Urgent: The Fight to Free Knowledge
7 March 2021

The New Enlightenment And the Fight to Free Knowledge, a book by Peter Kaufman, describes the forces that have purposely crippled efforts to share knowledge widely and freely, and proposes how to defeat them. In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that the book says very nice things about me. But it's about a lot more than me.

The book is being published on line one chapter at a time, under CC-BY; eventually the whole book will be there. Nicely printed copies are also available.

Urgent: Call on McDonald's to stop snooping on workers' advocacy
7 March 2021

Everyone: call on McDonald's to stop snooping on workers' advocacy of raising the minimum wage.

China could push emissions higher
7 March 2021

*China's five year plan could push emissions higher unless action is taken.*

Admiration of underpaid "heroes"
7 March 2021

Asking the public to admire underpaid "heroes" is an excuse for not giving them a raise. The Tories' treatment of the NHS shows this clearly.

NHS Covid patients after the pandemic
7 March 2021

*NHS may face a million long Covid patients after pandemic.*

If 16% of the people in a country are debilitated this way, it would cripple the country. Will that happen to the US?

Right-Wing, Intolerant Modi Government
7 March 2021

*Aussie State Senator Calls Out "Right-Wing, Intolerant Modi Government".*

Total number of butterflies
7 March 2021

* The total number of butterflies west of the Rockies has fallen 1.6% a year since 1977.*

That amounts to around 50% since then.

Rapist told to marry victim to avoid jail
7 March 2021

*India's top judge tells accused rapist to marry victim to avoid jail.*

The article does not suggest he considered what the girl wanted.

De-facto annexation
7 March 2021

* More than 400 European parliamentarians have urged leaders to use Joe Biden's new presidency as an opportunity to stop what they term Israel's "de-facto annexation" of the occupied West Bank.*

Waive Covid vaccine patents
7 March 2021

*WHO chief: waive Covid vaccine patents to put world on 'war footing'.*

Here are his actual words:

More precisely, he calls for allowing any manufacturer to make vaccine. Anyone doing so would still be required to pay a royalty. That cost by itself could slow vaccination.

I am disappointed that he used the ill-conceived concept of "intellectual property", since that overgeneralization spreads confusion and every use of it creates resistance to what he is trying to do.

Assad will confiscate homes
7 March 2021

Assad will confiscate the homes of Syrians who have fled his tyranny.

Election misinformation
7 March 2021

* A handful of rightwing “super-spreaders” on social media were responsible for the bulk of election misinformation in the run-up to the Capitol attack,*

They were not independent — they were working together.

Supporters of democracy
7 March 2021

Nearly all the principal supporters of democracy in Hong Kong are now facing charges, or at least arrested.

China's rulers make up bullshit to justify each instance of injustice, but they don't try to make the justification plausible to people outside their control. They consider it sufficient brainwashed supporters believe it, since almost everyone in China is a brainwashed supporter now, or pretends to be.

Digital nautical charts
7 March 2021

The NOAA is planning to convert to publishing nautical charts only in digital form. In principle, that may not bad. But will people be able to access charts from the Free World?

If you are a mariner, please investigate the system of publication that NOAA used. Try accessing it with LibreJS active, and see what results you get.

And if it does not work, complain to NOAA.

Meat packing companies against Covid-19 protections
7 March 2021

Meatpacking companies lobbied hard against rules to protect workers from Covid-19, and kept outbreaks secret.

Bedouin's crops
7 March 2021

Israeli soldiers are destroying Bedouin's crops.

Palestinians protesting in Israel
7 March 2021

Palestinians in Israel protested that the local thugs were doing nothing about organized crime. The thugs began attacking many of them with weapons. Some of the protesters required hospitalization.

The violence was clearly directed by officers.

Urgent: Investigate and prosecute Trump and his network
6 March 2021

US citizens: call on Merrick Garland to investigate and prosecute Trump and his network.

Urgent: Senator Warren's wealth tax
6 March 2021

US citizens: call on Congress to pass Senator Warren's wealth tax.

Urgent: Stop construction of Line 3 pipeline
6 March 2021

US citizens: phone your congressional representative and ask per to pressure Biden to stop construction of the Line 3 pipeline.

Israeli border thugs gratuitously shoot man dead
6 March 2021

Israeli border thugs gratuitously shot Ahmad Erekat dead after he had an embarrassing car crash, then lied about the circumstances.

Thugs in various countries have a practice of thinking, "What accusations can we make against the victim that no one can disprove." But in this case they seem to have exceeded that limit.

