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Each political note has its own anchor in case you want to link to it.
Iraqi refugees turn to sex trade in Syria.
The "Homegrown Terrorism" act would set up a new system of censorship, and set up rules under which the heroes of American democracy would have been called "terrorists".
The Bush regime has a pattern of stretching laws to extend its power. We dare not assume it will not stretch this power too. Nor can we assume a Clinton regime would be any better.
It would be more effective in the long run to increase precautionary measures against introduction of invasive species. But that runs into opposition, because these measures are inconvenient.
If Musharraf declined to provide security for Bhutto, that does seem to make him partly responsible. Even if he did not organize the assassination, he knew there would be more attempts.
Meanwhile, Greg Palast says that the way Republicans intend to steal the 2008 election is by systematic fraudulent challenges to Democratic voters, so as to disenfranchise or scare them.
There is a serious issue at the root of this. Upper-cast Hindus treat the Dalits (formerly called "untouchables") like trash, and Hinduism openly supports this cruelty. Thus, many Dalits think of converting to some other religion in which all are treated as equals. Often they choose Buddhism, following Dr. Ambedkar, but sometimes they choose Christianity. Either way, they face violent opposition from upper-caste Hindus that want to maintain them in subjection.
It could be easier just to declare themselves Atheists. However, I think they need the support of some larger community to make their rejection of Hinduism effective. And some forms of Buddhism are Atheist.
Lots of companies try to convince you to buy by saying they give some money to charity. But you can't necessarily trust them.
I've always been suspicious of statements that "a portion of what you pay will be given to XYZ". What portion will they give? .0000001 percent?
Is this war fueled by diamonds? Something must be keeping it going.
But Bush will try again.
Novelist Jonathan Lethem writes about how art depends on copying and imitating other art, and what that means for copyright.
This is a good analysis of the basic issue of copyright today. I brought up related points in a more abstract way in another article, but he says it better.
However, the propaganda term "intellectual property" led Lethem to try to involve in patent law in a subject where it is not relevant at all. He recognized and denounced the bias in the term; but he did not recognize the other mistaken supposition it carries: that copyright and patents are similar issues and should be treated together. They are not similar; the points he raises about copyright don't relate to patent law at all.
In an unusual show of wisdom, fishermen decided to protect clownfish in Australian reefs where the population has already been hit by global warming.
If all fishermen were that rational, we would not have to worry about sweeping the oceans clean of fish.
Richard Dawkins will take the fight against religious irrationalism to the enemy's home ground.
Some right-wing Israelis, and a few unusually wealthy and unusually right-wing American Jews, have great influence in US politics. How do they respond if you talk about this? If you say this phenomenon is good, they welcome your approval. But if you criticize the phenomenon, they say you're making it all up because you're anti-Semitic.
The US military is training soldiers to be religious fanatics.
Does this remind you of Al Qa'ida?
Bush continues his War on the Environment by trying to stop California from enacting stronger emissions standards. California will sue.
The Republican Party used dishonest false-flag phone calls to corrupt the 2002 New Hampshire senate election. Then the Corruption Department delayed the investigation, so that Bush and his supporters would not have to pay the price in 2004.
I'd expect that lots of homeless men freeze to death in the US, but we don't read about it because our society (or our media?) are more callous. In other words, France has a ways to sink before it reaches our level.
Martin Luther King's family has won a lawsuit against people who conspired to kill him - vindicating their belief that the official conclusion that James Earl Ray killed King, acting alone, was false.
Cheney is personally responsible for imposing Halliburton's mandatory arbitration policy, which prevents Jamie Leigh Jones from suing that company for rape (or for imprisoning her).
Cheney is probably also partly personally responsible for the law-free zone that protects the Halliburton employes who raped her, and the others who locked her up when she complained, from being prosecuted.
Removing idle functionaries from the public payroll is generally a good thing, when there is a private economy in which people can get work. In a place such as Palestine, where opportunity is very limited, government handouts to those functionaries play the role of a welfare system. Cutting it off might not be an improvement.
Bil'in continues its weekly nonviolent protests. Last week the Israeli Army attacked the protestors as they approached.
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the annexation wall should be moved to give Bil'in access to more of its land, but nothing has been done to move it.
Two freed Guantanamo prisoners face charges in Spain. At least they will have trials there.
To punish a person for being kidnaped by denying his residency rights seems entirely unjust.
Sociological research produced a disturbing result: diversity within a community tends to reduce levels of civic participation and cooperation.
The question is, what does this imply for what we do? Conservatives wish to draw the conclusion that we should push everyone into a mold, but that is not necessarily indicated.
When the Bush regime tortured Abu Zubaydah, he talked, and plenty. He was going crazy, so he revealed lots of plots that seem to have been fictitious.
Since the information was not true, it would not have served the supposed purpose of thwarting plots. But it did serve Bush's purpose, giving him "evidence" to make Americans feel very scared of Al Qa'ida and thus support his plans to crush human rights.
However, burning ethanol made from food is in itself a disaster, since it means higher prices for food even for poor people, uses (in the US) lots of fertilizer, and motivates cutting down rainforests.
I also admire his refusal to talk about whether he had ever used illegal drugs.
I cannot make sense of the idea of agreeing to "raise children as Catholics" (or to believe in any other religious belief system) if you don't believe in it yourself. Isn't that in effect agreeing to mislead them? While marriage requires compromises, there are some compromises that one cannot properly make.
However, I will not hold this against him personally, since I'm sure he did it because it seems honorable to him.
Three prisoners were released from Guantanamo to the UK. One of them is blind in one eye as a result of torture.
Two were arrested and accused of terrorist activities. I am confident that the UK will not imprison them without a fair trial. However, the UK might punish them in lesser ways, such as permanent house arrest, without a trial. And it might try them for crimes which amount only to being the object of suspicion.
For one month:
US citizens: call your congresscritters and senators and say: Reverse the FCC's decision: reject increased media consolidation.
You can also sign this petition but phone calls carry more weight.
US citizens: call your senators and say "Don't let Richard Honaker become a Federal judge". Honaker wants to ban abortion entirely.
The Bush regime wants to intervene directly in promotions for military lawyers, to make sure they do not let integrity interfere with obedience.
All the Iraqi sectarian and ethnic groups agree on one thing: Bush is to blame for the horrible state of their country.
The Bush forces have the mission to find something they can present as progress, so they will use whatever comes up.
The christmas tree ornaments sold at Wal-Mart are made in Chinese sweatshops.
Celebrate Grav-mass instead; then you won't need metal or plastic ornaments for your tree, just apples.
Drug companies should not be allowed to fund studies of drug effects. Instead the government should tax them and use the tax money to do it. That way, the drug companies will not have any control over who gets chosen to do these studies.
If we let the fishermen get their way, they will wipe out all the fish. Then they will all be out of a job, and we will have no fish. People have behaved stupidly like this before: they killed all the passenger pigeons in just a few years, and didn't trouble to spare the last flock.
US citizens: call your congresscritters and senators and say they should pass a law to apply US criminal law to US government contractors and their employees in foreign countries.
In a setback for science, MIT has appointed a chaplain.
The major Democratic candidates' debate in Iowa excluded Kucinich on rather absurd criteria. And the other candidates did not complain.
It's a particularly blatant example of how the major media, big businesses which work with other big businesses, control US elections. They may not decide precisely who wins, but they make sure nobody can win who wants to make changes that will affect the power of these big businesses. But denying coverage to candidates like Kucinich they can make them appear not to be "electable", which many voters then take to be a reason not to support them.
In effect, to make "electability" a criterion is to let the media decide for you.
I am skeptical that the situation is as favorable for Bush as it is presented in that article, but divide and conquer has worked for other empires in the past. If Bush's divide and conquer policy succeeds, these tribes would become the new local elite, working for Bush and getting paid a small fraction of the plunder that the megacorporations get, much as the Tikritis did for Saddam Hussein. What this cannot do is give freedom (in any sense we would understand) to Iraqis.
Israeli shelling continues to kill innocent Palestinians, such as children
Nonviolent Palestinian protestors are also attacked.
As the British Bush forces hand over control of Basra to Iraqi militias, most of the inhabitants consider this a step forward even though the militias sometimes fight and sometimes murder.
After new arrests, Israel now holds 46 members of the Palestinian Parliament in prison.
The "Iraqi" government says it doesn't want the Bush forces forever.
Mobile Labs to Target Iraqis for Death
Killing prisoners is a crime no matter how they decide which prisoners to kill. And calling the resistance forces "terrorists" is a smear.
But notice how another evil is embodied here: "the computer (database) can't be wrong." If your biometrics are in the system, that means you're a member of the resistance, i.e. a "terrorist", and you can be executed summarily.
The nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan is extending to missile defense.
The US has found it hard to make missile defense really work. I won't assume that India can do better.
Former CIA agent John Kiriakou confessed to torturing a prisoner. He has come to feel that what he did was wrong.
When tortured prisoners break down and start to talk, what they say may be true or it may be false.
This is one step towards taking the US out of barbarism.
The new Australian government has softened the country's cruel policy towards refugees.
Muslim fanatics in Iraq are murdering woman that don't wear the prison garb that their religion prescribes for women.
Disgusting as this is, it is no excuse for continuing the occupation of Iraq, because the Bush forces have no power to prevent it.
A substantial part of the Antarctic ice sheet is resting on rock 6,000 feet below sea level, and it is starting to get thinner.
Four species of penguins that breed in Antartica are endangered by global warming.
Even I, the only man in the world who can get angry from looking at a picture of a penguin, find this bad news.
Meanwhile, the Bush regime is determined to block efforts to limit global warming for as long as it can hang on.
Each day of sabotage brings us that much closer to disaster.
"Iraq calmer, but more divided".
The division of Iraq is similar to what I have proposed as the only way to end the civil war. The actual divisions don't have the stable governments and boundaries that I proposed. I am not sure whether they might have been possible under different circumstances, but the occupation by foreign troops that aim to steal Iraq's oil has to make it more difficult.
Germany proposed to ban the Church of Scientology on the grounds that it is a predatory cult masquerading as a religion.
The Church of Scientology is reported to persecute ex-members and those who criticize it. In Belgium, Scientology will be prosecuted for a wide range of crimes including blackmail and swindling.
Scientology also attacks your freedom by lobbying for increased copyright power. The 1998 US law that extended copyright by 20 years was named after one of the Church of Scientology's pet congressmen.
The CIA destroyed videotapes documenting interrogation of prisoners because they might have shown torture, which would have been a crime committed by the CIA agents.
Neocons are mounting a smear campaign against the intelligence report that said Iran stopped trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Jamie Leigh was a Halliburton employee in Iraq when she was raped by other Halliburton employees. The company kept her prisoner and destroyed evidence. Because Bush set up Iraq as a law-free zone, neither the rapists nor the company can be prosecuted.
Bolivia is moving forward on its new constitution; the opposition, which represents the local elite who have generally ruled Bolivia in the past, is trying to make a fuss about the absence of presidential term limits.
Santa Cruz is the area where Bolivia's oil is located, and the oil industry has lots of political influence. I was told, there, that the oil industry pays people to protest.
I think the rest of the countries should adopt a good plan, ignoring Bush and the Bushmen, and then announce that they don't care whether he signs up to it because his successor will.
If CO2 emissions are not checked, they will make most of the ocean uninhabitable for coral. Hundreds of millions of people could lose their livelihoods.
Also, thousands of other marine species that depend on coral reefs could go extinct as a result. Even if coral itself survives somewhere, these species are not necessarily found there.
The International Red Cross condemned Israel's clampdown on Gaza, which has crushed the economy and kills sick people.
Ironically, the only aspect of Palestinian life in Gaza that clampdown has not crushed is the missile attacks on Israel which are its supposed motive. But those attacks are so ineffectual that it would be better to ignore them anyway.
A Canadian study found that P2P music sharing leads people to buy more CDs — just the opposite of what the advocates of DRM claim.
Gary Kasparov had to give up on the Russian presidential election, because he and his supporters have been blocked from meeting so as to legally launch the campaign.
Gordon Clown is about to sign the EU constitution (which they do not recognize as a constitution). To deflect the criticism for this, he has rejected a symbolic call for further EU integration.
Talks between Israel and Palestinians started, and achieved nothing because Israel is continuing to build its colonies on Palestinian territory.
The environmental study of the Heathrow third runway drastically underestimated the climate change consequences (by 2/3).
A side effect of the UK's policy of unnecessary imprisonment is great expense. Because of the expense, they will make prisoners spend less time studying, exercising and working.
It's absurd penology.
The government of Afghanistan is negotiating with warlords that support the Taliban, trying to win them away.
The reason that the conquest of Afghanistan was so easy was that it's normal practice for warlords to switch sides.
The Iraqi government, in a show of independence, ordered policewomen to turn in their guns.
A national security advisor of the Iraqi government said no to permanent Bush bases there. It is not clear, however, who in the government that person speaks for.
The Bush forces have a history of making the Iraqi government back down if it tries to oppose what Bush wants.
CIA photos prove that Binyam Mohammed was tortured. The Bush regime is keeping him prisoner based on evidence obtained byt torture — and therefore likely to be false.
The reason torture is so good at making people confess is that people literally cannot resist. Guilty people cannot resist confessing, and innocent people can't either.
If you want lots of people to confess, and you don't care whether the confessions are true, torture is a great method.
US citizens: sign this petition calling on Obama to stand against retroactive immunity for the phone companies that spied on us.
US citizens: call your senators and say, "Support Senator Dodd's filibuster, and don't let the spying telcos off the hook in any manner."
See here for more info. A phone call carries more weight than a message.
Try: 202-224-3121 or 888-818-6641 or 888-355-3588 (Capitol Switchboards).
NATO troops in Afghanistan say they are clearing the Taliban out of an important stronghold.
I wish I could believe this is significant, but it is standard guerrilla practice to "melt away" from an area that comes under strong attack. That doesn't mean they have been defeated.
When a Western army's commanders speak of "winning the hearts and minds" of another people, what it shows is that they have a notable lack of support. Whether they have any chance of winning back that support is another question — it is much easier said than done.
I supported war against the Taliban before Bush talked about it, for other reasons, but I have to acknowledge that it is not going well. Could it have gone better if Bush had avoided attacking Iraq, and had put into Afghanistan 10% of what he has spent on Iraq? I don't know, but at least it is possible.
British Petroleum, which has spent millions on greenwashing, plans to develop oil shale extraction in Canada. Greenpeace plans to try to stop them.
With petroleum prices rising, and likely to rise further due to peak oil, getting oil from shale is becoming economically attractive. But that's only because they impose much of the cost on others. If the extraction plant had to pay the environment costs of the CO2 they emit, and of the local environmental damage they cause, the price would be much higher.
Iraqi refugees forced back from neighboring countries often cannot return to their own homes, so they become internal refugees instead.
Activists created an illegal "palestinian outpost" to mock the many illegal Israeli settler "outposts".
The police forcibly expelled the protestors from this outpost. They don't do that with the equally illegal settler outposts.
Meanwhile, Israel continues confiscating large areas of Palestinian land and forbidding Palestinians to build houses in their land.
Palestinians in Gaza are dying because Israel won't let them leave to get medical care.
Minors in Iraqi prisons suffer the same torture as adults.
Uri Avnery: How they stole the (Iranian) bomb from us.
Sign the petition calling on Israel to allow sick people in Gaza to travel to receive medical treatment.
An Israeli minister cancelled a visit to the UK because he feared being arrested for ordering a bombing that killed many civilians.
When [Iraqi] resistance leaders are given an assurance that the Iraq occupation will end completely, real negotiations can begin.
The US now has 2.4 million prisoners. One in every 31 adults is in prison, on parole, or on probation.
A shortage of sunspots could indicate the start of a temporary period of decreased in solar output.
If this comes to pass, it could give us a temporary respite from global warming — but not a solution. we do not dare relax and let CO2 emissions continue to rise, because whenever the solar output returns to normal, the present problem will return. Meanwhile, other problems of CO2 emissions, such as acidification of the ocean, will proceed unchecked.
US voters: support Dennis Kucinich in IndependentPrimary.com.
Iraqi refugees are returning to Iraq...on threat of being imprisoned until they do.
The UK has become the biggest imprisoner of Europe, much as the US is the biggest imprisoner of the world, and its only solution is to build more prisons.
Privatization of prisons tends to put the squeeze on prison conditions (since that enables the owners to increase the profits). It can also provide layers of deniability to help prison guards evade being held responsible for how the treat prisoners. It also tends to create a prison-industrial complex that bribes legislators to put more of the population behind bars.
"Rendition" did not begin with Bush. In 1908, the UK government wanted to hand over a Korean journalist to the Japanese, who wished to torture him. One man with integrity, diplomat Henry Cockburn, prevented this even though it ended his career.
The US Supreme Court is considering whether the l aw that denied the courts authority over Guantanamo prisoners is valid.
Prisoners have been held in Guantanamo for years based on no evidence except rumors — and all the while, both Bush and his men said these prisoners were so dangerous that it was inconceivable to release them.
