Break up big banks
2 December 2020

*Break up UK's big high street banks, say cross-party MPs.*

I agree. Big banks, like other big companies, have too much power, which they can use to exploit, or to lobby.

Understatements on Covid first month
2 December 2020

A leaked document indicates that China's reports on Covid-19 in the first few months were understatements, but perhaps more the result of bureaucratic rigidity than any plot to deceive.

Flood plains
2 December 2020

*How restoring flood plains can help protect the climate.*

Losing ecocidal bet
2 December 2020

Queensland has made an ecocidal bet on increased coal and gas royalty revenue, and it is losing the bet.

*'Catastrophic' bushfire on Queensland's Fraser Island threatens ecological disaster.*

Support in economic warfare
2 December 2020

Australia needs support to stand against China's aggressive economic warfare.

The conflict started when Australia rejected Chinese mobile phone base equipment with nonfree software inside, as a security threat. In fact, all such equipment is a security threat. If Australia had taken that position, it would be confronting the whole threat and without singling out China.

Survival of jaguars
2 December 2020

*Trump’s border wall construction threatens survival of jaguars in the US.*

Climate mayhem
2 December 2020

Climate mayhem will bring flooding. Affordable housing in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and California will be especially vulnerable to flooding.

Investigating government cheating
2 December 2020

An Australian senate committee is trying to investigate government cheating, but can't get answers from the officials involved.

Radio telescope collapses
2 December 2020

The Arecibo radio telescope collapsed completely.

China built a 500-meter fixed dish radio telescope in the past decade. Meanwhile, the US can't keep one operating. It makes a sad contrast. The causes are not practical. Rather, in the US all the money goes to the plutocrats and the military.

And it's not just radio telescopes that the US lacks the money to do. There are other things, even more important, which the US fails to do — for instance, giving poor people a decent life.

Well, at least the US has saved some of the cost of demolition :-{.

Transferring all power to prime minister
2 December 2020

Bogus Johnson plans to take another step in the long slow process of transferring all political power in the UK to the hands of the prime minister.

The article gives the details of this step, but the overall process is more important than the details of one step or another.

2 December 2020

*Transport Unions Say Rahm Emanuel Leading DOT Would Be a "Betrayal".*

Not prosecuting Assange
2 December 2020

Will Biden reinstate Obama's reported decision not to prosecute Assange for espionage?

Another question I wonder about: if indeed the US had no intention to prosecute Assange for espionage during those years, did the US intend to prosecute him in some other way? If so, what was it? There were indications that the US did plan to prosecute him, and that Sweden and the UK were fabricating excuses to get their hands on him, while Obama was president.

Unlocking Covid-19 relief funds
2 December 2020

A bipartisan proposal might unlock Covid-19 relief funds in the Senate.

For the most part, this compromise has to be better than nothing. However, one provision is potentially extremely harmful: shielding businesses from liability for making workers work in conditions that expose them to Covid-19.

This could enable businesses to get away with gratuitously increasing the workers' risk.

Wildflower meadows for biodiversity
2 December 2020

*Wildflower meadows to line England's new roads in boost for biodiversity.*

Nice try, but it is far better to avoid building new roads than to build them and put meadows alongside them.

Italy charging Egyptian government agents
2 December 2020

Italy plans to charge five Egyptian government agents with the murder of graduate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo.

Unsurprisingly, Egypt's repressive government says it has no idea who was responsible for the murder.

Regeni's studies involved interviewing people that were on bad terms with the state. [pol note about this point]

Neera Tanden for head of Office of Management and Budget
2 December 2020

Biden nominated Neera Tanden for head of the Office of Management and Budget. She is the head of the "Center for American Progress", a plutocratist think-tank. We must expect plutocratist action from her.

Monopolies and America's Covid response
2 December 2020

*Monopolies have made America's Covid response worse.*

Lisbon temporary rentals
2 December 2020

Lisbon has made use of the temporary end of tourism to convert many temporary rentals into long-term low-price residences.

Crime against an inanimate object
2 December 2020

Australian soldiers' crime against an inanimate object arouses incredible outrage — more so, it seems, than their crimes that hurt human victims, including torture and murder.

