Purdue Pharma lobbying
16 June 2019

Two congresspeople accuse the World Health Organization of having been corrupted by Purdue Pharma lobbying.

Lockdown drill nightmares
16 June 2019

American children now have nightmares about lockdown drills in school.

At most hundreds of children get shot in school in a year, but this is traumatizing tens of millions of children.

I fear it will also distort their politics when they grow up, making them more susceptible to politicians that invite them to surrender their freedom for "security" against the nightmares that no level of "security" could possibly prevent.

Policies for sale
16 June 2019

The Democrat presidential candidates, other than Sanders and Warren, are eagerly asking rich people to buy policies that will suit them.

The article gives specifics about Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, and Klobuchar, but they are not the only ones who do this. The effects of this can be seen in the not-very-progressive positions those candidates take.

That, in turn, is the reason I will never vote for them.

Solitary confinement
16 June 2019

A whistleblower reports that the US deportation thugs put prisoners in solitary confinement for their sexual orientation, or for their gender identity, even for needing a cane to walk.

"Solitary confinement was being used as the first resort, not the last resort" — since 2014. I suppose the thugs have become even more cruel since the bully began encouraging cruelty towards refugees.

ISP lobbyists
16 June 2019

Plutocratist Democrats in Congress are working against network neutrality by amplifying the voice of ISP lobbyists.

Protesters in Gaza
16 June 2019

1700 people in Gaza, protesters wounded at long distance by Israeli snipers, face amputation of their arms or legs because the siege of Gaza makes it impossible to operate to save their limbs.

US foreign policy
16 June 2019

Proposing to base US foreign policy on the principle, "Do no harm".

I have to disagree with one minor point. North Korea has made a big fuss about testing a new missile, but it seems to be fairly short range and not meant for nuclear weapons. I see that as a gesture rather than a significant action. Dictator Kim and would-be Dictator Trump seem to have a similar approach to diplomacy.

Charges against Assange
16 June 2019

The US has charged Assange with the crime of inciting others to reveal government crimes.

This is a direct attack on freedom of the press.

Raqqa in ruins
16 June 2019

Amnesty International visited Raqqa and reports that 80% of the city is ruined — buildings reduced to rubble. It identified 1000 of the estimated 1600 civilians killed by air attacks. The US, UK and France continue to deny the visible facts.

I doubt there was any option for defeating PISSI that would have perfectly avoided harming their human shields. So I would not demand perfection. But there is no excuse for cover-ups.

Livestock farm subsidies
16 June 2019

EU Ignoring Climate Crisis with Livestock Farm Subsidies.

Colony named after conman
16 June 2019

Netanyahu said he will name a new colony in conquered territory after the conman.

It seems he has decided to bet that the right wing will hold its grip over the US, because he is telling most American Jews that he supports US Nazis.

Unreliable annuities
16 June 2019

Democrat congresscritters have made a deal with the cheater to enable companies to offer their workers unreliable annuities for their retirement funds.

Urgent: Corporate Transparency Act
16 June 2019

US citizens: call on the House of Representatives to restrict use of corporations whose owners are anonymous, to stop tax-dodging and other crimes.

If you sign, please spread the word!

Urgent: Climate debate
16 June 2019

US citizens: call on the members of the DNC to insist on a climate debate.

If you sign, please spread the word!

Urgent: Fire thugs
16 June 2019

US citizens: call on Mayor de Blasio to fire the thugs that killed Eric Garner and Delrawn Small.

If you sign, please spread the word!

Oil company "donations"
14 June 2019

Oil company Mobil "donated" to universities and civic groups to buy influence against regulation to protect society from toxic pollution.

This included supporting experts who would downplay the effects of toxic pollution.

Urgent: Debt relief for Puerto Rico
14 June 2019

US citizens: call on Congress to pass debt relief for Puerto Rico.

If you sign, please spread the word!

Criminal charge for rescuing refugees
14 June 2019

Rescue ship captain Pia Klemp will have to spend years fighting criminal charges in Italy for rescuing drowning refugees. If she loses, she would be sent to prison for 20 years.

The conman's tax returns
14 June 2019

IRS lawyers say that Mnuchin has no legal grounds for refusing to give Congress the conman's tax returns.

Water supply for Tripoli shut off
14 June 2019

Haftar's supporters captured a water system control room and shut off the water supply for Tripoli.

Nazis in government of Estonia
14 June 2019

Nazis have got into the government of Estonia, and they are already trying to intimidate journalists with threats.

Modi's sectarian politics
14 June 2019

"If the Indian prime minister [Modi] is returned to office, his sectarian politics will make bigotry the defining ideal of the republic."

Importance of outdoor physical games
14 June 2019

Children that don't play physical games outdoors lose a lot in motor skills and social skills.

Urgent: Ban Conflicted Trading Act
14 June 2019

US citizens: call on Congress to pass the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, to limit corruption opportunities for Congresscritters.

If you sign, please spread the word!

