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Each political note has its own anchor in case you want to link to it.
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The Democrats' response to one less vote in the Senate is to have the House pass the lousy Senate version of the health care bill.
Since this does not have a public option, it is worse than nothing.
A Republican congressdummy said that the god he worships hands out disabled children as a punishment for having an abortion.
Congress renewed the U SAP AT RIOT act without doing anything to limit the police power it creates.
The UK judges who released information about MI5's participation in the torture of Binyam Mohamed have restored into their judgment the paragraph that effectively accuses MI5 of a dishonest coverup.
There is a suggestion that the officials in charge were not actually lying because they had been kept in the dark about what MI5 agents actually do, then they were not dishonest — but they were incompetent.
One of the newspapers that published cartoons about Mohammad made an ignominious apology to settle a lawsuit which it ought to have stood up to.
An OAS report accused Venezuela's President Chavez of undermining political freedoms and the independence of the judiciary.
Yemen will soon have insufficient drinking water due to population growth combined with other bad habits.
Earlier I linked to an article saying that Chinese crackers attacked Google servers through back doors set up for police to use. It appears this was not true.
A Saudi prince has bought 7% of Faux News, so his influence now contributes to the bias of that network.
The right wing in the US is profiting from the anger of downtrodden Americans, while the Liberals are failing to.
It is not true that the left has given up on rage against injustice. You will see plenty of such rage in this site, and in articles that it links to. But it is true that we see little Liberal rage in US politics.
Part of this is that most Democratic politicians have become centrists, and do not aim to do more than make small aleviations of government policy, while accepting its general orientation of serving the corporations. They have no Liberal rage because they are not Liberals.
So the real question is how Liberal rage has been marginalized and excluded from mainstream politics, while right-wing rage directed against mythical problems flourishes. Perhaps it is because the "tea party" groups are operating with concealed funding from the rich people that hope to take advantage of their anger.
The government of Argentina is once again using the Falkland Islands to stir up foolish nationalism.
The inhabitants of the Falkland Islands want British rule, not Argentine rule, and that decides the question. Citizens of Argentina should not let this unimportant issue distract them from real issues of sovereignty, such as the political power exercised by megacorporations, and the use of non-free software in the Argentine government.
But they fail to address the case where someone is so incapacitated that he needs more than secondary forms of assistance.
The CIA briefed congress about how it treated prisoners. What's not clear is whether it explained about torture.
Microsoft used the DMCA to shut down the cryptome site, which published leaked material showing how Microsoft facilitates spying on its customers.
Copyright and censorship have been intimately linked for hundreds of years. This illustrates one of the injustices of copyright law in the US and many other countries today.
Shame on Network Solutions. People should move their business to other ISPs as a punishment for its rolling over.
European pressure for Greece to cut its deficit has led to a general strike.
In the long term, the Greek government needs to spend within its means. But why just now? An economic downturn calls for deficit spending to stimulate the economy; cuts now could imperil recovery.
In the long term, spending within its means does not have to mean that the burden falls mainly on poor and working people.
Cheney's evidence which was supposed to prove torture is "effective" is false in basic facts.
Torture cannot be effective for getting the facts because it makes people say what the torturers want to hear. It is, however, effective for extracting confessions provided you don't care whether they are true.
Sugary drink companies are borrowing strategies from the tobacco companies in their campaign to protect obesity.
The Microsoft Global Criminal Compliance Handbook shows just how much info Microsoft will cheerfully give to the police about users.
US citizens: tell your senators to support Rep. Perriello's bill to end health insurance's exemption from anti-trust law.
Burma has extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest.
The Burmese regime is a dictatorship. Like many dictatorships, it apes the forms of a government of a free country, such as courts, but they do not mean anyone has legal rights.
"Myanmar" is the name that the dictatorship prefers. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's legitimate elected president, asks us to call her country "Burma", and Reuters is wrong not to do so.
China has imprisoned Xue Mingkai for joining a pro-democracy political party.
Sign this petition calling on Switzerland return the money stolen by Haiti's dictators to the people of Haiti.
Everyone: sign this petition calling on Chevron to accept resposibility for the environmental damage that it did in Ecuador.