A racist Italian politician called for punishing ten immigrants if one immigrant commits a crime. (He did not say how the nine innocent victims would be chosen.)
Italians need to recognize that their economic problems are due to the corporations that dominate their state through the European Union, not to the poor and weak.
Human Rights Watch called on Venezuela to investigate violence in the campaign over the constitutional referendum.
Sudan has freed the British teacher that was arrested for "insulting Islam", but has not changed its policy of punishing people for expressing such opinions.
I am glad Ms Gibbons is free, but she should stop fussing about whether she ever intended to insult anyone or anything, and start defending the human rights of the next victim. Sudan's law is an offense against freedom of speech, and the fact that they went lightly against Ms Gibbons is no excuse.
A US intelligence report says that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program 4 years ago in response to international pressure.
Bush must have known about this while trying to create excuses to attack Iran.
Greg Palast: Fear of Chavez is Fear of Democracy.
A novel is the latest attempt to bring attention back to the holes in the official story of what happened on 9/11.
MoveOn suggests calling your senators and representative to say, "Make sure Bush has no legal authority to attack Iran."
You can also use this site to send such a message, but phoning carries more weight.
Venezuelan voters rejected Chavez' proposal to change the constitution of Venezuela.
I'm disappointed that the elimination of "intellectual property" from the constitution was rejected, but that was a small issue compared with the others at stake.
This defeat is a powerful argument against opposition claims that Venezuelan votes are not counted correctly. If that were true, the cheaters would hardly have allowed such a tiny margin of defeat to stand.
However, computerized voting always offers the option of easy cheating. Chavez doesn't do it, but there is no telling what some future president might do. Venezuela should abolish computerized voting before it gets someone prepared to exploit the danger.
The OSCE denounced Putin's rigged election.
The experience at Guantanamo shows we cannot believe the claims that the prisoners are all "bad guys". They said the same things about specific Guantanamo prisoners even when the evidence against them was close to zero; this is why they seek to deny prisoners real trials. We cannot believe the claims about these minors either.
Putin has had a smashing victory in an election that appears to have been rigged in many ways at once.
Now that Iraqi militias control Basra instead of the British Bush forces, security is no better, and apparently no worse either. Some are trying to use this as an argument to increase the UK participation in the occupation.
Olmert told Israelis not to hope for results from the Annapolis meeting.
The Earth's tropics, as defined by climatology, have expanded almost 200 miles at each border. This has caused spreading drought, and could cause positive feedback in global warming.
Meanwhile, Bush is trying to sabotage the negotiation of a new climate change treaty to follow the Kyoto accord, which he also sabotaged.
Uri Averny predicts the effects of the Annapolis meeting: the settlers knew they had nothing to fear, but Hamas fears the Israeli army will invade Gaza. Nonetheless, he believes, a small amount of momentum for peace may have been produced.
If the Israeli army does invade and conquer Gaza, either it will have to leave a permanent occupation by prison guards in its wake, or the invasion will have no lasting effect aside from the deaths it will cause.
Some Iraqi refugees are returning to Iraq. What does this mean?
Nonstop Theft and Bribery Are Staggering Iraq.
Yahoo demonstrates its contempt for freedom of speech.
This article uses the misleading propaganda terms "piracy" and "intellectual property". See Words to Avoid.
What these companies protest is probably copyright infringement. Since copyrights are totally different from patents and trademarks, lumping them together and calling them "intellectual property" distracts attention on what's important about them onto an abstract level where you can't even see the real issues. Calling sharing "piracy" is merely a smear campaign.
Americans' wasteful consumption of cotton is destroying the environment around the world.
Although Sharif and Bhutto are more democratic than Musharraf, Sharif supports Islamic extremists' demands, and all of them supported the Pakistani policies that created the Taliban.
The French embassy in Bangladesh participated in what looks like an attempt to smuggle ancient art from Bangladesh to France.
Both sides are equally in the wrong when they sqabble over who gets what share of a monopoly over photos of these ancient works. Photos should be published in the public domain.
The UK Labour Party's fundraiser is in trouble for accepting possibly illegal contributions. In 1998, Greg Palast caught him on tape proposing to help businesses buy laws.
Tell Nestle to stop using child labor.
Global warming has enabled chikungunya fever to spread in Italy. Dengue fever could be next.
Murder and payoffs taint business in Colombia (including that of global megacorporations such as Coca Cola and Chiquita).
ACLU Statement on the "Radicalization and Terrorism Prevention" bill.
MPP: The DEA is waging war on California.
US citizens: phone Senate Majority Leader Reid and say, no amnesty for the phone companies that spied on us.
Musharraf promised to end the state of emergency within two weeks.
Sudan gave teacher Gillian Gibbons a short jail sentence. The government must hope that its mercy in not subjecting her to the whip will distract international public opinion from Sudan's disrespect for freedom of speech.
Limiting the expression of unpopular views is exceedingly dangerous. Even cruel and odious views, such as Nazism, Christianity, and Islam, must not be censored.
Nicholas Stern says his Stern Review of global warming was too conservative; we already know it's worse than was proposed.
The Turkish publisher of The God Delusion faces prosecution for "insulting believers".
Turkey is a "moderate" Muslim country, but it does not respect the freedom to criticize the opinions and theories which constitute Islam.
When religious believers complain that their views have been criticized, and ask us to be "sensitive" by hushing up views they don't like, we must give them no comfort. They have to learn to live with criticism of their views just like everyone else.
A week before UK police shot and killed de Menezes, they came close to killing Nicholas Gaubert. They thought he as a terrorist because he looked strange and didn't respond to questions. Gaubert didn't respond to them because he was in a diabetic coma.
The Sa'udi rape victim's tale.
The Sa'udi government is trying to claim that she had an affair with the man who invited his friends to rape her. Even if it were true, it would not excuse what they did to her, but the attitude of men is that if a woman doesn't fit their definition of virtue, she's fair game for violence.
Sa'udi Arabia is not the only place where many men have such an attitude.
US citizens: sign MoveOn's petition against permanent occupation of Iraq.
Bush signed an agreement with al Maliki to keep the Bush forces in Iraq for many years.
Now he will claim that "we promised Iraq" to continue to the occupation and subjugation of Iraq.
Musharraf stepped down as the head of Pakistan's army. However, the state of emergency continues and he shows no sign of undoing his appointment of toadies as judges.
A Victory for Ehren Watada -- and for Freedom of the Press.
Democrats (except for Kucinich) are going along with permanent occupation of Iraq on the imperialist grounds of "protecting" the flow of diminishing quantities of oil from the Middle East.
Foreign imperial rule is not necessary for "protecting" the flow of oil, even that could justify conquest and occupation.
The best way to assure availability of Middle East oil is to stop creating conflict with Iran, and let the Iraqis divide Iraq with permanent defended frontiers between the ethnic groups.
The opposition in Bolivia has blocked the development of a new constitution and launched massive battles with police.
As 1/4 of the veterans of the first Gulf war have chronic mysterious health problems, it is clear there is some sort of Gulf War Syndrome, but the US government gives the problem more lip service than action.
On the other hand, how could the government afford to take care of veterans while launching expensive wars of occupation?
Sarko's bad decisions, and past police lies, have come home to roost in rioting Paris suburbs.
Global warming is not just where we are headed. It has already caused disasters for tens of millions of people in areas poor.
Disaster may be coming soon to richer places too, as many parts of the world are facing droughts that may be semipermanent. What will happen when the population of Atlanta has to migrate to survive?
Remember the 1930s dust bowl?
Rather than admit the failure of the Annapolis meeting, Bush had Olmert and Abbas say, "Give us one more year and then judge the results." Conveniently that's after the next US election.
Maybe Bush will let this quietly fade away, so that a year from now its failure will not be noticed.
A new campaign is trying to reduce the power of the drug companies to make medicine so expensive that millions of people in poor countries will die. Of course, the US government is fights this tooth and nail.
To succeed, in the long term, these activists need to denounce and reject the term "intellectual property", whose bias and confusion undermines their efforts.
US citizens: call your senators' offices to oppose S 1959 which could make it easy for the government to prosecute people for "promoting an extremist belief system".
That ought to be unconstitutional, but you can't trust today's Supreme Court to defend any sort of human rights.
The ACLU agrees that this bill is a threat to freedom of speech.
This article explains the main ideas of Chavez's proposed constitutional reform.
The reform also includes a change in article 98 to eliminate the term "intellectual property" which was inspired by my criticism of the term.
However, there are also parts in which I see a danger, such as the increases in numbers of signatures needed for initiatives and recalls, and the relaxation of rules about a state of emergency.
Holocaust-denier David Irving gave a speech at Oxford despite great pressure to cancel his speech.
I think his views are wrong, but I support his right to state them. If the world lets Bush give speeches, Irving is nothing by comparison.
Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister of Pakistan, returned from exile and held a rally with supporters even as Musharraf's police tried to keep them away.
Muslim fanatics attacked Taslima Nasrin's house and forced her to flee from Kolkata to Rajasthan, where she was once again chased out.
To blame Nasrin for the insane hate that religious fanatics feel towards her is not merely injust, it encourages and supports the fanatics.
Meanwhile, in Sudan, other Muslim fanatics demonstrated the cruel spirit of their religion by threatening a teacher with flogging after she let her students name a teddy bear "Mohammad".
Whether or not Nasrin said the Koran should be changed, I will say that it should be discarded and forgotten. (The Koran was changed plenty during the first centuries of Islam, according to evidence presented in Why I Am Not a Muslim, by Ibn Warraq.)
Guyana offers to trade the permanent protection of its rainforest for development aid.
Europe could produce clean electricity with a network of wind power stations connected by HVCD power lines.
The director of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History ordered last-minute changes in an exibit about global warming to present an impression of uncertainty.
The loss of copies of several databases about citizens has reinvigorated the opposition to the UK's planned data base holding personal information about all children.
I think the real purpose of that database is just to make it impossible for future generations to stay out of the ID card data base.
Weather-related disasters have increased from 120 a year in the 1980s to 500 a year now. Global warming is a principal reason.
Increased human population is also a reason, as people move into unsafe areas.
A UK police chief dared to note that post-puberal females, age 13 and up, are not accurately labeled as children.
Note the absurdity of response that tries to define the limits of sexual normality based on the current requirements of UK law. It's almost as absurd as trying to legislate the value of pi.
Russian police arrested Kasparov for a peaceful protest.
A Yale economist predicts a recession. Is the recession an intentional plan to transfer wealth to the rich? Internal documents suggest that it is.
When artist Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes asked why Seattle police were beating up his friend, they beat him up too. Now Alley-Barnes is suing the city.
Hirsi Ali had to return to the Netherlands, where she is given police protection from death threats from Islamic extremists.
(Hirsi Ali is a prominent critic of the cruelty of Islam.)
The American Enterprise Institute is a right-wing ``think tank'' that hires itself out to companies, providing ``studies'' to support what those companies want. For instance, it has been paid to produce materials to oppose free software. I hope it won't undermine her conscience.
Volunteers in Iraq bury hundreds of unclaimed, unidentified bodies every month.
A crucial part of rejecting the term is never using the term yourself. Another crucial part is explaining frequently that it is propaganda, that you reject it, and that that is why you don't use it.
Global warming has already caused devastating destruction of soft corals. In some places, 95% are gone.
The tree damage caused by Hurricane Katrina is releasing enough CO2 to make a substantial contribution to global warming.
Since global warming causes more hurricanes, and more severe hurricanes, this is a positive feedback system.
The Bush regime is trying to pin a Baghdad bombing on Iran.
John Ging, UNRWA's director for Gaza, asked the UK Parliament to put pressure on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza.
Cities in England threated legal action against Heathrow Airport expansion.
The Dalai Lama has announced plans to appoint a successor, thus denying China the chance to put in its own man as the next Dalai Lama.
The British Commonwealth has suspended Pakistan due to Musharraf's state of emergency.
Amazon's e-book device means an ugly future for book lovers.
Greenpeace says that Clown's "public consultation" about extending Heathrow airport is bogus "collusion".
Musharraf has started releasing some important prisoners including Imran Khan.
60% of the population of Somalia has fled the violence that grows out of the Bush-arranged Ethiopian intervention in Somalia.
Israel has eased the blockade of Gaza.
I wonder how long this will last.
The Taliban may have regained half of Afghanistan.
This is the result of Bush's invasion of Iraq.
Clown allowed one Burmese dissident asylum in the UK, but has refused to generalize the practice to other Burmese dissidents.
Musharraf says he is releasing a few prisoners. Meanwhile he is arresting lots more.
The lawyers correctly focus on the replacement of judges with toadies who could, as Bush has demonstrated, easily make the coming elections meaningless.
US citizens: tell your senators to oppose the plan to make car fuel economy standards meaningless by allowing easy exceptions.
Fine-tuning the propaganda to make Americans support attacking Iran.
Scott McClellan, former Bush press secretary, says that Bush together with Cheney and Rove lied to him so he would misinform the public.
Over 1/6 of the population of New York City can't afford enough food. Nationwide, over 30 million Americans went hungry due to poverty last year.
This is what comes of letting business (and this indirectly the rich people who mostly own businessses) take power away from the citizens in general.
Clown's ministers approved expansion of Heathrow airport to handle 500 more flights per day. Since there is a lot of opposition, they are already planning to change laws to make sure the public can't stop this project.
The spread of AIDS is slowing down due to massive efforts, but there is a danger that governments will slack off those efforts just when we could turn the corner.
I wonder if the IMF is trying to make governments cut back on this spending, as it does with many other government programs that make life better for the public.
A sad and unnecessary mistake: trying to "balance" the interests of preserving fish stocks with the "interests of the fishing industry".
It's a fundamental mistake to frame the issue that way, because the long term interests of the fishing industry, as well as those of people who eat fish, are completely aligned with preservation. The only thing on the other side is the short-term interest of the fishing industry, and if they are foolish enough to prefer the short term over the long term, we must refuse to listen.
I've been told that the Grand Banks cod fishery is not entirely closed, and this may be why it does not recover.
A breakthrough that converts skin cells into stem cells might eliminate the issue about getting stem cells from embryos.
I wonder if this will also make it possible to clone a person from skin cells. (That will surely be possible some day.)
Americans say, when polled, that they a prefer president who will end the occupation of Iraq immediately.
It is paradoxical that Democratic voters don't translate this into practice by supporting Dennis Kucinich. I think the reason is that primary voters think they need to choose a candidate who "can win", and if they don't hear much about a candidate, they assume he "can't win". By not talking about Kucinich, the media can lead most voters to exclude him from consideration.
B'liar has set up some plans for economic growth in Palestine.
This will somewhat help with the poverty of Palestinians, but at best it will slightly reduce the suffering of the occupation.
Penal researchers say the US imprisons too many people for too long.
Info on the JFA Institute.
Imran Khan started a hunger strike demanding Musharraf restore an independent judiciary.
Musharraf replaced the Supreme Court with toadies who will do what he tells them to do, sort of like the ones who enabled Bush to steal the 2000 election.
The UK is experimenting with an intelligent approach to heroin, imitating Switzerland, and the results are very good.
The Netherlands uses a somewhat similar approach, where addicts can get heroin in doctors' offices. It has kept the number of addicts low, and reduces robbery.
Japan's whaling plans have prompted many people to boycott Japanese products. (Search for "have your say" in the article.)
Since most Japanese oppose whaling, I wonder if we can find a way to put on pressure on Japanese business and government that would reach out to Japanese individuals rather than make them identify with the targets of the pressure. If you have an idea, please write to me at rms using the site gnu dot org.
The "Iraqi" government arrested some mercenaries who has shot a bystander.
I doubt that the "Iraqi" government is independent enough to get away with such a thing. I expect that Bush will make it back down.
The IPCC's report on climate change reflects increasing certainty among scientists that human activity is causing global warming, and also about the damage it will do.
Japan intends to resume killing of humpback whales, and calls Greenpeace "violent terrorists".
As far as I know, Greenpeace has never done anything that harmed a person; it was once a victim of terrorism, when French agents sank the ship Rainbow Warrior and killed some of its crew. The Japanese captain's statement appears to imitate equally dishonest statements by Bush and B'liar about "terrorism".
A UK program for renewable energy was so successful that B'liar cut it in half.
The US asked Musharraf to end the state of emergency, and he refused, knowing that the US doesn't dare put any pressure on him.
Pakistanis were irrationally proud that their country had nuclear weapons. Ultimately they have enabled Musharraf to defeat the Pakistani people.
Congressional democrats are starting to show some resistance to the occupation of Iraq. They have not been persuaded to agree to pass a bill to fund it.
Antiwar activists in Olympia, Washington, have persistently blocked movement of war supplies.
Uri Avnery: Bush, Olmert and Abbas hoped to make the Annapolis meeting a nice show, since there's no hope of an agreement, but now it is doubtful they can even achieve that.
He predicts it will be impossible to end the occupation of Iraq — not militarily impossible, just politically impossible. It is the moral duty of Americans to disprove this prediction.