Urgent: Immigrant families
14 June 2019

US citizens: call on Congress to end separation of immigrant families.

If you sign, please spread the word!

Characters for products
14 June 2019

Thousands of people are fascinated by fictitious characters that exist specifically to manipulate them to buy particular products.

The fictitious characters in movies are also used to manipulate audiences to buy particular products. Companies pay for their products to be shown in the movies — this is called "product placement".

At least movies are not made solely to show products. They typically try to present something else of interest. Perhaps the fictitious "influencers" represent an evolution in the direction of pure and simple manipulation — in how to lead people to crave the anxiety of being commercially manipulated.

Regime in Hungary
14 June 2019

The Council of Europe rebuked Orbán's repressive regime for violating human rights.

Orbán makes elections just unfair enough that there is no practical possibility of removing him from power — much like US Republicans.

The European Union is quite capable of trampling freedom for the sake of rich companies but is almost powerless against member country governments that disrespect human rights or democracy.

Megacorp campaign funding
14 June 2019

Megacorporations AT&T, Walmart, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Coca-Cola, and Aetna funded the campaigns of state legislators that recently voted to ban abortion.

BP headquarters
14 June 2019

Greenpeace activists have shut down BP's headquarters in London, calling for the company to stop looking for new fossil fuel deposits and drilling new wells.

This policy must be applied world-wide.

Sending receipts to Google
14 June 2019

Another piece of Google's surveillance capitalism: when stores mail receipts to a gmail.com account, Google figures out and records who bought what.

I think that the store itself should not get this information, which is why I always pay cash and never give my name.

Exporting wealth
14 June 2019

Poor countries remain poor because multinational companies export their wealth.

I think we need to exclude predatory "investments" from the requirement to fully compensate owners when some activity is nationalized. The motive for respecting that requirement is to avoid discouraging future investment — but there are some kinds of "investment" that we need to discourage: those that are predatory. Investment in privatization is one example; that is predatory in general.

Extradition to Turkey
14 June 2019

Turkey continually tries to extradite people from the UK for political crimes, and the UK government keeps approving these demands.

The requests ultimately fail in the UK courts, but the UK government should not help foreign repression get that far.

Air pollution and heat waves
14 June 2019

Reducing toxic air pollution will increase deadly heat waves, unless we curb greenhouse gas emissions too.

Sanders on Nicaragua
14 June 2019

Sanders refused to be intimidated when a New York Times reporter tried to shame him for opposing Reagan's campaign to overthrow the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Many readers may not know what Sanders was opposing, so I will summarize it.

The US Congress prohibited Reagan from spending money on overthrowing the government of Nicaragua, so he sold arms as ransom to Iran-supported kidnapers who had taken hostages in Lebanon. Then he used the proceeds to fund mercenaries to run a campaign of violence and sabotage in Niaragua.

The Times reporter contended that if the US commits a grave crime and the victims respond by hating the US, Americans are morally obligated to consider that as excusing or justifying the crime. Nonsense! Our duty as patriotic Americans is to make our country do what is right. That is what Sanders tried to do.

As for the people who criticize him for not remaining perfectly calm in the face of that dishonest attack, they should stop demanding a superhuman.

Democracy in Venezuela
14 June 2019

The US media take a one-sided stance in order to call Guaidó the leader of a "democracy movement" in Venezuela.

Set against these valid points, I have to point out a couple of things that tarnish Maduro's own democratic credentials.

He arranged to strip the national legislature of its powers once the opposition won control of it. He did this by creating another body and giving it power to override the legislature at will. One could argue that Venezuela's constitution is no longer being observed.

Maduro has also had opposition candidates barred arbitrarily from running, and arrested some of them.

This doesn't make Guaidó worthy of support, but it shows that Maduro isn't either.

George Washington murals
14 June 2019

Murals in George Washington High School in San Francisco depict Washington's participation in war with indigenous Americans and in holding slaves. Some students demand these murals be taken down because they feel oppressed by them.

Those murals were intended to depict wrongs, to show the aspects of Washington's life we nowadays disapprove of. Showing them helps teach people to judge the moral issues depicted. Covering them up would encourage people to forget those acts, and that would weaken society's resolve not to repeat them.

White House lawyers
14 June 2019

The conman's official White House lawyers appear to be helping him subvert the US legal system, in counter to their responsibility as lawyers.

Crackers steal US border thug data base
13 June 2019

Crackers stole the data base of the people crossing the US border, straight from the US border thugs.

Authoritarian European countries
13 June 2019

Several authoritarian European countries are following Orban's example and taking effective control of the major media.

Law "against fake news"
13 June 2019

Singapore's law "against fake news" also requires web sites to identify their visitors, and communication services to break encryption.

Insufficient competition in making drugs
13 June 2019

Questcor raised the price of an old drug from $40 to almost $40,000, and is accused of bribing doctors to prescribe it at that price. Mallinckrodt, which bought Questcor, now brings in a billion dollars a year from that drug.

