[ 2014 January - April | 2014 January - April | 2013 September - December | 2013 May - August | 2013 January - April | 2012 September - December | 2012 May - August | 2012 January - April | 2011 September - December | 2011 May - August | 2011 January - April | 2010 September - December | 2010 May - August | 2010 January - April | 2009 September - December | 2009 May - August | 2009 January - April | 2008 September - December | 2008 May - August | 2008 January - April | 2007 September - December | 2007 May - August | 2007 January - April | 2006 September - December | 2006 May - August | 2006 January - April | 2005 September - December | 2005 May - August | 2005 January - April | 2004 September - December | 2004 May - August | 2004 January - April | 2003 September - December | 2003 May - August | 2003 January - April | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 ]
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.
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 Sarkozi.
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.
When Obama visits India, he should honor Dr. Ambedkar as well as Gandhi.
In London, some train stations have WiFi. Paid WiFi that can't be used anonymously.
If you are in London, complain that this is the wrong direction.
If you find both Republicans and Democrats disgustingly right-wing, vote Green!
US freedom-haters complain of "too much government intervention" when the government regulates business, but are happy to see the government intervene to restrict pregnant women (not to mention gays).
A worker in a Venezuelan state-owned petrochemical company was told, "We are going to deduct one day's salary to give to the socialist party." He objected to this and was fired. His article (in Spanish) condemns this arbitrary practice as typical of right-wing regimes and incompatible with the professed ideals of Chavez and his party.
The US government says that the Wikileaks documents would lead to reprisals, but they cannot identify any such that followed from the Afghanistan leaks.
Berlusconi seems to have lied to the Italian police to protect a 17-year-old Moroccan dancer, whose relationship with him is not clear.
Greg Palast: PBS, funded by Chevron, put the blame for the big spill solely on BP, so people won't worry that any other company might be dangerous too.
In the US: The US Chamber of Commerce is pushing for the delayed bill to make the US censor the Internet via domain names. Sign this petition to your local Chamber of Commerce to break off with the US Chamber.
The Nagoya biodiversity summit ended by adopting a set of targets for progress by 2020. Without any mandatory implementation plan, this may not succeed in altering any country's policy.
There is also a treaty which will involve paying something to poor countries for the use of genes from organisms found there. From the description here, the treaty resembles Obama's health care reform, in that it endorses and reinforces the system which needed to be changed.
Depending on details I don't know, this treaty might be a marginal improvement or it might be totally absurd.
Morocco has banned Al Jazeera because it broadcast stories that criticized Morocco.
I am not sure whether the ban applies to broadcasting Al Jazeera in Morocco, or reporting from Morocco, or both.
Millionaire Insiders Hide Behind Group Attacking Feingold.
The health insurance companies tried to further sabotage health care reform but were thwarted by citizen activism, plus news of their high profits.
Tariq Ali: Obama's hope was all hype, as he caved over and over to established interests.
Perhaps it was impossible to pass good laws through the Republican and Depublican hold on the senate. But if Obama had tried, they not he would be to blame for the failure, and we could use that as the base to campaign against them.
Instead Obama didn't try, and that's his fault. Appointments such as Geither, and executive decisions such as to appeal the decision against Don't Ask, Don't tell, are his fault. The US position in ACTA is his fault.
Obama is a moderate Republican, not a Liberal, and that's his fault.
The causes of the cholera outbreak in Haiti.
Brash Poisoner's dispersants are making people sick.
Everyone: sign this petition to pressure Dunkin Donuts and Pizza Hut to stop buying from agribusiness giant Sinar Mas.
Privatized prison companies helped design Arizona's "show your papers" law as a way to fill more prisons.
UK residents: sign this petition against the government's new massive email and phone intercept plan.
Access to the data is supposedly to be limited to suspected "terrorists", but we already know that the UK police will call protesters "terrorists" so as to sabotage them.
Americans: tell Attorney General Holder not to get distracted by Republicans imaginary claims of voter fraud, and go all out to fight their voter-suppression efforts.
The US Military wants to develop technology to screen all emails looking for possible "terrorists" (and protesters, etc).
When people ask "Why didn't we pay attention to those advance warning signs before he committed the crime?", often there is a good reason: they were not a very clear warning, not much different from hundreds or thousands of other people who did not go on to commit a crime. These are the "false positives" referred to in the article.
The UK police have authority to stop people and search them for no particular reason, in case they might be terrorists.
Out of 100,000 people searched in this way, none has been charged with terrorism. In effect, they were all false positives.
Corporate-funded US attack ads pretend that the US deficit is a disastrous problem, and that cutting it requires screwing workers and the poor. Those companies did not attack Bush for creating the deficit. Remember that Clinton arranged a budget surplus and without crushing poor Americans.
Support Kucinich for Congress.
BP and Halliburton disregarded tests showing that the cement was inadequate.
Cambodia systematically imprisons and tortures homeless people and other undesirables — sometimes killing them.
It makes me think of the Khmer Rouge.
Tracking political contributions about California's proposition 23 which aims to eliminate its global heating limitation law.
The ACLU gained a preliminary injunction against the Massachusetts Internet censorship law.
Omar Salem Shehab says the US-established Iraqi Wolf Brigade tortured his brother (and other prisoners) to death.
The Tea Party is full of global heating deniers. In general, the Tea Party is a machine for inculcating beliefs that have no connection with reality.
The UN plan to protect forests by selling their carbon credits has already started to spread corruption.
The world needs to pay to protect forests, one way or another; to stop people from cutting them down costs money. But, in order to avoid corruption, it needs to look less like a "market".
Another vertebrate species is added to the endangered species list each week.
Loss of biodiversity is a bigger economic risk than terrorism.
It also threatens more people's lives than terrorism does.
Arundhati Roy faces the threat of sedition charges, and life imprisonment, for criticizing India's treatment of Kashmir.
India promised Kashmir a referendum on independence and it should carry out that promise.
The US has collected fingerprints and iris scans for almost a million people in Afghanistan, and checks people regularly.
Perhaps this is excusable in a war zone, where it is normal for soldiers to check people's papers. But if someday Afghanistan has peace, will it get rid of these biometric records? Or will this give the US government an excuse to treat the US as a war zone all the time?
The UK's National Health Service funds homeopathic "medicine", and this misleads people into thinking it is valid.
The head of British Airways says some airport security procedures are useless and should be eliminated.
New Zealand's partial sanity terminated with a big capitulation to Warner Bros: the country will slash labor standards to please that company.
Americans: tell candidate Rand Paul that his goons can't attack protesters.
Why, I wonder, have charges not been pressed against them?
Google's extreme success in avoiding taxes shows the scandal of US tax laws that make it absurdly easy for companies (but not you and me) to do this.
India has made substantial advances in protecting the environment and local inhabitants from mining operations.
Two right wing "think tanks" launder big business money to deny the harm that is done by cutting down tropical forests.
Shame on YouTube for deleting a video showing how Indonesian troops tortured Papuan prisoners.
Should torture be covered up because it is painful to watch?
The authenticity of the video was subsequently confirmed by the Indonesian government.
An Argentine judge challenges Spain to investigate Franco's crimes or else she will do so.
Argentina owes Spain a debt of gratitude for Spain's prosecution of the Argentine government killer Scilingo; now Argentina has the opportunity to help Spain by prosecuting Franco and his henchmen, which Spain has not dared to do. Judge Garzon tried, but was removed from office in response. People in Spain told me that this is because of Franco's supporters who have remained in positions of power or influence. Outside pressure could make a difference, especially since they are dying of old age or retiring.
May all dictators and their torturers and killers be prosecuted and imprisoned!
Part of the Amazon rainforest is suffering from a record drought.
It is not clear how much this is due to global heating, but climate models say that the Amazon rainforest will dry up as heating proceeds. Then the the trees will burn up, releasing a lot more CO2 into the air. It's positive feedback systems like this that can destroy civilization.
When a journalist tried to ask questions of an Alaska Republican candidate, in a public event, the security guards handcuffed him.
The UK government's totally unnecessary budget cuts will force thousands or maybe millions of people to move to towns where no work is available, whereupon they will end up on the street.
The supposed justification for these unnecessary budget cuts is the spurious goal of deficit reduction.
Daniel Ellsberg praises Wikileaks: it has taken away the US regime's hiding place so it cannot pretend it "doesn't know" or "is investigating".
The Nagoya meeting, which was supposed to produce a treaty to protect biodiversity, is heading towards the sort of failure that people expected after the failure at Copenhagen.
Canada is right to block measures to forbid "biopiracy". The idea of "biopiracy" is absurd, based on mistaken premises. Scientific collection is not likely to wipe out species, and there is no reason to restrict who can do research on them. The real motive for these misguided proposals is that big companies get patents on resulting medical discoveries, which exclude the population of poor countries from the benefit.
This exclusion is not limited to the poor country where relevant biological samples were collected. It affects all of them. So the real remedy is not a limit on "biopiracy". It is to exempt poor countries completely from the requirement to allow patents on medicine.
I expect Canada's representatives would oppose that, too. If so, Canada's underlying position is not a good one.
In an unusual display of partial sanity, New Zealand's government refuses to enter a bidding war for the filming of The Hobbit.
Most national and provincial governments have come to act as if such bidding wars were their duty — a practice that benefits global businesses and hurts the citizens of all countries.
This sanity is only partial because New Zealand still plans to subsidize the filming. This is not one of the things that a government should do with public money.
How the billionaire Koch brothers tricked millions of Americans into campaigning for business's "freedom" to trample them into the dirt.
It is a mistake to call that "freedom" at all. Control over your own life is freedom; control over others' life is power. I stand for freedom and against power.
Millions of farmers in Pakistan are prisoners of debt and work only for some food and to pay the debt.
Sign this petition for strong worldwide biodiversity measures.
The US has an obligation to investigate its involvement with torture, and that includes handing over prisoners for Iraqis to torture.
Anonymous sources say that peace talks with the Taliban have not made much progress. If so, the most natural reason would be that the Taliban expect to win and see no need to negotiate.
Nonetheless, it was important news that the US and Karzai are not refusing to talk with them.
A Burmese refugee says, don't accept Burma's sham elections as implying any progress towards respect for human rights.
Also, don't call that country "Myanmar" (which is the dictators' name for it).
The UK coalition promised to restore civil liberties, but it is wavering from this promise.
Wikileaks: Bush forces watched as a handcuffed prisoner was kicked on the back of the neck.
Uri Avnery: Israel's democracy is threatened by racist fascism.
The Israeli right wing needs a permanent war, so it regards negotiation as defeat.
The US right wing also wants the US to engage in a perpetual war with "terrorists" (excluding them, of course).
Israel proposes to exclude Arabs from parliament by requiring them to swear loyalty to Israel "as a Jewish state".
The Canadian government has restricted its scientists from talking with the press, so their union has set up a web site for them to communicate to the public directly.
A history class in the US has forbidden its students to discuss the material with anyone, or learn about the subject from anywhere else.
It implies, in effect, that they can't learn anything but the official line. How long before the copyright industry gets schools to forbid their students to learn about the ethical issue of sharing from anything but approved class materials?
Iran publicly amputated a prisoner's hand, suggesting it plans to do this sort of thing regularly.
In order for Islam not to suffer the bad reflection of this barbarity, Muslims need to start a reformed branch of Islam which explicitly rejects shari'a law.
The UK government plans to privatize important protected forests. This raises the threat that they will be damaged.
US Senators that deny global heating get lots of funds from oil companies including BP.
The name "tea party" is false; it should be called the "oil party".
Merging the leaked Bush forces record of Iraqi casualties with the records of Iraq Body Count yields a list of 150,000 identified, named Iraqis that were killed.
The real number of casualties is surely much larger, since many killings were not recorded, and statistical methods estimated a million dead as of several years ago.
Hamas is imposing a strict Islamic lifestyle on Gaza, even through arson.
However, that is no excuse for what Hamas is doing.
It appears the Bush forces set up a special Iraqi brigade to torture prisoners, the Wolf Brigade, and then threatened its own prisoners with being handed over to them.
The Anti-Defamation League, which was founded to fight anti-semitism, undermines its mission by calling opponents of Israel's occupation policy "anti-semitic", including Jewish Voices for Peace.
I support Jewish Voices for Peace, and I urge others to do so.
Measuring Israel's drift from democracy towards tyranny.
The Wikileaks files show that Bush forces mercenaries killed civilians and the government helped covered it up.
Robert Fisk: They're Trying To Sell the Brooklyn Bridge Again, as the Pentagon warns us about imaginary threats.
The members of an "illegal" Israeli settlement ("illegal" means even the Israeli government says it's unauthorized) poisoned Palestinians' olive trees and fenced off some of their land. The owners didn't know this was happening because the Israeli troops let them onto their land only twice a year.
Other settlers burned Palestinian cars.
Another "illegal" settlement is being expanded.
Will the Israeli government stop this activity which it calls "illegal"?
Sometimes the army helps settlers seize Palestinian land and occupy it. Meanwhile, Palestinians who build houses in their own villages face demolition orders because they didn't obtain construction permits (which Israel won't give them).
Trade with China is not leading China towards freedom; rather, China is leading the rest of the world towards tyranny.