The London Council rejected the plan to prohibit giving food to the homeless.
I don't know whether the year-long study will do any good, but even if it is an excuse to do nothing, that is better than the evil plan that was proposed.
Robert Dziekanski was killed by police with a taser on arriving in Canada, where he was to be a legal immigrant.
It sounds like the police had good reason to intervene, but since he did not threaten anyone, they had no reason to use a weapon on him.
China is making great progress in renewable energy, although still not enough to reduce it CO2 emissions.
Gaza's strawberry crop will rot, since Israel won't let it out for sale in Europe. This is collective punishment at work.
The Southern Company seems to have paid Bush to continue global warming.
A web site with thousands of musical scores, all in the public domain in Canada, was shut down by a foreign music publisher with a nonsensical threat to apply European law.
B'liar says he was personally in favor of invading Iraq, and never tried to convince Bush not to invade.
An Australian was falsely suspected of terrorism for reading a book called The Unknown Terrorist, which is about an Australian who was falsely suspected of terrorism for equally absurd reasons.
The book, when published, was accused of exaggerating. Its author cites these events as vindication.
The drought in the Southeast US is becoming a catastrophe. If it continues, Atlanta may have no drinking water by January. The foolish, unheeding businesses there make a profligate waste of the regions water, even as they buy candidates and keep global warming going.
When the results cause disaster for Atlanta, will some of those companies be wiped out? It may be too much to hope for.
Emission impossible: Why Hollywood is one of the worst polluters.
Musharraf says he will step down "when there is no turmoil in Pakistan".
How about "When hell freezes over"?
Pressing Musharraf to "hold elections soon" sounds good, but doesn't really mean anything. Elections held under his state of emergency won't be fair.
The Bush regime is leaning on intelligence interrogators to slant intelligence against Iran, says one of interrogators.
The regime apparently does not ask individual interrogators to intentionally fabricate false intelligence. That isn't necessary, because the system produces equivalent results. It encourages other people to provide fabricated intelligence, and encourages agents to forward it up the chain and believe it. It also tends to shut off intelligence that would cast doubt on their claims.
Thus, we should not trust or believe whatever the Bush regime may say that likes a reason for war with Iran.
The "Iraqi" government has formally incorporated thousands of Badr brigade militiamen into its "security" forces.
The Badr brigades are the ones generally considered responsible for grabbing Shi'ites on the street by the dozens to kill them, and for torture.
The UK's highest court approved deporting Darfuris to the refugee camps in Khartoum.
The US joins China and Iran in trying to block the UN Human Rights Commission from voting for a moratorium on the death penalty.
I don't have a complete list of the countries opposing the resolution, but all those mentioned in the article seem to be guilty of general disrespect for human rights. It is a travesty to have countries such as China, Iran and the US in a Human Rights Commission.
Imran Khan, Pakistani member of parliament, was arrested and accused of "terrorism".
This once again illustrates how dangerous and dishonest "anti-terrorism" laws are. In the UK, they have been used more against protestors than against anyone planning what we would normally call terrorism. In the US, people have been convicted of "animal rights terrorism" for running a web site that described actions taken against companies that do experiments on animals.
(Il)legal bullying shut down the main source of public domain musical scores on the Internet.
The Liberal Democratic Party has attacked Clown's refusal to rule out joining Bush in attacking Iran.
The US Senate has adopted the weakest version global warming bill. Its sponsor, Senator Lieberman, is paying his electric company bill.
The proposed London ban on giving free food to homeless people is meeting condemnation.
Wealthy, comfortable people who seek to hurt the homeless to avoid minor inconvenience show themselves to be heartless and despicable. If you know any clergy in London, how about suggesting they choose this topic for a sermon.
Every pack of cigarettes smoked in the US has 7 dollars in indirect costs. Only a little of this goes to the tobacco industry, but it is still enough for them to defeat tax increases with massive PR.
German Chancellor Merkel is running into trouble with her "reforms" designed to reduce the standard of living for German workers.
The "competitive economy" that business wants to "drag" Germany into is the one in which countries compete in letting business treat workers worse. This kind of competition is bad for everyone (except business owners) and we need to put an end to it.
Imran Khan, former Pakistani cricket star turned politician, calls for a student uprising against Musharraf.
Many cities are banning stores from handing out plastic bags.
That still leaves many layers of packaging in the products themselves. One store is trying to avoid that too.
Hamas fighters shot indiscriminately at civilians at a rally of Fatah-sympathizers in Gaza, after some of the participants threw rocks at them, and killed several of them.
This practice is more often associated with Israelis and Americans, but it is a human problem and people of any group can do it.
Only 13% of the original Tasmanian forest is left, but the government of Australia wants to reduce this to 6%, and undermined its environmental laws to make this happen.
How Clinton paved the way for dictatorship in Pakistan for the sake of some corporate cronies.
Sarkozy's attempt to cut back on pensions in France has triggered a broad wave of strikes.
We should not take up Sarkozy's propaganda terms, such as calling his supporters "New France". Saying "We are the future, our opponents are the past" is a standard propaganda technique which is devoid of meaning.
Others have begun to say that Sarkozy is Bush's new poodle. So now he has a French poodle — how appropriate.
November 16 was "orange alert" day. Wear orange to show you're against Bush's fearmongering and aggression.
A fairly high officer in the "Iraqi" police is accused of maintaining a cache of arms for the Iraqi resistance.
Thus, not everyone in the "Iraqi" police is a traitor for Bush.
Uri Avnery believes Bush will invade Iran because he is starting to look ridiculous.
An international BBC poll finds people are ready to make sacrifices to reduce global warming — more ready than their governments.
I speculate that businesses are not ready to sacrifice profits to reduce global warming, and that the government officials obey business rather than citizens. If this is true, the undermining of democracy by business could by the direct cause of world-wide disaster.
Increases in US wildfires have been tied to global warming.
Aid agencies struggle to support over two million displaced Iraqis.
The "Iraqi" government is paying monthly salaries to 17,000 sham names, says its anti-corruption board.
However, given the level of poverty and unemployment in Iraq, this may not really be a bad thing, especially if the money comes from the Bush regime.
Global warming combined with overconsumption of water are turning large parts of China into desert.
London's police commissioner tried to obstruct an inquiry into the police killing of de Menezes.
For that alone, he should be dismissed. Badges must not give police immunity.
Europe's agricultural subsidy is supposed to enable family farms to get by, but in fact the main beneficiaries are rich landowners. Now there is a plan to reduce the payments for large estates.
This change is a good first step, but a large fraction of this program would continue to support the rich. They shuld cut it further.
Musharraf has made a vague promise of elections by Feb 15, but is still trying to get away with replacing the Supreme Court with his own compliant judges. And still arresting political opposition leaders and human rights defenders.
2000 Palestinians, refugees from Iraq, are caught at the Syrian border.
Some have serious medical problems and have no medical care.
A Bush forces sniper is on trial for murdering Iraqis. He accuses superiors of ordering him to place arms as bait, but the Bush forces have decided to keep the evidence secret, so that we cannot tell if these orders existed.
Such orders ought not to change the verdict, since "I was just following orders" is no excuse. What the orders might do is inculpate the superiors who gave them — which is more important than convicting the triggerman.
Normally, those accused of a crime must be presumed innocent unless proved guilty, but that cannot include officials that use government power to block the investigation of the crime. When they do this, we must presume them guilty unless and until they allow a proper investigation.
In 1956 the British government lied to cover up a frogman's death while he was investigating visiting Russian warships. The explicit instructions for these lies are now known, and B'liar regime statements about complicity in US torture flights look quite similar.
J.K. Rowling and her publisher have got another injunction. This one blocks publication of a reference book about Harry Potter's world.
I called on people not to buy Harry Potter books after their previous injunction, which ordering people who had bought the books not to read their copies.
The words "Intellectual property rights or copyright" remind me of a sign that once graced a store in Cambridge: "We serve food and Greek subs."
"Intellectual property" isn't a law. It is just a vague way of confusing various unrelated laws, copyright law being one. (Others include patent law and trademark law.) These laws have essentially nothing in common, but plaintiffs' lawyers lump them together as "intellectual property". They do this to demonize the defendant and to distract attention from what specific laws actually require. With the real information concealed by that term, we can only guess what (if anything) the suit is about, aside from copyright law.
To promote clear thinking, let's avoid the propaganda term "intellectual property".
US citizens: phone your senators' offices and tell them to make sure the Energy Bill supports wind and solar power, not nuclear and fossil fuels.
You can also use this page to send your message, but phone calls have more effect.
A substantial part of biodiesel fuel is made from palm oil. To produce palm oil, farmers are using peat swamps in Indonesia, dumping lots of CO2 into the air. The result constitutes 4% of the world's greenhouse gases.
In other words, biodiesel is more dangerous than burning petroleum.
Bush's man in Georgia has had a setback. After crushing protests and shutting down opposition TV at gunpoint, he has had to promise early elections.
If the US government respected human rights and democracy, then we would have a reason to hope for Georgia to support the US. If the Russian government respected human rights and democracy, then we would have a reason to hope for Georgia to support Russia. But since neither one does, and it is just a battle between two autocracies over control of oil, I hope Georgia will establish democracy and support neither of those countries.
Israeli peace activists had to reconsider their participation in the annual memorial event for Yithchak Rabin, due to the speech by Ehud Barak who is no man of peace.
Former AT&T employee Mark Klein says that AT&T gave the NSA's "secret room" a copy of its entire Internet traffic — even domestic traffic.
Professor Tom Honderich, author of After the Terror, writes about how Oxfam was pressured by the Zionist lobby into declining a donation from him.
2007 has seen the highest death count for the official part of the Bush forces. (The Bush regime does not publish counts of deaths of mercenaries or civilians.) However, casualties have gone down in the past couple of months.
I would like to see an independent study of the reasons for decreasing casualties. The Bush forces will say it means they are defeating the Iraqi resistance. That seems unlikely to me, a priori, but not impossible. They could do it if they come close enough to wiping out the Iraqi Sunnis, and he's killed a substantial percentage already.
It would be a shame for such a big crime to pay.
Teenagers that occasionally smoke pot (but not tobacco) tend to do better in most ways than other teenagers. This doesn't mean occasionally smoking pot is good for you, but proves it isn't particularly harmful.
As Clown continues to push for longer and longer detention of suspects, he is running into opposition which dares to call his plan what it is.
Mohammed Abdul Kahar, who was shot in a mistaken "anti-terror" raid a year ago, says that armed police detained him on the street recently. He says he fears for his life.
Despite the many tyrannical laws that have been introduced in the UK, I think the spirit of freedom and democracy is more alive there than in the US. It is not yet strong enough to triumph, but it shows its life.
Or perhaps it is simply that the US media quash the issue to the point where freedom's supporters are almost invisible to society.
The EPA contracted some chemical toxicity tests to a lab mainly funded by the companies that make the chemicals to be tested.
To the tune of "That's Amore":
When you contract the test
To the problem's own nest
Drug companies are trying to corrupt doctors in third-world countries by offering them gifts in exchange for proscribing expensive patented drugs.
These doctors treat the richest segment of the population — the rest can't afford it. But there may be millions of families that are marginally able to pay, and get taken to the cleaners this way.
A different scheme corrupts orthopedic surgeons in the US.
Benazir Bhutto called on Musharraf to restore the Constitution, and plans mass protests that he has forbidden.
Major League Baseball used to sell videos with Digital Restrictions Management, that would only work if the poor buyer's computer connected to a certain network server. Now it shut down that server and switched to another server. So all the old videos stopped working.
Never buy a product with DRM unless you personally have the means to break the DRM!
A suicide bomber at a school in Afghanistan killed several members of the Arghan Parliament and a lot more schoolchildren.
The response of Afghanis to this atrocity will tell us the answer to something important: has Islam stripped them of their human decency?
Iraqi Kurdistan is signing oil deals with Western companies, mostly not US companies (though one cannot tell from that whether they are owned by Bush cronies), despite the opposition of the impotent "Iraqi" government.
Israeli peace activists wrote to Egyptian President Mubarak, asking Egypt to open trade and movement between Gaza and Egypt.
The police in Kenya have been accused of shooting and dumping over 400 people.
Chief Justice Chaudry, under house arrest, smuggled out a statement denouncing Musharraf and demanding the restoration of the constitution.
US citizens: call your senators' offices at 202-224-3121 and call on them to oppose nomination of Michael Mukasey because he is soft on torture.
Musharraf overthrew the constitutional government of Pakistan, in which he was president, and arrested most of the Supreme Court as well as former presidents and prominent human rights lawyers.
Musharraf said this was necessary to resist terrorism, but Asma Jahangir, president of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and now under house arrest, points out that the people Musharraf arrested are not terrorists, but rather those who believe in human rights.
Commentary on where this could lead.
Sudanese refugees in the UK, fleeing torture in Darfur, went to their asylum hearings, and met Sudanese government officials who threatened them with more torture.
I wonder if Clown (and B'liar) planned that the news would get around so that future victims would be scared to go to the UK.
The head of the new Nablus police force says he could disarm the militias in 48 hours if Israel stops its military interventions in the city.
Because of Turkish and US pressure, Kurdish guerrilla fighters are moving to Iran. The US calls their activities "terrorism" in Turkey, but not when they do it in Iran.
Nelson Mandela's lawyer warns that Clown's plans for 90-day imprisonment without trial track the policies of the Apartheid state.
Senate Democrats dropped their opposition to Bush's latest nominee for Attorney General after he made hypothetical concessions.
To quibble about the precise definition of torture is a misunderstanding. Any practice that overcomes prinsoners' ability to refuse to confess is torture, because it will make people confess whether they are guilty or not. Torture only makes sense for brutal regimes that just want confessions, whether true or false.
When Brazilian protestors occupied a farm for GMOs, Novartis and Astra Zenica sent in an armed militia which killed one of the protest leaders. Other leaders said they were pursued and barely escaped the killers.
British activists report on their visit to a Palestinian village under permanent siege, whose land has been stolen piece by piece by surrounding Israeli settlers.
A leaked UK government report condemns the planning of the invasion of Iraq as incompetent.
This report appears to adopt the viewpoint of the movie "No End in Sight", which criticized the management of the occupation without considering the ethics of conquering a country for its oil.
US voters: call your congresscritter's office in support of HR 333, the resolution to impeach Cheney. You can also use this web site to do it, but a phone call carries more weight.
London plans to restrict giving free food to poor people, because soup kitchens are a nuisance for wealthy people. However, giving free food to wealthy people will not be restricted.
In Massachusetts: Help the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy gather signatures for a ballot initiative to end imprisonment for small amounts of marijuana.
What's wrong with the Lieberman - Warner climate bill.
A simple tax on petroleum extraction makes a lot of sense to me. Does anyone know of any arguments against it (other than the unwillingness to adopt it)?
Protestors falsely arrested during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York are winning lawsuits against the city.
However, such victories are insufficient to discourage police from bearing false witness. Politicians are aware that they can crush protest with false arrests, and lawsuits after the fact cannot restore the lost opportunity. The only solution I can see is that lying police must be systematically charged with perjury and imprisoned.
The Iraqi who provided the false evidence for Iraqi chemical weapons that helped Bush excuse his invasion.
Congressional Democrats are giving Bush all the money he needs to continue the occupation of Iraq. They offer no effective resistance.
Jewish Voices for Peace defended the critics of the occupation of Palestine from false charges of anti-semitism.
Discrimination against some Semites is alive and well in Israel. Just as many towns in the US once did not allow Jews to move in, some towns in Israel don't allow Arabs to move in.
In 2003, the US helped fund protests in Georgia that brought down a government that had rigged an election. Now the opposition accuses the new president, who supports the US, of planning to rig the next one.
It would not surprise me if these charges are true. Bush surely has no more scruples about stealing an election in Georgia than he had in Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004).
Former minister Aloni says: put Ehud Barak on trial for crimes against humanity (specifically, collective punishment in Gaza).
In Russia, even jokes about Putin lead to police investigation and threats.
The Russian elections are an obvious sham. How long will it take for them to imitate the US technique of making elections an unobvious sham?
The movie Rendition shows the evil of the Bush regime's torture. It is based on what really happened to Maher Arar.
The semi-happy ending where a CIA agent discovers his humanity and gets the victim released is where the movie turns unrealistic. The real-life Bush regime never admits a mistake. Even now that it is public knowledge that there was no real evidence against Arar, the regime still pretends that he's guilty. (That would be no excuse for kidnaping and torture anyway, but there are Americans who would accept it as one.)
This policy is based on recognition that many Americans, including Congress, can't go so far as to call the President a liar outright. As long as they can only pussyfoot, they can be baffled as long as Bush never admits guilt.
The Annapolis conference: peace processing, but not peace making.
Gordon Clown shook King Abdullah's hand, but didn't raise issues of human rights with him.
If the UK started criticizing allies for torturing people, it would be awfully inconvenient. How could they avoid criticizing the Bush regime?
Heavy fighting between the Ethiopian occupation force and Somali militias has driven 100,000 to flee the capital.