Mallinckrodt expects to pay $15 million — 5 days' sales — to get off the hook for that accusation.

It is too easy for the individuals involved to avoid prosecution and punishment. But the root of this problem is that there is too much concentration, and insufficient competition, in making generic drugs for the US.

I suspect this has to do with the offshoring of most of that production.

Mining the ocean floor
13 June 2019

Mining metal nodules from the ocean floor can cause ecological damage, and it can take a long time to recover. Scientists don't yet know enough to determine how to do it safely, but companies are rushing to start.

Destruction of civilization
13 June 2019

Turkey and Cyprus are disputing which country will have the right to help destroy civilization by drilling for oil in the sea near both countries.

The only answer that is acceptable for civilization's future is, "Nobody!"

Prohibition on going to help Syrian Kurds
13 June 2019

The UK will imprison people that go to help the Syrian Kurds.

This prohibition applies also to the rebels in Idlib. They are Islamists, but not a threat to anyone now.

13 June 2019

Exxon's scientists, in 1982, predicted the Earth's current CO2 level with fair accuracy, and anticipated some (but not all) of the disastrous effects that are already starting. The author compares the executives of ExxonMobil to fictional characters that destroyed planets.

The US Constitution prohibits ex-post-facto laws, correctly so. There is no way to retroactively criminalize what those executives did.

However, it may be possible for a wealth tax to impose a higher tax rate on wealth derived from fossil fuels.

Arms sales to Salafi Arabia
12 June 2019

French journalists face prosecution for publishing secret information about sales of arms to Salafi Arabia for its attack on Yemen.

Macron is as much the enemy of democracy in France as Obama and the conman have been in the US.

Vaccination laws
12 June 2019

Bizarre laws stop teenagers in the US from getting themselves vaccinated for measles or anything else.

Sniper thugs in Brazil
12 June 2019

Thugs in Rio de Janeiro are choosing to kill people rather than arrest them. Snipers shoot and kill residents who seem to have been chosen arbitrarily.

Khashoggi murder
12 June 2019

Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée notes that the world has not held Salafi Arabia responsible for murdering him.

To a large extent that is the conman's fault.

Cloud Peak Energy
12 June 2019

The bankruptcy of a coal company, Cloud Peak Energy, revealed that it was funding global heating denialist organizations and plutocratist lobbying campaigns.

The company also falsely claimed it did not do this.

Independent contractors
12 June 2019

Big companies are buying state laws to classify certain kinds of workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

I think it is a confusion to associate this issue with racism, because those are two separate issues, and the easiest way to understand them is separately. Laws to squash the poor are unjust no matter what demographic groups they belong to.

Rewriting Chinese history
12 June 2019

Chinese totalitarianism includes rewriting history, even that of thousands of years ago, as well as of the last few decades.

One point I disagree with: I don't think the Xia dynasty was mythical. When I studied Chinese history in 1970, I was told that the Shang dynasty was mythical; my teachers did not know about the discovery at Anyang of the last Shang capital, and writings that documented the reigns of late Shang kings.

Earlier Shang capitals have not been identified, but surely they existed. I expect the Xia dynasty existed too, even though we have no archaeological material yet that we can connect with it. Trying to find some is a rational and useful project.

But is it any use to look for them under President Xi's history-distorting rule? If people report finding traces of the Xia dynasty, should we believe them?

Climate refugee forecast
12 June 2019

The forecast for global heating disaster is at least 2 billion climate refugees by the end of this century.

I think it will be more, because scientists keep discovering more positive-feedback loops that will make things worse than was previously predicted. The refugees may well end up dead.

The disaster that happens in this century will be just the start. After 2100, things will keep getting worse for thousands of years.

Supporting a baby will get harder and harder as global heating and resource exhaustion bite. We must emphasize the importance of reducing human reproduction.

If you want to take risks with your own life, or about how you will live, you are entitled to. But don't make a baby if it will have to share such risks with you. More children growing up stunted by precarity do not give the world hope — they pull it down.

If you are not in a situation where you can be reasonably confident you can support a baby, you should not make one. Use birth control, and if it does not work, have an abortion.

Hungarian government on Facebook
12 June 2019

Hungary's right-wing repressive government posts lies on Facebook, then complains when it deletes any of them.

Far right rape jokes
12 June 2019

"When the far right crack rape jokes, it's part of a systemic bid to demean."

When they say, "I wouldn't bother to rape you", they are confessing that they would rape someone else. You can denounce them as would-be rapists.

Declining sex rates
12 June 2019

Many demographic categories report having sex less now than in the past. It might be due to the general stress and anxiety of life in the advanced countries.

I suspect it is also due to the lack of any generally accepted way for men to express romantic or sexual interest in women. By "generally accepted", I mean that he can count on a woman who declines his interest not to revile him for expressing it that way.

Conman impeachment
12 June 2019

One Republican congresscritter says that the conman qualifies for impeachment.

If other Republicans were loyal to their country, and to democracy, they would reach similar conclusions.