, and make all the info available without a warrant.
I wonder if Hollywood thinks this will be of use in the War on Sharing.
Stockbrokers are more reckless and manipulative than the usual psychopath.
A famous Egyptian actor was sentenced in absentia for insulting Islam.
This is not the freedom that Egyptians protested for.
A test of Internet voting in Washington DC resulted in a victory for a drunken robot. The hapless election authorities didn't even know they'd been had.
NPR has adopted a new code which gives priority to presenting the impartial truth, rather than balance.
It will be interesting to see whether this cures the US press' vulnerability to manipulation through presenting a bogus controversy.
In the US: call on Rush Limbaugh's sponsors to drop him because of his insults against Sandra Fluke.
Citizens of India: oppose the government's plans to protect nuclear power plant company from liability for their disasters.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and senators and say, no attacks on birth control insurance coverage.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: tell Rep. Hoyer, a Democrat, not to make backroom deals to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
US citizens: tell the FDA not to approve the latest pesticide-resistant GMO corn. The pesticide to be used is dangerous.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say, end the secrecy of negotiations in the TPP. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Western opposition to Uganda's anti-gay bill has led to support for the bill as a form of nationalism. (broken link fixed) In other words, fools are scapegoating gays for the economic harm caused by organizations such as the IMF. If only they put the blame in the right place, they might achieve some good.
The law would also ban organized advocacy of gay rights, meaning it would attack freedom of speech and association, as well as sexuality.
Protesters against the coming G8 meeting in Chicago demand a financial transaction tax to be spent on alternative energy.
In the Netherlands, people have the right to help in euthanasia if they are incurably sick, suffering unbearable pain, and have repeatedly stated they want to die.
When people are trapped in incurable pain and death is their only escape, we ought to help them escape. Sure, it would be better if we could cure them instead — I expect they would agree — but it's no use clinging to an impossible hope and forcing them to continue to suffer.
It is a good thing that this right is not limited to those who are expected to die soon anyway.
Assad's forces retook the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs, which had been held by soldiers that defected from the regime, after the defectors retreated to other neighborhoods.
The reports that government forces subsequemntly massacred civilians there might be true. I would not put it past them.
However, I question whether the Free Syrian Army was justified in fighting from positions inside the city, given that it had a choice. Those troops had a duty to defect, but fighting to hold an urban area against overwhelming force afterwards is a different story. There was no chance it could lead to a victory, or to a better government in Syria; it could only produce the shelling and civilian deaths that in fact occurred.
It would have been better for them to fight their way out of Syria. Maybe the UN could have passed a resolution to help them get out, as long as the resolution did not permit any other intervention.
We should pursue truth, but Obama and the US instead pursue the messengers that tell us the truth.
A lawsuit accuses the US of endangering coral reefs by allowing overfishing of parrotfish that protect the reefs.
Fukushima released twice as much radioactive Cesium as previously estimated.
Japan's government tried to quietly end its decades-old radiation monitoring program shortly after the accident, and to gag scientific reports about the radiation.
Japan said it would increase the permitted level of radiactive materials in food, but the public rebelled.
The question can be judged rationally. How many additional people are likely to have health problems from the higher level? If the previous level was super-cautious, it might be few. But we can't tell that by guessing.
A lawsuit seeks to make the US Navy take care to avoid killing marine mammals with its sonars through training exercizes.
Their hearing is sensitive, and the loud sound of the sonar drives them mad.
The Department of Homeland Suppression's surveillance of Occupy, and the Stratfor report released by Wikileaks, may have encouraged the often brutal attacks on Occupy encampments.
Public Knowledge has proposed some changes to reduce copyright power.
These changes are steps in the right direction, but this proposal fails to right the worst wrongs of today's copyright law. It doesn't ban DRM, it doesn't shorten copyright to a length of time we can live with, and it doesn't legalize sharing.
We can't expect proper copyright reform to pass through today's Congress, and we can't expect Public Knowlege's smaller steps to pass through today's Congress. What we can achieve in the short term by advocating changes now is to influence public opinion. Demanding less than what we really need is aiming low.
How YouTube panders to copyright extortion.
An Israeli legislator says Israel should annex the West Bank and offer citizenship (second class) only to those Arabs who learn Hebrew, complete with a plan to gerrymander the voting districts so they won't have much political influence even if they vote.
He says that the two-state solution "has been tried and failed, but in fact it was never tried, because Israel set up colonies in the West Bank to assure it wouldn't be."
A single state in which Jews and Arabs would have equal rights would not be inherently unjust, but that's not the proposal here.
After Israeli prison guards beat false confessions out of some Palestinian teenagers, border guards gave false testimony to substantiate the confessions.
Fortunately there were records to prove that both were false.
Will the border guards be charged with perjury? Will the prison torturers be charged with torture? If they are not punished, they will repeat these crimes.
In Russia, Nikolai Blinov died trying to defend Jews from a pogrom. A ceremony in Israel honored him, but completely missed the point of his example.
How HP supports the occupation of Palestine.
US citizens: tell the FCC: don't allow any more media concentration.
US citizens: take a stand against state "right to work" laws that undermine unions.
A town in Spain will fight unemployment by growing marijuana for a large smoking club in Barcelona.
Shell has preemptively sued environmental groups that were expected to sue Shell to block Arctic undersea oil drilling.
PayPal is censoring erotic literature.
Syria's rebelion conflict is taking on a Shi'ite - Sunni aspect.
Syria with minority Alawites ruling is the mirror image of what Iraq was under Saddam Hussein, with minority Sunnis ruling.
The senators who demand war with Iran if Iran has a "nuclear capability" are not clear on what that means.
How to prevent the movie companies from buying another iteration of SOPA.
I basically agree, but I criticize a few points.
To speak of "pirating" a movie is to repeat their propaganda. If you don't believe that sharing is wrong, join me in refusing to call it "piracy".
Also, I don't think unauthorized copying does much good for the movie companies, even if they know about it and you can include it in their statistics. They don't need any factual basis for their statistics,
Another point is that you especially shouldn't use Netflix, because that has DRM that people probably can't ever break. (They can change it too quickly.)
25 people have been arrested for the virtual equivalent of street protests and scribbling criticism on political posters.
To refer to these activities as "attacks" represents a pre-emptive strike against democratic political rights, using the shift from physical to virtual activity as an opportunity.
Obama made an executive order to sidestep the recent military-imprisonment-without-trial law.
That's one small good thing, but it isn't permanent: we still need to get rid of that law.
The Global Partnership for Oceans solutions for sustainable fishing may cause problems for poor subsistance fishers.
We cannot continue unsustainable fishing, so it is crucial to take whatever measures are necessary to make fishing sustainable. Perhaps these proposed measures are necessary, but if they can be adapted to help poor fishermen, it's worth a try.
The UK proposes to deport any foreign domestic workers that lose their jobs.
When this was the practice in the past, it made those workers defenseless against abuse by their employers, since they'd be deported if they complained.
The Maldives army attacked a group of protesting women , spraying pepper spray into their eyes while they were prisoner and telling others they aimed to mutilate them.
Since the democratically elected president was overthrown by force, the replacement is not legitimate. So there's no ethical reason why the population shouldn't fight back with force. If they could find suitable weapons, they'd be within their rights to kill the soldiers and the police, as well as "president" Waheed, except those who surrender. Whether to do this or use nonviolence is a tactical question.
However, the army is not justified in attacking protesters even if the attacks are not fatal. It has already put itself in the wrong by staging the coup, and each time it attacks nonviolent protesters, it commits an additional crime.
Police attacked a large student protest in Barcelona, and the students responded by general violence.
Ex-generals from the Pentagon's Paid Political Pundit Propaganda Program are still appearing on NBC and presenting themselves as disinterested experts.
Republicans are pushing the War against Women to even greater extremes.
The Republican Party has gone insane with hatred.
Ireland has passed a law comparable to SOPA.
Our civilization faces collapse , as others have collapsed before, if it fails to cope with the challenge posed by overdemands on the environment.
Asian Pulp and Paper is selling the endangered trees which make up the habitat of the endangered Sumatran tiger.
AP&P's response is the usual bullshit of organizations trying to deny evil activities: "In theory, we don't do this, so please ignore any contrary facts."
Demand for minerals has led to global devastation for the peoples unlucky enough to live where the minerals are found.
US citizens: call on the US government to prosecute Murdoch for bribery.
US citizens: call on Obama to regulate dangerous chemicals.
As the US and Israel threaten to attack Iran, Brazil's foreign minister pointed out that making such threats is itself a violation of the UN charter.
I don't know whether this applies to Israel, since Israel and Iran are have been formally at war for a long time.
Only 20% of Israelis would want to attack Iran without US support.
The others believe the attack would have very bad consequences.
People in the US are suing to overturn the imprisonment without trial provisions of the NDAA.
A team of Bahraini "reformers" visited the US and criticized the protesters.
The visit organized by the regime's PR company.
A coming Supreme Court decision may determine whether US companies can be punished for helping repressive regimes do high-tech surveillance.
France says new Google policy (for using personal data) . violates EU law
I am more concerned with what Big Brother knows about us than with what companies know. Where companies might do annoying things such as target us with ads or distort search results, the state can (and does) sabotage protests and destroy democracy. Under the U SAP AT RIOT Act, Big Brother can collect all this information already, and even if Google does not put it together, Big Brother can do so.
To reduce Big Brother's ability to get information about you, I suggest accessing Google Search (if you use it) through TOR and never logging in. And use an email service in some other country that won't be interested in you.
North Korea has agreed to suspend its nuclear program and let the UN inspect.
Iran is willing to allow IAEA inspection of Parchin, but wants an overall framework agreement about the inspections first.
Western journalists are struggling to escape from Homs, where two of them were killed last week, and Syria blocked the UN humanitarian aid chief from entering Syria.
The EU has a sleazy plan to censor the Internet unofficially so that nobody has any legal rights.
The FARC say they will release all their captives and stop kidnapping.
Meanwhile, Colombia's principal terrorists, the right-wing paramilitaries with support in the government, have shown no let-up in their depredations.
China sends North Korean refugees back to North Korea, where they face horrible punishment.
The former commander of El Salvador's national guard will be deported there to stand trial for murders and torture.
Afghan protesters say explicitly that burning qur'ans was just the trigger for their intense protests against US and NATO intervention.
The article asks Americans to imagine that the US were occupied by an army that burnt American flags and bibles. I would sneer at anyone who got upset about that, but if they killed thousands of Americans, that would be a real reason to protest (or fight back).
Thousands of people were imprisoned in the US and the UK for opposing the draft in World War I.
"Investor-state" provisions of many free exploitation treaties, starting with NAFTA, give foreign companies more rights in the US than US citizens.
Minnesotans call on their local and state governments not to cooperate with US plans to deport foreigners who get arrested (even if they are never charged).
Sea Shepherd activist Erwin Vermeulen was acquitted of fabricated charges in Japan, where he tried to monitor dolphin hunting.
Purchasing Prisoners, Creating Criminals & How Occupy Could be Next.
GOP Contenders' Anti-Labor Fervor Reaches New, Disturbing Heights.
Drone aircraft, both government-run and privately run, create a new part of the privacy rights debate.
Obama Budget: Grow Prisons and Keep Gitmo.
Over half of federal prisoners are prisoners of war — the War on Drugs. In other words, they are political scapegoats, imprisoned to keep drug profits high.
Liberal commentator Matt Taibbi enjoys seeing Republicans attack each other with the same irrational hatred they have dished out to everyone else.
I might enjoy it if I were confident it would destroy them, but that's not certain. Some have suggested that the money men, the vultures, are preparing to bring in another candidate at the Republican Convention, someone who isn't running now and isn't being attacked by the current candidates.
Obama's proposal to lower the tax rate for corporations makes no sense, either as a policy or as politics.
It's a typical example of the things Obama does in order to show he's no progressive.
The Occupy movement's next method is to block foreclosure: Occupy Our Homes.
Right-wing lies about the nature of US economic problems assure they cannot be solved. Wimpy Democrats and a press that aims "balance" rather than truth prove no obstacle for them.
The UK deports Tamils to Sri Lanka even though they may be tortured when they arrive.
The UN threatens Internet freedom by proposing to put the Internet under the control of the ITU.
People involved in these discussions told me that the ITU generally tends to pander to big telecom companies. I would not entrust net neutrality to the ITU. While it has no history of pandering to the copyright industry, I expect it would swiftly learn to do so.
Unfortunately, individual governments also threaten Internet freedom with laws such as SOPA and treaties such as ACTA. Under a regime without real democracy, we're not safe from any side.
The ACLU is suing to block a voter suppression law in South Carolina.
A German ministry wants to punish people for sharing by disconnecting their Internet connections, but there is so much opposition that no party is likely to propose any such bill.
A Saudi teacher faces criminal charges in a terrorism court for speaking to the BBC about the lack of human rights in his country.
The NRDC is suing the EPA to ban a widely used pesticide that is toxic to humans.
Facebook is not just surveillance. It also does censorship of photos based on prudish criteria.
US citizens: tell Obama not to approve any part of Keystone XL.
For more effect, phone him also.
US citizens: tell your congresscritter and senators, eliminate imprisonment without trial.
It is good to phone them too.
The "Right to Be Forgotten": A Threat We Dare Not Forget.
SMS microlending knew it was driving Indian farmers to suicide.
A Stratfor executive, who was formerly a deputy chief of the State Department's counter terrorism division, said that the US used to assassinate people like presidents Chavez and Morales.
An AP investigation of casualties from US drone attacks in Pakistan supports the Bureau of Investigations' conclusions: many civilians have been killed.
I have not yet found the AP report in a site I can link to, but it says that 30% of the victims are civilians, which is the same as the Bureau of Investigations' figure.
India's main unions have joined in a large strike, demanding a national minimum wage as well as benefits for their members.
The article errs in saying that India's government is "leftist". The Congress Party is as subservient to corporations as Obama.
Arab dictators use their wives as PR vehicles.
The Heartland Institute sponsored a global heating denial class at Carleton University.
Korea's main opposition party says it will cancel the US free exploitation treaty.
UK's plans for secret "justice" would put the government above the law.
That's what it has already done in the US.
Pakistan wants foreign companies to help implement sophisticated Internet censorship.
Pakistan's censorship already blocks a wide range of sites over many pretexts — all of them unjust.
A patent holder is suing several Republican presidential candidates for infringing an absurd patent.
Absurd patents like these are not rare at all. This is just one way that the patent system is broken.
Wikileaks reports that, according to Stratfor, Israel and Russia betrayed the customers for their weapons by trading the secret codes to control them.
Israel gave Russia control codes for drones Israel sold to Georgia (Russia's enemy), and Russia gave Israel control codes for missile defense systems Russia sold to Iran (Israel's enemy). This means that Israel in effect betrayed Georgia, while Russia betrayed Iran.
This is an extreme case of the general point that you can't trust nonfree software. Do you want your country to use weapons with nonfree software in them?
Teenagers in the US are sent to religious brainwashing camps.
Since the article is short on personal information, I don't have total confidence that it is true, but the comments seem to substantiate it.
Police attacked the Occupy LSX camp late at night so that supporters could not come, and told people they had 5 minutes to clear out everything or face arrest.
The world has an opportunity to redirect the World Bank to work to end poverty and protect the ecosphere from disaster.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to demand an end to imprisonment without trial. Also sign this petition.
Poland must investigate its complicity in CIA kidnappings.
Latimes.com just announced it would put up a paywall. Please look through the past political notes for links to latimes.com and try to find replacement links. Send any links you find to rms at gnu period org.
A lobbying company is attacking the Humane Society for spending money on more useful activities, rather than on shelters for animals found on the street.
Obama's settlement with the banks means they get away with perjury — millions of times.
Why should you have to tell the truth in court if rich banksters don't have to?
A Danish band says that the collecting society sabotaged its plan to play at an anti-ACTA rally.
An important article about the censorship danger of SOPA/PIPA was censored in Google search by a false DMCA takedown notice.
Stratfor told clients a year ago that the US had a secret indictment against Julian Assange.
Obama approved a segment of the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline, choosing the side of the oil companies against the survival of civilization. He repeats the already-exposed lies that this is important to create jobs.
I probably won't live to see the slow catastrophe that kills most humans and wipes out most living species. But Obama will be principally responsible for it.
As his army bombarded cities, Assad held a referendum on a constitutional amendment formally authorizing multiparty democracy.
The change is probably a step forward in theory but irrelevant in practice.
Spain's Supreme Court passed up another opportunity to convict Judge Garzon, but passionately opposed investigation of the murders and disappearances carried out under the dictator Franco.
The US Supreme Court, which awarded corporations human rights, is now considering a request to give them immunity from human duties.
As opponents of wind power criticize the UK's subsidies for wind farms, it turns out that fossil fuels get twice as much subsidy.
I think it is even more lopsided in the US.
Israeli officials that want to attack Iran presume Iran will be unable to retaliate. When possible retaliation is considered, such an attack is likely to lead to a broader war.
While Anonymous carries out the Internet equivalent of street protests, Antisec raids evildoers to extract and publish information. The Stratfor emails were obtained in such a raid.
I think it is wrong to publish personal details such as credit card numbers obtained from such raids. That is going too far in personal retribution, and could extend to harming innocent people too.
The difficult ethical issue concerns stealing and publishing emails, such as Antisec did to Stratfor and parties unknown did to climate scientists. This is wrong, but it is a small wrong compared to the alleged wrongs of the targets. For instance, the climate scientists were accused of lying about and suppressing scientific truth. If that had been valid, it would have been tremendously important. The most important thing about the climate scientists' emails is that the grave charges against those scientists were false.
As for publishing the source code of a virus, I expect that has little harmful effect because virus writers already circulate such information.
China is softening the one-child policy but maintaining it in place.
This policy is crucial for saving the environment and for enabling Chinese to advance out of poverty.
The Afghan protests have led to renewed attacks on US "advisors" by Afghan troops, which (if it continues ) would spoil Obama's plan for Afghanization of the war.
There might then be no option except to pull out US and NATO troops, which is what needs to happen anyway.
Stratfor claimed to have copies of the information found in Osama bin Laden's compound.
Dr. Seuss' work has been twisted into a greenwashing campaign.
His heirs must have made this decision. I hope that Dr. Seuss would have refused to get money this way.
In many US cities, voters have rejected red-light cameras. Other alternatives are as good or better for safety, and the real motivation for these systems is to collect money.
I'm in favor of this change, but we need to get rid of the license-plate recognizers too.
Khadar Adnan illustrates the Israeli practice of imprisonment without trial.
The Canadian government has gagged scientists since 2008 on the issue of global heating, and the gag policy has been applied in other areas too.
The Canadian government does not want the danger of global heating to be addressed, because its main priority is to make money from tar sand oil.
The people of Keene, New Hampshire, have told the town they don't want the police to have an armored personnel carrier, not even if the US government would pay for it.
Experts on diplomacy say that a deal by which Iran would forego nuclear fuel enrichment in practice is still possible.
However, it is only possible with political will on both sides, and either side might prefer no deal.
The ACLU campaigns to limit the storage of data from license plate scanners.
10% of the marine species in the tropical eastern Pacific are threatened with extinction.
Many island states in the Pacific Ocean will link up their marine reserves and enforce fishing limits together.
The World Bank plans to support protection of fish stocks and fish farming.
Fish farming is not a bad thing, but it isn't without problems. Like farms on land, farms in the sea require inputs and produce waste. They can harm wildlife too.
It might be possible to smuggle some arms to them, but it would not make much difference. They are too few to defeat Assad's army even if they had all the arms they could use. They control no region, only neighborhoods in some cities.
It is also not clear that most people in Syria want to remove Assad, even though many do.
The Free Syrian Army started because Assad ordered troops to shoot protesters. Those who were unwilling to perpetrate that evil were compelled to defect instead. I admire them for rejecting evil.
However, the defections were too few to make Assad's army fall apart, and the defectors too few to stand against it for long.