An official of the World Zionist Organization condemns Israel's proposed biased loyalty oath.
Looking at the question of David Kelly's death from all sides.
New Wikileaks postings show that the Bush forces have seen the Iraqi insecurity forces torture and kill prisoners and have an official policy not to investigate.
Further revelations: the Bush forces do have an (incomplete) count of civilian casualties, though they said they did not.
"You can't surrender to an aircraft" might be a valid position. Soldiers in war can surrender and become prisoners of war, but they can't just hold up their hands at any time meaning "For the moment, you can't shoot me." In a situation where taking them prisoner is impossible, they have no way to surrender.
Geithner says the sky will fall if the US adopts a moratorium on foreclosures.
The article ably explains why Geithner's argument is fallacious and how it demonstrates that Geithner supports the banksters against the people. I would like to point out a premise that the argument is based on: that we don't dare ever interfere with whatever the banks might do.
Most great ideas come from outside the world of business, in places where profit was not a motive, and result from communication and networking with never a "eureka" moment.
The author errs however in concluding that state intervention is useless for helping to produce great ideas. State support for academic research, without directing it at short-term applications, is exactly what's needed.
Obama plans to cut off sales and training to specific Pakistani military units and personnel connected with torture.
This is either a way to target the pressure very accurately, or a pretense of action that won't change anything. I can't tell which.
BP has made managers' pay depend on safety, and has waived the limit on damages it has to pay. I think this is enough reason not to single out BP for condemnation in the future, beyond insisting it pay the damages it owes. But that's not the principal issue anyway.
The main issue here is to establish adequate safety regulations to make sure that all oil companies operate safely, and how we can stop them from lobbying to water them down.
Washington DC tried to set up an Internet voting system for absentee ballots, but had to retire it because it was cracked.
Nonetheless, fools keep trying to foist this on us. And even if outsiders can't alter the votes in the system, the election authority might do so.
It is unfortunate that the article uses the word "hacking" to refer to security breaking. In this case, it might have been hacking, i.e. playfully clever exploration, but that's a different issue.
It is also unfortunate that free software is referred to as "open source". See "Open source misses the point".
Indonesia's US-trained Detachment 88 has repeatedly arrested and tortured people for peaceful separatist protests, even murdered a prisoner by keeping doctors away while he bled to death. The Indonesian government denies the torture and therefore can't be expected to correct it.
Indonesia's torture practices have been highlighted by a leaked video.
Indonesia seized West Papua Indonesia shortly after the latter was given independence by the Dutch, and has since colonized it with large numbers of Javanese.
The UK's conservative government has picked up Clown's plan to record information about every phone call, every web site access, and every email. This would add to the existing Orwellian system that records all car travel. Limiting use of the records to "terror" investigations should not reduce the terror Britons feel towards this, because the UK and other countries have a history of accusing any sort of protesters of "terrorism".
Bahrain is disappearing opposition supporters and accusing dissidents of "damaging the state's reputation."
An NPR commentator was fired for suggesting that he fears Arabs are terrorists; now Republicans want to use this excuse to eliminate support for public broadcasting.
I stopped supporting NPR myself because of the commercials on it, and in the 90s it started to persistently nag Clinton over insignificant points. (I condemned Clinton for negotiating "free trade" treaties to promote sweatshops, and for unjust copyright laws.) In general, I find it too right-wing to want to listen to it very much.
However, the fact that the Republicans want to get rid of it shows that we shouldn't let them do it without resistance. So I signed.
Tibetan students are protesting plans to teach them mostly in Chinese.
Canadians: tell the CBC to accept music under suitable Creative Commons licenses.
Israeli Arabs feel increasingly unwelcome in Israel, but worry about ceasing to be so.
There are two ways that Israeli Arabs might be moved into a future Palestinian state. One is by expelling them from their homes. The other is by transferring their homes to the Palestinian state. Nobody wants to be expelled from his home. If Israeli Arabs worry that their homes would be transferred to a Palestinian state, that is a further paradox. It means they worry that a Palestinian state would treat them worse than Israel does.
The UK police hit an anti-fascist protester then lied about him and tried to get him prosecuted. The police were attacking many of these protesters at the time. A video recording showed what really happened.
Will the police be prosecuted? Past instances suggest they will not.
Perhaps the problem is at a deeper level. If "insulting words" are a crime, that is censorship. If "insulting words" are a crime only if said to a policeman, that gives these thugs a dangerous privilege which they evidently abuse.
In the US: help Jack Conway beat Rand Paul.
The libel reform campaign in the UK needs your support.
With recent practices of forum-shopping, it is not just UK residents that need to fear UK libel laws.
Among the rich people funding dishonest right-wing ads to condemn government spending that helps ordinary people, meet Robert Steel, who benefited from bank bailout payments.
These right-wingers think that only the rich deserve handouts.
Right-wingers are running ads urging Latinos not to vote.
Important ancient and historic sites are on the verge of disappearing unless protected.
Americans: if you have a mortgage, challenge your bank: can you show the document proving you own my mortgage?
Egypt may ban use of Facebook because it serves as a platform for a little shred of democracy.
Facebook is not your friend, and in general people should reject it. However, I'll make an exception for countries where Facebook is the only medium of communication not censored yet.
China has disappeared human rights activist Gao Zhisheng.
He is not the only one. After a young Tibetan boy was chosen as the new Panchen Lama, China disappeared him and his family and made another choice.
Dutch police cracked down on a company helping to build Israel's annexation wall.
In the US: join in pressuring organizations not to show Faux News in public places.
The almost complete absence of cancer in Egyptian mummies suggests that it is caused by environmental factors created in recent centuries.
Thailand and the Philippines are crushing freedom of speech on the Internet through various pretexts.
Karzai wants to close the hated mercenary security companies. Aid organizations say they need these mercenary companies or will have to shut down.
However, the aid workers can't be safe without the Taliban's approval anyway. With that approval, can they find another security solution?
Humanity could achieve almost 30% of the necessary carbon emissions reduction through slowing population growth.
Reducing population growth in the US is especially important because of its wasteful use of resources.
Everyone: Call on Clarence Thomas to apologize to Anita Hill.
His wife, a Tea Party fanatic, recently demanded that Anita Hill apologize to Clarence Thomas — for testifying about his sexual harassment of her.
The ACLU is suing in Massachusetts to overturn a law censoring the Internet.
Similar Federal laws were ruled to violate the First Amendment, but a state law is a different question. The ACLU is defending all of us.
Under the oppressive rule of Hamas, girls can still practice surfing, if they are clothed from head to toe. But only until age 17.
Islamic rule oppresses women (and men) in much worse ways; this illustrates how much it twists people's lives.
Drug companies spearhead the invention of psychological "disorders" so that they can sell "treatments" for them. They even design tests to identify these "disorders" to convince people they need the "treatments". For instance, there is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder.
If people want to take drugs that increase libido, why not? And why not sell drugs for that purpose, after they have passed tests for safety. However, defining low libido as a "disorder" is dishonest.
This is one of many reasons why the large pharmaceutical companies need to be broken up. And other large companies likewise.
"Foreclosure mills" in the US have routinely falsified documents to carry out foreclosure. Some now face criminal investigations.
Mitt Romney, possible Republican presidential candidate, made his book a best-seller by demanding his speaking hosts buy lots of copies.
The ACLU went to court and forced the US government to recognize it is lawful to take photos on the street near Federal buildings, and to promise to educate its police about this.
I am an ACLU member. If you're not one, how about joining now?
The Shabaab militia in Somalia is amputating hands and feet of accused thieves without even a pretense of a trial.
This should be a lesson in the cruelty and evil of radical Islam. But there is no use trying to fight it in Somalia by supporting a "government" that few support. That only perpetuates the war.
A few Blacks are so angry at Obama that they plan to vote for Rand Paul — despite his attempt to oppose civil rights laws, and his past signs of racism.
Obama's failures are no reason to reject Liberalism. They are a reason to support real Liberals.
White supremacist groups recruit in Tea Party meetings.
The explicit position of the Tea Party may not be racist (I don't know), but its appeal is to an attitude that is very likely to be connected with racism.
Under pressure from working people, the Greek government has started to crack down on comfortable tax-evaders.
It should have done this first, rather than going after working people first.
Global heating is making Mali arid, effectively extending the Sahara desert.
Support Avaaz' petition against the plan for ACTA to interfere with generic medicines.
The strikers in France are fighting for all of Europe against gratuitous right-wing harshness.
The US military has begun accepting openly gay recruits, following the court decision against "don't ask, don't tell".
Obama says he wants to eliminate the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, but he rejects the reliable method of doing this — by not appealing the decision — and insists on using only a method he is not in a position to succeed with. In effect, he pretends to oppose the policy but in fact is now its chief defender.
France's censorship of racist statements is so strict that a TV channel was threatened with closure without trial for very mild remarks that didn't express prejudice. What Guerlain said translates as "I was working like a negro, if negros really worked that way." I would discourage saying that sort of thing, because it models an unrelated area of life gratuitously in racial terms. However, censoring this is much worse than racism.
I disapprove of the sentiment that M. Guerlain expressed, and I think people should rebuke him. Censorship can't be justified.
A US airline pilot refused to undergo body scanning or bodily frisking, so he was not allowed to fly — and the airport police chief told him that Americans' rights and freedoms had already been taken away.
Big Brother wants to employ you to watch others, and plans to fleece you in the bargain.
The UK government says any new nuclear reactors will get no subsidy, but there's a hidden possible subsidy in a cap on what they will have to pay for waste disposal.
A suspect in planning the Mumbai terror attack says that Pakistan's "security" agency was closely involved.
Right-wing fanatics in the US are spouting hatred of homosexuals, which is stirring up hate crimes.
The biodiversity summit in Nagoya is programmed for failure, since the draft text being discussed doesn't specify any required actions to protect biodiversity.
However, China has announced a unilateral plan to take real action.
I wonder which countries are opposing required actions in the draft.
Around $270 was enough to pay a drug addict in the UK to have a vasectomy.
Paying people to get sterilized should not be limited to drug addicts and wealthy countries. Population growth is a threat to the world's future and this method of slowing it should be broadly used.
US citizens: call on the Attorney General to investigate the US Chamber of Commerce.
The EU has become a motor for weakening standards for protection from toxic waste.
Athens ignored warnings of Aristophanes; will the US do any better?
Strictly speaking, Cleon was a demagogues, not a tyrant. A tyrant gained power by supplanting constitutional government; a demagogue exercised personal power by building up a mob to control constitutional institutions and use them to eliminate opposition. That latter is also the form of recent threats to freedom in the US, such as Bush and the banksters, so the author may have considered the distinction insignificant.
However, he errs in describing Obama as a "Liberal". The right-wing pseudo-Liberals of today don't have the guts, or perhaps the desire, to champion real Liberal policies, and that is why they can't inspire Americans who want to resist corporate power, except temporarily as Obama did by being a blank slate and letting Americans see in him what they wished for.
The strikes in France are so effective that fuel is running out across the country.
US crazies are blaming illegal immigration from Mexico on Obama.
This is absurd, since illegal immigration did not start in 2009. But what are its real causes?
Mexicans would mostly not want to leave their country if they were not desperate. US pressure on Mexico for prohibition of drugs may be indirectly responsible for driving some to flee the drug violence there.
However, poverty is a bigger factor. These "patriot" groups ought to turn their ire on NAFTA, which increased poverty in Mexico as well as in the US. That's because it transferred power from the people to business, which uses its power to drive people's standard of living down. Republicans are even worse than Democrats in their support for such treaties.
The US should also subsidize birth control, sterilization and abortion, in Mexico as in the US, so as to reduce future poverty. Republicans are against this, so they tend in the long term to exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration.
When land inhabited by millions of people sinks under the rising sea, driven by global heating, illegal immigration is likely to increase again, though perhaps by then the US will be too poor to attract anyone. Republicans will be largely responsible for perpetuating global warming, and for driving the US into poverty, though many Democrats are helping.
These are the issues American patriots ought to be concerned with.
13 countries with wild tiger populations are meeting to look for a way to prevent tigers from becoming extinct.
Berlusconi (il Ducino) keeps trying to end the career of Italy's most popular TV journalist, who keeps digging up dirt on him.
Attributing the Tea Party success more to a failure to explain administration policy than to "rage".
I think that Obama's failure to explain his policies results partially from the fact that they kowtow so much to business that no explanation would have satisfied his base.
The Pakistani Taliban kidnapped hundreds of boys to turn them into suicide bombers. The Pakistani army rescued some of them and set up a school to deprogram them.
Iran has brokered a deal to put the sectarian Shi'ites in control of Iraq.
Bush may feel personally annoyed by this, and it is a defeat for the US. But as long as the multinational oil companies get the profit from Iraq's oil, his buddies will tell him his war was a success.
Jesse Jackson is helping a campaign against racial profiling by the police in the UK.
If the police searched everyone without probable cause as often as they search Blacks, they would create so much resistance that they would be stopped.
In Manila, large families live in one room -- on any scrap of land, even in cemeteries. That's overpopulation.
Political leaders around the world make continued economic growth their priority, disregarding the fact that the economy exists in the natural world.
