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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.
Please sign: Call on US supermarkets to stop selling unsustainable fish.
An organization of small UK stores that sell newspapers and such things has been co-opted by the tobacco companies to lobby against smoking-discouragement laws.
People often assume that perfectionism leads to more achievement, but it tends to cause anxiety that can have the opposite result.
Hundreds of police, ordered by Wisconsin governor Wilson to evict the protesters occupying the part of the state house, joined the protest instead.
General Petraeus has made night raids on homes a common occurrence, with lots of civilian casualties (though the US won't acknowledge them all).
Piracy is great for Hollywood: they make tons of money from all the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. What bothers them is not piracy but sharing. Don't repeat their propaganda — don't call it "piracy".
"Theft" is another propaganda term. If you take someone else's DVD or film, that's theft. Copying is not theft.
Gaddafi has been jamming satellite telephones and Al Jazeera's satellite.
A US general illegally ordered his psy-ops team to investigate US senators. The team commander resisted, and he was punished with a spurious investigation. The illegal practice apparently continued after this.
After 30 years of dishonest trickle-down economics, look how much of the US' wealth the rich have collected.
The campaign against Alternative Voting in the UK is based on shallow lies.
Tunisia's premier, who worked with the former dictator, has been ousted by protests.
The town of Zawiyah, 30 miles from Tripoli, threw out Gaddafi's men after over 3 days of fighting, with support from some soldiers. Now it is surrounded by territory still under Gaddafi's control.
I don't get the impression that Zawiyah could withstand attack by a substantial part of Gaddafi's army. For the moment, it seems he is not in a position to send such a force there. Perhaps he needs all his remaining forces to keep control of Tripoli and the other towns they occupy.
The danger is that if he manages to kill enough people in Tripoli to discourage further uprising there, he might then be able to send a batallion to capture Zawiyah and various other rebel towns, one by one.
Many wars have been lost by underestimating the enemy, and we must not underestimate this one. The rebellion may need help and it deserves help.
Pakistani newspapers claim that Raymond Davis was recruiting for the Pakistani Taliban.
I would not put it past the US government to build up a phony enemy, but the Taliban is real enough, and there is another legitimate reason a CIA agent might be in contact with members of an enemy army: to spy on it.
Doctors in Iran accuse Shah Khamenei's forces of spraying poison gas, not ordinary tear gas.
In Ivory Coast, both of the presidential candidates controlled parts of the country for years. Since defeated former president Gbagbo refuses to yield power, Ouattara's supporters are now trying to win militarily.
Under these circumstances I wonder what was done to hold a free and fair election, and whether this was indeed possible in either side's territory.
Fracking, injecting water underground to release natural gas, makes toxic waste water which is not properly treated. US water supplies are being contaminated.
In Haiti they are imprisoned again, without trial and without food, apparently in pursuit of bribes.
The fact that they face imprisonment without trial if returned to Haiti ought to be legal grounds for asylum, right?
The phony democracy in Djibouti has put a stop to protests by arresting 300 leaders and menacing the other thousands with lots of police.
Suggestions for protests in Beijing did not inspire any protests, but the regime's nasty preemptive response made it look bad.
Iranian opposition candidate Mousavi has been arrested, with his wife. They are being held unofficially in an secret police "safe house" — that is, a place where it is safe for the secret police to carry out any sort of mischief.
Applying Howard Zinn to Iran.
The Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo prisoners can plead Habeas Corpus, but the appeals court in charge of this has made the conditions so strict that nobody can win.
US citizens: tell Senate Democrats to stand firm and not make disastrous "compromises" with Republicans.
A popular videogame has been banned by Australia's censorship.
The game is disgusting because it is proprietary software. I would probably find the violence in that game disgusting, too, but not as disgusting as censorship.
The gloves are off: the corporations are fighting with Americans over what sort of country the US should be.
Egyptian troops attacked protesters demanding resignation of a minister held over from Mubarak's regime.
US citizens: call on the government to allow Omar Barghouti to speak in the US.
Evidence shows Obama's economic stimulus worked — and that right-wing budget cuts will cause disaster.
In Bangladesh, even MPs can be arrested and tortured.
Obama wants to spend billions to fund unprofitable (and dangerous) nuclear power reactors in the US.
France wants to put small nuclear power reactors in special motorless submarines.
These submarines might solve the problem of possible small leaks, which would disperse in the ocean, but they do not solve the problem final disposal of the nuclear waste. While these submarines would be inccessible to casual visitors, they have a vulnerability that land-based nukes don't have: a well-financed team with a submarine and underwater robots could steal one and tow it away.
Maybe they would be safe if they used thorium instead of uranium, but a stolen thorium reactor could be modified to make bomb material even if it doesn't do so in normal operation.
The opponents to Alternative Voting in the UK are using lies as arguments.
If Assange is sent to Sweden, he will have a fundamentally unjust secret trial.
This highlights the general injustice of the European Arrest Warrant.
Gaddafi has retained military control of most of the area around Tripoli at the cost of attacking protesters with tanks.
Veteran anti-apartheid campaigners call on South Africa to help Aristide return to Haiti as soon as possible.
That he has not returned shows the US must be preventing him, but how is it doing that?
Wisconsin's governor revealed his corruption, both moral and legal, in a phone call with a journalist who pretended to be one of the Koch brothers.
US citizens: call on Google and Facebook to protect their users' privacy from Big Brother.
I support this campaign but really it doesn't go far enough. You shouldn't use Facebook at all.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support enactment of the recommendations of the oil spill commission.
A glacier in Peru has shrunk by half since 1983. Shrinking glaciers has been accompanied by a decrease in water, which is already scarce there.
The UK proposes to require "zero carbon" homes starting in 2016, except that they will only have to cut carbon emissions by 50% to qualify as "zero". The rest can be a "carbon offset".
Carbon offset programs are dubious, and often mere swindles. It may be that a the best short-term strategy is a target short of zero, but if so, they should be honest about it.
46 opposition leaders in Zimbabwe were accused of treason for "planning an uprising", but actually they only tried to hold a protest. They were apparently tortured.
That accusation is dishonest: protests are not treason, except in the mind of a tyrant.
Starting April 1, everyone in Switzerland will be required to wear a mask while in public.
We should all get used to wearing a variety of masks in public as the only way to prevent total state surveillance.
Did Iran use tear gas — or poison gas?
A critique of the US and European media's coverage of protests in Iran.
Regarding the Telegraph, I think the criticism is not for covering the events in Camp Ashraf, but rather for associating that protest specifically with the People's Mujahideen.
The Shah's forces threw a student off a bridge onto a road and he was killed by a car.
HB Gary developed undetectable Windows rootkits for the US government to break the security of computers running sapware.
US citizens: tell Senator Durbin you support reforming the U SAP AT RIOT Act.
The UK approved Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden. He will appeal the decision.
Syria is crushing protests with massive police presence.
Raymond Davis, the US spy in Pakistan, may really not be entitled to diplomatic immunity.
Telesur has turned into a boring propaganda engine, epitomized by its defense of Gaddafi — it says that Libya is calm under his control.
When I was invited to serve on the advisory committee for Telesur, which functioned only during its launch, I suggested following the model of Al Jazeera. My suggestion was not heeded.
I don't expect this to have any influence, but I hereby formally resign from that relationship with Telesur.
The Arab revolutions are damaging US dominion over the Arab world. In Tunisia and Egypt, Washington started by opposing them, but yielded when the world's eye turned firmly on them. But will it yield with clients such as Bahrain that have US bases?
The Arab revolutions also point the way way for how to topple the empire of the megacorporations and free our own countries from the dominion of the corrupt, immune rich.
Australia proposes to put a tax on CO2 emissions.
The UK's inquiry into collaboration with torture is so restricted as to be inadequate for the job.
95% of the world's coral reefs are expected to be dying by 2050.
George Monbiot poses the question: what must we do to defeat Internet astroturfing by PR companies managing dozens of sock puppets.
Why we see what isn't there.
The Republicans' War on Women.
It is confirmed that Eastern Libya has been liberated by parts of the army that have rebelled against Gaddafi.
A drought endangers China's wheat crop. Global heating has probably helped cause this drought, and will certainly cause bigger ones in the future.
The oil from the Big Spill has killed the marsh grass on the beach, the shrimp in the shallows, the crabs and brittle stars on the sea bottom, and now baby dolphins are mysteriously dying too.
Right-wing fanatics in Georga plan to make abortion and miscarriage a capital offense.
The Shah's men arrested the son of opposition leader Karroubi.
Several Libyan tribes have supported the rebellion.
The Iranian resistance says that the Shah's men are confiscating satellite TV receivers.
Some Iranians condemn Mousavi for a statement that disclaims any demand for deep change in the Iranian regime.
I am not convinced that it is valid to say "Mousavi saved the regime" last year. That asserts that protecting the regime was his goal. Perhaps he wasn't bold in opposition because he thought they would shoot him for that, and then he would have achieved nothing. That might be the case. They may torture and/or execute him for what he has already done.
The US border fence with Mexico has increased the number of illegal immigrants that die in the desert, without greatly affecting the number that get in.
Iranian diplomats are defecting, ashamed of the cruelty of their government.
US citizens: Tell Wisconsin governor Walker what you think of him.
Efforts to file charges for torture against Bush in other countries are just the beginning: Bush deserves a trial in the US.
Obama's faulure to no support Wisconsin teachers and public workers reflects his general contempt for working Americans.
Rwanda says it will give a priority to preserving remaining wild habitats and sustainable development.
Achieving this goal requires a strong campaign to limit birth. Rwanda must not passively wait for the population to double in 30 years. It should make sure this does not happen. Charities could offer donations to young women that get sterilized after having at most one child.
Gaddafi's forces have lost control over eastern Libya, but corpses are lying in the street in Tripoli.
I think the Security Council should ask Egypt should send troops to protect the people of eastern Libya, so that Gaddafi's killers cannot return there.
Protests in Bahrain are now occurring without state violence.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support bill HR780 to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
In the US: go to protests on Saturday around the US in solidarity with Wisconsin workers.
General Petraeus accused Afghan civilians of burning their children to pretend the harm was done by a US bomb.
Is it ethical to work on automating business?
Iraqis are protesting in Baghdad agqinst the corruption, brutality and religious repression of their "democracy". Government thugs were brought in, and police and troops are interfering with foreign reporters.
Although the US vetoed the Security Council resolution condemning Israel's land-grab, the resolution has shown that the world has focused on these settlements as the main obstacle to peace.
Everyone: call for UN sanctions to hamper Gaddafi's military attacks on protesters in Libya.
Iranian criticism accuses the Voice of America's Farsi broadcasts of supporting Shah Khamenei under chairman Ali Sajadi. But now it has appointed a new chairman for VOA Farsi who might, or might not, correct this.
Ralph Nader: Americans must topple the corporate dictators.
To have an effect through democracy, just voting is not enough. Only voting for candidates who reject the corporate empire and are prepared to destroy it will do any good. Nader has been one of them, and I have voted for him for president several times, but until most Americans do this, they will get more corporate flunkies like Bill Clinton, Dubya, and Obama.
Ex-president Gbagbo in Ivory Coast had troops shoot protesters.
The US is deporting Haitians to Haiti after they serve sentences for more or less any sort of crime. In Haiti they get imprisoned again in conditions that have already killed one of them.
I wonder what grounds Haiti has for imprisoning them.
UK Uncut's next target is the bank RBS, which is mostly owned by the state but allowed pay giant bonuses while financing global heating.
A Congolese officer has been sentenced to a long prison term for mass rapes he allowed his troops to commit.
House Republicans voted mainly against cutting the military budget.
When they talk about reducing the budget, that's just an excuse to hurt poor Americans and women.
Card-only purchasing at school lunch enables parents to monitor and control what their children buy.
If you buy by credit card, companies and governments can monitor what you buy, too. So I buy things with cash. If the business says "no cash", say "no sale".
The SEC is so corrupt that it systematically ignores fraud by large corporations. It received tip-offs of fraud in AIG and Lehman Bros, and pointedly ignored them.
HB Gary developed software for PR business to generate large numbers of fake "personas" and pretend to be broad support on an issue.
The US government wants this software to distort public debate in Afghanistan, but megacorps don't need to have the US government directly run it for them. They can do this themselves.
Gorbachev says Putin's regime resembles the Communist regime that Gorbachev ended.
The Republicans' continuing resolution would make the US deaf, dumb and blind towards global heating.
It also attacks protection of public health from air and water pollution.
The term "global heating" comes closer to doing justice to what is happening than "global warming" or "climate change". Perhaps it is still inadequatel; maybe we ought to call it "planet burning". However, I reserve that term for the activity of intentionally trying to exacerbate global heating.
Republicans increase social spending more than Democrats, but they direct it towards full-time high paid employees of large companies instead of towards the poor.
Shah Khamenei's reaction against the protests has made the regime look very bad.
Gaddafi's men have attacked protesters with rifles and airplanes, and the protesters are arming themselves, seizing and destroying government buildings.
In Benghazi, Gaddafi's men were attacking all around the city.
Libyan diplomats and air force pilots have defected.
On Feb 20, Shah Khamenei's men killed several protesters and arrested thousands. However, protesters succeeded in freeing other arrested protesters.
The Iranian resistance says there is fighting in the streets of Tehran.
US corporations shifted the tax burden to individuals, then steered resentful citizens into opposing government spending rather than increasing the tax on companies.
The UK government wants to subcontract nearly all public services to companies.
This is a form of union-busting, among other things.
Novelist Ian McEwan rejected calls to boycott the Jerusalem Prize, but he turned the prize ceremony into criticism of the siege of Gaza and the land-grab in the West Bank.
Chinese tried to call for protests, but massive police presence stifled them.
Undercover police spy/provocateur Mark Kennedy brought 5 German undercover police to a protest in the UK.
The UN calls on every country to invest 2% of income in green industry.
A CIA agent working in the US embassy in Pakistan has been detained, ignoring diplomatic immunity, because he shot two thieves that attacked him on the street.
The real issues between the US and Pakistan concern US drone bombings and Pakistan's toleration of the Taliban. I think Davis is being used as a scapegoat to substitute for confronting those issues.
Ugandan leader wins again, but critics say vote was fraudulent.
China is holding Liu Xiaobo's wife incommunicado under house arrest.
Palestinians plan mass protests against the US veto of their security council resolution.
Thus, ironically, the US has helped strengthen the Palestinian movement for democracy as well as independence by refusing its support.
Everyone: for live updates about the protests in Wisconsin, see this page.
US citizens, sign this petition supporting Wisconsin public workers.
In the US: join the SEIU's protests to defend workers' rights.
Anyone: donate to support the Democratic state senators of Wisconsin in blocking the governor's union-busting plans.
In Egypt, the protesters organized to protect their neighborhoods when the regime tried that trick. I wonder if the looters in Aden are police. That would explain how they got started so fast.
Algerians continued protesting despite tens of thousands of police that blocked and attacked them.
Western pressure helped restrain the level of government violence. Some of the descriptions of the police attacks, and the resulting injuries, remind me of London last year.
Gaddafi has launched all-out war on the protesters.
Their families will hate him for decades because of this.
Howewer, in Bahrain, the police pulled back from the protest center.
The alternative, to help the dictators that try to stop the revolution, is so wrong that it can't lead to anything good.
UK activists plan to refuse to answer census questions in protest against Lockheed Martin's role in the census.
In addition, the legal protections against leaking census answers are inadequate.
Salmon farms spread swarms of lice that are killing the young wild salmon.
Since the farms are losing the battle against sea lice, they may have to shut down in time to save the wild salmon. But we must not count on that!
Many Middle Eastern and North African countries are running short of water and depend on food imports.
The high price of imported wheat helped trigger uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. Eliminating the corrupt elite could reduce waste and help the rest of the people get enough food and water — but that only goes so far. The projected increase in future water needs is a function of projected population growth.
These countries need to face up to the need to limit their population to what they can sustain.
The Western intervention in Afghanistan perpetuates poverty that kills far more people than the war itself.
A French journalist was convicted of a crime for stating political views.
I disagree with part of Zemmour's views, but censoring any views is tyranny. Shame on France.
I think this article has missed a vital difference between the two cases. Remember that, at first, the US government did not support the protests in Egypt. That's because Mubarak was a US-supported dictator. The Egyptian army has deep ties with Washington, and I suspect the US used them to convince the army to first restrain Mubarak's violence and ultimately make him step down.
Besides which, once the Egyptian protests really got going, nobody in Egypt was going to regard the limited US support for them as "foreign meddling" and support Mubarak in reaction. After Mubarak had been the US's puppet for so long, he could hardly score any points by charging his opposition with being the US's puppets, although he tried.
The US has no influence with any part of the Iranian government, so it is not in a position to do anything behind the scene. There is great hostility between the US and Iran, so accusing opposition of being US puppets could succeed there.
The fraudulent Haitian elections should be cancelled.
Laws give banksters an extra incentive to foreclose.
Live reporting from the protests in Madison, Wisconsin.
Aristide supporters march in Haiti for his return.
In Bahrain and Libya, the government forces are massacring protesters.
The EU concluded privately that cutting carbon emissions by 25% by 2020 will be easy, and 30% not too hard.
Human overfishing of predator fish, such as tuna, salmon and cod, is distorting the ocean ecology.
Republicans in the House of Representatives eliminated the funding for Planned Parenthood to provide birth control and cancer screenings.
While this was partially intended to make abortion difficult (while making more abortions necessary), it fits their general intention to make everything harder for working and poor Americans.
Some in the Iranian opposition criticize Mousavi for being too mild in his opposition to the regime.
Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac have spent half a billion dollars of bailout money on legal fees, trying to sabotage a trial for fraud by overloading it with lawyering.
The US Congress is planning to attack sharing, no matter what legal rights it destroys in the process.
Ebooks with DRM won't work on an iGroan which is jailbroken, due to intentional sabotage by Apple.
E-books with digital handcuffs are products designed to attack your freedom, much like the iGroan itself.
The US government is considering uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.
It would sell its grandmother for a few dollars.
As mining tar sands is polluting land and water in Canada, transporting it to the US is polluting land and water in the US.
Three influential foundations tie US schools in knots, pushing large reforms not based on scientific evidence.
I don't see any ulterior motive in this, so I wonder why they don't proceed more carefully.
US citizens: sign this petition to your senators to preserve title X funding for family planning.
Massachusetts citizens: urge your state rep and senator to vote for the Transgender Equal Rights Bill.
US citizens: sign this letter in support of the Wisconsin public workers.
The governor has threatened to use soldiers to crush the protests.
US citizens: Natural gas fracking in the Delaware River basin can poison the water supply for 15 million people, including New York City. Demand careful review.
Bilingualism helps children think clearly and postpones Alzheimer's disease.
Banksters' PR company forged letters to oppose firm regulation of the banksters.
PA President Abbas stood firm against a US demand that he drop the proposed Security Council resolution to condemn Israel's land grab in the West Bank.
As Clinton spoke, a silent protester turned his back to her.
For this he was beaten and arrested, as she went on talking about freedom of speech.
Republicans are trying to block the EPA from protecting Americans from many forms of air pollution and water pollution.
The Bahraini regime has oppressed Shi'ites for decades, and torture of dissidents is standard practice.
Afghan villagers dispute the US position about destroying the houses of their village.
At least the villagers were not injured by the attack. Afghanistan is a war zone, and if they let the Taliban occupy and mine their village, they must expect some damage.
30,000 people are protesting in Wisconsin against the bill to destroy public sector unions. Where's Al Jazeera when we need it?
Japan has admitted defeat by Sea Shepherd and called its whaling fleet home.
Yemen has persistent protests by people that don't belong to organized opposition. The state sends police to crush the protests.
US citizens: sign this petition for federal prosecution of the Houston police who repeated kicked (and injured) a suspect who had surrendered.
If that suspect committed the robbery, he deserves to be put in prison, but not in the hospital.
Morocco continues arbitrary arrest and torture in Western Sahara.
Morocco occupied Western Sahara after Spain pulled out, replacing one colonial regime with another.
US citizens: Sign this petition to protect social security and to make people with high salaries pay the same share as everyone else.
The FBI wants to impose more surveillance on Americans, with requirements for back doors in a large range of network services and programs.
A virtual reality system produces artificial out-of-body experiences.
I seems that the capacity to have an out-of-body experience is part of the brain's normal flexibility.
Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer says that Germany warned Tenet that Curveball (the Iraqi defector) might be lying.
California consumers are suing stores for demanding they give their zip code when paying.
However, the really bad effect of credit cards on privacy is that the credit card company records who you buy from. And at least some credit cards give your name to the store's computer too. So if you care about privacy, do what I do: buy goods with cash.
When a business says "credit cards only", it forfeits my business.
The US government intended to seize 10 internet domains without a trial, and carelessly took down 84000 other domains in the process.
When floods and heatwaves occur, it is due to specific circumstances, but the blame falls mainly on global heating, which is chiefly responsible for them today. Likewise, this accident resulted from specific careless mistakes, but the blame falls mainly on the unjust (and careless) policy of seizing domains without a trial.
Sites should move to TLDs not under the control of the US government.
Professors and Canadians: sign a petition in support of Canadians being sued for criticizing mining companies.
The EU is planning a trade treaty with the dictatorship of Uzbekistan even though the state practically conscripts child labor.
Private lie/smear companies now offer the dirty tricks of FBI's COINTELPRO as a service to big business.
Measuring the political influence of poor and middle income voters on the US congress: very small.
Some legislators might pay attention.
Shah Khamenei's forces admit arresting 1500 protesters in Teheran on Monday.
As the UN resolution condemning Israel's land grab in the West Bank approaches a vote, the US says it will veto the resolution — but it is trying to avoid the blame so it wants the proponents to drop it instead.
The US says this resolution will hurt the "peace process". As shown by the Palestinian Papers, the kind of "peace negotiations" that the US wants involve concessions by the Palestinians in return for nothing. Uri Avnery explained that this phony "peace process" was intended to give an appearance of willingness to make peace with no chance of doing so. Its only real effect is to bamboozle those who want a real chance for peace.
Bahrain police made a bloody night attack on a protest camp, killing and wounding protesters. Police took wounded protesters from ambulances.
This would justify all-out guerrilla war against the government.
The governor of Wisconsin wants to restrict public sector unions to the point where they are nearly ineffective.
Greg Palast investigated the Chevron-Texaco spills in Ecuador and reports on the dead children — and on proof that the company tried to destroy evidence.
The US government supports Internet freedom abroad while attacking Internet freedom on several lines in the US.
Egypt's military wants a new constitution written in ten days, and an election within six months.
It is good that the military is not clinging to power, but a constitution written so fast cannot be good.
Protests have begun in Libya for an end to Ghaddafi's dictatorship.
To some extent one can measure the depth of tyranny by the size and frequency of pictures of the ruler. In Libya there are giant photos of Ghaddafi on the side of buildings.
A study calculates that global heating has doubled the risk of severe floods in parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
The Palestinian Authority has called new elections, defying orders from the US and Israel to keep the same people in power no matter what.
Russia follows democratic forms, but the suppression of opposition is so strong that Putin's party can do whatever it likes.
The Shah's men killed a protester, then gave him a state funeral pretending he was part of the government militia.
Many dictators are equally violent, but few can match the Iranian regime for pervasive callousness and dishonesty. It reminds me of Stalin and North Korea.
Japan has suspended whaling, and is thinking of calling back its whaling fleet early. It acknowledges that this is due to Sea Shepherd.
Stop blaming Italians for Berlusconi — it's his near-monopoly of TV that warps the political system that keeps him in power.
A study reports that using Ecstacy does not seem to reduce mental ability.
The Iraqi defector whose lies provided Bush with an excuse to attack Iraq could face criminal charges of fomenting a war of aggression.
His lies provided the raw material for a process of rigged analysis designed intentionally to produce the conclusion that Bush wanted.
Prosecuting "Curveball" would be a good first step towards charging Bush with the crime of launching a war of aggression.
Philadelphia homeowner 'forecloses' on Wells Fargo.
Due to fear of right-wing fanatics, Mila Means can't find a place in Wichita to have an abortion clinic.
The article reports that Means' landlord got a court order forbidding her to do abortions. I think that itself is scandalous: why should a landlord be allowed to impose such a restriction?
Chevron says that Ecuador's courts are dishonest, but it was Chevron that argued to move its pollution case to Ecuador in 2003.
I think I understand Chevron's reasoning, then and now. In 2003, the government of Ecuador was totally corrupt and a patsy for the US. Chevron probably thought it could procure a favorable outcome in Ecuador. Then President Correa was elected. Perhaps the system is not corrupt enough now to satisfy Chevron.
Venezuela has a close relationship with Ecuador and might enforce this judgment on Chevron.
A UK woman faces charges of theft for taking food discarded by a store.
Al Maliki continues torturing prisoners in secret prisons, just like Saddam Hussein and George Bush. They sign confessions they have not read.
Anyone, including you, can be accused of terrorism. If you accept that a person has no rights once he is accused of terrorism, you have accepted that nobody has any rights.
Rafad Alwan admits he fabricated stories about nonexistent Iraqi weapons so as to cause trouble for Saddam Hussein.
The article shows that the UK had evidence that some of Alwan's stories were false. So why did Colin Powell believe the rest? I suspect Bush told B'liar not to look too deeply into the validity of this testimony, which gave them the excuse they sought.
When the article says that the occupation of Iraq killed "more than 100,000" civilians, it isn't wrong, but it is definitely misleading. The best estimate is around a million deaths.
Former juror Jezz Davis says the police's failure to mention infiltrator Kennedy in the trial makes him feel "betrayed by the British judicial system".
Israel plans to build a new military school in East Jerusalem.
In effect, the state is thumbing its nose at the US.
For many Palestinian activists, Israeli prison was a political education in democracy, studying history and literature more than most universities.
The Egyptian "security forces" that were run by Omar Suleiman got FBI training despite their involvement in torture.
Cables show the training starting by 2005 and continued through 2010. The US forbids giving training to so-called terrorist organizations, even training in human rights. Why should torture organizations get favorable treatment?
Berlusconi will be prosecuted for paying an underage prostitute, and for lying to the police to get her released from arrest for theft.
I don't think paying her was wrong, but intervening dishonestly with the police is abuse of power. Of course, what's really bad about Berlusconi is his corruption and his dominion over the media.
Besides the police infiltrators, UK environmental organizations were infiltrated by hired corporate spies.
I can't criticize a company for sending people to public meetings to find out what is said in them. However, as the infiltrators begin lying more and more, so as to obtain the group's secrets, at some point it becomes fraudulent.
When spies infiltrate a company to obtain its secrets, that is a crime. Shouldn't it be a crime if a company does the same thing to a protest group?
The political issue of the proposed Belo Monte dam.
I don't have a position on this. I don't have the information to judge the benefits of that particular dam, but I don't think it is bad a priori.
I have doubts about the argument that the reservoir would emit methane and CO2 from decaying organic material. I can believe that happens for a while, but I wonder how long a reservoir continues to do this. I'd expect it to be a one-time event. I also wonder how this compares quantitatively with the CO2 that would be saved annually by using the dam rather than burning fossil fuel.
The Saudi oil executive, reported by US diplomats to have said Saudi oil reserves were much less than supposedly, says they misunderstood him.
It is not clear who to believe.
Greenpeace is suing Dow Chemical for running spies to infiltrate and sabotage its activities.
The same shady operation spied for the NRA, infiltrating gun control groups.
The Egyptian opposition says the military is planning an inadequate constitutional reform without consulting the opposition.
Ralph Nader: Civic Institutions Essential for Egypt's Revolution.
The Middle East's Pox Americana.
Faculty at Bar Ilan university say that right-wingers in the administration have threatened professors they won't be promoted if they endorse contrary views.
Analyzing Wikileaks cables, Shir Hever concludes that the siege of Gaza is partly intended to guarantee a market for Israeli goods.
Israeli settlers near the Palestinian town of Beit Fajjar have forced a quarry to close. Burning the mosque was not enough.
Settlers plan to confiscate the farmland around the village of Beit Ummar to extend their colony.
I suspect their subsequent move will be to claim it is too dangerous to let Arabs keep living in that village.
The US will veto a security council resolution condemning Israel's land-grabbing "settlements" in Palestine, even though official US policy is to condemn them.
Gas frackers, embarrassed by the film Gasland, have tried to pressure the oscar committee to withdraw the film's nomination.
South Dakota is considering a bill to excuse murder of abortion doctors.
Police in Bahrain shot at thousands of peaceful protesters with tear gas and bird shot.
A democratic Egypt would still cooperate with the US against violent Islamists.
The US forces in Afghanistan have never lost a battle, but strategically the Taliban keep attacking more.
Periods of higher temperature correlate historically with increased war -- especially in arid regions. If that correlation reflects causality, global heating could kill with guns as well as with floods and fires.
Karzai wants to free a Taliban prisoner from Guantanamo so he can participate in negotiations.
Oxfam: Western foreign aid that was meant to help the poor is being diverted to support military policies.
Chevron has been found responsible for widespread pollution in Ecuador and fined 8 billion dollars.
I do not believe Chevron's accusations of fraud. The alleged massive conspiracy is unlikely a priori, but spilling a lot of oil is normal practice for oil companies operating in areas where people were poor and the state was corrupt.
It is no surprise that Chevron is getting help from the US government to fight back. What else would the US government, which has hardly bothered to stop more Big Spills, do?
Students in the UK are protesting plans to ban lap dancing, which they depend on to make money for school.
I have nothing against lap dancing, or prostitution for that matter. But not everyone can do it. If society makes education so expensive that students who aren't rich need to do do sex work, those who aren't qualified for such work will be excluded.
Thousands of people protested in Tehran, and the Shah's forces could not stop them, according to a resistance organization, the NCR.
A further statement from this organization.
UK coal power companies pay spies to infiltrate environmental organizations.
Obama proposes to boost clean energy funding by cutting fossil fuel subsidies. One change for the better would make possible a second change for the better.
Isn't it amazing how hypocritical Republicans suddenly found a good side to government subsidies? What's special about these subsidies is that they go to the companies that pay the congresscritters.
Global heating threatens to wipe out many Arctic species because competing species from the temperate zone are moving north.