When my friends die, I miss them. It doesn't matter whether I even see their corpses. But it occurs to me that there may be a sinister reason why Israel holds permanently the corpses of Palestinians that Israelis kill: to prevent autopsies that could provide objective evidence about how they were killed. Making this a blanket policy avoids the need to conjure up an individual excuse.

Biden gives in to demand to reduce stimulus
6 March 2021

Biden gave in to a demand from Manchin and Sinema to reduce the stimulus payments for people whose 2019 income was above $80k. Whether they were unemployed most of 2020 or not.

UK Green Party proposals
6 March 2021

A UK Green MEP explains the Green Party proposals for reversing the Tories' dooH niboR cuts in business taxes, plus a steadily increasing carbon tax.

New Covid variants and states reopening
6 March 2021

*US experts warn new Covid variants and states reopening may lead to fourth wave.*

*Fauci: US shouldn't loosen coronavirus restrictions until daily new cases fall below 10,000.*

That is assuming your goal is to make Covid-19 go away. Republicans, who boosted the infection last year and killed perhaps 300,000 Americans who otherwise would not have caught it, are still trying to spread it. Perhaps their motive is that they expect it to kill mainly blacks.

I would add an additional proviso: we should not loosen coronavirus restrictions unless we can determine that R will remain substantially under 1 after they are loosened.

6 March 2021

(satire) *Covid Announces Plan To Move Operations To Texas Full-Time To Escape Burdensome Regulations.*

(satire) *New Texas Law Requires All Masks Have Word ‘Pussy’ Written Across Front.*

Letting biotech industry rewrite GMO safety laws
6 March 2021

How the EU Commission Broke Its Own Rules to Let the Biotech Industry Help Rewrite GMO Safety Laws.

By selecting the questions to ask, and who to ask them of, it is not hard to shape the answers.

Campaign to discredit BBC
5 March 2021

*China's Communist party ran campaign to discredit BBC, thinktank finds.*

Shrinking carbon footprint
5 March 2021

Warning the UK that it can't shrink its carbon footprint and expand an airport.

Prosecuting volunteers rescuing migrants
5 March 2021

Italy is prosecuting the volunteer crew members of boats that went to sea to rescue migrants traveling to Italy on smugger boats.

The US has likewise prosecuted people who leave water in the desert for people trying to migrate from Mexico.

Talks on nuclear deal
5 March 2021

*Iran and IAEA clear potential roadblock to talks with US on nuclear deal.*

George Floyd Act
5 March 2021

*The George Floyd Act wouldn't have saved George Floyd’s life.*

I will look for more information about the Breathe Act. However, the George Floyd act does try to prevent other injustices committed by uniformed thugs.

ICC prosecution
5 March 2021

The ICC might prosecute Israeli officials, even a minister, who were involved in bombing Gaza in 2014. They might be unable to travel internationally.

It is even possible that the court might investigate the crime of settling Israelis in the occupied West Bank.

Investigating use of bombs
5 March 2021

An Italian court is investigating the use of bombs made in Italy by Salafi Arabia in Yemen.

Punishing making vaccine
5 March 2021

The drug company lobby is lobbying heavily for the US to punish countries that propose to save lives by making their own Covid-19 vaccine.

The article follows the misguided practice of using the term "intellectual property". That term spreads both bias and confusion; I urge people to reject it entirely as I do.

Oil companies net zero emissions
5 March 2021

*Global oil companies have committed to 'net zero' emissions. It's a sham.*

They say they will make "offsets" so big, by 2050, that they will cancel out fossil fuel combustion and leaks.

There's no way to absolutely prove this won't work, until 2050. Then they can say, "Too bad, we tried," but everyone alive then will suffer the ecological damage.

Death of transgender soldier
5 March 2021

*South Korea's first transgender soldier found dead.*

Of suicide, it appears.

5 March 2021

Humans are rapidly destroying the world's remaining seagrass meadows. That is a shame, because they shelter baby fish and sequester carbon in the sea bottom.

Chairman resigns after destruction of historical site
5 March 2021

The chairman of the board of Rio Tinto will step down, following several executives, due to the scandal resulting from the company's destruction of 46000-year-old cave habitations in Juukan Gorge.

Management had got legal approval to do this, and acted as if nothing else mattered.

Misinformation on Facebook
5 March 2021

Right-wing misinformation on Facebook attracts more attention than truthful information. Left-wing misinformation attracts less attention than truthful information.

A good, quick heuristic for finding valid information is look at whatever left-wing information comes your way.