The real economic policy of the US and Europe is to cut spending, which prevents economic growth. Could that be a quiet move to end the increase in use of resources? If so, I fear that it won't do the job; but it will spread poverty. To reduce poverty without consuming our world, we need more equitable distribution of wealth, and today's corporate-subservient political leaders don't talk about that either.
Library of Congress: Copyright is destroying historic audio recordings.
I wonder why archiving would not be allowed as "fair use". I would expect it to be — but the Library of Congress must have considered that question.
Edward Hasbrouck is suing the US government demanding details of how it collects information about his travels.
Death squads are systematically targeting Iraqi police and officials.
Destitute people are jailed for long periods in the US because they cannot pay fines, court fees, even fees for having been in jail.
Some people remain chained to the interest on these debts for decades, providing a bonanza to companies that have effectively purchased control over them.
The US Treasury ordered some internet domains shut down without a trial.
The anatomy of the corporate-funded grass-roots tea party.
The world's food market remains prone to disastrous speculation.
Chile's mine disaster resulted from a lack of safety standards.
The Sunni minority in Bahrain has clamped down on Shi'ites demanding equal rights.
An Afghanistan NGO's report says that the Taliban are gaining strength and preparing for victory.
US citizens: support the campaign for a moratorium on foreclosures.
US citizens: phone the White House at 202-456-1414 and call on Obama to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge completely from oil drilling.
Germany is pushing for the removal of US tactical nukes from Europe as a step towards disarmament.
American anti-Liberals are so irrational that they will condemn and fight anything that they think of as "Liberal", regardless of the effects.
US banks face possible lawsuits for thousands of invalid foreclosures.
I hope people kick these banks in the pants, but protecting Americans from invalid foreclosures is not enough. We need to protect everyone from foreclosures, at least for now.
Nokia supplied surveillance technology which the Iranian tyrants used to hunt down a prominent dissident.
US citizens: tell Obama not to allow undersea drilling to resume.
Here's the message I gave:
President Obama, undersea oil drilling is not safe. Regulations can't make it safe unless we can make the drilling companies obey the regulations, which we know they don't. What we need is a massive investment in renewable energy, not oil drilling. You should block the drilling so as to exercise political pressure for the investment in renewable energy.
Sign Amnesty International's appeal on behalf of political prisoner Liu Xiaobo.
I wrote this message:
For the sake of China's future, I call on you to free Liu Xiaobo promptly. People who stand up for principle are the people that will make China a great country.
US citizens: sign this petition to Obama not to appeal the court decision that ordered the US military to stop expelling homosexuals.
Pfizer knew that its antidepressant reboxetine was ineffective, but kept it secret for years to get lucrative business.
The Irish ISP UPC has prevailed in court against music factories that demanded a cutoff of service to clients accused of sharing.
Irish internet users should boycott Eircomm and deal with UPC. In addition, they need to organize now against the predictable effort of the music factories to pass a law requiring punishment of sharers.
New Orwellian copying machines can detect specific words and refuse to copy.
The human world is consuming resources at 150% of the rate that the natural world regenerates them.
Former Communist party leaders and officials in China have called for freedom of speech, while the authorities are trying hard to censor them.
Obama has ended the undersea oil drilling moratorium, but environmental groups doubt the new regulations will prevent another big spill.
US voters: call your candidates to support a constitutional amendment to limit corporations' participation in electioneering.
The Pentagon wants to prepare for a cold war, or even fighting, over oil in the Arctic.
To burn all that oil would cause catastrophic global heating, so the race for Arctic oil is a race to disaster. We should be looking for how to prevent as much as possible from being burnt.
RepubliCorp is moving towards acquiring the US government in a megamerger.
Basra in Southern Iraq has become peaceful. Multinational oil companies export the oil, and leave a little of the wealth in Iraqi hands to make the city content.
I speculate that the cause of the current peace is that all the Sunnis have been expelled from the region, and the rival Shi'ite gangs are happy since they are all getting paid off.
This is a step up from the sectarian violence of a few years ago, but it still represents defeat for Iraq.
Women in the US who did stripping or sex work face prejudice for life. A teacher was hounded from her jobs in the name of this prejudice.
Freedom of the press is threatened in Bolivia as the government proposes a law to close newspapers for publishing racist statements.
Bad as racism is, censorship is even worse.
Harsh right-wing policies create a society that promotes selfishness and hierarchy, and drives down empathy and solidarity. This explains, psychologically, why angry American workers support right-wing policies designed to hurt them. Progressives who try to adapt to this change defeat themselves.
Progressives must promote values of empathy and justice, not try to base their appeals on selfishness.
Israeli soldiers regularly shoot unarmed Palestinians that come within 1000 feet of the Gaza border, or even further away. In 3 months, 10 teenagers were shot. Many were scavenging for rubble to build houses.
Prudes in Italy want to cut down 70 acres of forest to prevent prostitutes from finding clients in them.
President Berlusconi ought to intervene to legalize prostitution in Italy. If his cronies and lobbyists couldn't hire prostitutes to send him, he'd be rather lonely.
The EU proposes strict new regulations on underwater drilling.
The US ought to do the same, but Obama has no guts to challenge the rule of business.
Millions of union members and students held strikes and protests in France.
Raising the retirement age is ridiculous when people already can't find work.
A California student found an FBI tracking device in his car and posted a picture on the net. FBI agents came to get it and threatened him.
Morocco has imprisoned independence activists from Western Sahara for "treason".
That's like accusing the Dalai Lama of treason against China. Morocco conquered Western Sahara just after Spain gave independence to it.
Bank bonuses will increase this year even more than profits.
China has put Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo's wife under house arrest.
French unions and students are launching a new and stronger wave of strikes against President Sarcome.
Australians: protest the practice of bugging taxicabs. Many taxicabs say, on the door, "conversations may be recorded." If you use such a taxicab, communicate with the driver only in writing (and don't talk with each other!)
I like to write on paper, "Don't talk! Cab is bugged. To <address>" and show it to the driver while putting my finger to my lips. You might have other ideas. The crucial point is, don't take this lying down!
Sea Shepherd and former captain Bethune trade accusations of dishonesty.
I don't know how to tell what the truth is.
Insurance companies are gaming the new health insurance law so as to avoid paying for children's medical care.
The captain of the Jewish Gaza aid ship describes the violence of the military against their passive resistance.
The world financial system that the US imposed in 1944, which punishes debtor nations and supports creditors, has now caught the US and is pushing it towards trade protectionism.
Protectionism is bad in itself, but the protectionist impulse offers the world the opportunity to eliminate the mistake of "free trade".
Increased foreign trade is good for everyone as long as it does not undermine democracy, workers' rights, and the distribution of wealth. "Free trade" offers society the benefit of increased foreign trade, while ensuring that it undermines democracy, workers' rights, and the distribution of wealth. Whenever politicians argue that "globalization means we can't do X", that shows "free trade" has done this harm and that the current system of globalization of business power must be eliminated. It produces more wealth, and gives the rich so much clout they can grab all that wealth, and push wages, working conditions and the social safety net down.
A new crisis would give the world an opportunity to tear up the "free trade" treaties and restore democracy and workers' rights. But business will try to channel the impulse for protectionism down an irrelevant line which fails to address the problem.
If the new crisis weakens the US empire as the one in 1944 weakened the British empire, I won't be sad to see it go. However, if the new dominant power is China, a thoroughgoing dictatorship, that will be even worse.
The head of the UK police wants to make it harder for people injured by police violence to sue.
Given how little justice has been given to the victims of UK police killings, I think they deserve more, not less. Perhaps if the police force punished such activities more itself, and above all punished the practice of lying to protect police accused of crimes, there would be fewer victims and fewer lawsuits.
But these proposals are in no way motivated by a loyalty to police officers, as we can see from the second proposal, to obstruct them from suing the police force for bias. The goal here is to benefit the police force at the expense of everyone in society.
Corporations are spending millions on ads to influence the US election.
Kyrgyzstan has held a free and fair election, making it an oasis of democracy in a region of rulers that are effectively dictators.
Israel's cabinet adopted a requirement for non-Jewish immigrants to recognize Israel as a "Jewish" state.
Avigdor Lieberman called this the first step towards his plan to strip Israeli Arabs of their citizenship if they don't formally accept second-class citizenship.
Morocco has forced a magazine to close, after a long series of persecutions, for opening the door to forbidden lines of thinking.
The victims of the attack on the Mavi Marmara have moved to take Israel to the International Criminal Court.
After Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese government responded with threats.
A campaign to end torture in Pakistani prisons, which is common for prisoners there.
Norwegian musicians' income has increased 66% in the past ten years. Music-sharing seems to hurt only the record companies.
Low-flying helicopters looking on everyone's land for marijuana plants are disturbing everyone in Cuarteles, New Mexico.
Danger: Geithner may be planning to open a big loophole in the recent financial stability law.
Putting and keeping people like Geithner in office is one of the reasons I criticize Obama specifically. If Republicans block his legislative proposals, that is not directly Obama's fault, and if he had tried to pass good laws, I would give him credit for that.
However, that Geithner is in office is directly Obama's fault and he cannot shift the blame to anyone else.
An internet site for absentee voting in Washington DC was easily cracked and taken over, and the testers say that it would be effectively impossible to make such a site secure enough for election use.
On the battlefield, Afghanistan is going the way of Vietnam.
In Vietnam, a major cause was the corrupt government of South Vietnam. It couldn't inspire anyone to really want to fight for it, and Vietnamese who defended principles of democracy and freedom found it disgusting. It's the same with Karzai's government.
There is a difference, though. Instead of a neighboring Communist government with total control over its forces and supporters and the firm goal of conquest, in Afghanistan there are several Taliban groups with different goals and varying amounts of control over their supporters. This could mean more flexibility for a political settlement in Afghanistan.
A "security contractor" in Afghanistan seems to be paying protection to Taliban supporters.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Afghanistan has warlords and that some of these will work with the Taliban when it suits them. Part of the reason why the US was able to defeat the Taliban so fast in 2001 is that the warlords who had supported the Taliban switched to the (then) winning side. Now that the Taliban seem to be winning, they will switch back.
Genetically engineered BT corn that kills insect pests indirectly protects non-engineered corn growing nearby.
However, the patented genes also contaminate the non-engineered corn growing nearby, exposing the farmers to lawsuits, so it is not clear whether they get more benefit or more harm.
The UK has imprisoned Oliver Drage for refusing to give information to the police that might incriminate him.
The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League say that there will be no peace talks without a freeze on Israeli construction in the West Bank.
These peace talks have no chance of getting anywhere, so their main effect is to enable Obama to pretend to be doing something for peace while not pressuring Israel in the way that peace really requires.
The Love Commandos in India protect couples from being murdered by their relatives.
09 October 2010 (Urgent: Call for investigation of the Chamber of Commerce)
US citizens: sign this petition calling on the Attorney General to investigate the US Chamber of Commerce's use of foreign funds to influence US elections.
A Sea Shepherd boat captain says the leader told him to scuttle the boat for PR purposes.
I have admired Sea Shepherd, but I don't admire dishonesty.
Turkish reporter Ismail Saymaz faces 79 years in prison for his writings.
A Pakistani official says the vague US "terror alert" was Bush-style political manipulation.
Poor countries say that the promised aid for coping with climate change is not coming, and may be taken from other aid programs.
The European Commission is trying to cut off Indian generic drugs through a proposed trade treaty.
All trade treaties with the US or the EU will be designed for evil purposes. And all "free trade" treaties undermine democracy, by enabling companies to play one country against another by threatening to move production. We must oppose all these treaties until they are torn up.
Two Parisians wearing miniskirts and Islamic face veils show the hypocrisy of the ban on these veils.
The law banning face veils — and all covering the face in public — is an affront to all citizens, since in a few years that may be the only way to walk in public without being tracked everywhere by face recognition cameras and iris scanning cameras.
An in-depth look at iris scanning is here.
An investigation found that the White House blocked NOAA scientists from publishing information about the big spill.
The US has begun talking with the Haqqani insurgents in Afghanistan.
The Mexican senate unanimously passed a resolution against ACTA.
The Senate does not control the negotiators, but ratification would require the approval of the senate.
The Supreme Court of Israel has granted validity to the pre-1948 land claims of people who were dispossessed in that war. But only if they are Jews.
The left in Latin America has made great strides in reducing poverty, partly by keeping more of the income from mining within the country and using it to help the poor. But mining activities cause other problems and conflicts aside from "who gets the money?"
Don't ever let anyone take an iris scan of you — they can be used to track you anywhere on the street!
The article starts out with a long citation from supporters of the iris-scanning technology. Please keep reading past that to find out about the danger.
The article's conclusion is defeatist. If we fail to fight against plans to impose iris tracking on society, that will not help at all in preventing bad uses of the technology.
Does anyone know about the feasibility of iris disguise? Iris disguise may be a normal part of street apparel in 20 years.
80 police in Puerto Rico were arrested for protecting drug trafficking. 80 people is too many to be described validly as "a few". The fact that the accused had got involved separately in this kind of corruption shows that this is a systematic bad tendency of the system, rather than an anomalous event. The War on Drugs systematically tends to corrupt the police.
This is just one of many ways that prohibition corrupts and harms society.