The "provisional government" which the Ethiopian intervention installed has about as much legitimacy, and about as much popular support, as the "Iraqi" government set up by the Bush forces.
Genetic engineering has created a race of supermice.
I think this research is dangerous — what if one of these mice escapes to breed? Unless they have a hidden weakness, we could make a big nuisance for ourselves and perhaps for wildlife.
The coral in the Caribbean is dying because people have killed the symbiotic fish that protect it from algae.
The agreement which ended the Sudanese civil war, in 2005, has collapsed, and this could lead to renewed fighting.
Bush has trouble finding diplomats willing to work in Iraq, so he is going to start ordering them there.
I feel sorry for diplomats and their families, as individuals, but we must not forget that their job will be controling the puppet government of Bush occupation, and that the harm to Iraqis is much greater.
Cory Doctorow explains how letting the public redistribute his books has made them more successful.
Saudi Arabia spreads propaganda world-wide for killing homosexuals, for killing anyone that ceases to be a Muslim, and for oppressing women.
Those who wish to promote tolerance must find ways to counter and neutralize this propaganda.
Thus far, northern forests have absorbed some of our CO2 output. Global warming has reached the point where it is likely to make them start giving it back.
The US Congress is starting to show some resistance to the use of torture. It may reject Bush's candidate for Attorney General unless he is willing to declare himself against it.
As Naomi Wolf points out, the main reason for using torture is to get confessions, regardless of whether they are true or false. Torture overcomes a person's will not to confess — whether he is guilty or innocent. Any torture technique will make some suspects confess the truth. It will also make some other suspects confess to false accusations.
Executions in the US are on hold as courts consider the question of how to kill people.
The more important issue, however, is that it is wrong to execute prisoners.
Burmese monks have resumed protests against the dictators.
The president of Kazakhstan has been accused of assassination by his former security chief (and former son-in-law).
The UK police were found guilty of wrongly killing de Menezes.
Coverage of the US presidential candidates even in the early months nearly excluded most candidates.
In a defeat for human rights, the UK's highest court approved most of the kinds of restrictions imposed on certain "terrorist" suspects.
These restrictions, deprivations of liberty, were imposed administratively on people who were not convicted of any crime; but they then went to court to challenge their semi-imprisonment. The Law Lords ruled that they have a right to see the secret evidence cited against them.
Punishing people based on secret evidence is a system that invites abuses, as Guantanamo experience indicates.
Clown's government canceled the deportation of a Zimbabwean opposition activist, but only because her hunger strike has weakened her so much that they fear she would die in the process. If the Zimbabweans kill her, that's not their problem.
George Monbiot: Has the end of civilisation begun?
Here's an example of a scenario for how a small number of people in the US government could have set up the 9/11 attacks.
Research shows it is unlikely that all of Greenland's ice will melt — but part of it could melt faster than people thought.
Belying Clown's green talk, the UK government proposes to widen roads and extend airports.
Ms Kelly's excuses amount to "We will limit carbon emissions only if it doesn't reduce profits."
A new census of tigers in India indicates just 1500 are left. This means they are doomed unless drastic measures are taken.
Bush has sabotaged the investigation of Blackwater mercenaries by giving them immunity.
This is no surprise to me. Bush's attitude towards law is no different from any dictator's: it is a framework for giving orders, and no one will be punished for doing what Bush wants.
The Burmese military dictators increasingly turn to conscripting children as young as 11 as soldiers.
Bush offered B'liar the chance to keep the UK out of the invasion of Iraq. But B'liar pathetically demonstrated his servility to Bush by insisting on participating anyway.
Did you seen anyone dressed as Dubya for Halloween? Or is that too scary?
Nick Clegg, campaigning to lead the UK's Liberal Democrats, vowed to lead civil disobedience against mandatory ID cards.
This is the sort of courage that the defense of liberty requires. Three cheers!
Giscard d'Estaing, who led design of the rejected EU constitution, recognized that the treaty now proposed is essentially the same. This embarrasses politicians such as Clown, who are trying to avoid referendum commitments by pretending this is not a constitution.
The crushing occupation of Palestine is so horrible that Palestinians now risk their lives to enter Italy illegally.
With the inflatable boat for the last step, I expect that such landings are likely to spread to other European coasts, since the mother ship is not limited to areas close to its starting point.
US citizens: call your senators' offices and say that companies should have to buy pollution credits from the government — not get them free.
Also sign this petition, but a phone call carries more weight.
US citizens: if one of your senators is on the Judiciary Committee, call his office and say, "Block amnesty for the phone companies that did illegal surveillance."
MoveOn reports that a bill which is supposed to create a market for trading pollution credits would be a big give-away to companies.
Organic food ingredients had more vitamins C and E than food produced on the same farm with chemical treatments.
This doesn't conclusive prove that the organic food is better for you, but suggests it is. If you get vitamins C and E from supplements, the amount in your food may not matter. However, lots of people don't use such supplements, which means that they would be helped by these vitamins in their food.
The "temporary" presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia is generating resentment.
The Florida police unsurprisingly decided that it was ok to use a taser on a student who wanted to ask John Kerry a question.
This is why police conduct must not be judged by police.
Rumsfeld had to hurry out of France lest he be prosecuted for torture.
Watch for the US to pressure France to change the law so that US officials are exempt.
Some Iraqi torture victims are suing the UK, where a soldier was convicted of torturing prisoners.
The US unilaterally imposed new sanctions on some Iranian organizations, including parts of the state, by labeling them as "terrorist". Other countries have not supported these sanctions, so the US is trying to bully foreign companies into obeying them anyway.
I find the accusation of terrorism plausible, but coming from the US it is the pot calling the kettle black. For instance, the US supports an organization based in Iraqi Kurdistan that carries out terrorism in Iran.
In the 1970s, several Arab countries tried to pressure multinational companies to refuse to do business with Israel. The US passed a law forbidding US companies to give way to this pressure. The current attempt by the US to punish foreign companies that do business with Iran resembles that Arab boycott, so it would be appropriate for other countries to respond in the same way: to pass laws forbidding businesses in their countries from giving way to this US pressure.
Israeli human rights groups have gone to court to block the shutoff of fuel and electricity to Gaza, as collective punishment of a civilian population.
Avnery on the right way to honor the memory of Yitzhak Rabin.
Eritrean journalists remain in prison 6 years after they were charged with spying.
A major bird sanctuary in Kenya could be destroyed by a large sugar plantation.
A local person is quoted as talking about the difficulty of paying school fees for his children. Why must poor people in Kenya pay to go to school? Because of the IMF: its policy is to force poor countries to impose such fees.
Here we see the result.
Some Israelis believe that the Gaza fuel and electricity cuts are designed to push Hamas to attack more, as an excuse for a large and bloody Israeli military campaign.
Israel uses the coming Annapolis talks to dispel international criticism by saying "We're working on solving the problem." Ideally that will go on forever.
Since Israel won't make any concessions, the talks have little chance of making progress towards peace. But they might serve to give Fatah US support against Hamas.
A nonviolent protest blocked Israeli highway 443, which was built on land confiscated from Palestinians, and which Palestinians are forbidden to drive on.
Private fire protection for the rich leads to disaster apartheid. No longer relying on the public fire departments, they can cut their taxes by not supporting those departments. Everyone else gets the shaft.
FEMA held a press conference, and later it came out that the "reporters" were really FEMA employees. (We have met the press, and the press is us.)
Paul Krugman talks about how the mainstream media helped Republicans pretend to be "tougher on national security" than Democrats.
Several species of primates are at the brink of extinction.
The Bush forces accusations of Iranian arms in Iraq were suspect from the first. This article says they were deliberate lies: that the Bush forces already knew these arms were made in Iraq.
Reagan's attorney general condemns Republicans for launching politically motivaled prosecutions of Democrats.
The army of Pakistan is battling the militia of a Taliban-supporting fanatical cleric.
The Kyoto Treaty has failed to halt the growth in CO2 emissions because it was never really tried. The opposition by Bush and his oil company cronies sunk it. Many countries' failure to implement it properly also contributed to the problem; if the US had supported the treaty, those countries would face more pressure to correct their implementation. Thus, it is a mistake to suppose the treaty would have failed if it had really been tried.
The arguments offered against the methods used in the Kyoto Treaty suggest it was not perfect. They may, or may not, be arguments to make the next treaty somewhat different. However, for such a dangerous and grave problem as important as global warming, an imperfect solution is far better than none.
A prominent Uzbek journalist in exile has been assassinated, probably by the government of Uzbekistan.
Marijuana use in the UK has continued falling after its possession was decriminalized.
Sarkozy proposed measures to cap French CO2 emissions — but only in the areas that don't meet resistance.
It is a step worth taking, but more will be needed.
China continues to protect the murderous Burmese regime in exchange for building a dam on the border.
A new, democratic Burmese government would still be interested in building a dam with China. It might, however, insist on that the plan respect the environment in Burma, and that might make it less profitable for China. Thus people are tortured and murdered for profit.
A report on the health of the Earth's biosphere shows it's in big trouble.
There has been a big increase in the distance the UK's food is transported, and thus, the amount of greenhouse gas emitted to ship it.
Policies of economic globalization are harmful because they concentrate wealth and thus hurt the poor. But they are also harmful just because they burn more fuel.
The UK deports refugees from Zimbabwe back to be tortured, based on technicalities, just to make the quota.
Tinkering with this system is not a solution. The quotas must be abolished.
Israel's latest form of retaliation for Qassam rockets: denying medical care to Palestinians with cancer.
Gordon Clown made proposals for laws for increased respect for human rights in the UK, but continues pursuing changes that go in the opposite direction.
Turkish army units have attacked Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq.
This is likely to complicate the political situation, but not likely to hurt the Kurdish guerrillas.
Some US experts say Syria is building a North Korean nuclear reactor. Perhaps this is what Israel bombed a few months ago.
At the time, Israel denied that its bombs had fallen on any target; Syria said that wasn't true, but didn't say what was true. This seems like a plausible explanation of these two bizarre statements.
Bush turned down Iranian offers of help against Al Qa'ida, in 2002 and again more recently. He has always wanted war with Iran, and therefore has sought to cast Iran as an implacable enemy.
Corporate funding for universities is corrupting science.
Why can't the US government afford to fund science any more? Perhaps it is giving away all the money on no-bid unsupervised contracts for Halliburton and Blackwater. Or perhaps it has cut taxes too far. Corporations should pay for research — through their taxes, so that they cannot pervert it or control the results.
Various employees of the American Chemical Society say that its executives are paid bonuses based on sales of journals — which might have something to do with that society's refusal to allow open access to those journals.
The term "open access" is often misunderstood: its most vital requirement is to allow everyone to redistribute exact copies of the articles.
Publishers of scientific journals are supposed to promote science. When they restrict redistribution of journal articles, they do the opposite, becoming the enemies of science. Society should neutralize them, and take away their power to obstruct dissemination of scientific knowledge.
Some Democratic presidential candidates are starting to oppose the plan to give immunity to the phone companies that participated in illegal surveillance.
Israel refuses to allow Fasayil to build a school, but Palestinians and foreigners built one anyway. So now Israel is going to demolish the school.
The Pope put himself on the side of dictator Franco by beatifying hundreds of clergy who were killed by the other side.
I won't defend those killings, though the Church supported the right-wing camp which did not respect human rights at all. However, to criticize left-wing violence and say nothing about Franco's million or so executions is, in effect, to endorse them.
Italy's government supports a corrupt scheme to build an LNG transfer terminal in the middle of a sanctuary for whales.
The owners of the Phoenix New Times were arrested for publishing the outrageous subpoena that demanded to know the identities of everyone that read the paper on line.
This is additional reason to do your browsing anonymously from a computer that cannot be associated with you.
Severl mass extinctions in the past have been tied to episodes of global warming.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost a trillion dollars.
An old letter asking for a secret purchase of carbolic acid presents evidence that Padre Pio artificially caused his "stigmata".
Religious fanatics can convince themselves that faking "miracles" is legitimate because it leads fools to believe in religion, and they consider that more important than truth.
The US public condemns both Congress and Bush.
I am surprised that these poll figures do not give the Democratic leaders in Congress the courage to defy Bush on issues such as Iraq, Iran, signing statements, and so on. On issues that affect business, many have been bought. Have they been bought on Iraq too?
Nobel prize winner Doris Lessing dares to put the 9/11/2001 attacks in perspective.
The death toll from Bush's invasion of Iraq is probably around a million, which is around 300 times as many.
Congressman Pete Stark dared to tell the truth about Bush, whereupon cowardly Democrats joined Republicans to pressure him to apologize. Thus is the official lie maintained with Democratic collusion.
Stark was mistaken on one point: the occupation of Iraq has motivations far more weighty than mere amusement. They probably include control of oil, enrichment of cronies, and justifying attacks on our freedom.
It is hard to calculate the economic costs of climate change, but a new report tries to identify many of them in the US. It looks like they will amount to hundreds of billions a year in the US alone.
For the full report.
CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing faster than predicted, because the Earth's CO2 sinks have been overloaded or degraded.
A new method shows that high temperatures in the geological past correlate with high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Some interesting proposals to discourage unhealthy practices (smoking, and eating too much salt) without banning them.
New Zealand police arrested 17 "terrorist plotters", but it looks like a big mistake.
Being on a hair-trigger systematically leads to mistakes like this. Consider Star Simpson, and the runners in New Haven that face charges for leaving a trail of baking soda.
An Iraqi parliament report says that the Bush forces helped a terrorist attack on Oct 15.
A new weather pattern has appeared in the Arctic, blowing in warm air from further south.
This is probably caused by the considerable Arctic warming that has already taken place. It will surely combine with other positive feedback systems to warm the Arctic faster in the future — making the possible catastrophic melting of Greenland more likely than was previously forecast.
Bluefin tuna are drastically overfished, and the fishery is on its way to collapse. Governmental institutions are too weak to take action against short-sighted, greedy fishermen who are abolishing their own renewable resources.
The short term inconvenience of dislocation of ex-fishermen from shutting down the fishery is nothing compared with what will happen if those fools are allowed to destroy it. Overfishing causes permanent damage to the resource, because the fish evolve to mature younger and not grow as large.
Given fishermen's propensity to cheat on quotas, merely reducing the allowed catch might have no practical effect. When a fishery is shrinking this fast, it's time to shut it down completely and see if the fish can recover.
I've been informed by experts that part of the reason the cod do not recover is that a certain amount of fishing for cod is still allowed. Stupid!
A new idea for fighting the Burmese generals: put pressure on sale of rubies. Nearly all rubies come from Burma, and the generals make money from selling them.
The UK regularly denies asylum and medical care to survivors of torture, then leaves them destitute in the hope they will go back for more.
If the UK wants fewer people to seek asylum, it should dedicate its foreign policy to opposing countries like the US that promote and use torture.
The contending armies in the Eastern Congo rape women and then mutilate them as an act of war.
If what Bush said about Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq had been sincere, he would have wanted to do something a about the Congo too.
Fred Thompson helped a dishonest mining company in Tennessee by getting a mining inspector removed from its case.
It is especially interesting that Thompson did not deserve the good reputation he got from the Watergate investigation.
Michigan residents: sign the MPP's initiative petition for medical marijuana, or help collect signatures.
US citizens: phone your senators and say, don't excuse the companies that illegally cooperated with Bush's spying.
You can also sign this petition, but do the phone call also. A phone call carries more weight.
World trade rules have made farming inefficient as well as unjust.
Transporting food (and other goods) around the world in "sweatships" is also a major and growing contribution to global warming.
The California fires that have driven hundreds of thousands to evacuate are a man-made "natural" disaster.
Global warming is expected to reduce rainfall in the American southwest. That will probably make this problem worse.
Now that the US treats foreign visitors like criminals, and has formally denied their human rights, many wisely do not go there. The US hopes that a soothing Disney video will overcome their rational fears.
The "Iraqi" government says it will shut down the PKK Kurdish guerilla groups that attack Turkey, but it has no power to do so.
Amnesty International accuses both Hamas and Fatah of torturing Palestinian prisoners, and carrying out military attacks in the midst of civilians.
Both of these crimes imitate the usual Israeli practice.
A major author of the "Iraqi" constitution says that the Iraqi goverment is just a pretense.
Bil'in won an incomplete victory against the annexation wall in the Israeli Supreme Court, but the soldiers disobey the part of the decision which says the inhabitants can use a gate to go to their fields.
Palestinians trying to harvest their olives face systematic violence from Israeli colonists.
It may be a hopeful sign that Israeli police protected the Jabri family from settler attacks, so it could harvest its olive trees.
However, the settlements from which the harassment comes are themselves illegal; why are they allowed to remain?
OneVoice concerts aimed to link Israelis and Palestinians in favor of peace. They were canceled under pressure from Israelis and Palestinians that opposed the plan. Here is a debate about the matter.
Republicans in Mississippi prosecuted only Democrats for common sorts of vaguely shady practices, and thus wiped out the Democratic party in that state.