(satire) Sharing vaccine supplies and technology
5 March 2021

(satire) *Pros And Cons Of Sharing Vaccine Supplies And Technology.*

(satire) Military diversity initiative
5 March 2021

(satire) *New Military Diversity Initiative Aims To Make Leadership Look More Like Countries They Invade.*

Competitive Disadvantage
5 March 2021

*Blaring Quiet Part Out Loud, GOP Lawyer Admits to Supreme Court That Easier Voting Puts Republicans at 'Competitive Disadvantage'.*

5 March 2021

The CLEAN Act would take some steps forward towards decarbonizing, but has big shortcomings.

Jailed for protesting repeatedly
5 March 2021

A protester has been jailed for protesting repeatedly in the vicinity of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The article makes a big fuss about the protester's ethnic background. I do not think that makes any difference. I would admire anyone equally for doing the same thing.

Disregard Parliamentarian
4 March 2021

Sanders called on the Senate Democrats to disregard the views of the Parliamentarian.

Too little and too big
4 March 2021

Varoufakis: *Both supporters and critics of US President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan assume that there is a dollar amount that is just right. In fact, no such figure exists: every possible stimulus size is simultaneously too little and too big.*

In addition to a stimulus, Biden needs to *lift the spending power of those who have next to none.*

Unconscious bias training
4 March 2021

Unconscious bias training does not seem to be effective in reducing unconscious bias.

Powerful current of racism
4 March 2021

Chinese-Australians face a powerful current of racism. Almost 1/5 have suffered violence or threats of violence.

People of Chinese origin or ancestry are not necessarily supporters of the Chinese government. Indeed, some of them hate it.

I've seen articles recently about prejudice in the US against "Asian-Americans". Racial prejudice is bad regardless of the details, but I do wonder what people "Asian-Americans" means. Asia is the biggest continent and includes a variety of peoples, and they do not look similar, so it is implausible that all Asian-Americans are involved.

Are Americans of Turkish descent facing prejudice? Iranian? What about people from India and neighboring countries? Siberians? Do Balinese musicians face threats? Hawaiians?

Are these articles really about people of Chinese descent, or who resemble Chinese? If so, please don't mislead us with "Asian".

Factory farms emissions
4 March 2021

Factory farms emit large amounts of greenhouse gases. We need to regulate farms to bring those emissions down.

Workers lending pay
4 March 2021

A restaurant chain, threatened with closure, asks workers to "lend" it 10% of their pay.

Considering how little most restaurant employees make, they may have trouble doing without 10% even supposing they will get it back. But will they get it back?

If the restaurant chain stays in business and becomes successful again, it will probably repay the loan, but we can't be sure. Wage theft from restaurant staff is not unusual.

However, if the restaurant chain goes broke, which apparently might happen, I expect the workers will probably lose the lent pay.

Virtual visitor logs
4 March 2021

*Biden Criticized for Lack of Transparency After Refusing to Publicize Virtual Visitor Logs.*

Hybrid cars
4 March 2021

Hybrid cars use more fuel and emit more pollution than they are advertised to emit.

In other words, they are a green swindle.

4 March 2021

*Net zero increasingly involves highly questionable carbon accounting. As a result, the new politics swirling around net zero targets is rapidly becoming a confusing and dangerous mix of pragmatism, self-delusion and weapons-grade greenwash.*

Utility bills and undocumented immigrants
4 March 2021

*[The deportation thugs] reached a new low: using utility bills to hunt undocumented immigrants.*

Admitting torture and murder
4 March 2021

*Emmanuel Macron has admitted French soldiers tortured and killed a well-known Algerian lawyer and activist during [Algeria's] independence war.*

The fact was already known, but the government's recognition of its involvement is a step forward toward justice.

Incel killer
4 March 2021

The Canadian "incel" killer has been convicted of murders, and will presumably be sentenced to spend a long time "in cell."

Protesters murdered
4 March 2021

Burmese soldiers and thugs shot protesters in various cities. They must have received orders to do that. They killed at least 33 people.

Eliminating rules to slow Covid-19
4 March 2021

The Republican governor of Texas has eliminated nearly all rules designed to slow the spread of Covid-19. I think he wants as many Texans as possible to get infected before it is too late.

Tax bills for unemployment assurance payments
4 March 2021

Millions of Americans are receiving tax bills for their unemployment insurance payments over the past year.

After decades of rule by dooH niboR, most Americans live close to the edge. Especially those who lost their jobs last year. An expense of $500 dollars will push them over the edge.