Iran arrested a Sunni terrorist leader whom it says receives US support. We cannot presume the Iranian government is telling the truth about this. We also cannot presume the US government is telling the truth when it denies this. So it is hard to know what to believe. However, the independent reports that the US supports Jundallah suggest that the US really is supporting these terrorists. The US supported the coup in Honduras in 2009.
German Jews will send an aid ship to Gaza.
A US academic supported the siege of Gaza as a means to reduce the birth rate. A high birth rate often does incline a society towards instability. Everyone would be better off if countries with high birth rates took steps to reduce them. But that is no justification for placing people under siege. The first step to reduce the birth rate is to provide easily available contraception and abortion services; the next step is to encourage upward mobility through education, which tends to induce couples to have fewer children in order to educate them more. Usually that takes care of the problem.
Tell Obama not to use unjust "military tribunals". Everyone suspected of a crime deserves a fair trial, and these are never fair. Even Bush and Cheney, and their torturers, deserve fair trials.
Australia is paying people to have more babies even though it doesn't know where to get the water they will need. Australia's population density is low, but it cannot support a higher density. Most of its land is arid and not very fertile. Thus, a long-term plan to increase the population is self-defeating.
I suspect that the real motivation for the policy is racism: that the increased births are meant to be caucasian, and will serve as an excuse for cutting immigration of non-caucasians. This way the policy won't alter Australia's population growth, but it will contribute to world population increase just the same.
Many countries in Europe are trying to encourage births, in the same way. These policies put the whole world deeper in the hole.
The US wants to use the proposed ACTA treaty to force ISPs to act as copyright police.
Police in the US are tracking people through their cell phones without bothering to get search warrants. The legal standard for a search warrant in some cases, as described in this article, is pitifully weak: a mere assertion that the information is "relevant" to an investigation. That too needs to be changed. It is no use establishing higher standards only for access to GPS records, since localization without GPS is enough to be intolerable.
This is why I refuse to have a cell phone.
A pregnant Nicaraguan woman cannot get treatment for her cancer because of the ban on abortion. When she dies, her embryo will die too; but since that won't be an abortion, these religious fanatics don't mind.
Rachel Corrie's family is suing the government of Israel for killing her with a bulldozer.
Poland has given specifics about secret CIA prisoner transport and a secret CIA prison. The US continues secret imprisonment under Obama so it is incumbent on freedom-loving governments to spill the beans on the CIA.
Chinese crackers attacked Google accounts using a back door made so the US government can attack Google accounts.
US citizens: sign this petition for a good health care reform bill rather than a bipartisan one.
Karzai took control of the election complaints commission, apparently preparing to rig the election for parliament. Karzai can never inspire loyalty which he does not deserve. Fighting to support his corruption is a waste of lives, and the war reduces to a contest for which side Afghans despise more.
NATO apologized for killing some Afghan civilians. This is much better than Bush's approach to such incidents, which was to deny them.
It is impossible to totally avoid civilian casualties in war even with the best of efforts. When the civilian population considers the war necessary, it forgives these casualties or holds the other side responsible for them, up to a point. The crucial question is whether Afghans in general can see in Karzai's corrupt government something worth supporting.
Another photographer was arrested in the UK, this time for "suspicious" interest in a Christmas celebration. Even worse than suspecting someone for photographing a public gathering is the attitude of the police, whereby the exercise of a legal right not to identify oneself is taken as the grounds for another accusation.
But the worst aspect is the blanket power that the police have to label any activity as "antisocial" and arrest people for it.
Ireland is determined to give away oil resources to Shell and uses every legal avenue against protestors who resist the unsafe pipeline.
Local governments in the UK frequently sue themselves.
A vigorous program of detecting and treating HIV infections could put an end to the spread of the virus and ultimately eradicate it.
The murderers in the Colombian Army, trained by the US School of the Americas, are now killing and threatening the witnesses to their murders.
The story in the film Avatar resembles the real life threat to the Dongria Kondh people in India. A billionaire wants to mine their mountain for aluminum, and probably poison their water supplies in the process.
Right-wing Israeli politicians are looking for a way to attack the New Israel Fund, and the human rights NGOs that criticize government activities and receive support from there.