The guilty verdict in Khodorkovsky's trial was ordered from above, says the judge's assistant, who saw the order. Each step the judge took was under explicit control.
The Republican War on the Poor aims to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation.
That way, it won't matter if poor people formally still have some rights; they won't be able to afford to act when those rights are violated.
Slave laborers in Argentina formally have legal rights too.
UK secret agencies want the right to present secret evidence in court.
This means, in effect, the abolition of justice.
Courts may consider Obama's health insurance bill unconsititutional because of the feature that made it a sell-out to the insurance companies. Yet most of the people who wanted real health care reform before seem to be defending Obama's bill now.
1000 Nokia employees protested Nokia's decision to ally with Microsoft.
Hundreds of thousands of rural laborers in Argentina work in conditions close to slavery, and the police and the state support their employers. (Page in Spanish.)
The BBC plans to destroy vast quantities of web archives.
Natural gas spurting from the Big Spill could create deep-sea dead zones that last for decades.
Algeria's government claims that the protesters are an insignificant minority.
Perhaps the majority is too afraid of the police.
Here's the corporate empire view: ending the emergency law and restoring human rights is a "dangerous move".
Business prefers a dictatorship that will keep people from making trouble.
Criticizing the fad of travelling to remote beautiful places for the sake of exercize or danger.
The Egyptian military has rejected an immediate transition to democracy and threatens to crush the protests.
The Iranian opposition called for protests today despite the government's pre-emptive arrests.
How the metaphor of "balance" for political decisions systematically obscures and biases the issues.
Everyone: sign this petition for all nations to return Mubarak's stolen assets to the people of Egypt.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose HR 358, the bill to put abortion out of reach for many women, and which would also allow hospitals to let women die rather than do an abortion.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to defend the National Family Planning Program and its funding.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to preserve the presidential campaign financing system.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The Egyptian military command expected Mubarak to resign on Thursday; when he didn't do that, they pushed him out.
Uri Avery: Israel can either make the Egyptian revolution an opportunity for friendship, or ensure hostility by opposing it.
Pakistan wants to prosecute Musharraf for letting Benazir Bhutto be assassinated.
Tea Party representatives want to cut the US military budget.
Anonymous cracked HB Gary's web site, and exposed its plan to join other companies to smear Wikileaks and its supporters using lies — funded by Bank of America.
Other smear campaigns were being prepared to attack other targets, and the US government seems to be connected to some of the companies involved.
These campaigns reflects a situation where the corporate elite and the government can trash anyone's rights at will. In the US of Bush and Obama, the law exists for the elite to crush opposition.
The Algerian regime has arrested thousands of protesters, while shutting down the Internet.
Obama is secretly extending the FBI's powers of surveillance over telephone call records.
Congress is investigating a US company that sold Internet surveillance technology to Egypt.
I think the proper response to this is a kiss-in protest. Protesters should also offer condoms to passers-by to demonstrate their commitment to safe sexual practices.
Some Israeli Rabbis who published a book justifying killing non-Jews in some situations are facing arrest and a criminal investigation.
I don't know what views were stated — the article doesn't say. Quite likely I as a Secular Humanist would disagree totally, but I can't judge any views unseen.
Here's what I am sure of: whatever their position, they had a right to publish it. It is wrong to arrest anyone, rabbi or no rabbi, for stating views on a question. Freedom of speech is nothing unless it includes views we disagree with.
When foreign companies buy land in poor countries, they say it is because they are "more efficient" than the subsistence farmers they leave landless. But they don't use most of this land to grow plants people can eat.
Growing grain to feed cattle is very inefficient as a means of feeding people.
Growing seeds to make oil to burn is a step back from burning petroleum.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say, vote for the Nadler amendment to cut funds for the war in Afghanistan.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Everyone: call on President Zuma of South Africa to pay attention to the practicalities of a fair election in Zimbabwe.
US citizens: phone your senators to oppose renewal of the U SAP AT RIOT act. No more spying on us!
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
In the UK: participate in protests against tax-avoiding businesses on Feb 19 and Feb 26.
In the US: move your money out of the "too big to fail" bankster banks.
There is an additional reason to stop using Bank of America: to punish its refusal to send money to Wikileaks.
US citizens, tell Obama: stand up for me, not Monsanto, regarding GM alfalfa and beets.
Republicans want to end NASA's funding to monitor climate changes.
They are behaving like a gang that has momentarily seized control of the US capitol for a private mission, and intend to destroy whatever gets in its way.
The US is apparently still trying to prevent Aristide from returning to Haiti and the corporate media try to blame Aristide for the "instability" caused by US-supported destabilization campaigns. (Example: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR2011021004454.html)
Instead of preventing global heating, the US would rather prepare to kill the multitudes of refugees who will flee the regions where they can no longer live.
Some of those multitudes will be Americans.
If all you have is a military, everything looks like an enemy army.
Coming on top of disasters on other continents, this is likely to make wheat very expensive around the world.
Meanwhile, Bolivia's president Morales faced protests after trying to end subsidies on food.
Subsizing basic food is a bandage for the world's food problems. A real solution requires deeper changes. I hope this causes people to take the issue seriously.
Some UK lake fish need to be moved to other lakes to avoid extinction due to global heating.
The UK government has temporarily yielded on its plan to privatize England's forests.
US citizens: declare your opposition to Republican attacks on abortion rights.
Everyone: Sign this petition to protect the archeological site of Carthage.
It was damaged through the corruption of the recently deposed dictatorship.
The head of AIG criticizes Americans for thinking that the government should help them when they are in trouble.
The US Air Force threatened to prosecute family members of its personnel if they read Wikileaks cables.
While they pretended this was simply following the law, it was in truth an aggressive attempt to stretch the law and attack Americans' human rights.
The Air Force later retracted this "guidance" for further consideration. But it did not apologize, and therefore does not deserve forgiveness.
Republicans want to sabotage the EPA by cutting funds for the parts that need to implement greenhouse gas regulation.
Obama is just the sort of weak opponent to grant success to such overreaching attacks.
Republicans want to eliminate the funding for Planned Parenthood to provide birth control and cancer screenings.
Monsanto and its sidekick the US are pressuring Europe to allow genetically modified animal feed to sneak in.
Bangladesh has banned the religious practice of whipping women to death for having sex, and a judge is campaigning to enforce the ban.
The Iranian dictators are very concerned that Egyptian protests could spark a revolution in Iran.
Explaining the right-wing dishonest smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.
The UK is considering an electric plant that would burn cultivated food.
The police in Camden are so busy enforcing prohibition of drugs that they have no time for theft.
A former nark explains how the "War on Drugs" was based on lies (he and his colleagues told them), and how it made US drug problems worse.
Mubarak has given up power, and Suleiman the torturer has been sidelined.
The UK will exempt half of the people who are required to get background checks so they can do jobs that involve children.
I am very interested to read what they plan to do about the system that tracks all car travel.
UK protests against state-starving businesses are escalating.
Having extracted lots of money from the Irish people, the banksters' next target is Portugal.
Bradley Birkenfeld came to the US government with information about tax cheaters using a Swiss bank, and he was rewarded with imprisonment.
The Canadian government is so desperate for money from tar sand oil that it is willing to destroy the climate and the water supply.
The "Washington consensus" which supposed that free trade would help the poor has been rejected as global trickle-down, but the global policies adopted in its name remain in effect.
Extension of the U SAP AT RIOT act was blocked in the house because the leaders tried to pass it in a special rush fashion that required a 2/3 vote. It has not been defeated.
We need to change some representatives positions. Phone your congresscritter today.
ISPs are being turned into unofficial, unaccountable censors of the Internet.
Where ACTA talks about encouranging ISPs to cooperate in copyright enforcement, it means more of that.
After Mubarak and Suleiman yielded power to the army, Egyptians are celebrating, expecting this will lead to democracy.
That may occur, but is not guaranteed. I've heard that the protests are continuing.
Scientology vs its critics: which side is lying?
Rohingyas in Burma suffer the harshest persecution in a land where the dictators persecute everyone. When they flee to Thailand, they are imprisoned.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support the resolution to establish Darwin Day.
It's Not Just Egypt: The Domestic War on Protesters.
Shark fishing continues full speed ahead in Japan (and elsewhere), even though there are fewer sharks to catch.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter saying, "Let the dishonestly named 'Patriot' act expire — it is an un-American attack on our civil liberties."
Also sign this petition.
Chomsky: The US government will support secular Arab dictators (e.g., Egypt, Tunisia) or dangerous Islamic extremist regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia) as long as they keep the population under control. What the US really hates is indepedence.
That's why Obama pretends to support Egyptian democracy — just not now.
Sue Caldwell, a teacher in London, faces the threat of losing her job. She has bee accused of encouraging her students to join protests instead of going to school.
This ought to be praise, not an accusation. The students should organize to demand that the school give Ms Caldwell an award if she acknowledges doing that.
It can be argued that the protest was more educational than a day in school. But there is no need to stick to such limited grounds when defending the protest.
UN official Richard Falk supported the call for a new investigation of the 9/11 attacks, and since then has faced personal attacks and pressure to fire him.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter on Friday Feb 11 and say, "Pass a comprehensive response to the Big Spill so as to make sure oil companies can't do it again."
See this link.
Lukashenko, the tyrant of Belarus, continues his reign of terror, arresting people even for being near a protest.
To protect African bird species from the effects of global heating will require international cooperation and new nature reserves, since many species will not be able to keep living where they live now.
Suleiman has rejected a transition government, and the opposition in Egypt has given up on talking with him.
The Egyptian military is participating in the arrest and torture of dissidents and protesters.
Rejecting Reagan's caricature of politics: "conservatives" are for government intervention in markets, but they want different kinds of intervention, for opposite purposes.
The term "conservative" is misleading, since their goal isn't to conserve anything, or even to keep something unchanged. They aim to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich, a large and disastrous social change. What is a good term for that? "Hobin Roods"?
Australia is learning the hard way that global heating causes more floods, more droughts, and more heat waves.
Republicans want to create legislative support for bogus biology.
The USSR under Stalin also meddled with teaching of evolution; the facts of life did not accord with his ideology either.
CIA employees get promoted despite gruesome mistakes (which are also horrible crimes).
States are asking for federal bailouts, but Republicans tell them "the era of the bailout is over", meaning the rich already got theirs.
I don't favor state bankruptcy — that would be an unnecessarily drastic solution — but "we got ours" is no solution.
US citizens: call on Senator Reid to push to confirm judicial nominees.
Activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng is being held at home under round-the-clock guard, but he found an opportunity to make a video and smuggle it out.
Drug-crazed school officials in Colorado say a student with a rare disease is forbidden to come to school after taking his medicine.
Reporter Robert Tait was forced to listen, blindfolded, as the Egyptian police tortured other prisoners.
The agribusiness giant Sinar Mas has accepted conditions for reducing deforestation in Indonesia.
(Golden Agri-Resources is a subsidiary of Sinar Mas.)
New York Times reporters in Egypt spent the night as prisoners listening to the secret police torture other prisoners.
Mexican-Americans may have legal recourse to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, in which Mexico surrendered what is now Arizona to the US, to overcome the spate of Arizona laws that discriminate against them.
It should not be necessary to try to sue in the OAS or UN, which may not be able to enforce any decisions on the US. US federal courts ought to enforce the terms of the treaty.
India is building nuclear power plants whose design is not considered safe, and using lies to dismiss regulatory objections.
Given how expensive nuclear power plants are, and how corrupt the Indian government is, I think this project is simple corruption.
A Saudi oil executive told US diplomats that Saudi oil reserves were overstated, and that peak oil would come in 2012.
That was before the economic downturn, which might have delayed it a year or two.
The UK's privatized deportation agents were warned that their methods were likely to be fatal, before they killed Jimmy Mubenga.
Privatization of activities that involve the use of force against people does not always lead to killing them. But it often does (consider Blackwater, for instance). Privatization creates a lack of accountability which is a recipe for abuses, which sometimes become fatal.
Such jobs must never be privatized — it is too dangerous.
The right-wing prime minister in France spent his holidays enjoying Mubarak's corrupt riches.
Israeli troops systematically arrest, beat, tie up, and blindfold Jerusalem children as young as 10.
Israel's government is spreading the idea it is worried that Egypt will cancel the peace treaty.
This might be real concern, or it might just be manipulation to secure US support for keeping Mubarak's nondemocratic regime in place (perhaps with Suleiman replacing Mubarak).
Mubarak's arbitrary and corrupt regime suited the US, and Israel, since they bought his support.
Israel has rejected several opportunities to make peace with various Arab countries. It rejected an earlier chance to make peace with Egypt.
Obama's former national security advisor says that peace between Israel and Palestine is needed to defeat the Islamic extremists.
Extremists on both sides profit from each other. Bush got great benefit from the existence of al Qa'ida, and vice versa.
Omar Suleiman, now Egypt's Vice President in charge of defeating democracy, was formerly in charge of torturing prisoners supplied by the US.
The next target of Obama's attack on successful Liberal social programs is the National Community Action Foundation.
Drug companies regularly hide experimental results that show harmful effects or even failure to produce the intended result.
The effect is to corrupt science. One solution is to tax them more, and fund the studies out of that tax.
Taiwan faces a scandal for executing a man after a false confession obtained by torture.
Calling on the UN not to ignore the Goldstone Report about Israeli war crimes in the attack on Gaza.
A key police figure in the UK now advocates requiring a judge's order to authorize undercover police operations.
The Spanish government connives at the presence of a large workforce of illegal immigrants that agribusiness exploits.
Greenpeace says it has turned public opinion in Japan against whaling.
High prices for basic foods are part of the cause of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
Humans are squeezing food production from two sides: population increase means more is needed, while the effects of global heating damage production.
It is true that there is plenty of waste in our food system: much food spoils before it is eaten, and millions of wealthier humans eat a lot of beef fed on farmed grain, which is inefficient to produce and bad for their health. However, ending waste is easier said than done, and reducing the eating of beef is the same sort of problem as reducing the birth rate.
Berlusconi is likely to face charges for his prostitution activities.
Mubarak is offering superficial concessions while attacking the protest movement in several ways.
Hundreds of Afghan women have attempted suicide by burning themselves after they are condemned by their families or abused by their husbands.
If their lives are so bad that they prefer death, they should first kill the husbands or male relatives who have made their lives so bad.
I originally supported the war in Afghanistan to end the tyranny of the Taliban. However, in practice Karzai's regime is little better. We are not helping Afghan women very much by keeping the war going.
Republicans want hospitals to "protect life" by letting women die.
Senator Boxer has proposed a bill to require a timetable for removing US forces from Afghanistan.
Arctic Ocean ice hits a new record low for January.
What Mubarak Must Do Before Stepping Down.
The planned Haitian presidential runoff election has not been approved.
The Haitian government says it has given Aristide a new passport.
The presidential election last year was bogus, due to Aristide's exclusion as well as widespread fraud and disenfranchisement. Haiti should cancel it and start over, allowing Aristide to run.
The IMF's austerity rules make health aid to poor countries ineffective, because they require those countries to use it to replace other funds.
The Taliban offered peace in 2002. The US responded by arresting the Taliban negotiator.
A polar bear swam 9 days to reach an ice floe, and barely survived, but her cub died.
The corporate empire has designated the EPA as its target.
Dubya had to skip a trip to Switzerland; he feared he would be prosecuted for ordering torture.
It is the US' responsibility to prosecute Bush.
Mubarak and his family are suspected of having squeezed billions of dollars out of Egypt's poverty.
Obama's officials have made little progress in cutting the diversion of corrupt funds in Afghanistan, and no wonder when they keep hiring the same companies that wasted money before.
There is a large illegal black market in the US for raw cow's milk.
How dangerous is raw cow's milk? The numbers in the article are not enough to tell, because the answer depends on how many people in the US drink it on an average day. If it's 1000, the danger they face is quite high, with a 1% chance of dying from it over a 50 year period and almost a certainty of getting hospitalized at least once from it over that period. However, if the number of users is 100,000, the danger level is fairly low.
Could raw milk have health benefits? It is not impossible, but in the absence of a large and carefully controlled study, there is no evidence it does. People are prone to falsely perceive health benefits in random results, just as they falsely perceive faces in images of hills on Mars.
It occurs to me that a cheap test for the presence of certain harmful bacteria, if used regulary to test the raw milk just before drinking it, might nearly eliminate the danger of contamination. Consumers would simply discard any contaminated batch. It might be easy to make this with modern biotech.
A UK immigration officer stranded his wife in Pakistan for 3 years by adding her to a "no fly" list.
This story directly concerns one dishonest official. However, why was that dishonesty possibie? Because of the existence of a system that punishes people without trial and gives them no effective legal recourse. This is an invitation to injustice. Maybe this was the sole case where a person was listed by a malicious spouse — though how do we know? — but there are hundreds or thousands who are on the list for flimsy reasons, and they got no trial either.
There should not be any "no fly" list. People have a right to travel within their country, and to return to it. If there is a specific reason to suspect some person of planning a crime, that provides grounds for searching that person to whatever level of care is needed. Once that is done, there is no reason that person should not ride in an airplane.
Egypt has arrested several opposition bloggers.
Dozens of journalists have been arrested or attacked.
Many were attacked by pro-Mubarak thugs, perhaps the same ones that were brought in by the regime to attack the protesters.
Note that some were expelled from Egypt for entering on tourist visas. Restricting foreign journalists by requiring them to get special visas is a tyrannical policy, and all the governments that practice this (such as the US) should be ashamed of themselves.
Note also the absurdity of confiscating journalists' bulletproof vests. Why shouldn't everyone have bulletproof vests when snipers are shooting people?
The occupation of Iraq did result in discovery of one crime committed by Saddam Hussein's regime: it appears hundreds of Kuwaiti prisoners were taken to Iraq in 1991 and executed.
Republican's new murderous plan: if a woman needs an abortion to save her life, public hospitals could her die.
Avnery argues that Israel had better stop delaying peace with the Palestinians, because the strategy of using Arab dictators to suppress the resentment stimulated by the occupation will no longer work.
The article has one minor error: Egypt's history begins around 5100 years ago with the Narmer Palette. The antecedents of ancient Egypt have been traced back further by archaeology, but that is prehistory.
Arsonists destroyed the office of a dissident website in Sri Lanka. And it wasn't the first site attacked this way.
It seems web sites in Sri Lanka need physical firewalls as well as Internet firewalls.
FBI agents lied to courts and committed other illegalities in surveillance of Americans, up to 40,000 times in 9 years.
A Muslim preacher excluded from the UK will speak to the Oxford Union, a debating society, by video conference. Some Tory politicians say this should be banned too.
Whether or not he supports terrorism or is antisemitic or sexist, I am sure I'd find plenty to disagree with him about. Nonetheless, censoring such views is an attack on the rights of everyone in Britain.
The US also excludes foreign speakers whose views it dislikes. Bertrand Russell was once banned from teaching in the US because of his views.
The 90s right-wing claim that capitalism would bring political freedom has been totally exploded by today's multipolar world.
I'm afraid there is one thing that the business-dominated leaders of the US, the EU, China, Russia, Brazil and India will agree on: "free trade" that gives business increased power over all of life. While China and India compete to support the dictators of Burma, and Russia supports the dictator of Belarus, Brazil joins the US in imposing tyranny in Haiti.
The Koch brothers, in addition to funding global heating denial, are trying to sue people who made fun of them.
The manager of a Thai web site faces 20 years in prison for not deleting comments posted on the site fast enough. She is accused of allowing the king to be defamed.
To make it a crime to defame someone or something, whether it be the king, the president, the state, or some officials, is an act of tyranny -- directly counter to human rights. We don't need to wait to see an attempt to overextend that law before we condemn the state that practices it.
11 Muslim students are being prosecuted for interrupting a speech by the Israeli Ambassador. They heckled the ambassador, but did not try to block him from speaking, or block anyone from hearing him. Thus I think it is wrong to prosecute them.
US citizens: Tell the US government to ban offshore oil drilling in Arctic waters.
India's mainstream press has been corrupted by paid news, but neither the problem nor the attempts to counteract it are mentioned in the mainstream press.
The report of the President's Cancer Panel acknowledges that many forms of environmental pollution either do or might cause cancer.
Some of those pollutants, such as radon gas, are natural, but many are made by human activity — usually business activity. To reduce the emissions will require fighting the government-industrial complex.
The European Parliament wants to control the waste made up of discarded electronics.
Does the US try to "spread democracy"? Not in the Middle East.
And not much elsewhere. In the 60s and 70s, the US supported dictators who tortured their way across South America, and it's not finished yet, as shown by Bush's coup in Haiti and Obama's support for the coup-installed government in Honduras.
Torture in Egypt is not limited to dissidents; police torture anyone they wish to blame for a crime.
The Department of Internet Insecurity has seized more domain names, including that of a foreign company.
US senators proposing to give the president the power to shut down the Internet were embarrassed when Egypt actually did so.
I don't trust the supposed protections they talk about. Meanwhile, giving the president the power to shut off specific sites might be even worse than giving him the power to shut down the whole US internet.
Omar Suleiman, to whom Mubarak seems to intend to hand power in Egypt, has been cozy with the US for years.
Just as South Africa drove poor vendors away from the World Cup, Dallas is driving the homeless away from the Superbowl.
The Palestinian Authority has banned "unlicensed assembly", and attacked protesters and journalists who were demonstrating in support of the uprising in Egypt.
The PA probably supports Mubarak's regime which opposes Hamas.
Malaysia's government is going to impose censorship on the Internet as it did long ago on print and broadcast.
The main US "health food" store chains have surrendered to genetically modified alfalfa, which is dangerous to farm workers and the rest of us.
If Obama weren't a toady to business, he would not have chosen someone like Vilsack for the USDA.
Vermont's legislature is considering a resolution for a US constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not persons.
I think Chomsky underestimates the contribution of Wikileaks. Even if it only confirmed what well informed people suspected, that can change everything.
The Koch Brothers fund think tanks, media outlets and commentators in prestigious newspapers to deny global heating.
Foreign companies buy US factories and lock out the workers.
The right-wing liars that dishonestly smeared ACORN and Shirley Sherrod are now attacking Planned Parenthood.
US citizens: call on state attorneys general to prosecute foreclosure fraud.
Also on Feb 8 participate in a meeting in your area.
Everyone: Egyptian police shut down a human rights monitoring organization, arresting people including representatives of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Call on the Egyptian government to release them.
BP's PR is now designed to make it seem that the Gulf of Mexico is now clean, that the seafood is safe, that wildlife are safe.
Israel tortures children.
Israel arrested 14-year-old Islam Tamimi and is intimidating him to confess, although it threatens to convict him based on secret evidence.
This was not a unique event — torturing children seems to be the standard method of creating an excuse to imprison Palestinian protest leaders.
Sudan is chained to giant debts, and Southern Sudan could be created in a similar situation.
While Ethopia receives food aid, Saudi Arabia has bought land in Ethopia to grow rice for export. And it's even worse in the Congo where China grows palm oil, a less efficient use of the land.
Of course, pressure from the international economy and IMF, combined with lack of democracy, have led many poor countries to grow cash crops and not grow the food their people need to eat. But once they lose the land, there is no longer a possibility of changing this.
Reducing births has to be part of the solution. Any time you read that population growth contributes to a problem, it should suggest that birth rate reduction is part of the solution. Likewise, any time you read that the large fraction of young people in a country contributes to a problem, or that large family sizse contributes to a problem, it should suggest he same conclusion.
The specific reason Saudi Arabia wants to get rice from Ethiopia is that its own production is about to stop completely. The acquifer it has been draining to grow rice is just about empty.
Cities around the world are draining acquifers, just while growing populations increase the need for water, and the two are going to collide drastically.
Eating lots of meat increases the water and other inputs needed. If the high price of grain discourages grain-feeding of cattle, we might be able to prevent these shortages. But we still need to discourage more births.
A software change makes scanners less nude, but fails to make them safer.
I would not mind in principle if airport security looked at me with a scanner that could only see objects attached to one's body. For that matter, I would not mind being viewed with the current scanners. I wouldn't mind stripping naked for them either, except for the time it would take, but other passengers might find my body disappointing.
The reason I always refuse to pass through the x-ray scanners is because they are capable of giving a dangerous dose if not working quite right. You should refuse too.
Turkey's method of censoring dissident writers: prosecuting them for crimes that may not even have taken place.
The TSA "behavior detection officers" are an excuse for fishing expeditions. They have detected few terrorists (the veteran with bomb-making supplies might perhaps have been one) but arrested over a thousand people over unrelated issues.
It is tolerable to be searched for bombs and weapons to the extent that is needed to keep flights safe. However, when these searches are stretched into mandatory checkpoints to search people for other things without probable cause, that attacks our legal rights. To protect our rights, airline security checkpoints should be forbidden to take notice, directly or indirectly, of anything other than bombs and weapons.
Clinton is poised to approve a big oil pipeline that could threaten drinking water in parts of the US.
Aside from the dangers mentioned in the article, the goal is bad too. The purpose of this pipeline is evidently to use Alberta tar sands, which release so much CO2 that they must not be used at all.
The Pentagon cannot tell how much money it is spending, and apparently doesn't want to know. According to Republicans, that is a reason for not even trying to reduce costs.
Republicans plan arbitrary obstacles to running for president, tailoring them against Obama.
I am no fan of Obama, but arbitrary obstacles for candidates are just as wrong as arbitrary obstacles for voting (a frequent Republican tactic).
Mass citizens, tell your legislators to cosponsor several bills to improve abortion rights.
More information on these bills.
The aim of sex education should be to teach teenagers how to have enjoyable sex, to recognize when they do and when they don't want sex, and to be capable of carrying out either choice without getting sick or pregnant.
Bradley Manning has UK citizenship; Amnesty International asked the UK government to press for him to receive humane treatment while awaiting trial.
Budget cutting in the UK is predictably leading to further depression, so will the US follow the same path?
Nobody should visit Iran except for an essential humanitarian mission. Its government cruel in a crazy in a way reminiscent of what I've heard about Stalin.
Here's hoping for the overthrow of Shah Khamenei.
A new government in Egypt doesn't necessarily mean an end to peace with Israel. But Israel will need to earn this peace, instead of depending on US money to buy it.
Israel's government does not like this. Some politicians and lobbyists say that they support Mubarak's dictatorship. Some of their toadies are less honest, and call Mubarak's regime democratic.
B'liar is toadying; he just called Mubarak a "force for good".
Israel plans to build 1400 housing units in the West Bank near Jerusalem. None of this is the way to convince a democratic Egypt to be friends.
Israeli police had already exiled protest organizer Adnan Ghaith from Jerusalem. Now they want to arrest his 11-year-old-son.
Human rights activist Ameer Makhoul was sentenced to 9 years in prison on bogus charges of espionage after a confession obtained by torture.
In effect, Israel's government increasingly acts like Iran's government.
Israel is systematically forcing the Bedouin of the Negev off their farmland> and into new cities where there is no work.
Mubarak said he will step down, but not soon, and his regime seems to intend to keep power.
Protesters say, if Mubarak stays till September, they will protest till September. They fear they will get a new dictator, instead of democracy.
A person on NPR said he recognized some as Mubarak's "election-time thugs" who make a practice of beating up political opposition organizers and voters, and journalists. These armed thugs arrived in buses that were passed through checkpoints.
Big Pharma and its subservient governments are trying to use the real problem of fake drugs as an excuse to increase Big Pharma's patent power in poor countries.
This could kill millions.
It is too bad the article uses the confusion term "intellectual property". Read "patents" for it in this article, but in some other article it could refer to something totally different and unrelated. (See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html.)
If we were governed by Kucinich and Nader, they would laugh at this. That our actual leaders want to support it shows that their hearts are in the wrong place.
Foreigners are buying and leasing lots of land in Africa, and the deals prove to be exploitative.
The human robots doing airport security disallowed a toy soldier's toy gun, calling it a "firearm".
If it had been a three-inch toy pistol, perhaps someone could argue it might be passed off as real. Maybe there are three-inch pistols. But this was a three-inch toy rifle meant to be wielded by a soldier around 5 inches tall. No sane human would take it for a real gun. These agents are so rigidly programmed that if judged as humans they have to be considered insane.
A draft constitutional amendment to end election advertising funded by corporations.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose the Republican plan to narrow the definition of rape. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The EPA proposes to ban dangerous testing of pesticides on human subjects.
I expect the companies will direct Republican legislators to oppose this rule.
Scalia and Thomas are teaching Tea Party congresscritters a twisted version of the US Constitution and US history.
The US Chamber of Commerce opposes Obama's plan for "clean energy".
Recall that Obama adopted "clean energy" (in a distorted definition that includes nuclear power and natural gas obtained by fracking) as a "compromise" replacement for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, offering the right wing a compromise is foolish: they don't respond in the same spirit. Rather, they see it as a sign of weakness and demand more.
Either Obama is dense, or he's something worse than dense.
Nonetheless, it is useful to get an admission that "clean coal" is imaginary.
Meanwhile, some of the fracking in the US is done illegally and risks poisoning water supplies.
The Smithsonian's board should appoint a president who will defend the institution's integrity against censorship pressure.
US citizens: sign this petition for Obama to push to end the loopholes that permit whaling to continue.
Brazil begs Peru to stop the illegal loggers who enter Brazilian territory before they wipe out an uncontacted tribe of aborigines, who were photographed from the air.
Whether such tribes should be protected from contact, or instead given medical care to survive the diseases they would get from us, is a difficult question, but it is clear that cutting down their forest is wrong.
A proposed EU-Canada free exploitation treaty threatens to force EU countries to pay oil companies for permission to reduce CO2 emissions.
Other free exploitation treaties forbid the effective ways for countries to protect themselves from disaster in financial markets.
Free exploitation treaties in general are designed to transfer power from states to companies. The more power the companies get, the more they want; thus, these treaties become more blatantly evil over time. But all of them are evil. Every government today must choose between democracy and trade treaties, between the people and the megacorporations. The first choice is the only legitimate one.
The Indian government approved a proposed steel plant that threatens to devastate the local inhabitants.
When people's land is taken in India, the government typically fails to compensate them effectively as you'd expect in the US.