Millions of Americans are falling over the edge, because they have not received unemployment benefits.

Jamaica criminalizes homosexuality
4 March 2021

Jamaica's laws criminalize homosexuality. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled that these laws violate human rights and inspire violence, especially by the uniformed thugs, which extends as far as murder.

The challenge of changing those laws, and changing the hatred, remains.

Bogus Johnson's personal conveniences
4 March 2021

Bogus Johnson openly manipulates the government to pay for personal conveniences for him.

Tories have legitimized corruption to the point where they don't need to disguise it.

Meanwhile, Labour has become so "centrist" that there is a serious proposal for it to become the "party of business", instead of the party of working people and those in need.

A party of the rich and the bigots and a party of business — that's what the US had under Clinton. Progressive Democrats are gradually changing that.

Toxic fracking chemicals
4 March 2021

A study found toxic fracking chemicals in the air, water and human bodies in the region of fracking in Pennsylvania, even in people who live five miles away.

Fracking ought to be banned on account of its global heating contribution alone, but local pollution adds another good reason.

Planet roasters distract with side issues
4 March 2021

Planet roasters try to distract Americans with concerns about side issues such as "energy independence" so that they can keep pumping oil to export.

They have obtained plenty of oil leases that they are not using yet, so Biden's moratorium on approving additional leases won't affect them for a long time.

I do not wish to take a nationalistic viewpoint towards the global problem of planetary heating. If country C is going to buy oil and burn it, it is not worse if that oil comes from the US. And refusing to export it will mean some other country exports that oil, perhaps Salafi Arabia. That is not a step forward.

On the other hand, if several countries compete to export oil, they will export more oil, which is the opposite of what we need. We need a treaty to limit and reduce oil exports.

But it may be possible for one oil-exporting country to exert influence on its own.

Here's an idea: the US should agree to continue exporting oil to China for the next 10 years, provided China agrees to build no new coal power plants and shut down all its existing coal-fired plants on a pre-agreed schedule during that time. And replace them with renewable electric generation. And not to export any coal.

The energy independence that Earth needs is independence from nonrenewable or unsustainable energy.

(satire) As much as they can realistically back out of
4 March 2021

(satire) *World Leaders Pledge To Cut Emissions By As Much As They Can Realistically Back Out Of.*

(satire) Anger management counseling
4 March 2021

(satire) *U.S. Allocates $500 Million For Mohammed Bin Salman To Use On Anger Management Counseling.*

Government transfer of funds
4 March 2021

The federal government transfers funds from more urban, Democratic states to rural Republican states. Perhaps that offers a lever to influence the Republican voters.

To punish them would be pretty easy, but would not help enact progressive policies. How to use these programs to win over some Republicans is harder — and how to do it with changes Democrats can enact is even more challenging.

Sanctions over Navalny poisoning
4 March 2021

*US hits Russian officials with fresh sanctions over Navalny poisoning.*

Guterres cancels planned coal projects
4 March 2021

Secretary-General António Guterres called for cancellation of all planned coal projects.

We have understood this for years, but that the head of the UN says so is a big step towards making it happen.

Damage in Australia by global heating
4 March 2021

The damage caused by global heating in Australia will get to be so costly that insurance will no longer be a feasible way for people to protect themselves from damage.

I think the same thing will happen in California.

The only effective remedy will be to curb global heating.

McDonalds scared of workers' rights
4 March 2021

*McDonald's spies on union activists — that's how scared they are of workers' rights.*

Complaint against Prince Bone Saw
4 March 2021

RSF has filed a complaint against Prince Bone Saw in Germany, over systematic persecution of journalists. This includes the murder of Khashoggi and lots more.

This is possible because Germany asserts universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity.

(satire) No-nonsense negotiator
4 March 2021

(satire) *No-Nonsense Negotiator Strong-Arms Landlord Into Fixing Toilet For Rent Increase.*

Trump regulatory rollbacks
4 March 2021

*Biden Can Freeze Potentially Dozens of Harmful, Last-Minute Trump Regulatory Rollbacks.*

Zimbabwe's tyrannical government
4 March 2021

The leader of Zimbabwe's principal opposition party calls on world powers to stop supporting its tyrannical government.

It is harder for western powers to restrain the government of Zimbabwe now that China is shipping arms to it.

In this regard, China is not uniquely evil. Western countries gave tyrannical governments similar support in the past, and still do with some. Nonetheless, the fact that China does it today has bad repercussions in many parts of the world. Western governments sometimes join together to push for freedom, but China won't care at all.