At this point, perhaps other countries should propose to let them go into exile along with those inhabitants of the neighborhoods they hold that want to join them.
Even thought Sarkozy is right-wing, he is moving to block Monsanto GMO plants, which he knows French voters want.
I wonder how long the US has known about this oil.
UK courts have covered up for years an accusation that some "Asian country"'s royal family funded al Qa'ida and knew in advance about the London terrorist bombings.
Wikileaks has begun to publish the Stratfor emails that were grabbed by Anonymous.
Among other things, they show that Stratfor was worried about the Yes Men.Three cheers for the Yes Men!
The Bush regime intervened directly but secretly in Somalia in 2006, using private mercenary companies.
This was in support of the "transitional government", which turned out to be a "transition" to defeat at the hands of the Islamic Courts Movement.
377 congressional aides became lobbyists in the past 3 years.
It ought to be illegal.
Support Obama's plan to raise taxes on oil companies.
A supervisor will face charges for blocking enforcement of safety regulations at a Massey Energy mine.
Bill Gates is a big fan of genetically modified seeds. Perhaps because they make farmers dependent, like Windows users.
The FBI was using thousands of car-tracking GPS's without warrants.
Microtracking by political campaigns makes it easy for a politician to show one face to supporters and another face to their opponents.
Student protesters at UC Davis who were attacked with pepper spray are suing the university.
Arizona has banned teaching ethnic studies, and Tucson, complying with the law, has banned many books including The Tempest.
Citizens of California: help collect signatures for the state initiative to require labeling of GMO foods.
US citizens: sign this petition to end mountaintop removal mining.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the Ellison-Jones letter supporting diplomacy rather than war with Iran. Also sign this petition.
Here's background information on the letter.
I suspect there is an organized PR campaign behind the mainstream media drumbeat for war.
Everyone: complain to the New York Times that it is publishing quotations from anonymous officials that smear people as "terrorists".
Protests in Afghanistan, that began when US troops burned copies of the qur'an unknowingly, keep growing and spreading.
These protests display the irrational absurdity of religion. The burning of copies of the qur'an hurt nobody. It was not even an intentional insult; probably the troops did not know what the books were, since they don't even know the Arabic alphabet.
But I have a feeling that the book-burning incident was only the trigger, and that the protests are fueled by pent-up anger provoked by years of atrocities and repeated real insults.
The EFF proposes laws to stop the sale of surveillance equipment to despotic governments.
Alas, these laws won't be applied to sales to the US government.
A conservative explains why right-wingers have no compassion (and are not conservatives).
In effect, the US right wing is a Christian fascist movement.
Turkey's foreign minister says Iran wants to make a nuclear deal.
It was the US that reneged on a previous deal with Iran.
The question is, does the US want a deal or a war?
Amazon continues to harry small publishers ; it has cut off Swindle sales for an independent book distributor in order to press for bigger discounts.
The article ends by promoting ebooks for another platform, the Shnook from Barnes and Noble. While that company is not as nasty to small publishers, its ebooks do nonetheless have DRM, so they are not acceptable.
Argentina's fatal train crash was caused by privatization of the trains.
Privatization never makes sense unless it leads to substantial competition.
US intelligence agencies believe Iran has not yet started to develop a nuclear weapon.
The US mainstream media have come to condemn the inconsequential lies that were necessary for undercover investigation, except when done by right-wingers.
Since Peter Gleick is not a right-winger, they condemn him too.
Why it is a mistake to trust in Romney's insincerity.
I see a resemblance between the people who suppose today that the real Romney is better than what we see, and the people who made similar suppositions about Obama.
Sheriff Babeu is so tough on illegal immigration that he threatened to have his lover deported to Mexico if he (the lover) told the public they were gay.
One reason to end the War on Drugs: it corrupts officials.
Naturally these officials are in favor of prohibition — they need it to make money.
The UK has spent almost a billion dollars on surveillance cameras in the past 4 years, and has got nothing for it but a loss of privacy.
Uri Avnery: the paradox of Khader Adnan , who says that the only possible resistance to Israeli occupation is with violence, and just proved that isn't true.
Whatever the European Court of Justice decides on a narrow set of issues, that cannot possibly make ACTA legitimate.
Romney's rich backers hijacked the bailout of auto companies so as to destroy unions.
Many UK fishing boat captains and processing plants built secret pipelines so as to violate fishing quotas.
The fines seem small in comparison with the amount of fish that was illegally landed. Are they really enough to deter this practice?
Monsanto settled a lawsuit by people who lived near an Agent Orange factory, whose homes are contaminated with dioxin.
Much of England has suffered from drought for two years, and farm production will suffer.
US citizens: tell your congresscritter and senators to support a constitutional amendment that corporations are not persons.
A subpoena to Twitter about an Occupy protester is probably part of a government plan to look at all his movements and communication for a period of 3 months.
A UN report accused various Syrian leaders of being responsible for crimes against humanity including torture and having snipers shoot children.
The European Commission, surprised by the strong public opposition to ACTA, has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether ACTA is compatible with European treaties.
This could create another obstacle to signing ACTA, but if the court says it is compatible, that ruling will be spun so as to overlook other legal issues about ACTA.
Private equity companies, that buy failing companies and often just strip their assets, are so lucrative (especially thanks to a special tax break) that they are paying for a spin campaign to convince the rest of us that they benefit society.
The Heartland Institute plans to spend over half a million dollars supporting Governor Walker's campain in the recall election.
This despite the fact that a tax-exempt charity isn't supposed to do anything like that.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy violated human rights principles by returning African migrants and asylum-seekers on the high seas.
They may or may not qualify for asylum, but they are entitled to present their cases.
Contaminated water due to fracking in Argentina is making Mapuche people sick.
A study says that Republican candidates' tax plans would bloat the US national debt. Unless, of course, they carried out drastic cuts in spending, and you know they would not cut military spending.
Colombia's president has backed off a plan to give the military jurisdiction over human rights violations by soldiers.
Afghan police, ordered to protect against violence from protesters against the US army's mistaken burning of korans, say they support that violence.
With all the Afghan civilians killed and imprisoned, people in Afghanistan have plenty of reason to hate the US intervention. The Taliban have given them the same kind of reason to hate the Taliban, but they mostly don't hate the Taliban the same way. However, their fanaticism shows when what makes them the most angry is the destruction of copies of a book which exists in millions of copies and is in no danger of being lost.
How the Lieberman resolution would push the US into a war with Iran that the US could not win. This would be ideal for the Israeli hawks, and disastrous for the US. Iran's refusal of inspection of a possible nuclear weapon development lab might be just a bargaining ploy.
I won't take that as a certainty, but it is clearly worth negotiating seriously and looking for a possible agreement. But the states won't reach an agreement if they don't want one.
If states would like to risk war, but most people still want peace, what should we do?
In the US: join protests on Feb 27 against corporate control of the world food supply.
The UN decided to increase the "peacekeeping" army that is gradually taking control of Somalia. Meanwhile, Ethiopian forces are fighting there too.
The Somali "government" has no political support in the country. It was set up by the "peacekeeping" army — a misleading term since its purpose is to attack, not keep a peace. It is misleading to say that the "government" is carrying out this offensive, since it is only a front for intervention.
Both the "government" and its enemies, the Shabaab, are factions of the Islamic Courts Movement that established a government in Somalia a few years ago. I don't think the Islamic Courts Movement cooperated with al Qa'ida; its concern was with Somalia, not with the rest of the world. The US should have left well enough alone and been content with a stable Somalia that was not an enemy. However, instead it sent an Ethiopian intervention to destroy that government. Ethiopian occupation troops were unable to rule Somalia, and pulled out, and Somalia collapsed again into disorder.
If the intervening forces do take control of all Somalia on behalf of the "government", Somalia will get almost back to where it was briefly before the intervention, but it won't be stable. Its "government" would face a struggle to gain any loyalty among people who know it was imposed on them.
Israel arrogantly denounced General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as "serving Iranian interests" by saying that an invasion would be a bad idea.
This demonstrates Netanyahu's arrogant attitude towards the US. He believes all US politicians are under his thumb and that he can get away with absolutely anything.
Military and intelligence figures in the US and Israel say that attacking
Iran would be folly, but these politicians drown them out.
Americans who dislike the idea of "containing" Iran should not suppose that an attack would lead to anything different.
The UK has copied India with an unjust prohibition on deciding about abortion based on the sex of a fetus.
The arguments for this ban all presuppose that a woman can in some circumstances be compelled to continue an early pregnancy, and once that is accepted, the main line of resistance to a ban on abortions has been breached. A fetus is not a person, not even if it is female. Women are not incubators, not even if the fetus is female.
Laws saying you can legally do X for reason A but not for reason B amount to thought control.
Alleged voter fraud in South Carolina, which was the argument for a law requiring voter to show photo ID, proved on investigation to have been fictitious.
A report from Syria that Sunni extremists are kidnaping solders from buses and indoctrinating them in sectarian hatred.
I have not read the Arab League mission's report. Someone directed me to it, and I looked at it, but it was very long and hard reading. If my work were focused mainly on Syria, I would have a responsibility to read it.
Al Qa'ida appears to have carried bombings in Syria against Assad's forces. This suggests Saudi Arabia is setting up a Sunni jihad coalition including al Qa'ida (or more precisely the Iraqi group which uses that slogan) and western countries, aimed at Assad because he supports Iran.
Argentine journalists and other public figures spoken up for the Falkland islanders' right to self-determination , and refuse to bow to a hate campaign calling them "traitors".
Iran refused to cooperate with visiting IAEA inspectors, who wanted to inspect a site where iran might be testing explosive triggers for atomic bombs.
Romney proposes a further transfer of wealth to the rich by means of a 20% tax cut for everyone. Of course, a rich person will gain more than anyone else, but I'm sure all the resulting cuts would fall on the poor.
Two foreign journalists in Homs by shelling which may have been aimed intentionally at foreign journalists.
Scroogled, a science fiction story , shows a new side of the danger of a society in which everything is recorded and filed.
The estimate is 15,000, which is much smaller than another estimate.
This analysis did not try to estimate the number of deaths that went unrecorded in both data bases, but if the analysis is accurate, those would not be more than tens of thousands.
Militias that control Misrata and environs are destroying villages and preventing inhabitants to return home to them.
Khader Adnan ended his hunger strike after Israel has agreed to release him in April. But he needs medical treatment right away.
Greece has been "bailed out" and will not default now, but the spending cuts are likely to trigger a further recession.
The effect of the deal is to turn Greece into a colony of the EU, being exploited for debt payments like the third world. A leaked report says that thanks to the coming recession, Greece will again be unable to pay its debt in a couple of years.
Peter Gleick's trick was wrong, but the wrong was much smaller than what the Heartland Institute has done for years: sabotaging science and endangering the biosphere.
Israelis who are shocked at Iranian assassination attempts must acknowledge they are a response in kind for Israel's assassinations.
I am not sure I agree that the recent assassinations (on both sides) should be called terrorism. They were aimed at government officials and people with a role in weapons development, not at the public.
However, this doesn't invalidate the overall point of the article.
Police are testing head-mounted cameras that record whatever they see.
In protests, this could be a good thing if juries are skeptical whenever the thugs make accusations but failed to record what they did. It might impede their regular practice of framing dissidents.
At the same time, I share Lauren Weinstein's concerns that when this is used in your house it could facilitate a fishing expedition.
Republicans who wanted sanctions against Iran's oil exports now condemn Obama because this has increased the price of oil and gasoline.
The world needs higher oil prices to encourage conservation, but they must be combined with higher prices for coal and natural gas so that those are not substituted for oil.
Pakistan won't participate in negotiation with the Taliban unless Karzai does.
Everyone: Fax the president of Colombia to prosecute the paramilitaries who have repeatedly attacked the "peace community" of San José de Apartadó and massacred its inhabitants.
Virginia has sneakily allowed adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples.
If you are in Virginia and thinking of having a baby which would be adopted, have an abortion instead!
Businesses in Central America support drug legalization.
That would be a big step forward but we need it in the US as well.
The Israeli hawks' lobby wants the US to change its policy so as to go to war to stop Iran from developing even the capability to make nuclear weapons.
Wal Mart subcontracts operations to other companies, which sometimes rob their workers.
Climate scientist Peter Gleick says he obtained the Heartland documents by pretending to be someone else.
This affirms that the documents are genuine, except perhaps for the one which Gleick says he received anonymously and sought to validate. However, he says that the other documents agree with that one in substance.
Obama's plans to revive US manufacturing sound good but the methods he proposes are too weak to achieve the goal.
In Homs, hospitals have been turned into torture chambers and doctors that treat wounded protesters are punished brutally.
When it says that "The men torturing him weren't even trying to get information," it falls into the common but erroneous belief that torture is a means of getting information. Torture is a system for getting false confessions, or simply for venting hatred; the supposed desire for information is a pretense.
The US Trade Representative boasts that the TPP negotiations are fully transparent (but only if you're a lobbyist for big business).
The secretive process is part and parcel of the malicious purpose of this treaty.
A proposal to give whales a legal right to life and freedom.
I might support this. It's a lot more reasonable than offering such rights to a 3-month human fetus.
Shows presenting dolphins would be able to continue if the dolphins stay and perform voluntarily. Sometimes dolphins are willing to do that.
Soot from industry in Asia is falling on Himalayan glaciers and making them melt faster.
Environment scientists say drastic action is needed to avoid eco-disaster.
Thich Nhat Hanh says that putting an economic value on nature is not enough — it is necessary for people to love the world's ecosystems.
If that is really necessary, it would require the elimination of corporations (psychopaths).
The Russian heatwave of 2010, which destroyed a large amount of the harvest, became 3 times as likely due to global heating.
In other words, it could have happened without global heating, but probably would not have happened.
Canada is making blustery threats to deter Europe from recognizing the heavily polluting effects of tar sand oil.
Canada's tar sand oil is more dangerous than Iranian nuclear weapons. If Iran builds nuclear weapons, it could very well never use them. If Canada is allowed to finish developing its tar oil export capability, it will attack the world immediately.
Nations threatened with attack (by inundation, drought or agricultural plagues) by Canada's planned weapon would do well to plan preemptive military intervention to prevent Canada from finishing its deployment.
The UK government, which was elected condemning the surveillance state, plans a tremendous increase in surveillance.
Some Americans may be subject to gratuitous drug tests in order to collect unemployment benefits.
No one should be required to take a drug test, not in connection with employment, and much less in connection with any benefits from the state.
They are not a good solution to any real problem.
US police using tasers have killed 500 people since 2001. Most of these people were unarmed and not threatening anyone.
The taser is not a "nonlethal weapon". It is a sometimes-lethal weapon.
Morocco arrested people for handing out leaflets calling for a boycott of the elections.
This also shows the danger of laws that forbid anonymous public statements.
Over a million people protested in Spain against plans to attack workers' rights..
ACTA is part of a multi-decade, worldwide copyright campaign by governments working for corporations to impose injustice.
One step in resisting their demands is rejecting their propaganda terms. Why say "copyright protection" when it is shorter and easier to say "copyright"? Copyright lawyers use the word "protection" because it spins the copyright issue their way. Since they are the "experts", their way of speaking is prestigious, so others imitate it in order to sound prestigious.
While Republican liars call Obama "socialist", he is actually less socialist than any recent president — and much less socialist than the American people.
Everyone: call for action to end Assad's massacres in Syria.
It would be nice if they came true, but 2045 would probably be too late for me anyway. If immortality were ready in 2020, I might live to see it.
Meanwhile, after 2045 the social upheavals due to global heating will probably interfere with scientific progress. If immortality isn't developed by then, society may no longer be in condition to make progress towards it.
Obama's negotiations with the Taliban disregard the Afghan people.
Consulting the Afghan people is not only the right thing to do, it is likely to lead to a better settlement.
The Heartland Institute threatens to sue those who commented on its leaked documents which describe its plans for global heating denial.
Scientists whose leaked emails were commented on by the Heartland Institute point out the contradiction between the way it wants to be treated and the way it treated them.
Obama has no interest in a diplomatic deal with Iran about uranium enrichment. The other parties (including Iran and Israel) also have no interest in reaching agreement.
The Shabaab in Somalia is cooperating with al Qa'ida.
This would never have happened if the US had not intervened in Somalia (using Ethiopian troops) against the Islamic Courts Movement government.
Apple's assembly workers in China got a 25% raise.
Will Apple products' users get a 25% increase in their freedom to control their own computers? If I know Apple, they will seek increased control.
US citizens: support Congressional investigation of the FDA's harassment of whistleblowers.
A police official is aghast that adolescents "as young as 13 years" are using Facebook to look for lovers among their own circle of youth gangs.
This article distorts a real issue by viewing it through the filter of sexual overprotectiveness. You can see that when the official calls these adolescents "very young girls".
These teenagers are being mistreated in various ways. They are being pressured into dangerous criminal activities, such as hiding guns. They may also feel pressured into having sex, which people shouldn't be. Sex is not inherenly harmful, but could be dangerous for them if they don't use condoms. Some of them are abused by their lovers, too; that could mean violence. All these are real problems or wrongs.
But the article treats the real problems as side issues, and focuses on shock at the fact that they are looking for lovers. It even says their lives are "ruined". Involvement in gangs can give people a bad start in life, but that doesn't mean they have no hope of overcoming it, so "ruined" is an exaggeration. But I think "ruined" is meant to resonate emotionally as "no longer virginal". This article uses the problem of youth gangs to endorse victorian prudery.
High school students in Chicago occupied their school to block planned privatization.
Obama is trying to discourage Netanyahu from launching an attack against Iran.
His stronger predecessors would have told Netanyahu not to attack Iran. Israel depends on tremendous amounts of US aid.
There were few shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico this winter, and a large fraction of them were deformed.
Climate Change Killing Yellow Cedar Trees In Alaska.
Syngenta actively targeted scientists, journalists and NGOs that investigated the danger of atrazine.
Obama Proposal Could Lead to Bigger Domestic Cuts, Smaller Defense Cuts.
President Correa in Equador has persecuted journalists who criticized him, to the point of shutting down the country's principal newspaper.
Correa calls that newspaper corrupt, but even if it is the Equadorian equivalent of Faux News, that can't justify punishing it for criticizing an official.
Protests in Europe and the US condemned the dictatorship of the banksters, saying "We are all Greeks now."
Republican attacks against abortion rights include allowing and even requiring doctors to lie to women.
The tyrannical regime of Ethiopia is driving hundreds of thousands off their lands to make way for sugar plantations.
The US has a close relationship with that regime, which has attacked Somalia on the US' behalf.
A color-blind artist who uses a computer to translate colors into sounds had his cameras broken by thugs.
China is arresting Tibetan cultural figures.
The UK Labour Party may advocate subsidizing child care so that poor women can work.
Of course, this is a good policy — but it fails to address the main problem: no jobs. The UK needs to smash the power of the banks so it can increase taxes on those who are not poor.
Greeks link resistance to the IMF with resistance to the Nazi conquest.
Blaming the poor for their poverty, considering them disgusting, is connected with the political policies that spread poverty.
For technology companies, DRM amounts to a ban on interoperable products.
When Obama said he had no choice but to start a super PAC, he said in effect that money rules the US and its government is pure corruption.
Legitimate government is government of the people, by the people, for the people. By this standard, the US government has no claim on our loyalty.
A report concludes that the Earth is now doomed to 2 degrees centigrade of heating, if not more.
Short-term thinking, manipulated and used by the oil and coal companies, have caused a catastrophe, but they are not satisfied yet: they continue to delay countermeasures, making the coming disaster even bigger.
Does this mean that people who sabotage fossil fuel facilities can argue the necessity defense?
The Canadian government is blocking scientists from talking with the press.
Harper is dead set on destroying Earth's climate, so maybe this is meant to prevent scientists them from interfering.
Under the proposed Canadian Internet surveillance law, inspectors would have the power to go to any ISP and copy any data whatsoever.
Colorado is considering banning red-light cameras.