That bespeaks a taboo-based morality, according to which taboos are more important than people, so violating taboos is worse than killing people.

I hereby affirm that, when I am dead, I will not mind at all if someone takes some valueless part of my property and uses it as a cup. Or even my bones. After all, I won't need them any more.

However, I have willed my body to science, so do let the lab have first dibs.

Facebook and Youtube helping Vietnam's political censorship
2 December 2020

Amnesty accuses Facebook and Youtube of helping Vietnam's political censorship.

Some UK prostitutes are enslaved
2 December 2020

Some of the prostitutes in the UK are enslaved. How to put a stop to that?

This article avoids the frequent prudish assumptions. It notes the existence of enslavement in the field of sex work but does not jump irrationally to the conclusion that all prostitution must be stamped out. So it confronts us with the challenge that really exists: to put an end to enslavement of sex workers.

The general long-term solution, I believe, is to make sure nobody is desperate enough to need to take a job offer that is too good to be true. But that is an enormous global challenge.

Treating this like kidnaping or wage theft in any other field, assuring women who might become prostitutes that they won't be penalized for that but that registering could enable them to be rescued, might help. Legalizing brothels provided they have registered the owners and managers, and frequently inspecting the operations of each one, might make it easier to find them, if the penalty for running an unregistered brothel is years in prison.

Amazon deforestation surges
2 December 2020

*Amazon deforestation surges to 12-year high under Bolsonaro.*

Facebook using some newspaper articles
2 December 2020

Facebook agreed to a scheme to pay newspapers for using some of their articles in a featured way.

While it is probably a good thing in a general sense for Facebook to pay some money to newspapers, this will enable Facebook to gain increased political influence while choosing which newspapers to support and which to ignore. I suspect that it is a change for the worse, overall.

Biden and justice
1 December 2020

One good thing about Biden: he advocates abolishing the death penalty in the US.

He also wants to legalize marijuana and eliminate privatized prisons and mandatory minimum sentences. I haven't checked every item in this long list, but the ones I have looked at seem good.

Climate lawsuit
1 December 2020

The European court of human rights decided to hear a lawsuit by young activists about the threat to their health and even their lives from allowing so much fossil fuel combustion. 33 European states must defend themselves from the claims.

Young people are the plaintiffs because they face the worst harm, if they live out their present-day natural life spans.

Home renewably produced hydrogen
1 December 2020

A pilot project in the UK will switch homes over to burning renewably produced hydrogen rather than natural gas (mainly methane).

Thugs charged
1 December 2020

Four French thugs who cruelly attacked and injured a Parisian man have been charged already, in less than one week.

On this score, France is miles above the US.

1 December 2020

If you play Minecraft on an Xbox, can you tell me the answer to these questions?

* Which version are you using?

* Does it force you to save your own worlds only on Microsoft servers? Does it default to saving them on Microsoft servers?

* Can you play without without having anything to do with Microsoft servers?

* Can you export your data from Microsoft servers and take them to some other server?

* Can you play Minecraft solitaire without identifying yourself?

* Can you play Minecraft solitaire saving your data and worlds on a server hosted by you?

* Can you play Minecraft solitaire without using any a server?

Regardless of the answers, Minecraft is nonfree software. I urge you to switch to the free program Minetest and reclaim your freedom.

Net zero by 2030
1 December 2020

*Three-quarters of Australians back target of net zero by 2030, Guardian Essential poll shows.*

This gives me hope that the planet-roasters that have ruled Australia for many years may start losing elections.

Spying on cultural events
1 December 2020

*Austin Fusion Center Spied on Nonpolitical Cultural Events.*

I think their spying on political events is already outrageous. But there is no limit to the gatherings at which two would-be terrorists might get to know each other, so they think they need to spy on everything.

The Economy Isn't Working
1 December 2020

*The Economy Isn’t Working. That's Exactly the Plan.*

Indigenous Languages
1 December 2020

*Protecting Indigenous Languages Is Protecting Biodiversity.*

Criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestine
1 December 2020

Craig Murray is facing pressure to censor Alexa by stopping it from quoting his criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestine. Supposedly it represents antisemitism.