US citizens: call on the US government to indict Cheney for arranging torture.
Berlusconi's supporter gave out construction contracts for bribes and sex.
A prominent Sunni Iraqi politician calls for boycott of the elections after many of their candidates were banned.
Massachusetts citizens: sign the ACLU's petition to your state legislators to support SB 931, which would protect against misuse of the police "fusion center".
Obama wants to make new nuclear warheads. I continue to be amazed at how Obama proposes to give things to the Republicans on the faith that they will give something back, without even making a particular deal. It has to be a front for something else.
In the US: send a message to the Japanese Embassy in support of the Greenpeace activists who are being framed for exposing the smuggling of whale meat.
Obama is trying to give handouts to the builders of nuclear reactors, but the price keeps going up. Tritium is not particularly dangerous, but the other points are valid.
Barrie Sheldon dares the UK to prosecute him for bringing his wife the drugs with which to kill herself at the last moment she would still have been able to.
US citizens: contact your senators on Feb 24 in support of health care reform with a public option.
The EU is considering getting 10% of its fuel from palm oil, which would devastate rainforests and raise worldwide food prices. Biofuel will be a great idea if and when it can be made from plant waste or weeds, but cultivating crops for this purpose is stupid (or worse, corrupt).
Deep water trawling is devastating the ocean bottom.
UK police are investigating allegations that UK agents colluded in torturing Shaker Aamer, who is now in Guantanamo.
A dirty deal with Goldman Sachs enabled Greece to disguise its growing debt, and maybe other countries too.
A South African was arrested because he gave the finger as the president was passing by.
A new law prohibits credit card companies from suddenly raising interest rates. Citigroup hopes to evade the law by using different words to describe its policy.
A school gave laptops to its students and used the cameras to watch them at home. Schools have no business trying to control what students do out of school, even if they find out about it without spying. But the deeper lesson here is about nonfree software.
If you don't control the software on a computer, you don't know what it can or can't do. In this case, the school used its limited control to turn the computer into a spy camera. But the ultimate control over that computer's software is in Apple's hands, and Apple could always do the same.
Making companies responsible for their environmental damage would take 1/3 of their profits.
The Humane Society of the US faces a corporate-funded smear campaign.
Censorship has won a major victory in the US as a man goes to prison for drawings that depict children involved in sex. The proponents of censorship used to say they were concerned about the abuse of real children in the making of photos and videos. That excuse was, evidently, a lie.
An oil business front group is suing to stop the EPA from acting to reduce carbon emissions. Oil companies continue funding their attack on climate science.
Sarkozy said France will forgive Haiti's debt. I am not sure whether this means all of it, or just the part that France owns. Either way, it is a step forward, but France should pay back the ransom that Haiti paid for the freedom of the slaves.
BBC presenter Ray Gosling was arrested for murder; the police are following an inhuman idea of ethics.
It looks like Israel sent an assassination team to Dubai carrying false passports from European countries.
An industry lobbying group aimed sabotaging California's carbon emissions reduction law is so deceptive that it even fooled its some of its own contributors.
NATO says the Taliban are using civilians as human sheilds. I am skeptical of the accusation, since the Taliban are neither depraved nor stupid. Surely they know this could make lots of Afghans want to fight against them.
In war, it is easy to dehumanize a foreign enemy; for instance, plenty of soldiers in the Bush forces did not care if any Iraqi lived or died. It is much harder to think that way of your own people.
So I wonder if there is any proof of the claim.
Because the US militarized its "aid" to Haiti, a lot of effort went into maintaining the troops and little into helping the people there.
Google added a "neat feature" that published people's email contacts. This could mean imprisonment for dissidents that use gmail. Maintaining your list of contacts on Google's server put you at risk, because Google decides what to do with it. Even without any malice it can hurt you badly.
"Settlers" are still building their "settlements" in the West Bank despite a government order to stop. As Uri Avnery predicted, the "settlement freeze" has not succeeded in halting the expansion of these colonies. However, for Israel to show a serious intetion to make peace, it is not enough to cease robbing more West Bank land and water here and there. It must give back what it has taken.