I support this. However, what really needs to be restricted is the indiscriminate use of automated license-plate scanners. These scanners should be required by law to recognize only license plates on a watch list of court-ordered license numbers. Then they could be used to catch fleeing criminals, but could not be used to build up dossiers about everyone.
The Heartland Institute was developing a plan to teach global heating denial in US public schools, comparable to the right-wing campaign to sabotage teaching of evolution.
Copyrighted furniture designs in France mean that many photos of people at home can't be published.
Petr Kropotkin endorsed Anarchism after making a tremendous discovery in evolutionary biology.
Raquel Rolnik, UN rapporteur on housing, accused Israel of pursuing a "strategy of Judaization" in areas where Palestinians live.
More than 70% of the demolitions in Jerusalem are carried out against Palestinian residents, even though they make up only 20% of the infractions.
This bullshit will stop when there is a zero-tolerance policy for perjury and frame-ups by thugs.
Thousands of Americans are living in tent cities.
They are far away from cities, which helps keep them out of everyone elses mind.
Why a country's budget is not like a family's budget.
Phone companies in Kentucky want to abolish regulation, and abolish land lines for remote areas.
Google exploited a browser bug to force third-party cookies into people's browsers.
Beware coupons sent to you in the mail — they are used to track people.
US citizens: sign this petition to break up Bank of America.
Some US officials are trying to legitimize an Israeli attack against Iran, shortly before the US elections.
Since such an attack could at most delay Iran's development of nuclear weapons by a short time, I don't see how it could be a better option for Israel than no attack at all. At least, not directly through effects on Iran. However, a war between the US and Iran could be very useful for Netanyahu.
A war might be useful for Obama too, especially if he can pretend he got into it only as a last resort. It could give him credentials as a tough guy.
Americans tend to vote for the incumbent president when there is a war
The US media seem to be repeating, about Iran, the sort of distortions that paved the way for Dubya's conquest of Iraq.
The claim that Iran and al Qa'ida are working together is particularly absurd. Iran's regime is run by Shi'ites, while al Qa'ida is Sunni. They don't get along very well; in neighboring Iraq, al Qa'ida fought Iran-supported Shi'ites with bombings.
The claim that Saddam Hussein and al Qa'ida were working together was equally absurd (and false).
A Saudi writer faces execution for "blasphemy".
This is the most extreme example, but not unique. Pakistan has also sentenced people to death for blasphemy.
Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan Mousa, imprisoned without trial, is on hunger strike and has also challenged his imprisonment in Israeli court.
Human Rights Watch calls for Israel to release him.
Secret evidence against prisoners in Guantanamo was often a lie. Someone told the lie and then a chain of others repeated it along the chain of custody, without wanting to verify. We know it is the same for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Protest on Feb 23 at noon, outside Senator Brown's office, JFK Building, 15 New Sudbury Street. He supported the Blunt bill would allow companies to eliminate anything from their employees' medical coverage by saying they have an "ethical objection".
Of course, the main goal is to cater to religious objections to contraception.
The US government appears to have shuttered the JotForm.com web site almost without thinking.
It is indeed stupid of any company to use GoDaddy — aside from the point that you should boycott it because of its support for SOPA.
Using someone else's site to have people fill in a form for you is Software as a Service, which means you lose control of the computing of your site.
None of that excuses what the US government has done to JotForm. There is a vague report this was because of phishing. Phishing is bad, but this was comparable to spraying tear gas over an entire neighborhood because a robber was active in it.
To make pseudoephedrine a prescription medicine might shut down dangerous meth labs, but the costs for society, if people had to see a doctor to get a prescription to unstuff your nose, would be much more harmful.
Then again, it might not succeed in shutting the meth labs. They would turn to another method. The fact that prescription requirements in two states have eliminated meth labs in those states reflects the fact that it easy to bring in meth from other states. If pseudoephedrine required a perscription all around the US, they would get it anyway, perhaps robbing trucks, perhaps corrupting someone to "lose" a large shipment. This is why the war on drugs is futile.
A Jesus and Mo cartoon — an example of what arrogant religious people want to forbid.
The cartoon shows Mohammed in a bar, probably drinking beer, which an observant Muslim would not do. I don't know whether this is an error or an intentional point.
Why do good people feel poor countries must repay loans to the IMF?
Those who repeatedly borrow and don't pay back are spongers. We properly learn not to lend to them.
However, we do not believe that people or businesses absolutely must pay every debt. A business can be set up as a corporation, so that if it fails, it ceases to exist and its debts are never paid. A person can declare bankruptcy, and we do not hold that person in scorn forever (as perhaps was the attitude in some circles in the 19th century).
So why can't poor countries do the same? Theoretically, they can: it is called default, However, the wealthy countries, working hand-in-hand with the banks, discourage this by menacing them.
Political squatters in the UK have taken over the a forest visitors' center and are operating it as volunteers.
There is a new campaign for Internet censorship in Australia.
Syngenta paid "experts" to dismiss and even ridicule concern about atrazine in your water supply.
US citizens: tell Obama to replace Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Ed DeMarco, who works for the banksters against homeowners.
US citizens: tell Congress to reject the transportation bill.
Some states are considering bills to classify ALEC as a lobbying agency and make legislators treat it as one.
Wisconsin Republicans, embarrassed by revelations about their campaign funds, want to pass a law to help disguise both legal and illegal donations.
US citizens: say Bank of America should be broken up.
The Dutch government wants to legalize remix.
Europe's highest court ruled that social network sites can't be required to install copyright filters.
In the nastiest move yet in the War on Sharing, the UK government threatened people with 10 years in prison for downloading a song.
European politicians in many countries are retreating from ACTA.
Popular opposition is having an effect. We have to push harder.
Israel plans to demolish solar energy facilities in Palestine.
UNESCO is holding a conference about the effects of Wikileaks and did not want anyone from Wikileaks to speak.
It's true that UNESCO has a right to invite the speakers it wishes. This is not a trial, so Wikileaks has no right to be heard. But it is a lousy way to run a conference on the subject.
Paid to deny global heating.
In an act counter to freedom of thought and freedom of speech, a French court upheld the conviction of a right-wing politician for saying that the Nazi occupation of France was "not particularly inhumane".
He's wrong, but that is no excuse for repression.
The UK government wants to force partially disabled people to do unpaid work.
This will displace some paid workers, increasing unemployment. Doesn't the UK have enough unemployment already?
The FCC has imposed strict rules on robocalls.
This is one small example of what we need government for. Our government does little of this because democracy is sick.
Microblog services in China will require users to give their real names and to expose them to repression if they spread true rumors.
The International Olympic Committee decided to keep Dow Chemical as a sponsor (and thus promote it) despite its refusal to pay the settlement for the Bhopal disaster.
I'm sure that Dow was happy to take on the assets of Union Carbide.
The bombs used to attack Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India match those prepared by Iranians in Thailand.
So it is pretty clear that Iran was trying to do tit-for-tat for the Israeli assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. On both sides, this is low-level war, not terrorism.
The UK makes unemployed people work without pay as a "learning experience".
I hope they learn to support unions.
General Wesley Clark said that in late 2001 an officer in the Pentagon told him of a written plan from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to overthrow the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.
Somalia did not have a government at that time, and Lebanon is a complex situation. The other governments listed were tyrannies, and in some circumstances eliminating them could be a good thing if the people want such help. It was bad for Iraq, whose people did not ask for help. In Libya, where a large fraction of the populace did want help, it is too early to tell how things will turn out. But it was legitimate to try.
In Iran, even the people who hate their government do not want a US invasion to "help them" get rid of it.
US citizens: tell the FDA to label GMO foods.
US citizens: tell your elected officials : don't vote for any bill that includes an anti-birth control amendment or provision.
Phoning them as well will increase the effect.
In the US: Join a protest on Feb 16 against Obama's arrests of medical marijuana patients and providers.
US citizens: tell Congress to release the drafts of the TPP free exploitation treaty.
US citizens: tell the US trade representative to work for American citizens' rights, not for companies that want to restrict everyone's rights.
In Ngaba, annexed by China and called part of Sichuan, many monks have set themselves on fire.
Many more have been shot or disappeared by the Chinese suppression forces.
The coup against Zelaya, apparently approved by the US, made this much worse.
Keeping out foreign reporters will cost Bahrain in other ways.
The "Justice" Department has failed to report to Congress about some kinds of telephone surveillance, and Congress has failed to monitor the practice.
The Canadian government says, if you defend privacy rights, you're
"on the side of child pornographers".
The term "child pornography" is the basis for
The term "child pornography" is the basis fora demonization campaign that equates cartoons with rape and sexually active 17-year-olds with children.
And it is used regularly as the excuse to crush everyone's rights.
Malaysia hastily deported Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, without a hearing, and thousands are clamoring for his execution.
Shame on Malaysia for its contempt for human rights.
Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute show how it spends millions of dollars from carbon companies to spread denial of global heating.
Using military force to prevent Iran from being able to make nuclear weapons is neither possible nor necessary.
If we could get Washington and Netanyahu to stop threatening Iran, the subjects of that tyranny would have nothing to distract them from how much they hate it.
Many iPhone apps are spyware and send the user's address list to someone else's server.
So much for the idea that Apple's total censorship will protect users. The only defense for users is to have control over the software they use: that is, to insist on free software.
Guatemala's president wants to legalize drugs so as to undermine the narcotraffickers.
If Republicans attack Iran, how would they pay for it?
More budget cuts to impoverish most Americans, is my guess.
Rich people that fund Netanyahu and Gingrich are using Iran war talk to weaken Obama.
When it comes to restraining Israel, Obama is the weakest US president ever. Apparently this inspires Netanyahu to hope to go even further.
The Taliban's commanders would like a peace agreement, but the footsoldiers find the idea of negotiating peace hard to understand.
Is it only a coincidence that Republicans are the same way? Perhaps because both groups are right-wing religious extremists that have little respect for human rights.
Reportedly Indian investigators do not consider Iran a suspect in the attack on an Israeli diplomatic car there.
However, Iranians were caught trying a similar attack in Bangkok.
A US company continues selling tear gas to Bahrain.
A strong Volcker Rule is one way to make the big banks smaller.
I doubt it will go far enough. I think we need to break them up too.
The UK continues selling arms to Bahrain, as well as Saudi Arabia which can use them in Bahrain.
Bahrain is preemptively suppressing protests on the anniversary of the start of protests last year.
Real soldiers warn the US against attacking Iran.
This article sadly underestimates the civilian casualties in Iraq by calling them "tens of thousands". The best estimates are hundreds of thousands.
Congressman Eric Cantor stood up for banks against homeowners. He had investments in banks and mortgage companies. Coincidence?
Iran now blocks access to major search engines and social networks.
This would build opposition to the Iranian tyrants. The only way they can maintain the loyalty of the population is if a foreign enemy threatens to attack Iran.
100,000 protested in Lisbon against austerity.
Obama wants to expand the army's secret hit squads and send them into more countries.
Including, effectively, the US.
80,000 people protested against the new austerity plan just agreed by the Greek parliament.
Mining companies are using political flunkies in Congress to block a study of how diesel engines in mines hurt miners' health.
Sanctions in Iran are hitting the middle class hard.
US citizens: state your support for Arturo Santos, who is occupying his own home after dishonest treatment by JP Morgan and Freddie Mac.
Israeli official cars were attacked in other countries using the same method that Israel used to kill Iranian nuclear scientists.
It does seem plausible this was done by Iran. I don't find that scandalous; it is retaliation in kind. The targets were not random civilians, any more than Israel's target were. However, I don't think a diplomat's wife is a legitimate target.
Freedom of the press under assault in India from spreading censorship.
The "myth" that India censors only "obscenity and hate speech" is a myth at two levels. India censors sex that only prudes would criticize; I saw a few minutes of American Pie on cable in India, and things seemed to have been cut.
In regard to religion, India censors all sorts of criticism of any religion — no "hate" required. Taslima Nasrin's first book, Shame, about persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh, was banned in West Bengal lest Muslims feel offended by it. I'm pretty sure the cartoons about Mohammed are banned there too. Neither of them expressed hate.
Censorship starts with things that many find disgusting, and spreads from there. So we need to fight censorship at the root. Censorship of "obscenity" or "hate speech" is already too much.
Obama proposed a progressive budget, with a tax increase for the rich and some needed spending increases.
Of course, he knows the Republicans will reject this. A real Progressive president would propose far more things that Conservatives would reject, to keep reminding Americans how bad the Conservatives' positions are. Obama does this rarely because he is not much of a Progressive.
This won't make me forgive Obama for so many wrongs, but I won't criticize it.
Some in Congress want to hamper negotiations with the Taliban by stopping the release of a few prisoners.
Ehud Barak, a minister from Israel's Labor Party, warned that failure to make peace with Palestine would lead to a state that was either non-Jewish or non-democratic.
For once, a corrupt cop goes to prison.
What is most amazing is not that a jury convicted him, but that he was prosecuted at all.
EU ministers demand an irrevocable commitment to further austerity in Greece. This is to make the coming election in Greece will be meaningless, and thus effectively squash democracy there as it was squashed in Italy.
US citizens: tell your senators, no Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline.
The Senate is considering a plan to require the pipeline, with no environmental study.
The Arab League asked the UN to approve a joint monitoring mission to Syria.
Punishing Protest, Policing Dissent: What is the Justice System For?
The US government says it has not got enough money to help the poor, but it wants to pay for churches.
No More Racketware won a court case in France demanding a refund for an unwanted Windows license.
The decision is based on an EU directive so it might affect other countries too.
Reporters Without Borders will set up mirror sites of news sites threatened with overt or covert censorship.
Brazil will be Twitter's first test, to show whether per-country censorship means more censorship.
Protests forced Chile's right-wing government to drop a plan to require journalists to hand over information to the thugs.
Amnesty International: Israel should stop its plan to forcibly displace 2,300 Bedouin.
Thugs attacked Maldives president Nasheed and his supporters during a peaceful march.
The US fires drone-launched missiles at rescuers who pull bodies from the rubble from previous missiles, at medics aiding wounded from previous missiles, and at crowds at funerals of people killed by previous missiles.
Evidence shows this is an intentional tactic, not an error.
I think that other terrorists have used a similar tactic, setting off a second bomb once rescuers arrive at the scene of the first bomb.
The US use of drones to kill individuals obeys neither the laws of war nor the laws of peace.
Senator Wyden has been trying for more than a year to get Obama's secret legal analysis that is supposed to justify killing Americans overseas.
A disabled person and a retired nurse were accused of "aggrevated trespass" in the UK — basically, protesting.
They protested against the agency that is supposed to determine who is really disabled, but actually aims to exclude people on any handy pretext.
Saad Allami texted his coworkers to "blow away the competition" (more or less) at a trade show, so the thugs, who were somehow spying on these messages, searched his house and told his wife he was a terrorist.
Then they secretly blacklisted him.
He is suing, but that won't necessarily explain why his text messages were under surveillance.
Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight On Pakistani Spy Agency.
Obama has set up a Super-PAC for corporations to campaign for him.
Colonel Davis, who was stationed in Afghanistan, says that the US military's claims about progress towards defeating the Taliban and strengthening Karzai's forces are totally bogus. US forces don't even control the areas they can see.
More info about Davis's career and whistle-blowing.
The unclassified version of his full report has leaked.
In Vietnam, the commanders and high officials deluded each other. I'm not sure whether they commanders and high officials now are deluded, or simply lying to the public.
He reports unofficial local truces between the Afghan police and the Taliban. These might perhaps offer a path towards peace, once the US decides to stop prolonging the war.
Republicans in many states are trying to destroy science teaching in public schools, while they destroy public schools.
The UK wants to adopt the US policy that makes it effectively impossible for victims of state-sponsored torture to sue.
The effect of this policy in the US is to establish impunity for torture and to cover it up as well.
Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields.
I am not sorry for those farmers, if they knew what they were planting.
The carbon bubble: carbon companies' reserves are 5 times what we dare burn.
They will never be able to use all those reserves; society will collapse first. But they don't dare admit those reserves are valueless, so they will go all out to deny global heating until the day stock ceases to mean anything.
Low intelligence predisposes people to believe right-wing ideology.
The "terminal niceness" of progressives, which Monbiot refers to, is no mere custom. Fear of the right-wing noise machine pushes politicians and NGOs towards that, while funding from business attracts them towards it.
US citizens: oppose Republicans' latest attack on women and gays.
In the US: join a "shut down the corporations" protest.
US citizens: Republicans are attacking all requirements that health insurance should cover certain things. Say no!
US citizens: tell Congress to get rid of the loophole in the House's version of the STOCK Act.
250,000 have signed a petition to eliminate nuclear power in Tokyo.
The proposed EU-India free exploitation treaty could destroy millions of jobs in India for the benefit of the 1%.
It should be cancelled entirely, but a pause in negotiations would be a step in the right direction.
Austerity: a UK family now lives in a tent on a farm because it was paying its whole income for rent.
I don't think it would be feasible for all the unemployed people in the UK to live this way. Finding farms to host them and so much wood to burn would be difficult.
Limiting fishing in the short term, so fisheries can recover, would provide long-term benefits greater than the EU's fishing subsidies.
Tens of Thousands Across Europe Protest Against ACTA.
I am impressed!
Stop the Hysteria Before War Erupts With Iran.
ACTA Threatens Your Freedom (first published in Poland, by Tygodnik Powszechny).
The New York Times quoted a government official who insinuated that anyone counting civilian casualties of Obama's drone missile raids must be a supporter of al Qa'ida.
Since giving support to al Qa'ida is illegal in the US, I wonder how long it will take before the US lays charges against those journalists.
WIPO seems to be secretly planning something nasty, through a meeting that has been set up in just the way to spring a bad treaty on the world.
The most subtle form of harm done by WIPO is encouraging people to warp their idea of copyright law, patent law, and several other laws by generalizing about them through the term "intellectual property".
The deadly snowfall in Europe is due to an Arctic weather phenomenon that becomes more likely with global heating.
Miami thugs singled out one journalist at a protest for no obvious reason, arrested him on false charges, then deleted his video to cover up their lies.
However, he recovered the deleted video which proved what really happened.
In fact, he was not drunk. He was being affected by diabetes. He sued the city.
Suppose the driver had turned out to be drunk — he would deserve to be charged with drunk driving, but that can't justify kicking him as he lies on the street.
Saudi Arabia used Interpol to get Hamza Kashgari arrested in Malaysia, so that he will be extradited to Saudi Arabia to face execution for his words.
Indigenous people in Panama are fighting with government-imposed mining projects.
"Patients" at a Christian drug "rehabilitation" center in Peru were imprisoned in hellish conditions, and their treatment consisted of Christian cruelty. They escaped by starting a fire.
Nicaragua's green energy projects will take the country from almost total dependence on imported oil to making over 90% of its electricity from renewables, by 2016.
Why can't the US do what Nicaragua has done? Partly it is because the US uses a lot more energy per capita, and has already constructed the obvious hydroelectric facilities. But partly it is because the oil and coal copanies would veto it. The US lacks sufficient democracy to have any vision.
Bahrain has denied visas to reporters from major Western media.
Yes the US still wants to sell arms to Bahrain.
Why sending arms to the Syrian rebels is a foolish idea.
Soldiers and Pentagon employees that donate to campaigns seem to prefer the least militarist of the major candidates.
The article errs in stating that Obama is "slashing the Pentagon's budget".
In fact he only reduced planned increases.
Obama gave right-wing antiabortionists a "compromise" which in practice protected employees' abortion coverage, but would offer Catholic hospitals a way to say it wasn't through them.
If these antiabortionists were inclined to be satisfied with a symbolic concession, this would have been clever. But they are pushy, and this demand was only a step in their larger campaign to abolish contraception. Naturally they say it is not enough.
I am concerned that Obama's clever compromise has undermined the defense of contraception rights by suggesting that these absurd demands were worthy of some sort of consideration.
The issue is about religious institutions tat do secular work. For instance, Catholic hospitals hire non-Catholics to do a non-religious job.