I toured POSCO's new plant in Korea in 1989. It was totally automated, and made steel with no human labor: workers were needed only to maintain the machines. That was very efficient in terms of costs per unit of steel, but offered little employment. Maybe that was ok in South Korea. However, if the Indian plant worked the same way, it would do local Indians little good.
State ownership and privatization are not the only alternatives for forests in England (and elsewhere).
Google allows ads for a paper company, but rejects ads from the Wilderness Society to criticize that company.
Republicans want to hamstring or even eliminate the EPA.
That shows who's side they are on.
The US offered to help a multinational mining company in Peru campaign against protesters by pressuring to transfer local teachers and bishops who supported the protesters.
In general, Arab dictators promoted Islamist opposition to block secular opposition, then cracked down on it but not completely.
These dictators made Islamist opposition more powerful. Now they point at the power of that Islamist opposition to seek US support for "stability" (i.e., continued dictatorship). But this only continues the situation which compels opposition to be Islamist.
Democracy could make another outcome possible. However, Western spymasters continue to advocate "stability" as the goal.
They warn that Egypt could follow Pakistan. The US policy towards Pakistan has not been much of a success.
The Egyptian protesters, like the Tunisian protesters, are much further away from Islamist extremism than Pakistan is.
Microfinance was invented as a way to free the poor from debt slavery, but profitmaking companies got involved and turned it back into debt slavery.
Prohibiting for-profit small lending would let the NGOs come back in. Maybe they would do better.
Big Pharma companies are moving their clinical trial studies to countries where the regulations don't protect either the study subjects or the public.
We already know that letting the companies run or fund such studies tends to corrupt the results. We need to tax them more and take control of the studies out of their hands.
The government of Haiti says it will allow Aristide to return.
It's too bad this comes after Haiti's Burma-style election in which the main political party — Aristide's party — was excluded. Maybe that's why they may let him return now. Maybe they figure that it's ok to let him return if they have excluded him from being president again.
Ayn Rand condemned social security, so when she took the benefits, she did it under another name.
Several simple ways to filter out and reject invalid scientific claims.
New homes catch fire faster due to materials that are more flammable than wood and metal.
Maybe building codes need to limit the use of those materials.
Egyptian youths and the army joined to protect the Egyptian Museum from looters.
Plainclothes police have been accused of looting in Egyptian cities.
Protect Your Friends — Protect Julian Assange (Jan 2011).
US citizens: Call on Obama to stop insisting Mubarak lead the Egyptian transition to democracy.
Some Chinese sites are blocking searches about Egypt.
Taiwanese activists are campaigning against government propaganda labeled as news.
The US seems to be telling Mubarak it will no longer help him retain power.
Mubarak is threatening Egyptian protestors using US-made F16s.
The US ought to tell Egypt's army it will get no more US arms if it threatens to use them against protestors.
The march of censorship: an Indonesian celebrity has been sentenced to prison for privately making tapes of sex with his lovers, which were then stolen and published.
India's government is resisting industry spin and pressure to allow an apparently unnecessary genetically modified variety of eggplant.
I am not necessarily against all genetically modified agricultural plants and animals, but to make them acceptable we must ensure that they do not harm either the ecosystem (with side effects on wildlife) or farmers (by making them dependent on Monsanto or similar companies).
The Salvation Army in the UK has privatized its clothing redistribution and made a businessman rich.
Does anyone know if the US branch has done something similar? UK clothing donors are not happy to be donating to a private fortune, but many US Christians think that wealth indicates devine favor, which is not far from to "If you can get away with it, go ahead."
I give my old clothing to secular organizations anyway. I would rather not help Christianity while I help the poor.
An EU study says that privacy protection is being degraded in general across the EU.
The US obsession with child pornography led to criminal charges against a defense lawyer for showing other defense lawyers how photo editing can fake images of apparent sex. Then he was sued by the parents of children whose photos he demonstrated this with.
The parents say their children were harmed by this, but it seems that no one connected these morphed photos with any particular children except the prosecutors. Thus, if any harm ever comes to the children as a result, it will be because the parents drew attention to the matter by suing.
The US Supreme Court overturned the 90s law that prohibited faked images of sex with children, but it was replaced by a narrower but still unjust law that prohibits them when they are "obscene". In the end, the obscenity of censorship has had a victory.
Gangs took advantage of the protests to release criminals from prisons in Egypt. Recently arrested Muslim Brotherhood leaders escaped too.
I dislike Islamism, including the Muslim Brotherhood, but its leaders were political prisoners. The end of the dictatorship in Egypt must include freeing them along with all other political prisoners. It is self-contradictory and futile to protect freedom by keeping some political leaders in prison.
We have to hope that Egyptians learn from the example of Iran, and avoid replacing one dictatorship with another.
London Police gassed a few people protesting at the door of a Boots pharmacy, so they needed hospital treatment.
Most US biology teachers do not teach evolution, or teach that it is doubtful. That is like teaching US history without mentioning the Constitution.
The article links to a paper in Science. If you want to spend a few minutes for the cause of freedom, find the email addresses of the authors and politely criticize them for publishing in a journal that doesn't practice redistributable publication and open access. You could point out that this is an important issue and that they have shot themselves in the foot by blocking access.
Teachers in Turkey fear official pressure not to teach about evolution.
Police in Switzerland pulled people off a train arbitrarily if they seemed to look like protestors. They got a Guardian reporter.
The Internet is good for leaks, but can that affect overtly tyrannical governments? Evgeny Morozov thinks that tyrannies will censor the leaks or else teach people not to believe them.
However, I think that the examples of Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority show that he's not always right.
A US judge has banned distribution of the jailbreak code for the Playstation III. This jailbreak is necessary to restore functionality it was originally sold with, for instance to run GNU/Linux on it.
Spread the word: nobody should buy this malicious product unless he is going to jailbreak it.
ISPs in the UK are looking for ways to defeat the Digital Economy Act for their customers.
US citizens: phone your senators to oppose the US proposal for an Egypt-style Internet "kill switch". Also sign this petition.
Regions in Iraq are in conflict over water supply.
Obama continues the Imperial War Presidency, squeezing Americans to pay for endless war.
Reusable paper milk bottles can reduce solid and gaseous waste.
In the US: Amnesty International asks people to phone the Egyptian embassy at (202) 895-5400, dial 1 to speak to a real person, and say, "Please urge the Egyptian government to respect human rights, rein in the security forces, and restore access to all communications in Egypt."
Why [US] Military Spending Remains Untouchable.
Analysis: Syria has regained control over Lebanon, and will probably prevent Hezbollah from fighting with Israel.
The fall of Tunisia's dictator has unleashed a wave of hope for revolution against the Arab world's aging dictators.
It is not coincidence that the Arab world is full of old dictators. Most of them keep the people under suppression with US backing. In effect, the US has prevented the political structure from bending for so long that it has generated stress sufficient to break it.
These regimes tend to be extremely corrupt and drain the country of money and opportunity.
US Residents: add your name to the statement of support for democracy in Egypt.
US citizens: tell Clinton that the US should call on Mubarak to resign and allow free elections in Egypt.
Support the protests against homeopathy, Feb 5-6.
An executive of Boots, a major UK pharmacy chain, admits there is no evidence homeopathic "medicines" work.
They probably do work to some extent for some illnesses — as placebos. However, if using the placebo effect is the goal, there is no need to spread false theories of medicine.
Uri Avnery comments on the Palestinian Papers.
Plainclothes Egyptian police knowingly hit a BBC reporter on the head with metal clubs, wounding him.
This is the second time I read they attacked a foreign reporter, and the attacks seem to follow a pattern. I can envision a possible reason for it. These reporters, by showing the world the facts, embarrass Mubarak, so he and his supporters regard them as enemies.
The Bushmen also regarded people publishing the truth as enemies.
Mubarak tried a curfew, which protesters have ignored, and offered to dismiss his ministers, which the protesters were not impressed by.
Shutting down the Internet in Egypt does not seem to have done Mubarak much good. Just about everyone supports the protests, so they meet in their thousands in the streets.
It appears the Egyptian state called ISPs one by one telling them to shut down.
The shutdown will be disastrous for the economy, which shows that Mubarak is prepared to damage his country considerably to preserve his power over it. This will convince many more Egyptians to oppose him.
Obama's response to the two extreme right-wing groups that are tearing the US apart is not to talk about them.
Obama is trying to talk about clean energy rather than global heating, but this is useless with precisely the conservatives whose support he thinks to gain that way.
The US economy is beginning to grow again, due to stimulus. Budget cutting, which the Republicans want, could cut off the growth.
Does this matter to Americans? The growth is not yet helping the unemployed, so it must be going primarily to the rich. That is likely to remain the case as long as the US practices trickle-down economics. In order for ordinary Americans to be better off, we could use some growth, but mainly we need more equitable distribution of it.
We also need to make sure that we grow in a way that doesn't increase carbon pollution. The UN secretary general called the world's economic system a "global suicide pact".
B'liar breached the ministerial code by concealing from the cabinet the attorney general's advice that attacking Iraq was illegal.
Chinese police act just like US police: they lie to frame people they disapprove of.
B'liar showed what's wrong with the so-called Middle East peace process, by calling on the Palestinians to "get on with making peace".
The Palestinian negotiators, as we now know, were bending over backwards for peace, while Israel refused any concession. If B'liar honestly wanted peace, he would call on Israel to start making a few concessions. Since he supports the US which supports Israel's government in rejecting peace, he pretends that the Palestinian Authority is the obstacle.
This is the same approach that the UK police are using against protesters. They exaggerate minor "student violence" to distract attention from their own violence that wounded and endangered protesters.
Large protests in Algeria demand the end of the 19-year state of emergency.
Vietnam, like China, is tightening censorship of the press.
One of its methods is to ban confidential sources. The US is also attacking the use of confidential sources.
Republicans (or should I say Repubicans) want to narrow the definition of "rape".
Governments should pay for abortions for any women that want them. Abortion is safer than having a baby, and for mothers not in a position to take care of a child, it has less chance of leading to terrible unhappiness later on. Given women's tendency to want children, any woman who says she doesn't want to have a baby certainly has a very good reason.
Iraq's government is attacking theater, music and art.
Clarence Thomas lies every year on financial disclosure forms. Why isn't he indicted for this crime?
Natural gas is hardly any improvement over coal in regard to global warming, according to EPA research.
One UK MP is mounting a heroic campaign to recognize the permanent danger created by DU (Dirty Uranium) weapons.
This article reveals how the US and UK withhold data about the use of these weapons of mass destruction, preventing scientific study of their effects, so that they can continue to argue that there is "no scientific evidence" of the link. The attitude is pervasive: remember how Bush said he kept no count of Iraqis killed by the occupying forces, and Wikileaks showed he was lying?
NYT Promotes Destructive Myths About Aristide.
A satirical review of Ubuntu GNU/Linux.
Just keep in mind that many of the "facts", even background "facts", in the article were invented for purposes of humor.
B'liar told his top military officer that the Iraq war was definitely not aimed at "regime change", while telling other officials its goal was precisely that.
President Kagame of Rwanda has had his former high officials sentenced in absentia for "terrorism" because they criticized his nondemocratic policies.
Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas, but human emissions of CO2 and methane control the level of water vapor in the atmosphere.
UK citizens traveling abroad are finding their citizenship taken away without even a trial. In effect, their trip turns into permanent exile.
Rep. Issa plans to investigate Google's relationship with the NSA.
I don't like Rep. Issa, but any move against widespread surveillance of the Internet is generally a good thing.
As for Google, it does some very good things but also some bad things. (For instance, many of its services distribute proprietary software to users.) I would not put Google at the head of the list of large companies that need to be broken up; however, if we start breaking up large companies (as we should), and get that far down the list, I would not say "stop here".
"Blocking child porn sites 'exacerbates policing problem'."
I have explained elsewhere that the term "child porn" is a lie and why outright censorship of it is unjust. The way to protect children from being used to make porn is to punish those who are involved in the distribution business together with those who make porn using real children.
Senators have introduced a bill for strict net neutrality.
Visa's asked for an investigation of a Wikileaks' organization and found no sign it was illegal, but Visa intends to keep blocking payments to Wikileaks until it finishes another investigation.
In other words, Wikileaks is being treated as guilty until twice proven innocent.
China is tightening restrictions on news that it finds embarrassing.
When Obama campaigns to silence Wikileaks, he is headed down the same path.
Biometric recognition systems are more fallible than governments seem to realize.
When biometrics are used to control access to bank accounts, depositors face the special danger that courts will refuse to believe them when they report that the system was cracked.
However, what bothers me about them most is that they do work most of the time, and thus enable widespread tracking of people.
Rather than diminishing the army after the end of the war, Sri Lanka's dictator Rajapaksa is using the army to deliver food, produce tv, and run resort hotels.
Bush illegally used White House funds and facilities for Republican campaigning.
I don't expect Obama to take legal action in response. To judge by his positions, he's more like a Republican than like a Progressive.
Faux News gave free air time to several Republican candidates.
US citizens: submit a comment to the EPA by Jan 31 supporting limits on CO2 emissions.
Here's the comment I gave them:
Preventing wanton burning of fossil fuel from baking our biosphere is a vital mission for the EPA. Limiting emissions from power plants and refineries is an essential part of this. Please allow no delays in this mission, and don't give the planet burners any slack.
There is a campaign to legalize, regulate and tax all recreational drugs in Holland. The aim is not just to reduce the many kinds of harm caused by prohibition, but also to help balance the budget.
The revision of the DSM, the book which which defines various mental illnesses in the US, has created a controversy among psychiatrists about what it should say.
Choosing the right way to characterize mental illnesses raises philosophical problems. For instance, if schizophrenia and bipolarity share the same mechanism to the extent we can now observe, does that mean they are one illness? Maybe, but not necessarily. They don't produce the same behavior. Our observations of living brains are very limited, and the two conditions might be very different in ways we can't observe.
The UK is prosecuting people for expressing the opinion that gays should be executed.
The test of freedom of speech is how we react when people say things we despise. These two men only advocated despicable acts, but the UK is now carrying out a despicable act — censorship. In fact, censorship of political views.
Anonymous protests: a net gain for liberty.
Anonymous' so-called "denial of service" attacks can be compared with the real denial of service attacks that the US government made against Wikileaks.
El Baradei's return to Egypt has galvanized the protests.
In response, Egypt shut down nearly all ISPs.
If Mubarak keeps that shutdown going, Egypt's businesses will all be against him.
Several protesters write.
Israel's Big Lie response to the Palestinian Papers: claiming that Israel is "fed up of giving and giving".
A second lie is equating recognition of Israel as "the state of the Jewish people" with recognizing Israel's right to exist, which (if my memory serves) the PLO did many years ago. The demand for recognition of Israel as a "Jewish" state, rather than just recognizing Israel as a state, was added a few years ago by the Israeli government as a way of avoiding any peace agreement.
Olmert's description of trying to rush Abu Mazen to sign an agreement without consultation shows what's really going on. When someone offers you deal and says you have to decide right away, you had better suspect it stinks. Would you buy a used car from a salesman like that?
Tunisia's foreign minister, a holdover from the dictatorship, has resigned "in the interest of Tunisia". This shows protesters are making progress in their campaign to remove all the old ministers resign.
Uganda's leading gay activist has been murdered.
Leading US rabbis condemned Glenn Beck and Faux News for exaggerated comparisons with Nazism and the Holocaust.
US citizens: sign this petition calling on advertisers to stop supporting Faux News.
A DHL fusion center in Tennessee put the ACLU on its map of "terrorism events and other suspicious activity".
Haiti's ruling party has dropped the effort to put its candidate into the presidential run-off election. But this is not enough to make the election democratic, given that Aristide was excluded from running and that organized fraud was rampant.
An Egyptian doctor talks about the protests he joined.
The London police chief threatened to escalate violence against nonviolent protesters.
I don't see why protesters wouldn't be justified in physically attacking police who are besieging them or charging them on horses.
Undercover police officer warns against giving Met (the London police) control of spy unit.
Gays and Lesbians in Uganda face the threat of life imprisonment, or maybe even execution.
Egyptian police repeatedly beat up and arrested and beat up again many protesters, along with one Guardian reporter observing the protest. He described step by step what they did to him and the others.
A longer version of the story.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to call for background checks on people buying guns in gun shows. Also sign this petition.
Massachusetts citizens: sign the ACLU's petition for reform of public records laws.
Human Rights Watch reports on killings, torture and rape by the agents of ex-President Gbagbo starting before the Ivory Coast runoff election.
The TARP bailout program turns out to cost much less than was thought, because some of the investments made a profit.
However, TARP turns out to be just a small part of the US bailout.
Obama has decided to hush up about global heating.
Studies suggest the Greenland ice sheet won't start melting catastrophically due to meltwater underneath.
That means we are safe from one danger that was a concern. However, the West Antarctic ice sheet might melt due to other reasons and raise sea level by 6 meters (20 feet), flooding many coastal cities.
Bangladesh's UK-trained death squad is back at work after a short pause due to embarrassment by Wikileaks.
Portugal decriminalized all drugs ten years ago, and achieved a big decrease in the problems caused by drugs.
One weakness in the article is that it lumps nonaddictive drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy with addictive drugs such as heroin, cocaine, tobacco and alcohol. The latter are more dangerous since it is hard to stop using them. I think the nonaddictive drugs should be legal to sell too.
The Tucson massacre covered almost obsessively, but the frequent US massacres in Afghan of civilians and even allies are almost totally ignored.
Americans have become used to the idea of raining death on people.
The US gun lobby has started a pre-emptive attack against any plan to reduce handgun murders in the US.
Arranging for background checks in gun shows will be easy with today's technology, and won't cause any problem for legitimate purchasers.
The US investigation into the causes of the financial crisis blames several government officials for failing to regulate banks properly.
Facebook's latest exploitation of its users: conscripting them for ads.
Facebook "Like" buttons are nasty things: they track even people who don't use Facebook. If a site you use has a Facebook "Like" button, complain to the people who run it.
In the US: join me in always refusing to go through airport scanning machines. Tell them "Please feel me up" instead.
Jesse Ventura has sued the TSA for scanning him naked and feeling him up.
Ralph Nader and Ron Paul have launched a "progressive-libertarian alliance" to work together to end torture, undeclared wars, and free exploitation treaties.
In 2008 I supported Ron Paul for president as a second choice behind Dennis Kucinich, and ultimately voted for Nader. I didn't expect them to work together, but it makes sense.
Obama's State of the Union speech proposes investment in "clean energy" but defines that as including nuclear power and the hypothetical "clean coal."
Calling for an end to Bush's tax cuts for the rich is good. Republicans will block it for now, but that may cause their defeat.
Obama was wrong to blame the loss of jobs on "technology". It was government policy of "free trade" (sold on the basis of trickle-down), together with the business practice of outsourcing, that replaced well-paid jobs with sweatshops. And Obama continues this policy.
Obama said nothing about improving the US respect for human rights.
Extremist Killing Is as American as Apple Pie.
Maureen Murphy says she will go to prison rather than to testify to the grand jury investigating antiwar groups for their nonviolent campaigns against US-spread war and terror.
Human Rights Watch condemns a world-wide pattern for states and UN organizations to fail to take action against torture.
US citizens: sign this petition urging Obama to formally appoint Elizabeth Warren for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The US wants to require more data retention about people's internet and phone usage.
It looks like the UK will reduce but not eliminate the "control orders" that punish suspects without trial.
The Palestinian Authority's control forces work closely with those of Israel, the UK, and perhaps the US.
No wonder — they all imprison people without trial and they all torture.
Protests in Egypt are massive, and there are some casualties but apparently no shooting.
Right-wing state legislatures are requiring voters to show drivers licenses, which tends to exclude poor people, students, and minority groups.
Germany urges drug companies to boycott US executions.
US citizens: sign this petition to Obama for the US to support the security council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian Papers: What The Al Jazeera Blockbuster Means.
Global heating denier Patrick Michaels appears to have lied to Congress about the funding he gets from planet-burning business.
Guantanamo prisoner Ghailani has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after a civilian trial, which convicted him on one count although the others were thrown out because his confession was obtained by torture.
When the US government pleads to imprison people without trial because it has already tortured them, it is no better than Ghailani.
"Alleged abuse at Iraqi detention center prompts oversight concerns."
The misuse of antibiotics, over decades, now kills 90,000 Americans per year.
Our foolish pandering politicians would rather pretend to protect us from the much smaller danger of terrorism.
The PISD coalition of scientific publishers opposes freely redistributable publication and "open access".
The meaning of the term "open access" has been diluted since the Budapest Declaration by "supporters" that have dropped the most important aspect: the freedom to redistribute scientific articles. Thus, I now advocate "freely redistributable scientific publication" instead of "open access".
US citizens: call your congresscritter to oppose the Stupak on Steroids attack on abortion rights. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Everyone: sign this petition calling on South Africa's government to take action against the practice of raping Lesbians.
AT&T is arguing in court that "personal privacy" applies to corporations.
Obama demanded that the Palestinian Authority not change its leaders; i.e., not hold new elections. Yet the US claims to support Palestinian democracy.
Hamas has agreed to accept peace with Israel if Palestinians approve it in a plebiscite. If Israel is concerned about Hamas, it should negotiatea peace now with decent terms that Palestinians will vote for, and then Hamas will have to accept it.
The world's food system faces a big challenge, and there is a dispute about what needs to be done.
If the world produces enough for 11 billion people, is that before or after 30% of the food gets spoiled or thrown away? Preventing that waste is easily said but not easy to do.
Global warming threatens to wipe out good coffee.
Perhaps Americans will recognize the danger when they can't buy any more.
Egypt has a new opposition movement, inspired by Tunisia.
The main opposition in Egypt before was the Muslim Brotherhood, which could be more oppressive than Mubarak. This seems to be a secular opposition that values human rights.
Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is headed by the CEO of a foreign company: GE.
However, even if its head were the CEO of an American company, I would not expect a businessman to propose anything good for American workers. It is more likely to be trickle-down, in the form of deregulation and "free trade".
Where did Obama put his priorities: more profit for certain companies, or more employment for Americans?
Women activists protested at Scotland Yard demanding to know the names of police infiltrators. They are concerned that the infiltrators might have seduced them under false pretenses.
Sherry Rahman continues to support religious freedom in Pakistan despite death threats.
The ACLU has got records of 30 instances in recent years where US soldiers killed prisoners.
Some of these soldiers were convicted of murder, but no officers have been held responsible for promoting a general climate of abuse.
Easter Islanders tried to block the sale of some of their land to outsiders; the Chilean police are besieging them in an occupied hotel.
The Republicans' plan to limit damages on medical malpractice would block all but the small frivolous suits.
Israel's inquiry into its attack on the Mavi Marmara was a whitewash, as expected.
Leaked documents (not via Wikileaks) show that the Palestinian Authority privately offered major land concessions to Israel, but the Israeli government said that was not enough.
The more the Palestinians offer, the more Israel demands. The US contemptuously demands impossible concessions from the Palestinian negotiators.
This confirms what Uri Avnery has told us for years: the Israeli state is no partner for peace. The phony peace process, which Israel deceitfully used as a cover for a continuing land-grab, is now dead.
A huge gold mining project in Colombia threatens to destroy an area of unique species and poison the water of a major city.
Don't be misled by lots of snow — even winter is getting generally warmer, specifically in Britain.
The UK's new drug policy adviser is a religious bigot.
Instead of the scientific Professor Nutt, they have a plain old nut.
Wikileaks cables show that the US worked with Brazil to keep Aristide out of Haiti. Then the UN forces were pressured to attack Cite Soleil, which was (and I presume still is) a support base for Aristide and Lavalas, and a Brazilian general was apparently shot by a sniper when he resisted doing so.
B'liar has admitted promising Bush support for the conquest of Iraq ignoring his legal advice that it would violate international law.
When poor countries get aid for the sake of health, they reduce their own spending on health care — especially if they are under IMF control.
Under IMF restrictions, just 1% of the aid goes to increase health spending, and the rest goes to pay back the IMF.
In California, support the campaign against privacy-attacking "smart meters".
Exxon predicts growth in CO2 emissions to a level that implies global disaster.
This article argues that Rafik Hariri was killed by Israeli agents, not Hezbollah agents.
Since I have not seen the arguments on the other side, I can't weigh the question. I would not put this crime past either Israel or Hezbollah.
Most of the "aid" for Haiti is spent in ways that don't help Haiti, or even do harm. US government "aid" even goes to support right-wing religious proselytizing in Haiti.
UK police infiltrators in political movements are supposed to have promiscuous sex with the people they spy on.
Thousands of girls in India are forced into prostitution by their families under the color of religion.
Parents who would sell a child into slavery to feed their other children should not have children at all. The population growth they cause perpetuates poverty. Some sort of welfare system might enable these families to rise out of poverty and support their children in another way, but India's government isn't likely to do that. Helping the poor is no priority for it.
B'liar must be put on trial.
The Comcast/NBC merger is dangerous for freedom and media competition in the US.
Only a government that has already sold out to whoever is the biggest business would approve such mergers.
Kathyrn Bolkovac reported that her fellow UN police supported trafficking of girls in Bosnia, and the superiors covered it up.
I think that one of the causes of forced prostitution is the legal suppression of voluntary prostitution.
Albania's prime minister accuses the opposition of starting a Tunisia-style uprising. That more or less admits that the current government is not worth continuing.
One of the people shot in Tucson was forcibly committed to a mental hospital after his harsh words towards a Tea Party leader were taken as a threat.
Loughner showed many signs of incipient violence, which were ignored. That is no reason to commit people for an angry outburst.
In the US: sign this petition calling on Parents and Family Circle magazines to stop publishing disguised tobacco ads.
Chevron appears to be helping its former representative in Ecuador withhold information that would support a lawsuit against Chevron for massive environmental destruction.
Eric Brazau brought a protest sign to a police parade in Toronto. He was attacked, then arrested for being attacked.
I don't think that the funeral of a policeman is, a priori, a particularly pertinent place to protest police violence. But the policemen who arrested Brazau made it pertinent.
Tunisia has freed the political prisoners that were recognized as such, but up to 1000 more dissidents who were tortured into confessing some vague sort of "terrorism" remain in prison.
The Taliban's willingness to tolerate education of girls may have been exaggerated.
On the issue of human rights for Afghan women and girls, I don't think there is any organization we could trust more than RAWA. RAWA wants the foreign troops to leave, saying that the official government is not much better than the Taliban.
(Previous note here.)
The US supreme court now decides in favor of business most of the time, endangering the rights of anyone that tries to resist business power.
US citizens: sign this petition telling Obama to veto any reduction in social security.
Fiji water, a ridiculous product if ever there was one, will no longer come from Fiji.
I wonder what it will use to replace its principal selling point. "Our water is processed in a purple pipe"? It would be no less logical.
Proposing the murderous Coca Cola Company for an award is especially sick.
The stock market is now even more roboticized. An average of attitudes expressed on Twitter is being used as a basis for progammed trading decisions.
The danger of these schemes to predict stock prices is that they build up some sort of pressure that causes them to systematically fail.
Tobacco companies run ads in magazines for parents, pretending to aim to reduce smoking by teenagers, but really just promoting the companies.
Republicans want to kill the spending for Federal programs that reduce oil consumption.
I guess that's a sign of working for the oil companies.
The US is using police infiltrators against the antiwar movement, and fishing for something to accuse people of.
Why Massey Energy and other serial mine-safety offenders have been getting off easy.
Protesters in Tunisia are demanding the resignation of all the ministers from the party of the ousted dictator.
SONY thinks it should be a crime if you use your SONY computer in a way SONY doesn't approve of.
A lawyer suggests questions for the Chilcot inquiry to ask B'liar.
"Free trade" and the IMF have killed agriculture in many countries, leading to dependence on foreign suppliers. A UN official proposes to change this.
Maybe it is no coincidence that the "aid" that is usually offered to poor farmers increases their dependence. That's what the foreign agribusiness suppliers and their pet governments would want.
Here is a list of companies that support the proposed law to confiscate domain names without a trial. I wish their addresses and phone numbers were included to make it easier for people to tell them off. Some of them, such as Nike, are well worth boycotting for other reasons.
The writer of the article fell into the trap of legitimizing the established injustice in order to attack the new one, when he says that "violating copyright law shouldn't be allowed." Sharing is good, and must be allowed; if a law conflicts with it, as today's copyright law does, that only makes the law wrong.
Obama plans new Guantanamo kangaroo courts.
Obama is squarely responsible for this. He should have refused to sign the law that forbids real trials for these prisoners, but even given that law, nothing can force him to stage unfair trials. He could adopt the rules of civilian trials for these.
In the Oasis of Peace, Israeli Jews and Arabs decided to live together.
Texas eliminated most medical malpractice suits, thus attracting bad doctors from all around the US, but it failed to reduce the cost of medicine there.
Now the Republicans want to extend this to the rest of the US.
Apple is at the bottom of major IT brands in regard to secrecy about who makes its products and their working conditions.
Wikileaks cables show that Turkey cooperated with CIA torture flights from 2002 to 2006.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say, "Don't extend the falsely-named un-American PATRIOT act." Also sign this petition.
US officials privately say that Wikileaks has not hurt the US government much.
It is regrettable that the reputation of the US has not suffered even more from the Collateral Murder video and other revelations. But this demonstrates that the rationale for the dirty tricks campaign and the attempt to prosecute Assange in the US hasn't got even a shade of an excuse.
Wikileaks has done tremendous good in Tunisia, in Spain, and has made people around the world more sure of the misdeads of various states. Viva Wikileaks!
Everyone: sign this petition to the governor of Illinois to sign the bill to repeal the death penalty.
This ought to be entitled "The undercover police spy who loved me, or perhaps pretended to."
Duvalier faces prosecution in Haiti for the funds he stole as dictator.
Students are organizing politically against a principal who has banned all physical contact aside from handshakes in their school.
The petition's first point grants too much legitimacy to the rule. The argument that touching is not necessarily sexual seems to grant that there is something wrong if it is sexual. The introduction seems to assume there is something wrong with kissing. That is headed down the twisted path of prudery.
If the petition doesn't work, they should all have a hug-in strike.
