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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.
US citizens: call on Congress to repair the Voting Rights Act.
US citizens: call on the FCC to preserve the Lifeline program, which subsidizes telephones for poor people.
Refugees fleeing various places increased greatly when the places experienced unusual heat.
If Martin Luther King Jr Were Alive Today, Politicians Would Denounce Him.
At least, those who admit a plutocratist stance would do so.
Facebook's News Feed Change Won't Help Social Media Addiction.
If it reduces publishers' Facebook dependence, that could be good for freedom of speech. Whether the change will reduce that dependence, I don't know, but I expect to see reports over coming months.
Medea Benjamin says that being banned from Israel for her political views makes her both sad and determined.
The loud music in a bar or restaurant may be calculated to make people drink or eat faster. However, it works by eliminating the possibility of a good conversation.
Republicans are planning to change the Community Reinvestment Act so that banks can extract more from communities around the US and give them less.
Why So Little Empathy and Compassion Within American Culture? The plutocrats, with their systems and their media, systematically deaden those feelings; many of the non-elite internalize specific aspects of this.
I can see some ways in which I have done so.
Iran is no longer an implacable enemy of Israel. It has endorsed the Arab peace plan for two states.
Israel has used a series of bogus legal excuses to confiscate Palestinians' land. A Palestinian lawyer explains them carefully.
Tunisia has announced significant increases in support for the poor, as a response to mass protests.
Bernie Sanders: Let's wrench power back from the billionaires.
Cornel West: America is spiritually bankrupt. We must fight back together.
A prosecutor in Washington State wants to jail pipeline protesters for walking on a highway. The troll's agents showed him how to make Facebook give up lots of information about the protester group, effectively crushing it.
The US government is moving towards total repression of protests that might resist the dominion of the plutocrats, and therefore towards a total loss of legitimacy.
Turkey plans to start attacking Syrian Kurds.
The first target is Afrin, a small region disconnected from the main Kurdish area. But if Turkey conquers or destroys that, it will be encouraged to conquer the whole of the Kurdish state, Rojava. All of Rojava is close to the Turkish border.
Florida prisoners are going on strike, demanding a fair wage for their work, protection for their lives, and the possibility of parole.
Citizens of Massachusetts: Support passing the Safe Communities Act.
US citizens: Tell Congress to have experts decide whether presidents are physically and mentally fit for the job.
When Australia found that Said Imasi was not a citizen of any country, and couldn't go anywhere let alone be deported to anywhere, it put him in prison without trial — for life, apparently.
It exhausts aquifers, topsoil, and deposits of fertilizer. Meanwhile, the fertilizer runoff is turning increasing regions of the sea into "dead zones".
It also concentrates wealth, which keeps most of humanity in deepening poverty.
So we need to replace it.
The theocratic Polish state intends to ban aborting a defective fetus. Their religion puts human suffering second to a hypothetical sadistic god.
Belize has banned all oil activity from its territorial waters.
It is hard to demonstrate clearly that nuclear deterrence is actually effective.
The sabotage administration is systematically rejecting applications to protect endangered species, and trying to unprotect some so they will go extinct.
Next target: migratory birds.
Republicans have privately admitted that they are holding the CHIP medical funding hostage.
They are also blocking DACA told hold some immigrants hostage, the ones who are more American than anything else.
That's the spirit of the Republican Party today — take vulnerable people hostage. They will take any hostages they can grab.
Legalizing marijuana in the US cuts violent crime, because it destroys the drug gangs' business model.
Republicans continue to systematically attack voting rights in the US on many fronts.
Assad is now attacking rebel-held Idlib province, and threatens to send up to 2 million people fleeing into Turkey.
Beyond the intentional cuts in corporation income tax, the tax attacks include a loophole that lets businesses cut the tax even more.
Cypriote independence guerrillas are suing the UK for torturing them in the 1950s.
The bully is a racist from way back, and we have seen it plenty.
Israel has ordered unauthorized African migrants to leave or be jailed. Some are so afraid to go home that they have chosen jail.
Shouldn't they be entitled to political asylum?
Half of the population under 25 indicates rapid population growth. If these youths continue reproducing at the same rate, the change they cause will be disaster, first for India and then for the world.
Regarding the boundary between an overture and an invasion: "Has #MeToo gone too far, or not far enough? The answer is both."
Iran is restricting the internet in many of the same ways as China, though not as strictly.
Many countries do this, and it's unjust anywhere.
Elif Shafak describes how Turkey has become more repressive on every dimension, in the years since she was put on trial for "insulting Turkishness."
A Rohingya refugee on Nauru badly needs medical care in Australia, but Australia won't bring him there, since he probably wouldn't get well enough to be returned to Nauru safely.
In other words, Australia would rather kill him than let him get to Australia and remain there in a hospital.
Nauru's press exclusion is very strict, so Australia can get away with almost any sort of dirty work there.
US nuclear weapons systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If the troll wanted to do something useful with funds for nuclear weapons systems, he could take them off the internet.
Does he think that the US government does not have enough national debt?
When Will [Leading] Democrats Start #Resisting GOP Voter Suppression?
Walmart announced a small raise for employees, amounting to 2% of the tax cut that it just got.
But it turns out this is only for the small fraction that are full-time employees.
US immigration thugs regularly ignore the law of political asylum, and lie, to send people from Mexico and Central America summarily back to where they say they will be murdered. Lo and behold, quite a few of them really are murdered after that.
Increased online sales are causing many low-paid working women to become unpaid unemployed women.
We are not obligated to allow online sales that drive so many Americans into poverty. We are not obligated to prefer increased efficiency and convenience for some, at the cost of great suffering for others.
New York state prisons plan to ban most gifts to prisoners, including nearly all books. Only a small list of books will be permitted to them.
Aside from causing tremendous bitterness for very little reason, this will make it difficult for prisoners to find a way of life other than crime after they are released. It is an example of a tag wagging a dog.
Everyone: call on the US to free torture victim Toffiq al-Bihani, to shut down the Guantanamo prison, and to end imprisonment without trial no matter where.
US citizens: object to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Ajit Pai's next blow: wiping out small ISPs.
Reportedly Russia is setting up a militia in the Serb part of Bosnia to destabilize Bosnia.
I can't be sure whether this report is true. I don't see what Russia has to gain through this.
The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Nunes, is going all out to prevent the investigation from advancing.
A US hospital faces shame for carrying a sick patient out to the street after denying her care.
The hospital staff surely did this because they were under pressure from management. The hospital's apology is bogus as long as management continues the pressure. But I doubt they do this out of sadism. They are surely responding to pressure from funding institutions. We need to change those too.
Medicare for All is a good way to do it, but one way or another we have to put more money into medical care — and less into the military, into massive surveillance, and into wasteful and polluting fossil fuels.
The Interior Department will henceforth offer grants only to science projects that promise to advance Republican sabotage goals.
When funders specify the desired result in advance, that is corrupt science.
Puerto Rico is still wrecked, and not being repaired fast.
Amazon cheats the public by paying workers so little that they need public assistance.
Right-wing extremists continue killing in the US.
Most did not make the news, because only one person was killed.
Putting a work requirement on Medicaid would result in an increasing number of people who need treatment and have trouble working until they get it. Whoever judges whether someone is disabled would probably be under pressure to bias the decisions, as happens in the UK.
Preparing in advance to handle local disasters is a very good investment — it returns 500%.
Changing the practices that cause increasing numbers of "natural" disasters might be an even better investment.
A saboteur after the troll's own heart.
Democrats should be ready to shut down the government to block some very bad Republican changes.
I personally don't think that DACA rises to that level. I support continuing DACA but I would not shut the government down for that alone.
On the other hand, blocking the automatic cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which would otherwise be imposed because of the deficits that the tax attacks will create, is a justification for shutting down the government.
At least the unarmed UK thugs couldn't shoot him dead on the spot the way they would have done in the US.
A large protest has been announced in Tunisia for Sunday.
Deandre Harris, who was attacked by white supremacists during their rally in Charleston, has been charged with carrying a loaded rifle in his car when he was stopped for driving too fast.
Democrats that voted for continued warrantless spying on Americans made the difference; if they had not, we would have defeated it.
The US owes its importance to the slave revolt in Haiti.
Iranian thugs torture and kill protesters they have arrested.
This is wrong no matter which country does it. I feel especially pained when US thugs do it.
Pakistani Journalist Who Criticised Military Tells of Attempted Abduction.
This was apparently done by the military. I suspect it was intended as a warning to make him shut up.
A new wrinkle in Google search pressures web sites to talk with users via Google, in a way that tends to keep users inside Google.
It seems to me that it should be illegal for one company to own a search engine and a publishing platform.
In November, thugs associated with the UN in Haiti raided a violent area, captured some people, then killed them on the spot. The UN says they did this without orders. The state will not explain what happened.
Terrorists in Egypt are persecuting Christians.
Brazil has used the real danger of fake news as an excuse to allow officials censorship power over political discussion on the internet.
The government of Brazil is so corrupt that we can be certain this will be misused.
Americans, don't need an operation now! US hospitals are short of intravenous bags because many were made in Puerto Rico. Due to the inadequate US help to putting Puerto Rico back on its feet, the factory there is not producing very many.
If this causes a problem for you or your loved ones, comfort yourself with the thought that you are the price to be paid to help the plutocrats grab Puerto Rico's wealth.
A relaxation in Iran's drug laws could prevent 5000 executions.
The "war on drugs" approach won't work in Iran any more than it does in the US.
I am curious what fraction of those facing execution for drugs charges in Iran those 5000 amount to.
George Monbiot: "The establishment voices who vilify student 'snowflakes' are routinely excluding political ideas they don’t like. Socialism or environmentalism, for instance."
As he says, the latter doesn't excuse the former, but we should focus on the latter because it is a bigger problem.
It appears two thirds of people who tried one cigarette subsequently became smokers. This suggests it is very important to discourage young people from trying a cigarette.
The study methodology leaves lots of room for error, but even if really only half became smokers, that still supports the same conclusion.
The revocation of DACA permissions has been temporarily blocked pending resolution of lawsuits about it.
Muslim women in Greece will no longer be compelled to follow Shari'a law for family disputes.
North Carolina's Republican gerrymander of Congress has been rejected by a US appeals court.
Since the current governor is a Democrat, maybe the state won't appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.
Apple faces an investigation in France for building iPhones for planned obsolescence.
The issue is not the battery slowdown software as such. If the slowdown was needed to keep the product functioning at all, it was better than no slowdown.
Rather, the issue is designing the hardware so that it would be expected to stop functioning normally.
To thwart Republican's selective leaks and threats, Senator Feinstein published the whole testimony of Fusion GPS.
Why has Israel Banned Jewish Leftists But Not Members of Nazi-Linked Groups?
My theory: since Israel's leaders have redefined "antisemitism" to mean opposition to Israel's occupation policy, they no longer recognize real antisemites as such.
Israeli soldiers shot 10 Palestinian protesters dead recently.
The soldiers were in no danger that could justify shooting. Some of the protesters were throwing stones, but the soldiers were too far away for them to hit.
In one case, the soldiers fired at people who tried to bring a dying protester to an ambulance.
New STABLE GENIUS Act Would Mandate Mental Fitness Exams for Presidential Candidates.
An unusually intelligent jackass could be called a stable genius. Maybe that's what the bully meant when he described himself as one.
Pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon, even at low concentrations, harm salmon. Their presence in a river can wipe salmon out there.
MSNBC Ignores Catastrophic US-Backed War in Yemen.
Two Burmese Reuters reporters are being prosecuted for "possession of state secrets" under a law that was imposed by the British empire.
According to their story, it looks like thugs set a trap for them.
The inadequate funding of the NHS is forcing even cancer surgery to be delayed.
Delays in cancer surgery can be fatal.
US citizens: call on the senate to oppose Howard Nielson for US judge.
US citizens: Tell US Bank to keep its promise to stop funding oil and gas pipelines.
US immigration agents is pushing to deport 92 Somalis before they can have a court hearing which might grant them asylum.
When a government agency intentionally defies the law to trample someone's rights, it proclaims contempt for the idea that people have rights.
"Think of the ocean as a trust fund. If you want to rely on that fund for the rest of your days, you can only use the interest."
New Orleans adopted a law to judge companies based on human rights and how they treat workers.
In the US we give too much to the military and the business owners, at the expense of the people.
On the arms race between addictive technology and people's resistance to it.
I've done even better than become immune to many different attention-suckers. I've learned to recognize the influence of an attention-sucker, and decide to stop paying attention to it. Even things that are not exploitative for anyone else's benefit, such as a puzzle, I consciously walk away from, and I have taught myself to do this quickly.
So stop playing those video games and campaign for free software!
Forcing workers that can't afford living to save money for retirement hurts them, because they have to borrow more money to live on.
The only way to make them better off is to increase their pay. The reason their pay is too low is — plutocracy.