A UK radio celebrity says he killed a lover, at that man's request, when the latter was dying of AIDS and in great pain. But he refuses to tell the police details, such as who it was, that might enable them to prosecute him for this. Right on! We have no duty to cater to the sadists who want to force people to die slowly in pain.
For one week: US citizens: phone your senators and say, "Pass real health care reform, with a public option, using the reconciliation procedure that blocks filibuster."
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Sign this petition opposing Uganda's proposed law to execute gays and their friends.
Everyone: sign this petition calling on Toyota to stop lobbying against automobile safety regulations.
The US has given up on negotiating with Iran without really trying it. The Iranian regime fully merits Clinton's criticism. (I only wish the Obama regime were in a better position to criticize others.) But that is a different question from whether the broad negotiations would be a good idea. Nixon's approach to China still seems to have been a good idea, even though the Chinese state was a monstrous dictatorship (and remains a dictatorship now, albeit less bad than in the 1970s).
It's true that subsequent US policy towards China was stupid and has put the US in a position of great weakness, but that was a separate later decision. That later decision is why China's support for Iran makes the US threats of sanctions empty bluster, and Iran knows it.
US health insurance costs could already be in a "death spiral" that will force nearly everyone out of the system.
Ms. Joya, elected to the Afghan parliament and suspended for saying the Afghan government and NATO had no clothes, says that NATO's military strategy is absurd and will only hurt civilians.
Fanatical American Christians are accused of fomenting the persecution of gays in Africa. This is an example of Christian Cruelty.
Obama wants to waste $50 billion building nuclear reactors. It is another handout to business, disguised as a way to reduce carbon emissions. It might reduce carbon emissions, but that money could do a lot more so if spent differently. The "broad-based support" this article speaks of must come from legislators "influenced" by the companies that are going to get the money.
The Obama regime kidnaps and disappears people frequently in various countries, taking them to Afghanistan for torture and refusing to identify them as prisoners. While al Qa'ida is more overtly vicious than the US government, I doubt that it does as much evil as the US government, which has greater means and can operate aboveground.
The EU is pushing Greece to impose more sacrifices, but apparently the rich people will not have to share in them. The VAT burden, like a sales tax, falls mostly on non-rich. They could instead increase income taxes on high income brackets.
Heroin users are dying due to contamination of the heroin with anthrax. These people are casualties of prohibition, just like those who die of overdoses. If Heroin were legal, at least for addicts, it would be uncontaminated and its strength would be predictable. That would not make using heroin a wise thing to do, but it would avoid unnecessary added harm.
Iraq has ordered all former Blackwater employees to leave the country.
As bluefin tuna are being overfished and the population is dwindling, there is a move to restrict trade in tuna.
A major Iraqi political party threatens to boycott the election due to the banning of many candidates.
Japanese Greenpeace activists found and reported whale meat that had been diverted by a whaling ship crew. They were arrested on false charges and subject to interrogation which is essentially torture.
Uri Avnery: clumsy falsified accusations against the Palestinian Authority leadership, meant to put pressure on President Abbas, are actually a boon to Hamas. The question that ends the article hints that Israel wants to boost Hamas, so it can cite Hamas as an excuse to continue annexation rather than making peace.
The hugely hyped offensive against the Taliban took the objective easily, because the Taliban followed guerrilla doctrine and scattered instead of resisting. This is not a victory, just an exercise. The Taliban can fight just as easily somewhere else, and they will probably move back in.
The chief of MI5 says it did not try to keep the public and parliament in the dark about the UK's collaboration in torturing Binyam Mohamed and other prisoners. At the same time he presents arguments to justify such a cover-up. Evans' argument, that if the UK's crimes became known then it might be criticized for them by enemies, is not valid. It rests on the premise that the UK always deserves to triumph, and therefore should escape the due consequenes of its conduct no matter how heinous.
Every criminal would like such a "get out of jail free" card, and none deserves one. If the UK government wants support so it can triumph, it must first reform its conduct so that it deserves support, by punishing its torturers. Then, while on parole, it must avoid the company of other torturers (such as the US) until they too reform.
Evans' argument is invalid, but the fact that he made the argument is very significant. Attempting to justify a coverup effectively admits the coverup took place, which means he was lying when he denied it. As long as the UK claims coverups are justified because it is entitled to a good reputation despite bad conduct, no one will believe its denials — of anything.