They should not be allowed to impose the Church's rules on their staff.
Thousands of people in the Maldives protested in favor of the elected president Nasheed.
(5000 people would be 1% of the population.)
The US, which had immediately legitimized the coup, has retreated from that position.
A tremendous blizzard fell on Romania. Someone there I know reports that 60,000 people are trapped in freezing houses, and that the government is doing nothing to rescue people in the districts that voted for the opposition.
Are billionaires aiming for a brokered Republican convention with a super PAC that only pretends to be for Romney?
There is reason to be suspicious, but I am not sure it's true. The executives of that super PAC are Romney's close political supporters and it seems unlikely they would all be betraying him for the Koch brothers.
Iranian officials are concerned that the US may soon be capable of building its 8500th nuclear weapon.
(This is satire of course, but just barely.)
Senator Lieberman has proposed a resolution calling on Obama to insist on a probably unattainable goal in any negotiation with Iran.
In other words, block the path of negotiation and assure a war.
Argentina has imposed a system of cards for trains and buses which require identification and track everyone.
Argentinos should resist the government's distraction issues and mobilize to demand anonymous SUBE cards. And until they win, they should swap cards to defeat the surveillance.
Obama has made a deal with the banksters, which will require them to pay the wrongfully foreclosed homeowners about 1% of their losses.
The banks that got bailouts of $700 billion will have to pay only $25 billion.
It's clear whose side Obama is on.
Obama decided to start a super PAC, which Russ Feingold calls a "a legalized Abramoff system".
The danger is not that Obama might sell out to corporate interests: he has little unsold merchandise left. The danger, rather, is that it reduces the chances of fixing the problem of super PACs.
In some states, utility companies, public libraries and even food stamp distribution are demanding proof of citizenship.
The Greek government agreed to more austerity, but the promised bailout won't be enough to overcome the damage done by the austerity.
US citizens: sign this petition to open up the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free exploitation treaty.
In the US: tell Chicken of the Sea to get serious about fish conservation and talk with Greenpeace about it.
Everyone: oppose Brazil's new forest law, which would reduce the protections against cutting down forests.
US citizens: tell President Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich: Don't attack Iran.
US citizens: Phone your congresscritter to oppose the transportation bill.
Here's more about what's bad.
Judge Garzon was suspended for 11 years (probably, in effect, for life) for ordering surveillance of conversations between right-wing politicians accused of corruption and their lawyers.
It was wrong for him to do that, just as it's wrong when the US does that in Guantanamo. The prosecution of those people has to be dropped if they can't have fair trials (which would require disregarding what was learned from that surveillance).
Whether this calls for suspending Judge Garzon, I am not sure. However, if Garzon is punished but the following judge that continued the policy is not punished, that demonstrates a political vendetta.
An absurd Indiana law restricts using celebrities' mannerisms (or their names or faces)) for 100 years after their death. Now Indiana proposes to extend it to celebrities that died before 1994.
Elvis impersonators may be boring, but should they be the subject of lawsuits? Should videos of Elvis impersonators be censored? If US sites outside Indiana can be sued because their videos can be viewed in Indiana, they will delete such videos.
However, I don't know whether this law bans videos of impersonators. It is not copyright law, and I don't know how broad its requirements are. (Can anyone tell me?)
This demonstrates the harm done by the term "intellectual property", which leads attention away from the details that make these laws totally different issues.
In a study comparing many countries, dividing schoolchidren into groups by ability goes with lower overall achievement.
President Nasheed of the Maldive Islands, a long-term democracy campaigner compared to Mandela, has been overthrown in a military coup.
Jill Stein said that the oil companies will rejoice. Nasheed campaigned strongly against global heating, which threatens to convert the Maldive Islands into the Dive Islands. I wonder if some government, perhaps the US or India, arranged this coup on behalf of the oil companies.
The US says that Israel is working with the Mujahedin-e Khalq to kill Iranian scientists.
The US has designated the Mujahedin-e Khalq a "terrorist group". There is a well-funded campaign to remove this designation, based on the claim that the Mujahedin-e Khalq no longer practices violence. If the group is working on attacks, that's clearly not true.
Are these attacks properly considered terrorism? I'm not sure, because they are a borderline case. I call them low-level war, but when is war "terrorism"? One suggestion is, terrorism is when civilians are targeted. I am not convinced that scientists in projects that develop advanced weapons capabilities should be considered civilians.
However, appointed officials should never be the ones to decide such questions. Banning any organization other than through a fair trial is tyranny.
Americans Elect is a plan funded by some rich people to run another presidential candidate "in the middle" between right-wing Obaa and an even-more-right-wing Republican.
What good is that?
Brazil has sued Twitter demanding it censor messages saying where checkpoints for drunk drivers are.
I never drink as much as a full glass of wine, but even totally sober I would not like to be stopped by a checkpoint.
Although the UK's "investigation" into the Fox-Werritty scandal was purposefully incomplete, there is evidence Werrity was given inexplicable high priority by officials.
This suggests he was doing something of great consequence, which might be a great scandal if it were known.
Whoever was behind this has surely not stopped it. Someone else must have replaced Werritty.
Everyone: join protests on Feb 11 against the anti-freedom treaties, ACTA and TPP.
The Cancer in Occupy (the Black Bloc).
Serious armed resistance would not sabotage a nonviolent protest, and senseless vandalism is not protest or resistance.
At the same time, we have to recognize that US thugs thoroughly crushed Occupy's medium-scale protest around the US, without needing anything like the Black Bloc as an excuse.
Drones operating from aircraft carriers, and other military plans, will enable the US to attack anyone anywhere at any time.
And then, no doubt, claim that whoever was hit was a "terrorist".
US states spend lots of money (or tax credits) for "job creation" programs, but often they are useless give-aways to business, ineffective for their goal.
Copyright infringement is not theft — not under US law.
Everyone who refers to it as "theft" is spewing false propaganda.
The League of Conservation Voters presents the environmental voting records of Congeress.
Syngenta's pesticide Atrazine contaminates the water supply in most of the US. The company paid "experts" to claim that it is safe.
Persistent nonviolent protester John Catt sued the UK state for keeping a dossier on him.
Sarkozy's former minister has been charged with illegally receiving lots of cash for Sarkozy's campaign in 2007.
The AFL-CIO called on Obama to postpone the US-Colombia free exploitation treaty after murders of union leaders showed that Colombia hasn't implemented the requirements to protect workers' rights.
Obama does not give high priority to people who resist businesses; if he did, he would not be in favor of free exploitation treaties. But he sees a need to pretend to care, and maybe something can be achieved by pressuring him about it.
A Pentagon official says that the US overestimated al Qa'ida's capabilities after September 2001.
So when will we reduce the nasty "security" measures against an imaginary future attack?
The sanctions against Iran fail mainly on ordinary people — for instance, on food.
Iran is not democratic enough for these people to convince the regime to make a concession, even if they wanted to. But I don't think they will want to, at least not soon.
A new study found that ice in the Himalayas has not decreased in recent years.
However, the world's overall ice loss in Greenland, Antarctica and elsewhere was confirmed.
The reason Abu Qatada can't be deported to Jordan is that he might be convicted based on evidence extracted from others via torture.
Bush is indirectly responsible for this problem. By making torture the official practice of the US, he encouraged it around the world. He even pressured countries to reduce their protections for human rights (one of them being Morocco). It will take a long time to overcome the damage Bush did to the world, and Obama doesn't even try.
This means that the US gave al Qa'ida an avoidable victory through its overreaction. It also means that there is not even a shadow of a justification for the assaults on human rights done in the name of "terrorism".
In the US: support US journalists who have been arrested.
US citizens: sign this petition to extend the right of first sale to ebooks in libraries.
US citizens: support stronger fuel efficiency and emissions standards for cars.
Amnesty International says Egypt should stop trying to prosecute the staff of foreign-funded NGOs.
The US-funded IRI and NDI may be up to no good, but banning (or effectively banning) foreign-funded human rights organizations is dangerous, as can be seen in Israel where the government wants to prevent human rights organizations from operating using foreign funds.
The UK government wants to deport jihadist Abu Qatada to Jordan, but can't do so because he might be prosecuted on evidence obtained by torture. His "bail" amounts to 90% house arrest.
The claim that this man is "dangerous to Britain" is absurd. Supposing there is evidence that he plans some sort of terrorism, that would convince a court to approve any and all sorts of surveillance of him. It is ridiculous to think that he could organize any substantial act of violence under such circumstances. If he tried, that would be a real crime and would be a basis to imprison him without trampling human rights.
Why military spending makes few jobs, and other ways to spend the same money make more jobs.
A bill to close dozens of tax loopholes for companies.
A movie industry pro-SOPA astroturf group is paying people $1 per signature collected.
Trademark law is supposed to protect buyers from inferior imitation products, but it does no good when the trademark holders produce the inferior imitation products.
The article refers to a book called "Against Intellectual Property". I have never seen it, so I don't know what points it makes, and I have no opinion about them. However, since "intellectual property" is a misguided overgeneralization, it is just as foolish to be against "it" as to be for "it".
When Indian censorship bans criticism of religion, that already includes censorship of some criticism of politicians
Ben Griffin, who tried to inform the public about torture, was a hero. If the UK still has him gagged, he should flee to Argentina and speak out.
A US university set up a SWAT team. So it will need to find excuses to use it.
The ban on drug paraphernalia — even real drug paraphernalia — is one of the injustices of having a war that's on drugs.
Google agreed to carry out censorship in India.
Protests against ACTA have spread around Europe.
I think the article is mistaken about ACTA's effect on the US. Obama said he personally could approve it because (he claims) it requires no changes in US law. If that's true, it means that ACTA has imposed unjust US laws on other countries. However, if ACTA calls for changes in US laws, they would need congressional approval.
Uganda is again considering a law to persecute homosexuals.
An anti-abortion executive of Susan G Komen foundation resigned.
Furthermore, she contradicted the founder's claim not to have included her in the decision to defund Planned Parenthood.
State officials in the pay of coal companies have sued to block EPA regulations to limit pollution from coal-burning power plants.
Craig Murray's freedom of information request was answered with the entire substance deleted. But, through an error, it proves that officials lied to the investigation of the Gould/Werrity scandal.
The Czech government has suspended ratification of ACTA.
This means it is feeling the pressure, but it is not yet a victory.
One way to increase the US' savings rate is by increasing the capital gains tax.
Monsanto gave the Vietnamese Agent Orange. Now it wants to give them GMOs.
It is ironic that the Vietnamese government, which triumphed over the US and Monsanto in a long war, now sells itself and the Vietnamese people to the US and to a national corporations, and even to the WTO.
Assad's army is committing a tremendous massacre in Homs.
A federal appeals court ruled that California's initiative that banned gay marriage is unconstitutional because it has no purpose except to discriminate against gays.
Putin has a group of paid Internet astroturfers whose job is to give the impression that just about everyone in Russia admires him.
The UK has 2.7 million unemployed people seeking jobs, and only 460 thousand job openings, but a reality-defying right-wing minister says they could all find jobs if they were willing to work.
After large protests in Romania, demanding the president resign, the president sacrificed his prime minister instead.
US citizens: ask your senators to cosponsor the bill to give Warren Buffett (and other super-rich) the tax increase he asked for.
Everyone: oppose the law proposed in St Petersburg that would ban writing or speaking about being gay.
In the US: call on the Susan G Komen foundation to commit to funding Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings.
US citizens: Support the bill against discrimination against gay students.
US citizens: tell Obama, no permits for drilling in Alaska seas.
Everyone: call on Walmart to reject GMO corn.
US citizens: sign this petition rebuking Obama's appointment of a former Monsanto lobbyist as an FDA lobbyist.
Craig Murray on Syria: NATO's stretching of the UN resolution on Libya have made Russia and China wary of similar stretching.
I believe the intervention in Libya was justified and necessary, but NATO wrongfully stretched its mandate, especially toward the end. The fact that there are still injustices in Libya doesn't alter this conclusion.
The US is prosecuting a Swiss bank for helping Americans commit tax fraud.
Computers for students make no difference in learning skills, but they are great for diverting public funds to tech companies instead of teachers.
The article does not mention that computers in schools often have proprietary software with malicious features, making them an injustice, or that e-textbooks are likely to be DRM-ridden.
Mines in Mali use child labor, and children are even more vulnerable to mercury poisoning than adults.
Adult miners in Africa often get silicosis, which suggests to me that they get inadequate protective gear.
The anational corporation fobs off the legal responsibility to intermediaries which cannot fulfill it.
The harm that web sites' "real name" policies can do.
As far as I know, the Korean policy has not yet been changed.
Drone bombers encourage the US to attack in places where it would otherwise not attack at all.
In October a US drone killed a human rights worker investigating the damage done by drones, but the US government still pretends that this never happens.
Obama says that the US and Israel are in "lockstep" regarding war with Iran.
Since he has already renouced te idea of stopping Israel from attacking Iran, the implication is that he will let Israel decide whether to drag the US into war.
The UK government has demonized the disabled , as an excuse to cut welfare for them, and the result is that its supporters revile them on the street.
China says it will forbid Chinese airlines to pay EU's carbon tax.
The idea that the EU needs to "negotiate" about this leaves me puzzled and worried. The EU's response should be straightforward: nobody forces those airlines to fly to European cities. Why is there anything to negotiate? And does that negotiation mean China and the US can force the EU to back off environmental protection?
Assad's army is flattening residential areas with artillery.
Aung San Suu Kyi will be allowed to run in Burma's election.
This election is for only 1/10 of the seats in Parliament. One question not clear in the article is, how many seats in Parliament will her party be allowed to contest fairly in a future election? This system could be like that of Hong Kong, set up so that the people have great hurdles against them.
Sustainable management has made fisheries more profitable.
It was clear this had to be true in the long run, since after overfishing makes the fish disappear, nobody can catch them. The question is whether humanity is smart enough to choose the long run.
The ideology of global trade is endangering food production and impoverishing the poor. It could stir up massive riots.
The proposed agreement between India and the EU will surely have many unjust, antidemocratic provisions aside from crushing 14 million chicken farmers in India. Just about every "free-trade" agreement attacks democracy, and nowadays they typically give corporations power over laws.
Most attack the rights of Internet users too.
Cambodia has kicked hundreds of thousands of citizens out of their homes and lands, for development projects.
These projects aim to make lots of money, and could afford to pay poor people for their homes, but the rich are so greedy they would prefer to screw the poor.
New York students protested plans to close their schools.
Many of them were suspended from school as punishment.
The US plans to fly drones over Iraq and didn't bother to ask the government of Iraq, which objects.
Dubya said he would give Iraq freedom and democracy. The government of Iraq seems to be capable of saying no to the US, and it was elected in a more or less democratic fashion, but it is rather corrupt and suppress political opposition. Police/thugs arrest people just for ransom. I don't think most of the Iraqis driven from their homes by the sectarian war have been able to return home. Thus, Iraq remains worse off than it was under Saddam Hussein.
The FBI Director said that cybersecurity threats "will" be bigger than terrorism as the greatest threat to America. Congress, naturally, is considering a cybersecurity bill that could increase the general effective level of Internet surveillance in the US.
What the director says is not about real threats; it's about the threats the FBI would like us to worry about. I think that the banksters, the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline, free exploitation treaties, and government are all bigger dangers, but he probably did not have them on his list.
Obama is pressuring Iran by pointing at Israel's threats of an overt military attack. I don't see anything wrong with this pressure tactic. What worries me is that Obama is not making sure Israel won't launch a war.
Global heating deniers are pressuring Penn State University to cancel a speech by a prominent climate scientist.
The campaign is run by a business-funded disinformation group. Once again, it accuses honest scientists of forming a conspiracy because it really did so.
Madrid thugs attacked protesters, and journalists that took photos of them, and passersby who criticized that.
Some of the people attacked had entered the metro without paying, as a form of civil disobedience. I don't think that the penalty for that is a beating in the metro.
Despite extreme cold, a hundred thousand Russians protested Putin.
Americans; when will you get off your asses and protest in large numbers?
Scientists: You are Elsevier: time to overcome our fears and kill subscription journals.
US citizens: tell your senators not to use the FAA reauthorization to attack workers' rights.
The New York Times granted unquestioned validity to false claims that Keystone XL would create lots of jobs.
Even if these claims were true, they would be insignificant compared with the disaster that the CO2 from the tar sands oil would produce.
Bradley Manning will face trial.
Nixon wanted to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg in the same way for releasing the Pentagon Papers that disclosed US government lies about the Vietnam War.
The Iranian regime is threatening relatives of the staff of the BBC Persian service.
The BBC is sometimes biased, but whatever bad things it says about the regime in Iran are surely true. However, even a totally dishonest channel such as Faux News should not be censored, and certainly not attacked by hostage-taking.
Iran is not the only country that tramples the religious freedom of people who were formerly Muslims. Malaysia is one example but other Muslim countries do it too.
The Indiana bill requiring teaching of religious creation stories was withdrawn after it received public attention.
Here's the op/ed they responded to.
Note the true but irrelevant statements about CO2. "Plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today" — I don't know whether that's true, but it was hundreds of millions of years ago. Today's species and ecosystem are adapted to the CO2 levels they have evolved under.
Half of the signatories of that letter are funded by oil companies.
This may explain why they make the absurd claim that most climate scientists are conspiring to lie, merely to get grants. They are part of a funded conspiracy to deny global heating, so that's the accusation that occurs to them to make against others.
The Susan G Koman foundation now says it won't say whether it will fund Planned Parenthood again.
We are supposed to think that this reverses their decision to cut off that funding, but actually it only means they might reverse it later. Or they might not.
Reporters Without Borders relates Twitter's per-country censorship feature to a stated intention to have an office in China.
Checking email or other messages can be seriously addictive.
I'm not convinced by the argument that they are harder to resist than tobacco or alcohol. If people resist them less often, because there is less motivation to resist them, that doesn't prove they are "hard to resist". However, that doesn't invalidate the rest.
Syrian dissidents say Assad's army is shelling Homs, and has killed 200 or more civilians there in the latest attack.
Greek workers and employers have rejected minimum wage cuts that the EU wants to impose.
Austerity is targeted at the poorest.
Greece could not meet its targets after the first "bailout". Apparently the plans did not take account of how the first dose of austerity would impact the economy and tax revenue. Maybe that was a mistake, or maybe it was a plan to impose austerity in multiple steps. Using multiple steps could undermine resistance since at no one time did people have a chance to say yes or no to the whole thing. Austerity is targeted at the poorest.
Farmers are suing Monsanto for unwanted genetic contamination of their organic crops.
The danger is not only that Monsanto's patented artificial genes get into their crops, but that Monsanto then sues them.
Most Americans are against war with Iran. Even most Israelis are against it.
That by itself won't stop politicians from starting a war.
It's more important to stop Walmart from expanding than to get it to make some improvements.
Republicans want to eliminate the agreed-on reductions in military budget increases that result from the deadlog of the supercommittee.
That would get them what they always wanted: cuts only in goverment activities that benefit Americans.
Republicans want to kill funds from the gas tax for buses and trains.
Clearly they are doing this for the oil companies. They have a base cunning about tactics, but their goals are predictable: whatever will enrich the businesses in any area is their policy.
Indiana is on the verge of mandating religion in biology classes.
US citizens call on the House of Representatives to pass the STOCK act, which bans insider trading by members of Congress.
The Senate just passed it.
US citizens: call on Obama to revive the Federal Election Commission.
This is all the more important with Republicans' passing so many voter-suppression laws.
Occupy Wall Street stands with farmers against Monsanto.
The FDA should regulate the level of salt in prepared foods.
The copyright industry wants to add SOPA-style outrages to the Canadian copyright bill C-11.
Even worse, Canada's government is desperate to undermine democracy by signing the TPP free exploitation treaty. Absurdly, it is so desperate that the copyright industry is using this as a lever to impose nastier copyright laws.
Canadians should tell their government, don't sign the TPP.