It Took Only Three Days For Germany's New Hate Speech Law To Cause Collateral Damage — censoring a post meant to mock real words of hatred.
The ACLU, which I support, campaigns for even Nazis to have the freedom to speak and to protest. Not because of any love for Nazis, but because censorship is akin to Nazism.
It looks like Disney is not going to try to buy another 20-year copyright extension.
The US doesn't have a medical system. It has many systems that can't figure out how to deal with each other.
Sanders' Medicare for All would fix this.
Utah is considering a bill to protect parents that let their children play outside or walk to school.
The "Goldwater" rule should be altered somehow to allow diagnosis of certain untreatable mental illnesses in political candidates.
What about disabled people that can't work? What about students?
US citizens: if you vote in one of the states below, call on the senators listed to prevent the massive surveillance provisions in S.139 from passing, no matter what it takes.
The issue concerns section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. It supposedly authorizes massive surveillance of non-Americans' communications, but in fact it is used to spy on Americans, too. See this.
US citizens: call on the FCC inspector general to investigate Ajit Pai for corruption.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to call for protecting Mueller's investigation.
US citizens: call on the Senate to reject the mad deporter, Thomas Homan, for head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Assange is now an Ecuadorian citizen, but the UK will arrest him if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy.
US citizens are now advised to avoid 5 Mexican states as if they were war zones.
Nevada killed off the solar power industry to please the electric utility. The same decision screwed all the people that invested in solar power for their homes.
It is entirely legitimate for employers, as well as you or me, to shun people for promoting right-wing bigotry at work. Damore has no valid complaint about being fired by Google for that.
Damore also claims that Google discriminates against men — citing various sorts of efforts to find more women to hire. Since men are overrepresented among Google employees, this is an issue about the proper bounds of affirmative action.
That's an issue I don't have a position about, but I won't make Damore my guide on the issue.
Patients are dying in UK hospitals because there are not enough doctors to treat them.
I hope they have the courage to tell the relatives, "your mother died from underfunding; Parliament is directly responsible."
The bully has made Guantanamo prison a faith-based initiative, defining "dangerous" to mean "Muslim".
Some of the prisoners are suing, claiming that this bias invalidates his decision to keep them there.
There is no excuse for imprisonment without trial. Every prisoner deserves a real, fair trial, or else to be released.
Hollywood history is full of deliberately inserted falsehoods.
Some of these falsehoods may not specifically matter much. For instance, the fact that Churchill didn't sample public opinion in the London tube doesn't seem to me to make a significant difference for thinking about Churchill and World War II. Nor does the fact that the Germans had not yet rigged Pegasus Bridge for demolition (according to Pegasus Bridge by Stephen E Ambrose), contrary to what is shown in The Longest Day, make much difference to my understanding of the Normandy landings or the war.
However, the acceptance of small changes in history just for the sake of drama paves the way for larger changes that alter the history drastically. I've read accusations of drastic changes in movies that are "based on a true story", to the point where that phrase has come to mean "bullshit" to me.
If you want to tell a story that isn't accurate, call it "fiction".
Giving quotations of gossip, and presenting them as such, is a different matter. It isn't direct falsification, but it can mislead people if they take it as certain. Steele, in his dossier, carefully indicated what was unconfirmed hearsay. I don't know how Fire and Fury does on that scale.
Even moderate levels of agricultural runoff are enough to kill mayfly eggs. The disappearance of mayflies deprives other wildlife of food.
Large power-grid storage batteries are proliferating.
Reportedly the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were published in this 2015 thesis.
I don't have the expertise or time to study it. Can someone tell me whether it really shows the same vulnerabilities, and whether it makes clear what they are?
"The Tories’ obscene joke: shred the safety net, then toss people into it."
US plutocratists have gone even further: homeless Americans appear to number in the millions, though I can't find a figure now.
Protests in Tunisia, against the poverty imposed by foreign banks, turned into riots.
In one city, protesters chased the thugs out of town and burned down their building.
I hope Tunisia can democratically choose a government firm enough to defy the banks. That's what it would need to do, to represent the people.
Parts of New York City will end the jailing of people accused of misdemeanors.
This is not a law, just a policy decision by two current district attorneys.
Catherine Deneuve and other women condemn the current sexual "witch hunt", saying that people should not be punished for overtures such as tentatively putting a hand on someone's knee or stealing a kiss.
In other words, sexual invitation should not be automatically defined as sexual coercion.
Critics immediately condemned the signatories as "apologists for rape", but this misrepresents them totally.
An overture has to cross the line of usual behavior, or it doesn't function as an overture. But that is no excuse for going far beyond the line.
If you hope your overture will be accepted, you will try to make it in a way that will inspire "yes" rather than provoke "no". However, few are such masters of human relationships that they never mess up an overture; every overture is risky. The resulting anxiety can itself make you mess up. Thus, there has to be slack for people who go a little too far — a way to teach them more finesse and gentleness, rather than ruin their lives.
Some men try to stretch the concept of "overtures" to cover unlimited nuisance, but that is erroneous. It does not stretch very far.
Overtures cannot go way beyond the line. This is not a matter of intentions, it's a matter of actions. A stolen kiss, to be an acceptable overture, must not be pushy — meaning no pushing the tongue into someone's mouth. Calling groping an overture doesn't make it a legitimate overture — groping is an attack. As for masturbating in front of someone, that might be an acceptable overture in an orgy. But not anywhere else.
If you've made one overture and did not get a positive reaction, you mustn't do them repeatedly, because that is being a nuisance. Every woman recognizes an overture, and if she doesn't respond, it's not a sign that she didn't get the message, but rather a sign of "no".
Pakistani human rights activist Aasim Saeed was kidnaped and tortured by state savagery forces.
New York City Plans to Divest $5bn from Fossil Fuels And Sue Oil Companies.
The divestment is aimed at specific large fossil fuel companies.
Over 100 Democratic congressional candidates support the OFF Fossil Fuels Act. For the rest of them, the question is, "Why not you?"
The UK has privatized housing for asylum seekers, with the results you would expect if you read my political notes: broken shower, broken heating, broken furniture, mold, mice, run by a company that manages to hear complaints and forget them.
How could you expect the company to do its job? Profits are its first priority.
Witchcraft accusations in Papua New Guinea are going out of control and spreading feuds.
Helena Maleno informs authorities (the Spanish coast guard, I think) of border-crossers in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean. Spain determined that this is not illegal, so it asked Morocco to prosecute her.
US citizens: call for removing Scott Lloyd as head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, for using force and threats to stop imprisoned refugees from having abortions.
In the mean time, these women might ask Scott Lloyd if he will agree to adopt the baby. He might conceivably adopt one or two, but he couldn't adopt 10, 50 or 100 babies.
South Korea and North Korea have begun peace talks.
North Korea will not give up its nuclear arms, but might agree to treat them as a deterrent only.
South Korea's president thanked the bully for this, saying that the new sanctions helped bring it about.
That may be true, but the bully is nonetheless considering launching a nuclear war with a "limited" nuclear attack on North Korea. This would be a gratuitous bet that Kim would not dare to respond militarily.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected Saboteur Perry's plan to subsidize uneconomical nuclear and coal-powered electric generators.
I find this surprising because the FERC tends to do whatever energy companies want.
The bully wants to redesign US nuclear weapons to encourage actually using them.
This is supposedly intended to deter a Russian attack scenario that is completely implausible.
Art teacher Mateo Rueda was fired in Utah for showing his class reproductions of famous art, because some of them included nudes.
The UK has banned cosmetics, toothpaste, etc. from using plastic microbeads.
The US is unable to defeat the Taliban because opium funds the Taliban.
The UK has plenty of buildings that have been unused for many years. People should squat in them.
Facebook's business model and algorithms inherently favor campaigns that are wildly irrational and dishonest.
The proposed remedies are generally steps in the right direction but mostly don't go far enough. "Owning the data about you" is not enough to prevent its misuse. We need to replace systems that identify and track users with systems that don't know who the user is.
The idea that watching porn while at work is some sort of evil and deserves reproof is becoming an article of the modern sexual counterrevolution.
People who want to condemn porn have redefined the word to mean only sexual stimulation that is repellent in some way — for instance, it has no plot, no feelings, treats women only as sex objects, etc. (The other porn, they call "erotica".)
I appreciate the distinction, and I like the erotica much more. But I object to redefining "porn" to mean only crappy porn. It makes "porn" a weasel-word. If people reprimand you or punish you for watching "porn", they will use the word in its broader meaning. They won't pay attention if you claim it was really erotica.
When a government sees the harmful results of privatization and refuses to recognize them, its support for privatization can no longer be called merely "misguided". It has to be a scheme to cheat the public.
US federal thugs practice dishonest tricks to hide their illegal searches.
This shows an additional reason why laws limiting use of surveillance data are bogus: the state will break those laws and cover it up.
"Zero Tolerance" and "No Excuses" are Counterproductive (in a school).
Yanto Awerkion, one organizer of a petition for a referendum on independence for West Papua, is being tried for treason.
Hasn't Indonesia learned anything from East Timor?
Some Venezuelan opposition leaders say they wish the military would launch a coup to remove Maduro.
It is not impossible for a military coup to pave the way for democracy — that's basic what Chavez did. But only a few generals will sincerely try to establish democracy and help the poor, as Chavez did. A coup is much more likely to lead to a military regime such as Latin America 40 years ago was full of.
Starstruck Democrats support Oprah Winfrey for president — never mind that she has no political experience, no voting record, and little in the way of publicly stated political positions.
Obama and Clinton served the plutocrats. Winfrey, a billionaire, is pretty close to being a plutocrat. That doesn't absolutely prove she will be a plutocratist like Obama and Clinton: FDR came from a rich background and gave us the New Deal. Americans could count on him to do this because he had made his views, and his determination, very clear.
Winfrey grew up in poverty; perhaps she will champion the poor. But she has not committed to do this, let alone say how.
Why settle for less than Bernie Sanders?
The "Imminent Mini Ice Age" Myth Is Back.
A weak solar cycle would cool the Earth just a little, and only temporarily.
The heat around Sydney killed most of a colony of fruit-eating bats.
In a few decades, the species will no longer be found in that region. Many kinds of trees might disappear as a result, though individual trees will live on for a while.
The governor of Chihuahua accused the Mexican federal government of attacking the state's finances in retaliation for Chihuahua's investigation of corruption in the 2016 election.
We Americans used to laugh at countries where corruption went so deep. Now we are in no position to laugh.
New Jersey prison guards promised not to stop prisoners from reading The New Jim Crow.
2017 set a US record for damage due to "natural" disasters, almost 50% more than the previous record.
This is partly caused by the fact that these disasters are not "natural" any more. Human activity causes them to happen more.
Calling on homeless British people to occupy vacant housing.
Inmates of immigration prisons are suing the private prison company for making them work at tiny wages so they can buy soap.
US banks are turning student loans into a fraud scheme the way they did with mortgages in the 2000s.
Fussing about how often people in the UK Parliament tried to access porn through the Parliament's LAN is nothing but a way to boost the foolish prudery that considers this question important.
Tories' plan to negotiate secret trade treaties without involving Parliament means danger without limits.
Thousands of employed people in California now live in cars or RVs. They can't afford a room in an apartment.
This is not necessarily good for the environment. They may be forced to drive the RV every day from night parking to day (work) parking and back. What if a person gets too sick to leave the night parking area? And since parking lots are usually one-storey except in very dense areas, RVs could even take up more land area than multistorey residences.
Leaving food for stray cats makes hedgehogs dangerously obese.
If you leave food out for stray cats, the result will be to increase the number of stray cats. That is not particularly desirable.
New low-price ecological funeral options.
Do you heirs a favor, and arrange your own funeral while you're alive. That way, funeral directors won't be able to exploit your family.
Many species of reptile determine gender this way, and they could all be wiped out similarly. We might be able to protect sea turtles, which are wildlife "stars". But we can't protect all the species that are endangered.
"The ubiquitous, unspoken business model of AI-induced mental illness."
The richest humans are directing the world towards being unable to sustain the lives of the rest of us. And perhaps not even their own lives.
The troll's partial ban on Muslims is blocking some US citizens from bringing their children to join them.
Others may die because they can't visit the US for surgery.
The girls who were kidnaped and conscripted into the Lord's Resistance Army face continuing scorn in Uganda.
Reducing sulphur emissions avoids a lot of deaths.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter at 202-224-3121 to oppose the "backdoor search" loophole in Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
US citizens: call on Senators to reject Alex Azar to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
US citizens: call on Sessions to reverse the decision to attack state-legalized marijuana.
US citizens: Call on Congress to protect state-legal marijuana sales and use.
If you don't see the Submit button, try narrowing the browser window to under 1000 pixels to make it use the "mobile" format.