Edith Lutz reports her conversation with one out of the hordes of Israeli military sailors who violently captured the crew of the Jewish Gaza aid ship.
A leading Israeli poet declared his intention to join another Gaza aid ship, which inspired politicians to call for removing his poems from the curriculum. Israel's government has rejected the idea that citizens can criticize policy without being traitors.
10% of the Chaco forest in Paraguay has been cut down in a few years. This is causing soil erosion and desertification.
Israeli settlers are hard at work bulldozing to expand settlements and burning Palestinian farmers' crops.
Israel has placed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy under house arrest, banning him from going to school.
Israel's supreme court deported Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire. Its reason was the catch-22 argument that she should have petitioned in advance to cancel the ban that she didn't know about.
The main witness in a terrorist suspect's trial can't testify because the government found him through torturing the suspect.
Confessions obtained through torture don't prove anything because innocent people will confess under torture. That's why the prosecution has had to accept the exclusion from the trial of everything Ghailani said. But the witness (Abebe) is not reported to have been tortured, so that is not a reason to exclude his testimony.
The issue here is that, if the police believe they can get convictions by torturing suspects, they will have an incentive to torture, regardless of any rules or laws that prohibit it.
Tyrannical government is a bigger threat than any non-governmental terrorists, so Judge Kaplan's decision is exactly right. There is nothing that calls for more strictness than protecting the public from torture.
I fear, though, that our Republican-chosen Supreme Court will reverse the decision.
Goldman Sachs says the US economy will be "fairly bad" or "very bad".
This article talks about trying to improve prospects by having the Federal Reserve lower interest rates. As explained previously, this can't do much. Only deficit spending has the power to boost the economy. Republicans have blocked that, and this is the result.
People in Gaza keep getting shot just for approaching the border.
Facebook has tricked people into uploading all the phone numbers they have in their phones.
China is paying an army to post pro-China articles and comments, and not just in Chinese sites.
Are some big businesses now lobbying against the oil companies to reduce CO2 emissions?
To be saved from climate disaster by business interests is better than being destroyed by business interests. But we must not let this reconcile us to corporatocracy as a replacement for democracy. That business has the power to control these decisions will continue creating injustice until we take it away from them.
The Green Party got 19% of the presidential vote in Brazil.
As a Green supporter in general, I am delighted by this. Now I hope that Dilma Rousseff will be the next president — she, like Lula, is a supporter of free software as well as many policies that will help the poor. I think that is likely to occur, because I expect most Green voters will prefer her to the right-wing candidate. This Green triumph might convince her to adopt policies more oriented towards conservation.
The Israeli army systematically fails to properly investigate when it kills Palestinians. When it does investigate, it delays months or years so evidence can be lost.
In the US: tweet to tell telephone directory companies to finish removing the right-wing phony "abortion providers" from their listings of abortion providers. This campaign has already succeeded in removing many of them; continued pressure will get the rest.
US citizens: call your candidates asking them to support the Pledge For Democracy.
How ACS:law planned to pull in riches, using copyright as an excuse for threatening thousands of people and giving a small fraction to the copyright holders.
The Taliban are repeatedly attacking NATO supply convoys traveling through Pakistan for Afghanistan.
Attacking a supply convoy for enemy troops is not terrorism. It is simply war. I find the Taliban loathsome for imposing unjust Islamic law on the populace, but that doesn't make them terrorists.
Do you think that releasing mice and rats from a lab is "terrorism"?
I think it was wrong, since scientific experimentation is useful, but stretching the word "terrorism" to include activities that can't possibly directly injure anyone is just a damned lie.
Israel plans to build over a thousand more housing units in East Jerusalem.
A pilot plant generates natural gas from urban waste, avoiding the addition of extra CO2 to the atmosphere (since the waste would would have generated it anyway). Twice the cost of fossil natural gas is a cheap price for saving the biosphere.
Refuting the anti-abortion argument that preventing the birth of a handicapped baby means contempt for people living with handicaps.
Some people with grave handicaps have chosen to kill themselves; others prefer to keep living. I think they should be free to do either one, and it isn't for me to judge which is better for them, but the issue here is about creating a new person. It is wrong to do so in conditions that will tend to impose unusual suffering or deprivation on that person.
A broad range of citizens of Stuttgart protested against a plan to build a very expensive new train station by cutting down old trees in a park, and police attacked them with water cannon, causing permanent injury to some. I don't know enough about the planned new train line to have an opinion about how much it will be useful for society. It might help reduce CO2 emissions by replacing air travel. But surely there is a way to modify the plan to achieve the same benefits with less expense and preserving the park.
A new form of housing discrimination in Israel: "no foreigners".
Transplanted species, introduced by humans, are devastating both natural ecosystems and agriculture around the world.
Theodore Bikel explains why he supports the cultural boycott of the Israeli "settlements" in the West Bank.
Palestinians say Israeli troops repeatedly arrest Palestinian youths before final exams so that they fall behind in school by a year.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders faces charges of "inciting hatred" and "discrimination" for condemning Islam and the Qur'an.
I don't endorse what Wilders is reported to have said. I don't know of any particular similarity between the Qur'an and Mein Kampf, though since I have not read either one and I don't know what similarity Wilders claims to have found, I am not in a position to positively say there is none. Islamic countries all practice injustice, for instance denying religious freedom for everyone, but I don't think the word "fascism" quite fits. There are plenty of non-Muslim terrorists (Tamil tigers, for instance, and arguably governments such as the US.) To ban the Qur'an, as Wilders advocates, would be censorship, just as wrong as censoring Wilders would be.
However, all that is secondary. Whether we agree with Wilders or not, we must defend his freedom of speech.
Imprisoned Syrian blogger Tal al-Mallouhi has been accused of spying because of publication activity.
The last thing any real spy would do is attract attention by pubic dissent.
US warnings of danger of terrorism in Europe were not based on any new information, according to UK intelligence.
The California association of beer-delivery companies is campaigning against legalization of marijuana. They apparently don't want competition from a less addictive drug.
That this organization did not consult its members should not surprise us. The American Association of Retired Persons lobbies for political positions that don't fit the interests of most retired Americans, and which many might disapprove of, and it doesn't try to call its members' attention to the matter.
You can support this referendum at yeson19.org.
Corporatization of global food business is producing a new kind of unofficial slavery, in food production as in factory work, using disposable, replaceable slaves. The megacorporations don't run sweatshops directly; instead they use subcontracting to hide it from view and move it around. Perhaps restrictions on subcontracting could be a way to tackle the problem.
Bush's intervention in Haiti was designed to make it available for such enslavement.
Right-wing politicians since Clinton have claimed that "free trade" treaties would benefit Americans by increasing exports. But it doesn't work: US exports have grown less to countries that the US has special free trade treaties with.
This factual failure is in addition to the fundamental failure: that the benefits of increased US exports go mainly to business owners and little trickles down to most Americans. And this little bit has to be compared with the cost of these treaties, which appears in reduced democracy.
The last traditional Inuguit hunters will have to stop because global warming has eliminated the sea ice, so they can't travel by dog sled and can't hunt.
Disney produced gear for sale in the US in a sweatshop in Bangladesh. When the workers demanded decent working conditions and an end to beatings and abuse, Disney found (fabricated) an excuse to stop dealing with that factory. I have not found any news about this since 2005.
France has prohibited covering one's face in public.
This law is an attack on everyone's privacy rights and political rights, using bigotry an excuse.
Martin Luther King's photographer was an FBI spy.
Peru's president Garcia was embarrassed into retracting a decree that gave a disguised amnesty to murderous government officials.
Jill Stein compares her positions with Massachusetts Governor Patrick.
Israeli soldiers were convicted of using a Palestinian child as a human shield.
It was common practice for Israeli troops to use Palestinians as human shields, and very rare that they are punished for it.
Police searching commuters on Philadelphia's trains, with no grounds for suspicion except that they were traveling to the city, were supposedly "looking for" weapons — but in fact they were searching for anything they could arrest someone for.
Iraqi prisoners transferred from the Bush forces to Iraqi jailers have reason to fear them.
The famous buildings of Venice are now covered by large advertisements. Those responsible say this is necessary to raise funds for preservation; in effect, "We had to destroy the city to save it."
Making Venice ugly is not very important compared with other issues mentioned in these notes. The reason I mention this is for the sake of the response from Venice in Peril. It demonstrates clearly that the reason for this policy is not that it has become more necessary, but rather that governments are now predisposed to kowtow to business.
The phony election in Burma has given Thailand an excuse to send Burmese exiles back to face persecution.
When "advanced" countries deport refugees to violence in Iraq and persecution in Fiji, they set the tone for this action by Thailand.
Atheists and Agnostics in the US have better knowledge about Christianity than Christians.
Burma holds 2000 political prisoners, but even those who escape from the regime are not allowed asylum in Thailand.
I am inclined to trust Aung San Suu Kyi's advice and conclude that Burma should boycott this election. It may not affect the outcome, or even the reported vote counts, but treating the election as if it meant something grants legitimacy to the Burmese dictators.
Explaining the different histories of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, resulting from different forms of US control.
El Sistema teaches poor children to play classical music; as a byproduct, they become good students in other fields.
Several Iraqi TV presenters and journalists been attacked recently, sometimes by police. Violence against journalists has been high in Iraqi ever since Bush launched his conquest of that country. The Bush forces shelled a hotel room, killing journalists, when there was no fighting in the vicinity.
The Israeli sailors on the last Gaza aid boat describe how Israeli troops attacked them with tazers as they sat, chanting.
Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace prize winner was blocked from entering Israel for a meeting of Nobel laureates.
Courts tend to give smaller punishments to criminals that do harm to many people, compared with criminals that do similar harm to each of a smaller group.
Leftover US cluster bomblets cause 300 casualties each year in Laos.
The uprising in Ecuador started from a few hundred police whom someone had misled to think their pay would be cut. Out of that sprang an apparently well-organized coup attempt.
Some US churches are defying the tax exemption rules by openly endorsing candidates for office.
India is pressuring Blackberry to give up the key to decrypt all Blackberry messages.
The excuse for this is stopping terrorism. As usual, it is a bad excuse. Terrorism is a real threat in India, but tyrannical government power is a much bigger threat. Terrorists killed a few hundred people in Mumbai, but the government has killed thousands.
The only ethical response for Blackberry is to stop doing business in India and tell the public it is because India allows only insecure messaging.
Anwar al-Awlaki's father and the ACLU have gone to court demanding the US government justify its intention to kill him. Obama's response is to try to quash the suit on grounds of state secrecy.
The state bases its monopoly of force on the argument, "It is better if people pursue justice through the legal system rather than by violence." In general, that is better, but the argument presumes the legal system is on offer. When the state says, "Our decision to kill your relative is excluded, a priori, from the legal system," it invalidates the argument, and takes justice down to the level of blood feud.
5 billion people, plus lots of wildlife, face threats from human degradation of rivers.
For biodiversity, the question is not "What is that species worth?" but "Do you want to avoid starvation and illness?"
A business funded group, "Americans for Job Security", is placing deceptive ads on TV to attack many candidates who won't bow down to business.
The election results in Venezuela could mean a return to normal democratic politics.
Chavez has done some things wrong, and democracy needs to give people a way to express their disapproval and choose other leaders. However, if democracy in Venezuela becomes too normal, it would mean that business has taken control, as in the US.
The formal TARP bailout money is scheduled to be repaid soon, but banks still owe far more bailout money that they got from the Federal Reserve.
After NAFTA spread poverty in Mexico and the US, the result is more illegal immigration. The US response is to patrol the border with war drones.
Iraqi Shi'ite parties are trying to make al Maliki prime minister again, but the other parties may yet prevent him from taking that office.
The US government is encouraging a big move to highly polluting oil from shale and tar sands, instead of renewable energy. This is clearing obstructions off the road that leads over the cliff.
The FCC has failed to take action against fake news stories on TV which are really advertisements dressed up as news.
To oppose ACTA, send your face to http://faces-against-acta.net/en
"Roundup ready" genetically modified crops are failing against roundup-resistant pigweed.
The engineered genetic resistance of the crops can transfer into other plant species.
Striking police in Ecuador besieged President Correa in a hospital room.
The grounds given by the prosecutor were computer files which, if authentic, supposedly report that communications between her (if it was her) and the FARC over release of FARC hostages went "too far".
It is an evident injustice for a functionary to remove an elected legislator by dictat. If these documents imply that Ms Córdoba committed a crime, she deserves to stand trial. The trial would consider questions such as whether the documents are authentic, whether they really refer to her, whether they are admissable, and if so, whether they were legitimate or not.
One escaped genetically modified salmon in a wild population could cause eventual extinction of that population.
This is because the genetically modified salmon would be more attractive to potential mates, and also less healthy.
In California: support the referendum to legalize marijuana.
The NIH has licensed its patents for AIDS drugs to a patent pool for poor countries. The challenge now is to make the drug companies do likewise.
The illegal fishing ships that destroy African fish stocks operate on forced labor, working in horrible conditions.
A victory for the right to record the actions of police in Maryland.
The FBI raided the homes of many antiwar activists in the US.
Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent, explains how the FBI has been given a free hand, trashing Americans' human rights.