The article would be clearer if it did not use the confusing term "intellectual property" which lumps together unrelated laws.
One of the board members of Susan G Koman is connected with "crisis pregnancy centers" that lure in women and give them false information in order to discourage abortion.
In particular, they make the false claim that abortion causes breast cancer.
A South Korean faces imprisonment for repeating North Korea's Twitter postings.
That he probably intended to mock those posts adds a level of self-defeating stupidity to the accusations, but even if he had meant them seriously, to censor an opinion is tyranny. It is tyranny to censors support for North Korea (as South Korea does). It is tyranny to censor Nazism (as France and Germany do).
Respect for freedom of speech means respecting the freedom to state even views you detest.
The FBI to Internet cafes: when customers try to protect their privacy, consider them terrorist suspects.
When customers don't try to protect their privacy, consider them sitting ducks.
A phone application sends photo and location information about a crime to the police.
Don't believe it is anonymous; the phone company can tell the police who sent it. If the criminal is one of them, they could come after you.
A proposal to regulate and tax sugar like tobacco and alcohol.
As a sugar addict, I don't relish the thought of being asked to show ID when I buy candy. However, I agree it would be good to do something to discourage sugar consumption. I think that a plausible tax would not be enough to decrease the amount of sugar used in restaurant food.
Report: Global Land Grab Efforts Will Lead to "Widespread Civil Unrest".
Digital voting for the Oscars will open the door to indetectable election rigging, just as in public elections.
The US no-fly list has doubled in size in the past year. The US also uses this as a way of exiling citizens, without trial and without admitting it.
The US admits that some are on the list solely to hamper their travel and not because of any expectation that they would try to endanger a flight.
There is no excuse for the no-fly list.
Haiti's US-imposed president is trying to welcome the former dictator Duvalier. This probably why a judge dismissed the torture and murder case against him on secret reasons that can't be valid.
When rap group After the Smoke posted its own performance on YouTube, Universal Music took it down with a false copyright claim.
These bullies enjoy impunity when they falsely use the power they have. They should not be given any additional power. When they ask us what we propose instead of SOPA to "solve their problems", the answer is, "Nothing — you have too much already. We must reduce existing copyright power."
US politicians love bashing Americans with drug tests, unless they have to get tested too.
Welfare in the US is only available to single parents, and only for a limited time. There is no rational reason for drug testing welfare applicants, especially not for recreational drugs that don't cost much and have no effect on their ability to handle their responsibilities. However, it is great as a distraction so people won't focus on how corporations are robbing them.
The founders of the Pirate Bay will have to go to prison, as Swedish courts accepted the argument that posting links to copyright infringement is a crime.
Republicans had Josh Fox and film crew arrested as they tried to film a public hearing in Congress.
How right-wing anti-abortion fanatics infiltrated the Susan G. Komen Foundation and constructed a phony excuse to condemn Planned Parenthood.
Obama's weak restraint on Israel: if Israel attacks Iran, the US won't join in.
Previous US presidents told Israel not to start wars. They were able to do this because Israel depends on US support.
Romney is using the old right-win trick of offering a big tax cut to the rich plus an insignificant tax cut for everyone else.
The main effect on everyone else would come from the consequent tremendous budget cuts.
A bill in Congress would make a small improvement in privacy for US mobile phone users. Phones would not be allowed to send information to anyone except the phone company.
This would not affect Big Brother's ability to find out your present and past whereabouts, so it won't alter my decision not to carry one of these.
US citizens: Obama's men are working on the successor of ACTA, once again negotiated secretly with manufacturers. Phone or fax Vice President Biden to pressure him to try to stop it.
The negotiators and their flunkies lie routinely just to keep activists out of the hotels where they are meeting.
Whatever they are planning, we know it will harm us and undermine democracy. That's what "free trade" treaties are for, and this one will aim to go further than any other before.
Craig Murray continues pushing for information about the secret unofficial foreign policy of Gould and Werritty, while the UK government does its best not to find out.
ABC is using misleading and false claims to make Americans think that Iran is a threat to the US. Reagan tried to pretend that Nicaragua's Sandinista government was a threat to the US, but it turned out only Nicaraguan women were in danger.
Twitter says per-country censorship is better than global censorship, but tries to duck the third option: continue to have no censorship. I already explained how per-country censorship will tend to encourage censorship in the future.
US citizens: call on Obama to dump FDA Food Safety head Michael Taylor, who is a former Monsanto lobbyist and is failing to enforce regulations against agribusiness.
The frequent murder of dissidents and journalists in Honduras "made in the USA".
A US appeals court ruled that Americansn have no legal resource if they are arrested in the US, handed over to the army without a trial, and tortured in prison.
This is especially dangerous given the law, passed by Congress and signed by Obama, allowing imprisonment without trial.
It not only "can happen here", it is already happening.
London's new bylaws for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, imposed in honor of the Olympic Games, ban carrying signs and making speeches.
This continues a decades-long trend to ban protests and convert democracy into a sham. An earlier step was the creation of the crime of "aggravated trespass" which basically means "protesting which wasn't illegal for any other reason."
Why do Americans pay 3 or 4 times as much for medical treatment as other advanced countries? Follow the bills.
Scientists: Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico Dying 'At an Alarming Rate'.
Taxing the rich is not enough — the US needs to redirect spending towards helping the poor instead of arms and war.
A UK report proposes to continue sending police to infiltrate protest groups, only with a little more supervision. Perhaps they won't be allowed to have children with real activists.
Google has set up a system for per-country censorship on Blogger by redirecting access to a country-specific host name.
This can be dangerous for the same reason Twitter's per-country censorship is dangerous.
There is a feature to disable the redirection.
I am not sure whether this is enough to prevent the danger. Will people notice and complain if it ceases to work in certain countries?
A group of Britons plead guilty to plans to set off bombs, including some in the London Stock Exchange.
The UK needs to crush the London Stock Exchange, which is the main obstacle to restored democracy there, but a bomb in its building would not do the job.
The UK has abolished protection against self-incrimination if it happens to cover "commercial" information or "intellectual property". That means only scraps of that human right remain.
Since the concept of "intellectual property" is incoherent, any argument, policy, law or treaty which is formulated in terms of that is almost certainly bad.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose plans for massive US surveillance of the Internet.
In the US: rebuke the foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, for bowing to right-wing pressure and cutting funds for Planned Parenthood to do breast-cancer screening.
Since those right-wing groups are against women's rights in general, women's death from breast cancer doesn't bother them. Especially when they are poor women.
Why so much foreclosure fraud? One explanation is that banks began using mortgages as tokens for short-term trading, and in order to do so, they had to violate legal requirements for assigning mortgages.
The UK government misled Parliament in order to build nuclear power plants.
The conclusions of The Limits to Growth, that economic growth cannot continue indefinitely, are being ignored by the world.
In the short term, economic growth can end the fiscal crisis. But in the long term we need to adapt to a world without growth. I think that stabilizing and then decreasing the population is the way to do it without poverty.
Multinational publisher Elsevier paid New York congresscrony Carolyn Maloney to introduce a bill to hamper public access to medical research.
China's largest lake is empty due to the Three Gorges Dam.
NATO's Taliban prisoners think that the Taliban will oust Karzai after NATO troops leave. I share their expectations.
The Taliban are tyrants, and not only towards women, but Karzai's corrupt regime cannot hold on to anything, and there is no use propping it up forever by perpetual war.
How the International Republican Institute has opposed democracy, in several countries.
Medecins Sans Frontieres says that ACTA threatens medecines for poor countries.
Amnesty International says the US must disclose its policies about drone attacks in Pakistan.
Obama admitted that these are being used to attack in Pakistan, won't allow any discussion about the details, and expects us to take his word that the US is not killing lots of bystanders.
A comparison between Occupy in 2011 and ACT UP in the 80s shows the US is systematically squeezing the right to protest, and aiming a military response at dissent.
Naomi Wolf calls it the beginning of a civil war.
Intentional safety flaws in inspection equipment lead predictably to avoidable leaks in oil pipelines, and this will apply to Keystone XL too.
Obama wants to sell military equipment to Bahrain, which has used military equipment against protesters during the past year.
Obama's big miitary sale to Bahrain was blocked by Congress, so he has split it into many small sales in order to bypass Congress.
Obama seems to be preparing for war with Iran. His intelligence director openly accused Iran of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US, which seemed implausible from the outset. I don't think the Iranian regime would scruple to kill someone, but this assassination would onlyt have done it harm.
Obama ducked responsibility for the attempt to extradite and prosecute Richard O'Dwyer for running a search engine in the UK. He says he played no role in choosing that particular target.
That may well be true, but why did the Department of Justice decide to pursue someone like O'Dwyer? Is it because Obama appointed several lawyers from the music and movie companies to important jobs in that department? If so, he is directly responsible for the wrong, even if he did not choose the victim.
His use of the propaganda term "intellectual property" instead of "copyright" is further propaganda for their side.
Assad's men are fighting rebelious soldiers in many cities of Syria including Damascus.
Video proof means the government cannot pretend ignorance.
Iran's phony democracy is imprisoning union organizers.
Ultimately there is not much difference between the Islamic Republic and fascism (which Mussolini said could have been called "corporatism").
Human Rights Watch: Israel's supreme court has abandoned the defense of human rights. This is because the right wing planned to put an extremist "settler" onto the court.
DC thugs tasered a protester who shouted at them. They told him to walk away, which he did, and they followed him and attacked him.
New Yorkers in the South Bronx rallied against the New York Thug Department's practice of searching people on the street without specific cause.
Note how the thugs create excuses to arrest people that they are beating up.
NYPD, under fire, to end CIA collaboration program
A UK resident citizen who joked he would "destroy America" (UK slang for have a party) and "dig up Marilyn Monroe") in LA was treated as a real terrorist and blocked from entering the US.
They even searched his girlfriend's baggage for shovels.
When US border agents tell us how much they do to keep us "safe", I am sure they will count him as one of the people they protected us from.
This reminds me of when the Australian TV producer tried to go to LA to "shoot a pilot", and the border numbskulls thought he meant he would kill someone.
China bashing is cheap talk for US politicians, but it is really the US government that's responsible for the policies that enabled sweatshop workers (some in China) to replace well-paid jobs (often in the US).
In the US: join a local action against war with Iran.
In Europe: support protests against ACTA on Feb 11 (and after).
US citizens: tell Congress not to approve undersea oil drilling in Arctic waters.
US citizens: support the STOCK act, which would make it illegal for congresscritters and senators to do stock trading based on their knowledge of upcoming legislative action.
Employees in Egypt of the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute have taken refuge in the US embassy.
I would not describe the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute as working for democracy and human rights. At least, not always. Sometimes they are instruments of US policy.
For instance, they were willing to monitor the election in Honduras, where the violence of the coup-installed government made a fair election impossible even if votes were counted correctly, even as all other international organizations refused to grant the election that legimacy. This clearly reflected US support for the coup.
However, if there is anyone in Egypt that the US would support, it is the generals that closed these organizations. Given their past and present relations with the US, I suspect this is a political ploy.
The Euro-zone has agreed to tie its hands, so that its only response to recession will be austerity and more recession.
Amnesty International calls Fadhila Mubarak a prisoner of conscience. She was sentenced to prison in Bahrain for the crime of protesting.
The FDA spied on the email of whistleblowers who told Congress about wrongdoing inside the agency.
It is legitimate, in general, for the FDA monitor what is done with FDA computers. But it must not harass or fire whistleblowers no matter how it finds out about them.
Today's movie pirates are the 6 major companies that dominate Hollywood.
The page segues into a series of rants, but the first part is interesting. One flaw is that it uses the term "intellectual property", which promotes the spin of the companies that it criticizes.
Military Secretary Panetta had trouble listing all the countries in which US troops are now fighting. And Congress has never authorized most of these conflicts.
Iraqis, in government and on the street, are outraged over unauthorized US drone flights.
The Pentagon invites students to develop better drones.
If any of these ideas is applicable to civilian life, they won't do us much good since the Pentagon will own them.
It would be good for people to protest this program to the schools involved.
The pesticide imidacloprid is suspected of causing the collapse of honey bee hives. In an experiment, it tripled the probability that bees got infected by a fungus.
Libyan opponents of Gaddafi will sue a senior UK spy official over the UK's role in kidnapping them and delivering them to Gaddafi.
Indians: write to your state's chief minister to oppose the BRAI bill that would end states' power to block GMOs.
Human Rigths Watch: Indonesia should drop charges against Papuan activists, and stop punishing political activity as "treason".
Some were accused of reading a declaration of independence for West Papua, which was made from 1961. Can anyone tell me what country West Papua declared independence from? Was it Indonesia, or the Netherlands?
The declaration of independence they read was for indepenendence from the Netherlands.
The copyright companies want to force search engines to agree to a "voluntary code" of censorship.
Republicans want to use the transportation bill to legalize drilling for oil in the Arctic.
Of course they have resisted any reform to reduce the danger of oil pills.
The Public Eye award identifies companies that do great harm to the world.
Egyptian democrats are not satisfied that the military "lifted" the state of emergency... except when they decide it still applies.
Even police joined in mass protests in Barcelona against budget cuts.
UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon called on African countries to respect gay rights.
Protesters in Indonesia have pressured the state to promise to cancel plans for a gold mine that could pollute their land. However, the inhabitants don't trust the government to carry through on this cancellation.
Meredith Alexander: Why I resigned (from a London Olympics body) over Bhopal.
Biofuel from palm oil and soybeans is as dirty as tar sand oil.
A Japanese nuclear engineer says that the recent safety inspections of Japanese nuclear plants were not adequate.
Megaupload's users' data is in danger of being erased now that the US government has finished searching it.
This as users plan to sue the FBI over the files that may be erased.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals will fund a London police unit aimed specifically at organized wildlife trafficking
Hardened wildlife traffickers are just as bad as hardened banksters. So I approve of this plan. But the banksters must not be left out.
Afghan immigrants in Canada have been convicted of an "honor killing" against family members.
The Pakistani MD who helped the US find Osama bin Laden was imprisoned and tortured in Pakistan.
The fake vaccination scheme seems to have been wrong, because it sowed distrust of real vaccination projects. Maybe this should be a crime, but it apparently isn't. In any case, imprisonment without trial, and torture, are just as wrong when Pakistan does them as when the US does them.
If the US consistently opposed torture, and didn't practice torture, it would be in a stronger position to criticize the torture of its friends. It would also perhaps deserve admiration and support.
Assad's army is attacking residential neighborhoods in Damascus where rebels had taken control.
IAEA inspectors will visit Iran's underground uranium enrichment plant.
Explaining why the reductions in planned US military spending are not reductions in military spending.
Americans: imagine if Iran's government said the sort of things that the US government says about Iran.
The Oakland thugs arrested everyone they found at the Occupy protest, even the journalists. This is the report of one of them.
US citizens: tell the National Park Service to respect Occupy DC.
The Treasury Department under Obama approved high pay for banksters that got bailed out, as exceptions to the bailout rules.
There were protests against ACTA as most European governments signed it.
You can tell that ACTA is bad at the root because it claims to be against "counterfeiting" but represses sharing between individuals. You can see more of this mean-spirited propaganda in the way the Guardian described the treaty:
Acta is a far-reaching agreement that aims to harmonize international standards on protecting the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion, and a range of other products that often fall victim to intellectual property theft.
"Protect" is propaganda, using "rights" to describe private privilege and not users' rights is too. Using "intellectual property" to refer to various laws is always misleading, since it reifies a generalization that is misguided.
The idea that there could be "theft" of this imaginary something is even more twisted. This is the language that the proponents of ACTA use to muddle thinking about what they want.
There is still a chance to defeat ACTA by convincing the European Parliament not to sign it.
How car exhaust causes tornados — as well as floods and droughts.
49 million Americans are at risk that a nuclear power plant accident could pollute their drinking water. This includes the water supplies of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Cleveland and Detroit.
Bahrain's suppression forces have killed over a dozen people using tear gas canisters as weapons. Many others have been injured. Often they fire tear gas into homes, from which it does not disperse.
Oakland thugs arrested 300 Occupy protesters who were marching.
The mayor and the city endorse the democracy-suppression agenda that equates protesters to "terrorists".
This agenda plans for the US to remain democratic in form, but all avenues to reach a substantial number of people with ideas that the 1% don't approve will be shut off one by one.
The French government has voted to ban another historical opinion: denial of the genocide of the Armenians.
This lowers France to the same level as Turkey, which has convicted people for acknowledging the genocide of the Armenians.
In Turkey, to affirm the genocide is heroic. In France, under this law, it will be as worthless as any statement dictated by the state.
Ironically, this law will make it impossible to affirm the genocide in France with seriousness. Where denying a position is banned, affirmation of that position is a ritual of conformity rather than a real statement of belief.
Freedom-loving people in France who do not wish to deny the genocide (for instance, because they agree that it occurred) must object to any any attempt to raise in France the issue of what happened to the Armenians: "Where we are forbidden to discuss this with integrity, we could only have a sham discussion. Let us talk about this issue only outside France."
I hope the lack of diplomatic relations between France and Turkey will not stop them from exchanging political prisoners: Turks who affirm the genocide and Frenchman who deny it.
The US marine who led a massacre in Iraq won't go to prison.
Iraqis are angry, but not surprised.
Tibetans held public protests and Chinese suppression forces shot them.
Like thugs anywhere, the Chinese said the protesters started the fight.
Anti-torture activists in North Carolina have investigated CIA torture activities in their state, and hope to prevent the CIA's subcontractor from doing any more of this.
Apple will soon have more cash than the US government. This shows it should pay a higher tax rate.
An EFF article which argues that Twitter's per-country censorship is benign actual explains exactly why it is dangerous.
The EFF has missed the crucial consequence of the information given. At present, Twitter need only obey court orders from the US, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Japan. Without this handy per-country censorship feature, Twitter would hesitate to open an office in Turkey and make itself vulnerable to orders to censor criticism of Ataturk.
With no office in Turkey, if Turkey ordered Twitter to censor such material, Twitter could disregard it. And if Thailand tried to order Twitter to censor criticism of the King of Thailand, Twitter could shrug it off. If Mubarak, in January 2011, ordered Twitter to delete a tweet criticizing him, Twitter could shrug it off. Mubarak was led to try to block access to such sites by shutting down the Internet in Egypt because he could not censor selectively.
Now, however, there is nothing to discourage Twitter from opening an office in Turkey and censoring people there, opening an office in Thailand and censoring people there, and opening an office in the next Egypt and censoring people there.
In 1981, Gingrich advocated legalizing marijuana. In 1996, he proposed to execute anyone importing a couple of ounces and said that marijuana was "destroying our children".
He smoked marijuana, and reconciled this with his draconian law by saying that marijuana was moral for him and immoral for those of the 90s.
Next he will blame this lack of political constancy on the marijuana he smoked, but I think it is a lack of moral fiber.
The US financial sector has grown to 8% of the economy, and political donations from rich banksters have shot from 15 million in 1990 to 178 million in 2010.
This is how they eliminated the regulations meant to prevent the crisis and how they prevented new regulations to stop another.
The Portuguese collecting society that pretends to represent authors advocates a new tax on blank disks to further subsidize that society. It claimed support from 100 authors, but some of them never gave permission to use their names.
The New York Thug Commissioner participated in making a video condemning Muslims, then lied about it.
I have no information except this article about that video, so I don't know whether it was racist hate, but lying about it is intolerable in a city official either way.
In press freedom, the US isn't number one. It is number 47.
Gush Shalom's weekly ad compares housing security for Israelis and Palestinias in the West Bank.
The cost of globalizating trade policies: 60% of Apple's factory subcontractors make people work more than 60 hours a week.
Even if that were reduced to zero, it is a tremendous step backward in working conditions compared with former production in the US. It was made possible by government decisions and treaties, which were themselves purchased by the megacorporations that take advantage of them.
Employees of Murdoch's newspaper, the Sun, have been arrested as well a policeman; the charge is that the former paid the latter for scoops.