I do not support separating Scotland from the UK. The problems that Scotland faces come from the plutocratist government of the UK, and the right thing to do is fix that for the whole UK, not separate one piece from it. Besides, what Murray says about the SNP shows that an independent Scotland will tend to yield to plutocratist "normality".

There are also bad business-supremacy treaties that the UK has agreed to, but an independent Scotland would surely yield to pressure to sign the same treaties, so independence would do no good.

Defending Taiwan
1 December 2020

Dissident Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee has fled to Taiwan and operates a book store there. He warns that we must do more to defend Taiwan.

I think the US should recognize Taiwan and tell China, "We hope to maintain diplomatic relations with China also."

Human rights and environmental crimes
1 December 2020

Switzerland considered a law to hold Swiss companies responsible for human rights and environmental crimes in other countries, but it failed to win in a majority of the cantons.

Landowner subsidy
1 December 2020

One real benefit from the UK's departure from the EU: ending the landowner subsidy.

100,000 participants in coup
1 December 2020

100,000 people in Turkey are in jail facing charges of participating in the coup attempt several years ago.

The coup attempt was real and violent, and it is legitimate to try the people who participated in that. But it is impossible to have a secret plan with 100,000 participants. Most of the people accused must be innocent, one way or another.

Decommissioning old nuclear power plants
1 December 2020

The cost of decommissioning old nuclear power plants in the UK is ballooning, and it is going much more slowly that expected. This is partly because private companies are hired to do it and their executives are too busy padding their expense accounts to focus on doing the job.

Is the US handling this any better?

Planning to take 80 years, or even 40 years, to clean up a deactivated nuclear power plant is totally unrealistic if we do not stop global heating much sooner than that. After 40 years of unchecked global heating, neither the money nor the expertise will be available, as climate disaster will cause enormous problems (such as hunger) that will have to take priority. By 2080 I expect the technology needed will no longer be available, and warlords/kingpins may be fighting. Eventually the ocean will take many of the sites.

In a million years, the radioactive atoms will have mostly decayed and the results will be much less dangerous than they are now. The same may not be true for persistent chemicals such as neonicotinoids and PFAs.

What the UK needs to do is cancel the construction of Hinkley Point C, never mind the sunk costs, and give highest priority to cutting greenhouse gas levels.

China trying to convince people Sars-CoV-2 did not originate in China
1 December 2020

China is working very hard to convince people that Sars-CoV-2 did not originate in China.

It is foolish to politicize the place of origin of the virus. This campaign by China is foolish, just as the bullshitter's castigation of China because the virus originated there is foolish.

What China did wrong was to deny for a time that it had detected Sars-CoV-2. But that did not last very long. Many other countries have done much worse things in dealing with Covid-91, including the US.

UK covers up sales of arms
1 December 2020

The UK covers up and disguises sales of arms to repressive states.

Ethiopia's army captured the capital of Tigray
1 December 2020

Ethiopia's army captured the capital of Tigray with hardly any resistance. I think that means Tigray's forces are switching to guerrilla tactics. This involves melting away when attacked by a large force, then making small concentrations to attack even smaller units.

Wreckage in federal agencies
1 December 2020

Biden's team will find wreckage in many federal agencies. They should report what they find.

Arbitrary welfare benefit limits
1 December 2020

When the Tories reorganized welfare benefits, they put in an arbitrary maximum limit which is independent of how much a family needs. Now some families need more money to cope with the consequences of Covid-19, and they are supposed to be offered more — but they don't actually receive it because the limit kicks in.

Protecting endangered ecosystems
1 December 2020

Does protecting endangered ecosystems require a park that excludes humans? Or can indigenous humans help protect them?

I suspect that it depends on the economic pressures on the humans and whether their lifeways and population are stable. In other words, it may be possible for the humans to coexist with the endangered ecosystems, but that doesn't mean it will happen automatically regardless. We may have to help.