The UK has rebuffed the Iraqis who wanted an inquiry into their torture by British troops in the Bush forces.
At least the inquiry they asked for has not been ruled out. The US has completely closed off legal action by the victims of US torture — the act of a cruel regime.
At Tony B'liar's request, the documents showing whether he knowingly made illegal promises of war to Bush are being concealed from the Chilcot inquiry.
Even though both Bush's party and B'liar's party lost the subsequent elections, their replacements continue to cover up their crimes.
Citizens of Massachusetts: sign this petition for a bill to restrict police surveillance of protest groups and phone your state representative to support it.
Israel is considering a plan to build 1400 housing units in supposedly annexed West Bank land.
20000 Jews and Arabs in Tel Aviv joined in chanting, "Jews and Arabs, refuse to be enemies!"
Wikileaks cables show that US diplomats gave the government a one-sided pro-Israel picture of Israel's attack on Gaza.
Opposition ministers in Tunisia quit, demanding replacement of the old dictator's ministers.
Watching smoking in a video stimulates smokers' brains like real smoking. I would guess that the cigarette companies did research to find out what effect these smoking scenes have on a smoker's chances of quitting. They spend lots of money on product placement and they would have wanted to make sure this was effective.
A judge in Venezuela has been imprisoned at the express request of Chavez because she granted bail to an accused banker when the law required it.
Whether that banker was guilty is beside the point: any honest judge had to grant him bail if the law required it. He should have received a trial sooner.
Obama has continued and expanded Bush's policies of repression. Even Dick Cheney praises him.
How sad for the US. And now Obama plans to adopt the Republican goal of decreasing regulations.
With business trashing people's lives, our biosphere and our economy, we need more regulation of business, not less.
What use is a President who does what Republicans want?
Canada has banned charities that aid Hamas, even in activities to aid civilians, but allows charities that support the Israeli settlement landgrab or the Israeli army.
Israel has demolished a Bedouin village for the 9th time and is planting trees all over it so they cannot rebuild.
A papal representative told Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report child abuse.
Medical journal publishers have withdrawn gratis access in poor countries.
We should impose gratis access for all, and freedom of redistribution, on all scientific journals — including past issues. These companies should be allowed no choice in the matter.
Some question to ask biblical literalists, if you want to have some fun.
The UK says it will stop the private organization ACPO from conducting police operations.
This is one of the steps it must take, but it is not enough. The UK must punish police who tried to withhold evidence against protesters, and stop treating peaceful dissidents as criminals.
It must also repeal the "aggravated trespass" law that was designed to criminalizes nonviolent protest.
Gulet Mohamed sued the US government for the right to return to his country.
A Spanish court is trying "censorship lite" by ordering Google to remove links to lawfully published articles.
Agribusinesses in Argentina keep farm laborers imprisoned in the farms where they work.
UK agents gave questions to Bangladeshi torturers and pressed for the answers. And it is clear that ministers approved this.
A planned dam on the Yangze River would wipe out many species of fish and endanger China's fish farming.
The tendency to disregard environmental protection when it stands in the way of making money is found in all the countries whose governments have been corrupted by business. China was once a totalitarian dictatorship, but now it's an ordinary corrupt dictatorship.
A new government has been formed in Tunisia, but the most important ministers are held over from the dictatorship.
50 years ago, a Republican ex-general warned about the military-industrial complex.
Refuting the banksters' arguments that we must let them receive gigantic bonuses.
We would not need to restrict bonuses directly if the income tax rate for such large incomes were sufficiently high.
Weak commitment to human rights factors into Boston Common's decision to divest of Cisco Systems.
Leo Igwe campaigns to protect children in Nigeria from being killed or tortured in the name of religion.
US border police searched the computers of over 6000 people in just 18 months.
Is there anything that can restrain them?
The UK's unaccountable secret police force infiltrates and harasses the environmental movement, pretending its activists are terrorist suspects even though they have been scrupulously nonviolent.
It is interesting that the crime of "aggravated trespass" was invented specifically to punish civil disobedience with prison.
The police also smear environmentalist protestors with lies.
The injustices that Martin Luther King jr. battled were not eliminated entirely in the US, and now they are getting worse again.
Hundreds of Americans that live near the Gulf of Mexico are now badly sick, apparently from the Big Spill; many have high levels of toxic chemicals that were present in the oil.
Wikileaks is receiving secret bank records of 2,000 hyper-rich who use accounts in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes.
Apparently Wikileaks will not publish their names, but it's not clear in this article what part of the data will be published.
The stuxnet cyber-attack was so successful that Israel is no longer considering a military attack on Iran's nuclear refining.
A military attack probably would not have succeeded anyway.
Tory cuts in the UK's National Health Service are endangering health.
Former Hatian dictator Duvalier has returned to Haiti. He is surely up to no good.
Aristide would also like to return to Haiti, but the US that has prevented him. US troops kidnapped Aristide and forcibly exiled him from Haiti. I would guess that the US played a role in Duvalier's return.
Japan has grown more than the US or Europe when measured per potential working person.
Economic growth per se is not a goal, just a means to and end: a comfortable life for everyone. Achieving that end requires a fairly equal distribution of the additional wealth.
Without that, economic growth is not even a good thing. US-style economic growth, where the increased wealth nearly all goes to the richest 1% and the real incomes of the poor decline, is worse than keeping everything the same.
It would be absurd to desire population growth to increase a country's total population. Given the high US level of consumption, it would be much better if the population were decreasing. Japan's problem is that it is unwilling to accept and integrate immigrants with the consequent changes in culture. Even the people of Korean ancestry who were born in Japan face discrimination.
Tunisia's revolution is not over. Ousting the dictator was just the first step.
Iran's opposition leaders call the regime totalitarian.
UK residents: beware the census of March.
The most important part of the article is point 6, which is around 12% of the way down. If the stated information is accurate, it is very likely that information about your sexuality, mental health, views, etc., will be given to the police.
Right-wing lunatic politicians are calling the killer Loughner a Liberal, and calling all Liberals Communists.
Clinton has made women's rights a central part of US foreign policy.
This sounds great. I do wish, however, that the US would do more to uphold those human rights that apply to everyone.
War drones against countries are being adapted for many other uses, some beneficial and some oppressive (such as the War on Drugs and the War on Dissent).
I find it plausible that bombing with drones kills no more civilians than bombing with fighter-bombers would. In a war against a uniformed regular army, either of them could be used with no particular problem. The problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan is about using air attacks on purported guerrillas in ordinary civilian buildings when they are not fighting.
10,000 Israelis demonstrated against growing Israeli fascism.
This shows that freedom is not yet dead in Israel, but it's in critical condition.
The people of Stony Stratford protested the planned closure of their public library by checking out all the books.
The Tunisian Army is fighting the ex-dictator's secret police in the streets of Tunis.
I hope that Tunisia can avoid replacing a secular tyranny with an Islamist tyranny. There are protests in Jordan now about the high cost of living, with Islamist participation.
Mark Kennedy, former UK police spy, says that the police knowingly withheld tapes that Kennedy made which would exonerate certain defendants.
The police only offered these tapes to the court when the defense lawyer showed he knew about Mark Kennedy. In other words, the police sought to prove false charges that they knew were false.
This is standard police practice, but it is exciting to have proof. Will the police officials stand trial for this?
Prosecution of "hate speech" is the wrong way to end the right wing's calls for violence.
Republican murder discourse is despicable, but censorship would be an attack that democracy could not withstand.
Kuwait now wishes to deport Gulet Mohamed to the US, but the US illegally says he is forbidden to return.
Any US citizen has an unconditional right to enter the US, and cannot even be required to answer questions as a condition of entry.
When economists tell us that we must expect long-term high unemployment, what good are they? Let's fire them.
Israeli troops have killed 8 Palestinian 9-year-olds by shooting them in the head in the past decade.
Obama has slightly eased the US embargo on Cuba.
Australia's floods are carrying away the topsoil, and the floodwaters will threaten the coral in the Great Barrier Reef.
The US exaggerates the fraction of ex-prisoners from Guantanamo that later fight the US.
Politicians use this argument to justify keeping them all prisoners forever — in effect, doing more evil to avoid the consequences of the evil it has already done.
It's like the common plot basis of many detective novels; the killer, fearing detection and punishment for the first murder, has to kill more.
If the US would like not to be hated, it ought to stop doing vicious things.
Berlusconi is under investigation for sex with an underage courtesan, and pressuring the police to cover it up.
I don't think doing business with a courtesan is particularly bad. The courtesan is clearly not being oppressed. It would be ironic if this dangerous corruptor loses power over this, after having done so much worse with impunity.
Tunisia's president has fled the country due to protests triggered by news from Wikileaks.
Viva Wikileaks! Those who attack Wikileaks attack all of us.
More information on the situation in Tunisia.
Greeks are massively resisting road tolls, which go to private companies.
The arrangement where the state lets a company build a private road and collect tolls from it is pernicious. It frequently leads to abuses that violate privacy rights, as well as squeezing the motorists. If the Greeks push this resistance far enough, they may convince companies this is a losing business, and save the rest of the world from it.
The Tunisian government's PR company dumped its client when the protests began. It found its job too much at variance with truth.
German MPs suspect that undercover cop Mark Kennedy acted as a provocateur in Germany with cooperation of the German police.
Irish activists said Mark Kennedy was a leader in attacking the police in protests there.
"We are now seeing a publicly funded police force used as a national private security service for large corporations."
In Iraq, tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of people have been disappeared since Bush's invasion.
Israel demolished homes and a classroom in a West Bank village.
US citizens: sign this petition against the US "national trusted internet ID".
Tunisia's president says he will resign at the end of his current "term of office".
I suspect this means that his power base united to tell him, "You're ruining our good thing."
When people die in earthquakes, corruption is responsible.
Banding penguins to keep track of them is devastating for their reproduction.
Hezbollah has pulled out of the Lebanese coalition, bringing down the government.
A fraudulent paper, presenting falsified data, generated suspicion against vaccines which are safe.
The result is that people have got sick and even died due to diseases that could have been avoided by vaccine.
Reportedly the Taliban are willing to permit education of girls.
The UK proposed to establish a Green Investment Bank, but now it seems that will be used to build nuclear reactors.
ACLU: don't trust the US "trusted Internet identities" plan.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say, "Implement the recommendations of the oil spill commission." And sign this petition.
Wendell Potter says that Republican talk of repealing Obamacare is just a distraction. They want to keep the part that requires Americans to buy insurance, and gut the regulations that limit how insurance companies can shaft their customers.
Genetically modified chickens are unable to transmit flu to other birds, or to humans.
If this proves to be safe, it has the potential to save thousands of human lives — but only if poor farmers all around the world are free to breed these chickens. If it is patented, it is ineffective.
Berlusconi may have to face the corruption trials he thought he had escaped.
The EPA has blocked a coal mine that would have destroyed mountains and poisoned water.
The objections to this decision are a prime example of foolish short-term thinking.
Inequality in the US is no accident — many laws are set up for upward redistribution of wealth.
Tel Aviv's airport blocks access to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups. But the Israeli fascists want to do more than that to fight against peace.
Mark Kennedy seems to have gone on spying as a private business for corporations after he stopped spying for the police.
Everyone: Tell multinational chocolate companies not to buy chocolate from Ivory Coast if it gives revenue to the usurper Gbagbo.
A European Parliament group accuses the US of violating European privacy law by trying to subpoena records of European tweets of Wikileaks volunteers.
Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum was harassed again on entering the US. Here is his statement.
The agents demonstrated their systematic duplicity by claiming this was a random search.
Jacob's indomitable resistance to all sorts of tyranny is an example for us all.
FBI agents are interrogating Gulet Mohamed in Kuwait without letting him have a lawyer present.
Don't you just love the FBI's claim that ducking these accusations is a way of protecting Mohamed's privacy? That's par for the course in the Kafka state.
The State Department is stalling a freedom-of-information act request for information about Clinton's contacts with a lobbyist that used to work for her campaign.
The UK's oil safety regulation, while better than the US, is not adequate as a model.
Preventing explosions is expensive, but talk is cheap.
35,000 people have been killed in Mexico in gang wars fueled by prohibition.
Thousands of Egyptian Muslims attended Christmas ceremonies as a protest against terrorism.
This sets the standard that Pakistan must meet.
Forbes magazine presented absurd global heating denial arguments, which are here subject to thorough examination.
The US law that restricts purchase of nasal decongestant pills has failed to achieve its goal of blocking production of meth. Instead it has created a new industry for people to buy pills and resell them.
I occasionally use 12-hour decongestant pills. I don't mind the limit on how many I can buy — one package lasts me longer than a cold — but I extremely resent the requirement to identify myself.
From what I've read, meth is very dangerous, and trying it even once is an act of extreme folly. But trying to prohibit all avenues for folly is worse folly.
2010 tied the record for highest overall temperature.
US citizens: thank Senator Reid for defending Social Security.
Israel extended the sentence of Bil'in protest organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah. This is meant as "deterrence" against any other Palestinians who might think of protesting against the occupation.
Israel's response to Palestinian armed resistance is to condemn it because it is violent. Israel's response to unarmed Palestinian protests is to imprison their leaders. Israel's response to Palestinian lawsuits in Israel, when they succeed, is to disregard the court decision. (Bil'in got a court order to move the annexation wall, and the government has ignored it for years.) Israel's response to UN investigations into its war crimes is to refuse entry to the investigators and call them "anti-semitic".
The pattern is clear: whatever Palestinians do to claim their rights, Israel will find some excuse to put them in the wrong.
Haaretz condemns Israel's broad persecution of the Israeli left.
Vietnam has imposed stiff censorship on the Internet, following the example of China.
The EU could be next. There is an EU proposal to require filtering of the Internet to block "child pornography". ISPs are fighting against it.
The article surrenders the first battle for freedom of expression by granting that "child pornography" ought to be censored somehow. It raises only the question of what method will really work and avoid collateral damage.
When making pornography involves real abuse of real children, those who distribute it under a business relationship with the abusers arguably participate in the abuse. They could be prosecuted for doing so. However, that does not excuse censorship. No matter how disgusting published works might be, censorship is more disgusting.
EU diplomats recommended sanctions against certain Israeli individuals and companies involved in the occupation.
300 Palestinians became homeless due to Israeli home demolitions.
This seems natural to me. Obama crafts his policies to please business. Meeting with progressives would not help him do that. Furthermore, business is happy with him and progressives are not.
Every Democrat should be offended that Obama will meet with the US Chamber of Commerce, which runs business-funded attack ads against Democrats. But it fits Obama's general pattern of caving to opposition from the right.
The biggest copyright infringers for music in Canada are the record companies.
Since Obama has not implemented his order to close the Guantanamo prison, human rights groups should focus on it once more.
Here is an idea: if Guantanamo amounts to a city, why not make it one. Release all the prisoners into that city, aside from those facing a fair trial in civilian court. In that city they could work, receive visitors that would arrive by ship, and leave by ship whenever they can arrange a place to go. The US having captured them by force, would be responsible for supporting them adequately if they get no work, but this would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in prison.
The ACLU has asked the US government to publish its rationale for ordering the killing of US citizens without even a trial.
Police spy and provocateur Mark Kennedy did not work directly for the police. He worked for a private company with a government contract.
That tactic is used to sabotage accountability to the public.
Colombian farmers are suing BP for ruining their land through the construction of a pipeline.
A protestor has been sentenced to over 2 years in prison for throwing a fire extinguisher in the general direction of police.
When will the policeman who clubbed a student into the hospital be tried?
Some state legislators want to play a dirty trick on children of immigrants by not letting them have birth certificates.
These children would be US citizens but would have trouble proving it. I think this qualifies as a dirty trick.
Gulet Mohamed was imprisoned and tortured in Kuwait, apparently at the request of the US government.
I do not believe the State Department's denial of US involvement. Maybe the State Department is lying. Or maybe it doesn't know. The FBI or CIA might have secretly asked Kuwaiti police to imprison him, keeping the State Department in the dark, specifically for "deniability", i.e., so that State Department officials would be able to make this statement without personally lying.
Given the practice of deniability, it is always impossible for the US to deny such an accusation in a way that commands belief.
The US no-fly list is pure inexcusable tyranny. Perhaps certain people should be searched carefully before they get onto a plane, but once that's arranged for, there is no possible excuse to stop them from travelling by plane. Likewise, people should be allowed to fly anonymously (even if this means extra searches).
Egypt's government is very offended by the idea that it ought to prevent the murder of Christians.
Tunisia's dictator has decided to end student protests by closing all schools indefinitely.
I don't know whether the Tunisian state could provide increased employment. However, it could certainly offer increased freedom.
Several Republican congressional candidates talked about or suggested killing Democrats.
The big spill investigation will recommend that the US institute independent inspection of oil rigs.
Isn't it incredible that this wasn't required all along? But that's typical for the US government, which is generally servile towards business. A large oil spill does more damage than a bomb on an airplane. So why search passengers? Let us tick off boxes: "Do you have a bomb? Do you have a gun?"
The servility towards business needs to be reversed, and not just for undersea oil drilling.
Lockheed doesn't just make weapons. Now it keeps track of you, too.
US citizens: call on Rep. Issa to hold a hearing into violent political rhetoric.
The Big Spill was the avoidable result of risky practices that have become normal in undersea drilling.
Another such disaster is liable to happen at any time.
In protecting endangered species, Obama is as slow as Bush.
Representative King, who wants to prosecute the New York Times for printing Wikileaks cables, also plans McCarthy-style hearings meant to prove that all US Muslims are radicals.
Police infiltrators such as Mark Kennedy go far beyond collecting information. Their mission is sabotage of democracy.
Climate activists slated for prosecution were told "new information means we can't prosecute you" after their lawyer said he would raise the issue of Kennedy's actions in the trial. That raises the question of whether the information was concealed from the defense until that point.
The activists demand an inquiry into his activities.
Israel's main opposition party announced opposition to Lieberman's plan to persecute dissidents.
Kadima is a centrist party — the Israeli left is almost dead. Through the 90s, large numbers of Israelis supported the left and campaigned for peace. The Labor party wiped that out (and itself) when its leader blamed Arafat for refusing to legitimize the West Bank settlements. Nowadays it's cause for celebration that a major Israeli party opposes blatant bigotry.
This is a great improvement compared with the attitude of the Catholic Church 150 years ago. However, I wish he had said it in a way that would clearly also apply to the rights of minorities composed of the nonreligious.
Blackberries in Indonesia will soon implement not just government surveillance but censorship as well.
In addition, they contain proprietary software, which is a priori a reason to reject them, If the software were free, you could bypass some of the surveillance — and maybe the censorship too.
UK police officials lied to Parliament about their infiltration of environmental protestors.
Such lies are normal conduct for police.
A plan to protect coral from extinction will help coral cope with warming seas by eliminating other mistreatment that hampers its recovery.
This sort of effort can reduce the damage for a while, but will fail in the long run unless we stop heating our biosphere.
The UK government has given up on limiting the banksters' bonuses.
What it needs to do instead is reduce the banks' profits. We need to reduce the power of the banksters, and that means hampering their ability to play off one country against another.
Over a million Americans have been killed with guns since 1968. Handguns in the US are a lot more dangerous than terrorists. When will we do something about this?
Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine says that many Canadians own guns, but that these guns are rarely used for murder because of strict rules about carrying them. Perhaps that could be a way to reconcile the Second Amendment with Americans' safety.
The Anti-Citizen Tyranny Agreement is no longer secret, but it remains dangerous: it takes several sneaky steps to encourage three-strikes punishment-on-accusation policies.
A Texas commission about burying nuclear waste from other states published the wrong email address for a public consultation, so thousands of opposing comments did not reach the commission. A court allowed the commission to vote without delay despite this.
No surprise, the commission approved the plan.
US citizens, tell Obama: Don't give O'Reilly an interview!
US may support throwing out disputed Haitian vote.
Venezuela has passed laws restricting political opposition in the media, including the Internet.
A raft of other new laws includes a restriction on receiving foreign funds to monitor human rights. I think it is legitimate to apply that restriction to political parties, however.
The gerrymandering that enabled Chavez to get a majority of the new parliament while the opposition got most of the votes also strikes me as wrong.
Homosexuals in Uganda won a court case against a newspaper that called for them to be murdered.
What should become of foreign aid, when the division between poor and rich countries is replaced with a world-wide opposition between the comfortable and the poor?
Telling the poor of India that "Helping you is the task of the comfortable 10% that are constantly squeezing you" won't do much good.
Mark Kennedy didn't choose to stop infiltrating dissidents — he was smoked out by them.
He spoke of helping their defense, but he seems to have run off instead.
When did it become illegal to be a Leftist in Israel?
The author projects the trend a little; the correct answer might be "2011".
Hungary's new right-wing ruler has centralized control over the branches of government and imposed a form of censorship on the media.
Here's a description of the new censorship.
Imagine if Faux News could fine you for publishing a story that isn't "fair and balanced" according to their criteria.
How Salman Taseer became Pakistan's last avowed liberal.
Obama continues Bush's policy of dehumanizating the innocent prisoners in Guantanamo, so that Americans will not confront the evil of not freeing them.
The US government says that some prisoners cannot ever be released because the US has done them so much wrong that they would surely be hostile. Imagine being imprisoned for the rest of your life because you had been unjustly imprisoned before.
Riots continue in Tunisia and a dozen protesters have been killed.
Iceland has complained about the US investigation of Wikileaks messages involving MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
The US "National Trusted Internet ID" is something we must not trust.
The methane released by the big spill into the Gulf of Mexico has been eaten quickly by microbes.
It is good that little methane remains in the sea water, but the article does not tell us what fraction of the methane escaped into the atmosphere before it was eaten. That's the crucial question regarding contribution to global warming of any undersea methane releases. Is that information available?
Glaciers in the Alps could shrink 75% in this century.
Moqtada al Sadr says he will bring down Iraq's government rather than allow extension of the US military presence there.
This may finally thwart Bush's plan to keep US troops their permanently.
Undercover UK policeman Mark Kennedy, who infiltrated dissident groups, has resigned and said his activities were wrong.
The US right-wing's murderous rhetoric has burst out in actual murder.
If we don't make them regret talking that way, they will take their intimidation to Pakistan's level. They have already done this by attacking doctors that perform abortions. Women who need a late-term abortion to save their lives now have only one place left in the US to get one, after the other provider was murdered.
The ironic thing is that the US government does regularly engage in conspiracies to harm most Americans. The US government conspired with PayPal, MasterCard and Amazon to hurt Wikileaks. Obama is now pushing for three different "Free Trade" Agreements, which which will increase the power of the business over society. Each of them is a conspiracy; ACTA was written by a secret conspiracy that included business interests.
But the right-wing lunatics are manipulated by the money of those same businesses, so they ignore these real conspiracies, and direct their ire solely at imaginary conspiracies that can be blamed on "Liberals".
Haitians whose houses collapsed a year ago now live in shelters that are hardly even tents, and collapse in a rainstorm. The women are constantly vulnerable to rape.
Haiti Election Recount Report Reveals Massive Irregularities Beyond Those Noticed by the OAS and CEP. It is "impossible to determine who should advance to a second round."
Laws against blasphemy are the modern face of bigotry and religious persecution.
How Obama's men are distorting facts to pretend that a Free Exploitation Agreement will boost US jobs.
When the Messiah comes, Israel will deport him.
I enjoy the humor of this, but I don't believe any messiah is going to save us from ourselves. It's up to us to do that.
Uri Avnery: Freedom of expression in Israel is a hollow pretension.
The famous toppling of Saddam's statue was not a carefully planned psy-op, but it was magnified and distorted by the presence of the TV crews and then further distorted by editors.
Oil companies hope to use rising oil prices to get rid of the already-inadequate regulations designed to prevent disasters.
We need to keep the price of oil rising, by taxes if necessary, to slow the oil train before it runs our biosphere off the climate cliff.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose the free exploitation treaty with Korea.
The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission has effectively taken control of Haiti away from the government. Its method of "rebuilding" Haiti is to give construction contracts to US companies. As a consequence, the aid available money doesn't buy very much and doesn't stay in Haiti.
The Haitian government was thoroughly corrupt, and would probably have given these contracts to its cronies. But they would have built more for the same money, and the money would have circulated in Haiti, providing some benefit to the local economy. Haiti (like every place) deserves better than that, but what the IHRC gives it is worse.
A subpoena revealed by Twitter proves the existence of the secret campaign to prosecute Assange and/or various other Wikileaks activists.
Someone tries to blame Wikileaks for publishing information Mugabe says is an excuse to prosecute Tsvangirai for treason.
This criticism is bogus because Mugabe makes up excuses like this as required. Recommending sanctions against one's country is not treason, but Mugabe the dictator can call anything treason, limited only by the danger of punishment by other states.
It might seem hypocritical of Tsvangirai to say one thing to the public and another to US diplomats. But he has a good excuse: he is lying to Mugabe.
WikiLeaks: Swedish government kept intelligence cooperation with the US informal so as to avoid telling Parliament.
This supports the possibility of secret US influence in the prosecution of Julian Assange. There are also arguments against that possibility.
The author is anonymous, but the comments on the page don't reveal gross flaws in what the article says. However, it might be possible for ministers to influence prosecutors even if MPs can't.
Irom Sharmila has fasted for 10 years to protest a massacre of civilians by Indian soldiers, and the permanent suspension of civil liberties in her state.
She has been imprisoned without trial for that whole time, and force-fed.
Obama's new economic appointments have campaigned long and hard against regulation of the banksters and for sweatshop labor.
The difference between Boehner, who says that Washington ought to serve the banks, and Obama who appoints people who will do it, is not so much.
After Southern Sudan becomes independent, President Bashir threatens to oppress other diverse Sudanese ethnic groups that will remain in the North.
I think their cause will deserve military support from the rest of the world.
In a year since the earthquake, Haiti and all its foreign "aid" organizations have not even been able to clear away the rubble.
Everyone: call on the EPA to ban the pesticides that are are dangerous for bees.
US residents: sign this petition calling on Costco to stop selling endangered fish species and develop a solid sustainable fishing policy.
Dirty Business film debunks 'clean coal' myth.
The Lib Dems are ready to compromise on revising, rather than eliminating, control orders which amount to house arrest for people that have not been convicted of a crime.
If these few people were subject to the special constant surveillance — which courts would surely approve in cases like these — I don't believe they would be capable of carrying out any more terrorism than they could under a control order.
According to the California Supreme Court, police can search your mobile phone if they arrest you.
And your laptop, too. However, the court has not said whether they have the right to copy data from it without a warrant.
It is now commonplace for business to run PR campaigns to convince the public to oppose laws that the business does not like.
ACTA isn't even finished, and the US is already proposing another nastier treaty.
The term "intellectual property" is used to distract attention from the specifics of a dozen unrelated laws and focus it at an abstract level where real issues cannot be seen.
US politicians are using the depression as an excuse to attack unions, instead of attacking the banks and businesses that caused the depression.
One error in the article: this is not a time for "belt-tightening"; that is the Hoover approach to unemployment. This is a time for government spending; for a new deal.
Obama's new chief of staff is a Wall Street insider who previously claimed that Obama was too Liberal.
As recently shown, the US public is far more Liberal than Obama and today's Democratic party, and that's why the disappointed Liberal voters stayed home.
Israeli author Ilana Hammerman defied travel restrictions by bringing a group of Palestinian women and children to visit Israel for a day.
Here she writes about the unofficial system: thousands of Palestinian men work in Israel even though they are denied entry papers for reasons that the police won't tell them.
The group which reported Hammerman to the prosecutors has the primary goal of squeezing Israeli Arabs out of mixed heighborhoods, denying them representation, and defending torturers.
In 1954, Chiquita Banana (then under a different name) used the CIA to stage a coup in Guatemala that led to 40 years of civil war, after paving the way with a public relations campaign.
Chiquita was also involved PR to support the 2009 coup in neighboring Honduras, but disguised its role through an intermediary.
Olivia Zémor tried to go to Israel to support nonviolent Palestinian protestors, and was deported.
Here's information (in French) about the protests of her group.
A federal study has concluded that all the companies involved in the big spill made a habit of dangerous cost-cutting.
I fail to see why this would protect BP from charges of gross negligence. It seems to show that gross negligence is the norm, and why should that be an excuse — for any of the companies involved?
Wikileaks cables show that Sea Shepherd has succeeded in cutting down Japan's ability to kill whales. The US and Japan negotiated a deal to reduce Japan's killing of whales and ban Sea Shepherd. Other countries blocked the deal.
The deal was not entirely bad, since it would have reduced Japan's whale catch. However, banning Sea Shepherd and other future organizations like it would have outweighed that positive step.
The assassination of Taseer increases the danger that Aasia Bibi will be lynched, as several others accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been.
Climate-aid to poor countries is an excuse to avoid the changes necessary to avoid destroying the Earth's climate.
A pheromone in women's tears reduces men's aggression and sex drive.
Norway has forbidden testing submarines being built for Israel, as part of a boycott of "security"-related exports to Israel.
Modern supporters of the Confederacy are trying to pretend its purpose was something other than perpetuating slavery.
Israeli tear gas in the weekly protest in Bil'in killed protester Jawaher Abu Rahmeh.
The soldiers probably did not specifically intend to kill her, but it could be that the large quantity of tear gas used made it fatal. By contrast, when they killed her brother, that was surely deliberate. Since soldiers are trained not to shoot tear gas directly at people.
Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?
Wikileaks cables show that US officials work hard as sales agents for Boeing.
This kind of corruption, where the state promotes business, is rife at all levels of government in the US. Every time I see a stadium named after a company, what it says to me is "This government is for sale."
What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2011?
An airline passenger was arrested for a "suspicious" package containing his breakfast.
The jittery passengers could not have done this harm on their own. They needed the help of flight attendants on a power trip.
Philip Morris and Bank of America have bought lots of domain names that people might use to criticize them.
Greenpeace charges that the Marine Stewardship Council has approved fisheries which are unsustainable.
The issue is quite clear: unsustainable fisheries must be rejected (and shut down, too). It may be true that gaining an MSC certification for an unsustainable fishery brings about an improvement in its management; but if that isn't enough of an improvement to make the fishery sustainable, that fishery is still doomed; it will just take longer for this result to occur.