It is interesting to contrast this policeman with whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg and perhaps Bradley Manning. Whistleblowers release information about official misconduct, for the public good, whereas this policeman is accused of selling personal information which doesn't describe official misconduct.
US citizens: Tell Congress not to cancel the reduction in increases in military spending that resulted from the supercommittee's deadlock.
I call it "military spending" rather than "defense spending" since often it is used to attack. And I don't use the term "cuts" since it is a matter of reducing planned increases, not reducing spending. Nonetheless, I signed the petition.
The US should make real cuts in military spending.
Big Pharma companies recruit and pay "key opinion leaders" among medical doctors and academics to encourage non-tested uses of drugs.
This Is a Test... (And Too Many Americans Are Failing).
UK Prime Minister Cameron's argument for giving the executives of a public-controlled bailed-out bank millions in bonuses — in addition to their large salaries — is that otherwise they might quit.
Ok, let them quit. It will help reduce executive pay in general.
The UK's cruel government's attack on the poor is now targeting disabled people, but they made a visible protest in London.
I read elsewhere that the UK is having a worse depression now than in the 1930. Austerity is the cause — it always makes a depression worse.
The Arab League suspended its monitoring campaign in Syria because Assad has continued and increased the violence since the campaign started.
I don't think this is the Arab League's fault. While there was a suspicion that its Sudanese leader might close his eyes to the violence, evidently that did not occur. The plan was worth a try, but it depended on shaming the regime, and the regime did not care enough to change its conduct.
Just as the Argentine military rulers attacked the Falklands Islands to distract attention from the desaparecidos, the current government is using the Falklands to distract from austerity.
That most Argentines support the expansionist agenda does not mean this isn't government manipulation. Rather, it means this is effective and long-term government manipulation. I'm glad some young Argentines are starting to see through it.
The inhabitants of the Falklands are people, and Argentines must stop thinking of them as mere appurtenances to islands they covet.
Laws to ban publishing photos of the conditions in farms have been proposed in several states.
This shows that state representatives are proposing laws for agribusiness that they hope to sneak through without public notice. This is another sign of the corruption of democracy in the US.
RBS, a bailed-out UK bank now largely state-owned, has been lobbying in the US against banking reform.
Pharma companies profit from perverse incentives in the US health system, and they oppose reforms that would remove those perverse incentives.
One reason so many Afghan soldiers attack NATO troops is that the two armies practically hate each other.
USA Today presents Republican lies about Keystone XL jobs as unquestionable truth.
Drive-by x-ray machines now endanger the American public.
These X-ray scanners are not safe for humans. Neither are the airport scanners.
There is no danger if Customs agents x-ray a car while nobody is in it. The car can't get cancer. If the Customs agents drive your car through the scanner, that's safe for you, but it isn't safe for them.
Outside of Customs inspection, the cops in general should not be allowed to search everyone's cars, not this way or any way.
Huffington Post has a special section on health news, sponsored by a drug company.
That means there is a danger it will fail to cover dangerous activities of that company.
Uri Avnery salutes the Egyptian parliament and shows that Israel and Egypt can have real peace.
I think the controversy about privacy policies of Facebook and Google is a distraction. No privacy policies could stop the FBI from collecting whatever data the company has about you, without serving a court order on the company, let alone on you. Thus, I think the crucial issue is to reduce what information these companies get about us.
Billionaire's "philanthropy" is no substitute for justice for the poor, and often it does harm.
Sarkozy and Karzai agreed to push for NATO troops to leave Afghanistan in 2013.
Why wait so long?
Human Rights Watch says the United States fails to enforce human rights conditions imposed on military aid to Colombia, nor the labor rights conditions in the Free Exploitation Agreement.
This doesn't surprise me. The 1% don't care about these conditions; they were added to make a bad activity look good, just as the labor rights conditions were added to the Free Exploitation Agreement
Colombia's military is associated with terrorists, so this "aid" is support for terrorism. And this Free Exploitation Agreement, like all of them, must be abolished.
The Pentagon budget "cuts" (actually reductions from planned spending) need to be doubled.
An Israeli general recognizes Israel cannot stop Iran's nuclear program with a military attack.
The purpose of such an attack would be to get the US and Iran to fight. The Republicans are eager for a chance.
Elliot Abrams says that the US knew how Argentina's military rulers were handing out the babies of dissident women that they killed.
Country-by-country censorship features effectively invite every country to censor, by removing the global pushback.
The US has work to do if it wants to merit the description, "land of the free".
Public Citizen calls for breaking up the Bank of America. Its size endangers financial stability.
Perhaps this is due to the recent new sanctions, or the planned EU oil buying cutoff. If they convince Iran's government to make a deal, that makes them a potential success.
However, the point is to negotiate and get a diplomatic solution, rather than have a war. For this to occur, the US must also sincerely seek a diplomatic solution, rather than a war.
The EU Parliament's rapporteur in charge of ACTA quit and denounced the treaty.
It would have been better to quit during the negotiations, but better late than never.
Police have trumped up various excuses to evict Occupy LSX protests and squats.
Escalating violence in Syria amounts to a kind of civil war.
The UK was about to deport dissidents back to Cameroon, where they had already been tortured. A letter-writing campaign saved them.
That prominent dissidents faced deportation shows the system's criteria are wrong.
US citizens: support reproductive rights.
Everyone: call for protection of the Ross Sea ecosystem and fish.
US citizens: oppose Alaska sea drilling.
The Coast Guard has said that it has "zero" spill-response capability in the Arctic, and the oil industry has no proven cleanup method for ice-filled waters.
Although I admire these achievements, he ought to stop prosecuting people for insulting him. That is an injustice. The law which makes that a crime needs to be repealed.
The former dictator of Guatemala will face charges of genocide and torture.
This is very good, but Mr Torture (Dubya) continues to enjoy impunity.
Although Obama dropped the idea of giving the banksters immunity for fraud, it is too soon to tell if he really will do a good job of prosecuting them.
Obama associates closely with banksters — he keeps appointing them as his chief of staff and to other positions.
Arguing that the US has no case against Megaupload.
Governor Walker is receiving millions of dollars of donations to try to defeat the recall vote.
Greenpeace has complained to the SEC that Transcanada deceived its shareholders by exaggerated claims about jobs from the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline.
A Republican governor used state funds to lobby for the pipeline.
The Gates Foundation considers global heating an opportunity to make everyone accept genetically modified foods. Not that that would help much.
Genetically modified foods are not inherently dangerous, or harmful to grow and eat. However, any particular kind might be dangerous; and they are all harmful to farmers if they are patented.
Gingrich's think tank, from which he resigned in 2011, was lobbied for various wealthy interests.
Bank of America demands people delete criticism of the bank if they want their mortgages adjusted.
French police persecute Blacks and Arabs with repeated identity checks and searches on the street. Similar persecution is reported from the UK, and I wouldn't be surprised if it still happens in New York City despite the absence of Night-Mayor Giuliani.
However, at least the US makes efforts to stop this.
Making it a crime to "insult police" is an injustice in its own right. (Another unjust French law punishes insulting the president.)
Freedom of speech includes the right to insult anyone.
Obama wants to reopen undersea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, it seems that government agencies knowingly presented false low estimates of spill rate in the Big Spill. And recently it proposed to approve drilling in Arctic waters.
What a friend to the oil companies!
Romney has invested heavily in mortgage-backed securities and profited from foreclosures, show his tax returns.
They also show investments not mentioned in his candidate financial disclosure forms.
Romney says they were left out because he has so many investments that he couldn't keep track of them all. If true, that in itself proves a point about him.
US citizens: sign this petition calling on broadcasters to cover the issue of corporations' political ads.
Blaming poor immigrants is a useful tool for distracting people from how the 1% are screwing them.
Illegal immigration does cause an economic problem: because these immigrants don't dare complain about mistreatment at work, their employers can drive down wages and working conditions for citizens and legal residents of a country.
However, if labor law enforcement were separated from immigration law enforcement, so that even illegal immigrants could complain about abuses by their employers, it would reduce this effect.
Meanwhile, prison labor has the same effect — so why don't the politicians try to eliminate that? Because it isn't a useful distraction, I suspect.
Twitter has a new system to submit to censorship in each country in parallel.
Although this is designed to inform people they are victims of censorship, I don't think that secondary feature compensates for the harm done by Twitter's acceptance of censorship. Ask yourself, would this sort of censorship in Egypt have helped Mubarak stay in power? I think so.
Hawaii is considering a strict data-retention requirement that might ban anonymous Internet access.
Later: the bill was withdrawn.
In Russia, public protest is prohibited — even dolls holding signs.
It appears the government lacks real control over the country, which is run by various militias.
The UK now permits trying the same person more than once for the same alleged crime. The result is that no one is ever really acquitted.
There are so many conditions that can allow trying the accused again, that a person could be tried over and over. Each trial gives a different jury the chance to convict him. Sooner or later, even if there is no significant change in the evidence, conviction will occur.
This is why the rule against double jeopardy was made, and the reason is just as valid as it always was.
Everyone: call on the European Parliament to reject ACTA.
US citizens: call on Schneiderman to prosecute the banksters vigorously.
US citizens: tell Congress to return the MPAA's money.
Whenever prostitutes start advertising on a web site, a pervert kills some of them. Then people propose to "protect" the prostitutes by blocking their advertisements.
This pretends to be motivated by concern for the prostitutes who might be attacked, but that is bullshit. Any prostitute prefers to seek safety by not advertising in a web site can do that now. Shutting the site would only hurt the prostitutes, and I suspect it reflects by the hatred many people feel towards them.
Anyone who really wants to protect prostitutes from violence should support measures to deter the violence rather than obstruct their business.
Mitt Romney: Banks that foreclose "aren't bad people".
That's true, because they are not people. They are bad corporations.
Notice how he presumes that the foreclosures are honest, covering up foreclosure fraud.
That may have to do with his support for a state official that permits foreclosure fraud to continue.
The US is avoiding court cases that might decide whether tracking someone's location through a cell phone requires a warrant.
The EU is considering a directive to regulate collection and storage of personal data by Internet services.
If the order to delete personal data is taken seriously, it requires deleting all backup copies — which is not feasible. But if it does not include backup copies, I don't see that it does much good: you're fooling yourself if you think the data has been deleted.
What's really needed is to prevent the collection of the personal data.
I lean towards the view that this is self-incrimination in disguise.
August Walter says BP fired him for refusing to help BP cover up its defective cleanup of the Big Spill.
Inhabitants of La Rioja, in Argentina, are protesting to stop a mining project that would pollute the province's only water source.
Colombia's most dangerous terror gang, the paramilitares, must still have state protection.
With unions weakened in a time of high unemployment, companies are using lockouts to crush them and lower Americans' wages.
Business profits are booming already, but nowadays, they see no reason to allow any of that to trickle down to workers.
Ralph Nader comments on Obama's State of the Union address.
Romney's budget proposal would make drastic cuts in US domestic spending.
He has enough money to buy his way out of the resulting problems. You and I don't.
Giant dollar signs were displayed on the Supreme Court to protest the Corporations United decision (*).
* The official name of this case, "Citizens United", comes from the deceptive name used by an association to promote the interests of the corporations. We should call it what it was, not what it pretended to be.
College education in the US used to offer broadening of the mind as well as a path to higher salaries. Nowadays the former has been undermined, and the latter often doesn't come through either.
Chris Hedges has sued Obama for signing the law to allow imprisonment without trial.
Mexico's soldiers murder and torture civilians with impunity.
Gingrich, Romney and Santorum all supported Bush's war with Iraq. Now they want war with Iran.
They have not learned the lesson of the suffering caused by Bush's war of aggression. Maybe they learned a different lesson: that war — any war — serves their political purposes.
The UK wants to make the European Court of Human Rights limit itself to criticizing obvious dictatorships, and not protect human rights in corporatocracies such as the UK.
A former stock exchange president speaks at an Occupy Wall Street protest.
Afghan government troops have tried 26 times to kill US or NATO personnel.
People will do things for Karzai's government — mainly in exchange for money, whether salary or via corruption — but hardly anyone feels loyalty to it. Thus, there is no way to build up an Afghan army that isn't full of people who hate the foreign troops.
Only a fraction hate them enough to risk their lives to kill some, but many are almost at that point. A mere insult (like urinating on corpses) can push them over the line.
Karzai's government won't stand for two years after it is no longer propped up, so why keep the fighting going?
Most Americans oppose rule by corporations, but need to be shown ways to put an end to it.
In the US, long prison sentences are imposed for thefts of a few dollars, but thefts of billions go unpunished.
If this is adopted, I still would not carry a cell phone. I do not object if prosecutors could get a warrant to track someone, then track him. However, to put everyone's location data in a dossier that can be checked retroactively goes far beyond that, and I decline to provide data for it.
US citizens: phone your Republican senators to support Obama's proposal that all nominees for office receive a vote in the Senate within 90 days.
Amnesty International warns that the prosecution of Judge Garzon for investigating Franco's murders threatens human rights enforcement world wide.
However, if he really did allow police to listen to prisoners' discussions with their lawyers, that was wrong.
The US will resume diplomatic relations with Burma in response to the release of many (but not all) the political prisoners.
The US, in its foreign relations, often acts to bully and oppress other countries. Perhaps in the case of Burma it is serving the cause it ought to serve. If so, this step might make sense. This reward might convince Burma's rulers that freeing the rest of the political prisoners will bring further reward.
It looks like a very good thing; however, I did not sign it myself because it is not clear what I would be promising to do if I signed. I hope they will clear up that question, and then I can reconsider.
It may be possible to overcome this by having several user names, one for each Google service. However, it is much better if you prevent Google from knowing who you are. For instance, if you make sure that your Google searches are not even known to be from one person.
Only a few of the visitors to Japan experience this arrest, torture and shakedown, but all visitors experience a preliminary injustice described in the fourth paragraph: being fingerprinted. I will not visit a country which does that to its visitors.
Amnesty International reported on this practice in 2002. Apparently nothing has been done to correct it.
So Craig Murray tried to contact the police investigation, to give evidence. The police told him there is no inquiry.
Murray later added that he has been put in touch with a police investigation and will report on whether the investigation seems serious.
Former cabinet ministers probably won't be scared of this, but those who are younger and less well established are likely to be intimidated out of disagreeing with the state.
Many Palestinians in Israeli jails are tortured. Many make accusations which are dismissed. One is suing with an ex-guard's testimony to support him.
If we look at this situation in terms of the idea of national interest, it is incomprehensible that the US does not publicly dissociate itself from Israel enough to remain neutral in such a war.
In fact, US politicians are doing very little to avoid war with Iran. Perhaps the 1% want another war to distract Americans from their economic warfare activities.
Human Rights Watch condemned Israel for many kinds of human rights violations. It condemned Hamas, ruling in Gaza, as well.
Although SOPA is dead in the US, the copyright lobby is pushing for similar provisions in Canada, as well as a vague 3-or-so-strikes disconnection policy (without due process, of course).
If a woman does not want to have a child, for whatever reason, then she should not have one. We should not demand that she justify the decision.
Israel imprisoned the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament without charges, apparently to prevent negotiations between Hamas and Fatah.
The 1% like to claim that they are entirely responsible for a company's profits, so they should keep them all. And that's what they do. They don't allow anything to trickle down.
Obama has attacked whistleblowers like no president before. In effect, Obama considers that telling the public is telling the enemy, because the public is the enemy.
What the US does now is as bad as what Stalin did. The difference is that Stalin did them frequently, while the US does them rarely, and most people think it can't happen to them.
This is the right decision, but I fear it won't do much good for long. With ubiquitous license plate scanners, the police can track all cars without touching any of them.
The Pirate Party of Catalunya is organizing lawsuits against the FBIfor the damage it has done to users of Megaupload.
Jill Stein spoke at the DC "Occupy the Courts" rally for a constitutional amendment to reject the idea that corporations have human rights.
According to the book Corporations Are Not People, by Jeff Clements, the idea that corporations are entitled to human rights was promoted by Justice Powell, who proposed this to the US Chamber of Commerce in 1971 as a way to protect cigarette companies, and shortly thereafter was appointed to the Supreme Court to put it into effect.
Romania's foreign minister was fired after insulting protesters, but they won't be satisfied with that
The comparison of protesters with the "miners" of the 90s is backwards. Those "miners" were organized by the state to intimidate protesters.
An armed band flying the flag of Gaddafi took over a town in Libya.
I wonder what this fighting is really about. I don't think it is about Gaddafi or his family. I speculate it might be factionalism or tribal rivalry. I hope to see analysis from someone who knows more than I do.
Foxconn's chairman compared his employees to animals.
US prosecutors are trying to get data about dissidents from social networking sites without giving the subjects a chance to contest.
It is trampling the rights of people who resist trampling our rights.
Israel keeps Palestinian youths, even children, in solitary confinement for weeks or months, interrogating them occasionally for hours in shackles.
They are pressured to confess, and also testify against others, which provides no real evidence of any crimes except those of the people that run the prison.
Of course, the government spokesmen parrot the official line. How they can live with themselves, I cannot understand.
When religious people say that you shouldn't be allowed to criticize their religion, what they want is this.
SOPA will be redrafted, says its author.
Hollywood will try to divide the opposition by placating parts of the opposition so it can defeat the rest.
Top officials at the "Department of Justice" were formerly partners in a law firm that represented banksters.
It is not enough for high officials to avoid conflicts of interest to the extent required by law. They must make their honesty unmistakably clear. We must know that our Attorney General does not hesitate to prosecute the most dangerous criminals: big business.
Citizens of North Carolina are taking action at state level to stop the use of their state's facilities for transporting prisoners to be tortured.
The South Carolina primary used faith-based voting: computerized voting machines that have been rigged before.
This article cites several examples of election fraud through manipulation of computerized voting machines in the US.
BP (Billionaire Polluters) forecasts a shining future in which the US becomes almost self-sufficient in oil and gas, thanks to plenty of fracking plus tar sands oil from Alberta. (Apparently Canada in this scenario becomes part of the US.)
The forecast includes increased nuclear power generation; does it include any Fukushima-style disasters?
With a world-wide increase in CO2 emission of 28% by 2030, this forecast implies disaster on the way, but doesn't say so.
Some apartment buildings in Japan were built using gravel from near Fukushima, and the radiation level inside them is almost twice the background level in Denver.
I've seen estimates that sea-level background radiation kills 1.5% of the people, and Denver's higher background level (due to its higher altitude) is estimated to kill 3% of the people there (not necessarily when they are young). These buildings, providing extra radiation comparable to Denver's background, might kill 3% too.
This is a naive estimate. Someone knowing the isotopes involved could make a better estimate that might be much bigger or much smaller. But it's enough to show that those buildings ought to be knocked down, or else left vacant until the radiation level has died down
US citizens: tell companies that support ALEX that you want them to stop.
A web site designer in Iran faces execution because someone posted porn on his image-sharing site.
SOPA and PIPA are designed to allow anyone to shut an entire web site if allegedly copyright-infringing material is posted on it. Perhaps Dodd, head of the MPAA, should go to Iran to study best practices.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and senators to support a constitutional amendment to reject "human rights" for corporations. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The Republican National Committee is suing to allow corporations to give campaign donations directly to candidates.
The grounded cruise ship that killed perhaps 30 passengers and crew could also destroy a nature reserve if its fuel leaks.
Ecosystems in which poor people live provide 500 billion dollars of services annually to the rest of the world.
Maybe it would be fair or useful to pay those people not to allow development which would destroy those services.
Why does Apple do manufacturing in China rather than the US?
This article criticizes Apple's immediate reason. Looking more deeply, I can suggest underlying reasons to criticize too.
Governor Walker's voter-suppression law might protect him in his recall election.
I have said for decades that right-wingers intentionally call centrist media "Liberal" to pressure them to move to the right. Now we have proof: Bill Kristol privately confessed that he was lying when he called NPR "liberal".