Fascist rulers' techniques
1 December 2020

Around the world, for around a hundred years, fascist rulers and would-be rulers have been paying close attention to each others' techniques.

Tory politician corruption
1 December 2020

Tory politicians can break promises, lie, commit crimes, even engage in systematic corruption, and no one can do anything about it. Much like the conman, they can use their power to crush whoever might try.

London thugs arrested people that had equipment for protesting
1 December 2020

London thugs arrested people arriving in London by train with equipment for protesting.

It is legitimate to prohibit people from meeting in public and transmitting Covid-19. It is not legitimate to prohibit protests.

Can you see how to reconcile these two principles? Of course you can; why can't the British government?

No official posts for progressives
1 December 2020

* The bad news [from Biden] for progressives is that there has not yet been a single person announced for an official post that the left can be enthusiastic about.*

France criminalizing protests
1 December 2020

France is passing laws that criminalize protests and prohibit posting images of thugs if one can see who they are. This prohibits, in particular, live-streaming of their violent actions.

None of this has is a cure for the disease of Islamist terrorism, but even if it were a cure, it would be worse than the disease.

Thousands protested against the restrictions on press freedom.

Prohibiting home-schooling is repressive, too.

Virtual book club in Taiwan
1 December 2020

A virtual book club in Taiwan invites people to participate using encryption via Jitsi, so Hong Kongers can join.

Progress in eliminating tuberculosis and malaria
1 December 2020

The WHO thinks that Covid-19 may have undone 20 years of progress in eliminating tuberculosis and malaria.

In prison 21 months for throwing eggs at a Hong Kong thug building
1 December 2020

21 months in prison for throwing eggs at a Hong Kong thug building, on the grounds that it manifested an unfriendly attitude towards the state.

NPR compare's Stacey Abrams's complaint with the bullshitter's lie
1 December 2020

NPR insultingly equated Stacey Abrams's truthful complaint of election rigging with the bullshitter's lie.

It is true that both candidates had the right to demand a recount. But the two are not morally comparable.

(satire) Satan offering black Friday deal
1 December 2020

(satire) *Satan Offering Black Friday Deal To Trade Only 50% Of Soul For Lifetime Of Riches.*

(satire) 'Come Die Here' Tourism Campaign
1 December 2020

(satire) *South Dakota Unveils New ‘Come Die Here’ Tourism Campaign.*

Amazon spies on environmentalists and workers' organizing
1 December 2020

Leaked 2019 documents detail how Amazon spies on environmentalists and workers' organizing.

This includes using predictive policing to infiltrate possible union hot-spots and smear or harass employees who are liable to speak up about those issues.

Advertising increases consumption that endagers civilization's survival
1 December 2020

Advertising pumps up many forms of consumption that endanger civilization's survival, both specifically and in a deeper general way by convincing people to value purchases more than spending time with people.

Since in general advertising is manipulative, misleading and annoying, there is no reason to hesitate to reduce the amount of it.

Replacing human workers with robots
1 December 2020

US businesses are moving rapidly to replace human restaurant and hotel workers with robots.

This means that today's massive unemployment will not go away when Covid-19 does. Only socialist measures to support the unemployable can avoid making them homeless and hungry.

One way we can fight back is by refusing to use self-checkout sales machines. You can shout out, as I do, "Millions of Americans are out of work. Let's not let them replace humans with robots!"

Bruce Reed considered by Biden for a White House position
1 December 2020

Bruce Reed, who encouraged and helped Bill Clinton to inflict more suffering on the poor, is now being considered by Biden for a White House position where he would have plenty of influence to do more of the same.

Biden proudly announced that he considers the number of progressives he has chosen for his administration significant.

That is an exaggeration, but more important is the concentration of center-right plutocratist or militarist Democrats he has already chosen or is considering.

Thugs celebrated when Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk were murdered
1 December 2020

Some San Francisco thugs celebrated when a former thug murdered Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk.

A substantial number of people in the US are avoiding having children
1 December 2020

A substantial number of people in the US are avoiding having children so as not to condemn them to climate mayhem. Some regret having had children.