Testimony to the Chilcot inquiry says that B'liar's government used a twisted argument to claim the UN resolution authorized invading Iraq.
The Supreme Court will rule on whether corporations have privacy rights, and Justice Kagan won't be allowed to vote.
CA Governor Schwarzenegger is fighting the oil companies which are trying to cancel California's carbon-trading plan.
Carbon trading is not a real solution to the problem of reducing CO2 emissions; it has too little effect. It ought to be replaced with a tax on greenhouse gas emissions. However, eliminating it would be a step in the wrong direction. California should reject the oil companies attempt to buy their way out of regulation.
Obama begged Natanyahu for just two months more extension of the settlement "freeze", offering all sorts of promises.
One of the promises Obama offered was not to ask for a further extension. This means that Obama was not aiming for a real chance of a peace agreement, only to give a false appearance of a chance of success that would last through the coming US elections.
The Gates Foundation is supporting a project with agribusiness giant Cargill that could involve pushing genetically modified crops in Africa.
ACS:law made thousands of people hate by running a "legal blackmail" business. The company may face huge fines for publishing (probably accidentally) personal information about hundreds of its victims. With luck, this may dissuade other companies from following in its path. But as long as publishers control governments enough to procure more laws to punish P2P users, no one will be safe.
Governments want citizens to put passwords on their wireless nets so as to act as enforcers in the War on Sharing. One way to resist the war is to leave your wifi net without a password.
The world's governments promised in 2002 to curb the loss of biodiversity, and achieved nothing. Now they are about to have another chance.
Participate in the day of action to stop climate change, Oct 10.
Prostitutes in Ottawa sued to overturn laws forcing them to work on the street in dangerous conditions, and won.
Ireland plans to spend 1/5 of its GDP to rescue a failed bank.
This shows how far the banks have become masters of the state. If it is going to bail out this bank, it should make subdivision into at least 10 pieces part of the plan.
Israel has banned the use of a high school textbook that presents the Palestinian viewpoint alongside the Israeli viewpoint.
This gives a glimpse into the Israeli government's plans to ensure that future generations will provide an excuse for future governments to tell future US presidents, "We can't make any concessions for peace, so the Palestinians will have to make all the concessions."
US citizens: sign this petition against US censorship of the Internet.
1/5 of all plant species are at risk of extinction.
Ecuador challenges the rest of the world: pay us to leave oil in the ground half of what you would pay us to extract it.
Israel moved closer to evicting many Arab families in East Jerusalem.
The UN HCR report found that Israel essentially murdered passengers on the Mavi Marmara, including Turkish-American Furkan Dogan, who was making a video. The autopsy results show some were shot in the head from very close range.
Furkan's video would have shown the facts about what he was doing when he was first shot. If Israelis deleted the video, that is obstruction of justice.
Israel is funding upgrades for Jewish tourist attractions in the West Bank.
Israeli troops shot bullets at Palestinian protesters in Bil'in and other towns.
Obama wants to put back doors in our encryption.
B'liar was warned in 2002 that the US was torturing captives, including British citizens and UK residents.
US banks are foreclosing so many houses that they don't have time to do it lawfully.
ACS:Law, which made a business of bullying internet users accused of sharing, leaked credit card information about its victims. A major ISP says it will refuse to cooperate with that company's persecution of its customers.
The UK issued a broad injunction ordering Greenpeace to stop nonviolent protests that block undersea oil drilling. Greenpeace may need to move all its assets out of the UK in order to continue protests against UK-based oil drillers. Or else some other organization not based there may need to take over.
Ideas for encouraging some of the Israeli settlers to move out of the West Bank.
Obama wants to track all international money transfers in the US, even small ones.
Citigroup is embarrassed that it once said Obama's bank regulations were "relatively bank-friendly", since now it wants to portray them as incompatible with the dominion that banks deserve. So it used the DMCA to censor publication of its previous report.
Karzai has started talking with the Taliban.
Fijian democracy activist Josefa Rauluni committed suicide rather than let Australia deport him to Fiji, where he faced persecution from the coup-installed government.
To refuse asylum in such a clear and obvious case shows that Australia is in total contempt of its humanitarian obligations.
Another Christian leader who condemned homosexuality stands accused of practicing it.
If he had sex with someone unconscious, that was rape. As for the other complainants, I think it is wrong to treat them as a legal issue. They are issues of personal honesty; if Long had sex with men, he is a hypocrite.
It is curious that so many religious leaders who preach that sex is evil turn out to be hypocrites. The way to put an end to this pattern is to reject its cause, by proudly celebrating sex. Sex is good (but take proper precautions against unwanted effects), and celibacy is a harmless eccentricity.
Tell the US government what needs to be done to prevent a repeat of the Big Pollution, via http://www.citizen.org/bp-commission-comments.
Here's what I posted.
BP made an artificial island near Alaska so that they can drill into undersea oil and call it "onshore drilling".
This might be playing word games with danger, or it might be a real solution. If the artificial island means that any oil spill would occur on the island itself, perhaps that very fact will make it much easier to collect the oil that spills. Or perhaps not — I don't know.
But the Department of the Interior ought to make sure it knows, and tell us.
Marine mucilages up to 200 kilometers long, harboring bacteria and viruses that can be dangerous, now form in winter and last for months.
A US ISP, Suddenlink, has unilaterally decided to disconnect its customers for a long time if they are accused 3 times of forbidden sharing.
Perhaps it should change its name to Suddenunlink.
I wonder whether its conduct is illegal under consumer protection law. If so, customers could sue. However, any Suddenunlink customers that don't want to sue should disconnect themselves from that company ASAP.
A crackdown on advertising might make it possible to avoid unnecessary consumption and avoid destroying the biosphere.
Al Jazeera's reporters in Afghanistan were arrested and accused of being "Taliban facilitators".
In the US: Join Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity, on Saturday, October 30, in Washington, D.C.
Funding for an AIDS vaccine has been cut just when research shows promise in creating one.
What's the sense in prospecting for oil under the ocean? If we are to avoid a climate disaster, we must not burn all the oil already known.
The opposition in Venezuela got around half the votes for congress, although due to voting districts they won only 36% of the seats.
The US government wants the power to forcibly delete domains from DNS.
Once there is a system in place to order sites deregistered for one kind of reason, the temptation to extend it to other kinds of reasons will be hard for the US government to resist.
Many non-US Internet businesses and activists criticized, several years ago, the unilateral US control over Internet domain names. At the time, I thought their concern was misplaced because the US did nothing to exert control. However, if this law is passed, their concern will be validated, and I would expect some countries to require their DNS servers to disregard US orders.
In the UK, you can get information about the consequences of proposed bills for liberty from this site.
Cambodian garment workers paid $60 per month went on strike, and the government responded by threatening to arrest the union leaders.
Canadians: call on your government to support Hossein Derakhshan, who faces execution in Iran for his political statements.
Granting that genetically modified crops are not magically dangerous, they still have the potential to be harmful — for technical reasons and due to the power that they give to a few corporations.
The angry rich say they can't bear a few percent more income tax. Why are many Americans so foolish as to sympathize with them?
When they say these things, it is not because they are fools. Rather, they think they can fool most Americans with the help of right-wing media. They may be right about that, if we don't succeed in reestablishing a sense of proportion.
Today's Republicans, and today's supposed Democrats, make me wish we had Eisenhower back again.
I suggest we raise taxes for the rich by more than 3%. Let's raise their taxes so much that the government could pay for the research, and public events, that corporations now fund (and twist to their ends).
The big spill seems to have made phytoplancton secret lots of mucus, dragging them down with oil to the bottom. This would have poisoned life at the bottom while starving young fish above.
California has awarded funds to agribusiness for PR to convince people not to worry about pesticides in produce.
Supporting unbiased scientific study and reporting of the facts would be a proper activity for government to support.
The ACLU made a school compensate a student for taking and searching the photos in her phone computer.
I am especially moved by the views of Rami Elhanan.
Meanwhile, since Israel talks about jokes that isn't funny, look at the idea of a "compromise" to replace Israel's temporary construction freeze. That includes four levels of compromise in Israel's favor already: freezing the settlements rather than closing them, doing so temporarily, excluding Jerusalem, and implementing it half-heartedly so that much construction carried on. So now Israel says "Meet us half way" again. It's really a scheme to make the Palestinians concede everything before negotiation start, and all the parties know this.
A "heroic" cop who said he was shot by drug smugglers may have wounded himself and fabricated the story .
In their euphoria over the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka's people have not noticed the danger from their president who is making himself effectively a king.
Kashmiri separatists have called a general strike to continue their nonviolent protests.
The UN official formerly concerned with extrajudicial killings calls for investigations of the killings that Wikileaks informed us about.
Retreating glaciers expose ancient artifacts — but glaciers are retreating so fast nowadays that archaeologists can hardly collect the artifacts before they rot.
Uganda's US-supported government is crushing political activities using terrorism as an excuse.
The UN Human Rights Commission investigation into Israel's attack on the Mavi Marmara concluded that it was unjustified violence.
Cheap home drug tests will help parents introduce their children to the meaning of tyranny and suspicion.
Greenpeace faces possible disaster from a court order if it continues its protest on an oil drilling ship.
The quote at the end from Greenpeace is devastating; simply contrasting the oil company's arguments for the court order with its arguments for being allowed to drill in the Arctic, it shows the company is playing a two-faced game with public safety.
Bush was planning "regime change" in Iraq in July 2001, and began pushing to invade Iraq on September 12, 2001. Bush seemed irritated when he was informed that Iraq had no connection with al Qa'ida, and the next day he asked the CIA to find some connection.
A software developer is suing the CIA for using "illegal" software to guide drones that drop bombs.
My interpretation of this issue is very different from that of the article.
The idea that this software is "illegal" and that that makes it unethical is predicated on an endorsement of proprietary software. I reject that. It is not wrong to copy software; it is wrong to stop someone from copying software. It is not wrong to decompile a program, it is wrong to withhold source code from others. The CIA was foolish to use nonfree software at all.
I am not convinced that 13 meters of positioning error is ethically significant. If the target is so close to civilian bystanders that a mere 13-meter error would endanger them, then they are endangered anyway. Bombs don't always hit their target perfectly, and the shrapnel can cover a wide area. So it would be wrong to bomb there even with perfect software. Thus, if the US does bomb there, and hurts civilians, the fault is not with the software — it is with the decision to use the weapon there.
The problem for which this software inaccuracy might be the principal cause would be sometimes missing the target.
Repower America is working to preserve the US Clean Air Act from an attack by business.
Louisiana doesn't want to know whether thousands of dead fish had something to do with the big spill.
Speculation in food as a commodity has combined with major disasters (caused partly by global heating) to send food prices up — a disaster for the world's poor.
The argument is that there are rich people who want to make a bubble somewhere or other, and now that the housing bubble has been popped, food is the only place they can go.
Of course, population increase puts more pressure on the world's food production capacity. All these factors are multiplied together.
The predatory Lord's Resistance Army has spread into several countries in Africa.
If the US were sincere about promoting freedom and democracy in other countries, crushing the LRA would be a good use of its military power.
Sign this petition calling on businesses to turn off Faux News.
In the US: host a MoveOn party for progressive candidates.
Here is the text of what Ahmadinejad said in the UN.
I disagree with his views about religion, and I don't believe what he says about Iranian uranium enrichment, but his views on the September 2001 attacks are basically sensible. He did not assert that the US government carried out the attacks; he mentioned it as a possibility. He criticized the evidence behind the US government position, and called for an independent investigation.
Obama has misrepresented Ahmadinejad: Obama accused him of callousness towards the victims of the attacks, but in fact Ahmadinejad expressed compassion for them. Many of their relatives have demanded the new investigation that Ahmadinejad supports and Obama opposes.
Of course, none of this excuses the Iranian government's cruel and unjust treatment of dissidents, women, and human rights lawyers.
BP and the US government are cooperating to demand scientists sign nondisclosure agreements and to exclude independent scientists from studying the remaining oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.
US citizens: support Kucinich for Congress.
Wendell Potter says that Obama's health care bill is starting to do real good for many Americans.
Potter has demonstrated his integrity and he knows the facts, so I believe him about these effects. However, we cannot yet tell the extent of the harm that the bill will do to other Americans, so we can't yet conclude whether the bill does more harm or more good.
In any case, it failed to do what we really need: set up a national heath system that covers everyone, and get insurance companies out of the field of medicine.
Apparently it isn't illegal to burn Qur'ans in the UK, only illegal to talk about it.
The UK law is a direct offense against human rights. Of course, it means well — it means to reduce "racial hatred". But that is no excuse.
I disapprove of racial hatred. I also disapprove of hatred against a religious group (which is not, as a matter of fact, a matter of race). However, our agreement or disagreement with people's views is irrelevant when it comes to defending their freedom of speech.
Toxic levels of oil were found on a beach at Sarasota, Florida.
Everyone: support Amnesty International's World Day Against The Death Penalty.
Iran's President Ahmadinejad made some reasonable statements about the possibility that Bush was involved in arranging the September 2001 attacks, and comparing the number killed by them with the number killed in Afghanistan.