Usman Saddique was charged and then kept in prison or near house arrest for over three years based on evidence that was totally insufficient to prosecute him. Saddique was acquitted by the judge because there was no evidence that the CD which included bomb-making information was his. But suppose it had been his — would that matter? Should people be imprisoned just for having general information in their possession? This sort of censorship is more dangerous than terrorism.
I received an anonymous email announcing denial-of-service attacks against Australian government sites as a response to censorship there.
I have no other information. I don't even know whether the attacks referred to are actually taking place. If they are, I am sure the government of Australia will want to punish the people who did this. Without knowing more, I cannot judge whether I support that.
What is clear is that censorship poses a greater threat to Australians in the long term, and the ones Australia really needs to punish are the censors.
A state that practices censorship puts itself in the same category with China and Tunisia, and deserves the same amount of loyalty.
UK officials are going all out to bury the truth that the UK colluded in the torture of Binyam Mohamed. It is funny how each point at assurances from the other, as if it were unthinkable that any of them would lie, while they are visibly going all-out to suppress the truth.
Forgiving Haiti's unjust debts is not enough. The rest of the world owes Haiti reparations for the poverty that it imposed on Haiti by collecting debt payments for almost 200 years. Any debt that a nation undertakes in a corrupt fashion should be automatically repudiatable.
Print out and post this Greenpeace "wanted" poster.
Imprisoned women facing possible future deportation from the UK are on hunger strike because of the squalid conditions of their prison.
Republicans planned to delay health care reform, now criticize the Democrats because it has taken so long. Most of today's Democrats are too right-wing for me to admire or support, but this shows the total dishonesty of the Republicans. Their party is nothing but a lie.
San Francisco invites people to take toxic sludge from sewage treatment and put it on their lawns and gardens. The claim that Alzheimer's disease is caused by a prion is a new hypothesis that has not been established, so we should not presume it is true. But there are plenty of toxins and drugs that end up in sewage, so we can hardly treat the sludge as safe without checking what they do.
After rain in Haiti, large numbers of poor Haitians protested because they have no shelter.
Everyone: call on Google not to make a deal with the NSA. We can't trust the US government to use the information it collects only for good purposes, and neither can we take for granted Google will do so. So it is important not to give Google so much information. To prevent this, (1) don't identify yourself when you use Google services (other than mail, if you use that), and (2) contact Google the servers from computers that aren't specifically yours.
You can also use scroogle.org to anonymize Google searches.
Greece may be the first EU country to be subject to an IMF austerity program. These programs typically require people to pay for medical care and education, which cuts off poor people from them, much as poor people in the US are partly cut off.
An internal Chinese report shortly after the failed Copenhagen talks accuses the rich countries of callously dividing the poor countries. To prevent climate disaster, including the likely submergence of areas inhabited by tens of millions of people, will require China and other large developing economies to cut emissions. The Chinese report is based on refusal to recognize this.
However, China is not alone at fault. Chinese accusations against the US, Canada and the EU seem valid to me. Unless these states show a strong willingness to make sacrifices, they cannot convince China, India and Brazil to make sacrifices. And the sacrifices must not spare the wealthy and fall mainly on everyone else.
Iran's dictators crushed protests with massive preemptive police action. Iran has the form of a democracy, but it is in fact a dictatorship. The challenge for Iranians who want freedom will be to keep the idea of freedom alive: to continue thinking in terms of replacing their evil regime with a real democracy that respects human rights until a chance to do so arises.
We in the US face a similar challenge. There is a tiny amount of democracy in a system principally controlled by business. The regime does not respect human rights, and dedicates itself to unending wars and occupations. But now that not many Americans are dying in those wars, most Americans can fool themselves with the idea that the soldiers fighting them are "serving their country" and that they should "support the troops".
Many poor countries have sold or leased huge tracts of land — sometimes entire regions — to companies that intend to chase off the inhabitants. I cheer on the people that fight to cancel and annul these deals, but we need to look beyond the immediate problem to its underlying cause: global overpopulation.
It is getting harder and harder to find enough of various things, so the rich try to buy them and the poor fight for them. It is good that human population growth is slowing, but it isn't stopping, and it will be harder and harder to find enough for an increasing number of people.