The survey did not seek a representative sample, so no conclusions can be drawn about how many people feel this way, but this is an important change. Once you've avoided having children, your income will allow you to good for the world without getting paid for it. Make sure not to waste this.

Authoritarian approach to Labour Party members who still support Corbyn
1 December 2020

The new leaders of Labour have chosen an authoritarian approach to the millions of Labour Party members who still support Corbyn: they are forbidden to talk about the subject.

It is not unusual to suppress discussion by stretching the definition of antisemitism, but this is the biggest stretch I have ever seen. We cannot act effectively against real antisemitism if we mislabel everything we dislike as "antisemitism".

Shooting of Iranian nuclear scientist
1 December 2020

*Analysis: shooting of [Iranian nuclear scientist] Mohsen Fakhrizadeh will do more harm to diplomacy than it does to Iran’s nuclear programme.*

The theory that Israel carried out the attack, and the wrecker approved it, seems valid to me. If Biden does not punish Israel for trying to push the US and Iran into war, he will show himself to be a weakling.

The wrecker is asking the Supreme Court to change the Pennsylvania election results
1 December 2020

The wrecker is asking the Supreme Court, which he has stacked, to change the Pennsylvania election results on the fictitious grounds of fraud that did not happen.

Urgent: pass the MORE act
1 December 2020

US citizens: call on Congress to pass the MORE act, which would legalize using marijuana.

The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.

Israeli draft refuser thanks people for support
1 December 2020

Israeli draft refuser Hallel Rabin thanks people for messages of support.

Selling carbon offsets
30 November 2020

Selling carbon offsets for carbon storage in farmland is a scam: it is not practical to measure how much carbon is really stored, and it could all be released at any moment.

Civil service protection
30 November 2020

The saboteur in chief made an executive order to allow agencies to remove civil service protection from employment positions at will. They could fire, or threaten to fire, anyone who won't lie when ordered to.

Schools windows open
30 November 2020

Scotland is keeping its schools' windows open for ventilation, which makes them so cold that students have to wear coats and warm clothes all day. Unfortunately, many families can't afford to buy those clothes.

Treatment of asylum seekers
30 November 2020

Israel's almost trumpish treatment of asylum seekers.

Heroic whistleblower
30 November 2020

Gush Shalom: Israel should allow heroic whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu to go to Norway to live.

Chance to move towards peace
30 November 2020

What Biden must do to have a chance of moving towards peace between Israel and Palestine.

Defense Policy Board
30 November 2020

The wrecker has removed many experienced advisors from the Defense Policy Board.

Why bother to do this, when Biden could reappoint them in two months? I fear it is so that he will not have to hear them try to be polite while explaining to him that bombing Iran would lead to disaster.

Restriction on religious meetings
30 November 2020

The Supreme Court ruled that local laws for curbing the spread of Covid-19 cannot restrict religious organizations more strictly than other, secular organizations. Based on that, it ruled New York State's restrictions on religious meetings unconstitutional.

The general policy seems legitimate to me. Although I don't respect the idea of faith, I believe in respecting people's right to practice their religions. This general decision is not the disaster some are painting it as.

However, the right-wing Supreme Court justices strained the facts badly to reach the conclusion that New York State's restrictions restrict churches more than secular establishments. The secular establishments that would have large numbers of people attend in a long session are closed entirely; churches are allowed to open.

I think New York State could redraft the restrictions so that they explicitly apply the same criteria to various kinds of establishments and result, in practice, in rules equivalent to the present ones. Maybe then the court would have to accept it — or else reveal that it is trifling with its duty.

Systematically capable of crushing unions
30 November 2020

Arguing that giant quasi-monopolies are systematically capable of crushing unions, at least under current US labor law.

Used textbooks
30 November 2020

Textbook companies in the US are using various dirty tricks to stop college students from buying used textbooks and saving money. This includes corrupting professors with bribes that carry big labels saying "This is not a bribe."

But it also includes other trickery, such as making textbooks change in trivial ways from year to year or from school to school. And, of course, making students subscribe to access to an unjust ebook, which typically has all the injustices of other commercial ebooks.