Elsewhere I saw reported he said that "most Americans agree with these statements". I don't know if most Americans do, but many do. He also asserted that Bush did this to benefit Israel. I am skeptical of that.
I will not assert that Bush was involved in those attacks, because only a real investigation can establish who was responsible. Bush resisted an investigation, then weakened its powers and corrupted the investigators, so that its findings mean nothing. Obama has not even spoken about having a real investigation. This is why I signed the ae911truth.org petition in favor of one.
This Afghan election was more violent than the previous one.
Israel is about to end the settlement "construction freeze" that was never fully implemented.
The UK is blocking a European plan for more safety controls on undersea oil drilling.
Insurance companies are demonstrating the flaws in Obama's health insurance changes. Since they can no longer reject a specific child based on a preexisting condition, some refuse to insure any children.
What the US needs is a national health care system like the one that works in Canada.
US citizens: call your senators to support the Byrd Mine Safety and Health Act (S.3671) to protect against predictable injuries due to bad working conditions.
And sign this petition but a phone call carries more weight.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
iBad users tend to be wealthy selfish jerks.
In major sporting events, such as the Commonwealth Games and in the Olympics, nations compete to see which can waste the most money for a two-week distraction. The UK plans to spend around 13 billion dollars on the coming Olympics; meanwhile, the UN has just 25 billion to reduce poverty. These events also drive large numbers of poor people from their homes; sometimes over a million.
People were arrested in the UK for burning a Qur'an. Making it a crime to express criticism in this way is an infringement of freedom of speech. Burning the British flag seems like an appropriate expression of disgust.
Gulf coast oystermen implore the state not to open the oyster season. They want to leave the oysters alone to increase their numbers. It is refreshing to see fishermen show a concern for the long-term protection of the resources they use.
Pakistan's ban on "indecent" messages is supposedly aimed at terrorists, but it is also being used to stifle dissent.
In the US: join the March on Washington for good jobs, equal justice, and public education for all.
Agribusiness companies have paralyzed the UN Food and Agriculture Organization through the use of a few subservient governments.
Indian troops in Kashmir have a license to kill civilians at will. In recent months they have injured over a thousands protesters, and killed over a hundred, including an 8-year-old boy that was beaten to death.
The result is to drive the protesters towards armed rebellion.
The MPAA wants censorship firewalls in every country, and to sell the idea, it suggests these firewalls can block Wikileaks too.
A judge in the UK says an Iranian woman lied when claiming she had been involved in publishing The Satanic Verses, and that she won't be in danger if she is deported to Iran.
Having no personal knowledge about this, I can't tell what the truth is. But I wonder whether the Iranian regime will punish her merely for speaking favorably abroad about the distribution of The Satanic Verses.
Ecuador has encouraged indigenous people to lead their own conservation efforts.
The Gates Foundation has funded many news organizations to cover its work, which is not very different from paying them to give it good press.
US citizens: sign this petition to protect the Western Arctic Reserve.
I saw my father once after he developed Alzheimer's disease. I concluded that my father was dead, and what existed was merely a walking corpse with a superficial resemblance to him. I decided there was no point in ever seeing him again, since he would forget it just after.
There is no point keeping such zombies alive. If, or perhaps I should say when, the same happens to me, I hope to be put down rather than burdening others uselessly. Once I can no longer remember from day to day, the question of whether I would be alive tomorrow would not matter.
In California: volunteer for the campaign to protect California's climate protection law.
Hamas says it has informed the US it was prepared to accept the existence of Israel.
I presume it means this could be part of a larger deal. This is not peace, but it indicates a willingness to make peace. If Israel is willing to make peace, it ought to enter negotiations with Hamas. The fact that Hamas, like Israel, commits war crimes should not prevent peace negotiations. However, if Israel wants an excuse for not considering peace, it can point at them.
Debunking Israeli spin on the siege of Gaza.
India is stopping journalism from functioning in Kashmir; some newspapers and TV stations have found it impossible to operate, and others report being pressured to stop covering the protests.
Obama is trying to convince disappointed progressive Democrats to start vigorously supporting him.
These cited criticisms of Obama did not pin him down at the crucial point. Because they focused on achievements rather than attempts, they enabled him to put the blame on Congress.
We understand that only Congress can pass a law, and that if Obama advocates a change and Congress won't pass it, that is not his fault. However, it is his fault when he proposes a bad change, such as to increase government surveillance powers instead of reducing them. It is his fault when he decides not to carry out a responsibility, such as the responsibility to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. It is his fault when he accepts a health care modification law which, despite possible good intentions at the outset, has mutated into Obama's gift to business. It is his fault when federal agents stop reporters from investigating the oil spill.
Even on issues where he has tried and failed, such as closing the Guantanamo prison and ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, he did not seem to fight very hard.
Obama should have thought about support from the base that elected him when he made those decisions. However, I don't think he was really committed to progressive values or goals.
There were large protests in Egypt against President Mubarak's expect plan to pass his throne to his son. Some protesters showed how they had been beaten by the police.
Greenpeace activists tied themselves to the anchor chain of an oil drilling ship to stop it from leaving harbor.
Vietnam's elephants could be extinct in 10 years due to rampant poaching.
The motive seems to be conspicuous consumption, a vice that is also pushing other species to extinction.
US citizens: call your senators and say, "Vote for equality for gays in the military."
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
US citizens: phone your senators to support the DISCLOSE Act (S.3295). This bill would require corporations to identify themselves in the political advertisements they fund.
See here for more advice.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Iraq holds 30,000 prisoners without trial.
Ron Paul exposes the hypocrisy of the tea party when it wants to cut the budget for the poor but not for the bloated US military.
I agree that helping the poor based on loans is a mistake. Welfare state programs are important, and in general we should pay for them using taxes, not borrowing.
However, the present time is an exception: deficit spending is necessary now to end a recession.
How the US banks and Bernanke lied so as to get a bailout that the country did not need.
If the US continue policies designed to boost the stock market without a recovery of the economy that affects most people, we may well end up with a half-great-depression that lasts ten years or more.
The migration of gnus is in danger from a planned new truck road through the Serengeti.
Global heating is drying Peru, pitting one community against another for the shrinking water supplies.
Intel has threatened to sue anyone that makes decoders to break the handcuffs of HDCP. This means Intel is egregiously hostile to our freedom, worse than the other companies that cooperate passively with HDCP.
Federal agents stop journalists from looking for oil buried in Florida beaches.
The FBI sent an agent to an anti-war rally to look for "terrorist suspects", then falsified documents to cover it up.
People who are planning terrorism do not participate in public demonstrations. They don't want to call attention to themselves.
George Monbiot has despaired of humanity's response to the clear but still distant impending doom of global heating. Existing efforts are comparable to sticking hands into the ocean to slow the Titanic as it heads for the iceberg.
There were protests in several parts of the US in support of Bradley Manning, accused of leaking the Collateral Murder video to Wikileaks.
A detailed study in Norway reports that musicians' incomes have risen greatly in ten years.
I find it especially interesting that more musicians get substantial income from record sales. I suspect that involves bypassing the record companies and selling directly to the public.
Iran points to the US death penalty to try to excuse its own.
The argument is fallacious as regards brutal practices such as stoning. They would be unconstitutional in the US, as "cruel and unusual punishment". It is also fallacious as regards the dishonest alterations of the verdict and the charges, and as regards allowing a judge to declare someone guilty on "personal knowledge" not presented in court.
I wish the argument were fallacious as regards torturing people into confessions. Sad to say, the US has done that plenty, and Obama continues most of Bush's torture practices.
The argument is also valid about the death penalty itself. The death penalty in the US is often applied based on insufficient evidence; many prisoners have been released from death row in recent decades because their innocence was proved.
The US must abolish its death penalty. Then it will not serve for Iran and China to justify theirs.
The US employment of mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a systematic opportunity to evade all controls. Why did the drunken Blackwater mercenaries murder civilians? Because they were not trained for combat and were armed illegally.
It seems the US government did as bad a job of regulating Blackwater as it did regulating BP.
China is starting to change its one-child policy.
This change threatens to increase world population growth, when the world's population is already unsustainable. China's population has never stopped growing, and its pollution per capita is growing fast.
If China would like more young people, it could invite them to migrate from other parts of the world. The same applies to Europe, of course.
Almost a billion people have insufficient food at present, and that might increase in the future due to population growth while resources such as fresh water and fish decrease due to global heating.
The OECD says the US will have an economic recovery for the wealthy but not for workers.
The campaign to save the Pavlovsk biodiversity bank is growing but the battle is not over.
Terrorism hysteria has real victims when it leads to a zero-tolerance policy in which the state cannot back down from persecution.
Biofuel can now be made by bacteria from plant waste.
Israel needs to make peace with Palestine so that Israel and Arab countries can convince Iran to forgo nuclear weapons.
It is a rational argument, but these days the right wing has learned to bury rational arguments under piles of BS.
The euro has turned into a motor for pushing down wages, since it forces each country in the euro zone to compete with the rest in doing so.
Even if the danger of depression that the article discusses is averted, this will harm most of the people in the euro zone, and indirectly most of the workers in the rest of the world too.
Empathy may be a central part of humanity's evolution and biological success.
The article's conclusion reaffirms the ideas which inspired (among other things) the free software movement.
The IMF will station permanent agents in Greece to monitor that country's submission to its austerity regime.
Toxic coal ash in China is poisoning villages and farmland.
The would-be Times Square bomber believed that setting a bomb to kill civilians in New York would retaliate for the US killing of civilians in Pakistan.
An Iranian human rights activist faces possible execution for "war against god". Apparently the god they worship is at war with humanity.
Human Rights Watch accused the Iraqi government of blocking protest demonstrations.
Exercise does little for losing weight (though it does have other health benefits).
A cartoonist has changed her name and stopped publishing cartoons for fear of murderous Muslim fanatics.
I am not in a position to judge whether she needs to go into hiding. I do wonder why, once living under another name, she can't go on publishing under the old one.
What is clear is that these threats, not proposals to burn Qur'ans, deserve the focus of our condemnation. Prominent people who take issue more with the possibility of provoking those fanatics than with the fanatics and their threats have their priorities backwards.
The Pennsylvania Homeland Terror agency is collecting intelligence reports about opposition to natural gas drilling, as well as anti-war groups.
Even worse, the cops say that the possibility of a protest without a permit is enough reason for the police to investigate a political group.
Speaking of intelligence and preventing terrorism, it would be more intelligent to collect intelligence on anyone that threatens to commit the US to another war. Such a war would be a much bigger boost for terrorism that anything these suspects could possibly do.
Alyssa Peterson, an interrogator in the Bush forces, committed suicide shortly after refusing to participate in torture and talking with another soldier about it.
The embarrassed Bush forces tried to hide the fact that it was suicide.
Sierra Leone has advanced over the US in providing free health care to young children and their mothers, and to pregnant women.
This is the right thing to do; however, excluding women who are not pregnant has the potential to encourage more procreation. Whether this is a significant effect, I do not know.
Drug company Wyeth paid to plant over 500 clinical papers whose "authors" just put their names on them, in order to give the impression that hormone replacement therapy was safe and effective.
The Afghan election suffered from a small amount of violence, but lots of fraud and intimidation.
A deep sea BP well near Libya threatens to destroy Roman relics.
10,000 people protested the Pope in London.
Nigeria's campaign against tribalism: bring the best students from all tribes to multiethnic schools.
Global heating is creating difficulties for potato farmers in Peru.
In a big defeat for digital handcuffs, the master key for the HDMI video interface has been published.
HDMI is an example of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). The enemy has lost one battle but the war will continue. Please join our protest campaign against DRM.
Bailed-out banks are financing predatory "payday loan" companies that try to sucker victims into renewing ever-larger loans which they will never pay off.
Only countries are supposed to do that ;-).
The UK has adopted standard limiting the amount of packaging of food.
Independent scientists accuse the US government of systematically minimizing the damage from the Big Pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.
A two-inch layer of dense oil has been found on the floor of Gulf of Mexico, where it will probably be very slow to degrade.
It was President Reagan who began the attack on Americans who are not rich.
Loss of biodiversity now threatens disaster for human societies, but the US has not ratified the UN Convention on Biodiversity.
US citizens: Call your congresscritter to support the Fair Elections Now Act, which provides public funding for congressional elections. Or use this web page to send a message.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Donate to Jill Stein for Governor of Massachusetts.
The TSA's latest terror-spreading poster invites people to report anyone photographing airplanes as suspicious.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was filmed saying that she wasn't tortured into confession.
Given that she previously showed signs of torture, I think this proves she was tortured further.
Egypt is a dictatorship which maintains the form of democracy: there are elections but the opposition is not allowed to win.
The World Bank is putting billions into new coal power plants.
Almost all the Republicans in the Senate, or running for Senate seats, deny global heating and oppose doing anything to stop it.
This reflects the influence of the rich interests that fund and manipulate the "tea party" movement.
India's tremendous economic growth has done nothing for the poor, half of the population, who are getting poorer.
Cuba is taking a precipitous move towards capitalism — but, as with China, not yet towards freedom.
Wells in the Ica valley in Peru are drying up, because production of asparagus for export is using up all the water.
US citizens: sign this petition in favor of stricter safety standards for US chemical plants.