Japanese have lost their taste for whalemeat, but they continue eating tuna at a rate that will cause extinction.
Israeli journalist Uri Blau, who received secret documents about a death squad in the Israeli army, returned to Israel in October after a year in exile. He told police he no longer has the documents. If that is true, the state has mostly succeeded in burying news about its crimes — all except what he previously published.
It is not clear whether Blau faces imprisonment, but the attack on journalism in Israel is devastating either way. It may come to the US, too; some in Congress want to prosecute the New York Times for espionage.
Former soldier Anat Kam, who leaked this information, is threatened with life in prison based on evidently false charges. Paradoxically, Anat Kam gave the information to Blau so it would be censored. Israeli newspapers are covered by military censorship; thus, by choosing Blau rather than (for example) the New York Times, she assured the censors a chance to delete any militarily useful information from whatever Blau would publish, and thus assured she could not do what she is now accused of. The prosecutors know this, but false accusations are so habitual for them that they cannot help themselves.
Israel evidently does not appreciate this attempt to balance the patriotism of criticism with the patriotism of security. The next Anat Kam would be wiser to flee the country and give the information to Wikileaks.
A study suggests that religion makes some people happier, not through beliefs or rituals, but as a shared activity with close friends.
If this is substantiated by further study (which is not certain), it suggests that people can make themselves happy equally well through shared secular political activism for the general good.
To discourage protests, Israeli soldiers raided the home of protest organizer Abu Maria, attacking people with fists, bullets and sound grenades. Then they established a checkpoint to interfere with taking the victims to the hospital.
On the most important political issues, a vast majority of Americans are Liberals. These include taxes, war, social security, regulating banks, single-payer health care, and limiting CO2 emissions.
But the US government is doing the exact opposite.
Record food prices are likely to cause riots around the world.
The blame for these prices is multiple. Part of it is due to global heating and the companies that use their political power to make the heating continue. Part of it is due to the wasteful American life style. Part of it is probably due to commodity speculators. And part of it is due to people that have too many children, which would have inevitably led to food and water shortages sooner or later.
Many poor women are unable to obtain the birth control that they want to use.
Amazon censored an ebook that exposed how ebook bestseller lists can be manipulated (and therefore are meaningless).
In a world with many bookstores, there is no need to politicize any one store's choices of what books to carry. With today's concentration of bookstores, we are no longer in that world, and it is even worse with ebooks.
Global heating protestors that sought to shut down a coal-burning power plant received light sentences from the judge, who admired their motives.
One of the protestors comments on the implications of the jury's vote to convict them, despite weeks of education about the harm done by burning coal.
The Israeli crackdown on dissent and freedom marches on; organizations that monitor the army's abuses in the West Bank are to be investigated.
A Pakistani political official was assassinated by Islamist fanatics because he defended a victim of the blasphemy law. His killer has been lionized by thousands of other fanatics, even political parties, and the fanatics are openly threatening to kill anyone who resists them.
I would expect it is a crime in Pakistan to threaten to kill officials. But I don't see how Pakistan's weak government can find the strength to enforce that against the fanatics. Besides, the fanatics constitute a large fraction of the population.
In effect, Pakistan has become a place where people generally support killing non-Muslims for their views. And I don't think they will stop at the borders of Pakistan.
I therefore recommend that other countries require all immigrants and long-term visitors to publicly post a signed statement saying, "I recognize everyone's legitimate right to publicly criticize and lampoon any or all of my beliefs, including religious beliefs. I condemn any proposal or attempt to punish people for doing so." Those who won't publicly reject the fanaticism of their home should not be allowed entry. The agents that enforce this policy should all have signed the same statement.
I reproach the author for naming a generation in a way that presumes people will inevitably use Facebook. I don't use it, and you shouldn't. I also think he exaggerates the extent to which Facebook in particular is responsible for the phenomenon — which started many years before Facebook. I would guess TV is more responsible. American TV presents a lifestyle that most Americans cannot afford. However, American Facebook users are also surely considerably wealthier than usual for Americans.
Those errors don't invalidate the article's overall argument. On the contrary, recognizing them strengthens the argument. If the wealthiest 10% of Peru or India are set on what even many Americans can't afford, they will need to crush the poor all the more.
However, the article's conclusion that "we" must all "share more" has two flaws. It is the affluent in the US and Europe that need to change, not the poor. And what they need to do goes far beyond just "sharing" (or even "giving to the poor", though it's good to do so). They need to live more efficiently, using less of the world's wealth and resources.
Crumbs From the Democrats: Why Inequality Matters.
OAS diplomat Ricardo Seitenfus denounced the UN occupation of Haiti, and was fired for it.
Several US bumblebee species have declined disastrously.
This comes on top of the disease that has killed many European honey bees in the US.
The US was founded as a secular nation, not as a Christian one.
A massive protest in England opposed the plan to sell of all the forests.
Reportedly an Afghan tribal group has decided to kick out the Taliban in order to have local peace.
I am skeptical of reports of progress for NATO in Afghanistan, because theoretically I don't think it is possible, and because such reports have turned out to be exaggerated in the past. I mention this here because I think it would be wrong to presume they are all false.
A US ambassador called for the US to punish countries that reject genetically modified farm crops.
The US government's motto is, "What's good for GM is good for the USA." But now it's a different GM.
Bradley Manning is not alone in facing psychological torture in the US. Up to 100,000 prisoners in the US, many not yet tried, are held in long-term isolation. Some are in cages so small they cannot lie down.
The article presumes that suicide attempts by these prisoners are an indication of insanity. I disagree. To prefer death to such a life is entirely sane.
Global heating has made rain in India unreliable. 200,000 farmers killed themselves, but millions have had to abandon their villages.
US citizens: thank Senator Wyden for blocking the domain name confiscation bill.
And if you have not yet signed the petition, please sign that too.
Economic growth in some parts of the world is making the price of oil rise. Some think this is a bad thing.
It could seem bad if you ignore the damage that burning oil is doing to our planet. However, high oil prices are exactly what the world needs to enable high levels of investment in burning less oil. This includes improved energy efficiency of buildings and transport.
Ultimately, spending is what gets you out of a recession — not cheap commodities. If a country is willing to invest in efficiency and run a deficit, it can create an economic recovery.
Israeli police arrested Jerusalem Palestinian anti-settlement activist Jawad Siyam while he was in the middle of teaching a class of children.
Israeli police accused protestors of "possession of arms" after they threw used tear gas cartridges into the US embassy.
Israel's army published bizarre claims about Jawahir Abu Rahmah (who killed by tear gas) to cloud the issue. For instance, that she wasn't there, that she died of cancer, etc.
21 people have been killed in these protests since they started in 2004.
8 reasons the US financial crisis could get worse this year.
Republicans want to clear away the regulations that hamper corporations from doing whatever they like.
Haiti to the US Embassy: Here's the Will of the People.
Wikileaks cables: Pakistan's political opposition warned Lashkar-e-Taiba to move its money before accounts were frozen.
An interview with the team of Breaking the Silence, which collects testimony from Israeli soldiers about the war crimes they have committed and witnessed.
After talking with hundreds of witnesses, they now know the dimensions of the Israeli army policies (rules of engagement) that systematically direct soldiers to commit war crimes.
Israel has prosecuted a few soldiers here and there, but has given effective immunity to the officers that set these policies.
Egypt's police regularly torture and even kill dissidents, journalists, and even nonpolitical people. The election is a joke.
BP's cement modeling software said that the well was not safe, but BP disregarded the issue to save time.
I think this is the "missing" document.
Ralph Nader: The TSA delivers naked insecurity.
John Tynan, who famously refused to be intimately searched in the airport, was the target of a smear article accusing him of being a funded Tea Party activist out to get Obama.
I'm one of the progressive leftists who Cory Doctorow mentioned. Progressives must stand up for freedom, and not be distracted by the idea of standing by Obama (who isn't much of a progressive).
The TSA avoided massive protests on Nov 24, National Opt-Out Day, by giving the protestors what they wanted: no body scanning.
If they could do it one day, they could do it every day.
There is a real danger from terrorists, but body scanners cannot stop them. To effectively search passengers for bombs would require body cavity searches.
A more effective way to end this danger would be to stop the US interventions that motivate most of the terrorists.
100,000 people protested in Dublin against bailing out the banks and their creditors at the expense of most Irish.
Bangladeshi MP Salauddin Chowdhury was tortured by the Rapid Action Battalion last month. His son is suing the UK government for training them in torture.
Protestors at the American Psychiatric Association's convention identified doctors who had been corrupted by the drug companies, but the corruption has not stopped.
Reports of a "recovery" in the US are a politically-motivated fiction. The system makes a recovery impossible, because a crash was its inevitable outcome.
Just as the banksters (and servile governments) disregarded the predictions of a financial collapse, saying it couldn't happen, the oil companies (and servile governments) disregard the danger of global warming.
A new student movement in Gaza condemns the repressive Islamic extremism of Hamas, as well as the corruption of all the Palestinian parties.
After 43 years of occupation of Palestine, constantly disregarding its equivalent to the Bill of Rights, Israel has forfeited its claim to be considered a state of law.
Peru is so subservient to Canadian mining companies that presidential candidate Toledo went to Canada to seek their support. And they want a new trade treaty to pile onto the treaty Peru signed with the US, which caused violence.
Israel bars visitors who support Palestinian rights, calling them "security threats".
An Israeli says, "Please boycott us."
A review of Breaking the Silence's new book about the daily practices of the occupation of Palestine.
The reason to remove foreign troops from Afghanistan is that there is nothing to justify continuing to fight there.
Ivory Coast ex-president Gbagbo denies his forces have committed mass murder, but won't let UN investigators look at the reported sites of mass graves.
Assange says that Wikileaks can expose traitorous officials that spy for the US if he is killed or imprisoned by the US.
I don't expect this strategy to work; I think the US government is more interested in crushing Wikileaks and terrorizing future whistleblowers than in protecting its present-day spies.
From 2000 to 2009, US productivity grew 3% per year, but wages went down. The rich took all the gains.
Anonymous has targeted the government of Zimbabwe after tyrant Mugabe's wife sued a newspaper for publishing information from Wikileaks.
In Ghana, old women with Alzheimer's disease are likely to be burned as witches.
Birth defects in Falluja continue increasing; last May, 15% of babies had serious birth defects.
There is every reason to expect Dirty Uranium munitions to have this effect.
Wired journalists say that Bradley Manning said nothing to incriminate Julian Assange in the transcripts of his chat with Adrian Lamo.
Bradley Manning is being subjected to psychological torture including sleep deprivation. The danger is that he will make a confession implicating himself, Assange, and whoever else the US government wants to incriminate — even if it isn't true.
Opposition presidential candidates in Belarus face criminal charges for participating in protests against the rigged election.
I think a military intervention to establish democracy in Belarus might be quick and easy, and the people might welcome it. (It would be unjustified if they don't.) But none is on offer, because the US and its allies are not interested in intervening for democracy. It is only an excuse that they use when it suits them.
Italy has banned nonbiodegradable plastic bags.
I cheer this measure, but I hope it won't buy Il Ducino any continued political power.
The U.S. is responsible for the human toll of Iraq sanctions.
To be fair, Saddam Hussein shared the responsibility for keeping the sanctions going. (When these sanctions were first imposed, nobody expected them to last for long.) However, that doesn't excuse the US for interpreting them in such an extreme fashion.
The government of Mali is displacing large numbers of subsistence farmers for an agribusiness project and giving them little or no compensation.
With Mali's rapid population growth, it was heading for a problem. But destitution is the worst way to limit the population.
A group of US soldiers face charges of murdering Afghan civilians and dressing the corpses up as Taliban soldiers.
This resembles the behavior of the Colombian army under President Horrible.
Muslims in Denmark have been accused of planning to attack the office of Jyllands-Posten, which published the cartoons of Muhammad.
It was obviously cowardly for Jyllands-Posten to apologize for those cartoons. What we see now is that it was also futile, since these crazies will continue to attack. So instead of apologizing, be proud of having them for enemies.
Over 17000 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 because credit is cheaper for luxury cars than for farmers.
I wonder why they don't become Naxalites instead.
Indonesia is colonizing West Papua with Javanese, much as China is doing to Tibet. Papuans who object to this are repressed much like Tibetans.
The TSA wants travelers to feel sorry for the agents who are paid to bully and molest them. "It hurts us more than it hurts you."
TSA employees are persons, so they are personally responsible for everything they personally do — just like every other person. If they don't like making people feel hurt and angry, they have an easy way to avoid it: quit their job. If they don't quit, they are responsible for continuing.
A mercenary in Iraq faces trial for the murder of coworkers.
Perhaps someday others will stand trial for murdering civilians.
American Jennifer Abel refuses to fly because of the TSA.
Tunisia's dictatorship usually crushes all dissent, but unemployment has sparked massive protests.
Palestinian journalists face harassment by Palestinian Authority as well as Israel.
Republican senators blocked funds for medical treatment for firemen, policemen and medics who breathed the poisonous air of the burning World Trade Center — in order to get tax cuts for the rich.
They continued breathing without filters because the Bush regime falsely told them the air was safe.
The Republicans thus showed what "patriotism" means to them.
Chinese are trying to use the Internet to investigate official murder, since officials have so much power they can kill with impunity.
Israeli racists now tell Jewish young women to avoid supermarkets because Arab men may be found there. In doing so, they treat women as incompetent dependents.
It is simply good sense sense for women to think twice before marrying Arab men, especially if they are going to live in an Arab society, because of the strong current of repression of women in Arab culture. This applies to all women, including (or perhaps especially) Arab women.
Many people boycott products made by Israeli companies in Israel settlements in Palestinian territory, but the Palestinian Authority is struggling to stop Palestinians from working in the settlements because there is little other work.
Even a lot of the construction in these settlements is done by Palestinian workers. A nonviolent "construction intifada" would be the natural thing to do.
Israeli Arabs renting an apartment in Tel Aviv were forced to move out after neighbors damaged the house and threatened the landlady.
It reminds me of the way Jews were treated in Germany in 1933. Israeli racists find many reasons to condemn Arabs and say they deserve prejudice. Often the same reasons that other racists have used.
There are two kinds of lessons the victims of bigotry and oppression can learn: "This should never happen to anyone" and "I'll do this to others." I'm sad to say that Israel is choosing the latter.
Lula stated his support for Wikileaks.
The sadistic Israeli border police, who habitually beat and injure handcuffed Arabs, occasionally do the same to handcuffed Jews.
US citizens: tell the State Department to condemn Israel's expulsion of Adnan Gheith from Jerusalem.
The world's dominant paradigm is local cooperation, not the corporate empire that sits on top of it.
Israel tells Palestinian prisoners, "You can see a lawyer after you confess."
How India's massacre of peaceful protesters started an armed uprising in Kashmir.
People who see evidence that their political knowledge was mistaken tend to cling to it more strongly.
Millions of dollars spent on "development projects" in Afghanistan have gone into fake projects, often "proved" by faked photos, but the people are still so poor they have trouble buying food.
India's freedom of information law is being used massively to uncover corruption, and a series of activists using it have been murdered to keep it covered up.
Israeli nonviolent activist Jonathan Pollak has been sentenced to prison for riding in a bicycle protest.
None of the other protestors was arrested, and this sentence is extreme, so it is clear that the state simply wanted an excuse to imprison a dissident leader. The evil of the occupation poisons every level of Israeli society.
Iran didn't execute Habibollah Latifi, but it arrested his whole family for their campaign to save him.
Indonesian police told US diplomats they suspected a high official of arranging to murder a human rights activist.
The companies that make body scanners have been lobbying heavily to get the government to buy lots of them.
Mugabe has threatened to prosecute Tsvangirai for treason after Wikileaks cables said he spoke with US diplomats about maintaining the sanctions against specific individuals in Mugabe's camp, and their businesses.
The Iranian regime spreads fabricated ancient history in order to whip up antisemitism.
I have no knowledge about whether Khodorkovsky is guilty of the charges. I doubt anyone could get that rich in 1990s Russia without participating in some sort of corruption and fraud, and that applies equally to those putting him on trial. His actual guilt or innocence seems to be irrelevant.
A Wikileaks mirror was disconnected by its ISP which had been threatened by its own upstream ISP.
Calling on businesses such as ISPs to "do the right thing" is totally inadequate and cannot compensate for the basic problem: people don't have a right to use the Internet.
Global heating in Scotland is demonstrated by shifts in the ranges of various butterfly species.
This adds to many world-wide indicators that demostrate rising temperature for the world overall.
Social networks, for lonely people, may only show them how lonely they are.
US taxpayers subsidize movies which are also paid ads for cigarettes.
The "middle of the road" youth of Pakistan are antisemitic bigots who support of Islamist terror groups, execution by stoning, and the death penalty for people that stop being Muslims, according to the author's conversations with undistiguished students.
We should respect religious freedom, unlike Pakistan. That does not mean we should respect any particular religion. Bigotry deserves condemnation and contempt, and coming out of religion is no excuse for it.
The mass extinction that humanity is causing is not just a tragedy. It is also a disaster in the making.
Global heating is one of the causes of loss of biodiversity; asking which of these problem is worse is like asking whether it's more dangerous to be unable to breathe or to have your heart stop.
Global heating is damaging the production of Assam tea.
India has sentenced a noted pediatrician for the poor to life in prison on ludicrous charges.
The reason the Naxalites are so successful is that the modern Indian state mainly serves the corporations, while keeping the wealthiest 10% comfortable, by crushing everyone else. Economic growth leaves the poor with nothing, just as it has in the US since Reagan corrupted the system.
For reference, see Arundhati Roy's articles about the oppression that fuels the Naxalite rebellion.
Many US car insurance policies require electronic surveillance of travel.
I would not mind sending photos of the odometer every 6 months. But who knows what their GPS device does or doesn't report to them?
A Taliban suicide bomber attacked Pakistanis waiting for food relief.
The EFF criticizes the FCC's flimsy network neutrality rules.
The EFF also sees danger in placing this issue under the FCC in the first place.
Many countries are no longer "poor countries" when judged in terms of average income, but their population mainly remains poor just as before.
I agree with the article's conclusions, but if we are to try to measure poverty country by country, it is a mistake to classify them based on average or per capita income. Measuring income on a per capita basis is simply a way to let a few rich to count as much as many poor.
In Lod, Israel's Supreme Court legitimated an Israeli settlement that was built recently and illegally, and demolished homes of Arab families who had lived there for decades.
The conservatives in the UK are cutting the National Health Service to the point where people are likely to die.
Breaking the Silence's new book presents the cruel ordinary treatment of Palestinians by the occupying Israeli army. Exceptional atrocities were intentionally omitted so as to present a clear picture of standard practice.
Israeli Rabbis' call not to rent apartments to non-Jews has unleashed a tide of overt racism, and no Israeli moral or governmental authorities have opposed it.
I have intentionally made two political notes that both link to this article. It is two stunning articles in one.
Japan and other countries seek to mine methane hydrates from under the sea bed.
Theoretically, methane hydrates cannot gush the way oil does, but complicated things happen at high pressures and I don't think we should stake our lives on that theory.
Ultimately, however, new supplies of fuel are useless if we don't dare burn it. The available oil, natural gas and coal are enough to destroy the biosphere if we burn them. Additional fossil fuel only offers the opportunity for overkill. So why mine methane hydrates?
Businesses and countries are playing poker on the Titanic as it sinks, each hoping to make enough money to buy the chance to kick someone else out of a lifeboat.
The isolated Kogi people of Colombia's mountains, who firmly maintain their culture but occasionally accept new technology, are making a movie to warn the rest of us what we are doing to our habitat.
The US threat to prosecute Assange for Wikileaks parallels prosecution of whisteblowers and critics in many other countries.
UK military interrogation manuals teach torture. They also teach phony "security" measures intended to condition prisoners to obey. Should we assume that other state agencies such as the TSA can't follow the same logic?
Iran plans to execute a Kurdish political activist for "terrorism" after a secret trial in which his lawyer was not allowed.
This can be compared with the US policy of imprisoning people indefinitely without trial.
Wikileaks cables show Obama soon received a full and clear explanation from the US embassy in Honduras about the coup, including the fact that it was a coup. Nonetheless, he did not condemn it as one.
Obama's weak response allowed PR companies working for Honduran business to lead US media and politicians by the nose.
It should be noted that Zelaya's proposed constitutional assembly would in any case have been held after the end of his term of office. If indeed it had changed the Honduran constitution to allow a president to succeed himself, that would have been too late for Zelaya's current term.
There is suggestive evidence that the US secretly approved the coup all along. However, such discussion would not have been included in ordinary diplomatic cables.
Many scientific results established through statistics mysteriously later cease to be reproduceable.
This suggests they were just flukes, and that our standards for a publishable result are too weak.
In some US states, archaic laws prohibit recording and photographing the way the police treat the public. In other states, police thugs intimidate citizens based on imaginary laws, irrelevant laws, or no laws at all.
People who watch Faux News are especially likely to believe certain things that are factually false.
A UN condemnation of the dirty tricks aimed at Wikileaks and of Internet filtering.
Mauritius will sue the UK over control of the Chagos Islands, and accuses the UK of a "policy of deceit" for establishing a marine reserve with the idea of preventing the islanders from ever returning there.
Some say that the Wikileaks cables only tell us what we "already knew". More accurately, many tell us what the well-informed could already suppose. There is a big difference between supposing wrongdoing and having proof.
Christians face state persecution in Iran and Pakistan, as well as unofficial persecution in other countries.
I don't particularly admire Christianity, but people must be free to practice and teach whatever ideas they hold.
Spencer Bachus, who will chair the House Financial Services Committee, says, "My view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."
At least he was honest.
US citizens: write to the Quantico brig to demand an end to the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.
The military are making misleading statements about the conditions of his imprisonment, but David House met Bradley Manning and got the facts from him. That article contrasts the military statements with the facts, point by point.
The restrictions are imposed in the name of preventing Manning from injuring himself, which reminds me of the practice in the Soviet Union of committing dissidents to mental hospitals. They seem to include sleep deprivation, which is itself a form of torture.
This, together with the harassment of David House, and the underhanded US campaign against Wikileaks, have something in common: they all involve dirty tricks. Is that how we should summarize the US government today?
The US government approved the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, meaning that Obama can change the rules of the US military to end discrimination against gay people.
However, until the change is implemented, gay soldiers still face dismissal and discharge.
McCain's desperate opposition may have been a play to the fanatic wing of the Republican party, since they vote a lot in primaries.
Everyone (in certain countries): Call on your government to pressure Israel not to exile nonviolent activist Adnan Gheith from Jerusalem.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
An airline pilot posted a video showing how airplane ground staff don't get searched in the airport. The FAA responded by threatening him and taking away his weapons permit.
What the pilot showed us is not news; in fact, a previous political note talks about this.
The TSA's argument for not searching the airport staff is that it would be futile, since they could easily throw weapons over the fence. That's a rational argument; I only wish they were so rational about the security measures that apply to passengers.
I also think the pilot's conclusion was overstated. None of the recent bombing attempts seems to have involved airplane ground personnel.
However, the main issue here is the TSA's retaliation against the pilot for publishing these known facts. It means that secrecy has become an end rather than a means.
US citizens: tell the US government to act firmly to stop mortgage fraud by banks.
Belarus used police provocateurs to start violence as an excuse to attack and imprison protesters against election fraud.
There are hardly any shepherds left in Bethlehem as a result of Israeli land-grabs, checkpoints and prohibitions.
The issue of "sexualization of children" is being used to push a broad right-wing anti-sex agenda.
Julian Assange condemns Digital McCarthyism and calls for prosecution of US politicians who said he should be murdered.
Bruce Sterling contrasts Wilileaks with the NSA.
I think he underestimates the factor that the US does so much harm in the world that interfering is probably good.
A jury pool in Montana mutinied, almost all saying they would never convict anybody for possession of a small amount of marijuana.
US citizens: sign this petition to tell Harry Reid we disapprove of his hiring a telecom company lobbyist as his chief of staff.
Capitalism is the highly visible exception to a usually neglected mass of compassionate acts, and survives because they compensate for the harm it does.
Human nature includes both compassion and selfishness; both are needed, but nowadays we suffer from an excess of selfishness. Thus, the challenge of social policy making is to arrange situations that bring out the compassionate side more and the selfish side less. Free software is one small example of doing this.
US citizens: sign this petition telling the FCC to block the Comcast/NBC Universal merger.
The FCC gutted the US internet by allowing mobile ISPs to explicitly discriminate among services, and giving land line ISPs a sneaky opening to discriminate too. It also encouraged ISPs to spy on their customers.
Moscow's Novaya Gazeta will team up with Wikileaks to expose corruption in Russia.
A sustained, organized campaign has convinced Americans to fear Muslims.
There is a valid reason to fear some Muslims. Fervent Muslims do threaten people's human rights, like fervent Christians and fervent Jews, and even fervent Hindus.
The US has ratified the nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.
Wikileaks revelations about US influence on Spain's government led to a victory: the proposed law to disconnect web sites on government command was not adopted.
Spain should now consider a better system, one that can support artists while legalizing sharing.
Suggesting goals for the feminist left in our time.
I think that freedom to cooperate and share must be added to the list of goals.
In Israel's military court, Palestinian children of 13 accused of throwing stones are handcuffed and shackled.
Meanwhile, the settlers are rarely prosecuted for their crimes against Palestinians; and when they are, it is in civilian court.
Israel is pushing the Arab residents of Silwan out of their homes, so they have organized nonviolent resistance. Since Israel cannot find any crime to charge organizer Adnan Gheith with, it now plans to arbitrarily exile him.
An Israeli nonviolent peace activist faces imprisonment for riding in a bicycle protest. Police picked him out to arrest him.
Video shows a second incident where London police attacked protesters and crushed them so tight they could not breath. This was hours before the other incident where protesters were crushed together on a bridge.
On both occasions this was a coordinated attack against the people, not the wild action of one cop. That it occurred twice indicates that someone fairly high up in the force must have ordered it. All those responsible must be fired.
Israel's military strategy during the second intifada was to attack Palestinian civil society and destroy its ability to function as a unit.
It amounts to making war against civilians — isn't that a war crime?
Obama is moving towards indefinite detention without trial for the prisoners in Guantanamo who there is no evidence to prosecute.
This is different in degree from Belarus, but the same in kind.
The Israeli Navy killed a teenage fisherman off the shore of Gaza.
They could easily have arrested him instead, so I supposed they killed him because they could.
"Off Rafah" means this was near the Egyptian end of the Gaza strip, not near Israel.
Are the companies that buy life insurance policies for cash a bad thing?
I think the real evil here is the lack of a national health system in the US, which puts people in the position of needing to sell their life insurance policies to survive.
US citizens: tell the SEC to protect corporate whistleblowers, not restrict them.
We need to encourage and protect them because lying is a common practice in business.
The Bishop has canceled the church's endorsement of the hospital. I hope the hospital will begin offering full abortion services.
Greg Palast: BP has tremendous influence over the government of Azerbaijan, and probably had a hand in the coup which put the current king/president's father in power. The influence was enough to get Palast arrested for filming BP installations.
The FBI and US police forces are using military-type surveillance equipment to build dossiers on millions of Americans.
They want to be notified if you do something vaguely suspicious, such as take a photo of a ferry. When that occurs, they hope to know so much about you already that they can investigate you as a terrorist suspect just by looking in your dossier.
Such information would also come in handy for squashing people suspected of practicing effective dissent or journalism.
The Department of Homeland "Security" has presented its reasons for seizing dozens of domain names. They are full of factual errors as well as MPAA propaganda.
However, the worst thing is not those errors, it is that the victims were not given a chance to contest this action in court before it was done.
I suspect there is something deeper going on here than the MPAA exploiting a naive government functionary. Obama gives the MPAA almost unlimited support. Perhaps the people involved were following the spirit of what Obama wants.
Ivory Coast's strongman Gbagbo has sent police to grab and kill opposition leaders, perhaps hundreds or thousands of them.
Not everything US diplomats said in the Wikileaks cables was true. One cable said that Cuba had banned Michael Moore's film Sicko!. Moore says that Cuba did just the opposite, showing Sicko! on TV.
Wikileaks can only publish documents, it can't ensure their accuracy.
Wikileaks cables say that the Bangladeshi paramilitary torture and murder group, the Rapid Action Battalion, got UK training in "investigative interviewing techniques" and "rules of engagement".
For comparison, the US has trained torturers and murderers for many dictatorships south of the border in the School of the Americas or whatever they call it now.
Apple deauthorized a Wikileaks access application, demonstrating its support for censorship by practicing censorship.
The iMoan and the iBad push the envelope of restricting computer users. Of all the smartphones available today, they are the nastiest ones.
The TSA claims that the FDA, the US Army, and various other organizations verify the safety of X-ray scanners. Those organizations say they do nothing of the kind.
Bolivia explains its rejection of the Cancun agreement: its representatives were given just 2 hours to read it, but could tell it was hopelessly inadequate to prevent disaster.
Wikileaks cables show New Zealand's government bowed to the US and China, then lied about it to the public.
The EU narrowly avoided making it a crime to deny the crimes of the Soviet Union and its satellite governments.
I am glad to see these crimes described and condemned, but prohibiting dissenting views is itself a crime worthy of the Soviet Union. The existing law against denying the Nazi mass murder is also censorship and also unjust. I disagree with those views but that is no excuse for censoring them.
The arms company BAE was fined almost a million dollars for employing someone for bribery at arms' length.
New York State will sue the accountants of Lehman Bros, accusing them of ignoring an obvious bit of deceitful accounting.
There are two issues here: the use of repurchase agreements, and pretending they are sales. Even if the former is acceptable, the later is clearly wrong.
The current cold and snow in the UK, due to air masses from the Arctic, appears to contradict the fact of overall global heating, but the decrease in Arctic sea ice could be what pushed the Arctic air south.
A Catholic hospital in Phoenix saved a woman's life with an abortion, so the bishop demanded the hospital promise to let the next woman die.
The state should require all hospitals to provide life-saving care. (Perhaps it already does.) Then the bishop would be welcome to declare that none of the hospitals is Catholic. That would be a step forward.