Jill Stein is running for Governor of Massachusetts on behalf of the Green Party. I am not sure what Deval Patrick refers to when he says he "created jobs", but my guess is that it refers to the same sort of policies to draw jobs away from other states, by pandering to business, that are criticized by Professor Bowles.
The Israeli supreme court is trying to prevent illegal arrests of foreigners visiting the West Bank, but the police keep doing them. It's worse for Palestinian nonviolent activists; they get arrested and beaten.
To do good science using computers requires releasing the source code.
The Israeli government is attacking NGOs that defend human rights and attacking their funding. There are, however, no complaints about foreign funding for building colonies in Palestinian territory.
Israel is also arresting Palestinians who defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
A high school principle who refused to let the army advise teachers has received death threats for it.
The TSA had a student arrested for flash cards for learning Arabic, plus a book he was reading.
Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident who helped write Charter 08 which called for human rights in China, has been sentenced to 11 years of prison.
The most effective way for the US to protect itself from terrorism is to stop its interventions in the Middle East which fuel terrorism.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and insist on public funding of congressional campaigns in the bill to protect politics from business money.
Obama's deficit spending on war and the military is driving the US into overwhelming debt. Deficit spending is needed now, to get out of the recession; but if what we buy with our money is nonproductive, we will end up with no way ever to repay the debt.
To see where this leads, look at what external debt has done to Haiti across 200 years. The US could end up in a similar situation of disaster.
Spain has changed the law which permitted prosecution of crimes against humanity and war crimes around the world, to protect the officials of the Bush regime. In order to protect itself, the US exercises its influence to protect mass murderers everywhere.
China has imprisoned a number of journalists who investigated the faulty school construction that enabled the Sichuan earthquake to kill so many children.
The FBI continues trying to impose tracking of internet connections in the US.
A Chinese study recognized that farms in China produce more pollution than factories.
Some big businesses that use oil are now warning that peak oil is essentially here, masked by the recession, and will bring high oil prices in a few years. It is no surprise that companies that use oil are quicker to recognize the issue than the sellers. The producers are hoping for a windfall if there is an oil shock, whereas the consumer companies would lose.
Meanwhile, Amory Lovins claims conservation activities are already on track to prevent oil demand from rising as high as it did before, so even if we have passed the peak in oil extraction, it won't cause a shock. If that is true, it will be a pleasant joke on us all. But we may still have to watch out that we are not shifting to dirtier fossil fuels such as coal and tar sands.
The Obama regime reassures us that it will be very careful before assassinating US citizens.
A policeman in the UK was convicted of falsely accusing a citizen. It is good to see a policeman get punished for making a false accusation. I wish I could expect conviction to become the usual fate for lying policemen, but I think this will be a special case. First, because the policeman just convicted was an outspoken member of a minority group. The police command might have pressured the IPCC to act against him, but usually it would do the opposite.
The second thing that makes this case unusual is that the citizen who was falsely accused in this case was just a victim, and the accusation was part of a private vendetta. If the victim were a dissident, regarded as an enemy by the police in general, they would close ranks to protect the lying officer.
President Rajapakse of Sri Lanka arrested the rival candidate, who claimed his defeat was due to election fraud. I don't know if there was any independent monitoring that could tell us whether the accusation of fraud was valid. Rajapakse was accused by a famous editor, posthumously, of arranging the editor's murder so it is not implausible he would make a false accusation.
India's government is trying to impose cultivation of genetically modified eggplant against strong public opposition. I cannot evaluate the claims about safety of eating these eggplants, or about the danger of contaminating other varieties. Any studies that were funded by Monsanto should simply be ignored since they are likely to have been corrupted. What I can say is that forbidding farmers to breed their own crops is unjust, and the financial dependence it causes is likely to cause thousands of them to kill themselves.
Israel killed many civilians in Gaza using drones which are now being sold to many countries. Some of these countries are even more likely to assassinate their own citizens than the US.