US states convict people of driving while under the influence of marijuana for levels of marijuana too low to influence their driving.
Gaza's hospitals are on the verge of running out of fuel for electricity.
Israel is making it even harder to get permission to leave Gaza for medical treatment, and denying permission amounts in many cases to murder. A siege is an act of war, and Gaza is no exception.
Exit from the EU could offer Britain the opportunity to stop subsidies for land owners and instead subsidize wildlife-friendly farming.
It would be a good thing to do, but it is hard to trust Tories to do it in an honest way.
Israel has banned the staff of Jewish Voice for Peace and American Friends Service Committee from entering Israel, even to visit their Israeli relatives.
Israel is becoming increasingly repressive towards those who criticize the occupation of Palestine in any way.
Iran has arrested around a hundred protesters.
Aggressive Israeli radicals are trying to take over and encroach on the Christian quarter of Jerusalem.
Palestinians now hate the US so much that they want to reject US-funded projects, even humanitarian projects.
How to prevent gentrification by changing street names.
China is forcibly moving millions of rural people to different homes, in the name of "reducing poverty".
China has reduced poverty quite a lot, and I salute that. But there is no justification for forcibly moving people so that they will be less poor. If they agree that the offered new home provides a better life, they will gratefully accept it. So if they say "No, thanks", they probably have a reason, and China should let them.
US citizens: call on Democrats to commit to repealing and replacing the Republicans' tax attacks.
In 1819, the British government massacred and imprisoned the unarmed, peaceful protesters that wanted only the right to vote.
Many garment workers in India are imprisoned in their factories.
The World Trade Organization treaty, one of the business-supremacy treaties, is responsible for this. As explained in No Logo, the WTO made countries desperate to compete with other countries for abusive employment, wiping out their labor movements which could have protected workers from various abuses.
Ralph Nader calls for defending cash payment.
As immigrants already fear to answer the US census at all, Sessions wants to add the question, "Are you a US citizen?"
Leftist Coalition in Honduras Calls for Uprising Ahead of Presidential Inauguration.
Fire and Fury Confirms Our Worst Fears — About the Republicans.
Rep. Joaquin Castro says the congressional investigation has already seen evidence of crimes committed by the bully and his officials.
Treating addiction as a moral failing is an excuse for denying the help that will enable a good fraction of addicts to quit.
In the case of obesity, part of the problem is that poverty, exacerbated by food deserts where poor people live, force them to eat badly. Is this their fault?
To a contemptuous right-winger, I suppose it seems that way.
Facebook compiles extensive profiles about people that are not its useds.
If you resist other forms of profiling, such as carrying tracking devices, identifying yourself to web sites, and paying other than with cash, you will deny lots of data to Facebook as well as to the others that accumulate that data. What data nobody collects, nobody can get.
The protest movement in Iran consists mainly of adults under 25, and they demand better pay and working conditions. Organizers are trying to convert this into a union movement.
Early in 2016, North Korea offered Obama a deal: it would stop nuclear tests if the US stopped joint military exercises with South Korea. Obama rejected the deal.
Naturally, Obama was not as bad as the bully, but it now appears he made quite a mistake here.
The chlorofluorocarbon treaty is working: ozone depletion in the atmosphere has reduced by 20% since 12 years ago.
The Department of Homeland Suppression seems to be the next Republican tool for voter suppression. Perhaps using a data base that is full of errors as an excuse to claim some Americans are not citizens.
US citizens: support the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act.
US citizens: call on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management not to reopen offshore oil drilling.
AT&T just received a big boost from Republican legal changes. To share this with its employees, it is dismissing them and replacing them with subcontractors.
Outsourcing is a scheme to reduce workers' pay and working conditions, so we need to thwart that scheme. One way would be to require any company's agreement with its employees to apply to subcontracted workers as well.
We can resist the right-wing shift of the overton window by denying the moral legitimacy of the Republican judges.
Competition for CEOs cannot explain why US companies pay their CEOs 4 times as much as successful companies in other countries.
The best way to deal with the high pay given to CEOs is to raise the income tax on very high incomes. Under President Eisenhower, the tax rate for the last bracket was around 95%.
US organizations use the protests in Iran to call for regime change, mainly to bring Iran under US hegemony.
I think Iran deserves democracy, and if Iranians were rallying for democracy, I would support them. However, plutocratist or right-wing US organizations would not.
Dr. Ambedkar rejected nonviolence as a moral principle in resistance against violent oppression.
A bipartisan bill proposes to require all computerized voting machines in the US to produce paper ballots, and provides for statistical auditing of the vote-counting.
Detroit, not known for treating human beings with respect, is proposing to require all businesses open at night to set up cameras for the thugs to watch people through.
If the state watches everyone and everything, it can reduce street crime, but it reduces everyone's freedom too.
Someone posted a 10-hour video of white noise on YouTube. YouTube has automatically recognized 5 supposed copyright infringements in it.
Please don't use the term "monetize" to mean "make money from" or "charge rents for".
A Nebraska Republican legislator has proposed feudalism for companies: companies would buy "sovereignty" over rural parts of the state.
Nominally this fiefdom is supposed to be temporary. However, just as in medieval times, it would tend to become permanent. The pressure against stripping a corporation of "sovereignty" over "its" lands would be enormous, as all the other corporations would oppose any attempt by the state to "tell them what to do". Plutocratist politicians such as Schumacher would surely find an excuse to keep the fiefdom in being.
Studies show that most Americans are not in a partisan news bubble, and nearly all are aware of basic political facts that the right-wing tries to deny.
However, for those that are in the right-wing bubble, fact-checking does no good because they don't look at fact-checking articles about the fake news they read. On the contrary, fact-checking articles can backfire by transferring the right-wing terminology, with the biases it carries, into other media, which magnifies their effect.
I don't let that happen in stallman.org; I reject the right-wing propaganda terminology.
It is unfortunate that the article's author uses the term "consume" to refer to reading articles, because the word denigrates all articles including that one.
The city of Elgin (near Chicago) protects homeless people from the possible dangers of sleeping in Greg Schiller's basement by making them risk freezing to death outside. To make damned sure they have no place to stay warm, the city threatened to force Schiller out as well.
Limiting the use of a basement as a shelter would be acceptable if there were enough other shelters for all the homeless people there.
Prosecution of "witches" in Europe was most common when and where different variants of Christianity were in intense competition.
Beware the Illiberal Alliance of Poland And Hungary, a Grave Threat to the EU. (And also to justice and freedom in those two countries.)
The bully's mental health is visibly deteriorating, and this danger should be investigated.
Everyone: Call on the Uzbek Government to drop the charges against Malokhat.
US citizens: call on Congress to end federal prohibition of marijuana.
Tina Johnson accused Roy Moore of grabbing her 25 years ago. Now her home has been burned completely in an arson attack.
I don't blame Moore personally (I doubt he arranged the attack). Rather, I blame Republicans in general (Moore and the rest) for encouraging repressive reprisal against whoever dares to stand up against them.
An appeals court rejected parts of one state's ag-gag law, saying it was designed to restrict journalism.
Israel is preparing to annex large areas of Palestinian territory which have been colonized with Israelis.
The bill would declare those areas to be part of Jerusalem, which implies taking them away from Palestine.
Of course, many of us figured this was the intended final step, the reason for establishing the colonies in the first place.
Since such annexation violates international law, many countries will refuse to recognize it. Nonetheless, some important countries ruled by corrupt nincompoops might recognize it, which would advance the process of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Israel will surely accuse those who criticize this land grab as "antisemitic", but that is calumny. The issue has nothing to do with whether anyone is or isn't Jewish.
Republicans cancelled the special tax on oil companies to raise funds for cleaning up oil spills.
New Hampshire Republicans are trying to enact a voter-ID law and ban students at school there.
Republicans in Indiana have seized permanent control despite the voters through gerrymandering.
Republicans have made rigging elections their standard method.
A Christian rebuke to the Christians that support the bully.
Not being a Christian, I don't recognize the biblical citations, and I don't need to find a basis in Christianity for my judgment of them, or him.
However, there is a substantial commonality between my Secular Humanist morality and Christian morality. The main difference is that Christians treat sex differently from everything else, whereas I apply to sex the same moral ideas I apply to the rest of life.
Twitter will allow the bully to do bullying on Twitter no matter how vicious it gets.
Facebook Declines to Say Why It Deletes Certain Political Accounts, But Not Others.
Asking companies to censor based on some criterion is inherently problematical.
However, support for a protest means support for its demands. What do they demand?
When they demand higher wages, I support that in a general way, though really it depends on what changes they demand so as to make wages higher.
When they demand continued subsidies for fossil fuels, I can't agree.
If they demanded a secular state with human rights, I would support that demand, but they don't.
Texas Police Chief Hands Over Undocumented Smuggling Victims to Local Organizations, Shunning ICE.
Obama cut military funding to Pakistan in 2011, then found that the US needed Pakistan so much it had to restore the funds.
The troll threatened to cut funds for Palestinians, but there are two ways that could be done.
Cutting US funds for the Palestinian Authority would hamper it from helping to maintain Israel's dominion over the West Bank. Cutting US funds for UNRWA would starve Palestinians both inside and outside of Palestine.
There is something sleazy going on with the generic name, "voretigene neparvovec-rzyl". Even to write it is a pain, and as for pronouncing it, should we treat it as English or as Polish? I don't know of any language other than Polish in which "rz" has a meaning.
In effect, the drug theoretically has a generic name, but not in practice. So I suggest calling it "parzyl".
The Republicans have a new plan to abolish parts of Indian reservations. First, designate parcels of land as private property of some Indians. Then make them sell it. Hell, it worked before!
Some Motel 6 motels betrayed lots of customers by giving information about them to immigration agents.
I don't think we should have to trust a company with knowing who we are. I am not in danger of being deported from the US, but I could face other forms of danger and mistreatment, just as you could.
California is considering getting rid of the bail system, which tends to impoverish poor people, but the bail bonds industry lobbies against that.
Saboteur Zinke plans to allow oil drilling off nearly all US coasts.
Even many Republican politicians are against this.
Why is Facebook selectively blocking the accounts of some repressive rulers and not others?
I signed this despite the use of the harmfully vague term "sexual assault".
US citizens: Call on Congress to stop the president from pardoning per family members, cabinet members, or former advisors.
I think a better criterion would be: pardoning acts done for the president, in association with the president, or at the orders of the president.
When fracking started, North Texas hadn't had an earthquake for 300 million years. Now it has many of them.
The Republicans control the Virginia lower house after a random selection in a tied election chose the Republican for one seat.
Macron wants to give the French state blanket censorship power in the name of stopping "fake news".
That's as absurd as giving the state broad surveillance power in the name of stopping "terrorism". Oh, right, France has already done that.
California has shut the door to applications for new or increased use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
That is a positive step, but they are already used at a dangerous level, and they remain in the soil for years.
After three years of partial ban, still 1/4 of the honey samples in the UK contain neonicotinoids. Before, half of them did.
The cheater urged Sessions not to recuse himself from authority over Mueller's investigation.
1/3 of the money given to Sierra Leone to cope with Ebola seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Survivors who did not receive promised help are suing to find it.
On the use of words of endearment for treating someone with disrespect.
This article shows with calm firmness how the problem is not in the specific words, but rather in the disrespect they are used to express. Females often find themselves on the receiving end of this, but even if on occasion it is directed against a male, it is nasty then too.
Pennsylvania has suspended construction of the Mariner East 2 oil pipeline because of "egregious and willful violations" of environmental law.
Ethiopia's dictator announced a plan to free all political prisoners and shut down the torture center.
If Ethiopia can do it, the US can do it.
I don't suspect the troll of doing something like that, because he knows it would be neither necessary nor useful. His supporters are so disconnected from rationality that nothing the Iranian ayatollahs might say or do would make any difference to their support for the troll.
Tories' loathing and contempt for the homeless shows clearly in the plans to kick homeless people out of a part of London just to make things nicer for people coming to a wedding.
US citizens: Tell Congress: Expose destructive corporate mergers.
Norway will stop selling ammunition to the UAE because it is being used for killing civilians in Yemen.
Yemen Is Today's Guernica.
"Equality of opportunity" is a mockery when inequality of conditions makes many poor people grow up stunted and unable to take advantage of opportunity.
The lake was crushed between irrigation on one side and global heating effects on the other.
Alas, the pleasure of this can hardly compensate for the harm that Republicans are doing to the world.
Its abolition is a good thing, since the word "integrity" risks being tarnished when associated with a person who can't imagine what it means. But that doesn't mean the integrity of US elections is safe. Republicans have been scheming to bias elections for decades, and when one new attack is thwarted, their old methods don't stop.
Patent applications show that Google and Amazon are interested in making "digital assistants" study people's activities to learn all about them.
AI programs would understand what people say to each other, observe what they wear including slogans on t-shirts, and track people's movements around the house including to the toilet or to bed.