Wikileaks cables say a UN official believes the Taliban are controlling the supply of heroin just as DeBeers controls the supply of diamonds — to maximize long-term income.
US racists are celebrating the anniversary of the secession which started the US civil war, in which the slave states tried to defend slavery.
In the US: sign this petition calling on Faux News to fire editor Bill Sammon and stop pushing global heating denial.
An award-winning Iranian film director has been imprisoned and banned from making films for 20 years.
Belarus has arrested the opposition candidates, one of them dragged from the hospital where he was a patient as a result of the police beating.
In ALEC, corporations fund vacations for state legislators and their families, then suggest "model laws" to them — but it's not lobbying!
The president of Belarus claimed he had got 79% of the vote, which stimulated a massive protest in which journalists and opposition candidates were beaten up and injured.
The UK government wants ISPs to block porn sites by default unless subscribers asked them not to.
For people using their own connections, that will not change much. For people using Internet cafes and libraries, this is likely to amount to outright censorship.
A museum commissioned a mural, and the artist depicted coffins with dollar bills draped over them. The museum painted it over.
France is adopting a law that requires filtering of the Internet, and lets the government arbitrarily ban access to any site.
The excuse du jour is "child pornography", but the copyright industry is eager to use the state's new censorship power for its own purposes.
Whistleblowers who report commercial misconduct in the pharmaceutical industry often suffer greatly from the company's revenge.
Spamhaus warns about wikileaks.info, a site allegedly run by a criminal spam gang and only pretending to be a mirror of Wikileaks.
Some UK students are suing to order the police to stop the practice of besieging protesters for hours.
A news story in August reported that an acquaintance of Bradley Manning said the US Army offered him cash to "infiltrate Wikileaks".
Hamas wants the UN to stop bringing students from Gaza to Israel's holocaust museum.
I think it is good to show these students that Jews were victims of horrible atrocities. Likewise, it would be useful to show Israeli students what Palestinians have to suffer today.
The Iranian government is afraid of protests of the end of subsidies for fuel and electricity.
Allowing these prices to rise is necessary to encourage conservation, and giving poor people money so they can cope is ethical too. However, arresting those who criticized the move is an act of tyranny.
The TSA often fails to notice knives and guns that passengers bring on board.
So scanning or feeling up a fraction of the passengers can't do much good.
US prosecutors are asking Bradley Manning to testify against Julian Assange so they can prosecute the latter.
They must hope solitary confinement will make him crack; but if he does, he will hate himself for the rest of his life.
Gbagbo, the old president of Ivory Coast, has tried to order UN forces to leave, because the UN certified opposition candidate Qattara as the winner.
Bank of America has refused to process payments headed for Wikileaks.
I have some IRA funds in Bank of America. I am going to move them when they come up for renewal.
Everyone: move your money out of Bank of America as punishment for blocking you from paying Wikileaks.
Is "free" Iraq becoming a more Islamic state?
It's ironic that Bush's war had the effect of making Iraq an Islamic country, but given that Bush is also a religious nut, perhaps he is glad.
McDonald's faces a lawsuit as well as local laws for using cartoon characters and toys to influence children to eat fattening foods.
I think their clown character, Ronald McDonald, also counts as part of their child-directed marketing. And so does the charity McDonalds established which carries his name. I think that activities carried out under the name of a business or its product should be considered marketing, not charitable donation.
Police trapped hundreds of protesters on a bridge over the Thames last week, and squeezed them for hours, so tightly that some could not move or breathe. Some have not recovered from their injuries. It's pure luck that none fell off the bridge and through the ice to die.
The police spokesmen continue repeating their vague fictional claims to have acted with for the public interest.
Great whistleblowers of recent decades past have faced threats, and some have faced great suffering.
Public anger in Greece is reaching the breaking point.
I hope to see Greece repudiate its debt.
Police intervened preemptively to stop tax avoidance protesters from closing stores in London.
It's clear whose side the police and the state are on: the rich, against everyone else.
Drug advertisements in prestigious medical journals, aimed at convincing MDs to prescribe those drugs, are full of unsubstantiated claims.
One of the Wilileaks cables was a flat-out lie by US diplomats, says Michael Moore. They reported that his film, Sicko, had been banned in Cuba. Moore says his film was shown in theaters and on TV in Cuba.
The French government gave itself the power to arbitrarily filter the Internet without judicial control, using "child pornography" as an excuse.
A representative of the copyright industry said, in a meeting "We love child pornography" (as an excuse to impose filtering).
Since President Sarkoma has worked hand-in-glove with them before, we can be sure they were consulted this time.
The Vatican intervened in 1993 to prevent a rapist priest from being defrocked.
Obama and the Republicans passed their tax deal, perpetuating Bush's tax cuts for the rich.
If this is how progressive Democrats are when they have almost 60 senators and control the House, we can expect them to roll over all the time next year.
California's Air Resources Board approved the final step of California's cap-and-trade law for CO2 emissions.
I am concerned that cap-and-trade won't effectively reduce emissions, because it can be gamed or cheated. Thus I support a carbon tax instead. The effect of the Kyoto treaty has been quite small. We will see if California's system does more.
Relatives of Pakistanis killed in US drone attacks are suing the CIA.
Details of the Swedish accusations against Assange have been obtained.
If the women's stories prove true, Assange behaved very badly. Whether such actions should be a crime, I am not sure, so I won't take a stand about that.
However, it would be a gross injustice to allow him to be extradited to the US on account of this.
Wikileaks cables reveal that the US tried to pressure the Council of Europe to go soft on protecting human rights in Europe from easy extradition and kidnapping by the US.
Julian Assange may depend on these safeguards to protect him from US attempts to capture him.
The Espionage Act, interpreted in the most strict manner and ignoring the first amendment, makes all Americans criminals.
US officials were premature in labeling Gulf of Mexico seafood as safe to eat.
Women giving birth often suffer an injury which in the worst cases can lead to permanent incontinence.
The victims are often embarrassed to tell anyone, even an MD.
The EPA approved pesticide clothianidin, which kills honeybees, based on a bogus study provided by its manufacturer. This and similar pesticides may be part of the recent loss of honeybees.
Kettling Wikileaks: the Anonymous protests are the Internet equivalent of protests on the street.
Funding donated birth control is a very efficient way of reducing CO2 emissions.
Julian Assange received bail, and says he thinks the Swedish charges are an excuse to hand him over to the US.
I wonder whether the US psychological torture of Bradley Manning is intended to make him inculpate Assange. Torture makes people say what the torturers want, and they surely want him to "confess" that Assange did something they can prosecute him for.
I do still wonder why it would be easier for the US to extradite Assange from Sweden than from the UK.
Wikileaks cables report that India systematically practiced torture on suspected noncombatant supporters of Kashmiri independence.
Bond rating companies can smash a nation with a word, and they are tempted to use this power for their profit.
Obama's Afghan strategy: On track, down a cul-de-sac.
I originally supported the war in Afghanistan because I thought it would be possible to eliminate the oppression of the Taliban. It came close to succeeding, and perhaps would have succeeded if Bush had not invaded Iraq and neglected Afghanistan. But we can't know that — perhaps there was never really any chance of winning.
What we know is that the war has turned into an irremediable quagmire and can't be won.
People have made a lot of progress this decade towards eliminating malaria, but there's insufficient money available to go all the way.
Government calculations seek to achieve a 50% chance of arresting global heating before 2C. That's like planning a 50% chance of stopping the car before it goes off the cliff.
The Dalai Lama told US diplomats that stopping global heating was more urgent than stopping Chinese oppression of Tibet.
New short-term rental cars in Paris come complete with a GPS that records everywhere you go.
If the "emergency button" is a cell phone, that too is probably always transmitting wherever you are.
Palestinian feminist Asma Al-Ghoul defies Hamas control over Gaza despite death threats.
Danish police will face a large fine for pre-emptively arresting thousands of people planning to protest at the failed Copenhagen climate summit.
A former UK drugs minister calls for an end to prohibition.
There was another large protest in Greece against austerity measures.
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and other political prisoners are on hunger strike.
Russian conservationists lost the fight to prevent building a new highway through an old forest near Moscow.
It is hard to carry out such a campaign when journalists get beaten and maimed for writing about it.
A road is not the only way to improve transit to Sheremetyevo airport. They could build a railroad instead; it would have far less impact on the forest, it would be more efficient to run, and the trains could go faster than cars.
A study finds that increasing wealth does not generally make a nation or region's people report being happier.
So what does make people happier? The book, The Spirit Level, argues that greater equality within society makes for a better society. Maybe that is what makes people happier.
US citizens: phone your senators and say: support watchdog agencies and don't give taxpayer support to nuclear power.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Bank of America keeps trying to foreclose George Mahoney's home even though he has always paid his mortgage on time.
For more information about the system of fraudulent foreclosures.
Human Rights Watch to US: don't prosecute Assange.
Michael Lyons, UK navy medic, has refused to return to Afghanistan after reading the Wikileaks disclosures about atrocities and coverups there.
Bradley Manning, accused of providing US government secrets to the public via Wikileaks, has been in solitary confinement for months, denied even a pillow and a sheet, as well as all news.
This is generally considered torture, and should be unacceptable even for convicts.
Cheney escaped prosecution in Nigeria after Halliburton made a plea bargain.
Faux News reporters were given orders to cast doubt on global heating.
High officials in Kenya were charged with arranging a campaign of killings in the 2007 election.
Evidence that police provocateurs disguised as protesters fomented violence in Rome protests this week.
The US has sued Billionaire Polluter over the big spill.
Wikileaks reveals that BP had another well explosion in Azerbaijan.
Wikileaks reveals the UK promised to limit the Chilcot inquiry to protect the US — and did so, undermining its results.
A federal court ruled against the part of Obama's health insurance law that insurance companies like best: the requirement for individuals to buy from them.
The bill would be greatly improved if only that part is ultimately invalidated. Meanwhile, some other federal courts ruled in favor of that same part of the law. The Supreme Court will surely be asked to decide the question.
To provide medical care to everyone requires publicly funded health care, at least as an option. To save money and still provide good care requires eliminating the insurance companies and the billing, and negotiating bulk purchase of medicines — which the efficient systems of other countries do.
Naomi Wolf: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide.
Philip Morris documents, provided to a court but since destroyed, indicated that sales personnel intended to get children hooked using chewing tobacco.
The US Air Force has blocked access to the New York Times, the Guardian, and other sites that have published Wikileaks cables.
To be really thorough, they would need to ban access to the printed papers too.
New EPA regulations are closing coal-powered electric plants whose emissions kill an estimated 13,000 people a year.
Reducing CO2 emissions will be good, too.
However, protesters in the UK that sought to temporarily shut down a coal-powered plant were convicted in the face of their necessity defense.
New papers show forensic evidence suggesting that weapons inspector Dr. Kelly didn't carry out his supposed suicide, meaning he was murdered.
EU investigators say the prime minister of Kosovo is the head of a mafia that smuggles weapons, drugs, and prisoners to kill for their kidneys.
Irish banksters looted their failed bank, paying bonuses ahead of time before the government could take it over.
Berlusconi narrowly survived the no-confidence vote. He can't legislate, but he can stay out of jail.
Assange's lawyer says that Sweden has agreed to hand Assange over to the US if it gets him.
The theory that Sweden's charges against Assange are an excuse to hand him over to the US has one flaw that would need to be addressed: why would the US go to the trouble of moving him to Sweden to extradite him rather than getting him from the UK? With the unjust, one-sided treaty between the US and the UK, that would be a cinch.
It could be that the purpose of these charges is to prevent Assange from traveling to a country where he would be safe, while the US gets ready to make its case.
Corporations and governments systematically corrupt online debate by paying people to make postings as "concerned citizens". Meanwhile, real right-wing activists get corporate-funded training in how to swamp reputation-based review systems so progressive writings and articles get bad ratings.
Privatized police in the US have the powers of police, but work for companies; therefore, when they abuse citizens, the citizens lack the usual protections against police.
A simulation study suggests that explosives can be smuggled past the x-ray scanners.
Business lobbies that control Congress blocked legislation to prevent repetition of big, well-known corporate disasters.
After the Smithsonian bowed to Republican threats and censored an art exhibit, art foundations have responded with their own funding threats.
I admire their spirit, but I fear that Republicans in Congress have a bigger weapon.
Rapid soil erosion and desertification are leading to permanent world food shortages in 30 years.
Global heating is making this worse, by increasing long droughts and other agricultural disasters that in the past would have been natural disasters.
Crop pests will also spread due to global heating. Thus, reducing population growth is crucial for humanity.
Comparing new House committee leaders with the main source of their campaign funds: in the area they are supposed to regulate.
Greenpeace: Cancun may have saved the process but it did not yet save the climate.
How changing CO2 levels related to global heating and cooling in the remote past.
Philip Morris tobacco company is trying to use the Switzerland-Uruguay free trade agreement to block smoking-reduction measures.
This illustrates the general injustice of free trade agreements. I wonder how many Swiss voters support the favor their government is doing for the merchants of death.
The Assange case has focused public attention on the absurdity of the European Arrest Warrant. Thousands of people are extradited each year, often for trivial matters.
Protester Jody McIntyre says that in Thursday's London protest, police twice pulled him out of his wheelchair and dragged him on the street.
ACLU: arguments that Bush's extended warrantless surveillance law is unconstitutional.
When London protester Alfie Meadows was brought to a hospital, police there tried to stop him from getting treatment; he could have died.
The hidden US bailout: 2 trillion dollars to prop up "mortgage-backed securities", in other words, shares in the risky and failed mortgages that banks sold to others.
These mortgages are the ones that banks are trying to fraudulently foreclose.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized the US for trying to silence Wikileaks.
Faux News DC managing editor Bill Sammon gave explicit instructions to reporters to promote the Republican position on health insurance reform and precisely how.
This is normal practice for a partisan organization. For instance, I offer similar suggestions for free software supporters. The free software movement is a campaign for a cause, and we say so. Faux News is a campaign for a cause, but pretends to be "fair and balanced" — pretends to be journalism.
By seeking to quell WikiLeaks, its U.S. political opponents are only priming the pump for more embarrassing revelations down the road.
The Afghan National Police is losing almost 20% of its members each year.
US citizens: tell FCC Commussioner Copps, please block Chairman Genachowski's fake form of net neutrality.
A new law requires US importers to document the origin of four crucial minerals that fuel war in eastern Congo.
It is the anarchy in that area, the conflict among various armies, which makes it difficult to prevent them all from mistreating their workers. If any one force wins the fight and sets up an unchallenged government, that government could be held responsible. So another possible avenue would be to aid any one of the existing forces to defeat the others.
Sarah Pa'in reports that refugee Haitians are "full of joy".
London police accused a man of "attempted criminal damage" for swinging on a flag, but they have not arrested the man who gave a student a life-threatening brain injury. Perhaps because that man is a cop.
Various people report that PayPal froze their accounts because they were collecting for Wikileaks.
The "significant step" of Cancun is insignificant compared with the task of preventing climate disaster. In a few decades, cities in summer may be deadly to the old, the young, and the sick, without air conditioning -- and air conditioners use powerful greenhouse gases.
"I'm beginning to think Obama has as much contempt for us as the Republicans do for him."
Wikileaks reveals Chinese diplomats privately expressed frustration with the tyrants of Burma.
If they were sincere, this gives hope it may be possible to make the Burmese tyrants yield power — if China is prepared to move beyond private hand-wringing. That's as ineffective as private criticism by US officials of Israel's occupation policy.
Dyncorp staff are buying child prostitutes in Afghanistan as they did in Bosnia. But now they're boys.
If Wikileaks had existed in 2001, it could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, say US agents who were ignored.
European past presidents and high officials called for pressure on Israel to recognize a Palestinian state in the whole of the occupied territory.
US Department of Homeland "Security" officials are handicapped by Obama's order that they not look at Wikileaks cables.
Wikileaks cables reveal Pfizer looked for a way to blackmail the attorney general of Nigeria into canceling legal action over an improperly conducted drug study.
While right-wing demagogues call for murder or prosecution of Wikileaks, some Conservatives recognize that it deserves their support.
EasyDNS was erroneously blamed for taking down Wikileaks' DNS, so it decided to give Wikileaks DNS service. Good on you, EasyDNS.
Russian president Medvedev proposes that Julian Assange should get the Nobel Peace Prize.
I agree. Medvedev and his effective boss Putin are no champions of freedom of the press but that doesn't mean we should automatically disagree with everything they say.
By the way, I don't see any great significance in the NATO contingency plan to defend the Baltic states. It's not a plan to attack. It's also not an assertion that they expected Russia to attack.
50 rabbis in Israel ordered their followers not to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews.
In the mid 20th century, there were places in the US which refused to sell or rent houses to Jews. Jews and Blacks were allies in a long struggle against housing discrimination in the US. But that was decades ago, and some of today's Jews have forgotten what it is like to be on the receiving end. Their mean-spirited act is likely to backfire.
The Cancun climate talks have almost completely broken down, as several countries refuse to renew the Kyoto agreement.
It looks like the US and Japan are pressuring/paying African leaders to endorse plans to fail to stop global heating.
At a large student protest in London, police besieged many protesters, some of whom then attacked the police. Police attacked many other protesters and one needed brain surgery.
A leaked New Zealand government document shows that it has come to oppose stricter copyright laws, and in particular the prohibition on programs to break digital handcuffs.
The paper's substance is about copyright, but it confuses the issue by phrasing it in terms of "intellectual property". This has the effect of bringing a dozen other laws into the discussion — spuriously, since the actual point pertains to copyright only. The paper would have been clearer if it had not ever said "intellectual property". It generally introduces confusion whenever it is used. Nonetheless, it is an important step forward that one government is starting to listen to someone other than the publishers' lobby.
Berlusconi is accused of buying votes in the Italian parliament as opposition deputies mysteriously change sides.
In September 2002, the UK government designed a plan to get the media and the British public to support the invasion of Iraq.
This was shortly before the distorted "dodgy dossier".
Three New Orleans police were convicted for shooting and killing a citizen and then covering it up.
More info here.
US citizens: phone your senators telling them to pass the DISCLOSE act which would make companies identify themselves on their political advertising.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: call your Democratic senators and say, "Reject the deal to give rich people a tax cut."
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
ACS:law, whose business model is intimidating people in the UK for forbidden sharing, took 8 cases to court and lost them all at the first stage.
US citizens: phone the National Association of Broadcasters to criticize their misleading opposition to the Local Community Radio Act.
Phoning your senators could be good too. The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
India's ambassador to the US was greatly offended when the airport guards felt her up because she was wearing a sari.
The investigation into the cause of the big spill is stymied, because Republicans won't give it subpoena power.
I wonder why it was not given subpoena power at the outset, and why Obama did not fight to give it that power. Perhaps this investigation was intended to satisfy public pressure for an investigation, rather than to effectively investigate.
Everyone: sign this petition calling on the US to stop its intimidation campaign against Wikileaks.
Big pharma companies have recently paid billions in fines for felonies including encouraging unapproved uses of drugs.
The company Datacell has refused to stop processing donations for Wikileaks.
US students are holding silent protests against Israeli soldiers on speaking tours in the US.
Prominent Israelis asked a court to bar General Naveh from a high position in the army, accusing him of choosing to kill Palestinians (and plenty of bystanders) rather than arrest them.
This is directly relevant to the US, now that Obama also advocates "targeted killing".
Israel recently demolished a Bedouin village; right-wing Christian extremists are planting a million trees there to prevent rebuilding.
NGO Monitor, an organization funded by supporters of Israeli hawks, aims to shut down all criticism of Israeli occupation policies and war crimes by labeling the organizations that publish it as "anti-semitic".
Shell Oil boasted to US diplomats about having agents in every department of Nigeria's government.
John Pilger — Why WikiLeaks must be protected.
Daniel Ellsberg says, "Every attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time."
UK police attacked London protesters en masse, and beat a student unconscious. Then they kept medics away for 2 hours.
This reminds me of what Israeli forces used to do to Palestinians.
A year ago, the rich countries promised an inadequate 30 billion dollars to help poor countries deal with the effects of global heating. Little of that money has been delivered, and that little was taken from other promised aid.
In other words, all the poor countries will get from the US is hot air.
Explaining the flaws and loopholes in REDD.
I'd be a strong supporter of REDD if these problems were corrected. In particular, the companies that were given long term contracts to cut down the forest should lose their contracts and be paid off with 40-year bonds whose value is tied to the health of the forests at that time.
Why are rich people stingy? Partly because feeling superior to others turns off empathy.
With improvements in protection from poachers, mountain gorillas' numbers are growing.
However, with only 480 of them, the population is still small and vulnerable.
The US government lobbied Russia on behalf of VISA and Mastercard and against privacy rights for people that use their cards in Russia.
No wonder these companies are so susceptible to political pressure to violate their customers' rights.
Wikileaks says, "We will not be gagged".
This refers to the UNESCO announcement about World Press Freedom Day.
Three cheers for Wikileaks. The US government has betrayed the country and works for the banksters, and the major media are mostly under their control, but Wikileaks is still on our side.
Cancun is an ecological disaster; cutting down the mangroves causes the land to erode.
Meanwhile, human waste is killing the coral (but CO2 will kill that anyway), and polluting the aquifer.
China has restricted hundreds of activists to stop them from expressing any support for Liu Xiaobo.
This begs for comparison with the US government's attempt to block people from supporting Wikileaks.
Forced marriage and murder by family members are still common for women in Afghanistan. A law to protect women's rights is not enforced very much.
Even a strong government would find it difficult to protect women's rights in Afghanistan, against the ingrained patriarchal tradition. Karzai is too weak to do it, and doesn't dare really try, supposing he cares.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan says that foreign troops are doing Afghanistan no favor by fighting a war to keep Karzai in power.
No matter how long the US and NATO keep the war going, they cannot defeat the Taliban, because Karzai's corruption can never inspire support. The sooner we stop, the better.
A supporter of the campaign for a Chagos Islands marine reserve now knows that the UK duped him and he instead supports the Chagos Islanders.
It isn't necessary to choose one or the other. It is possible to have a marine reserve in part of the archipelago and let the islanders return to another part. However, that's not what the UK government wants.
Indonesia's government is taking money to preserve forests while encouraging companies to cut them down.
I am totally in favor of REDD provided we can make it succeed in preserving the forests it is meant to preserve. If governments cheat, or game it by labeling plantations as "forests", it will be worse than useless.
PayPal's VP effectively admitted it cut off Wikileaks under US pressure.
More information on the Swedish charges against Julian Assange.
As the US uses threats to cut off Wikileaks from hosting and financial support, and considers laws to ban publication of leaks, and rabid Senator Lieberman wants to prosecute newspapers too, it announces plans to celebrate World Press Freedom Day.
The way so many companies have cut Wikileaks off reminds me of the way Gary Kasparof couldn't launch his election campaign in Russia because nobody in Moscow would rent a hall for the required initial meeting.
US citizens: sign this petition supporting Wikileaks and opposing US attempts to censor it.
Reports that the White House is coordinating a systematic attempt to silence Wikileaks and shut off its funds.
As I predicted, the US government's attack on Wikileaks has proceeded from trying to intimidate government employees to trying to intimidate other Americans.
US citizens: sign this petition for strong enforcement of anti-trust law in food production.
As explained therein, a few megacorporations control a large part of it.
The implications of Wikileaks: "Kicking the hornets' nest."
President Preval seems to have altered the results of the voting in Haiti to insert his favorite candidate into the runoff election.
This Burmese-style election was fraudulent from the start, since the main political party, Fanmi Lavalas, was excluded and so was Aristide, its leader.
Israel has conclusively rejected invitations and even big bribes to temporarily freeze extension of its colonies in the West Bank. By doing so, the Israeli government has conclusively rejected peace with the Palestinians.
How the rich gained their control over US politics.
Iceland's refusal to bail out its private banks has been an economic success: Iceland has come out of recession. Iceland's government tried to impose these debts on the people, but the deal was rejected.
Ireland is taking the route that Iceland's government tried to take, and there's a lot of opposition.
Malnutrition is increasing in India despite government ration programs.
Many things could be done to improve aid for the poor in India, but increases in population will eat them up. What really needs to be done is to stop India's population growth. People who can't properly feed children shouldn't produce them.
3000 Mexican and other farmers are protesting in Cancún that the rich countries are pushing for false solutions.
I disagree with part of their position. Bioreserves are necessary, even though they cause trouble for the people who lived in them before. Those people should be compensated with land elsewhere. If that is hard to do, it is because of overpopulation, and that is another problem we need to tackle sooner rather than later.
However, at a deep level, these peasants are right that the rich countries don't want to do enough to prevent the disaster they are causing.
Global heating and ocean acidification (also caused by CO2) both endanger corals. We are likely to destroy all coral reefs, and the thousands of species that depend on them, by 2050.
US citizens: sign this petition for Democrats to reject the tax cuts for the rich.
Obama has surrendered to Republican blackmail, and supports extending Bush's tax cuts for the rich.
If someone always caves in to Republicans, to say he is not himself a Republican is a distinction without a difference.
Don't believe the scare stories of the people who want to cut spending and prolong the recession. Here are the fallacies in those stories.
Wikileaks cables reveal recognition in Afghan government circles that Karzai is inadequate as a president.
This fact is widely known, but US policy is based on denying it, and the government refuses to recognize the fact. Rubbing the US's nose in this problem, though unpleasant, may be what the US needs to switch to a strategy that has chance of success.
One of Assange's Swedish accusers is connected with US-supported anti-Cuba groups.
This isn't proof the charges are a CIA-planned dirty trick, but raises a suspicion that they are.
Malaysia punishes people by beating them with wooden sticks, causing permanent internal scars.
The fact that doctors participate is no excuse, neither in Malaysia nor in the US.
Wikileaks cables claim that Qatar uses editorial control over Al Jazeera as an instrument for political pressure.
A new climate model suggests there is not much danger of a catastrophic multi-meter rise in sea level, but increases the danger of deforestation as a contribution to global heating.
Everyone: sign this petition calling on Brazil not to build the Belo Monte dam.
PayPal has defined the publication of leaks as "illegal activity", or inviting same, and has shut payments to Wikileaks.
This illustrates one of the dangers of e-commerce as it exists today, compared with money and even checks: nobody has a legal right to participate, so the companies that control the payments can be pressured to shut someone out, without even a trial.
If the closure of Wikileaks servers and domains is the "privatization of state censorship", then this is the privatization of closure of bank accounts and seizure of assets.
Wikileaks cables say a Chinese official ordered cracking attacks on Google because he resented finding articles that criticized him in a Google search.
Annul Haiti's elections and have a free, fair vote.
Bush corrupted medical professionals by getting them to participate in torture. In some cases this added up to illegal human experimentation.
The DREAM Act sounds like a good way to offer illegal US resident minors a chance for citizenship; but it would have the side effect of pressuring them to join the army and help wars of conquest.
US diplomat threatened Germany against trying to arrest the US agents that kidnapped Khalid al-Masri and had him tortured.
A torrent user is starting a class-action lawsuit against a law firm that tried to intimidate torrent users.
Spain's new proposed harsh copyright law was essentially written by US businesses.
More info, in Spanish.
Ecuador's constitution recognizes rights for nature. BP has been sued in Ecuador for violating the rights of the Gulf of Mexico.
This is no joke if BP has facilities or wells in Ecuador.
The most dangerous problem revealed by the Wikileaks cables is that the US is firing missiles directly in Yemen.
So far, this is the one issue I have seen where one of these leaks could do harm in the short term. It might endanger Saleh's tricky game. However, in the longer term, he can't conceal it for much longer.
Ecuador, Bolivia and their allies have said they will abandon the Cancún climate summit if it abandons the principle of binding limitation on carbon emissions.
Transparency International in Pakistan oversees the use of US aid. The government of Pakistan is trying to make it stop.
Sinar Mas destroys forest in Indonesia, and attacks people who live in the forest if they resist. It's getting to the point where many companies won't buy from Sinar Mas. Nonetheless, Greenpeace sellout Patrick Moore still defends the company.
A long interview with Julian Assange.
It occurs to me that Wikileaks could help prevent financial crises, by popping bubbles earlier when they are smaller and do less damage.
The people profiting from these bubbles try to keep them going as long as possible. The longer they go, the bigger they get, and the more companies get dragged in. When the bubble gets substantial, lots of people don't want it to pop because popping it is going to hurt. (They resemble the fools that delay going to the dentist to fix a cavity and let it get bigger, delay checking themselves for cancer and thus let it become fatal, etc.) So the bubble grows until all those supporters can't keep it going. At that point, popping it is very painful.
If Wikileaks gets evidence that people are intentionally blowing the bubble, that might enable it to be popped sooner and with less pain.
UK Conservative leaders promised, if elected, to maintain B'liar's Servile Relationship with the US, and even offered to buy more US arms.
Tea Party leader Judson Phillips called for disenfranchising Americans that don't own (enough) property.
Americans, you heard it straight from them. The Tea Party thinks your vote is important enough to take it away from you.
The UK plans to let ministers veto prosecution of visiting war criminals.
This is to protect Israeli officials responsible for war crimes. The US government probably demanded this of the UK. In the past decade, the US and Israel have committed many war crimes, and the US has used its muscle to eliminate universal jurisdiction against anyone that threatens to hold them responsible for their crimes.
Bruce Schneier: close the Washington Monument and make it a monument to America's fear.
Dan Gillmor published questions for Wikileaks, the US government, and journalists.
I can respond to one of the questions he posed to Assange (though I cannot speak for him). Assange is not an official, and Wikileaks is not a government. They have no army or police, and can't force anyone to do anything. They have no power over us; all they can do is inform us. Thus, there is no reason to apply the same standards to them that we apply to a government or an official. Knowing more about how Wikileaks receives and posts documents won't help us ascertain their veracity, and we don't need that information to judge their implications.
Meanwhile, Assange is being personally threatened; and since he is not an official and isn't part of a government, he cannot protect himself the way they do. Secrecy about details of Wikileaks' operations are crucial to protect the personnel and also the sources.
Wikileaks restores our distrust in powerful institutions.
The US used dirty tricks in climate negotiations so as to kill off the UN's negotiations over a follow-on to the Kyoto agreement.