As states and countries continue giving handouts to business in a futile effort to convince them to move jobs from other states, economist Professor Bowles explains how reducing inequality is the path to prosperity. It should be obvious that when all governments compete to attract jobs, the main effect is a handout to business, with little benefit to anyone else. I suspect part of the reasons politicians don't see this is that they are happy to be able to give a handout to business and pretend it is for the sake of jobs.
Top US military officials spoke in favor of allowing gays to serve in the military.
I hope this gratuitous prejudice will be eliminated. The change will set an example for eliminating prejudice in other circles, and will give straight soldiers a chance to get to know gays and become comfortable with them.
However, the most important change to make in the US military is to make it start serving the country instead of serving for the conquest and subjection of other countries.
Drones could be less dangerous to civilians than manned airplanes, since the drone offers the chance to wait and watch for a longer time.
That doesn't imply that the drone attacks are not killing civilians. If we want to know whether an army's operations have killed civilians, the army's PR officers are the last ones in the world we should trust. What do others say about US and UK drone attacks in Afghanistan?
British Atheists have objected to a judge's decision to give a convicted man a lesser sentence because he is religious.
US citizens: sign this petition to redirect government funding from coal and nuclear electricity into renewable electricity and efficiency. The key point is that nuclear power is so inefficient that no one will build it without a tremendous subsidy. If we put the same funds into renewable power and energy efficiency, we will reduce emissions more, and with less danger and less risk. [More info on the bad proposal] | [More info on the issue]
European citizens: call your MEP and say, "Support the civil liberties committee: don't hand over all our bank data to the US." Note how the US threatens "bad relations", just as China threatens "bad relations" when world leaders meet with the Dalai Lama. Both of those countries deserve, in response, to get the finger. The US must learn to respect people's rights.
I am sure European countries will cooperate on those occasions when the US presents solid grounds to investigate someone.
I distribute zero-dollar bills as a joke, but zero-rupee notes in India are a serious way of fighting corruption.
Congress set up a panel to monitor how "anti-terror" measures affect civil liberties, but Obama has not bothered to fill it. Since he supports torture, imprisonment without trial, and even assassination, and since he secretly authorizes illegal surveillance, perhaps he thinks this panel could only annoy him.
Many poor families in the UK have been lured into a cycle of inescapable debt. The measures that the government proposes are inadequate either to solve the present problem or to prevent recurrence. Poor people's debts to predatory lenders should simply be canceled. That will help the poor, and discourage predatory lending in the future.
Medical evidence for danger from cell phone microwaves is quite strong, if you throw out the industry-funded studies.
Obama claims the power to order the assassination of US citizens, and the US is now trying to assassinate one, apparently for exercizing his constitutional rights to freedom of speech.
Secret funds are already flooding into the US Chamber of Commerce to make Congress a sock puppet for business.
The Obama regime defends illegal FBI spying and illegal torture, using all-purpose excuses copied from the Bush regime.
The strength of the US intervention in Afghanistan is hidden by the use of mercenaries.
Fraud charges were filed against Bank of America and its former CEO.
Homeopaths cited some scientific papers as granting validity to homeopathy, but the authors of those papers say the words they wrote were taken out of context and twisted.
BAE, a major UK arms company, has admitted fraud, but in exchange the US and UK will not prosecute anyone. This is better than what happened when B'liar intervened to protect it from prosecution (I guess it was considered "too big to criticize"), but it is still not justice.
The Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland have agreed to a power-sharing deal. I rejoice in this agreement, as a step towards peace. However, there is one aspect which calls for criticism: there is something sick about foreign investment as a reward for anything. The investments will produce wealth, and which will mostly belong to the foreign investors, and the local people will get the leftovers. Peace in Northern Ireland is a good thing in its own right — not because of these leftovers.
Join the protest in Berne against the Berne Copyright Convention on Feb 10.
German text of the same announcement.
Press release in English.
Press release in German.
Iraq's oil production has come close to prewar levels, but the oil companies still face obstacles.
A 16-year-old girl in Turkey was murdered by her family for conversing with boys.
John Pilger: the US under Obama is an Orwellian state.