When people talk about "open educational resources," or "open" textbooks that are "free to download," we cannot tell right away whether they are free/libre or not. That's because the definition of that term accepts some nonfree licenses.

But I think these "open" textbooks are in fact free/libre. The law that funds their development requires a license like CC-BY, and they are developed by an organization called LibreTexts which seems to recommend only free software tools.

However, cannot verify this. I was unable to find anything on which spoke about the licensing of their textbooks. The front page talks about the practical benefits, the things naive people would appreciate, but says nothing about freedom.

Perhaps there is information present which I could not find. Some of the home page's navigation does not work without running some nonfree JS code. I will ask them.

Back doors in WiFi hubs
30 November 2020

Some WiFi hubs have back doors which can control not only the router but devices connected to it.

From the details in the article, I think the back door is in the router's administrative web server, so it would have nothing to do with the specific physical platform or where that was made.

The people who found the back door present arguments that it was made intentionally.

There are hubs that run free software. That gives the community a way to try to check for, and get rid of, malicious functionality like this.

Fund for investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
30 November 2020

The Tories are setting up a fund for investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, just three years after they eliminated the old one.

I think that was when Cameron was prime minister. Under his government, the Tories had an ideological policy of gradually eliminating investment in reducing global heating, even as as they pushed fracking. Apparently, they considered maximizing fossil fuel a priority comparable to reducing the income of poor people.

Virus-denialists soccer contest
30 November 2020

Virus-denialists in Arizona are delighted to hold an interstate soccer tournament with reportedly 500 teams, which would imply thousands of players.

Some of these benighted fools are so stubbornly loyal to the wrecker's lies that they adamantly deny the reality of Covid until their last words as they are dying of it. Why not bring together thousands of people for a kilospreader event?

The matches will be played outdoors, I expect, which reduces the danger of them. But unless those teams practice firm discipline, players will catch Covid-19 from teammates and locals. It would be a small number compared with the almost 200,000 persons per day that are getting infected in the US, but every little bit hurts.

Sending doctors
30 November 2020

Sicily asked Cuba to send doctors.

La Niña and Great Barrier Reef
30 November 2020

This year is a La Niña year, which makes Australia cooler, but global heating is stronger and could damage the Great Barrier Reef nonetheless.

Republicans trying to continue the civil war
29 November 2020

Republicans are trying to continue the civil war, from the Confederate side.

People affected by water shortages
29 November 2020

*More than 3 billion people affected by water shortages, data shows.*

That is almost half current the human population. I wonder how much of human population growth is in areas with water shortages. I suspect it is more than half.

Thugs in Paris beat a man bloody
29 November 2020

Thugs in Paris attacked a man who was walking to his office without a mask, and beat him bloody. Then they made false accusations against him.

Did they do this because he did not wear a mask? Or did they do this because he was black? I suppose it was the latter, since they called him racist insults too.

It was right for them to take quick action on seeing a person outside without a mask on. But the proper action was to give him a mask to put on immediately, and fine him. Perhaps arrest him if it was a repeat offense. Not to invade his studio and attack him and others.

I am glad to see that the authorities are not delaying the pursuit of these thugs. In the US it typically takes mass protests, over time, to get that far.

Article 24, which puts people in jeopardy if they expose thugs for their crimes, is very dangerous for human rights in France.

Lead shot
29 November 2020

*EU to ban use of lead shot by wetland bird hunters.*

Lead is toxic to animals, just as to humans. It is good to stop putting lead into the environment.

Autumn leaves fall earlier
29 November 2020

*Climate crisis making autumn leaves fall earlier, study finds.*

Scientists had predicted that, with a longer growing season, trees would store more carbon Instead, they drop their leaves once they have stored enough energy to be ready for winter.

This means that predictions for how much carbon forests will store must be adjusted down, and predictions for disaster must be adjusted up.

The corrupter pardoned Michael Flynn
29 November 2020

The corrupter has pardoned his former agent, Michael Flynn, who was convicted for lying to the FBI about what he did for the corrupter.

This is a corrupt practice. I think we need to limit the president's power to pardon so that presidents cannot do this in the future.