The last of the US native prairie is being plowed under to grow corn to make ethanol.
Replacing petroleum with corn cannot solve the problem of greenhouse gases. Conservation, using energy more efficiently, is much better.
Bombers, presumably Islamic extremists, killed 120 people while trying to get Benazir Bhutto.
Putin called on Bush to name a date to pull out of Iraq, because it is "absolutely pointless to fight with a people".
Putin's regime is more harsh and tyrannical than Bush's, apparently killing journalists even at home, whereas Bush does that only in Iraq. (Bush does more evil in total because he has more power to do it with.) Nonetheless, Putin can tell the truth about the US while the politicians of "friendly" (i.e., subservient) countries don't dare admit it.
Clinton has taken pay from the arms industry, and talks about launching a war with Iran.
Is this supposed to be better than Bush? I do not see it.
Water privatization has been very profitable, with the help of a little dishonesty here and there. But it has not resulted in the investment that was supposed to be the motive.
I believe in charging market rates for irrigation water for agribusiness, but poor people should not be cut off from water.
Brian Haw won in court the right to continue his protest in front of Parliament, along with 19 supporters. However, the government hired private security guards to attack him, and the police watch and do not intervene.
US citizens: call your congresscritter and senators in support of repeal of Bush's global gag rule on family planning aid.
US citizens: call your congresscritter and senators to say NO to "free trade" sweatshop treaty with Peru.
In addition to the evils described here, the treaty probably attacks democracy directly by requiring the state to pay if its policies reduce any company's income. It also probably requires software patents and a law like the DMCA that would ban free software to access media with Digital Restrictions Management.
Turkey's parliament voted to authorize an invasion of Iraq.
President Erdogan is entirely right to compare the proposed Turkish invasion of Iraq with Bush's invasion of Iraq. One was wrong, and the other would be wrong too.
Turkey would deserve support against Kurdish terrorists, if they are terrorists (since attacking Turkish troops is not terrorism), were it not for the fact that Turkey still denies its Kurdish citizens basic rights. Likewise, Turkey is in no position to rebuke foreign legislatures for making statements about the genocide of the Armenians as long as Turkey prosecutes its own citizens for making such statements.
The UK police were accused in court of altering a photo of Mr de Menezes to heighten the resemblance to the terrorist suspect they mistook him for.
It is standard practice for police to lie to justify their mistakes.
Some former officers say Bush must use conscription to continue the occupation of Iraq.
Perhaps they intend this to function as an argument for ending the occupation. But given how totally unwilling Congress is to stop Bush from continuing the occupation, and how willing it is to defy public demand to end the war, I think it is more likely to use a draft.
In general, the US government deals with every challenge or difficulty by attacking Americans' and others' human rights.
FBI Puts Antiwar Protesters on Criminal Database; Canada Uses It To Ban Protesters From Entry.
Both governments deserve condemnation for using this trash excuse to prevent people from meeting. It is interesting that the Canadian mainstream media are prepared to cover the events. Those in the US have a general policy of pretending dissent does not exist.
The US wants to apply in Afghanistan the aerial chemical spraying that didn't succeed in eliminating coca in Colombia.
While the US government continues to insist that the chemicals do not hurt humans or animals, the government of Ecuador disagrees. It protested to Colombia about US-operated spraying planes that crossed the border, after Ecuadorians said the sprays had hurt them.
If Colombian "security forces" are training Afghan police, torture and disappearance techniques are probably part of the subject matter.
In Colombia, the son of a Coca-Cola union leader was kidnapped and tortured as a threat against the union.
This continues a long-standing pattern, which is the reason for the world-wide boycott of Coca-Cola Company.
Khaled al-Mudallal, trapped in Gaza, lost his lawsuit to be allowed to return to the UK to study.
The court's reasons are absurd, and since he cannot possibly hurt anyone in Israel if he is bussed to Egypt, there are no valid grounds for denying his human right to travel. The travel blockade is a collective punishment, and as such violates international law.
The Chinese regime has arrested many opposition figures and human rights activists, torturing them in prison.
The Democrats Who Enable Bush — including the main presidential candidates.
It is an interesting paradox that most Democrats are against the war and yet most support Clinton, who will probably continue it. Why don't they support someone like Kucinich who will really end it? I speculate this is because they believe that the most important thing is that some Democrat should win. But what good is that, if the Democrat who wins is like Clinton?
The Israeli Army's excuses for killing Palestinian children reflect bias.
Sick Palestinians are forced to become informers or they are denied medical treatment.
An Israeli psychologist has studied the patterns of cruelty towards civilians that she observed around her when she a soldier. She reported on a company in which most soldiers mutilated and murdered civilians, and were callous about it. Some did this for kicks, while others did it to revel in power over other people. Some did it as an insane overreaction to minor threats. Some just followed their commanders' example. And even those who retained enough humanity to recognize that this wanton violence is wrong mostly did not want the other soldiers to be punished for it, and helped cover it up. Soldiers who did try to stop the brutality, or report it as a crime, faced punishment from the rest of their unit and opposition from most of their officers.
It is surely even worse in the Bush forces, since they face a populace even more hostile, and a substantial chance of being killed or wounded themselves (quite rare for the Israeli troops occupying Palestine). The soldiers whose "honor and integrity" we are not supposed to "impugn" are busy converting each other into monsters.
An Israeli resister describes the army experience that convinced him that "serving his country" is a pernicious deception.
Everyone entering an army of occupation should know he faces being turned into a monster, and has the moral responsibility to plan how to protect his own decency from the monsters in his own unit. The first step has to be to tell them, "If you engage in wanton violence, don't expect me to defend you. I don't want to be the buddy of a monster."
If you know someone thinking of entering the US Army, show him this article and ask, "Do you want this to happen to you?"
Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations appear to continue those of the 90s, but the context has changed, making agreement much harder.
It should be noted that the reason Abbas has little power is that Israel wrecked the Palestinian Authority's power. And the reason that the annexation strip makes agreement on territory nearly impossible is Israel's policy of taking over the Palestinians' land. Both of these are Israel's direct responsibility, so it cannot cite them as an excuse.
Israeli forces continue destroying Palestinian homes and taking Palestinian land.
The settlers continue to attack Palestinians, and the Israeli police don't try to stop them.
The Bush forces marines that murdered civilians in Haditha seem likely to escape prosecution, for reasons built into the system.
In other words, the supposed intention to prosecute atrocities is a pretty face on a policy that ensures this will hardly ever happen.
The privatized deportation police in the UK frequently torture the asylum-seekers they deport — sometimes worse than the tortures that drove them to flee their homelands. If they get a reprieve from deportation, they get beaten anyway before they are released. The conscious motive seems to be to teach people facing torture not to think of the UK as a place of refuge.
The privatization introduces an extra level into the chain of responsibility, allowing the government to deny responsibility (although surely vague statements like "Who will rid us of those inconvenient refugees" helped make it happen). The lax supervision gave free rein to the desire to hurt someone. Then the government denies the crimes, thus sheltering the thugs who are doing its unacknowledged bidding.
After the Great Depression, the FDR set up financial regulations to prevent the speculation that produced the crash. These regulations have been corroded by decades of "free market" ideology, together with the use of computers to create financial instruments so complex that regulators cannot understand them, bringing back the vulnerability.
The US top generals now consider the occupation of Iraq harmful to US security.
Their idea of "US security" includes a legitimate understanding of security such as would apply to a nation that treats others ethically, but may also include unjust wars to preserve the economic "security" of the corporate empire's stockholders. As a consequence, reduced US "security" is only partly a bad thing. And if it helps push the US to abandon its unjust war, that's entirely to the good.
A retired US officer, now a professor, explains how the US military runs on a system that systematically distorts its picture of reality making it hard to admit failure other than sudden defeat.
I reject some of his assumptions. Participation in a crime can merit condemnation (when it is intentional) or pity (for those duped into it), but not gratitude or respect. Soldiers do not deserve Americans' respect because they say or think they are "defending their country". Only when they really are.
"Betrayus" is entirely appropriate as a description of a man who willingly acts to provide Bush with a mask of supposed authority. General Petraeus helped to hoodwink his country and perpetuate a crime. Being a general is no excuse.
The Bush regime blamed the loss of 5 million presidential emails on an unnamed IT contractor that was supposed to manage the system. But these systems are not managed by a company. It was simply a lie.
The Bush regime's approach to its crimes is to defend old lies with new lies, figuring they can fabricate lies faster than courts or congress or anyone can disprove them or bypass them. Ultimately the only way to treat such an entity is to say, "I don't trust you; I won't believe any claim of yours unless you prove it!"
The US congress condemned MoveOn for "impugning the honor and integrity of ... all the members of the United States Armed Force". I don't know that MoveOn really did so, but Rush Limbaugh came pretty close. He called soldiers who oppose the war "phony soldiers".
Congress, preferring in its majority lies to truth, is unwilling to pass aresolution condemning Rush Limbaugh for this, but some Democratic senators have started a pressure campaign against him.
I decline to impugn the integrity of all members of the US military. I will say that every soldier who says that the Bush forces are "defending their country" is either a liar or a dupe. As Daniel Ellsberg put it, Ehren Watada is the only one carrying out his oath to defend the Constitution.
The Amazon rain forest was set on fire by cattle ranchers, and due to global warming, the rain is inadequate to put it out.
Cattle ranching makes a big contribution to global warming. Not only through destroying forests, but also through the methane produced by the cows.
Clinton has developed a commanding lead for the Democratic nomination.
This reinforces my pessimism that the 2008 election will make any real change in the Bush regime's evil policies: conquest, torture, and disrespect for human rights.
The UK deports people back to places such as Darfur, even though they face torture. Now some have escaped from Sudan to testify about how they were tortured after their deportation.
Some cities in the US are banning smoking even in people's homes.
I disapprove of these laws. Even dangerous drugs such as tobacco should not be prohibited in private places.
Meanwhile, Americans are already persecuted for using a less dangerous drug, marijuana. Leonard French uses a wheelchair because his legs are paralized. New Mexico legalized his medical use of marijuana, but the US government raided his house and seized his plants.
The US may try him and seek to put him in prison. It might also seize his house without a trial. However, what it has already done is tantamount to torture.
North Korean nuclear disarmament is making progress.
Satellite images show that the Burmese military is burning minority group villages and driving the population to flee.
The French oil company Total faces charges in Belgium that it used forced labor to build a pipeline in Burma.
The Belgian law was changed to prevent its being used against US officials who were responsible for attacks on human rights.
A few herbal remedies are effective, but most are worthless or even harmful.
The response by Jill Davies is fundametally incorrect. It is easy to convince people that a useless medical treatments cured them. Almost anything can be sold that way. This works with the naturally gullible, of course; but when society fails to apply scientific scrutiny, lots more people can fall into the trap.
Bush's climate change greenwash conference failed to distract the diplomats of other countries. Even China and India agreed that binding limits are needed, leaving Bush the only holdout for not really trying to solve the problem.
Arctic lake 'boils' with methane.
The oceans are likely to rise one meter due to gas emissions already made. The US will lose 25,000 square miles of land, including many historical sites and valuable properties.
That's even if Greenland does not melt.
Expected CO2 emissions will make ocean more acidic, to the point of violating EPA standards.
I wonder if this can be used to block the construction of coal-fired power plants.
Help fund Greg Palast's investigative journalism.
Ethiopia is attacking a separatist movement through rape and murder, forcing civilians to move much as the US one did in Vietnam.
Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern condemns Bush for corrupting his profession to make it justify the war Bush wanted.
The former chief prison inspector of the UK endorsed the call for legalizing drugs.
The head of the police team that shot de Menezies, anonymous, broke down in tears praising the killers from the witness stand.
What this "Ralph" says is not false, but it is dangerously one-sided. But it is normal for police, as buddies in a team, to stand up for each other right or wrong. This is why we must not trust to let police be judged by other police.
The UK says Bush promised not to use Diego Garcia island for secret prisons or torture. But some Britons doubt the honesty of this promise.
Since Bush doesn't admit that torture is torture, his claim not to do it in Diego Garcia (or Guantanamo, or anywhere) is meaningless.
The Bush regime punished Qwest for not cooperating with illegal NSA spying.
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert hinted that he might agree to dividing Jerusalem with a Palestinian state. That would be a major concession, if really made, but the hint might be just be a feint.
Canada nominally offers universal health care, but the requirement for a "health card" means many homeless people are excluded.
The usual requirement for obtaining a health card includes proof of address and a govermment photo ID. This requirement is gratuitous and unjust.
Mark Glover, accused of filming the killing of seal pups in Canada from an illegally close distance, vows to go to prison rather than pay a fine.
The 10-meter limit has no possible motive except censorship. Whatever one thinks of the question of animal rights, the Canadian government is clearly trampling human rights.
The EU approved an incremental increase in sanctions against Burma.
I don't think that mild sanctions are likely bring down a dictatorship. These sanctions do not interfere with the rulers' ability to hang on to power, and they won't give it up merely because they are a little less rich. Much more is needed.
New witnesses confirm that the Blackwater mercenaries shot Iraqis for no reason, and that their story is false.
Gordon Clown backed down and authorized the anti-war march in London, after the Stop the War Coalition said it would march anyway. But reporters who "didn't want to have their picture taken" were arrested under "anti-terrorist" laws.
Using these laws against real terrorists (or people seriously mistaken for real terrorists) is the exception. Using terrorism as an excuse to attack other people is the usual case.
The official Bush forces troops face contemptuous treatment from Blackwater mercenaries.
It gives them a taste of what they give Iraqis.
A maverick police chief in the UK advocates an end to the prohibition of drugs, which is more harmful than the drugs themselves would be.
Loggers are cutting down the forests where African Pygmies live. The Pygmies have gone to court to fight back.
Everyone in the US: join the protests against the war on October 27 in 11 cities.
Robert Ferrell, who faced false accusations of terrorism and later fraud for a bio-art project, accepted a plea bargain to avoid the threat of 20 years in prison on a frame-up.
This history shows how the rulers persecute people rather than admit a mistake. If they make an accusation and it doesn't stick, they invent something else, and something else, until they contrive an excuse to say, "He was guilty after all."
It is hard to demand heroism of others, since we who have not been in a similar situation do not know if we could do any better than he did. But it is clear that the cause of human freedom has been diminished by his plea bargain.
I partly disagree with one of Avnery's points. There is a clash of civilizations, albeit not the same one that the Bushmen refer to. Religious fanatics of all stripes (such as Christian theocrats and al Qa'ida) are on one side, and supporters of secular values and human rights are on the other.
Talabani, official President of Iraq, said that most Bush force troops should be pulled out next year.
I am not sure whether Talabani has any power over what happens in Iraq.
Israel has cut off all commerce with Gaza, which is ruining most businesses.
In any society, middle-class people such as shopkeepers are the ones that try to restrain violence by those who have nothing to lose. So if the shopkeepers are all ruined, what happens then?
It also brought about a run on the banks.
It would make perfect sense for Gaza to make its own currency. But it is not easy to make currency that is hard to counterfeit, and Gaza probably does not have the technology for it. I suspect that Israel doesn't have it either: many countries contract out the production of their currency to foreign companies.
(I wonder how they can be sure that the same companies won't produce more on the side. It might not even be legally considered counterfeiting, since it would not be an imitation of their own country's currency.)
The European Parliament voted to call for an end to the blockade.
The European Parliament has no power to affect European pressure on Israel, but this might translate into public opinion.
Torture: What's in a Name?
The Internet helped the Burmese resistance, until the military rulers switched it off completely.
The most interesting point in the article is that many other countries have temporarily shut off web sites at crucial times and pretended that the problem was due to technical difficulties. The US government may do this, too: uruknet.info has had a lot of technical difficulties, which they suspect were due to attacks by supporters of the Bush regime.
The editors' decision to call Burma "Myanmar" is an act of support for the military government. The legitimate president of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, asks people to call the country "Burma".
The US House of Representatives has passed bills to impose legal responsibility under US law on contractors operating in other countries, such as Iraq.
This won't directly end the crime of the war, but it hits the Bush regime in the place it cares about the most: the bank accounts of the cronies it aims to enrich.
A popular Spanish singer, Alejandro Sanz, was denied use of a stadium in Caracas for a concert, because he criticized Chavez 3 years ago.
In a formal sense, this is not censorship, since nobody has a presumptive right to hold an event in a government-owned stadium. But it has an aspect of censorship, if normal policy allows singers to hire that venue, to make an exception for political reasons. Also, it seems that Sanz is not particularly interested in politics; to reach so far to punish people for dissent is not good.
On my last visit to Venezuela, I strongly criticized the law that requires people to identify themselves whenever they buy anything.
Nuclear power plants in the US are supposed to require approval before construction starts. Now the builders have found a way to cheat this requirement, by redefining "construction".
It will be a lot harder to say no to an application if the company says, "Look how much we already spent on work on the site that wasn't construction."
When the Bush forces were told about the Blackwater massacre, its first report on the event was outsourced to a Blackwater employee, who (of course) reported things Blackwater's way.