It should be illegal to have such a device in your apartment without getting signed consent from the people that live in the other apartments in the building.
Historians should investigate the actions and effects of the British Empire, not set out to whitewash them.
300,000 Dalits rallied to celebrate a battle where Dalits helped the British defeat an army of higher-caste Hindus, in 1817. Hindu-nationalists attacked the rally, after which Dalits protested in many cities. Thugs attacked some of the protests.
We all hate "red tape" until we see that the neglect of safety regulations can kill more people than a terrorist attack.
Syrian rebel groups refused to participate in Russian-sponsored peace talks.
Russia is no more an honest broker in Syria than the US is in Israel/Palestine.
Ordinarily I would say this is an encouraging sign, but you can't expect the troll to go for weeks or months without reversing himself.
Saboteur Sessions will restart prosecution of state-legalized marijuana sellers, maybe even customers.
The decision leaves it up to US attorneys whether to prosecute. But there's a good chance they won't succeed in convicting people for these "crimes". Let's do our best to spread the word to resist while in a jury.
However, if agents go around confiscating the marijuana and the money of sellers, the sellers will have to shut down. People will be limited to what they and their friends can grow.
The government claims, absurdly, that the breach is harmless because it didn't include the people's fingerprints and retina scans.
The Tories want to replace the EU with the much worse TPP. So much for their bullshit about "taking back control".
Coral reef bleaching is so frequent now that the reefs can't fully recover before the next bleaching event.
Oceans Suffocating as Huge Dead Zones Quadruple Since 1950, Scientists Warn.
People in Papua New Guinea still believe in witchcraft, and recently burned two women to death for supposedly magically killing someone that died from malaria.
Meanwhile, European countries are sending Afghan refugees there because it is "safe".
I don't know whether this is legally criminal insider trading, but that's what it is in spirit.
However, whether will turn out to be advantageous in practice, I can't begin to guess.
The US has begun to try ideological rehabilitation on convicted supporters of PISSI. It sometimes works.
The NHS has been knocked down so much by insufficient funds that it has cancelled all non-urgent surgery.
I expect the NHS will resume non-urgent surgery when Labour is elected and gives it more funds.
Finally a program for piecing together shreds of paper really exists.
In the 1970s, the CIA had an office in 545 Tech Sq right across from the Logo Lab (Logo was a programming system for children). Every day, the CIA set out some bags of shredded paper to be collected as trash. Many MIT people in the building had a very negative attitude towards the CIA.
One day, as a CIA person went to the toilet, two MIT people went there after him and and had a conversation between toilet stalls. One said, "How is that shredded paper vision system coming?" The other replied, "It's starting to work. We put the shreds in front of the camera and the robot arm can line them up."
The next day, the CIA did not put out its usual trash bag of shredded paper. A few days later, the bags resumed, but the paper had been shredded twice.
Of course, there was no such vision system in the 1970s. It was far beyond the technology of the day. The two MIT hackers had made it up as a hoax to hack the CIA.
Or at least, this is what people in that group said had been done. If there was any documentary record of this, I suppose the CIA shredded it long ago.
Negotiation with the bullshitter is worthless since he famously does not keep the deals he makes.
Certain bird-friendly farming practices can bring back some species of birds that have been harmed by intensive farming.
Businesses do many kinds of harm to people. Why, then, the reflex of offering to subsidize businesses that make an effort to do less harm? Could this reflect a mental habit of genuflecting to business?
Perhaps that mental habit is why the solution offered for every problem takes the form of reducing taxes on business.
Since we need business to pay more taxes, how about if we instead fine farms for doing harm to birds, and reduce the fines for those that do less harm?
One province of Argentina will send hunters to protect whales from seagulls that have learned to attack whales.
It appears that the motive for caring about the whales is that whale watching is a big business there.
The province says that this is temporary and that it will implement the right solution, which is to deny gulls access to garbage.
One interesting point is that keas in New Zealand attack sheep in the same way. Keas are not closely related to gulls, so it seems that this kind of behavior is a potential for many kinds of birds.
Iceland will now require companies (other than small ones) to prove they are giving men and women equal pay.
Previously, the law required companies to do this, but the bosses didn't comply with that law. No surprise there -- businesses that want to increase profits by exploiting someone tend to be persistent about it.
When other countries relax regulations or do favors for the sake of the cheater's businesses, that is a "foreign emolument" such as the US Constitution prohibits the president to receive.
Israel has jailed several Palestinian elected officials without trial or charges.
US citizens: call on Congress to support the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with drug companies.
Sheikh Sayah's great grandfather bought land near Beersheva in 1905. Since 1952, Israel has been making excuses to confiscate that land.
If Israel were willing to pay what the land is worth, I suppose it could take the land through eminent domain, without violating anyone's human rights.
63 Israeli high school students committed themselves to refuse to be drafted into maintaining the occupation of Palestine.
The troll is on track to make 2000 public lies per year.
We don't know how many additional lies he makes in private.
To free writers and publishers from the power of Facebook, don't let Facebook direct what you read or watch.
You will do this automatically if you refuse to be a used of Facebook. I don't have a Facebook account, so Facebook doesn't know what I read, and has no direct influence on my choices.
Growing up as a plutocrat tends to shape people to treat the rest of society with contempt.
This suggests that we should make sure no one grows up very rich, just as we should make sure no one grows up poor.
One of the few progressive changes in the Republican tax attacks was to cap the deductibility of state and local taxes from federal tax. People that pay more than $10,000 a year in state and local taxes will have to pay more federal tax because of this change.
Perversely, there is a proposal for the states to cancel the effect of this change by replacing the income tax with a payroll tax.
This change would have a bad long-term side effect that the article does not mention. Payroll taxes encourage businesses to cut they payroll expenses by replacing workers with automation.
I think we should eliminate all payroll taxes, and compensate by raising the income tax, and by taxing fossil fuels more.
The new US newspaper chains buy lots of local newspapers, fire most of the staff, and make them part of a centralized business that treats local news reporting as the lowest priority. With this cost cutting, they extract profit for some years until people catch on that the newspaper is no longer worth looking at.
The person who made the hoax call that sent the SWAT team that killed Andrew Finch is morally responsible for the killing.
I presume that the money to pay for these ads comes through a secret channel from the Koch brothers or fossil fuel companies.
In 1971, a group of experts concluded that a digital payment system that tracks people would be the most effective but unobtrusive system they could imagine for a dictatorship. ( pages 10-11 of this pdf , or search for "Electronic Funds Transfer Systems" in this plaintext version )
Now that exists, we see it is indeed ideal for that purpose. So join me in promoting the use of cash -- by insisting on paying cash, and telling businesses "No cash? No sale."
It looks like the bully really doesn't want a peace deal. So what does he want? A chance to use nuclear weapons?
Food companies' advertising is aimed at convincing people to eat larger portions of candy.
Removing parts of current protected maritime national monuments would endanger ecosystems.
For the planet plunderers, every species wiped out is one less potential obstacle to their plunder.
When one protester was dying in the hospital, the thugs kept the man's family away for days, until he was dead.
Keep Global [heating] Under 1.5C Or "Quarter of Planet Could Become Arid."
This will cut into global food production.
2017 was the hottest ever non-el-Niño year.
The US mainstream media are a spectrum from center-right to extreme-right-wing. Right-wing extremists call it "Liberal" as a lie campaign.
The aim is to persuade naive people that "Liberal" is what they see in the right-wing mainstream media, therefore the "center" must be somewhere to the right of that.
A New Year’s Resolution for the Media: Do Not Let Republicans Get Away With Saying "Reforms" When They Mean "Cuts".
10% of US young adults were homeless or forced to crash at friends' houses in the past year.
If all they do is notice violent crime and disasters, I think it is fine. However, these drones, like body cameras, threaten to impose tyranny if their use is not carefully limited.
Behind a Corporate Monster: How Monsanto Pushes Agricultural Domination.
The FBI has arrested around a thousand prostitutes, as part of an annual operation supposedly intended to "recover children" from trafficking, except that it hardly ever finds any children. Not even many adolescent minors. It finds prostitutes and arrests them.
Palestinian Girl Filmed Slapping Israeli Soldier Is Charged with Assault.
Her mother has been charged with "incitement". Apparently reporting on slapping a soldier is now "incitement".
Government agencies in the US sometimes sue people for making FOIA requests. It is completely bogus, but if you are not in a position to deal with being sued, it is very intimidating.
As environmentalists try to reduce plastic pollution that is choking the oceans, Big Oil is investing in increasing production.
Republican saboteurs will do anything to boost fossil fuel extraction, even letting the drillers endanger their workers' lives.
It is a shame that the article refers to people accused of forbidden sharing as "pirates", as if sharing copies were somehow wrong.
It is well known that designing an appliance so that the owner needs to connect to it through the internet, rather than locally and directly, makes it insecure in many ways. To that list we must add the danger of being disconnected from it.
Those insecurities are in addition to the malicious things that the appliance could be built to do you.
For your safety, don't use any appliance with a connected to the real internet.
Privatizing any government service leads to low wages, bad service, and lack of accountability. If the private implementers are "more efficient" that's because they pay workers less or cut corners.
Israel bullied Facebook into imposing tight censorship on criticism of the occupation of Palestine.
USDA regulations, necessary for and designed for large food-processing companies, can put an end to the small companies that don't need them.
Bruce Schneier: Personal data is a toxic asset.
Just as in the case of toxic chemicals, we need laws to make the cost of the toxicity fall on the companies or government agencies that collect or accumulate the data. But that's not enough in the case of toxic chemicals, and it's not enough for toxic personal data either. We need to prohibit building systems such that they collect or save more that the smallest amount of data that they could collect or save.
Marijuana is now legal in California. There are even some businesses licensed to sell it.
The thugs oppose this; they refuse to admit that the biggest danger of using marijuana was the danger from them.
Some protesters in Iran are raising political issues, including freeing political prisoners, ending foreign interventions. Just the sort of things that Americans used to protest, 15 years ago, but have mostly forgotten about.
The bully is undermining the protesters with hypocritical claims to support them. The only effect such "support" could have in Iran is to inspire a reaction against the protests. I hope Iranians have the good sense to resist this.
What Bitcoin and Amazon Are Doing to the Middle Class.
Funding for charters schools in California turned out to be a big spigot for wasteful failures.
The IRS intentionally sought to prosecute businesses that made cash deposits close to but under $10,000 but were getting the money legitimately. It seized lots of money from them.
President Kabila of the DR Congo has reached the end of his term but refuses to hold an election to choose his successor. Citizens are protesting, and the state suppression forces are trying to prevent the protests. Now they have killed two protesters.
The suppression forces have cut off communications for the people.
There are protests all across Iran about low wages.
The protests are very visible but it is not so clear what they mean.
Iranians may dislike the elimination of subsidies for gasoline, but subsidies on fossil fuels endanger the whole world. The way to help non-rich people to accept this is to give that money to the non-rich in another way that isn't limited to those that use gasoline.
When large organizations seek to control costs, Institutional dynamics pressure them to make rigid rules, enforce them with cruelty, and punish whistleblowers that report problems internally to anyone but their immediate supervisor — while pretending to be small, local, and friendly.
Have you ever bought "extra strength" antacids?
One "extra strength" tablet is equivalent to two "regular strength" tablets. It cost as much as two "regular strength" tablets. It weighs as much as two "regular strength" tablets. Taking it is equivalent to taking two "regular strength" tablets.
The only difference it makes to get the "extra strength" tablets is to make it difficult to take the equivalent of just one "regular strength" tablet. It is possible to break the "extra strength" tablet in half, but it's hard to do so with the unaided fingers. So you might take more than you really want to take.
In other words, "extra strength" gives the purchaser no benefit, only inconvenience. True, it is not a big deal, but why give in to a minor swindle if you don't have to?
Next time you buy some antacid, insist on "regular strength". If the store doesn't have any, or not in a flavor you can stand, complain to the manager.
Popular Indian Parody Site Closes after Death Threats from [theocratist Hindus].
The government doesn't directly organize violence, but it directly encourages and facilitates those that do.
Why we need to increase the inheritance tax — and why that won't do the harm that the myths pretend.
US citizens: tell Congress not to allow the TSA to do face recognition on US citizens at airports.
Global heating is eliminating the regularity of the seasons in Britain (and, I'm sure, many other places). The immediate effects of this are good in some ways and bad in others, but over time it will cause the extinction of many species.
The loss of one species can easily cause further change that will wipe out other species.
I forecast that the thugs will try to take the blame off themselves by blaming the hoaxer instead. Making such a hoax call is very wrong, but that doesn't excuse the thugs for shooting first and asking questions later. Don't let the thugs off the hook!
For three years running, US thugs have killed more than a thousand people per year.
Before that, there weren't any complete lists or counts of people killed by thugs.