New oil came ashore last weekend on beaches in Louisiana.
30 years after the Ixtoc oil spill of 1979, the tar mats are much smaller, but not yet gone. What remains is enough to stop coral and sea grass from regrowing.
One US citizen reports on exercising his right not to answer US border agents' questions about what he did while traveling outside the US.
Although economic growth can give people employment, the economic system overall is designed for a level of waste that is unsustainable.
Making the economy grow would address the short-term issue; for the long term, we need to restructure the economic system to aim for a different kind of efficiency.
A week ago, Hamas agents shot some Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The US condemned this. A much larger extent of Israeli violence against Palestinians continues all the time, but the US did not mention that.
Israel is going full speed ahead with construction to extend its colonies in West Bank Palestinian territory.
Russia is using the excuse of unauthorized copies of Windows (sometimes falsely) to seize the computers of political opposition groups and environmental monitoring groups, and Microsoft's lawyers help.
I suspect some Russian officials told Microsoft executives that things would go better for them if they went along with the lies, and the latter saw no reason to insist on the truth.
The idea that sharing is "piracy" is in itself perverse.
Mandating a high level of recycling is a good way to create jobs.
In the past, this job was effectively outsourced to poor countries and done in very dangerous working conditions and with low pay. If the work is done in a wealthier country, it might be made safer and pay more.
People who were bitten by sharks have launched a campaign to save sharks from extinction, which threatens them because people kill them just to use the fin.
Chinese banquets customarily include shark's fin soup as a form of conspicuous consumption. With a simple cultural change, they could buy something else expensive instead.
The European Arrest Warrant kept Andrew Symeou in jail for 11 months for charges that will probably be dismissed immediately, the evidence is so weak.
Over a million people are killed each year in road accidents, and nearly all in poor countries which lack basic safety measures.
The US has offered a giant arms sale to Saudi Arabia, with apparently no conditions about respect for freedom of religious belief or non belief.
The UK military evade the issue when asked whether any of its prisoners in Afghanistan have died.
The IMF, famous for imposing austerity programs on poor countries and most lately on Greece, says that the budget-cutting of many wealthy countries is harmful.
The banks have blocked governments from imposing the regulations needed to ensure they can't cause another bubble and another crash.
A challenge for religious believers: why have "God"'s miracles declined to a level which is hardly miraculous?
Tens of thousands of walrus have migrated to the land, apparently because of a dearth of Arctic sea ice.
There were big protests in Thessaloniki against the Greek austerity regime.
The UK plans to deport a woman to Iran who faces execution for involvement in publishing The Satanic Verses.
American demagogues are stirring up hatred against Muslims.
There are many valid grounds to criticize Islam, but stirring up hatred is a bad thing to do, and threatening people is simply wrong.
Many countries restrict the monitoring of the environment and government activity, which adds up to increasing possibility of corruption and environmental destruction.
British Bush forces troops killed many Iraqi prisoners and the army did not bother to investigate. One prisoner died when a soldier pushed him into a large river, but even then there was no prosecution.
Afghanistan's voting system has problems that would take years to fix.
The arrest of a Kashmiri separatist leader sparked violent protests.
India risks pushing Kashmir into another underground terrorist movement.
The former leaders of Colombia's paramilitaries, right-wing thugs and thieves, have formed new drug gangs which are now the biggest cause of violence in that country.
This is what Plan Colombia calls "success".
Sri Lanka's government denies the civilian casualties of its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, and has denied access to UN investigators.
This follows the example of Israel, which has blocked UN investigation into the well-known war crimes in Gaza.
Since right-wingers in the Senate blocked efforts to slow global heating, the next idea is to require big improvements in fuel efficiency for cars.
To make this effective, it needs to require milestones much sooner than 2025.
The EPA is investigating the secret chemicals that oil companies inject into natural gas wells. They may poison ground water.
Notwithstanding what opponents of Chavez say, Venezuela's economy is recovering from the effects of the worldwide downturn, and the poor have benefited from his reforms.
Donna Marsh O'Connor explains why she welcomes a Muslim center near where her daughter was killed.
Since she mentions using Skype, I have to remind the reader that Skype is proprietary software, so you shouldn't tolerate it on your computer and you certainly shouldn't talk about it as acceptable to use.
Obama's officials persuaded a US appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit against Jeppesen for commercially facilitating (and profiting from) CIA rendition flights. Obama has generally protected US torturers, and US courts have failed in their responsibility to police torture.
Seculars make better neighbors than religious believers: on the whole, seculars are less violent, less criminal, more tolerant, and more willing to give to charity.
Wikileaks is planning to publish a long list of Bush forces event reports, some of which might deal with torture by the Iraqi insecurity forces.
9/11 was great for arms companies and religion, as it spreads war and murder around the world.
US citizens: Obama wants to increase government search powers for your electronic data. Sign this ACLU petition to reduce them instead.
In the wake of Nixon's September 11 attacks in Chile, harsh political changes were introduced that have not yet been reversed.
Obama has continued Bush's approach toward terrorism and torture, quietly making it worse.
The feminist concept of "patriarchy" is an approximation to, or aspect of, a broader system of domination. Women are often on the losing side, but it's unjust no matter who is up or who is down.
Arrogant Muslims in Afghanistan protested at a German base against an American's intention to burn copies of the Qur'an. Troops shot and killed one of the protesters.
There are several aspects of these events that call for comment.
That American may be a demagogue or a racist, but he has the right to burn a copy of the Qur'an as an expression of his views. If Muslims feel offended, they have a right to protest back. I don't sympathize with them much, because they apply a double standard: they fail to condemn the much worse things (up to and including execution) that Islamic states threaten to do to those who express views that they criticize. Nonetheless, biased as their views may be, they have a right to express them.
People in Afghan did protest back, as was their right, and NATO troops shot some of them.
It is very bad when troops kill civilian protesters. If things have come to this, it means that NATO has lost the support of a large fraction of Afghanistanis, and NATO troops should not be there.
Many have recently argued that people should not exercise their freedom of speech in ways that would antagonize a powerful group that might incline to violence. By that reasoning, Salman Rushdie should not have written The Satanic Verses. To demand others self-censor is the surrender of freedom.
However, there are deeds that the US could have avoided so as not to provoke the anger of Muslims around the world — cruel and violent acts that went far beyond giving offense. These include the conquest and occupation of Iraq, the continuation of the futile war in Afghanistan, and the "war on terror" whose principal effects are to ruin countries, steal everyone's human rights, and inspire terrorists.
Fidel Castro says he was misinterpreted, and still advocates Communism in Cuba.
Also see this pol-note.
The pope's stance on condoms is causing millions of deaths from AIDS.
Oil companies are working hard to retard and weaken the move to electric cars, so society will mostly stick with cars that burn fuel.
Biofuels made from food crops such as sugar beets are a really stupid idea, as explained before.
The monarchy of Swaziland threatened to torture those now protesting for democracy.
Holding the Vatican accountable for child sexual abuse by priests.
Meanwhile, the Pope's idea of a remedy is to present as a role model a tyrannical priest who violently abused himself.
Uri Avnery: If Obama's Israel-Palestine negotiations produce a declaration of principles (as in Oslo) instead of a peace treaty, that will change nothing.
All indications are that there is no hope these talks can reach a real agreement, so perhaps the intention is to publish another declaration of principles and call it progress.
The Koch billionaires' astroturf campaign is going to stage a "public" protest against the Northeast states' carbon-trading scheme, calling it a "tax" and pretending it will substantially raise the price of emitting CO2.
I wish he were right, because a tax like that is what we need. The EU's carbon-trading scheme looks to make very little difference in emissions.
The US military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy towards homosexuals has been ruled unconstitutional. The government can appeal the decision, but since Obama opposes the policy, maybe he will decide not to.
I support equal rights for homosexuals; ending discrimination against them in the US military will be a step forward. However, I could not bring myself to support most statements in favor of repeal, because they asserted that the people in the military are "serving their country". They might do that if the US were threatened with military attack and conquest, but it isn't. In practice, what they do is make a mess elsewhere in the world. That serves those who have power in the US, but I don't think it serves the US as a country, any more than it serves Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or Honduras.
Dishonest ads blaming Senator Feingold for the deficit Bush created are apparently funded by rich business owners.
With their dominion over the media, right-wing extremists can make any lie pass for truth.
More American children are raised mainly by their grandparents.
This is partly because grandparents are living longer and enjoy taking care of children. But also partly because the parents can't do it, and that's often because they can't make ends meet.
In the US: join a Jobs with Justice action.
Now a French childcare facility plans to use RFIDs to keep track of children's movements with chips in their clothing.
Children who have been taught to accept monitoring of their movements by radio tracking will grow up to accept monitoring of their movements as adults.
The Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision, which took all the limits off corporations' political advertising, also threatens the Civil Rights Act.
The UK is deporting Iraqis to Iraq, despite mounting violence there, and to get them off the plane, Iraqi police beat them till they are bleeding.
All around the Gulf Coast, most blue crab larvae contain abnormal orange droplets that seem to be derived from spilled petroleum.
5 US soldiers face murder charges for killing Afghan civilians for sport.
One boasted of having done the same in Iraq. Surely many of the Bush forces have wantonly killed Iraqis and successfully concealed it. When troops occupy a country and face resistance, they tend to dehumanize the inhabitants, and this is the result.
BP's report on its disaster, even if it underestimates BP's own responsibility, shows that the industry motto is not "safety first" but "cost cutting first".
Sarah Palin exposed.
Fidel Castro says that Cuba's Communism "does not work any more".
The War on Drugs fuels anarchy, profiteering and misery.
Bahrain has arrested a human rights activist blogger and accused others of plotting terrorism.
The ACLU, with journalist's and lawyers' organizations, has sued against the practice of searching people's laptops for no reason when they enter the US.
US parents are very worried about unlikely dangers to their children, including school snipers, terrorists, malicious strangers, drugs, and kidnappers, while they ignore the big dangers such as car accidents.
Note four of the dangers that parents exaggerate provide excuses for various kinds of repressive measures.
Corexit dispersant got into a Florida family's swimming pool and made them sick, apparently blowing in from aerial spraying.
The page has links to other reports of finding dangerous concentrations of Corexit in Florida.
Dahr Jamail reports on Gulf coast beaches covered by tarballs and Louisiana islands squishy with oil even in the middle.
These islands may disappear because the oil can kill the marsh grass that holds them in place.
It is just as well that the shrimpers have caught no shrimp, because it could be toxic. In a few months, migrating birds will stop on these islands. Those birds could be wiped out.
Danah Boyd: Censoring Craigslist hurts, rather than helping, those who have been forced into prostitution.
Most of the electric generating capacity built recently in Europe is renewable (mostly wind power). This supports a lot of employment as well as helping to protect the climate.
Clinton wants to impose another Plan Colombia on Mexico.
Plan Colombia increased US dominion over Colombia, whose effects are seen in the subservient government there.
Blameless Polluter published the report of an investigation into the cause of the Big Spill, putting nearly all the blame on other companies and on the employees who were killed in the explosion.
Fidel Castro criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the holocaust and being callous about antisemitism.
I have been bothered by Chavez' praise for Ahmadinejad. It is one thing to seek whatever allies one can find against US threats, and another to praise a tyrant.
Reportedly the Israeli Arab man's conviction for not telling his sex partner he was an Arab was a plea bargain and he had originally been accused of real rape.
If this report is true, it could mean that this particular accused was really guilty. (I say "could mean" rather than "means", because the reported record of rape accusations made by that woman creates room for doubt about what he really did.)
However, the main issue is not him personally, it is the very idea that a man commits a crime by having sex and not saying he is an Arab. Whether one man really did this or not, either way the court is still guilty of saying it is a crime.
Global heating can prevent pollination of certain plants because they flower earlier in the spring, while bees are still hibernating.
Selection of judges for international courts has been politicized, and that leads to appointment of unqualified judges.
Sri Lanka's tyrannical president has amended the constitution to give him control over the police and the judiciary.
Eliminating the term limit is not, in itself, an attack on human rights, but it increases the evidence that Rajapaksa intends to eliminate democracy.
A Christian church in Florida plans to burn copies of the Koran as an expression of hatred for Islam. Anyone has a right to burn the Koran, or the Bible, or the US flag, or even the GNU Coding Standards. Such an act is disrespectful towards the idea which is the target — intentionally so — and that is why people have a right to do it. Freedom of speech includes the right to express disrespect for any idea whatsoever; to put any idea out of bounds for criticism is intolerable for liberty.
Respect for other people's freedom includes recognizing their right to hold and advocate their ideas. That doesn't mean we have to respect the ideas themselves.
There is much to be condemned in Islam, including mistreatment of women, contempt for dissent, and imposition of absurd moral rules totally unrelated to being good to other people. (The same applies to many forms of Christianity.) However, burning a Koran is not an articulate criticism of these defects in Islam; it fails even to identify the defects. Writing about them is much clearer.
I can understand the hurt feelings of Muslims who dislike this rather crude expression of criticism. I too feel bad when people criticize my ideas. But before Muslims get angry, they should recognize that Islam, with its intolerance of dissent and criticism, is hardly in a position to complain. Islamic states, in their repression of dissent from Islam, do much worse than burning books: they threaten authors with death.