(The Guardian linked to this note, but summarized it in a misleading way. See the Guardian Correction.)
The government of New Zealand arrested the founders of Megaupload to send them to the US for trial. They are accused of commercial copyright infringement. And many of their personal goods were seized, for no obvious reason. Here is what the US says about them.
I do not advocate in general legalizing commercial use of music without permission. (I think all works meant for practical uses must be free, but that does not apply to music, since music is meant for appreciation, not for practical use.) So if Megaupload intended to do that, I won't criticize stopping it.
Lots of people used Megaupload in ways that did not infringe copyright. Now they are screwed: the US can get their data and they can't. The US government has shown contempt for thousands of people who it has not accused of anything.
I wonder why the executives of Megaupload have been charged personally with crimes, when the executives of Massey Energy, who intentionally disregarded safety rules and killed employees, are not?
Perhaps it's because Megaupload was the enemy of corporations that dominate the US, while Massey Energy is one of those corporations.
Apple wants to invite millions to work on digital textbooks that Apple would control and would only run on iThings..
Even people who don't understand the injustice of nonfree software see the danger of this.. That's good, but making these textbooks run on competing nonfree platforms is not enough to make them ethical. E-textbooks must carry free licenses and must be capable of running on a free software platform.
Hamas' political leader, who called for a policy of nonviolence except when attacked, appears to have lost a power-struggle.
This means that Hamas continues ready in principle to attack Israel, just as Israel continues ready to attack Hamas. In practice both of them mostly comply with a long-term truce.
Islamist parties dominate Egypt's new parliament.
I hope that won't threaten Egyptians' human rights.
Obama offered religious organizations one extra year to comply with the new requirement that health plans cover birth control.
I don't think this is unreasonable as a compromise, but note that the issue only arises because in the US medical coverage is tied to employment. If we had a national health service, the issue would not even arise.
Obama's "Jobs Council" seems to advocate the Republican agenda.
In effect, he has adopted the lie that increased business profits means more jobs. Business profits are increasing in the US but few Americans are getting jobs.
I go to drug stores and supermarkets that have self-checkout machines. I never use them, and I shout out to the people who do, "If you use those machines, you're putting Americans out of work."
Wilman Villar Mendoza, political prisoner in Cuba, died in prison after being on a hunger strike.
He had been imprisoned after an unfair trial for participating in public protests.
His supporters held a vigil for him outside the hospital, and some of them were arrested for that.
Unfair trials continue in another part of Cuba where the US government is responsible.
In an act of contempt for freedom of speech, the UK convicted people for distributing leaflets advocating a death penalty for homosexuality.
They did not threaten to kill anyone themselves. They simply advocated a law to do so. How can a country that criminalizes legislative proposals be a democracy?
I oppose those views, and I hope you do too. But that does not mean they don't have the freedom to advocate those views. They wished to do a wrong, but the UK has really done one.
Which legislative proposals will be criminalized next? Reductions in copyright laws? Raising taxes for the rich? Shame on the UK for this punishment.
Greece may get 70% debt forgiveness.
That is most of the way towards default, but without the downside of default. I wonder if it could save Greece. Will there be a nasty catch in it somewhere?
A secretive group spent $250,000 to defend Maine's Republican voter suppression law from a referendum. (It lost anyway.) It won't say where the money came from, but since the group is connected with ALEC, we can be sure it came from corporations and the 1%.
ALEC is a business-funded organization which state legislators join in order to receive orders from the megacorporations. It just had its annual convention in a hotel.
A journalist rented a room at the hotel and walked through an open door into one of the ALEC events. He was spotted and told to leave, which he did. Later a group of thugs and hotel staff told him he was not allowed in the hotel. Then the hotel refused to talk about what they had done to him, "for the sake of his privacy."
Despite events like this, ALEC claims its meetings are open to the public. Telling such easily refuted lies is a sign they think their power is so great that no one can effectively expose their lies enough to hurt them.
Outside the event, hundreds of protesters had come to condemn ALEC. The thugs sent provocateurs in to make an excuse, then attacked the protesters, arrested some, and arrogantly made false charges against a cameraman.
Why did they show the cameraman they knew his name? That was meant as intimidation. They figure some people will be afraid to protest if the thugs or other political operatives could take revenge against them later. The US has not reached the point where you really have to worry about that, but if it discourages some people from protesting, the thugs call it a victory.
If you are ever on a jury and thugs testify against the defendant, and you can't be positively sure the alleged crime was not at a protest, you should disbelieve the thugs on principle. They are experienced at lying in court, so you should not suppose you could tell when they are lying. If they lie 20% of the time, that means there is a reasonable doubt about every statement them make.
US citizens: phone your senators saying they should oppose all versions of PIPA. Also tell them electronically.
I suggest adding that they should oppose any plan to give copyright holders more power, because they have been catered to too much. Stop fussing about their problems and start addressing the problems they have imposed on us — for instance, legalize software and devices to break digital handcuffs, and legalize noncommercial sharing.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Congress has "postponed" the vote on PIPA/SOPA. but it is not dead.
Lamar Smith is still using the same lie, that copying is "stealing", stretching it even further to speak of "stealing products", which is utterly nuts.
When he talks about "American inventions" he drifts from exaggeration into ignorance. SOPA's attack provisions only apply to copyright and trademark, neither of which covers inventions. Patents are a totally different issue.
Perhaps he has used misleading over-generalization "intellectual property" so much that he has confused himself.
Thousands are protesting against austerity in Romania.
MPAA head Dodd, a former senator whose career taught him to be unashamed of corruption, said, “Those who count on Hollywood for support need to understand this industry is watching very carefully, ” in a Faux News interview. “Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay attention to me when my job is at risk.”
There you have it. The MPAA buys legislators and expects them to obey, and is so shameless that it says so on TV. We are expected not even to be outraged when they declare they buy our elections.
Of course, you won't vote for anyone that takes Hollywood money. But the ones that don't take Hollywood money took money from other megacorporations, indirectly of course. The only candidates that deserve your vote are the ones who reject corporate money.
Meanwhile: did you give Hollywood money this month? Next time, think twice before you pay to watch a movie. Ask yourself, "How likely is this movie to be very good?" If you don't see a strong chance of that, buy a printed paper book instead. (Or see the html version of this article.)21 January 2012 (Shabab)
The article is full of newspeak. The African Union troops are referred to as "peacekeepers" although their purpose is to fight a war. The "transitional government" is a bunch of puppets put in place by those troops. It never had a mandate from Somalians.
Its enemy, the Shabab, is an Islamist tyranny. If Somalians would like to be rescued from it, I am in favor. But I have seen no evidence that they want this.
Why does the Shabab exist? Because when a somewhat milder Islamist regime (the Islamic Courts Movement) established peace in Somalia, with substantial popular support, the US sent Ethiopian troops in to drive it underground, whereupon it split up into factions. The Shabab is one of those factions. Ironically, the "transitional government" is another.
What was the point of pushing a country that has just achieved peace back into civil war? Was it that the Islamic Courts Movement was not subservient to the US, and the "transitional government" is?
The festival organizer tried enthusiastically to enforce censorship, but he did not want to admit that, so he described it as "not tolerating any illegal action". A Chinese party cadre couldn't say it better. Did he at least condemn the censorship law while enforcing it? If he had said that the law is wrong but he was enforcing it in terror, we could be sorry for him instead of despising him.
There is no bigotry in The Satanic Verses. Muslim extremists condemn it because a character has a dream in which Mohammed does embarrassing things (I forget what). The fact that it's only a dream, that even in the novel's fictional world these things don't really occur, is no excuse in their view. They believe that they are entitled to require the whole world to "respect" their views by not writing such things.
No one has a right to that kind of "respect". I applaud Kunzru and the others who have defied these bigots. To heed their demands, as the government of India has done, only encourages them.
The article errs when it calls the ruling Congress Party "centre-left". Its principal policy is to toady to business, like the Republican Party in the US and much of the Democratic Party. If its heroic past leaders could see it today, they would be ashamed of it.
India is starting to censor the Internet too, banning anything that might "offend" someone. After the Megaupload example, will India start arresting people who publish The Satanic Verses in other countries and allow Indians to access it over the Internet?
ALEC offers state legislators "scholarship funds" to go on vacation and listen to arguments for laws business wants. One state legislator is trying to treat this officially as lobbying and to require legislators to report these vacations as gifts.
Smirnoff made something like flavored vodka with beer as an ingredient, then advertised it on TV as if it were beer, so as to get teenagers hooked on drinking it.
Citizens of Massachusetts: oppose the "three strikes" extra-punishment law that is rapidly advancing in the Massachusetts legislature.
The "check engine" light in a car is an excuse to deny car owners information about what's happening in their cars.
This problem is related to the problem of proprietary software in cars.
Several PIPA supporters are copyright infringers.
Everyone: call on Kmart to stop buying from Asia Pulp & Paper, which chops down rainforests to make paper.
US citizens: tell Obama to take a firm stand against global heating and to stop the Keystone XL planet-roaster pipeline for good.
SOPA is not dead, just hibernating. Hearings will resume in February.
The UK's Financial Policy Committee warns that the companies in the City of London have large investments in fossil fuels. Successful efforts to reduce dependence on those fuels could reduce those companies' asset value.
I bet that those companies have something to do with the UK's slowdown on its alternative energy plans.
UK subsidies for another nonrenewable energy, nuclear, will be challenged in court.
Ending subsidies for fossil fuels would take the world half way towards climate stability.
People who sued the US governmet over Bush's illegal wiretapping will be allowed to proceed to court.
The phone companies were given retroactive immunity, but the government was not.
Nonetheless, the decision was mostly a defeat for Americans who oppose government spying, since it validated that retroactive immunity.
Thus we have a Congress and a President bought by the copyright industry, and a Supreme Court that is unwilling to restrain them from attacking Americans' rights.
Republicans can advocate damaging budget policies based on absurd arguments because the press does not mention the facts to show what's wrong with them.
Obama reluctantly chose to support Internet companies over Hollywood, but Hollywood will keep paying him since he has served them so well on other issues.
Our current Supreme Court won't give him much else to object to.
The Jan 18 blackout protest has had effects: several senators have turned agaist SOPA/PIPA. That doesn't mean the bill is dead.
In addition, several of them pointedly repeated Hollywood propaganda, such as by calling copying "theft". In effect, they are announcing they will support the next nasty thing Hollywood wants to do to us.
We must say to senators and congresscritters, "Stop working for copyright industry's demands and start heeding ours. Copying is not theft!"
Democrats filed a million signatures, around twice the number required.
However, Obama explicitly said that he had not killed the project. He has only insisted they reapply. And they will.
This article shows its lies ("thousands of jobs"), distortion (ignore global heating for a company's profits) and cronyism (working closely with Transcanada, which also corrupted the US State Department's investigation).
It's up to us to kill this project before it kills our civilization.
Police now have scanners that can be used to check if passersby are carrying guns.
I think there are some legitimate places to use these scanners: for example, on entering an area where security is being maintained. However, they should not be used without probable cause to justify searching that person.
US citizens: support "open access" for scientific literature: oppose the "research works act".
Everyone: tell Cooper Tire what you think of locking out its workers after they took pay cuts to help the company become profitable again.
When a company asks workers for givebacks to get through hard times, the workers should demand stock in return. That way, if the company rebounds, they will benefit — and they may even be able to prevent it from locking them out.
The US wants to use social media in Latin American to restore and maintain its domination.
The US government report says that "Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua are led by authoritarian leaders". That is true in the case of Cuba; Venezuela sometimes violates political rights but not systematically. The most authoritarian policy I've seen reported in Nicaragua is the total ban on abortions, like what most US Republicans advocate. But the list does not include countries such as Honduras and Colombia, where US-stimulated forces commit murder.
How Rick Santorum Ripped off American Veterans (for the Catholic Church).
Ex-senator Dodd, who promised in 2010 not to lobby, is the highest-paid lobbyist for SOPA.
For democracy's sake, we must close the revolving door between government and industry. Anyone who has been an elected official, or a high official in any branch of government, should not be allowed to lobby for 10 years after. And this must include any sort of business position aimed substantially at influencing government policy.
Some states have passed laws to require global heating denial in science classes.
The TSA admits making two old women (on separate occasions) pull down their pants, but says this was not a "strip search".
The TSA is probably using a narrow and extreme definition of "strip search" in order to make statements that are literally true but misleading.
Whether this is a danger to human rights depends on how the cameras are used and how long the video is saved.
This is on top of a doubling due to increased population and construction in vulnerable areas, independent of global heating.
Way to go, USA! Let's bring the sweatshops home. Meanwhile, the private prison industry will use this to justify imprisoning more Americans.
Many think that "hacking" means breaking computer security, but this particular hack did not involve computer security as far as I can tell.
The UK "Labour" party, which has the official support of major unions has endorsed right-wing austerity policies, so the unions are talking about removing their support.
Of course, working people in England should not support a right-wing "Labour" party, but they need to go reject more than austerity. They must reject the policy of bowing down to the banksters, and form a party that will fight to take away the political power of the City of London at any cost.
Whatever that costs the UK, it will be less than the harm that the banksters will do if they are not defeated.
If Europe raises its carbon emissions reduction target for 2020, it will save money in the long term. This is because the stricter target will encourage people to make pre-2020 long-term choices in ways that will lead to emission reductions later.
However, it seems to me that basing policy on targets, and cap-and-trade, is a weak policy in general. A simple carbon emission tax would be more effective, since it would give everyone an incentive to conserve more no matter how much he has conserved already.
Romney is a right-wing extremist, proposing more tax cuts for the rich even in a time of hardship.
We know that sleep deprivation is brainwashing, but an Israeli judge accepted the confession of a 14-year-old Palestinian who was subject to sleep deprivation and denied contact with a lawyer.
Israel is developing the idea that legal rights simply do not apply to Palestinians. Israels judges systematically give that a facade of legality.
And Netanyahu has already spoken of extending this to Jews too. The disregard for human rights which most Israelis have winked at is likely to turn around and bite everyone there, making things even worse than they are now.
Palestinian from the West Bank who have married Israeli citizens cannot get permanent residence in Israel.
The appointment of a right-wing judge to Israel's supreme court, who lives in a colony in the West Bank, makes this even more likely.
This article explains the bias carried by the term "intellectual property". That's a sufficient reason to refuse to use it. However, the term is misleading in another, subtler way: it lumps together laws that in practice are totally unrelated. Clear thinking about any of these laws requires that we not confuse it with the others
A Guantanamo prisoner is facing the possibility of the death penalty and is denied basic rights accepted in other US trials, as Obama protects the people who tortured him.
Obama's policy is to continue most forms of torture that Bush used and protect the guilty, so he will surely refuse to cooperate. However, this has a chance to build the pressure to make him stop protecting torturers — some day.
Romney says it is unthinkable to negotiate with the enemy during a war. Why, that might bring peace!
Funny response from an audience with a lot of people who make a big fuss about Christianity.
Your garden pesticide may be killing bees. Even potting soil can have it.
The article includes a lot of speculation, and I am not ready to say that it is true. But I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of it is true.
At the same time, we should not forget that Iran's regime is a brutal and totalitarian tyranny. Many Iranians hate it, and the only thing that can make them support it is if the regime can manipulate them through their patriotism — such as, by citing a threat of attack.
US citizens: thank Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
He called the oil companies' bluff, after their congress puppets voted to require a decision by Feb 21.
It is good that Obama is not totally feckless, but this is surely not the end for that pipeline proposal. They forced a quick decision hoping he would approve it without a safety study. Since he didn't cave in to that, they will come back and ask for a safety study, which they will try to rig the way they rigged the State Department's study.
While the danger of pipeline leaks is important locally, the danger of the CO2 emissions it will lock in is bigger and global.
US citizens: sign this petition against PIPA/SOPA.
Also phone your senators against them — even if you did so before.
* Yes, I know the name of the organization these corporation made was "Citizens United". But I don't have to treat their dishonest label as truth.
US thugs are not content to arrest photographers or club them. They also try to censor posted videos of their crimes.
People who don't care much about freedom often think it is foolish to make a sacrifice of other secondary goals for freedom's sake.
This can cause extinctions, and as we pump more CO2 into the air, it will get worse.
(The advice is at the end of the article).
These senators are saying, in effect, "I don't represent you, I represent Hollywood."
Ethiopia is forcing 70,000 Nuer herding people off their fields and into "villages" where they have no food and no work. Apparently this is in order to sell the land to foreigners
The OPEN act is a proposed substitute for SOPA/PIPA. It is a lot less bad but it is still bad.
Copyright gives too much power, not too little; increasing copyright power is going in the wrong direction.
Increased repression of prostitutes in the UK has led to a crime wave against them.
This article blames Obama without mentioning that Congress is even more dead set against a diplomatic resolution. The latest sanctions against Iran were adopted by Congress against Obama's opposition.
In the hands of skilled negotiators, and paired with a positive offer, this promise of future sanctions might do some good. But the will to negotiate needs to be there.
The article errs when it says that the goal is inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities, because the IAEA has been inspecting them all along and still does. A rash of similar errors in US media give rise to suspicions that they are participating in a campaign for war.
The US has done nothing to bail out people with home mortgages, and millions more foreclosures are likely.
However, there are things states can do about the fraudulent and invalid mortgages.
But that doesn't mean we are safe. The Senate is still considering its similar law, PIPA, which reveals its ill-foundedness through the words "intellectual property" in its name, and another law which would imprison musicians such as Justin Bieber.
Thus, we must keep up the pressure on the senate.
In effect, the state is terrorist and the police are hostage-taking terrorists. Bombing a police station in Iraq is fighting terrorism.
One policeman was quoted as saying it is the same as under Saddam Hussein. I wonder. Hussein showed no mercy to opposition, but did his police take Iraqis hostage merely for money? I never saw that accusation made against him, and if it had been true, Bush would have used it.
Ex-marine Ross Caputi, who was in the Bush forces that occupied Iraq, thinks that the fuss about troops' urinating on corpses is a distraction from the real issue: what US troops do that creates corpses.
The US border control at San Ysidro x-rays all vehicles with high-frequency x-rays, and the so-called safety tests are bogus.
The freedom-loving Russian government wants to impose biometric digital ID cards on all citizens.
Non-theocratic right-wingers say they can ignore what Romney says to win votes from theocrats, since it's mere election year dishonesty.
This reminds me of all the progressives who told themselves that the "real Obama" was progressive and would show up one he was elected.
Thousands of Indonesians protested against their president, who has supported large companies in grabbing land.
SOPA's supporters have started to offer concessions, but as yet only very small ones.
The problem with a campaign whose aim is to defeat a proposed law that goes in the wrong direction is that is easy for the supporters to "meet us half way" by eliminating half of the bad provisions in the law. Copyright is too restrictive already; we need to reduce it, not increase it. And when we oppose SOPA, we need to demand change in the other direction. Then "meeting us half way" would mean no change.
The real winner in the Iowa caucuses: Super-PACs, which can accept unlimited funds from anyone, and coordinate privately with a candidate while pretending to be independent of the candidate.
I would not be willing to own one of these. Fortunately I broke off watching TV in 1970, because I didn't want to spend my time on it. That's a good reason for you also not to buy a TV, in addition to the DRM.
However, even if these companies didn't in fact do that, the devices can still be used that way.
A UK student who ran a sort of wiki search engine of TV shows may be extradited to the US for trial, though he never was in the US and neither was his site.
The US has failed to prosecute gross Wall-Street corruption, and the culprits are spending their money in arrogant excess.
We used to have regulations so that banksters couldn't reach the point of doing such things, but Obama has not fought to bring them back.
Sanctions have not stopped Iran's development of technology for nuclear weapons, and a military attack couldn't stop it, but there is still a chance for diplomacy.
When Rasiej says that "we all agree" that "piracy" is a problem, that may be true of the members of his organization. I do not advocate eliminating copyright, but "piracy" is a propaganda term whose purpose is to create a climate favorable to unjust laws like SOPA.