Outsourcing government activities is inviting corruption. But that's not the only way businesses corrupt government activities. Joseph Schmitz, chosen by Bush to head investigation of abuses in DOD contracting, quit after being accused of blocking criminal investigations — and went to Blackwater.
These practices are common, and add up to massive collusion between the government and many companies to cheat the public. Under Bush, corruption is not an underground practice that continues despite best efforts to stamp it out. Corruption is the heart and soul of his regime.
The Israeli Supreme Court showed it has no concern for the Palestinians that Israel blocks from returning to the UK to resume their studies.
Blocking the movement of civilians in this way violates international standards of human rights, and since it does nothing to protect anyone from anything, it can only be understood as an act of collective punishment — which also violates international standards of human rights.
The Marine Stewardship Council made a controversial decision and certified the fishery for New Zealand hoki as sustainable. The management plan they approved allowed too much fishing, and the population of hoki crashed.
A Europe-wide ban on smoking in public places has cut tobacco usage by over 10%.
Since cancer tends to be proportional to the dose of carcinogen, that probably means 10% less lung cancer will be caused starting now.
A right-wing congressman has introduced a bill to punish Columbia University for allowing Iran's President Ahmadinejad to speak.
Aboriginal people in Argentina are losing their livelihoods and their lives as the forest is cut down.
It's nothing unusual in Egypt to punish journalists for criticizing the president. Now an editor is on trial just for reporting that the president was ill.
The Metropolitan Police as an organization is on trial in London for the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. The police confused him with a possible suicide bomber, followed him from his house for half an hour till he entered a train. Rather than stop him during that time to see if he had a bomb, they waited till he got on the train and then shot him 7 times.
Buddhist monks have vanished from Rangoon. Thousands have been arrested.
The regime's attack on monks has taken the people from resenting the regime to hating it. This pressure will surely be felt by the soldiers, and maybe they will start to rebel. But I wonder why they have not done so yet.
Meanwhile, the UK continues to deny asylum to Burmese refugees and deport them back to Burma.
Bush forces planes killed many civilians. As usual, the Bush forces claim the victims were resistance fighters.
Many suspect that Bush has killed a large number of civilians by aerial bombing. What is unusual about this incident is that we found out about it. Killings in Baghdad get most of the coverage, because it is easier for journalists to find out about them. The deaths from aerial attacks usually go unreported.
Radiohead, a prominent band, has released an album on the Internet, inviting people to pay whatever they think it is worth.
I would be glad to pay for downloading music I like, or pay the musicians just to support them after having obtained a copy in another way, if only I could do so anonymously. I generally refuse to buy anything with a credit card simply to avoid feeding Big Brother.
If you are a Radiohead fan, please try to contact them and ask them to release the same songs in Ogg Vorbis also.
The Bush forces hold almost 25,000 prisoners in Iraq.
A US court blocked the deportation of a prisoner from Guantanamo to Tunisia, where he faces torture or death.
The Tunisian government is known for its disregard for human rights. Conviction in a Tunisian court is as meaningless for someone's guilt or innocence as being sent to Guantanamo.
Argentinian priest Von Wernich received the confessions of tortured dissidents, and handed them to the secret police. He has been sentenced to life in prison.
Burmese soldiers come in the night to arrest and torture civilians by the thousands, often just because government videocameras recorded them as having shown even slight sympathy for protests.
Remember this when you see a surveillance video camera.
Iraqis are suing Blackwater for indiscriminate killings.
Bush is planning to use Kurdish troops for the occupation of Arab parts of Iraq. If you want to create more civil war in Iraq, that's the way to do it.
Prosecution for "belittling Turkishness", which has happened over and over, shows that country's disrespect for freedom of expression as well.
Turkey's denial of the genocide extends even to the persecution of scholars who demonstrate what happened.
US citizens support the campaign against fake news on TV.
More information here, http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews3/summary.
The IMF's president resigned in disgrace when it became known that the IMF was forcing poor countries to divert foreign aid (meant for health care) into payments to the IMF.
The new president is being pressured to reform the institution, but abolishing it might be better. I think that the powers that set it up won't allow reform sufficient to make the IMF's existence a beneficial thing.
Support the Burmese democracy movement.
The US military illegally assisted fanatical Christian organizations to prosyletize among troops, with apparent official backing.
US citizens: phone your senators (888-818-6641 or 888-355-3588) to oppose retroactive immunity for AT&T for its illegal spying.
The Russian secret police have taken control of the country, operating almost like a mafia. Now a former one of them says they are falling out among themselves.
It's conceivable that Cherkesov is lying, but I don't think so. He must have put himself in danger by publishing this letter, and I don't think he would dare fabricate such accusations. The men arrested from his agency might be guilty of the charges against them, but that doesn't contradict what he says about the larger situation.
Aung San Suu Kyi refused to drop her request for international sanctions against Burma.
It is usually a mistake to make any real concession in exchange for a mere chance to negotiate — especially when that negotiation is unlikely to result in any agreement.
23% decrease in permanent arctic sea ice, in just two years.
The loss of sea ice causes the sea to absorb more light and heat up even more.
Iraq's Manicheans, last survivors of an ancient religion, have been scattered into exile in many different countries. This may destroy their culture.
Tasmanian devils are being wiped out by a new disease to which they have no immunity. The genetic diversity of this species is very low, and there are none that resist the disease.
Humans are driving many species to extinction. Sometimes we try to rescue them at the last minute, and sometimes that succeeds — but the success is likely to be temporary. The genetic bottleneck of a small population means these species will remain vulnerable to many kinds of disasters for thousands of years.
Spain plans a law to condemn Franco's dictatorship, and officially pardon the people he punished for defending democracy.
The continued admiration for Franco in the right wing shows the need to remind Spain of the great evil he committed.
Mercenaries in Iraq again shot bystanders — this time, employees of a company other than Blackwater. (Soldiers officially in the Bush forces do this too.)
I do not believe the company's excuse, because that is what they always say. It isn't plausible that unarmed Iraqis would, on so many occasions, drive at high speed towards a convoy of occupying troops. Iraqis know the occupying troops are likely to shoot randomly, and are terrified of them. However, the excuse works: it is sufficient to protect the killers from prosecution by a government that doesn't really mind if its troops kill Iraqis.
Reporters talk with Buddhist monks in Burma.
Police in Pakistan attacked protesting lawyers first, then the journalists covering the protests, then others who were passing by.
France will hold a referendum on a few specific conservation proposals.
Foreign employees are suing Firestone and Chiquita in US courts for nasty working conditions.
Security guards in an LA public school attacked a student and broke her arm, then they had her arrested. Then they attacked the student who made a video of the first attack, and had him arrested. They had the first victim's mother arrested.
The danger that "security personnel" will bully people and make false accusations is everpresent, but here we see something bigger and worse.
The security guards could attack a student and break her arm, but they could not arrest her. Only police could do that, but the police were happy to help. The guards could not suspend her from school; only officials could do that, but the officials were happy to do so. They could not make her mother lose her job; only the school system could do that, but its officials did it.
What we see is a machine, a system, which is organized to support the aggressions and lies of any part. As the article explains, this system was made possible by the institutionalized paranoia and panic that the US government and media have worked to instill, using the 9/11 attacks as an excuse.
Some US cities make announcements in buses telling passengers to watch out for bombs. Nobody has found any bombs, but several people have been unjustly accused. If the aim is to promote public safety, we would do better with announcements warning not to believe accusations made by "security personnel" without proof.
Stephen Zunes met with Iran's president Ahmadinejad, and found him an unimpressive conservative bigot, but that is as far as the resemblance to Bush extends. Unlike Bush, he does not have enough power to launch a war, and unlike Bush, he shows no sign of wanting to launch a war.
We should distrust Bush regime exaggerations designed to justify an attack against Iran.
Tell yor congress critter to stop the DEA from raiding medical marijuana providers.
Buy t-shirts to support Star Simpson's legal defense.
Ship transport of freight, pretty much unregulated, is a big contributor to global warming and other kinds of pollution.
Massive shipping is also the basis of the global sweatshop economy. Since these ships are making the globe hotter, perhaps we should call them "sweatships".
Iranian students managed to bypass security measures to protest against President Ahmadinejad.
Bush uses similar measures to suppress protests at his events.
An Iranian journalist was arrested by US forces in Afghanistan and tortured.
Conservatives laugh at the hunger and sickness of the poor.
Costa Rica voted to cripple its democracy by signing a treaty with the US. Although the state will continue to be democratic in form, it will be unable in practice to adopt policies that business does not like. The treaty also directly attacks the freedom of computer users by imposing software patents and something like the DMCA.
Stop The War Coalition says it will protest in central London in defiance of a ban on demonstrations. It defies the UK government to show whether it is like that of Burma.
A new contract for Blackwater shows what Bush thinks of shooting Iraqi civilians.
The UK is under pressure to end its military support for Uribe's regime with its murderous paramilitaries.
The Netherlands has decertified all computerized voting machine and will keep all votes on paper.
The Bush regime is trying to shut down the EFF's lawsuit against phone companies, such as AT&T, that cooperated with illegal government spying. It also has proposed an amnesty for these companies, and has failed to answer questions about how the companies lobbied for an amnesty.
"The government working together with companies to trample your rights" is a good brief definition of fascism.
Uri Avnery: If Cheney uses Israel as an excuse to attack Iraq, both the US and Israel are likely to regret it.
The British academic union that had called for an academic boycott of Israeli universities canceled it after concluding that such boycotts are illegal in the UK. Israeli officials then dishonestly commended the union, falsely claiming it had changed its views on the ethical legitimacy of such a boycott.
Everyone: sign this petition in support of the Burmese protestors, addressed to the leaders of China and the UN.
The police in Brazil's special police unit to release workers from debt slavery have shut it down, complaining of political interference with their work.
Blackwater mercenaries frequently kill civilians.
Uninsured Kids Are Protecting Bush's Ego.
The Montreal treaty banned chlorofluorocarbons and will ban other similar chemicals. Now there is an agreement to speed up that ban, which will reduce global warming.
More killings by soldiers, and hundreds of arrests of monks, have not stopped the protests in Burma.
Burmese soldiers killed a Japanese TV journalist who was covering the protests.
Killing and imprisoning journalists is the hallmark of an evil regime. The Bush forces killed journalists during the during the conquest of Iraq, and one al Jazeera journalist is a prisoner in Guantanamo.
The Burmese government is propped up by India and China in exchange for access to its oil.
If India and China were to pull the plug on the military regime, a democratic Burma would be just as glad to sell them oil. But it might charge them more, since it would be less desperate for their support. In other words, China and India are supporting tyranny and murder for nothing more than money.
Bush's attitude towards freedom and democracy at home shows he cannot appreciate them in Burma, so his policy must be motivated by something else. Oil is what I would guess. I am sure the oil figures into the US policy of sanctions against Burma. Perhaps the US figures that with the military regime a client of China and India, it has no chance of wresting Burma's oil away from them under the military regime, so maybe opposing that regime seems like a better bet.
Wine production in Europe is moving north and uphill to escape the effects of global warming.
If the effects were limited to luxuries such as wine, it would not be a catastrophe.
Officers in the Bush forces are pushing for applying some sort of law to Blackwater mercenaries.
Any country that uses mercenary companies has a responsibility to apply to them the same laws that apply to official soldiers. But Bush won't do it; one of he people quoted in this article indicates the regime's continued unwillingness. That is no surprise, because Bush set up the situation so that they could not be held accountable to anyone for what they do.
Perhaps the Iraqi government should take away the immunity that Bremmer granted them, so they can be tried in Iraqi courts. That would be fun to see.
Email Chinese government officials calling on them to put pressure on the Burmese military government.
Email the EU president to demand action against the Burmese military government.
The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming.
Some Bush forces soldiers leave weapons lying around, shoot any Iraqi that picks them up, and add him to their body count of "enemies" killed. They also plant evidence on other Iraqi victims in order to lie about them.
Any Iraqi is likely to pick up a weapon on the street. It can be sold for good money!
Punishing individual soldier is of course correct, but I don't think these are isolated incidents. They support lies which are high priority for Bush, and I am sure every officer in the Bush forces sends down the message, "Give us a high body count of 'insurgents' and don't be too fussy about how."
Bush has organized a climate change summit designed to resolve nothing, and thus to forestall the pressure to actually do anything about climate change.
One month before Bush invaded Iraq Saddam Hussein offered to go into exile, expecting he would lose the war. But Bush was not interested. Only conquest would satisfy him.
Burmese continue massive protests even after the army shot and arrested monks.
Former environmentalists hired to lobby for the nuclear industry succeed because journalists rarely ask who pays them.
Bush and the US media have banished reality.
This is not unprecedented, however. Every fascist government sets up a tissue of myth in place of reality. Denying science is often part of it: the Soviet Union under Stalin denied genetics.
A First for the FCC: Fining Fake News.
In ordinary times, this would be a sign of government's working correctly against corruption of the media. However, in today's context it is a small exception, too small to alter the overall picture of corruption.
Josh Gaines was in the Bush forces and received a medal supposedly for fighting terrorism and defending his country. He will mail it to Rumsfeld as a protest, because he is sure that his presence in Iraq did neither of those things.
Daniel Ellsberg says that Bush and Cheney have carried out a quiet coup, nullifying the US Constitution and establishing government by decree. The courts and congress are impotent to check him.
The Burmese government has shot and arrested protesting monks.
Iranian academics have published a list of questions for Columbia president Bollinger.
I do not like Iran's government very much. It restricts candidates for public office to Islamists, it tramples women's rights, and it tramples the rights of non-Muslims. But that does not excuse US wrongdoing, and it does not diminish the validity of the points made by these ten questions.
What does religion have to do with scientific literacy?
Bush: war is peace, freedom is slavery, and arbitrary arrest is human rights.
The Burmese military dictatorship finances itself from multinational companies that take advantage of the nasty working conditions it has established.
Several leading Israeli writers call for negotiations with Hamas, without preconditions.
Regev's response shows the sort of irreality that government officials use to defend absurd policies. It is ridiculous to think that Israeling dealings with Hamas could undermine "Palestinian moderates" (i.e., Fatah). What undermined Fatah was that it was unable to get any concessions from Israel in exchange for the concessions it made.
The world-wide disturbing phenomenon of deformed frogs, a sign of the ecological damage humans are causing, has been traced to fertilizer run-off.
Repordedly the US Senate is considering a plan to divide Iraq between Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'its.
The article warns that this will cause ethnic cleansing. But that is happening already, and nobody can stop it. At least this division has a chance of ending the killing.
It should be noted that Bush's idea for Baghdad is much more drastic than a division of jurisdiction. The Bush forces have build physical walls blocking movement in and out of some neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are already segregated on sectarian lines, but the inhabitants do not want the walls.
After Dan Rather covered the story about AWOL Bush, CBS retracted it. We now find that Rather had solid evidence for the story, and that he could have defended it. He agreed not to do this in a deal with CBS, which promised to extend his contract. But CBS cheated him.
I would sympathize with Rather, but what really matters is that he and CBS together agreed to cheat the public of the truth.
A Palestinian student trapped in Gaza, and unable to return to his university in Britain, is suing Israel over its arbitrary blockage of the freedom of movement.
Support MoveOn's denunciation of the shameful senate resolution.
Runners in New Haven left a trail of flour for their friends to race along. Jittery people and officials mistook this for some kind of ill-defined attack, and didn't care about the facts. The prosecutors refuse to dismiss felony charges which they know to be groundless.
This is part of a national pattern. This week, an MIT electrical engineering student was arrested for wearing a circuit board with LEDs on her shirt. The prosecutor called this a "hoax bomb", which is absurd since it does not resemble real bombs.
The statements of officials in these cases reflect a warped idea of moral responsibility, according to which officials cannot be wrong, so the blame always falls on the citizen. Once police suspect you, rightly or wrongly, you must be guilty. If they were right, then you're guilty; if they were wrong, you must still be guilty of something. Whatever innocent act was misunderstood by the police, they put the blame for their misunderstanding on you.
The police sometimes must act immediately on the limited knowledge available. As long as they do nothing drastic, they could acknowledge the mistake and ask for our understanding. But they don't do this; they insist the citizen victim is wrong. The prosecutors, by contrast, have no possible excuse. They did not have to act in haste, and they know the charges are false. There is no possible excuse for what they have done.
Many Guantanamo prisoners have been forbidden to communicate with their lawyers. One of them is in danger of being sent to Libya where he may be tortured.
The US Senate tried to restore the right of habeas corpus, but failed to block a Republican filibuster. They hate our freedoms.
Since Bush is dead set against human rights, this needs to be made into an amendment in a vital bill. However, that would take courage. Will Congress show courage in defense of our freedom?
Bush is demanding that Congress make his unsupervised wiretap powers permanent.
The US Senate passed a resolution condemning MoveOn for its ad that criticized General Petraeus.
It has been widely reported that that general has worked closely with Bush on public relations strategy to promote continued work in Iraq. On that grounds I doubt his honor and his integrity.