All state agencies and all thug departments should be prohibited by law from using body cameras that do this. The law must be written so that it can be enforced in court at any time — citizens must not have to wait until they need footage and encounter this requirement so as to challenge it retroactively.
There are estimated to be around 100,000 undercover informants in the US, most of whom were effectively blackmailed into being informants by mandatory minimum sentences.
Here's what the FBI did to make one person work as an informant.
Poverty causes stress, which makes people grow up biologically damaged. Poverty makes ordinary cheap goods expensive, so it is a real trap. To get out requires luck, so it teaches people to take mad-seeming risks, without which they have no chance to get out. And they have to run these risks with poverty's damage tying one hand behind their backs.
When they do escape and become well-off, they can't trust it, because poverty taught them to be anxious all the time that something is about to kick them back into the gutter.
We should never allow our society to subject someone to growing up in poverty.
The UK is privatizing the NHS even more.
Homeless people in Houston are fined $500 if they put a tent under a viaduct. The city calls them "obstructions".
Kirsten Lobato's murder conviction was overturned after many years of struggle. She was convicted after a biased investigation — not mere mistakes. Why do we not punish the thugs that act in such biased ways? That would do a lot to make this happen less often.
Former Egyptian president Morsi has been given an additional prison sentence, this time for "insulting the judiciary".
With this sentence, the Egyptian judiciary has just insulted itself. Morsi's policies as president did not respect freedom very much, but jailing people for "insulting" is never excusable.
English volunteers help the asylum seekers that are legally left destitute.
Solidarity protests in Chicago for Hondurans fighting their stolen election.
The US Constitution is a skeleton that depends on joints, muscles and tendons to make the government move in the right ways. Now that Republicans have torn those up, we see that a Constitution interpreted by machines or unscrupulous lawyers fails to do its job.
"The people who understand corruption best are very poor people and very rich people. The stronger the middle class, the less powerful corruption is."
It follows that plutocracy makes for more corruption.
The state-supported "loyalist" assassins in Northern Ireland warned the prime minister of Ireland that officials had asked them to kill him and to spread diseases in Ireland.
They refused to kill him, and presumably refused to spread the diseases either.
Peruvians Protest Against Pardon For Jailed (murderous) Ex-President Fujimori.
A wave of fraudulent comments support the saboteur's move to cancel the regulation that says retirement advisors must not cheat their clients with intentional bad advice.
Fraudulent comments seem to be the new tactic of choice for the people of the lie.
US citizens: tell Senator Grassley to stop rubber-stamping the saboteur's nominees for judges.
The men video'd beating up unarmed protester DeAndre Harris have been charged.
Farmers in Colombia are rapidly cutting down the forest for farms that wear out the land quickly. Some are trying to teach them to plant fruit trees and hardwood tree plantations.
The other half of the solution for preserving the forest is to limit the numbers of human beings that try to make a living in it.
I asked a volunteer to check the points in the article about US prisons and he found references to support all of them.
The bully's saboteurs are attacking both human rights and democracy; even to undo this damage may be difficult. And if they get enough control over the courts, they will never allow opposition to win elections.
Still, we have to try — because giving up guarantees the worst possible outcome.
Fat lot of good that will do when thugs commit crimes.
Cars track lots of data about drivers, and one way or another companies get it.
Since it puts the users further under the power of Big Data, it's ultimately bad for the users. I call it the "internet of stings".
Israel develops its "security" technology, more properly described as repression technology, by practicing on Palestinians. Israel now exports this to US thug departments so they can learn the "best practices" for repressing Americans that protest.
New York State spent lots of money on zero-tax "start up" zones.
Subsidizing business to do business tends to become nothing but a giveaway to businesses. It is self-defeating when it "succeeds".
Businesses in the US pay too little tax overall. Therefore, we have to stop thinking of reducing taxes for "better" businesses and instead raise them on "worse" business.
Hondurans continue protesting massively against the theft of their presidential election.
US neo-Nazis are pretending to support progressive criticism of the political power of business, hoping they can substitute "Jews" for "business" and convert progressives to antisemitism.
Uri Avnery: Ben-Gurion told God, I wish that Israel will be a Jewish state, that it will encompass all the country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and that it be a just state. "That is too much even for me," God said.
Fungicides are very dangerous to some species of bumblebees.
Studies show that vaping is far less dangerous than smoking tobacco, provided one stops smoking entirely.
Israel bullied the National Basketball Association to deny that Palestine is occupied territory.
Right-wing politicians frequently demonize "coastal elites". Many of the bully's cronies are part of the coastal elite.
They succeeded in convincing him to arrange the attack in a way that would not do much damage — it would only make him look tough.
Although antisocialists take many stands that progressives can agree with, we can never expect real support from antisocialists, because their highest priority is always laissez-faire: to make the government stop doing good for people in general.
In other words, they are far more against what they call "socialism" (which is what they call any policy that isn't total laissez-faire) than they are for liberty.
This helps explain how the term "libertarian" misrepresents their views. It highlights their attractive secondary stand (for civil liberties), while claiming falsely that their repellent primary position (for laissez-faire) has something to do with civil liberties.
Idiots such as the president think a few cold days in winter imply that more global heating would be good, or else that there isn't any.
Native idiocy isn't enough to believe things like this. They have to work at it.
When you experience a cold day in winter, remember that the cold is killing tropical diseases and parasites. As global heating makes winter gradually less cold, they spread further north.
Carrying newly hatched salmon to the sea by truck appears at first to be effective. But when the salmon are ready to go upstream to spawn, they don't know which way to go up the river, since they never went down the river.
US nursing homes asked the government to please stop fining them for mistreating patients. The saboteurs granted their wish.
For millions of working women to push away sexual pressure from their bosses, they need to form activist unions.
Facebook now asks users in India to give their official biometric ID linkage.
Being used by Facebook was harmful already. This makes it more harmful because it enables Facebook's data about people to be linked easily with many other databases also indexed by national ID numbers.
This is an example of why a national ID number is harmful. Once everyone has that number, it becomes natural for every business or organization which has a database of people to index it by national ID number — and presto! they are all cross-linked.
The FBI, advised by Ayn Rand, denounced films such as It's A Wonderful Life as Communist propaganda.
The acting head of the official internal whistleblowing office for US intelligence agents was transferred to a no-op job for no stated reasons.
Perhaps he tried to actually do his job? As has been reported, that office has generally operated as a mousetrap to catch whistleblowers.
Fossil fools have funded fake news and fake science since the 1990s, but they needed to present it with a serious front. Now the Heatland Institute has decided, based on the strength of the US anti-rationality movement, to dispense with that and spew evident nonsense.
The organization calls itself "Heartland", but the name "Heatland" describes it more accurately.
Twitter banned a bot that was very effective at identifying impersonator trolls (who make false-flag racist verbal attacks), because the right-wing lie movement started reporting it for "abuse."
Any sort of crowdsourcing of information or judgment is vulnerable to manipulation by a sufficiently large dishonest movement.
Saboteur Pruitt has redefined environmentalism to mean extracting as much as possible and ignoring effects on the environment.
The cancer drug Lomustine costs 15 times as much as it did 4 years ago.
UK pro-fracking politicians go to great lengths to sabotage protests.
A Mexican reporter, afraid of being shot by gangsters, tried to ask for asylum in the US. He was imprisoned for 100 days and treated like a criminal. Told he'd probably be held in prison for a year, he went back to Mexico even though he still feared being shot.
In Xinjiang, China tracks every move that people make.
Coming soon to a country near you.
Proof that the NSA-designed back door in RSA's TLS library was operational in a commercial product.
The white supremacists that attacked unarmed DeAndre Harris have been charged. Unfortunately, Harris still faces charges too.
Tom Hughes is about to become homeless, and considers committing a harmless crime so as to get into prison instead.
The Real Costs of Cheap Surveillance.
I have presented solutions here.
Roy Moore will go to any lengths of absurdity to prevent Doug Jones from being seated in the senate.
This accusation is absurd because of the facts. I won't claim that Democrats are so moral that they couldn't conceivably try to rig an election. But the ones that are in the habit of doing so are Republicans. Alabama's government is dominated by Republicans. Democrats would not be able to rig an election there if they tried.
Privacy.com offers the service of a VPN for credit cards.
Aside from the question of whether you can trust privacy.com with your data, I wonder also about what happens if you need to cancel a payment.
Rather than use workarounds like these, I'd rather go to a store, offer cash, refuse to give my name or zipcode, and see if they are willing to refuse to sell me something.
To return society to rationality, we must stop preferring powerful authentic emotions to dull authentic facts and reasoning.
"Ice will return but extinctions can't be reversed. We must act now."
China's "sponge cities" help direct rain underground, to reduce flooding.
Extremists in the US killed 372 people in the 10-year period, 2007-2016. About 3/4 of the killings were done by right-wing extremists.
Israeli troops fired at medics and journalists that moved towards a wounded Palestinian protester.
An Israeli official made a vague threat of violence against nonviolent protesters in Germany.
Men now face being fired for vaguely sexual conversations that were not sexual harassment and that no one complained about.
Naturally, the announcement of dismissal used the vaguest possible word: "inappropriate". That word means "not correct in my judgment." Such a vague criticism can never justify the conclusion that someone has done wrong. Any act might be frowned upon by someone.
If you want to demand that someone be fired or prosecuted for some action, or justify firing the person for some action, it behooves you to make an accusation that is concrete, not vague like "inappropriate". You need to say what the action was, so we can judge how wrong it was. If you can't or won't describe it with something more concrete than "inappropriate", we must presume it wasn't bad enough to punish.
This note is not meant to defend conduct that merits some concrete criticism. Once there is a concrete criticism, we have a concrete issue to consider.
Most of Labour's supporters want Britain to stay in the EU. The party is vulnerable to competition from a party that would support this.
UK exit from the EU is a paradoxical issue. The EU requires every country to be part of several business-supremacy treaties, each of which cements the nondemocratic and therefore unjust power of business. The EU has plutocratic policies of its own in several areas including copyright, agriculture, and inequality of wealth. In principle, returning to freedom and democracy requires escaping from the EU.
However, the EU also regulates businesses and protects some human rights. Therefore, exit from the EU does not necessarily imply things will get better.
If the plan for Britain's economic policy after leaving the EU is to sign a bunch of business-supremacy treaties, the effect will be to make things even worse.
Oil drilling in the Peruvian Amazon has poisoned land and rivers. The indigenous people sometimes occupy and shut down oil facilities for days or months.
The local oil pollution might degrade or wash away in a couple of centuries, but the damage done by global heating is forever. The most important fight in the Peruvian Amazon is to prevent construction of new wells.
Poverty Is Both a Political and a Moral Choice Made By the Powerful.
Decades of planning enabled right-wing plutocrats to take power in the US, so they could let most Americans "fall by the wayside".
As a result of their success, poor people in the US today have discarded the American Dream. They have learned that hard work won't get them a decent life in the US. Especially poor whites have given in to despair.
At the economic level, they are right. Hard work to make money won't get most poor Americans a decent life, because the rich take most of the value of their work.
However, there is another kind of hard work which could enable everyone to have a decent life: work to elect progressive leaders that will make the rich give back what they took.
Concern about how the bully deals with Putin should not lead us to take speculation for fact.
Visa plans to pay US businesses to stop accepting cash.
Before I supported the Doug Jones campaign, I had a volunteer show me his positions and found things that sounded progressive to me. It looks like I missed some things that are not very progressive.
Too bad. We need senators about whom one can say something more than, "Better than Roy Moore."
A second disaster for Barbuda: now that the houses have been destroyed, the communal lands will be privatized.
The land will then be sold to rich foreigners for funds for rebuilding. This will probably include much of the wild areas, which will then be bulldozed.
This issue may not matter for long if global heating and sea-level rise combine to make Barbuda uninhabitable.
The effectiveness of Russian troll ads in Facebook demonstrate something bad about the American people, but also about Facebook.
It may be true that Facebook is "a mirror" for its useds, but that does not mean it is safe. The useds are also a mirror for what Facebook says to them. Two mirrors facing each other, with something in between that resonates with a certain kind of energy, make up a laser, and a laser can be very dangerous if it is powerful.
I am puzzled by the article's presupposition that "Democrats" adore Facebook unquestioningly. Does that really happen?
Venezuela's all-powerful "constitutional assembly" has arbitrarily banned the three main opposition parties from the next national election for the "crime" of boycotting the recent local elections.
The "constitutional assembly" is really the "constitution override", since it serves to enable Maduro to set the constitution aside arbitrarily. The government obeys the constitution except when it doesn't.
UK ministries conceal supposedly public government files by "borrowing" them permanently from the archives, then saying they "can't find" the files.
In the US, the government says the files are secret, or denies they ever existed.
Cats in Australia kill a million birds of native species per day, and may be a crucial factor in wiping them out.