Uruguay's prosecutors apparently tried to protects its troops from prosecution for rape in Haiti by claiming they couldn't find the victim.
Apparently they never tried.
Even fairly wealthy parts of South America drop their sewage into rivers and lakes. Driving along the beach west of Rio de Janeiro, passing a line of recent high-rise buildings on the other side of the road, I was told that their sewage went straight into the lagoon beyond them, and it had become very polluted.
Shaker Aamer, now in Guantanamo, wants the UK to investigate his accusations of its complicity in the torture inflicted on him in Afghanistan.
A French journalist in Syria was killed by mortar fire. The killing was almost certainly set up by Assad's men.
The fact that there is no demand for the all whale meat that is caught is a crucial fact. The whale hunt is simply wasteful government spending, and it should be ended.
That resembles what US cities did to the Occupy protests.
I appreciate his concern, but before the protest camp he should close down the rats' offices — Congress and the lobbying companies.
Canada says it protects polar bears, but it pays a big bounty for each one that is shot.
Maybe the government of Canada figures the CO2 from its tar sand oil will wipe out all the wild polar bears anyway, so why not shoot them all?
Professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones started organizing to stop global heating after his favorite run in the alps shrank by hundreds of yards.
I believe the accusations. At the same time I don't trust Karzai's men to me any more humane than the US. Thus, it is hard to see what to recommend here. Perhaps end the war and free the prisoners.
Ironically, the product being made was the Microsoft Xbox, a locked-down computer with DRM, which should not be made at all.
Canada's "natural resources" minister is resorting to ad-hominem distractions to confront the resistance to its tar sands export pipelines.
He is part of a gang that aims not only burn up Canada's resources and spread pollution, but also to burn up the world.
The IAEA has a little recent evidence that claims to show Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But there are reasons to suspect that evidence was falsified.
Despite strong evidence that the UN "peacekeeping" troops brought cholera to Haiti, the UN still pretends it wasn't so.
Lots of "aid" was offered to Haiti after the earthquake, but most of the people displaced two years ago still live in tents and have no access to water.
A lot of the aid was never delivered, or was spent inefficiently on expensive foreigners instead of work in Haiti.
Might as well let him know people will be disappointed if he doesn't.
Pakistan's army and its spy service are undermining the civilian government by accusing it of giving the US a memo asking for help keeping the army under civilian control.
No article I have read about this "scandal" has explained what is scandalous about this. Everyone just takes for granted it is a scandal.
The only scandal I see here is that the army was so defiant and uncontrollable as to make this memo necessary.
It seems the US has prevented the prosecution of other agents UK for cooperating with US torturers in Afghanistan, by refusing to give the evidence needed to prosecute. More shame on Obama, who protects US torturers.
I am more concerned about the killing, rape and torture of living people.
Micro-RNA from plants humans eat can get into human cells and have effects on them. This disproves the general claim that genetically engineered plant DNA can't directly hurt humans.
That genetically engineered plants could produce micro-RNA that hurts humans does not mean that they do or will. The genetic engineering that is done is typically not intended to change the plant's micro-RNA at all. It might do so accidentally, but that would be unlikely. For that change to be harmful to humans would be a freak accident.
I think the other problems of genetic engineering — patents that harm farmers, and toxins that harm wildlife — are bigger issues in practice.
Daniel Ellsberg speaks for Bradley Manning, who is not allowed to speak for himself, and admires him for standing firm against brainwashing and refusing to incriminate Obama's other targets.
Ellsberg says that Obama is repeating Nixon's attempt to stretch the Espionage Act to cover informing the American public. When Obama accuses Manning of "aiding the enemy", "the enemy" are we the people.
A "super-PAC" set up by Romney's close associates raised millions from rich people and corporations to pay for attack ads.
Romney claimed in a radio interview that he was not responsible for these ads or for what they say. Legally, that may be true.
Morally, it is a lie.
The US Supreme Court should follow the ethics standards for other judges.
US neocons are pushing for an unjustified war with Iran, and Congress is helping them along.
However, is it a good thing to make kids "fit in" by helping them be manipulated by the fashion industry? I think that teaches people to be weak.
The telling argument, which shows that the TSA is not deterring airplane attacks by unidentified terrorists: such terrorists, if they were really in a position to attack the US, would have attacked softer targets instead. However, such attacks have been very few.
Although much of the TSA's activity can be explained as an out-of-control bureaucracy, that doesn't explain the audio warnings in our trains and buses, and now signs on our streets. I am convinced that the people who hate our freedoms understand full well what they are doing to the US this way.
Occupy Rigged Elections is looking for web developers and programmers to set up its web site. If you want to help, write to firstname.lastname@example.org but add con to the front of that address.
US citizens: call on Obama to break up the Bank of America rather than allow it to move junk derivatives into its FDIC-insured division.
Israel's new law that calls for mandatory imprisonment of asylum-seekers violates human rights treaties.
It makes me think of the movie, Exodus.
The law punishes anyone "assisting [immigrants] who were armed or engaged in trafficking people or drugs." It is acceptable to punish collaboration in those activities (though some drugs should be more or less legalized), but does this law require proof that the accused knowingly and voluntarily helped such immigrants? If not, does it turn humanitarian aid into Russian roulette?
Argentina has advanced towards a universal surveillance state by putting mandatory national ID cards in a computer data base.
Mandatory national ID cards are an injustice in themselves.
One of the Arab League monitors sent to Syria resigned, saying he had seen "scenes of horror" and his mission was ineffective at stopping them.
Republican candidates plan tax cuts. The tax cuts for the rich would be 100 to 270 times as big as tax cuts for the middle class.
Meanwhile, the necessary cuts in government activities would crush the poor. I guess they figure the poor won't notice what they are planning, or perhaps that the poor will be blocked from voting.
Muslims in the UK are on trial for advocating a change in law.
The law they want, which would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, would be extremely unjust, and I have posted condemnation of a similar proposed law in Uganda. However, to criminalize proposals for changes in laws is incompatible with democracy. What political position will the UK ban next? Abolishing "free trade" treaties? Legalizing file sharing? Taxing the banks?
Another Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated.
This is a kind of low-level war, but very different from an overt military attack. But Israel is not starting a war; if I understand right, Israel and Iran have been officially at war for decades.
Bayer's pesticides are killing lots of bees. This suggests that the pesticides play a large role in the massive honeybee die-offs in the US.
If so, the use of these pesticides on other crops is likely to increase the bee die-offs.
I also wonder whether honey is contaminated with these or other pesticides.
On March 2-6, AIPAC, the Israeli hawks' lobby, will have a meeting. Protesters will be there too.
Some Democrats say we should ignore US imprisonment without trial to protect Obama.
How can our freedom be less important than a politician that failed to defend it?
US threats against Iran may have convinced Khamenei that the US is set on war, and only nuclear weapons can stop it.
The Pentagon accuses Iran of helping first Iraq and now Afghanistan kick out US troops on schedule.
If this were the main thing Ahmadinejad had done, I would thank him. However, this does not cancel out the tyranny of the Iranian regime towards the Iranian people.
Regular protests continue in Nabi Saleh. Here's how some nonviolent protesters were arrested, tortured for a while, and threatened with false charges.
These protests are against Israeli colonies in the West Bank which take away Palestinians' land. In 2001, Israel increased the rate of colony extension.
There is an Israeli colony in the middle of the town of Hebron. The colonists seek to drive out Palestinian residents through violence and threats. Israeli soldiers who see this do nothing to stop it.
Elsewhere, colonists put up a fense through a Palestinian's farm and soldiers kicked the farmers off their land.
One of the "settlers" leaders has called for the abolition of democracy in Israel.
Putin's men used a doctored photo to make a false accusation against an opposition leader.
This sounds like the way a right-wing sabotage squad attcked ACORN.
The US and Israel are integrating their forces and command structure for missile defense.
I see no harm in Israel's installation of antimissiles — though they may not work as well as supposed; in the 1991 Gulf War, Patriot missiles supposedly knocked down many Iraqi SCUD missiles, but further study suggested the Patriots had not really damaged them. I hope that the newer missiles really do work.
To integrate US and Israeli command structures for missile defense is not directly dangerous, but its implications could be far-reaching. If this means Israel cannot attack Iran without US backing, maybe Obama can use that to prevent the attack. On the other hand, if Obama lacks the guts to do that (which it seems he does), this integration might pull the US into the war.
Shell's enormous oil spill in Nigeria, 20% to 40% as large as the Big Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, has been ignored by the world, and nobody seems likely to start to clean it up.
The cause of this is the corruption of Nigeria's government. Its leaders have not got the courage and integrity necessary to challenge Shell. They have surrendered (perhaps in exchange for a rich reward).
Things are somewhat better in the US, but not much. The US government has not imposed the regulations needed to prevent another Big Spill, because our leaders have not got the courage and integrity necessary challenge Big Oil. On the contrary, Obama wants to allow Arctic undersea drilling.
Los Angeles wants arrested Occupy protesters to pay hundreds of dollars to a private company for lessons about freedom of speech.
Aside from doubts about whether these lessons would be slanted, and the fact that the protesters don't need them, these protesters should not be charged with anything. It is the city thugs who arrested them that should be in prison.
New forms of torture leave 'invisible scars', say researchers.
What is handy for the torturers is that these mental scars are not easily characterized: it is hard to prove they were caused by torture.
Of course, old fashioned physical torture is still practiced too, even by the US.
The New York Times treats it as a certainty that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, even though there is no evidence of this.
I am convinced Iran is preparing to be able to make nuclear weapons, but that is not the same as actually making them. The facts support the view that Iran wants to reach a point where it could make nuclear weapons in under a year, then pause there.
The difference is significant, because as long as Iran remains in that intermediate position, no one need fear it will launch a nuclear attack.
At present, Iran's nuclear activities are being monitored by the IAEA. If Iran decided to press towards nuclear weapons, the IAEA would see this, or else Iran would have to kick it out to prevent that. Either way, there would be warning.
But even if Iran did try to make real nuclear weapons, war would not be able to prevent it.
US citizens: tell the FDA to make its approval standards for medical devices strict, not weak.
Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) give banks ways to repackage bonds in ways too subtle for their clients to properly judge. They played a major role in creating the financial meltdown.
Now it seems that the banks selected the bonds that were going to fail to put into the CDOs.
A German police official illegally used spyware on his daughter, and got paid back drastically, as she opened the door for freedom-minded hackers to reveal information about secret state surveillance systems.
This would make a great novel.
I believe the GPS tracking devices referred to are attached by police to the targets or their cars.
Bahrain denied entry to Richard Sollom of the Physicians for Human Rights,
He was going to observe the trial of a protester, which apparently the Bahraini government expects not to pass muster.
The Uruguayan troops caught on video raping a Haitian prisoner have been freed.
The charges against them have not been dropped, but prosecutors say they can't find the victim for testimony.
I wonder what happened to him. It must be easy in Haiti to make someone disappear.
Everyone: sign this petition calling on the UN to have Syria's tyrant prosecuted in the International Criminal Court.
Game designer Amir Mizra Hekmati has been sentenced to death in Iran for making games in which US troops attack Iran.
He was made to confess that he did this for the CIA. That confession proves nothing — Iranian torturers can extract false confessions just as well as US torturers. At the same time, it would not surprise me if the US government (perhaps not the CIA) did somehow support the development of that game. It acknowledges doing such things.
If so, that would not justify punishing Hekmati. Nobody should be punished for making a game — not even if it is proprietary.
If You Want More Local Food, Stop Criminalizing Family Farmers.
A town should not be able to nullify all state and federal laws as Sedgwick tried to do. And I am not particular a supporter of unpasteurized milk. But many food safety regulations that are needed for agribusiness can safely have exceptions for local food production.
Parts of China are increasing the minimum wage.
I did not think I would see the day that this happened. Note that the wages mentioned in the article are per month.
In much of the US, police department thugs tyrannize students starting in primary school, sending them to prison for absurd "crimes" such as leaving crumbs on the table after eating.
The result is a school-to-prison pipeline for anyone who has mental deficits, anyone who is eccentric, and anyone who won't bow and scrape to a bully.
The impunity of the police is crucial for their bullying. They are never punished for starting violence; instead, the victim is punished, unless he maintains a level of self-control that most adults couldn't match.
The supposed reason for the presence of these bullies in the schools is to prevent very rare crimes. Maybe they do — it is not certain. Even so, they do far more harm than they prevent.
As for disruption of class, 60 years ago disruptive students were sent to the principal's office, and if they didn't stop, they were suspended. This did not normally require a policeman. Once in a while it might, but police can be called from outside on those rare occasions; and there is no need to press charges against the student just for that. Suspension will solve the problem.
The political philosophy of libertarianism, based solely on property rights, cannot deal with the issue of externalities, such as environmental pollution, that damage others.
The easy way out for them is to deny the existence of the problem. This may partially explain why many right-wingers deny global heating.
Flight posed a similar problem in countries where landowners were considered to own the space above their land. No airplane pilot could possibly have obtained flight permission from every landowner on the route between New York and Washington; in fact, you can't fly so precisely as to be sure you'll go over A's farm and not B's neighboring farm, let alone A's building rather than B's neighboring building, and an emergency or even a cloud might require a deviation miles away from the intended route.
The solution chosen by governments was to decide that pilots did not need landowners' permission. However, once people couldn't order airplanes not to fly over their houses, they needed some other way to limit noise from airplanes, and this too had to be done by the state.
A recent note about US/Israeli missile defense mentioned that Ahmadinejad was falsely accused of wanting to destroy Israel.
In fact, he expressed a general wish for regime change in Israel, which was mistranslated, and the correction was not circulated widely.
US citizens: call for abolishing imprisonment without trial.
Nigerians protested the end of gasoline subsidies, and troops shot them.
Shooting was inexcusable, but I don't support the protests: fuel must be expensive, so people will use less.
This is a separate issue from corruption. Corruption in Nigeria surely does great harm, end reducing it would provide funds that the government could use in many ways to help the poor, including forcing Shell to clean up its oil spill and take safety precautions in the future. However, subsidizing oil is a foolish way to use the money.
Giving the money directly to the citizens might be a good thing, but it needs to be done carefully. Rather than give in proportion to how much petroleum each person uses, the state could give an equal annual sum to everyone who was alive on Jan 1, 2001, or to the person's heirs. This would create an incentive for the poor to have fewer children.
Wikileaks revealed that the US and Canada are waging a global campaign of spying and sabotage aimed at indigenous peoples.
Occupy Portland has called for a national day of action on Feb 29.
Lamar Smith: no lie is too big for SOPA.
Why dissident movements need to start on the communications platforms that lots of people use.
The point is valid — except that nowadays the widely used communications platforms are themselves bad for freedom, and call for opposition from dissidents like me.
What we and the public domain have lost due to the US's extensions of copyright since 1976.
These changes must be cancelled.
Suing the city for this is not enough; the thugs must be prosecuted.
Social activist data mining exposed a network of slumlords who traded buildings among themselves to evade housing laws.
The US expelled a Venezuelan diplomat who had previously discussed a hypothetical cyber-attack against the US.
The US launched a cyber-attack against Venezuela (specificially PDVSA, the state oil company) around a decade ago, whereupon Chávez realized that the state needs to move to free software.
Iran is preparing for a worthless election (only Islamist fanatics can run) by talking about war to win support.
Ten years ago, Bush and al Qa'ida needed each other. Now US Republicans and Iranian tyrants need each other. People in the US can criticize the Republicans who talk about war for helping Iranian tyrants distract the Iranian people from oppression.
The Republican War on the Poor has a new tactic: find excuses to exclude people from unimployment insurance.
Here, it would be people without high school degrees. In some states, it's anyone that takes drugs. In some states, it's anyone that isn't pursuing several job offers a week (what if there are none in your field?). What they all have in common is their goal: to kick people when they are down.
Easy possible savings in US military spending.
Religious bigots in New Hampshire have proposed laws to ban the teaching of evolution.
A note to Bergevin: Hitler was not an Atheist and the Nazi regime did not advocate Atheism. The Scandinavian countries are highly nonreligious and quite peaceful; while Iran supports religion very strongly. Where would you rather live?
Investigators sent by Karzai accused the US of torturing prisoners in Bagram, and imprisoning them without evidence.
It is probably true, since the US has done this in other places. However, we cannot have confidence that Karzai's "goverment" would treat its prisoners any better.
Evan Emory was charged with "making child pornography" for singing lewd lyrics and remixing this with a separately-made video of children, making it appear that they they were reacting to his song.
Emory pled guilty to a lesser charge and was jailed for 60 days. The plea bargain means that no court will consider the constitutionality of these charges, so the "authorities" can go on threatening people with 20 years in prison to show how tough they are.
I am glad he did not face years in prison, or the much worse requirement to register on a sex offenders' list (which is often imposed for no real reason), but he should not have been punished at all.
This page shows what was in Emory's song.
It isn't funny, because it has little wit. The wit is limited to one shocking juxtaposition, and drawing that out at length adds no humor. It is also somewhat crude, and with no wit to sweeten the mix, the crudeness sticks out unpleasantly. However, it is not deeply disgusting like the violence in Pulp Fiction. And this crudeness is not a crime: the newspaper wasn't prosecuted for stating the lyrics in that web page.
Should juxtaposing the lyrics with recordings of kids, made on another occasion, be a crime?
The parents accuse Emory of hurting their children. It didn't hurt them directly. If young children saw this video, they would not understand the sexual aspect. The parents could understand it, and might have felt offended, but it takes more than a feeling of offense to justify punishing someone.
A parent says his kid was teased after the video became known to other kids. Teasing hurts, and teachers should try to stop it — but kids find and make all sorts of occasions to tease, so it is futile to try to prevent teasing by declaring war on possible occasions for it. Kids have been teased for not wearing the latest clothing fad. Shall we imprison parents for not following childrens' fashions? Even imprisoning the executives of the companies that create the fashions would be unjust. Efforts against teasing must focus on changing the teasers' behavior and on supporting the victims.
I think (though IANAL) the parents could sue Emory for using the kids in a video without permission, regardless of details, but that isn't a criminal matter.
It was crude and it wasn't nice, but that's no grounds for a witch hunt.
CNN was so totally in the Pentagon's pocket that it fired commentators who didn't support Bush's war party line.
This was in the time of the Pentagon's Paid Political Pundit Program, which the Pentagon just decided was in accord with its rules. This means it would not hesitate to do the same thing to promote war with Iran.
The Israeli government plans to demolish the Palestinian village of Dkaika.
The school will be left standing, but its students will all be homeless.
The people of an Andaman Islands tribe, isolated until recently, faces dangers from tourism that they can't possibly understand.
I don't know what is right to do in such a situation, except for one aspect: they could be offered vaccination against most of the diseases, and taught how to avoid the others.
A former staffer at New York's Department for Environmental Conservation says that fracking would be dangerous and must not be allowed.
New York's "Democratic" governor is the one who wants to end the state's ban on fracking.
Pentagon head Panetta acknowledged Iran is not currently building a nuclear weapon.
General Dempsey says he would like Iran to believe that a military attack could wipe out its nuclear facilities. I don't think Iran will oblige him.
Canadian harp seals are threatened by global heating.
The pups need sea ice that lasts into summer, and there is now little of that.
Thus, Canada needs to end the slaughter of the few pups that survive or it will wipe out these seals.
Republicans deny facts — such as that Americans die for the lack of health insurance.
"Just in time" supply delivery is efficient in good times, but leaves businesses and society no reserves to cope when anything goes moderately wrong.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, necessary to avoid disaster later this century, provides an opportunity for short-term economic growth too.
So why don't governments do this? I think it's because existing businesses, the ones who have bought the politicians, would lose even though the economy as a whole gains.
Americans must recognize that their current political system is corruption and that most congresscritters are working for the companies that pay them.
The UK is waking up to the fact that the London Olympics will not provide the public benefits that were used to sell the plan.
Holding the Olympic games is a government-subsidized boon for business. To sell the plan to the public, or the public's political representatives, the business interests and their political allies cl