Craigslist has been bullied into censoring its sex ads, in a victory for prude bullies and intolerant Christians.
Greenpeace is taking legal action in the UK for a moratorium and safety review on deep sea oil drilling.
Is genetically engineered salmon dangerous?
The disgust about mixing genes from different species is irrational, but there are some real issues here.
Salmon spawn in places that are far upstream — nowhere near fish farms. Does this make it impossible for the modified gene to get into wild salmon? I am not sure. If it can't leak from the farms, it might get into a wild population through a unexpected route. Living organisms occasionally do things that surprise us.
Wild salmon must have evolved the gene that turns off growth hormone for part of the year, so the artificial gene might be selected against. If so, it would disappear from the wild population even if it were introduced there. However, it is hard to be sure of this based on theoretical arguments, because they lead to probabilities rather than certainties.
The issue about exposing humans to extra IGF-1 might be a real one. The crucial question is, if you eat a lot of this salmon, how much IGF-1 would you get, and is that enough to have a significant effect? The amount of effect from eating salmon might be either more or less than the effect of drinking cow's milk — I don't know. The point is one cannot assume the two cases are parallel.
What we do know is that children tend to drink a lot of milk, but they don't tend to eat a lot of salmon.
The dwarf seahorse may become extinct as a result of the damage to seagrass caused by the big spill. The dispersant might contribute too.
Two Japanese activists who informed prosecutors about illegally appropriated whale meat were convicted of theft for doing so.
There were massive protests in France against President Sarcome's plan to raise the retirement age.
I am glad that French people are ready to mount large protests. But what about the issue itself?
60 is rather low as a retirement age; in advanced countries, most people live many years beyond that, and most people of 60 are still capable of working. If there are not enough people working to do the jobs that society needs done, then raising the retirement age seems proper to me, especially as the number of old people increases and the number of young people decreases.
However, that argument disappears in a society with a lot of unemployment. If there are already more people ready to work than there are jobs, raising the retirement age will only increase the number of people that need work and can't find any. I think that is the situation in France.
An unusual group of chimpanzees in the Congo are being hunted intensively for food and pets, which puts them in great danger of being wiped out.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to cosponsor the Capuano Shareholder Protection Act, which would give a corporation's shareholders direct control over any political advertising it does.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
You can also send a message through this page but a phone call carries more weight.
Meat production can contribute to the world's food supply, if done right; today's farming is wasteful because we feed the animals farmed grain.
Amnesty International is campaigning to reverse some of B'liar's tyrannical "anti-terrorism" measures.
We need this in the US too, but there is little hope of progress for freedom here.
Louisiana fishermen say oil is still appearing on beaches and in areas where shrimp live. Meanwhile, Bastard Polluter offers to compensate people for their losses, but drives them broke with the cost of assembling proof.
When the government tests fish and shrimp for oil, does it test for dispersant too?
Bullying Polluter hardly needed to bully the Minerals Management Service, which falls over itself to grant the oil companies' every wish. To correct this fatal laxity in regulation, Obama has changed the organization's name.
Whether he will do anything substantial is yet to be seen.
Iran has arrested prominent human rights lawyers on vague charges whose penalties extend through execution.
I think the Islamic center should go ahead, and the US should use this to pointedly challenge the countries that call themselves "Muslim" to show the same tolerance for other points of view regarding religion.
Technology of surveillance, by the state and by individuals, makes it necessary to rethink the boundary between private and public.
25% of student loans in the US lead to default, and the usual protections for borrowers do not apply to them.
Newspapers are working with Congress to deny journalistic protection to Wikileaks.
Decriminalization of drugs has been successful all around in Portugal: good for addicts, good for the public, bad for black marketeers.
I think it is cruel to think of pressuring addicts to quit through dirty clothes or bad nutrition, as Mr. Chaves does. It also doesn't seem to be very effective.
Since marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, and does not cause withdrawal sickness, I think it should be entirely legal. However, the Portuguese system seems like a good idea for heroin and cocaine.
Protestors move B'liar's autobiography into the Crime section or the Horror section.
While this protest is a useful project, facebook itself is not your friend.
This protest depends on physical books in a physical store. It would be impossible to do this on Amazon or with ebooks. That's the smallest of the things that ebooks would take from us, if we let them.
Police and zero-tolerance policies in US schools are teaching young people a civics lesson fit for an authoritarian society.
40% of victims of domestic abuse are male, but police often don't believe them.
Victims of both sexes feel pressure to conceal what happened, even though the reasons may be different.
Many Free Exploitation Treaties give foreign investors special privilege over national governments. A Canadian gold mining company is now using this privilege to force El Salvador to accept dangerous gold mines and bypass environmental protection.
Obama wants to give Korean companies similar privileges in the US.
Rachel Corrie's parents are suing the Israeli state for the wrongful killing of their daughter. Rachel was crushed by a bulldozer while participating in nonviolent and passive resistance to the demolition of a Palestinian home.
The US demands airline passenger information from Canada and the EU, but faces legislative resistance to the surrender that those governments wish to make.
Parts of Antarctica's ice seem to date only from the start of the last ice age. That means we are closer to melting it than we thought.
The new German RFID-equipped national ID cards were easily cracked to extract personal information.
National ID cards are in themselves an assault on human rights.
A school in the US makes children wear RFIDs for tracking.
The UK foreign office in 2002 took pains to twist intelligence reports about Saddam Hussein's fictitious nuclear weapons program, so as not to expose B'liar's falsehoods.
President Karzai's brother, a big stockholder in the Kabul Bank, says that instead of cleaning up its corruption, the US should guarantee it.
Even musicians judge female musicians' musical abilities by what they are wearing.
In Iraq, the Bush forces have deployed a surge of mercenaries.
The ACLU is going to court against the US government practice of "targeted killing", which is carried out far from war zones.
Interviews with a spectrum of Iraqis about the occupation and how their lives compare with 2003 and before.
The article repeats the statement that the Bush forces combat troops have left Iraq, which is not entirely true, as explained before.
Obama's speech about withdrawing some of the Bush forces from Iraq (and labeling the rest as noncombat forces) cozied up to Bush, and to Bush's lies about the war.
The next round of climate treaty negotiations seems to be deadlocked in advance. There evidently isn't the political will to arrest our drift to disaster, because politicians are listening to business that want economic growth above all.
If Dr Pachauri is driven out of the IPCC chairmanship on the grounds of smears that have been disproved, nobody capable will accept the job in the future.
Bad weather prematurely terminated Greenpeace's protest at a drilling platform near Greenland.
Reportedly the police refused to let the protesters abandon their protest in the safest manner.
Rising food prices have started to cause riots in Africa.
The fires in Russia and floods in Pakistan, both symptoms of global heating, have contributed to the price rise.
So has the diversion of much agricultural land to growing animal feed and biofuel.
In the US: Amnesty International asks you to send a postcard for lifting the blockade of Gaza.
Another oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has exploded, just after the oil companies staged a rally of employees for more drilling.
The company lied about the situation — Bald-faced Polluter is not unique.
Global heating is turning the Tibetan plateau into a desert, and that in turn causes more heating.
Obama has pressured Israel and Palestine into starting negotiations. Israel's nonnegotiable demands will ensure that these talks go nowhere. These include the demand to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state", something the US has not done.
Israel is refusing to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council's investigation into the attack on the Gaza aid ships, but Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi who was on one of the ships will go to testify for it.
US citizens: tell the US government you oppose drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
In November the deficit reduction commission will make recommendations that Congress will have to vote on without amendments. It is full of right-wingers that are likely to recommend cutting social security.
Reducing the deficit now is a stupid thing to do anyway, since it would lead to a depression. The time to keep the deficit down was in 2001, when times were good and Clinton left the US with a budget surplus.
The Afghan government replaced top executives of a large bank after news of corruption led to a run on the bank.
I suspect that they knew about the corruption before, but didn't consider it important until the public started to act.
LSD and MDMA show promise for treating various mental illnesses.
The charges against Assange might yet be a Pentagon dirty trick. Or perhaps a right-wing newspaper's dirty trick. Or they could be in it together.
The Alvin Greene manifesto for a fairer America.
He's better than the bums that fill most of the senate now. At least his heart's in the right place.
Drilling for oil in arctic waters while fighting off the relentless advancing Ice Invaders is far more dangerous than in the Gulf of Mexico. And Arctic shores are especially slow to recover from being oiled.
The business case for drilling near Greenland is based on the projection that the world will get 6 degrees C of warming, but if that happens, disaster will make the plans meaningless.
Greenpeace is showing the public how dangerous this is.
The US mainstream media are supporting the fiction that the Bush forces are being withdrawn from Iraq.
The US views the Middle East simplistically as divided between "moderates" and "militants", but that doesn't fit the reality of the Middle East.
It is valid to divide Muslim countries into moderate and Islamic, but that is a matter of their domestic policies and is not in general relevant to their external relations. For instance, Iran and Saudi Arabia are both Islamic extremist in their treatment of their populace, with the consequent cruelty and injustice, yet one opposes the US and the other is an ally of the US.
Estimate: 75 months to go before positive feedback cycles are likely to kick global heating into high gear.
Prison in the US is designed to crush the spirit, and Sheriff Arpaio's jail is a prime example.
Bush's war has spent most of a trillion dollars to make Iraq and the rest of the world a more dangerous place.
Despite the the article's strong condemnation of Bush's war of conquest, it nonetheless whitewashes certain aspects.
Peru's free exploitation treaty with the US has incited many foreign companies to buy parts of Peru, but has brought the people little benefit.
The flooding of New Orleans was caused by a canal dug by the US Army straight from the gulf to the city. This let the storm surge reach the levies. A judge ruled the US government should pay to rebuild the houses that were destroyed, but Obama has appealed the decision.
I guess Bush made Obama into a supporter of surges.
If I were in charge, I would offer extra funds to anyone choosing to rebuild somewhere else, on high ground. New Orleans will be impossible to protect, a few decades from now, due to sea level rise.
New Orleans cops are being investigated for shooting poor people who were trying to escape from the city, and then lying about it.
Five cops have pled guilty.
Paul Allan, patent troll, has sued large companies for using some very broad, simple ideas that his company figured out it could patent.
All of these patents are software patents, and they illustrate how software patents are dangerous to the computing field.
The simplicity of ideas ought to make the patents invalid, but the patent system works in twisted ways, so we cannot assume they are invalid.
The article uses the misleading term "intellectual property" which leads people to equate patents and copyrights and a dozen other laws which really have next to nothing in common. Whenever that term is used, it conveys only confusion.
The Czech government is considering a law that would restrict the use of public licenses, while hurting authors in other ways.
A salmonella outbreak that made 1500 people sick has been traced to farms that show total contempt for hygiene regulations.
We cannot trust corporations to regulate themselves. Only frequent inspection, backed by fines, can do the job.
Many Chinese (perhaps 500 or more) have been put in mental hospitals for criticizing local government.
Nadine Gordimer talks about South African writers' campaign against the threat of censorship.
The Republicans are taking steps to force a bigger economic downturn in the US, by blocking a bill that would facilitate loans to small businesses.
Republicans figure that they will harness the pain this causes and put it into their captive astroturf opposition movement, the "tea party".
Patel, the pathologist who reported Ian Tomlinson had died of natural causes and not from being attacked by police, has been ruled incompetent based on other unrelated cases.
If Patel is barred from practice for misconduct, will it be possible to prosecute the policeman who killed Tomlinson? Sure, Patel's report could be cited in his defense, but the jury would have good reason to disbelieve it.
Americans: Valero Energy has spent millions for an initiative to repeal California's clean energy law, AB 32. Tell that company you will boycott its gas stations, which operate under these names:
US voters: vote for candidates that will defend abortion rights.
Large amounts of cropland in Africa is being planted with biofuel crops to meet the EU's target. This is likely to cause high food prices and great suffering.
Some of the growers say they are using land that can't be used for crops. Surely some are, and surely some are not. It ads up to a real problem.
US citizens: sign the Pledge for Democracy and then call on your congressional candidates to sign it.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
New Orleans police say they were told to shoot looters, which would have been illegal.
Meanwhile, people were running out of food, and with stores closed, the only way they could get any food was by "looting".
The Climate Camp protests are repeatedly smeared with false accusations of nonexistent crimes.
The US is using drones to launch cluster bombs against suspected al Qa'ida supporters in Yemen. Naturally they sometimes kill lots of civilians.
The bomblets that don't explode immediately effectively become land mines.
Digital technology is reducing even skilled professionals to I/O devices who work under the direct control of a computer.
This is a massive loss of quality of life for millions of people.
Iraqis lack water, electricity, and security, and it has got worse since the election in March since there is no government.
It seems there was also record heat this summer. I suspect that is a sign of global warming.
Russians protest just about every other month for freedom of assembly. Putin, dictatorial as always, threatened the protestors with attacks by police unless they get permits.
It's as hard for a protestor to get a protest permit in Russia as for a Palestinian to get a building permit in Jerusalem.
The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party... and the failure to fight back.
BlackBerry surrendered to Indian pressure and will allow the state to monitor messages.
Return to Richard Stallman's home page.
Please send comments on these web pages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (C) 2010 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.