I seem to recall having read about an effort to eradicate cats from some island. Might it be possible to sterilize the feral cats of Australia, and keep all non-neutered cats indoors, for the birds' sake?
EFF: Protect the Privacy of Cross-Border Data: Stop the DOJ Bill.
Chinese economists advocate total surveillance in the name of making a planned economy work.
Total surveillance means total tyranny, so even if it does function in some economic sense, it is a bad system.
In the Cretaceous period, mammals could only come out at night — because daytime was so hot it would kill them. We could get there again.
If a university has many Chinese students, it had better take care to prevent them from intimidating others from condemning China's tyranny.
We might help Chinese students understand that they should not identify themselves with Chinese repression by showing that we criticize our own countries' repression, too. We are not against China, rather we support all peoples (including the Chinese people) against the injustice of whatever state.
Turkey is fortunate to have a decreasing birth rate that will help end poverty there. However, some fools believe that this is a problem.
The local inconveniences of a decreasing population are nothing compared with the global disaster of population pushing up greenhouse emissions and overusing every limited renewable resource.
We need laws to stop drug companies from raising the price of a drug to an unconscionable level.
Wu Gan, Chinese human rights activist, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for holding a protest at a courthouse.
China never ceased to be a vicious tyranny. The Panchen Lama was disappeared in 1995 and has not been seen or heard from since. But China did these sort of things only rarely, until a few years ago.
The axolotl appears to be extinct in the wild, apparently due to pollution from humans that have invaded its habitat.
Japan has declared approaching a whaling ship to be "terrorism".
The UK and US have declared releasing animals from a farm to be "terrorism".
The US refers to protests as "low-level terrorism".
Lying laws such as these are a form of tyranny. The dishonesty also undermines efforts against real terrorism.
Wages in the US are depressed substantially because many Americans have few potential employers to choose from.
This is another reason why we need to break up the large companies.
Putin has officially banned the only real opposition candidate from running against him.
Reality Winner published the secret intelligence about Russian phishing at a US "election services" company because everyone knew that the the official internal whistleblower system is just a mousetrap to catch anyone that would even think of trying.
She will have an unfair trial, demonstrating why it is absurd to claim Snowden should return and face a similarly unfair trial.
Meanwhile, use of private companies for "election services" makes me worry on principle. How can we trust a company for that?
Washington State has sued Comcast for tricking hundreds of thousands of customers into paying for nothing.
"Innovation" in the area of how to charge for services is something we should discourage, or even criminalize.
Sessions lied to Congress about the troll campaign's plans for contact with Russia.
Senator Warren explains how Equifax is making lots of money from "helping" people protect themselves from the consequences of its data breach.
The data breach resulted from the carelessness of Equifax's security department.
The welfare programs of the welfare state are a triumph of organized human decency. We should champion them with pride.
Want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness: banished by the welfare state, imposed once again by the plutocratic state.
National Security Agencies Are [still] Evading Congressional Oversight.
Many congresscritters accept the agencies' claims without question, or allow themselves to be brushed off with "it's a secret".
It's Not Just Niger — U.S. Military Activity Is a "Recruiting Tool" for Terror Groups Across West Africa.
Boko Haram is a vicious gang, and I don't have any objection in principle to helping to defeat it provided the means are legitimate and the effort makes things better, not worse. But we can't judge those questions if we don't know what the efforts are.
"The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back."
People who attributed poverty to bad luck are not entirely wrong. The reason why x% of the population are poor is bad social policies. The reason why person A is part of that x% rather than person B is chance.
At least 73% of the Fortune 500 companies used tax havens to dodge taxes, in 2016.
The "paradise papers" might demonstrate that the percentage is even higher.
Brazil's president Temer weakened the law against slavery to buy support from agribusiness, so that it would vote its congresscritters to protect him from trial for some of his corruption.
His maneuver succeeded; Brazil remains ruled by corruption.
We should not use the word "reforms" when referring to his plans. The only thing Temer wants to do is dooH niboR.
The EU has a big plan to make more biofuel for airplanes, and it would cause big harm.
Right-wingers are suing pipeline protesters, calling them a terrorist conspiracy.
"The darkest dream of totalitarianism is now our daily life, carried in our purse and pocket... Every first person feels ever more alone and lost... What if truth is the precarious hinge that holds freedom and progress together?"
Interviews with Taliban, which have been growing stronger for years. One says that many former prisoners of the Afghan state forces are so ashamed of the way they were tortured that they volunteer to be suicide bombers.
Fake news in Facebook has been used to stir up violence in several countries.
The Tories' welfare system is so determined to cut the funds for disabled people that the assessors lie to fabricate an excuse.
The job of assessor would naturally attract people who enjoy callously saying no to someone in need, but that alone can't account for 250 reports that an assessor lied. Clearly the cause is pressure from the bosses of the companies that the assessors work for.
Privatizing a public activity is an invitation for a company to cut corners and do a bad job.
The Tories are making disabled people come in for interviews about putting them to work, even if they are too sick to get out of bed.
Many Iraqi children will find it hard to grow up as healthy and capable adults. Their bodies have been poisoned by chemicals and Dirty Uranium from US weapons, while their brains are poisoned by PTSD from the violence they have witnessed.
American Airlines Gave Its Workers a Raise. Wall Street Freaked Out.
The tendency for US companies to focus on short-term changes in stock price is harmful in many ways. It encourages short-term thinking which implies long-term loss. This is one more way it is harmful.
Products being sold to US thugs include new systems for watching everyone, listening to everyone, identifying everyone, and integrating the data about everyone.
The bully could save the US 7 trillion dollars by not pushing the US into a pointless (and unjustified) war with Iran.
Journalists Who Relayed GOP's Deficit Moaning Owe Us Apologies.
Google is trying out teaching based on pervasive surveillance and data collection, in the expensive context of a class with two teachers for 24 students from wealthy and well-educated, which will surely make it look effective.
Building a data model of a student's state of knowledge, and abilities, could be a useful method. In order for it to be ethical, only rough summaries (comparable to grades) should ever leave the school in any form.
However, I doubt a good teaching method can overcome the detrimental effects on learning and ability caused by growing up in the stress of poverty. Personal attention from teachers could help, some.
The Thomas fire in California is now the largest in the state's history. It has burned over 400 square miles.
Suggesting that financial bubbles will burst in 2020.
Several of the genes that make human skin darker or lighter existed before Homo sapiens evolved. They were inherited from an ancestral species.
Someone pushed some pork through the mail slot of the Belfast Islamic Center.
This gesture of bigotry was nasty and I disapprove of it, but the word "attack" is not justified. To qualify as an attack, it would have to cause damage or harm, not mere offense. A dirty spot in a door, and on the nearby floor, are not harm.
Complex regulations are pressuring small US banks to merge with big ones. A publicly owned bank, in North Dakota, helps the local banks there to survive.
The idea that it is easier to enforce regulations on a few large banks than on small ones is backwards. On the contrary, very big banks can cheat with impunity, as Wells Fargo has shown. To make banks obey the law, we need to get big banks to split up.
My progressive business tax proposal could help do that.
US Nuclear Arsenal to Cost $1.2tn Over Next 30 Years.
It is part of a broad military spending program that might cost even more, and is totally unnecessary since the US military could easily defeat any three other nation's militaries.
What fraction of world greenhouse gas emissions could we eliminate with that much money?
Horse manure is not a bomb, it is a political statement and nothing more. To treat this is a crime is an attack on American's political freedom — like treating protests at the bully's inauguration as a crime.
The falling price of renewable electricity and batteries may enable India to provide electricity to everyone using renewable energy instead of coal.
India should decide now to reject coal. It will do little good for millions of poor Indians if they get electricity in the next 20 years, only to die from global heating effects in another 20 years.
In the long term, for India to reduce the number of poor people it must stop making more of them by means of birth control. Without that, it's a Red Queen's race.
Save Israel, Stop the Occupation — an organization that asks Jews outside Israel to support Israeli opposition to continued occupation of Palestine.
Israel confiscates Palestinians' water pipes and tanks so its colonies can grow bananas.
Six crimes by the bully and his officials that ought to be prosecuted.
The Tory "reform" of welfare payments in the UK tends to make recipients fall behind on rent. Now many landlords won't rent to welfare recipients at all.
Sanders Slams Trump for 'Bragging' About Millions of Americans Losing Healthcare.
This as the cheater congratulated his rich friends for the big gains they will get from the tax attacks.
Ahed Tamimi slapped and kicked some Israeli soldiers who was standing unwelcome in her family's yard. The soldiers forbore to retaliate, so right-wing Israeli haters began demanding some harshness. Soldiers returned in the middle of the night and arrested her.
Her parents have led weekly protests for many years against Israel's theft of their land through the annexation wall.
European organizations that rescue drowning would-be immigrants are being prosecuted for facilitating illegal immigration.
Similar things have happened in the US near the Mexican border.
Defending college teachers' rights to protest at the rallies students hold on campus. Both have the right to express their views.
Workplace surveillance systems track everything staff do online through company-provided computers.
I wouldn't use them if I were you.
Guatemalans hope a return to regenerative farming could enable the country to support all its people.
The article doesn't explain why investment money is needed for this. I can guess at various possibilities, but we need to know the actual answer.
If they can make their economy more sustainable this way, and they want the improvement last, they must not squander the gains on increased population. Thus, reducing population growth needs to be part of the plan.
Offshoring as shown in the "paradise" papers encourages corruption of public officials, as well as tax-dodging and corruption.
Investments in companies which exercise power, such as Twitter and Facebook, have the potential to influence their use of that power.
Maybe this was just an investment for profit. But then why hide it?
Even if Twitter and Facebook didn't know that they had Russian state institutions as investors, those investors had ways to push for developments that suited them, without revealing who they were.
Will AI dolls for young children interfere with their understanding of the difference between people and things?
I am not convinced, a priori, that this will do harm. Perhaps it will have a subtle effect that is only statistically detectable.
However, the crucial question is not whether AI dolls, inherently, are likely confuse children. It is, rather, whether AI dolls could be designed to manipulate children in a particular way: to make them more susceptible to addictive technology.
Because, if there is a way to do that, companies will find it.
Companies such as Facebook are searching madly for ways to make their technology more addictive. They have lots of money to invest in research. If a certain kind of robot doll could predispose people to be more addicted to Facebook, Facebook is likely to discover that. Then it might push those dolls on children under some pretext — perhaps "They are educational", perhaps, or "They make up for the lack of teachers in our austerity-hit schools". Facebook-funded research could substantiate these claims.
Perhaps some other kind of AI doll might be entirely harmless, or even beneficial, but that's not the direction that Facebook et al. would find profitable to promote.
Russians have met to nominate Alexei Navalny to run for president. They will have to overcome the criminal convictions that Putin has engineered as an excuse to stop him from running.
In a previous election, Putin arranged to prevent the nomination process for Garry Kasparov by making all the large rooms in Moscow unavailable.
Putin would probably win a free and fair election, and surely knows this, but he still won't allow one in Russia.
UK law particularly favors companies against journalists that publish about leaks. And the Tories plan to make it even worse.
Privacy needs more protection, but data brokers, data thieves, and repressive states will not be deterred by laws about the use of personal data. (The data brokers are experts at achieving want they want through loopholes in data protection laws.) The effective way to protect privacy is to limit the accumulation of data.
Exploring the world of do-it-yourself gene therapy.
I think people should be free to make and try untested genetic modifications on themselves. But the risk scares me; I would never do it except as a last resort.
Acts of hatred against Indian Christians hit a peak at Christmas.
The bigoted ruling party has inspired Hindus' violence against many other religious groups.
Some of the world's best soccer clubs belong to Arab despots, and the money that buys their players comes from oppression.
Other clubs have been bought by Russian oligarchs, who certainly didn't get so much of Russia with clean hands.
A fire in a shopping mall at night seems to have killed 37 people working in a call center.
It's a shame that 37 people got killed, perhaps painfully, but that's life. I hope Filipinos do get worked up enough about this to bring about improvement in fire code enforcement.
Now, imagine that 37 people got killed by a terrorist. Fools around the world would demand, "Tear up our freedom at once!", stirred up by would-be authoritarian politicians.
The bully and his agents are attacking science in every part of the US government.
If the Republicans don't cancel democracy in the US the way Hernández just did in Honduras, we may have them out of power in 3 years. But it won't be easy to repair the damage they are doing now. All staff who remain in these agencies are either struggling desperately to maintain their integrity despite being forbidden to show it, or becoming cynical and thus useless as a support for integrity. In effect, we will have to replace them and start over.
That effect is not limited to agencies that are involved with science.
Twitter accounts suspected of being Russian trolls were used to stir up conflict after terrorist attacks in the UK.
Associating the Twitter accounts with Russia may admit of uncertainty, but there's no uncertainty that the system is susceptible to being used this way. Individuals and right-wing extremist organizations do it, too.