The US government is threatening government employees who read the Wikileaks cables — and some departments have blocked access to them.
The next step, I suppose, will be to threaten ordinary citizens. Apparently Obama thinks he can put this genie back into the bottle by terror.
What makes this more sickening is that the rationale for the threat is a refusal to recognize the fact that these cables are now accessible. This reminds me of the Bush officials that said they were stronger than reality and could dismiss reality with contempt.
US citizens: tell Obama to reject tax cuts for the wealthy.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Ivory Coast's president refuses to yield power to the opposition that apparently won the election.
Guantanamo prisoners were forcibly injected with mefloquine, which causes side effects such as hallucination and suicide.
The French government threatens companies that host Wikileaks.
Any government that bans Wikileaks is the enemy of justice, and the enemy of its own people. It is no surprise that that applies to Sarkozy.
Wikileaks reveals that the UK government has been misleading the exiled Chagos Islanders.
If Amazon indeed disconnected Wikileaks based on interpreting its terms of service, that is more dangerous than if it was due to Lieberman's pressure.
Massachusetts voters: call Senator Brown and tell him to support legislation to protect whistleblowers such as Wikileaks.
Large protests in the UK are aimed at companies that take advantage of tax loopholes.
When it is time to cut the budget deficit — a recession is a foolish time to do that — it could be done by taxing these companies instead of budget cuts.
Meanwhile, the UK has undercover police watching these protests.
Julian Assange faces arrest for questioning, although he is not actually charged with a crime, and Sweden seems to be in no hurry to send anyone to question him.
The crime he's not actually accused of is often reported as "rape", but it isn't defined as rape in most places, and isn't illegal in most places.
Lieberman and some official Republicans propose to make it a crime to publish leaked intelligence information.
They aim to crush the freedom of the press which our last defense against the danger of the US government.
US police can track your use of credit cards and your supermarket loyalty cards, and your travel reservations, in real time. And they don't even need to bother asking a judge.
Amnesty International: Israel's small changes in the blockade of Gaza have made little difference.
The wikileaks.org domain was canceled by the domain name company on a perverse excuse. Imagine if you could be evicted from your apartment because people were trying to attack you in it.
Amazon says that it shut down the Wikileaks server because it did not comply with the EC2 service conditions. It appears that these conditions prohibit whistleblowing in general.
Meanwhile, it was Senator Lieberman who caused Tableau Software to stop hosting Wikileaks data. This illustrates the danger of using someone else's server to publish.
Obama and Republicans joined forces to quash Spain's prosecution of US war criminals.
In the US: sign this petition for advertisers to stop advertising in Faux News.
Haiti's elections were neither free nor fair.
US citizens: sign this petition to implement the banking reform law in a strict way, not a lax way.
Senate Republicans hold unemployed Americans hostage for the sake of class warfare.
Haiti's Burmese-style election got international approval, after the two candidates that got the most votes decided to withdraw their complaints about the fraud.
The real threat to America (the security state).
The US has spent billions to bail out foreign banks. The WTO agreement mentioned is partly to blame; like the WTO in general, it gives business more power over the rest of us.
Obama has banned new oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico till 2017 as a safety measure.
Cheney faces corruption charges in Nigeria for Halliburton's activities there.
Wikileaks reveals that the US and other countries recognize that Russia is a "virtual mafia state".
The US is in big diplomatic trouble because the Wikileaks cables show the US told its diplomats to get the fingerprints, Internet passwords, and even DNA of other countries' diplomats.
Climate models forecast serious food shortages by 2050.
US diplomats in Italy heard reports that Berlusconi got kickbacks from Russian oil deals. The US diplomats would not have had direct knowledge of this, so they are not witnesses, and this isn't proof. However, it's the sort of thing Berlusconi would do.
Israel has demolished the bedouin town of Al-'Araqib for the seventh time.
The UK's "big society" means government will subsidize wealthy communities but not poor ones.
The Japanese whaling fleet has not set sail. Maybe it can't operate any more.
China is making a monumental effort to reduce CO2 emissions.
The US bullied Amazon into disconnecting the Wikileaks server. Will the New York Times step up to the plate and defend freedom of the press in the US?
Wikileaks cables show Spain's ministers intervened to block prosecution of Bush forces soldiers that killed a Spanish journalist in Iraq. The killing was almost certainly intentional. The tank fired at a large hotel filled with foreign journalists and no Iraqi troops, and there was no combat in the area at the time.
Republicans pressured the Smithsonian to censor a controversial art exhibit. The Republican party is the party of censorship. Too bad the Democratic party is no defender of human rights.
The EU wants to "help" poor countries cope with the ravages of global heating with loans. This means that as they suffer the effects of drought or floods or deforestation caused mostly by the richer countries, they will also get in debt they cannot repay.
However, how to cope with the disaster of 2 degrees of global heating is a side issue. The most urgent issue is how to ensure it isn't even worse. That's the one that the world is neglecting.
Bush tries to excuse his torture orders on the grounds he got doctors to participate in the torture. By doing so, he corrupted the medical profession.
Correcting right-wing lies about the Pilgrims.
In the US: participate in protests against corporate control of politics, Jan 21 and 22.
Uganda has charged a human rights defender of terrorism because he campaigned for the legal rights of others accused.
Wikileaks cables report Iran has a worldwide effort to purchase supplies for ballistic missiles.
Israel is spending a billion dollars to build a tram line between Jerusalem and some colonies in the West Bank, as an obstacle to any Palestinian state's holding on to that land.
Israeli troops rushed to demolish a Palestinian home in Jerusalem before the owner could bring the court order not to demolish it.
The bulldozers were at work elsewhere too.
After imprisoning Adeeb Abu Rahmah for participating in protests, Israel has now imprisoned his 16-year-old son.
By strange coincidence, loss of biodiversity seems to increase transmission of diseases to humans.
It appears natural methane emissions have increased. Global heating could be responsible for this. That would be one of the positive feedback loops that scientists have long warned about.
The UN has begun to consider the evidence that Nepalese troops brought cholera to Haiti. Some doubt whether the UN can be trusted to investigate itself.
Israeli police, enraged at Palestinian nonviolent protesters, took it out on a 7-year-old child who is now in the Intensive Care Unit.
The Egyptian parliamentary election was under smooth government control. The government controlled the votes, and even the occasional violence.
43 island countries have formed a bloc demanding fast action to stop global heating and consequent sea level rise.
Large student protests against education budget cuts continued in London. Marching students escaped an apparent police attempt to besiege them by splitting into several different marches.
It appears Google arbitrarily excluded the price comparison search engine Foundem from Google search results.
This is being considered in an EU investigation about fair competition.
Iran executed Shahla Jahed, who said she was tortured into confessing to murder.
A confession obtained through torture is no proof of anything except that the torturers ought to be punished. Torture by the Iranian government is just as evil as torture by the US government. Bush confessed voluntarily to conspiracy to commit torture; when will he be prosecuted?
A former Chinese health official, now dying, rebuked top government leaders for covering up the tainted blood that spread HIV in China.
Meanwhile, US officials are calling for labeling Wikileaks as a "terrorist group".
These two states share a common attitude: when their evil actions are revealed and criticized, it's the witness rather than the culprit that should be punished.
In Uganda, producing fuel from garbage is a viable business.
A Pentagon survey of US troops found most of them are ready to accept gay soldiers, especially those who have already been in the same units with some.
If DADT is not repealed, we will have Obama to thank. He could have chosen not to appeal the court decision which said it was illegal.
Sri Lanka's president faces a war crimes prosecution if he visits London.
Obama said he has not done enough to encourage bipartisanship.
He has spent two years bending over backwards to make concessions to Republicans, who responded by demanding more. The only way he could be "more bipartisan" is by simply letting the Republicans tell him what to do.
Is this man insane, or is he playing a double game?
US diplomats believe Pakistan's army can't be stopped from supporting Islamist militants and the Taliban, and are concerned the latter will get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons.
I think India could make peace with Pakistan if it carried out its obligation to give Kashmir a referendum on independance. This would remove one of the main disputes, and create a buffer between India and Pakistan on the tensest part of the border.
Mugabe confiscated large farms from Whites in the name of land reform, but gave the land to his cronies rather than to the landless poor.
Rangzieb Ahmed argues he should be released from UK prison because the UK arranged for him to be tortured in Pakistan.
Terrorism and torture are both heinous crimes. If Ahmed's conviction did not rely on the evidence obtained through torture, there is no reason to overturn it; but those who caused him to be tortured ought to be prosecuted too.
TSA agents broke their rules to harass a mother for carrying a bottle of her milk, even though (or was it because?) she had previously shown the same agents the TSA rules that govern the situation.
Comcast unilaterally abolished network neutrality by demanding a company pay to avoid slowdown of access to its website.
US citizens: phone your senators to end the ban on abortion for women in US military bases.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Also sign this petition.
Actor Mark Ruffalo is reportedly on a US "terrorist" list because of his political activities: he arranged showings of a documentary that criticizes natural gas extraction.
This would be funny if it weren't so sad. The US government has an immense mechanism to investigate and hound "terrorists", and this mechanism can be turned on non-terrorists too.
Japan has stagnated economically for 20 years, but is that bad?
It seems as if Japan has no need for further economic growth. Why demand growth for growth's sake? It should be a relief to find out that a state of economic sufficiency is not so far away.
Instead of growth, Japan could focus its efforts on energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction — areas where improvement is surely possible.
US citizens: sign this petition against tax cuts for the rich.
Bolivia calls for mass popular pressure to sideline the US and adopt a climate protection agreement that will suffice to do the job.
The rest of the world could force the US to comply, if necessary.
The Wikileaks cables report Chinese leaders are fed up with North Korea's behavior, and support eventual reunification of Korea.
This is delightfully sensible, but even with Chinese support it won't be easy to achieve.
Despite Clinton's complaints, the latest Wikileaks cables may aid diplomatic progress.
Abdallah Abu Rahmah "showed no remorse" for organizing the nonviolent protests in Bil'in, so the Israeli military court kept him in prison despite the end of his sentence.
Greenpeace sued Dow Chemical and its PR companies for undercover operations against Greenpeace.
There will be no bailout for the Earth when we melt it down.
Should the US intervene to put down the Lord's Resistance Army?
Some of these problems may be real; however, the article ends with a ludicrous claim that no one should ever intervene to stop any problem. That makes me suspicious of the other arguments, but doesn't prove they are wrong. It would be amazing if the US is unable to defeat and capture around a bandits with little popular support.
Rich countries and their corporate masters have ganged up to establish a tax regime which enables multinational companies to evade taxes.
Ireland's bailout has failed to achieve its supposed goal of reassuring investors. Quite the contrary, it seems to have increased the pressure to make other European countries need bailouts.
Under the current system, government bond purchasers cause these crises. They do it by holding out for higher interest rates, which they want anyway. The rumors that a certain country is "going to need a bailout" are simply the way bond purchasers organize (despite not being directly in conspiracy) to push the rates up. Any success they get inspires them to push harder, so eventually they create the crisis they were "worried" about. This is so profitable that they will keep doing it to one country after another.
I suspect that the powerful companies that want to reduce wages play some role it stimulating these crises. But I have no facts to prove it, so it is no more than a suspicion.
The only way to prevent the result is to make it unprofitable for bond purchasers to operate this way.
UK students are undeterred by the police's siege and cavalry charge; they are planning an even bigger protest.
Note how police commander Broadhurst threatens protesting children with violence, then deceitfully pretends that the police would be trying to prevent that, when we all know they would be carrying it out.
Parents in the UK should publicly condemn him for threatening children, and say, "I'm sure our children will be safe as long as they are not brutalized by you and your animals." Whether "animals" refers to horses can be left unspecified.
Another Afghan policeman shot NATO troops.
This pattern shows that the Taliban inspire loyalty and the Afghan government does not. As long as that is true, there is no way NATO can win except by crushing the people.
Madagascar's government is promoting its highly polluting tar oil by arranging to give multinational corporations nearly all the profit.
The competition for who can sell out more to business affects all countries, but especially the poorest.
Like the prisoner in Bentham's Panopticon, the precarious lives of working people offer them lots of bad choices in order to pressure them into obedience.
A scientific explanation of why the TSA's x-ray scanners are far more dangerous than an ordinary medical x-ray, even when they are new and working correctly.
The article also explains why a broken scanner might give you a much higher dose.
If the manufacturer failed to follow basic principles of safety, can the US government get its money back?
A "conservation" conference failed to protect bluefin tuna, whose numbers will continue to decline.
The US government has a private deal with VeriSign to eliminate .com domains on command.
Isn't it illegal for VeriSign to do this?
Iraq: No country for women.
Wikileaks released a large collection of US diplomatic cables. One cable shows that leaders of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries asked the US to make a military attack to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, as did Israel.
I don't see anything in this that is scandalous for the US. The US noted down the requests, but did go to war with Iran (though there is no way of knowing whether the US is involved in the bombings that killed nuclear physicists).
I linked to reports that suggested that an invasion was imminent, but either the public criticism dissuaded Bush from attacking or he never really intended to attack.
I appreciate Wikileaks' decision to be selective in publishing these cables, but I don't see that the public was served by leaking this particular cable. Leaks serve the public when they disclose past or planned state crimes. There's no hidden crime here, so no reason to leak it.
Although banks perform necessary services, most of what they do is parasitical. Some economists and even bankers are starting to admit it. Here's some explanation of how that works.
When threatened with any sort of proposal to regulate them, the banksters present the necessary services as an excuse to be allowed to do the latter. We need to separate the two.
It occurs to me that new kinds of financial derivatives ought to require government approval, like drugs. Further, like drugs, this approval should come with a dosage limit like "approved for sale of up to 50 million dollars worth per month," where that limit would apply to all sellers taken together. A derivative which can't hurt the economy at the allowed level might become destabilizing if many billions were sold.
Banks are not the only companies whose work is harmful when properly understood. Ironically, the article cites the iMoan as an example of a laudable product, but actually it is designed to restrict and attack its users.
Humanity is on track for 4 degrees C of global heating as early as 50 years from now, which means world-wide disaster.
Someone is assassinating Iranian nuclear physicists.
Israeli embassies will recruit individuals to give Israel a good name; this is meant to overcome the influence of the news we get about occupation and apartheid.
The US government closed down the domain of a torrent search engine, without even a trial, let alone a charge.
VS Naipaul has been pressured out of the European Writers Parliament because Turkish writers complained about Naipaul's criticism of Islam.
People are entitled to disagree with him, but the organizers of the event should have defended Naipaul's right to make a serious criticism of religion, whether or not they agreed with his criticism.
I think Naipaul has identified a real tendency. The Taliban were not the first Islamic regime to ban music: the Almoravids did that in Morocco around the year 1050. Meanwhile, in Java, Muslim fanatics have made violent attacks on traditional shadow puppet performances.
What Afghanistan's new school textbooks teach.
A billion people will lose their homes (eventually) if strong climate protection measures are not taken now.
UK police besieged a group of hundreds of protesters for hours, repeatedly attacking them. Their "crime" was only to protest.
The police also lied about their attack, but now they have been caught.
The Russian Parliament formally accepted Russia's guilt for the Katyn massacre in 1940.
Many nations have carried out atrocities, even genocide. (Consider how the US treated the American Indians — and Argentina was even worse.) "Patriots" often try to deny the facts, upholding the pretense that "my country couldn't possibly act like that." That is absurd — any country could act like that, so the way to protect your country's honor is to make sure your country doesn't. True patriots acknowledge their country's wrongs, and use them as a lesson to future generations so the country won't act like that again.
Ecuador and Peru are suffering already from global heating. There is less rain, and seasons are shifting so farmers can't tell when to plant. Glaciers have shrunk by 1/3 since the 1980s.
2-3 degrees of warming could nearly eliminate Lake Titicaca; it has done so before.
There is a new push to make poor people in Africa pay for water. Past experience shows this drives many to drink unsafe water and get cholera.
In Ireland, former workers are now homeless, while the government owns thousands of empty apartments.
It's possible that the government doesn't officially own these apartments. It may have kept the banks officially separate as an excuse to say it can't do anything.
If so, that is simply another excuse for keeping poor people homeless.
Ingmar Guandique was convicted of murdering Chandra Levy, but is there any real evidence that he did so?
The Israeli siege of Gaza continues, just a little bit looser.
The new US house majority leader has vowed obedience to Israel's government.
This conflicts with his oath of office as a congressman. He ought to be punished.
The coming US-supported election in Haiti is much like the one Burmese election that the US has condemned.
When the injustice of this election is pointed out, the US says "This is for the government of Haiti to decide", which is basically a lie given how that government depends on the US to stay in power.
Mexico has completely abandoned environmental protection, letting companies (and people) dump waste anywhere.
Many people predicted that this was what "free trade" treaties would do.
The 2000's were substantially hotter than the 1990's, and 2010 seems to be as hot as ever before measured.
Thus, the claims that global warming has stopped are incorrect.
600,000 people are killed each year by second-hand smoking, according to the WHO.
UK citizens: The UK wants the police to be able to shut Internet domains without a trial. Send the government your objection.
Women in the US: wear a rag to the airport.
Israelis burned Palestinian's olive trees again.
Israeli settler's attacks against Palestinians are becoming more systematic, more coordinated with the army, and more frequent.
Robert Fisk explains Obama's planned appeasement of Netanyahu.
How the Israeli army covered up the investigation into an atrocity in Gaza.
Israelis are denying Palestinians access to springs in the West Bank which are vital sources of water, but setting them up as tourist sites.
Tar balls were found in the Gulf of Mexico, so an area has been closed for fishing again.
Abdullah Abu Rahma, organizer of the weekly Bil'in protests, has been kept in prison even though his "sentence" has ended.
His "crime" consisted of organizing nonviolent protests. To imprison people for that is tyranny no matter how you label it.
Meanwhile, Israel imprisons thousands of Palestinians for long periods of time without any charges at all, as part of the military occupation of Palestine.
US citizens: state an objection to oil drilling in Chukchi Sea.
The US has established world-wide systems of wiretapping. The government's new demand for Internet services and even user applications to support wiretaps is the culmination of this campaign.
An argument that Ireland would be better off abandoning the euro and defaulting on its debt, than accepting the bailout's new debt it will not be able to repay.
The New York police chased a crew of unarmed dancers through the Lincoln Tunnel because they were wearing camouflage.
Because the police eventually helped the dancers, rather than prosecuting them (as Star Simpson was prosecuted) for the crime of being misunderstood by the ignorant, I see nothing odious in the police actions in this case; but they seem to have overreacted foolishly.
In today's European Union, it is not enough for a country to obey the banks and markets. It has to be beyond any suspicion of failing to rapidly obey.
In the 1990s, when the EU put business firmly in control, it led to speculation that business would eventually eliminate the social safety net and end the prosperity most Europeans then enjoyed. This seems to be the opportunity.
The save-the-tiger summit failed to set up a system to stop poaching, so it probably won't prevent the tiger's further elimination.
Army doctors have a special medical duty to protect prisoners from torture.
Around 100,000 students protested in the UK. In London the police preemptively attacked a group of thousands of teenagers by bottling them up for hours.
Later a few protestors committed some property damage and fought with police. The UK leaders cited this as a reason to ask people to disregard the protest.
The Conservative leaders who say they respond to "arguments" are telling a half truth. They are interested in arguments about what would help the rich and empoverish the poor, but not in any others.
Ireland's austerity plan is likely to lead to a second crisis of mortgage failures.
What these crises have in common is that governments have let businesses control the laws that ought to be designed to keep them in check. As long as that remains true, more crises will result.
The Senate voted to appropriate the money to pay the court settlement to Black farmers who suffered descrimination in government assistance.
We cannot count on the TSA to keep its body scanners working just right, so we cannot trust whatever the TSA says about how much radiation dose they give. Even if they are safe when running properly, the one you are invited to go through might not be safe.
So don't risk it. Choose to be felt up instead.
Wendell Potter investigated Health Care America, an insurance company front group, and found it had started out as a drug company front group.
A US father was stripped of joint custody of his children because he acknowledged being an agnostic.
A passenger was arrested for recording a TSA outrage on her phone.
1.5 million Americans may become homeless due to the recession. One of Obama's few achievements is a program to help people pay their rent so as not to become homeless. It works, but it is too small to do the job.
Why al-Awlaki's human rights must be defended.
The greenhouse gas reduction pledges from 2009 are inadequate to avoid climate disaster.
Koch Industries, whose owners funded the Tea Party, is responsible for 3 million gallons of oil spill.
Iran might not execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, but execution in the US is being used to justify execution in Iran.
The parallel is not complete. Some of the people executed in the US had manifestly shoddy trials, and some might be executed after obviously unfair Guantanamo kangaroo courts, but it's hard for any US trial to be as absurd as that of Sakineh. And I doubt the prisoner's lawyers and family would be arrested for condemning the verdict (though Bush did arrest and charge some defense lawyers).
However, Larijani has a basic valid point. Execution is wrong in the US too. We should not condemn Iran for execution and leave the US alone.
The UK has agreed to pay compensation to Shaker Aamer for helping the US subject him to torture, but he can't collect it because he is still a prisoner in Guantanamo.
Israeli settlers set fire to olive trees near Bat Ayn. When Palestinians tried to extinguish the fire, they were arrested. That is one case among many where Israel attacked Palestinians on insane pretexts.
Indonesia is planning to use a billion dollars in aid money to "rehabilitate" forests by cutting them down and replacing them with palm oil plantations.
TSA agents have groped women for many years, but the big scandal developed when they started groping men.
Better late than never.
US citizens: sign this petition to reinstate Blair Mountain as a national historic site and thus protect it from being destroyed by a coal mine.
Blair Mountain was where a large protest by coal miners was crushed by force.
Nearly all US foreclosures involve fraud by the banks, which didn't bother to keep the papers they were legally supposed to maintain. So Florida created special courts to help the banks by closing their eyes to the fraud.
The TSA disconnected a man's bag that receives his urine, and he had to board the plane all wet.
People with other sorts of prosthetics report humiliation too.
The TSA and US Customs are harassing a number of people at airports because they are believed to be connected with Wikileaks.
The US has a duty to prosecute the war criminals revealed by Wikileaks, but it is interested only in protecting them.
Israeli soldiers that used a Palestinian child as a human shield received a suspended sentence and a demotion.
How would Israelis feel if Palestinians who fire rockets at Israel got this punishment?
There is no indication that the TSA has ever stopped a real terrorist.
Does catching illegal aliens and people carrying drugs justify TSA searches? Putting aside for the moment the question of whether it is right to prohibit drugs, the answer is definitely no, because the TSA's excuse for searching everyone is flight safety. If flight safety is not a real justification, then there is no excuse for the searches at all.
As for discouraging terrorists from even trying, it doesn't seem that the TSA succeeds at that either. It only shows them the need to be more inventive so as not to be caught by the TSA.
Afghanistan's independent election commission has disqualified 10% of the "winning" candidates for election fraud.
A list of Israeli officers who commanded in the attack on Gaza was posted, together with a suggestion to attack them.
Only trials can establish which of these officers were responsible for the war crimes that were committed. However, Israel will prosecute them only if compelled to, and the human shield trial results show it would punish them with a slap on the wrist.
An international tribunal should be established and Israel should be pressured to surrender these officers to it.
If someone did attack them, what should we say about that? Since they are soldiers, attacking them is not inherently a war crime. However, if it were done in a way that killed civilians, as past Palestinian and Israeli attacks have done, it would be an atrocity.
Ireland has surrendered to pressure for an IMF and EU bailout that would result in perverse budget-cutting and gratuitous suffering.
The "need" for the bailout comes from the government's insistence on paying in full the debts of private banks. The creditors of these banks are more important to this government's than the people of Ireland.
The one possible positive result, raising Ireland's tax rate on corporations, has been eliminated from the deal because companies said they didn't want to be taxed more. In other words, all these governments are subservient to business.
Merkel wants the bond buyers and banks to pay for costs of future euro bailouts.
That would introduce an important element of justice into the system. I expect the banks and rich to use their puppet governments to resist the plan.
Justice also demands that Ireland stop giving companies a means to deny their taxes to other countries.
A Pakistani Christian woman who faces the death penalty for "blasphemy" may soon be pardoned.
Laws against blasphemy infringe freedom of speech, which includes the freedom to criticize or condemn any action or idea.
Japan's Justice minister had to resign because he admitted the simple ways that ministers duck difficult questions.
Japan has no interest in correcting this problem, only in covering it up. (For more information, see The Enigma of Japanese Power.)
Uri Avnery explains how Ehud Barak destroyed the Israeli left by falsely saying that Palestinians had rejected peace. The result is that most Israelis now are unwilling to seriously consider peace.
It seems to me that the only way out of this is if the US defies the control of the Israeli hawks' lobby, and compels Israel to stop the activities that are obstacles to an end to the occupation.
A shortage of heroin in the UK (and perhaps world-wide) puts addicts in danger of death from adulterated drugs.
Note that great success at efforts to seize illegal imports of heroin would cause similar effects.
Prohibition is at the root of this danger. If addicts could get heroin legally, perhaps from the state, this danger would not exist. Most dangers of drug use today are really caused by prohibition, not by the drugs themselves. I would not encourage anyone to use heroin, but prohibition must end.
Conservatism and socialism are based on different ideas of human nature.
It should be noted that the Liberalism referred to in this article is quite different from what it means to be a Liberal in the US.
I think that all simple theories of it are gravely flawed. Human nature is complex; often we have multiple motives at different levels for one action. Selfishness is clearly part of human nature, but the success of the free software movement demonstrates the falsity of the conservative theory which claims it is all selfishness.
In New York City: sign this petition against Cathie Black's nomination for Chancellor of New York City schools. The petition cites her lack of experience in education, but there's another reason: on the board of Coca Cola Company, she refused to acknowledge or take action against the murder of union organizers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously for COICA, the bill to allow the US government to abolish internet domain names without a trial.
The basic aim of this law is wrong. Sharing is good; to attack sharing in any matter is wrong. By voting for this law, the senators sided with the record companies and movie companies against the people of the US.
However, they tried to do something worse than make these useful and ethical activities a crime. They also attacked the basic idea of justice, by proposing to punish this "crime" without a trial.
It is no coincidence that they did both. Governments that work for someone other than the people (in this case, Hollywood) tend to find harsh measures "necessary" to keep the people down.
The bill has been blocked temporarily by Senator Wyden, but even he seems to reject only details.
The senators who voted for the bill, less two who won't remain in the senate, are:
If one of these people is your senator, tell him you are disgusted, and don't vote for him again unless he changes his policy on this.
Testimony from the trial of New Orleans police who murdered a man on the street, then covered it up.
In order for a government to justify prohibiting looting of supermarkets after a storm, it has to provide food effectively enough that it can validly claim nobody needs to steal food.
Peter Scharf tries to oppose prosecution with a fallacious argument. He says that the entire New Orleans police department is "broken" as a system, and that may be true. If so, more than this prosecution may be required to fix it — but that is no reason to excuse these policemen for murder and covering up murder. Accountability is the first step towards fixing the system.
Aid funds in Helmand seem to be producing a lot of material results, but having no effect on the people's support for the Taliban or their contempt for Karzai's corruption.
This confirms that a corrupt government can't win or inspire loyalty.
As long as NATO's efforts go to support Karzai's government, they are futile, and there seems to be no other alternative. Unless it can create one, NATO will have to stop the war and let the Taliban win sooner or later.
China has blocked Liu Xiaobo's family from picking up his Nobel prize, so instead there will be a ceremony with an empty chair for him.
If there are two empty seats, I wonder who the other one will be for.
The EU administrators said they would let each country decide whether to allow genetically modified crops, but the proposed implementation is a trap. It has legal flaws, so these one-country bans might then be overturned.
It is not unusual for the European Commission to make treacherous proposals. For instance, the "computer-related inventions" directive was written so it would appear to rule out software patents, but in fact would have authorized them.
Autonomous armed robots now being developed could mean few humans die in war — but only in the armies of the rich countries.
Some people worry about problems that could result from malfunction of these robots, but I think that malfunction is not that likely. I am more worried about the oppression they will facilitate when they work as intended.
The US congress is considering a bill to let the DHS impose cybersecurity requirements on just about any company involved in use of the Internet.
Tobacco companies are trying hard to get more people to smoke in poor countries, even suing to block policies to limit the attractiveness of cigarettes.
The UN says it has proof that UN troops didn't bring cholera to Haiti, but refuses to show this proof. Meanwhile, other researchers are convinced the UN troops brought the cholera, and the CDC seems to confirm it too, though without quite admitting the conclusion.
I think Haitians have valid grounds to hold the UN responsible for this. But if this were the only harmful thing the UN troops had done, Haitians would probably forgive them, since it was nobody's conscious deed. However, coming on top of massacres and rapes, it is too much. Haitians probably also connect the UN with the coming Burmese-style election, and validly, since the US is behind both.
The TSA causes more crime than it prevents, and now body scanners and feel-ups are making the American public revolt.
Berlusconi has been linked directly to payments to the mafia, initially for protection but later for other services.
Ireland does not have to expose its non-rich citizens to the brunt of an IMF attack.
How Republicans drove green energy jobs out of the US.
The Federal Wildlife Service concluded that genetically modified salmon would violate the endangered species act by threatening the survival of wild salmon.
This is because genetic leaks could result in extinction of the wild salmon.
A list of 100 mammals that are close to extinction and have no close relatives.
Brazil's Bolsa Familia shows that simply giving money to the poor is a good way to lift them out of poverty.
Giving money supports local agriculture; by contrast, giving food tends to destroy local agriculture (as it did in Haiti).
An EU bailout for Ireland does need not be designed to spread poverty and suffering; it could instead be designed to promote economic recovery.
The one known aspect of the bailout conditions that is good for everyone is the demand to increase taxes on corporations. Competition between countries for which will have lower taxes is bad for all.
Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer was released from prison, 11 days late, after a beating by police.
Laws making it a crime to insult the president, or a religion, or anything whatsoever, are evident tyranny.
The top 75 corporate sponsors of US election candidates.
This table does not take note of the corporate spending on unidentified political attack ads.
The US is running an election in Haiti which is like the Burmese election: the most important party in the country has been excluded through trickery.