Senator Boxer's resolution, which failed but was supported by Clinton and Obama, is even worse. It attempts to distort politics by giving people in the US military immunity from criticism. We know that many of them, while serving in the Bush forces. have repeatedly carried out vicious acts ranging from torture to casual murder.
Giving anyone immunity from criticism is a danger to democracy. The war began because the US Senate treated Bush's integrity as beyond question, and did not dare say "Bullshit!" to his absurd arguments for war, when less credulous people (I'm proud to be one) recognized them as suspect.
US citizens: tell your senators and congressmen to stop authorizing the formerly illegal spying that Bush was caught in. Best, phone their offices, but you can also use this petition.
The US Senate voted to nearly endorse war with Iran, and in favor of labeling part of the Iranian army a "terrorist group".
The arbitrary declaration of groups as "terrorist", without a trial, is obviously unjust. In this case, it is an obvious lie.
The Bush forces accuse Iran of supplying anti-vehicular mines to the Iraqi resistance. The evidence for this is not convincing, and I suspect the Bushmen made it up as an excuse to attack Iran. But even if it is true, it is not terrorism, it is simply war. It is quite similar to what the US did in the 80s, arming Afghan resistance groups that fought the Soviet occupation of their country. Aiding them was justified, and aiding the Iraqi resistance is justified today for the same reason.
This vote demonstrates that Clinton will not be much different from Bush. Don't fool yourself that a victory for her, even if the Republicans don't steal the election, will change anything important. The US will still be an aggressive tyranny, the opposite of the principles of the US constitution.
Iran accuses the US of supporting a terrorist organization which carries out attacks in Iranian territory: the Mujahedin Khalq. It is based in Iraq.
The US government keeps track of lots of information about Americans who travel — including what books you read, and the size of your hotel bed, if they can find it out.
To search all air passengers for bombs and weapons is legitimate provided the search does nothing else. When the government uses this search as an excuse to take note of anything other than bombs and weapons, that is dishonest, and therefore unjust.
Yesh Gvul has obtained a court order to investigate why the Israeli air force dropped a one-ton bomb in a Palestinian town, causing 150 civilian casualties.
When Palestinians in Hebron wouldn't sell their house to Israeli settlers, the settlers began persistently attacking them.
Israel promised the UN it would remove roadblocks in Palestine, but in fact has in fact added more.
Bush is supporting a Kurdish militia which bombards Iran with artillery.
Its parent group, the PKK, is classified by Bush as a terrorist organization, but this militia is not. That makes an interesting contrast with the treatment of various Islamic charities, which tend to be condemned by the US for the slightest hint of a connection with armed resistance causes that the US calls terrorist.
The oil in Basra has become a prize that contending tribes and militias are fighting over.
Most of these contending parties are Iraqi, but the Bush forces are also one of them. (I admire the union members that have threatened to go on strike if the Iraqi government hands over its oil.)
It is clear that Basra needs order restored. This can't be done by the Bush forces, and it can't easily be done by any tribe (since each tribe is too small a fraction of the populace). A militia such as Muqtada Sadr's might be able to do it, with help.
Digitizing national school exams has allowed the UK to institute a computerized system to make graders work in a hurry. The result, which should not surprise anyone, is a lot of errors.
It should also be no surprise that the people in charge of this deny the problem and say their systems are just wonderful. It's the attitude of an arrogant government.
Imagine nuclear power plants regulated by an agency with equally low integrity. That's why I am against nuclear power.
Cholera has spread to southern Iraq, and chlorine shipments have been held up on suspicion of military uses.
Under the UN sanctions regime, many goods needed for public health were blocked on similar grounds.
Here's a somewhat hostile account of how police attacked Andrew Meyer as he was asking John Kerry a question.
Note how President Machens' statement, which asks whether the police can "keep the campus safe", avoids the real issue: is whether they can be prevented from making it dangerous.
Note also that even this hostile description of Meyer's actions does not come close justifying the charges against him. Those charges are, therefore, malicious lies — standard practice for police against protestors. The university did right to suspend the policemen, but above all its duty is to thwart their malice, by dropping the charges.
New study supports the theory that the "hobbits" of Flores were truly a different species.
Flores was not connected to Asia even at times of lower sea levels. To reach Flores, they must have been able to build boats. Modern humans were traveling through Indonesia on boats as much as 25,000 years ago, when these "hobbits" still lived, which means they survived for thousands of years alongside us. What a shame they are not still here.
But this also shows the fragility of a species that survives only in a small enclave or reserve. It is easy for a localized accident to wipe it out.
Some African rulers support Mugabe because he is African, and demand he be allowed to attend the EU-African summit, or they won't go. The summit could take place without the UK, but some cowards in the EU are trying to wheedle the UK to drop its stand.
Others have criticized Britain for adopting a "double standard" because it did not boycott an ASEAN meeting in which Burma was invited. Perhaps they are right; if so, the conclusion would be that Britain should have boycotted that meeting too. There is no connection between Burma and Zimbabwe except that they both reflect the outside world's unwillingness to oppose tyrants. For anyone in outside world to increase the pressure, even on just one of the two tyrants, is a step towards correcting that problem.
And if it does derail a summit, that's a small price to pay. Regime change in Zimbabwe is as important as anything else the summit might consider.
Tens of thousands of Americans protested against the actions of a DA who told black high school students, "I could take away your lives with a stroke of my pen" — and then tried to do it.
Here's how Blackwater mercenaries killed 28 Iraqis for no reason.
I'm not the only one that believes the "Iraqi" government lacks the strength and independence to carry out its decision to expel Blackwater.
Due to global warming, the Adriatic Sea may soon be a salt lake.
It appears Bush has organized death squads in the US Army. Soldiers say they have been authorized to kill certain people, even when they are unarmed and prisoners.
Bush is a worse terrorist than anyone whose name is on his death list. But even a monster like Bush should not be shot while a prisoner.
How Monsanto's patented seeds have pushed thousands of Indian farmers to suicide. And could do the same in Iraq.
With the present violence in Iraq, I doubt this scenario can develop in Iraq at present. But it could, if Bush ever succeeds in clamping down. I hope that the Iraqi resistance will cancel all of Bush's decrees when it takes power.
Meanwhile, any Indian farmer that has despaired to the point of suicide should instead take up arms against Monsanto and those that uphold it. Better to go down fighting than go down without a fight.
The "breadbasket of Turkey" is turning itself into a desert by draining its aquifer.
Arizona is doing the same thing, and may have trouble getting water even for drinking.
The "Iraqi" government has backed down from banning Blackwater mercenaries, as many expected. It does not have the strength to defend Iraqis from Bush.
I predict that the joint inquiry will not lead to any meaningful changes in the way Blackwater operates or in the impunity of its unofficial soldiers.
The Italian government tells fishermen: leave people to drown, or we will put you in prison.
Air travellers in the US are demanding the right not to be imprisoned in planes without food, water or toilet facilities.
Keeping passengers prisoner is the quintessential expression of the airlines' pervasive contempt for their passengers. Airline employees are trained to put the passenger in the wrong at the first hint of a dispute; they are ready at any moment to fill the role of prison guard.
Buddhist monks in Burma have excommunicated the military rulers and are marching in the streets to protest their regime.
Israel has cut off fuel and electricity to Gaza — an act of collective punishment that endangers people's lives.
This act of collective punishment is supposedly retaliation for the annoying Qassam rocket attacks that occasionally hit someone. Collective punishment against civilians is against the Geneva conventions, regardless of the provocation, but US allies believe the Geneva conventions are not for them.
The UK is taking action against "honor killings" in which women are murdered by their own families.
It is interesting that the killers in this case were Sikhs. It seems this form of evil is not limited to Muslims.
Gordon Brown will boycott a summit meeting because Mugabe plans to attend.
This is the right thing to do, and other European leaders ought to do the same. However, the Clown really ought to apply the same principles to summit meetings where Bush will be present.
Global warming is melting permafrost in the Arctic. This produces methane and CO2, which leads to more global warming. The result could be a runaway warming disaster that no conservation measures can prevent.
Methane released from bogs may have caused disastrous warming 55 million years ago.
We have no idea where the point of no return is. We may already be too late to avert catastrophe. Or maybe not. Would you like to gamble on it? Bush would.
Tomas Young is paralyzed from the waist down, but he won't let that stop him from protesting against the war.
So next time you are about to say that it's too hard to take political action to stand up for freedom and justice, remember him.
A lawsuit seeks to impose on "God" an injunction against catastrophic "acts of God", and terrorist threats. (Many terrorists say they are operating on behalf of that hypothetical being.)
I often wear a button that says "Impeach God". If you want to put God on trial, don't you have to impeach him first?
New evidence suggests that the mass extinction at the end of the Permian period was caused by an episode of global warming.
That episode was due to CO2 released by volcanic eruptions, but human-produced CO2 can do the same damage.
The land in Southern Louisiana is sinking due to geological processes that cannot be stopped. Thus, rebuilding New Orleans in situ would be futile even without global warming.
New Orleans is worth preserving, but we must move it to high ground.
The EPA allowed people with Exxon affiliations to review a proposal to deregulate the burning of toxic waste (such as Exxon produces).
Contracting out these reviews to companies seems like a bad policy in the first place — asking for dishonesty.
US newspapers' conservative bias is demonstrated by an exhaustive study.
Former environmentalists that support nuclear power have financial ties to the nuclear industry.
I do not oppose nuclear power as a matter of principle. Maybe nuclear power plants could be safe, if built and operated honestly and carefully. But I do not trust corporations to be honest, and if they build and run nuclear power plants, they will corrupt the safety regulations.
Flooding caused by global warming is likely to drive millions of Egyptians from their homes by the Mediterranean, as well as wipe out much of Egypt's agriculture.
The human wave of exctinction is spreading to the sea, with 240 more threatened marine species listed.
What Iraqis and other mercenaries say about Blackwater.
Blackwater is not the source of this problem. Blackwater mercenaries act with impunity because the Bush forces gave them impunity.
I'm not sure it is true that mercenaries from other companies are better than those of Blackwater. Perhaps Blackwater mercenaries would say the others are more callously violent.
There are Atheists in the foxholes in Iraq, and some of them are suing because their officers tried to pressure them to become Christians.
Boycott Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, and WebTV for political censorship.
In Nova Scotia, after a student was bullied for wearing pink, many other students responded by wearing pink to support him. This put a quick end to the bullying.
Bush supporters say he is determined to start a war with Iran.
They suggest he plans to start it with a small act of war, so that Iran will justifiably respond, which he will mislabel as an act of aggression. In other words, it's lies all the way.
Now WebTV and Yahoo are blocking mail from truthout to its subscribers, as well as AOL and Hotmail.
Volunteers in Iraq bury hundreds of unclaimed, unidentified bodies every month.
Massachusetts residents: call your state senator and assembly representative and say you are against any plan to track all cars on highways — whether it is for taxation or any other purpose. If they need more money for road repair, they should get it from the gas tax.
US citizens: phone your senators and say they should (1) support the Webb-Hagel troop readiness amendment (which is designed indirectly to reduce the number of troops in the Bush forces), and (2) not vote for continued funding for the occupation of Iraq.
The Webb-Hagel amendment may be the best we can practically hope to get from this congress; but if you support it as if it were ideal, you have been tricked into legitimizing the occupation.
Greg Palast presents evidence that Abu Risha was not a real Iraqi tribal leader, just a stooge Bush paid to pretend to be one.
Palast draws the conclusion that Al Qa'ida in Iraq is just a front for extortion by the tribal sheiks. If that is true, that would mean one additional argument used by Bush to continue the occupation is entirely bogus. However, that argument is misguided even if Al Qa'ida in Iraq is real, because Iraqis will kick it out when the occupation ends.
The Microsoft "black screen of death" warning was a hoax.
"Reduced Functionality Mode" does exist, and it does shut off the computer after an hour, but it does not render the computer totally unusable during that hour. Unauthorized copying exists too, but calling it "piracy" is propaganda, so please don't.
What conclusion should we draw from this? The crucial fact is that Vista is designed for Microsoft to force updates on the user. Microsoft can do whatever it wishes to any computer that runs Vista, if it is on the Internet. Microsoft has not done what was described in the hoax, but it has grabbed so much power that it could do this (or anything else) to users at any time. That in itself is the real problem.
The occupation of Iraq turns old friends into violent enemies.
Alan Greenspan condemned Bush and the Republican Party for reckless spending.
Of course, the bulk of this reckless spending was on the occupation of Iraq.
Global warming is causing big changes for Greenland as the ice retreats.
When Bush invaded Iraq, the national museum was plundered. Now all the archeological sites of the nation are being plundered down to bedrock, and Bush has done nothing to control it.
The Iraqi government says it has banned the Blackwater mercenary company from operating in Iraq — for firing randomly on civilians.
I expect that Bush will order the Iraqi government to change its mind.
Today I got a survey letter in the mail from the Democratic Party. On a lark, I opened it. There is a question about what the party's priorities should be. Restoring fundamental human rights was not even in the list.
I won't send it back.
Greenspan and Kissinger acknowledge: the invasion of Iraq was meant to gain control of its oil, and if Bush attacks Iran, that too will be meant to gain control of its oil.
AOL and Hotmail are blocking mail from truthout to its subscribers, and Hotmail admitted it is political censorship.
13 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the company has not paid its fine, and now wants it dropped.
The Bush regime will be sued for political interference with the Endangered Species Act.
A British poll estimates 1.2 million Iraqi civilians have been killed by the occupation of Iraq.
FBI documents about the flights that carried the bin Laden family out of the US in September 2001 fuel suspicions.
Microsoft has given users a graphic reminder of the fundamental nature of Window Vista, by sending a command ordering certain copies to shut down.
In this instance, Microsoft shut down copies that had been copied without authorization. But the reason it can do this is that any computer that runs Vista is under Microsoft's total control. Microsoft can alter the software in any way it wishes, or make the machine inoperable. It can do this to any user, at any time, for any reason.
Thanks to the World Trade Organization, our clothes are made by people who don't get paid enough to live on.
To correct this, we need to do more than shame clothing brands. We need to reject the idea that the WTO makes sweatshops legitimate.
Bush is once again threatening lawyers that represent prisoners in Guantanamo.
The End of America, by Naomi Wolf, suggests that this practice is part of a broad strategy to effectively abolish legal rights.
200 thousand Israeli Arabs live in "unrecognized villages". In 1965, Israel declared the entire villages illegal, which means that their homes can be demolished.
Israeli troops attacked a peaceful protest of Palestinians and Israelis in al Walaja, a village which will be totally surrounded by the annexation wall.
Palestinian prisoners in Israel face various kinds of torture.
Israel's policy towards Palestinians is a steady campaign of ethnic cleansing, using terrorism (which it greatly exaggerates) as an excuse.
Leishmaniasis is now a danger in Texas, due to global warming.
New York City voters: sign the petition to demand a real investigation of what happened on 9/11.
The Bush forces' main Iraqi Sunni ally was killed, perhaps by al Qa'ida.
Iraqi Sunnis ought to kick out al Qa'ida and make peace with the Shi'ites. However, when they do this by allying with the Bush forces, they become traitors too, which weakens them. Ending the unjust occupation of Iraq would enable Sunnis and Shi'ites to make peace and drive out al Qa'ida without betraying Iraq to another enemy.
Ice loss in the Arctic was already going fast. This year it's even faster: ice decreased by 400 thousand square miles.
A right-wing ad campaign is calculated to make Americans think that the invasion of Iraq was a direct response to the US 9/11 attacks. And 1/3 of Americans believe the lie that Saddam Hussein was responsible for them.
When Bush is caught in a false statement, he doesn't admit it's false, because he counts on his PR apparatus to make it pass for truth. And that apparatus is so strong that his strategy may work.
Profiteering from disasters is old hat. Today's capitalists create disasters in order to profit from them.
Democratic governments care what the people think of them; democratic governments don't abandon their people in disasters. As the US response to Katrina showed, the US government is no longer democratic. The people are so disempowered that it doesn't have to care.
Bush is still planning how to consummate the conquest of Iraq: by carving up the Iraqi economy and selling it to foreign companies.
However, the Iraqi government continues its passive resistance. One of the "reconciliation" measures that it has been ordered to adopt, but has not adopted, is the law to privatize Iraq's oil.
The Israeli blockade has made Palestinians so poor that some work scavanging garbage dumps. It's a living, unless you get stuck by the wrong syringe.
Women in Saudi Arabia have publicly started a movement for the right to drive.
200 more species were added to the list of threatened species this year. 1/4 of mammal species, and 1/3 of amphibian species, are in danger.
High gasoline prices are pushing some Americans to take mass transit, and the result is a decrease in obesity.
Sami al-Haj, the Al Jazeera cameraman in Guantanamo, has been on hunger strike for 250 days, and now seems to be dying.
This shows what the Bush regime thinks of freedom of the press.
The US has lost much of its influence in the world, largely as a result of Bush's attempt to conquer Iraq.
This is not a bad thing, because the US government as it is today is not likely to use its influence for the good.