What's not clear is how to fix the Twitter system to make it less susceptible to this sort of instability, without censorship that would threaten our freedom also.
If we can believe the CIA that it briefed the bully on Jan 6 about Russia's election meddling, that implies he has been lying about it ever since.
Courts and scientists are trying to clarify the boundary between firm opinions and incitement to violence.
This may be the most damaging thing yet that the Republicans have done. Millions of Americans who were being rescued from the repression of perpetual debt will now have no hope of escape.
American children have had almost all their freedom taken away in the past 40 years.
The Election Fraud in Honduras Follows Decades of Corruption Funded By the U.S. War on Drugs.
Everyone: Call on Ecuador's President Moreno to pardon the indigenous mining protesters.
Saboteur DeVos has revoked the plan to cancel the student debt for some students of fraudulent Corinthian Colleges.
After the artificial disaster of the hurricane in Puerto Rico comes another artificial disaster: a wave of foreclosures imposed through legal trickery. 1/3 of the homeowners in Puerto Rico are currently vulnerable, but the number could increase.
Massive inequality in the US, in 12 charts.
Europe Sends People 'Home' to Afghanistan, Where They Have Never Been.
Scientists are working on genetically engineering corals and their symbiotic bacteria to help them survive the heating of the ocean.
This approach is better than nothing, but I see two shortcomings:
The real purpose of the Republican tax attacks is to eliminate the welfare programs that enable many poor Americans to survive.
The case against Cliven Bundy collapsed because prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense. It was evidence of misconduct in investigating him.
Bundy was fighting for a cause — the same twisted cause that the Koch brothers fight for. They demand the right to wear out the Earth through unsustainable practices, leaving nothing for the future. These practices won't continue indefinitely, because the damage they do will eventually stop them. But things will go hard with humanity and wildlife if we don't stop them before that.
Protecting our forests by preventing overgrazing is one of the jobs we need the state for. But the US went about this in a way that started stupid and finished unjust.
It should have been easy to deal with Bundy's protest-by-overgrazing. Cancel his license to graze cattle on national forest, for violating the rules of so doing; fine him or sue him; seize some of his cattle; sell it to collect from him. There would have been no violence unless he started it himself, and he could not have got away with that. (I think he is smart enough he would not have tried it.)
Instead, the US government handled Bundy the way it handled the inauguration protesters, twisting the law in a dangerous way. Thugs shot one of the protesters, who was not violent, then covered it up with lies, much as they normally lie about killing blacks.
The US congratulated its protégé, Hernández, for his "victory" in stealing the election in Honduras. That was after weeks of pressuring the opposition to "calm down" and stop protesting the theft.
Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, permitted the military coup that ran the enabled Hernández to get "elected" president the first time. The coup overthrew President Zelaya, who had the temerity to propose a non-binding referendum (after he left office) on whether to allow a president to run for reelection.
Hernández didn't bother with a referendum. He simply ran for reelection.
The Security Council approved tighter sanctions on North Korea.
This is pointless. Sanctions, in themselves, will not stop North Korea's nuclear development, or lead to a peace agreement. Only negotiations can achieve anything.
A million Yemenis had caught cholera as a result of the bombardment and siege.
Salafi Arabia is doing the bombardment with support from the US.
Many Americans' homes will be abandoned to the sea within 10 to 15 years.
Interviews with former white-supremacist bigots that rejected hate.
74% of the terrorist killings in the US in the past 10 years were carried out by right-wing extremists. They are much more of a danger than Islamist extremists.
However, neither group is so dangerous that we should give up our freedom and privacy to catch a few more of them.
The biggest danger of right-wing extremists is not their individual violence. Rather, it is the danger of their alliance with the plutocratist extremists behind the Republican Party.
Uri Avnery: "The executed rebel becomes a national hero, for every rebel executed, dozens of others join the fight." So when the Israeli army protects the soldier that murdered a disabled Palestinian protester, while punishing soldiers that refused to kill teenage girls, it is a crazy policy.
Daniel Barenboim: "After Trump’s Jerusalem gambit, the world must recognise a Palestinian state."
Mahmoud Abbas has acknowledged what we have long known, that the US is no "honest broker" for Palestine and Israel. He asked France to try.
US citizens: tell Congress that the big tax cuts for rich people are no excuse to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
New Guinea is being deforested rapidly. Indonesia may fail to meet its Paris (i.e., weak and insufficient) greenhouse emissions commitments because of the deforestation in the part of Papua ruled by Indonesia.
But it seems Indonesia's colonial rule is no worse at protecting forests than the government of independent Papua New Guinea.
New Highways in Remote Amazon Risk "ethnocide", say Peruvians.
The UN will start drawing up a treaty to protect international waters from overfishing and pollution.
Lobbyists, acting through plutocratist states, will do their damnedest to make the treaty so weak that it is effectively useless.
Europe Rebuked for Removing Afghans to One of World's Most Dangerous Countries.
Apple is being sued for programming some iPhones to slow down when the battery gets discharged or gets old.
Ethically, this situation is complicated. Apple says it slows the phones so that they won't shut down unexpectedly. That, in and of itself, does not seem wrong to me.
However, the real fix for the problem of failing batteries is to replace them. It could be that Apple chose to slow down the phones so as to cover up the problem and avoid replacing them. That would be wrong.
There is also the ethical question of whether it is legitimate to build phones with batteries that can't be replaced — or removed, for privacy.
A dream wedding is not a good start for a real-life marriage.
If you are thinking of marrying a woman, and she is lost in a dream of a wedding, best wake her up first and see if you really get along together and then have a non-dream wedding.
The wedding dream may explain what seems so surreal to me in many Hollywood romcoms. All the characters are caught in the wedding dream/trance and nobody ever asks "why?"
Transplant Patient's … Plea: Talk to Your Family about Organ Donation.
I won't make a plea for anything in the name of Christmas, which means nothing to me, but any time is the right time to think about saving other people's lives with your organs.
I don't think relatives of the deceased should be consulted about organ transplantation. Corpse fetishism is not a valid reason to deny other people life-saving medical treatment.
However, if the laws where you live give your relatives authority, it is important to make sure that they won't block your last contribution to other people's well-being.
China: five years in prison for running a VPN.
Giving to Those in Need [at any time] Is Noble, But a Living Wage Would Be Better.
Senate Democrats voted for a temporary spending bill without DACA.
Catalan separatist parties won a narrow majority in the election for the Catalan parliament.
Since the turnout was very high, I think this election is a valid indicator of what the people want, and what it shows is that they are split. I don't think such a fundamental change should be made based on support from 52%, while 48% oppose it.
After the IRS profiled right-wing tax-exempt organizations for investigation, right-wing pressure weakened IRS enforcement to the point that it effectively gave up on policing political activity by tax-exempt organizations.
Naturally, right-wing corruption finds that useful.
The EU is almost powerless against national governments that seize nondemocratic power.
Facebook facilitates age-discrimination in employment ads.
The first six inauguration protesters, put on trial for "rioting", have been acquitted.
The repressors are nothing if not persistent. They seem to be planning to change their arguments somewhat for the next batch of protesters on trial.
A special unit in Facebook actively aids political campaigns in the US and other countries. These politicians are likely subsequently to protect Facebook from regulation afterwards.
We should not allow any company to be as powerful as Facebook.
The debt and deficit dance of plutocratist politicians.
A movie present a picture of the Washington Post's involvement in publishing the Pentagon Papers. It presents the publisher as heroic, omitting the union-busting and the previous support for the Vietnam War.
Running against the Republican tax attacks will give Democrats a great opportunity, if they dare to take it.
They need to lead the non-rich people's side of the class war that the rich have been fighting and winning.
New York City and New York State have decided to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels.
Actual divestment will take considerable time, and there is a lot of leeway to undermine the new policy with excuses.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to say, "Don't renew section 702, which authorizes massive surveillance of Americans. Stop using 'security' as an excuse for making our privacy insecure."
Some of the rapists have been identified and prosecuted.
Tech entrepreneurs fear out-of-control AI because they assume it will be a psychopath, like their corporations.
It would be foolish to assume that it won't be a psychopath. If a psychopathic, unrestrained corporation develops an AI, why wouldn't it make that AI a psychopath?
The final tax attacks bill is even more skewed to benefit the rich than the earlier versions.
China will require companies making driverless cars for use in China to work with a Chinese company.
China's policy goes in the right direction, but doesn't go all the way. To defend privacy rights, we should ban driverless cars no matter which companies make them, unless they are built so that they don't track people's movements.
The article uses the bogus term "intellectual property". It's always a mistake to use that term because it lumps together various laws that are so different that generalizing about them is misguided.
Everyone: call on Governor Brown of California to pay prisoners for fighting fires the same wage that non-prisoners get.
The UK subsidizes arms exports so much that they can't even be much of a profit. What rational reason could there be?
Israeli soldiers killed several protesters in Gaza, including Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, who was disabled and sitting in his wheelchair.
The army says he "was not targeted". Apparently they were shooting wild.
China is imposing a greenhouse gas emissions-trading scheme on power plants, and plans to extend it later to other heavy industry.
This has the potential to drive emissions down rapidly, if China manages it carefully. The EU's greenhouse gas emissions-trading scheme was mismanaged, and efforts to correct the scheme's rules have been blocked. By planet-roasters' political influence, presumably.
I expect China will do a better job of resisting the fossil fuel industry's power.
"Non-lethal" bullets often cause injuries, including loss of an eye, even death.
If the shooter is close to the protesters, the bullet can easily kill. If the shooter is not close, these bullets can't be aimed carefully.
Austerity has brought millions to the edge of bankruptcy; now the bankruptcies are happening in the UK.
In the US, the millions of fraudulent foreclosures happened almost a decade ago.
Spikes attached to a tree branch, meant to keep pigeons from perching there and dropping shit on a car, are a minor issue that illustrates a dangerous general attitude towards nature.
If we recognize only the costs of nature, and only the benefits of cars, we will continue destroying the ecosphere we depend on.
The author made an unfortunate choice to use the term "anthropocene" to describe what humanity is doing to the Earth's geology.
Democrats have won enough seats in the Virginia legislature to block new plutocratist laws, if they are united in doing so.
But they don't have the majority that would be needed to pass laws to correct existing plutocratic injustices.
A new Swedish law would define millions of men and women as "rapists".
Republicans now regard all rules, and all democratic norms, as obstacles to converting the state into a mechanism for the dominion of the rich. But this is not new. Many of them thought the same in the 1970s, when the vote to impeach Nixon barely succeeded.
The bully threatened to punish the countries that voted in the UN to rebuke the US for moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
This will build up hatred for the US across the world.
Facebook increased its visible use of face recognition.
Nothing stopped, or stops, Facebook from privately recognizing all the faces in photos, and selling that data as part of "anonymizied" records to other companies that can reidentify them.
Legal and political challenges still prevent the Keystone XL pipeline from going forward.
US citizens: call on the US Senate to end Yemen intervention.
US citizens: phone your senators and tell them, "Keep warrantless mass surveillance out of the budget".
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
227 congresscritters voted for the tax attacks. Each one deserves your firm opposition.
Australia is protecting fossil fuel electricity even harder, so that its supposed carbon emissions targets will be impossible to meet.
Many renewable energy projects face cancellation as a result.
The right-wing government of Australia has been blatantly protecting fossil fuel use ever since it got in office.
Humans have eliminated 10% of Earth's wilderness in the past 25 years. The remaining wilderness is likely to be destroyed soon if we don't stop it.
The UK backed itself into a commitment to build an incredibly expensive nuclear power plant, and paying extra for power from it, apparently so as to be able to maintain an industry capable of building and operating nuclear submarines.
I wonder whether nuclear power plants built by French and Chinese engineers will have the intended effect. Maybe it will help only France and China build and operate nuclear submarines.
If they can't get the plant running by the current deadline of 2025, will that be a better outcome for Britain?
Neoliberal states operate by crushing the solidarity that enables individuals to thrive. Europeans see the need for more solidarity, and the way to get that is from democratic socialism.
The European Union stands in the way of implementing it, though, because it is undemocratic and its rules give business more power. People in Europe will need to make the EU democratic, and change those rules.
Then comes the WTO, which doesn't even pretend to be democratic and its rules give business more power. World-wide, we need to weaken it or eliminate it.
The Tories plan to try a voter-ID system, supposedly to prevent fraudulent voting. Surely it is a coincidence that such systems block legitimate voters that are not likely to support the Tories.
Is there convincing evidence that fraudulent voting happens enough to be worth paying a price to stop it?
Facebook faces the possibility of punishment in Germany for merging data from its WhatsApp tentacle into the Facebook tentacle.
The FBI Routinely Abuses Its Powers but the Trump Investigation Has Been By the Book.
We no longer have an Environmental Protection Agency; the bully has converted it into the Environmental Poisoning Agency.