Extreme fragility of American Democracy
29 November 2020

Noam Chomsky: *Trump Has Revealed the Extreme Fragility of American Democracy.*

Break up the three principal US fund managers
29 November 2020

A call to break up the three principal US fund managers: BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street.

Urgent: The John Lewis Voting Rights Act
29 November 2020

Us citizens: call on the New Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.

Urgent: No one in the OMB that prioritizes reducing the deficit
29 November 2020

US citizens: tell Biden not to put anyone in the OMB that prioritizes reducing the deficit.

A depression requires deficit spending.

Heroes' raise
28 November 2020

Retail workers, called "heroes" by stingy employers, demand a raise in proportion to their employers' rising profits.

New head of DHS
28 November 2020

Immigrant rights defenders welcome Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden's choice to head the Department of Harshness and Sadism.

If we are really fortunate, we will have to call the department some other name.

Journalist in prison
28 November 2020

Egyptian freedom activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was imprisoned again a year ago because of protests that he did not participate in. He is now on hunger strike.

Redefining benefits for musicians
28 November 2020

Copyright on recorded music nominally exists to benefit musicians, but streaming dis-services are redefining that benefit towards zero.

Meanwhile, the enforcement of copyright is getting nastier as the web is filled with W3C-endorsed DRM that we can't break.

Planning gigadeaths
28 November 2020

Exxon's plans, from leaked internal documents, include increasing the extraction of fossil fuel.

In other words, the company is planning gigadeaths.

Intelligence briefing
28 November 2020

(satire) * President-elect Joe Biden confirmed Wednesday that he had received his first box of wadded-up napkins and greasy receipts comprising President Trump’s intelligence briefing.*

Pebble mine
28 November 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected the proposed Pebble Mine.

This is a victory for wildlife and human life, but it isn't necessarily final. Moneyed interests can sue and appeal over and over.

Endangered species and glyphosate
28 November 2020

The EPA reports that that 1,676 endangered species are likely to be harmed by glyphosate.

CIA torture
28 November 2020

Senator Wyden told Biden not to nominate Mike Morell to head the CIA. Much like the wrecker's appointed head, Gina Haspel, Morell is associated with defending CIA torture.

Cut in thug department budget
28 November 2020

Seattle has cut its thug department's budget by 18%.

It is important for the 9-1-1 response team to be outside the thug department, so that it will not have a default tendency to send a team of thugs when it gets a call saying that someone is in crisis and needs help. The presence of guns and gunmen can lead to shootings.

Major dangers and decisions
28 November 2020

The wrecker followed a pattern set by Dubya: blatant disregard for thoughtful consideration of major dangers and decisions.

Coercive tactics
28 November 2020

*[UK] immigration officials have been accused of using coercive tactics to gain access to people’s homes and businesses without search warrants.*

Final act of sabotage
28 November 2020

Mnuchin's final act of sabotage: lock away 450 billion in Covid-19 aid so that Biden would need congressional permission to spend it.

The obvious response for a president who really wants to aid Americans is to use this, and the general issue of aid, to make Republicans scream, and to campaign for the Jan 5 Georgia Senate run-offs. I predict that Biden will do this at most half-heartedly.

*Economists Call for $3 Trillion Covid Relief Package to Stop Nation's Descent Into Ruin.*

I wonder if the platinum-coin hack might make enable Biden to bypass the senate's objections to helping Americans. But I have a feeling he would rather moan about being blocked, than overcome the blockage.

Warlord scheme
28 November 2020

George Monbiot contends that taking the UK out of the EU is a scheme for the "warlord" capitalists (who despise regulation and democracy both) to rip up the "housetrained" capitalists who have prospered together with those.

The warlords like to say that "freedom" means that they can use their wealth to do whatever they like, even decree penury or death for millions of people; that nothing stands in their way. Their supporters, the antisocialists, call themselves "libertarians", but they do not deserve that name.

Paper money
28 November 2020

There is no need to worry about catching Covid-19 from paper money.

It is theoretically possible, but many factors combine to make it an insignificant risk. You don't need to surrender your anonymity out of fear.