China has sabotaged the Nobel award to Liu Xiaobo by blocking all of his family from traveling.
In the US: participate in protests against fraudulent foreclosures.
Julian Assange faces an international arrest warrant for questioning about the incredible rape charges.
An al Qa'ida suspect received an apparently fair trial in federal court, and was convicted on one charge. He was acquitted on other charges because a judge excluded evidence apparently obtained through torture. Republicans are calling this a "failure".
A former prosecutor calls it a success.
Republicans apparently hate our justice as well as our freedoms. It was right that the judge excluded evidence obtained apparently by torture; this is how the court system restrains police from trampling people's rights. To protect justice and freedom in the US, we must reject the claim that careful pursuit of justice was a "failure".
Obama has undercut the protection of justice by failing to condemn or prosecute Americans such as Bush who have conspired to commit torture.
US citizens: sign this ACLU petition against nasty behavior by the TSA and US Customs.
The ACLU is suing on behalf of a Pennsylvania couple whose baby was taken away by officials because the mother had eaten a poppyseed bagel. She was given a drug test, apparently unknown to her, and she failed it.
The ACLU's lawsuit criticizes the policy for using the drug test results. However, I see a bigger rat than that. Did this woman authorize the drug test? If so, did she realize she was authorizing drug tests?
Someone I know went to a hospital which asked her to sign a paper authorizing whatever tests they might choose to perform. She asked, "What tests are these? Do they include drug tests?" She was not given a satisfactory answer.
The EFF explains how COICA threatens freedom on the Internet.
The EFF presumes that the stated aim of COICA — to attack sharing — is valid. We must fight that too. Sharing is good, and any attempt to stop people sharing is an attack on society. Thus, COICA is malicious at the root.
US legislators support the War on Sharing. We can't convince them that COICA is wrong by condemning its purpose. Thus, arguments such as the EFF's are useful for convincing them today to block this one offensive against society and sharing.
However, for the long term we need to do more than block one offensive after another: we need to end the War on Sharing. If we aim someday to have legislators who believe that sharing is good, we need to declare, today, that sharing is good. This war against our society will continue until either the enemy has won or until we establish that its goal is wrong.
In the UK, a rapidly increasing fraction of women are terrified of giving birth.
The article suggests that this is partly due to exaggerated expectations of pain, but not entirely. Women are also afraid of the pain they are truly likely to experience — and why not? Why would anyone not be afraid of this?
What seems more peculiar to me is that this fear is not yet widespread enough to reduce the birth rate. The article speaks of an "increasing birthrate" (in the UK, I guess). Over this century, population growth is a grave danger to civilization. If the wish to avoid real pain diminishes that population growth, let's rejoice and encourage it.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to support extending unemployment benefits, due to expire on Nov 30. Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
In Tamil Nadu, in the south of India, poor people often kill their aging parents because caring for them is impossible.
The MI5 officer who apparently threatened Binyam Mohamed with torture in the US will not be prosecuted.
This decision looks dishonest to me.
The UK government proposes to reject network neutrality outright.
Maybe ISP competition is the best guarantor of network neutrality, but it is only effective when there are many competing ISPs, and none of them has the advantage of being the sole provider of something else such as cable TV. That is rarely true today.
RIM has (predictably) surrendered to the Indian government, giving the police access to messages sent using the Blackberry.
The software on the device is proprietary: RIM controls it, and users don't. That is why RIM can do this.
Everyone: sign this petition to protect bluefin tuna from overfishing.
The UN's torture expert says the US must investigate the torture carried out under Bush.
The UK government plans to adopt US-style secrecy to ensure it is never again accountable for complicity in torture.
Diamonds in Zimbabwe are enriching the rulers, and no money reaches the treasury.
New advanced TSA groping involves putting the agent's hands inside the passenger's pants.
I find the last sentence of the article offensively sexist, since it assumes that female passengers are under the control of male relatives rather than deciding for themselves. However, that doesn't invalidate the rest of the article.
Meanwhile, the arrogant TSA is really planning to sue the passenger who left the airport so as not to be groped.
It would be so easy to give each passenger the option of requesting to be groped by an attractive agent of the passenger's preferred sex. And why not let the passenger request a body cavity search, too? That would only make it more fun.
More information from the leaked secret Indonesian report about repression in West Papua.
The report lists the army's targets: ministers, activists, traditional leaders, legislators, students and intellectuals, including the head of the Baptists. Some of them are interviewed in the story.
The US is expanding bases in many Arab countries, including Iraq.
The UK police closed an "anti-police" web site without even a trial.
I admire the response of the other sites that responded by posting the same offending page, but that is not enough. The UK must make sure such censorship is not possible in the future.
Haitians threw stones at the UN soldiers who are the probable source of the cholera outbreak.
The UN has actively tried to prevent private investigation of the sewage discharge that is suspected of letting cholera into the water supply, illegally threatening investigators.
Helicopter-equipped poachers are killing rhinos so fast that they can drive the species to extinction, all for the sake of superstitious Chinese and Vietnamese.
The US or UK could lend a surveillance aircraft to track the poachers' helicopters, so South Africa's fighter planes could shoot them down.
A brief summary of Bush's memoirs, with a little honesty added.
Republicans have killed Obama's nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia.
I think they'd rather destroy the US than let a Democrat say he saved it.
The 5 top Republican election lies of 2010.
The UK will pay millions of dollars of compensation to former Guantanamo prisoners who were tortured with UK state complicity.
Although this is justice for the individuals who are tortured, the UK government has achieved its intention to protect US torturers. That could enable the practice of torture to continue, resulting in additional victims who will ask for compensation.
The investigation into CIA agents' destruction of torture tapes dawdled until the statute of limitations prevented criminal charges.
The UK government plans to let police stop and search people based primarily on their ethnic group.
A Chinese copper mine in Afghanistan is expected to destroy important archaeological sites.
It is interesting to compare the expected Chinese destruction of these sites with the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas. The motive is different but the effect is the same. Will the world take notice now as it did before?
Unilever has set ambitious goals for carbon reduction and sustainable production, taking into account the use of its products as well as the production itself.
Meanwhile, hundreds of other major conglomerates have not done this, and if just a few avoid contributing to the problem, that is not enough to avert disaster. We can't afford to let the multinationals to decide for themselves whether to help solve this problem or to profit from exacerbating it.
NATO is making a timetable to remove its troops from Afghanistan. The idea that the Afghan government's forces will be ready in 2012 or 2014 to take over "security" there seems implausible to me. But if this "Afghanization" makes it possible to remove the NATO troops, it could at least permit peace, much as Vietnamization did in Vietnam. That would be a step up from unending, unwinable war, just as it was in Vietnam.
Indonesia's military continues a campaign of murder and abduction of leaders of the indigenous peoples of West Papua.
US citizens: phone your senators saying to pass the DISCLOSE Act (S. 3628), which would require corporations to identify themselves in the political ads that they fund.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
In New Zealand: contact the "justice minister" Simon Power to oppose the Search and Surveillance bill.
US citizens: phone your senators and say, "No tax cuts for the rich."
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Support La Quadrature du Net, and help defeat ACTA.
A search and surveillance bill proposed in New Zealand threatens privacy rights, civil disobedience, and journalism.
A big increase in aerial bombardment in Afghanistan has led to more civilian casualties.
Bush's memoirs are partly plagiarized.
A bailout of Ireland might mean imposing an increase in taxes on corporations.
Ireland is one of the countries that keeps corporate taxes low to attract multinational corporations to move there. This competition between countries, for which one will pander more to corporations, is harmful to everyone. Taking even one country out of that competition is a step forward.
If Obama were a Liberal, he would be pushing for an international agreement to set minimum requirements for taxes on multinational companies.
Aung San Suu Kyi suggests relaxing Western countries' trade sanctions against Burma.
The Burmese democracy movement was very clear in asking people not to go to Burma as tourists, saying that the tourist business with Burma benefits mostly the dictators. I'm curious what change has made that argument cease to be convincing.
Obama is offering Israel long-term concessions for a 3-month settlement freeze.
It would be easy for Israel to accept the deal, dither away the three months with no progress (Israeli negotiators are great at talking about peace and reaching no agreement), then profit from the long-term concessions. However, Israel appears to be holding out for even bigger concessions.
The foolish prince is smitten with the courtesan, and offers more than he can really afford for just three months with her. But she holds out for more, figuring to make him give her his whole fortune.
An airline passenger did not want to be body-scanned or felt up, so the TSA told him to leave the airport; then it threatened to sue him for $10,000 if he did leave the airport.
If the TSA wants someone to feel me up, I will ask to have a woman do it. After all, I'm not gay.
The TSA's logic, "You have no rights, because we already warned you that we took them away", is the logic of a tyrant. We know that this security will not stop really careful terrorists.
To stop the other terrorists is useful, but it can be done without molesting the passengers.
Moreover, in order for security to justify searching everyone, the TSA must refuse to take note of anything illegal other than arms that might threaten flight security. To do a search on grounds of security, then let the police arrest passengers for drugs, is a security bait-and-switch.
Bush's crusade in Iraq has almost finished forcing all Christians to leave that country.
The US has spent billions for "reconstruction of Afghanistan", and most of it is diverted by corruption or spent uselessly.
It is not easy to impose honesty in a culture used to corruption under a government that is totally corrupt.
Amazon stopped selling an ebook because of widespread criticism of its contents.
It is normal that stores decide which books to sell. In the past, if a bookstore stopped distributing a book, that was not censorship. The FSF is also selective in what books it distributes, and would refuse to sell any book saying that use of the Amazon Swindle is a good thing.
However, that analysis assumes there are many places to get books. E-books have the potential to cause a contraction in the number of bookstores. At some point in the process of concentration into an oligopoly, the response that "We're a private company, so we don't have to sell this book" ceases to be adequate.
US citizens, and especially in California, Vermont, Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota, and Illinois, sign the petition against the US internet blacklist bill.
This bill would give the Attorney General the power to order filtering of the Internet. Our enemies the record companies are in favor of it.
For even more effect, phone your senators' office to oppose the bill. You could add, if you wish, that you are against all censorship and against anything that gives the record companies more power to attack the public.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Sarah Palin appeared on video fishing for salmon, very close to some bears and setting a dangerous example.
A nonrenewable energy company tried to use the fake leaked emails scandal to attack the EPA.
We must not relax the condemnation of the Burmese tyrants because they let Aung San Suu Kyi out of house arrest.
Oil dispersants cause toxins to reach a far larger volume of water.
Pakistan has again handed down a death sentence for "blasphemy", showing its contempt for freedom of speech.
Obama's commission on reducing the federal deficit is just a disguised form of conservative budget cutting.
It also includes the right-wing flat tax proposal, which is very bad.
Since the main cause of increased expense will be from medical care, it behooves the US to consider a single-payer health care system which would cut the costs by more than half.
The UK has put fast-food companies in charge of drafting food policy.
It's called "fast food" because it's meant for fasting from, not for eating.
On the US-Mexico border, globalization and the War on Drugs have merged, spreading poverty and suffering.
Al Qa'ida in Iraq is once again trying to provoke intersectarian warfare.
I see some danger that the US will send back a lot of troops in the name of stopping the fighting. That didn't work before, and it would not work now. What stopped al Qa'ida in Iraq before was that Sunni militias kicked it out of Sunni areas.
If al Qa'ida succeeds in creating an all-out sectarian war, the Shi'ites will massacre the Sunnis. The desire to survive, as well as human decency, should motivate Iraqi Sunnis to fight al Qa'ida again now. But the Iraqi government betrayed them after they did this the last time, and many of those leaders have been killed.
I can only expect the worst.
Morocco, which refuses to hold the promised referendum for independence of Western Sahara, attacked a protest camp just before a diplomatic meeting with representatives of the Sahrawis.
The danger of punishing irony as a serious threat.
After attacking journalists and political opposition figures, the government of Sri Lanka is now attacking actors that make porn, and even couples that behave "indecently".
The excuse for this orgy of authoritarianism is that those activities are "illegal".
Hackers have succeeded in installing system software in the G2 phone, defeating intentional technical obstacles.
I am glad they have defeated this system of tivoization, but nobody can win 'em all, and underestimating the enemy is a recipe for defeat. It is not enough to find ways to overcome specific instances of tivoization. We need to make tivoization illegal.
Two UK ISPs have been granted a legal challenge to the unjust law to disconnect people accused of sharing.
The wars and torture of Western "democracies" give China an excuse to defend its policies of censorship and imprisonment of opposition.
The fallacious excuse is based on viewing life as a competition among states. In that view, to criticize a state is merely to hurt it, and whether the criticism is true does not matter. It perceives criticism of Chinese government policies as an attack on China, and criticism of US government policies as an attack on the US.
A person who cares about justice and people's well being will recognize that defending human rights in China is support and help for China, just as defending human rights in the US is support and help for the US.
When a man sets up a support web site for parents whose children got sick from tainted milk, who benefits? Only the Chinese people. When the Chinese government jails that man, who does it help? Only the corrupt businessmen that prey on the Chinese people, and the state that protects them.
Sharing activist Jammie Thomas-Rasset has been fined over a million dollars. She intends to fight on.
The RIAA is simply an instrument of the major record companies, and acts like this are why they must cease to exist.
US citizens: tell Speaker Pelosi to take a vote against preserving Bush's tax cuts for the rich, while she is still speaker.
Whales are getting injured by sunburn due to the ozone hole.
The cholera outbreak in Haiti seems to have come from Nepalese troops sent by the UN. The troops do nothing much, but they do try to prevent investigation of this possibility.
Berlusconi has cut maintenance on the ancient buildings of Pompeii, and one of them collapsed as a result.
Greenland will demand that oil companies put up large bonds to cover costs of oil spills, at least partly.
This wise policy would be enough if cleaning up an oil spill were a matter of straightforward work, and if the money were sufficient. But it isn't — nobody knows how to do it reliably and thoroughly.
2 billion is also too small. In the Gulf of Mexico, even 20 billion turned out not to be enough.
The extreme budget cuts of the LibDems and Tories are unnecessary and violate the commitments both parties made before the election.
I endorsed the Liberal Democrats in the last election because of their promise to abolish New Labour's attacks on human rights. If they follow through, I think the good of that will outweigh in the long term the harm of the cuts. Nonetheless, I support this criticism of the cuts as such.
A plan to enable people devastated by climate change to sue governments that knowingly caused it.
US citizens: sign this petition not to give favorable treatment to a hit-and-run driver for working as a fund manager for rich people.
US citizens: call on the FDA to require labeling of genetically modified salmon, or even better, not approve it.
Another mine explosion in Chile reminds us that its weak safety standards continue to endanger miners, and not all of them are lucky.
Obama, visiting Indonesia, said nothing about Indonesia's torturers, who now operate with US support.
Since he protects US torturers, protecting Indonesian torturers too must come naturally.
EU requirements for using biofuels will increase CO2 emissions.
In addition, as long as the biofuel is made from crops that require farm land and fertilizer, they also compete with food production.
The UK is considering a law to reduce rainforest destruction by reducing use of imported soy beans to feed animals.
UK students plan even bigger protests against tuition increase plans.
Many wealthy countries used to make university education free, but there has been a world-wide move towards US-style expensive education.
Refuting the claim that al Qa'ida needs a "safe haven" that it could get from the Taliban.
A BART policeman who shot a passenger in the back got 2 years in prison.
That is a short sentence for shooting someone, but better than what usually happens to killer cops.
A study shows tropical forests can adapt to global heating if it occurs over a period of thousands of years.
In such a length of time, new species can evolve, compensating the loss of other species so that the total biodiversity is maintained. But human-caused heating could reach the same level in a hundred years, and that's not enough time for new species to evolve.
Oil companies want permission to drill in Arctic waters with totally inadequate disaster response plans.
They got away with it in the Gulf of Mexico, until they had a little bad luck.
Paul Chambers lost his appeal over a threat joke he thought only his friends would read, and received wide public support.
Americans: call on Obama to pay the court-ordered compensation to Black farmers for racial discrimination in US farm aid.
The UK is moving to high tuition fees for universities; there was a massive protest, after which a radical group of students occupied the Conservative Party HQ.
The ex-CEO of BP said that they had to improvise the entire response to the Big Spill, because they had no plans or preparations.
Why Democrats are so weak: they believe in compromise with right-wing politicians.
Economic modeling suggests that a society without growth could be much more comfortable than the present one, at least in a country that is already well off.
Making more humans is the most environmentally burdensome activity in most people's lives, and if necessary we should regulate it. In many parts of the US, a car is essential for avoiding great inconvenience. Having children is not. If it is ok to require people to get a license to drive a car, I see no objection to requiring a license to have children.
Humans are causing a mass extinction faster than anything in the fossil record.
Stewart Brand, of Whole Earth Catalog fame, now works for businesses he declines to name. He makes false accusations against the environmental movement, and refuses to correct them when the facts are pointed out.
One of the business causes he supports is nuclear power. A few years ago he invited me and a friend to have dinner with him, and he tried to convince us to support nuclear power. We both found his arguments unpersuasive.
It is clear that there is a well-organized and funded campaign to convince the public and governments to build more nuclear power plants, and Stewart Brand appears to be part of it.
Charges were dropped against a hit-and-run driver because felony charges might interfere with his holding a job as a fund manager.
It is a problem in general that Americans who have criminal records often cannot get any job. This often leads to continued criminality. However, to refrain from prosecuting wealthy people is not a solution.
Bush says that his torture saved British lives. The UK says Bush is making it up.
A US court decided police must get a search warrant to get information about your movements from a cell phone company.
Here is the court decision.
Among other things, it shows just how precise is the tracking that cell phones do now. That is why I don't have one.
A lack of parental closeness for baby girls leads to early pregnancy later.
A "culture of complacency" inspired the series of risky decisions that led to the big spill.
Several countries are holding a summit to save the tiger, but the lack of political will to act leads some conservationists to despair.
Fast food companies continue advertising aimed at children and other practices that lead children to eat fattening meals.
Many people think that "fast food" means "rapid food", but actually it means "food for not eating" (i.e., fasting).
Shell planned a detailed PR campaign to protect its image from the execution of playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, who had criticized Shell's treatment of the people and environment around its Nigerian oil wells. We should assume that every large company approaches bad news with such a PR campaign. There are consultants whose business is purely to help plan it.
The ACLU is campaigning against TSA body scanners.
Berlusconi, who controls nearly all the TV channels in Italy, is campaigning indirectly against freedom of the press for newspapers.
US citizens: support the constitutional amendment to re-enable regulation of corporations' political advertisements.
Scientists have organized to refute the global heating denialists.
Greek prime minister Papandreou threatened to resign if his party didn't win a local election. It won a small plurality, but the overall message is "no mandate".
An expedition to look for unknown species in Paraguay could spread plague to the uncontacted local indigenous people. I wonder if some precautions can prevent the danger. For instance, the scientists could collect all their wastes and transport them out.
In the Solomon Islands, rising seas due to global heating are spreading salt into farmland.
The US media systematically misrepresent the causes of the last election's results. They pretend that the public objected to Obama's few progressive actions and call on him to move even further to the right.
Morocco has crushed protests in Western Sahara.
Morocco seized Western Sahara when Spain gave it independence; the people have never accepted Moroccan rule.
Vote-rigging, vote-buying and intimidation of voters were observed in Burma.
However, even without these, the election would be worthless because it was not structured to allow democracy.
Seeing "god's miracles" in the amazing facts discovered by science is self-delusion.
Two more Russian journalists who had criticized government plans were attacked and beaten unconscious, in two different cities.
Police who took off their badges while attacking protesters at the Toronto G20 meeting will face only a small fine.
Sarkozy wants to stop journalists from covering his corruption, so he is having the police follow journalists, getting them fired, and apparently burglarizing their offices.
Thugs attacked a prominent Russian journalist who has been criticized by supporters of Putin.
The "Tea Party" is a combination of all the old US right-wing factions, with a PR image fashioned by corporate sponsorship and Faux News.
Author Alan Shadrake refuses to be cowed as Singapore's tyrannical government proves his criticisms by imprisoning him.
The charges to which Omar Khadr (former al Qa'ida child soldier) pled guilty are self-contradictory and against international law.
I supported the invasion of Afghanistan to eliminate the oppression of the Taliban. Capturing enemy fighters was a normal and valid part of that; torturing them, then treating them as criminals instead of prisoners of war is not.
The UK government says it will consider extending fair use.
Using the term "intellectual property" as synonymous with "copyright", as occurs in that article, is confusion. Whether those responsible for the confusion are the journalists or the UK officials, either way they should stop. It is a mistake to address copyright law and patent law and a bunch of other laws as if they were related.
Multiple lines of evidence show that the UK Bush forces systematically tortured hundreds of prisoners.
Tara Inanloo faces persecution for publishing her self-portraits if she ever returns to Iran.
US banksters are celebrating the Republican gains in Congress.
San Francisco is going to ban restaurants from handing out toys with meals unless they meet minimum nutritional standards.
Egyptian blogger Kareem Suleiman, sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for his political opinions, has been kept in prison despite the end of his sentence.
Increasing the US money supply with the aim of creating jobs is a new form of trickle-down, and it won't work any more than Reagan's trickle-down did.
Obama's trip to Asia is more trickle-down — he is acting as a salesman for "US" companies.
Rand Paul said businesses should be allowed to practice racial discrimination and to spread poison in the air and water.
Planting a new tree can replace the carbon released by cutting an old-growth tree, but only if you let it grow a hundred years.
A person who knows what effective searches for weapons are like says that neither the body scanners nor the intrusive patdowns now offered as an alternative are enough to stop thoughtful terrorists from smuggling bombs or weapons onto planes.
A narrow focus on a few diseases distracts efforts from easily-cured problems that kill millions.
A jihadist web site calls on people to assassinate the UK MPs that voted to support Bush's invasion of Iraq.
That invasion was an example of the crime of aggressive war, which in the Nuremberg trials was punished with death. However, the death penalty is barbaric, and nobody should be punished without trial. These MPs deserve a trial, and if convicted, should face life in prison.
Bush has confessed in his memoirs to authorizing torture. When will he be prosecuted for this?
Republicans are continuing their systematic efforts to block ethnic minorities from voting.
Obama's team have failed to do what the US needs, so it's natural that people wanted to throw the bums out.
Too bad they voted to bring worse bums in.
The New Zealand government wants to go beyond disconnection for those merely accused of sharing. Instead it proposes big fines for those accused of sharing.
This plan would trash basic principles of justice to placate foreign enemies, the megacorporations.
A CIA official published an article defending the legality of handing over prisoners to be tortured by other countries.
The cruel torture practiced by UK troops in the Bush forces was presented in court. The culprits there may face prosecution, while Obama continues to shield Bush's torturers.
The arguments for torture are based on the false assumption that it is an effective way to get the truth. By its nature, it fails to achieve that; torture distorts the victim's memories.
But let's pretend, for the moment, that torture did "work". Would that justify its use?
The first question to ask about any conflict is, "Which side, if any, deserves to win? Which, if any, deserves the support of people of good will?" It is hard for torturers to deserve that support.
When society is concerned by the harm done by drugs, it should think about the harm done by alcohol.
Prohibiting alcohol is not the solution, but less drastic actions could reduce the harm done.
Berlusconi aims to show he is no friend of prostitutes by criminalizing street prostitution.
Leprosy is hard to catch and easy to cure, but the stigma attached to those who have had it is much harder to cure.
"Reverse graffiti" — writing with detergent.
Phone Win and Yuza Maw Htoon are campaigning for the Burmese parliament in opposition to the dictators' political machine.
Bravo to that couple, but the National League for Democracy is right to boycott the election rather than grant it legitimacy.
The dictators continue cancelling the election in areas where they think they can't maintain total control.
The Burmese rulers deserve no credit for this sham election. Thus, we will need to campaign to stop Thailand's plans to send Burmese refugees back to "democratic" Burma.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the US government saying that body scanners violate federal laws.
US citizens: ask your congresscritters to support a resolution on behalf of Indonesia's political prisoners, as Obama heads for Indonesia.
The danger of secession in India is from the secession of the wealthy.
George Monbiot: we cannot rely on technology alone to solve problems maintained by unjust systems of power.
The UN warned that climate change risks reversing decades of progress in education and health in poor countries.
An ex-MP argues that the UK should eliminate its armed forces on the grounds that they make the UK less safe. I partly disagree with this analysis. The UK is less safe due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but while the existence of its armed forces made those wars possible, it did not cause them or force the UK to participate in them. They were caused by B'liar's political decisions.
Meanwhile, those armed forces also made possible the liberation of the Falkland Islands from the Argentine military dictators who seized them. In the event of total disarmament, strange threats might pop up from anywhere at all.
However, it may be true that the UK could do without its nuclear weapons and with much smaller armed forces.
75 US law professors call for a halt to ACTA.
The response is on target in its specifics, but unwittingly supports the idea of treaties like ACTA by using the term "intellectual property". That term encourages the basic mistake of treating disparate laws, such as copyright law and trademark law, as a single issue. The term presupposes that these laws are similar and that treating them together is natural — a basic mistake.
Embedding bad policy in terminology that the "experts" use is a method for pushing that policy out of the domain of debate. To accept the terminology is to let that method succeed.
The US will be hammered about torture at the UN Human Rights Council.
The leaked Iraq war logs have information about the arrest of Nick Berg, showing that the story told by the Bush forces is at least partly false. This evidence is not enough to convince me that Berg was beheaded by the Bush forces.
The election in Burma is being rigged at so many levels that even half of them would make it a total fraud.
Particulate pollution makes rain less frequent and more intense.
The consequences of this change are very bad, because a single intense rain is likely to run off to the sea without wetting the soil much.
US citizens: sign this petition to Obama to stop appealing against progressive decisions by US courts.
California voters defeated prop. 23 which would have eliminated the CO2 emissions reduction law, but accepted prop. 26 that will make it hard to impose taxes on polluters.
The defeat of Representative Boucher is sad because he has tried to reform the DMCA. The blind stampede which is the Tea Party tends to crush anything that is good.
Homosexuals in Spain plan to protest the Pope's visit with a mass kiss-in.
Legalization of marijuana in California was defeated, but got 45% of the vote.
This should be enough to show politicians that they can dare to support legalization.
More support should come from the nonbinding resolutions for legalization, which were approved in all the areas in Massachusetts which had them on the ballot.
Some Rabbis in Israel want to excommunicate Jews that rent or sell apartments to Arabs.
Al Qa'ida has returned to massacring Sh'ites in Iraq.
Israel's cruel treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
Author Alan Shadrake has been convicted in Singapore of writing a book which expressed doubts about the integrity of the courts there.
The prosecution shows that Singapore is miles away from proper respect for freedom of speech. If minor details such as whether an author intended to "scandalize" the courts decide whether an author is imprisoned, that is tyranny. By prosecuting him, Singapore acts the part of a bully who says, "Don't say I'm a bully or I'll beat you up."
However, Singapore is not the only state which would rather persecute its critics than address its own wrongs. When the Obama regime threatens Wikileaks for exposing US torture, rather than prosecute the torturers, it does the same.
Reportedly Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani will be hanged, for a murder she was not convicted of.
The death penalty is barbaric no matter where it is done, Iran or China or the US, and no matter how it is done. But what's especially noteworthy is the visible contempt for justice in the proceedings of the Iranian "justice system". Torturing Sakineh, arresting her lawyer and her son for campaigning for her, playing with the question of what to execute her for; these are all signs of a tyrannical government ready to go to any lengths rather than acknowledge a flaw.
George Monbiot: the biodiversity protection agreement from the Nagoya meeting isn't just toothless — it is apparently nonexistent.
Malalai Joya, elected to the Afghan parliament only to be gagged by the conservative members, says Karzai's corrupt elections are "a bad joke" and that his government does nothing for women's rights.
Instead of prejudice, drug policy could be based on rationally estimating how harmful any drug is.
An al Qa'ida child soldier held for years in Guantanamo has made a plea bargain for murder for killing a US soldier in war.
The argument used to justify trying Khadr seems specious. The laws of war do recognize irregular combatants such as Khadr, and their participation in battle is not properly considered murder.
These laws apply to them also. If al Qa'ida fighters often violate these laws, that means they are committing war crimes, and it is valid to prosecute those who do so — but that doesn't mean that their killing soldiers becomes a war crime.
The very sophisticated bombs recently shipped as air freight might become an excuse to increase the useless security theater to which airline passengers are already exposed.
Whenever people question whether any particular nasty security measure is really needed, the authorities typically duck the question by changing the subject. They pretend the question was, "Should there be some security or none?" which means they are attacking a straw man.
Yesterday I boarded a flight and security made me take off my belt. I find that offensive; it feels like putting me in jail. I kept my belt off until arriving at my final flight destination so I would not forget.
Total safety is impossible — and even when a security measure really does some good, it involves a tradeoff of other values: it can go too far. The people have a right to demand specific justification for specific nasty "security" measures, and "just trust us experts" is not adequate.
It's grave enough to qualify — has the potential to kill millions of people. However, censorship is not a solution, since it itself is a dangerous problem. So the challenge is to find a way to prevent commercial disinformation without restricting what views can be expressed.
As global heating makes the Sahara Desert grow, Africa raises an issue of environmental justice.
Republicans hope to hamstring the EPA with congressional investigations based on insane premises.
A special unit will investigate numerous accusations of torture by UK troops participating in the Bush forces in Iraq.
Two UK air passengers expressed concern about the cries of an man being forcibly deported. For this they were interrogated by the police as terrorist suspects.
Treating them as terrorist suspects is significant because the B'liar/Clown regime abolished the right to remain silent in such cases. Supposedly this is not a threat to public safety because supposedly that is a limited set of situations. But protesters have already been labeled as suspected terrorists, and these police powers must be abolished.
US citizens: tell the US government we need a strong "Volcker rule" to protect the country from the fundamental dishonesty of the banks.
60 years ago there were places in the US where Jews and Blacks could not buy a home. A proposed law in Israel would make it easy for many towns to stop Arabs from buying a home.
I wonder what the Anti-Defamation League will say about this.
UC Berkeley Economics students have called neoclassical economics a "fraud" that threatens human lives and species' existence.
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