The EPA tried to support the coal industry with a program to encourage disposal of coal ash as dirt wherever dirt was needed. It had not checked whether coal ask pollution would do damage, and was made to stop.
Now that coal ash has been verified to have poisoned land and drinking water, Saboteur Pruitt wants to start spreading it again.
Saboteur Pruitt is also replacing the Clean Power Plan with a scheme designed not to change much.
He has put the brakes on a plan to ban three toxic solvents.
The EPA is considering an application for spraying a neonicotinoid pesticide. Merely soaking seeds in it is poisoning bees and birds; spraying it could wipe them out.
Joinul Islam, refugee on Manus Island, was attacked with a machete for the second time by someone unknown.
It is not safe for the refugees to be in the town of Lorengau where they have all been forced to go.
The supermarket Marks & Spencer now publishes information about use of antibiotics in raising the meat it sells.
This is important as a nucleus for public pressure to eliminate the practice of regularly giving antibiotics to farm animals.
Even in Britain, drug companies sometimes demand prices so high that the medical system refuses to buy them.
It's much worse in the US where Congress, corrupted by the drug companies, tied the government's hands about negotiating prices with the drug companies.
The main reason drugs are so expensive is patent law, imposed by the WTO. This is one of many reasons we need to make big changes in the WTO or else get rid of it. However, the concentration of the drug industry, through many mergers, has given the drug companies greater clout (as has occurred in many other areas of business), and this contributes to the problem. We need to make big companies split up. My tax proposal would be one way to do that.
George Monbiot: "Each generation is normalising the erosion of our environment, and the devastating losses to fragile ecosystems mount up."
The speculation about bats and the evolution of moths has erroneous dates. According to Wikipedia, the oldest known fossil bat lived 52 million years ago, and wasn't capable of echolocation. Meanwhile, the oldest butterfly fossil dates from 56 million years ago. So it is possible that bats did affect the success of butterflies, albeit more recently than the article says.
An illuminating analysis of sexism, and misogyny, and how the two relate to each other.
The statement at the end about Clinton is ironically sad: she "won over" the bankers and the generals by surrendering to them, and that's why millions of us refused to vote for her.
The bully's UN ambassador threatened to punish countries that voted for the resolution to rebuke the US's move of its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. In response, all the other countries voted for the resolution.
The European Court of Justice ruled that each EU country can regulate Uber and other such companies.
In principle, this means a country can require such companies to offer an anonymous option. People will have to work hard to campaign for this.
An Australian was prosecuted for refusing to vote, but the judge accepted his reasons of principle as valid justification.
Australia's laws not only require each eligible voter to cast a ballot, they also require a valid ballot to list every party. (The voter's choice consists of assigning a numerical order to the parties.) As a result, it is not easy to vote for the minor party you support, without your vote's subsequently being counted for one of the major parties that you detest.
Albert Langer recommended a hack for voters to get that result, and was imprisoned for it.
Israeli soldiers frequently violently attack Palestinian journalists who are covering protests.
Does glyphosate cause cancer in humans? This has not been clearly established, but the EPA decided to let Monsanto be the judge.
Loneliness is a plague of modern life, and every change in technology and social institutions seems to make it worse.
The elimination of libraries makes it worse. Housing the disabled in rooms they are physically unable to leave makes it worse.
Making people take "Uber-like" rides instead of buses will make them more isolated, as well as tracked everywhere.
I am disappointed with the Guardian for publishing an article that takes this one-sided stance seriously.
Neo-Nazis intentionally confuse their serious message of hate with humor as a shield against serious criticism.
Knowing this, we should regard their humor as serious hatred in disguise.
The US government aims to crush press coverage of protests by prosecuting journalists for "conspiracy" if anyone commits an act of violence.
Even if they don't apply this to journalists, applying it to protesters alone is un-American tyranny.
Senator Cornyn admitted that the purpose of that special tax cut was to win support from senators who would personally benefit.
14 Republican senators will get lots of money from this change.
We knew they were not going to invest it, because big companies in the US mostly have lots of money on hand, but see no useful investment opportunities. The SCROTUS plan was bogus from the start.
We need taxes to take that money away from them.
Fatal overdoses on opioids don't usually happen to sick people taking them on prescription. They happen mainly to people who get them on the black market.
Some US politicians are eager to use Russian election-meddling as an excuse for censorship. Or even for the War on Sharing.
Big digital companies are pushing the WTO to give them dominance over digital life in all the signatory countries.
Crowd-control weapons, often used against protesters, are less likely than guns to kill, but they do kill, and they cause permanent injury too.
The Palestinian Authority Is Using a New Cyber-Crimes Law to Crack Down on Dissent.
In effect, Israel and Palestine are working arm in arm for this one unjust goal.
Burma's violent expulsion of Rohingyas has continued into December.
Farms for Christmas trees spray toxic pesticides while workers are planting trees nearby. The Republicans want to help them keep it that way.
Workers are also required to work 12 hours a day without access to drinking water. No wonder the only people they can hire are Mexicans, probably undocumented.
If they treated the workers decently and payed more, they could find US citizens to hire. The trees would cost more. Good! Let's make them do this, let's make all the employers in the US do this. Let's buy products that cost more because they aren't based on endangering workers.
Perhaps we won't buy quite so much goods — we could instead give the Earth a bit of a rest.
The PR campaign to smear the White Helmets illustrates how Russian propaganda professionals collaborate with credulous people and those who would like to see everything the US does as an evil scheme.
The US does participate in evil schemes, just as Russia does.
US gun nuts tell Mr Pring, "How dare you give up your guns? We will shoot you to teach you a lesson."
This raving evil shows up in all right-wing causes. People like that are the last ones we should allow to have guns.
Pring sought to reduce the number of guns in the US, but he chose an ineffective method to achieve it. It is pointless to surrender your guns to someone that will resell them. You need to destroy them instead.
More broadly, it is not very effective to eliminate a handful of guns while new guns of similar models are being sold every day.
A deranged congresscritter from Arizona claims that the right-wing violence at Charlottesville was a false-flag operation funded by George Soros.
US citizens: tell the DEA not to ban kratom.
US citizens: file a comment to oppose the Republican change in regulations for tipping that would give restaurants a legal excuse to steal part of waiters' tips.
Various studies show that clouds do not reduce global heating.
Reagan started the practice of letting businesses eat US government agencies from within. The Republicans now want to eliminate the Civil Service so they can fire any US government employee for any reason.
If they do that, they will be able to coerce the staff to act illegally on threat of firing them.
"Drug-free school zones" are excuses to make the war on drugs more harsh, in a semi-random way. In some cities, most of the land is part of some "drug-free" extra punishment zone.
Warsaw is "returning" public housing buildings to heirs of people that formerly owned part of the land they were built on, or claim to be heirs. They couldn't have inherited the buildings, though, because those were built later by the state.
The lucky new owners force the tenants out using cruel dirty tricks.
Even if one adopts a heartless 100% capitalist point of view, giving the buildings to them is unwarranted and unnecessary. All they are entitled to is the value of the land they have a claim to.
The former president of Honduras has finished stealing the election in which he was not supposed to be allowed to run at all.
Plantwatch: Wildflowers Lose Out Twice from Nitrogen (fertilizer) Pollution.
The article is unclear on one point: when it says "nitrogen", it evidently refers to nitrogen in compounds that plants can use. The air is full of nitrogen molecules, but those don't count, because plants can't use nitrogen in that form.
A hoax restaurant got first place in Tripadvisor on the strength of its hoax reviews. Real would-be customers went into a frenzy because they could never get a reservation.
Republicans are pushing a bill to put students that can't repay student loans at a further disadvantage.
Fast food workers that had won cases against companies such as McDonalds will immediately lose again under the rule change that the troll's saboteur in the NLRB plans to make.
The FBI sent an undercover agent to infiltrate protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, who seduced one of the protesters and gave her a gun. She now faces charges of firing the gun.
I suppose that's what the infiltrator wanted — to act as a provocateur.
Republicans have been working for decades to eliminate US laws that gave most people a decent life. If they pass the tax attacks, they will have totally wrecked them.
People who get seriously ill and are not rich will not be able to afford treatment. If they do get treated, they will starve after.
Black Americans are in danger of being convicted of crimes based on flawed face-recognition software that says they resemble a photo of the suspect.
What Public Libraries Will Lose Without Net Neutrality.
Cornel West says that Ta-Nehisi Coates' intense attachment to Obama has clouded his understanding of politics as it affects American blacks, blocking him from relating racism to militarism and plutocracy.
Obama showed that racism in the US has decreased to the point that a black can be elected president. Obama also showed that you can't assume a candidate is progressive just because person is black.
Chicago thugs have a special system for appealing against any sort of punishment they get for treating the public badly, and it reduces or eliminates the vast majority of punishments.
Philip Morris is indirectly offering money to people involved in efforts to reduce tobacco smoking, including many officials.
The only plausible motive for offering this money is as a scheme to undermine those efforts.
Archivists are preserving the digital publications of the US government so that we can see what the bully's saboteurs do to them.
Liu Xia, in effect imprisoned for 7 years without trial, is depressed from isolation.
What Do You Give to the Person Who Has Everything? How about Nothing?
I opted out of the practice of birthday and holiday gifts when I was around 14. I had outgrown the childish desire to receive gifts, and I couldn't think of anything to give to anyone else in my family. Then I recognized that the customs that pressure people to give gifts on certain occasions are really commercial schemes to convert people's money into waste.
If there is someone you feel a real wish to give something to, and person is short of money and has a pressing practical need, give per the thing person needs.
If person is not short of money, how about writing per a letter on paper? Nowadays, receiving a personal letter from someone you know is a rare and special experience. Don't even think of substituting a commercial card for the letter!
The scientist who proved that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer was subsequently paid by Monsanto and other chemical companies for 20 years, even being paid by them to investigate a specific chemical; he concluded that vinyl chloride did not cause cancer, a conclusion that was subsequently rejected. Was his conclusion influenced by his conflict of interest?
It is true that, when that was published, there was no rule about stating conflicts of interest. The rule was made in response to awareness that conflicts of interest such as these were undermining the integrity of research.
If the scientist did give all consulting fees to an academic organization that he founded, that doesn't mean he wasn't avid for more fees to make the organization bigger, or that he could not possibly have biased his research to get them.
Biasing research does not always mean lying. There are more subtle ways that involve fooling oneself. If he was convinced that the main causes of cancer were things that the victim had consumed, that too could have been a motive for bias in the same direction.
Wikipedia's article on vinyl chloride, as of 23 Feb 2017, footnotes a printed article from the Houston Chronicle that says chemical companies tried to manipulate research about the medical effects of vinyl chloride. When companies do this, they typically try many avenues of influence.
A scenario of a hurricane hitting Miami in 2037 illustrates the world-wide effects of sea level rise to come.
This is just one of the disasters that global heating will cause.
The San Francisco SPCA has discontinued use of a security patrol robot.
Homeless people, and anyone walking in the area, are right to be suspicious that it is making and transmitting videos. If it wasn't actually doing that at the time, it could have been reprogrammed to start doing so at any moment. We must judge these systems by the worst they _could_ do, and ignore the side issue of what they are doing today.
US citizens: tell your congresscritter and senators to vote to override the FCC and preserve network neutrality.
Everyone: Call on MGM to release the tapes of the bully's sexual harassment.
US citizens: call on the Democratic National Committee to adopt the Unity Reform Commission recommendations.
Australia is considering a law to imprison journalists for 20 years for publishing what whistleblowers tell them.
A list of 84 Republican congresscritters that were paid by telecommunications companies and then encouraged the FCC to abolish network neutrality.
There were 23 others, but their signatures on the letter were not clear.
Saboteur of Education DeVos has completely stopped the practice of cancelling the debts of students defrauded by private colleges.
Do not under any circumstances enroll in a private college!
Roy Moore advocated repeal of all the US constitutional amendments after the first 10. This would mean bringing back slavery and racist/sexist voting criteria.
It would also mean that the people would no longer vote on senators. I am sure Roy Moore would have preferred to let the Alabama state legislature choose him.
Insurance companies in Britain that monitor how a person drives also keep track of where.
I don't see any harm in monitoring a person's style of driving. However, any system that tracks where people go is a threat to democracy.
The fact that the UK tracks all car travel, through cameras on the street, does not make this new injustice any less grave. Britons must someday demand elimination of massive surveillance; the cameras should be modified so that they don't take notice of most cars, only those being sought for specific valid reasons. The existence of two independent systems for tracking people could be used to argue against any campaign to abolish either one of them.
If we want to end massive surveillance, we must fight against new system of surveillance.
In general, laws should prohibit the operation of systems that collect too much data about people.
People being deported by the US were kept shackled for 46 hours, in painful heat, and not allowed to use a toilet.
How can it be legitimate to deport people to Mogadishu anyway? It is a war zone.