In the UK, more than a year in prison for drawing grafitti.
The Bush regime shipped about 12 billion dollars of US currency to its occupying forces in Iraq. They handed it out without keeping track. Nearly everyone involved responded with corruption.
General Petraeus has operated explicitly as a lobbyist for Bush policies, and his superior officer considers him a sycophant.
Office politics like this is not very important in and of itself, but this shows that Petraeus's status report is not his first exercise in lobbying on behalf of Bush.
US citizens: tell your senators to vote for S. 185, the amendment to restore habeas corpus. The vote will be Monday, so contact them through this web site: http://actforchange.workingassets.com/campaign/restore_habeas_Sept07/.
Usually phone calls tend to have more effect, but there may not be much chance to phone them before the vote.
Fanatical views that lead to terrorism are no more common among Muslims than among other groups.
1/3 of Americans believe Bush's propaganda which says that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks.
The first comment tries to hold Saddam Hussein responsible for 9/11 through a chain of unpredictable consequences: that his invasion of Kuwait led to the first Gulf war, which led to stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia, which was perhaps a motive for the attacks.
Bush I may be responsible for Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. There was a report that US ambassador April Glaspie told Hussein, shortly before the invasion, that the US would not care if he did invade Kuwait.
So that argument could be extended to justify the claim that Bush I is really responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Birth control pills protect against breast cancer.
Due to pollution, some arctic peoples have very few male babies.
Palestinians attacked an Israeli army base with missiles and wounded many soldiers.
Attacking enemy fighters is not terrorism. Palestinians ought to stop attacking civilians (which is a war crime), and direct their attacks at soldiers.
A number of Democrats in the Senate took note of the logical flaws behind the Bush/Petraeus plan to buy more Iraq occupation time on the installment plan.
The Veterans Administration is distorting the facts to pretend it isn't collapsing under the overload caused by casualties from Bush's war of conquest.
It's standard practice in the War on Integrity.
Most Americans expect the Iraq war to be a failure. Even 1/3 of Republicans think so.
However, unless more Congresscritters are willing to call Bush a liar straight out, he will keep on jerking them around.
Brett Darrow caught a policeman on video doing what cops do best: threatening, for no reason at all, to arrest him and make false accusations against him.
Most Iraqis believe that Bush's troop increase has done no good for Iraq. More interesting: all Iraqis disapprove of Qa'ida, except for one thing: that it attacks Bush's occupying army.
So if you want to wipe out al Qa'ida in Iraq, it's simple. Pull out the occupying army, and Iraqis will kick out Qa'ida.
The Bush regime is distorting the facts to pretend that its troop increase has increased security in Iraq.
General Petraeus saw progress happening in Iraq, years ago. He sees progress happening again today, even though things are much worse.
Amnesty International produced a film to demonstrate the pain caused by the torture techniques that Bush has authorized.
What Bush says is like a play or a fantasy. It does not need to have any relationship to the truth.
Bombings in Baghdad are somewhat fewer, because the city has been divided up with prison walls.
Venezuelan president Chavez has agreed to mediate between Colombia and the FARC guerrilla force.
A Colombian friend said she thinks Uribe is not sincere in this, and is just trying to distract attention from the recent proof of his ties to the right-wing paramilitary terrorists.
There is so little crime in the US that the police spend their time arresting prostitutes and clients that meet on the Internet, bothering nobody.
Bush is dangling hints of possible troop cuts which wouldn't really change anything.
The number of troops in the Bush forces varies as units enter and leave Iraq, so it will be easy to present some unit's departure as a "troop cut" without really changing any plans. It will mean nothing, but Bush He must hope the public will mistake it for an end to the war.
Iceland has cancelled its whale hunting program, though not for the sake of the whales.
However, the danger to whales from hunting is just a part of the danger that they, and thousands of marine species, face. The threat comes from overfishing, boats, plastic waste, chemicals, and man-made noise.
Taxi drivers in NYC went on strike against plans to require tracking and video advertising in taxicabs.
It is too bad that their focus is on the cost of the system. Nowadays, in the US, important issues of freedom don't motivate most people to make an effort.
NYC has another nasty plan: to require all cabs to transmit photos of the passengers to the police.
The Israeli court recognizes that Israeli settlers built housing illegally on the land of the Palestinians of Bil'in, but says that the settlers can keep the houses anyway.
That's the kind of "justice" that motivates people to take up arms.
Ever-increasing suffering in Gaza can't stop Palestinians' homemade missiles (which only occasionally hit anyone). Israel should instead try reducing its own violence and harmful activities towards Palestinians. It's not only right, it might also bring benefits.
Microsoft just barely lost the vote to make its patented and partly secret documentation format, OOXML, an ISO standard. This after corrupting the standardization process in several countries.
The article errs in describing OOXML as an "open document format". It isn't really one, but Microsoft wants ISO to label it as one.
Clinton's Secretary of Labor acknowledges: Capitalism is killing Democracy.
Reich is right in saying that societies can well legislate to compel businesses to treat their workers and the rest of society better. However, he sets up a false choice between regulating business practices and condemning business for practicing them. In fact, those two go hand in hand: in a democracy, condemning a certain practice as "irresponsible" is the first step to prohibiting it.
It is right and proper to condemn antisocial businesses, just as we do antisocial individuals. We cannot accept "I'm doing this for a profit" as a universal excuse for mistreating others, and we have to reject the idea that a corporation excuses its participants from their moral duty. The idea that corporate executives "should" make profit their only goal is the root of the problem, so we have to reject that too.
The article also doesn't recognize the extent to which the weakness of democracy today was deliberately created through the sweatshop treaties promoted by business-serving politicians such as Bill Clinton. The "global economy" only benefits a fraction of the people it affects, so there is no reason we shouldn't make it somewhat less global than it is now.
A new "bin Laden" video has only a still photo of Osama bin Laden. This seems like a good reason to suspect it is a fake.
Human Rights Watch says that civilian casualties in Lebanon were mostly due to "indiscriminate Israeli air strikes", and that Hezbollah did not use civilians as cover.
British and American followers of Bush are blaming each other for the decision not to reestablish the old Iraqi army.
To focus discussion on "mismanagement" of the occupation is to miss the point. First of all, the dynamics that made Iraqis hate the occupation were mostly inevitable. Secondly, the war was a crime whose motive was theft.
An international campaign condemns US doctors and US medical boards over doctors' participation in torture and force-feeding of prisoners.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza has reduced everyone there to poverty.
I'm sure this increases the support for Hamas.
Preliminary results suggest a virus is responsible for the US honeybee epidemic.
(I mention this because I've mentioned this epidemic before.)
As Nelson Mandela came to London to see his statue unveiled, police prevented people from protesting where he could see it.
This is what an honest army does. I fear there is not much of this integrity in the US armed forces today, but with the proper effort, it could be nurtured to grow again.
In the UK that B'liar made, railway passengers are charged in court for putting their feet on the seats.
People should not put dirty shoes on the seats, but making such tiny things a crime is much worse than dirty seats.
The city of Sydney was locked down and cut in two as "security" for Bush, which is nasty to begin with. (Bush visits are meant to illustrate the submission of the country being visited.) Now Australian journalists who demonstrated the weakness of security arrangements were arrested, and face imprisonment.
Note the twisted argument that this act of flagrant journalism should be punished because it was "dangerous" — for the journalists themselves. This is blaming the victim: standard logic for the Bushmen.
A study reports that a good school is not usually enough to overcome the educationally stunting effects of growing up in poverty.
A book analyzes the powerful US lobby in support of the Israeli right-wing.
I disagree with the position that the US (or any other country) should choose its foreign policy solely based on "national interests". Nations, like individuals, have a responsibility to support justice, not merely their own interests. However, that has to include Palestinians as well as Israelis.
One can argue that Cuban exiles in the US have warped US foreign policy about as much as the Israeli-right-wing lobby, but that's just nitpicking.
The CIA's torture practices are secret, but CIA staff fear prosecution if they become known. To prevent this, Bush argues that prisoner Majid Khan must never be allowed to see a lawyer. He might leak the "state secret" of how he was tortured.
The practice of covering up crimes by inventing motives of national interest is standard practice for the Bush regime, so we must presume any and every secret it holds conceals crime or corruption. Perhaps half of them are legitimate, but there's no way to tell which except by investigating them all.
The Axis of Evil starts in Washington.
A judge in the UK proposed to demand DNA samples from everyone visiting there, because the current DNA data base policy is not fair.
By speaking of fairness, this judge implicitly acknowledges that retaining your DNA information is bad treatment of you. If some people are being mistreated, is the solution to mistreat everyone "fairly"? That is absurd.
But government ministers appear to be really thinking about doing this — just not right away. Perhaps they plan to get there by stages.
An independent report by retired generals says that the "Iraqi" army is unlikely to be able to "provide security" on its own, even in 18 months.
Bush will probably use this as an excuse to continue occupation by foreign forces, even though they can't and don't provide security either.
A moderate was elected leader of Iran's committee that decides who can run for office.
The last time Iranians tried to vote for moderates, democracy was sabotaged by not allowing them to run. Next time, Iranians could have more of a chance.
The town of Bil'in won a victory in the Israeli supreme court against the loss of its farmland to the annexation wall.
It impossible to measure directly what effect the weekly nonviolent protests had on this verdict. I would not assume that the verdict would have been the same without them. Now the challenge is to get the army to obey it. That may require protests too.
Islamic fanatics carried out suicide bombings against the Pakistani army.
The words of the British Bush force soldiers who evacuated Basra.
Philip Morris deleted negative information about it from Wikipedia.
Former Bush forces troops are often treated very badly in the US.
When Bush demands that we support "our" troops in the Bush forces, it just means suspending our ordinary moral judgment of their acts.
Cory Doctorow's experience says: free sharing of electronic copies increases sales of his books. Others report similar results, in practice and theoretically.
Police repeatedly attacked a completely innocuous Critical Mass bicycle ride, apparently as a way of preemptively intimidating protest against the Republican Convention next year.
The police in the US, as in many countries, use law as a weapon, but respect it themselves only when forced to.
The baby-formula industry gutted a US ad campaign to promote breast-feeding for the sake of health. They pushed it to adopt methods already discarded as ineffective.
Everyone: read The End of America, by Naomi Wolf.
This book lays out how the Bush regime has imposed the same sort of measures generally used to establish a police state, and has gone most of the way along the path. (Making most people really scared only occurs in the next stage.)
(Please don't make Amazon your way to get it.)
Then support the American Freedom Campaign.
The rain forests where orang-utans live are being cut down to grow palm oil, used in many cosmetics, and foolishly burnt under the false pretense of being green.
Bush is talking about reducing the Bush forces — saying that it's because they are winning.
Why not just declare victory and pull all the troops out?
The Church of Scientology and some members face prosecution in Belgium for crimes such as blackmail and swindling.
Floods and droughts are no longer natural disasters. They result from a series of human activities, which are shaped by government policies. These recommendations for the UK probably make sense for other wealthy countries.
Since plastic objects are now choking large parts of the ocean and killing sea animals, we need to make big reductions in their production. But we are charging full speed ahead.
The plastic bags used for packing items are just a fraction of the plastic packaging used for food. To make a large reduction, we need to tackle all kinds. Even designing plastic packages and products so they are sure to sink in the ocean could be an improvement — so they will be buried in sediment instead of killing animals.
An ambitious campaign hopes to save 21 bird species that otherwise face extinction within five years.
But US wildlife refuges are being starved by Bush, part of his War on the Environment.
Israeli and Palestinian protestors blocked the entrance to Karmei Tzur settlement with razor wire, temporarily, to give them a taste of what they have done to all Palestinians.
Representatives of major Iraqi Sunni and Shi'ite groups have agreed on a plan to end the violence between them.
This agreement looks like a real attempt to me, since Bush was not involved. Still, there is a long way to go from an agreement like this to peace in Iraq. In addition to the civil war, Iraq also has to cope with the Bush occupation, and with the privatization/theft Bush has tried to commit.
The CIA brainwashed Jose Padilla with 3 years of solitary confinement, to the point where thought the US government would "help him" if he is "good". Anyone who believes that has got to be crazy.
Then he was convicted of "conspiracy" with no evidence to show he ever planned to do anything.
In effect, Padilla was convicted of sharing with two other men a general antagonism to the US government — a political viewpoint is now a crime in the US.
The Bush regime will surely pretend that it was necessary to arrest these people immediately and try them for their political inclinations, lest they have carried out some sort of attack. That is absurd as well as unjust, because it takes time to plan and set up such an act. If the police are competent, they need only keep watch on the suspects (with court orders, which they would easily get in such a case), and arrest them if they really start to plan a crime.
The latest Bush excuse for continuing the occupation of Iraq: "Otherwise, gasoline will cost 9 dollars per gallon."
It's unlikely that the end of the occupation would reduce Iraqi oil exports, since the resistance has been attacking oil pipelines for years. But even if it did, could conquest be justified by stealing their oil?
The rest of their bogeymen are equally exaggerated. This should be a warning not to believe what they say.
The UK has taken its Bush forces troops out of the city of Basra. It seems that Brown really intends to withdraw the British troops from the Bush forces.
It is amusing to read of the arguments between the Bush regime and the Brown regime, with both sides saying nonsense, pretending that the invasion of Iraq was noble and good and that Iraqis will defend the occupation of their country.
Torture Gonzales was also Traitor Gonzales — a willing participant in a scheme to destroy rule of law in the US.
The Bush regime's attack on rule of law is not limited to spying on people without court orders, imprisoning people without trial, and torturing people to get confessions. Trying people on vague "conspiracy" charges is also a part.
Sequoia Voting Systems deliberately sold ballots made from invalid paper in Florida in 2000.
Was this just a corrupt attempt to win adoption for even more dangerous computerized voting machines? Or did they plan where these ballots would be used?
Privatizing military intelligence — like privatizing soldiering — is part of an ideology of greed that has stealthily undermined ideals of service and citizenship in the US.
Business does not practice honesty except when outside pressure compels it to do so. Privatized government is therefore dishonest government.
The war department plans to privatize intelligence gathering.
I won't reject the possibility that this is motivated by a desire to cook the intelligence. But I suspect there is another motive too: that they plan to use the private contractors to evade some sort of legal limitation or congressional scrutiny.
How neoliberalism took over the world by co-opting the language of freedom to serve the rich.
If we strip corporations of their unjust power, they will scream that the sky is falling. Therefore, any political program which doesn't lead to cries that the sky is falling on business must not be a solution to the problem.
Marines are being prosecuted for shooting civilians in Haditha, but the defense argues that this shouldn't be considered a crime.
Hundreds of residents of New Orleans have been locked out of their homes for years, even though those homes are in good condition. Others restored uninhabitable houses, only to be deceitfully evicted afterwards.
Even after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the FBI kept spying on his widow for 4 years. This was purely because of their political activity.
To the Americans who fell prey to the risky mortgages that were offered in the last decade, Bush offers a false image of help. He asks banks to "work with homeowners to adjust their mortgages"; but the loan contracts don't allow banks to do that, so this suggestion cannot have any effect.
US citizens: sign this statement to your congresscritter to demand a real investigation of the September 11 attacks and to repeal some of the laws that took away Americans' freedom.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say you want a firm and strong gas-milage requirement for vehicles, not a bogus requirement with a gaping loophole.
You can also communicate thru that web site, but phone calls and paper letters generally carry more weight with US elected representatives.
The lack of clean water in Iraq has caused an outbreak of cholera. The lack of medicine and hospital facilities means that the victims cannot be saved.
This should not be a surprise. Bush is morally responsible for it.
Kenneth Foster's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
Life imprisonment is a fitting punishment for murderers, but Kenneth Foster was no murderer. Given the facts, it is wrong to hold him responsible for the murder that took place. He should be sentenced for what he actually did: driving a car with friends that committed robberies.
The Law of Parties is valid up to a point. Someone who starts violence is properly held co-responsible for the ensuing casualties, even those he did not directly cause. This is why Bush is responsible for all the deaths in Iraq, of Iraqis and foreigners, that result from his invasion.
Everyone in the US: turn Sep 11 into a day of action to end the Iraq war, impeach Bush, and restore democracy in the US.
The IMF is imposing even worse hardship on Iraq, with the help of the "Iraqi" government. But that government still refuses to privatize Iraq's oil.
In Mexico, police attack natives and foreigners -- even foreign journalists.
In Chile, an Argentine journalist was arrested covering a protest. The protest was against the former Pinochet-regime official who ordered the assassination of another Argentine journalist, Leonardo Henrichsen, and was never punished.
A secret Bush Regime report says, corruption is the "norm" in the Iraqi government.
This is no surprise, because corruption is the norm in the Bush regime, too.
Katrina rebuilding funds are subject to the same abuses of corruption as Iraq occupation funds, but Bush is slow to spend the Katrina funds.
When Torture Gonzales asked prosecutors to start bogus cases, that was a felony. The aim is to intimidate voters in 2008. Bush specifically approved punishing those that refused, which probably means he participated in the felony.
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