I think the article is too harsh on some of its interpretations. Given the limited ability of the US to influence Afghanistan, it may not be able to protect women's rights there without occupying the country. The Viet Cong were thoroughly infiltrated and controlled by Vietnamese Communists, and after their "victory" over the corrupt dictatorship of South Vietnam they handed it over promptly to the Communist dictatorship in Hanoi. Most of all, I doubt that the Bush regime intended Iraq to fall apart into three groups that fight each other. It seemed that the bushmen were surprised when this happened, and it got them in hot water in the US.
However, I think that the facts about Afghanistan that the article cites are important and the arguments based on them are strong.
As Obama plans to spend billions to build nuclear plants that produce dangerous waste, Amory Lovins explains that it is far more effective to spend the same money on renewable electric generation, and it avoids feeding nuclear weapons proliferation.
National Public Radio's right-wing bias can be seen by comparing its obituaries for Howard Zinn ad William Buckley.
I used to donate to the local NPR station in the 90s. Then I noticed its increasingly right-wing attitude, its hostility towards Clinton for the wrong reasons — and the commercials (which they call by another name, but they are still commercials). So I stopped donating.
A hospitalized patient who appeared to be a mindless "vegetable" is able to answer questions "yes" and "no" via a machine that detects brainwaves.
The article suggests that up to 40% of the people who are apparently unthinking may be conscious but unable to communicate.
This is pertinent to the issue of whether to keep those patients alive and whether to give them a painless death. If they are conscious, we must ask them what they want.
However, it doesn't follow that people were wrong to assume in the past that these patients were unconscious. We need to make the best decision we can based on the information we can obtain.
While arresting a Palestinian nonviolent activist, Israeli troops told the family, "You have one minute to get of the house where your children are sleeping, or we will blow it up." Israel considers nonviolent protestors an intolerable threat because it cannot pretend to have the moral high ground with them.
The Supreme Court will consider the case of genetically modified alfalfa.
Israeli soldiers shot Tristan Anderson at a nonviolent protest and left him in a permanent coma, then lied about him. The police hardly bothered to investigate this crime.
India's surrender to globalization means that 70% of children are malnourished; the poor get no medical care and almost no education.
Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, says that Israel must make peace with Palestine or turn into an apartheid state. Others such as Desmond Tutu say Israel already has established more or less an apartheid state, but recognizing the possibility is better than no recognizion at all. However, acknowledging the need for peace with Palestine is one thing; willingness to stop taking Palestinians' land is another.
The Iraqi government has reversed its decision to ban 500 candidates for office.
US citizens: sign this petition in favor of the Cape Wind offshore wind-powered electric generation plan.
The Goldstone report, which documents Israeli and Palestinian war crimes in Gaza, will not go away.
Egypt's participation (under US demands) in the siege of Gaza has brought its dictatorial government into contempt. Since the opposition in Egypt is Islamist, it would not respect human rights either, so Egypt has a choice between two unjust regimes. I am not sure which one would be more cruel and restrictive towards Egyptians, but it's clear that the present government is the more contemptible of the two.
If the US does not want an Islamic regime in Egypt, it ought to help Egypt find a way out from participating in the siege.
The Israeli army drives Palestinian shepherds off their land, in support of a nearby colony, disregarding the Supreme Court.
Clare Short, who opposed the invasion of Iraq from within the UK cabinet, says that B'liar lied to parliament and kept the cabinet in the dark.
Australia censors videos that show female ejaculation — or small realistic breasts.
UN miner removers found an air-dropped bomb in a building in Gaza, showing that the Israeli army lied about attacking it.
After a report showed that the FBI persistently lied and trampled the weak legal rules that limit surveillance, Obama secretly legalized the lies. Is it time to start speaking of the Obama regime?
People involved in climate change negotiations say it is hopeless to get a treaty in 2010. It is true that national policies have more direct influence on reductions in emissions. But given the tendency for business interests to corrupt and deceive national governments, it will take a strong treaty to make nations implement truly effective policies.
Governments can set up strong international measures when they make it a priority. For instance, many governments decided to take power away from the citizens and give it to business, so they set up the World Trade Organization, which has the power to punish countries that disobey demands from business. If governments were equally motivated to prevent climate disaster, they would take equally strong measures for that.
Civilization has fallen into a trap, the trap in which the most greedy has the most power, and lacks the willpower to pull itself out of the trap even to save itself.
Supermarket refrigerators use gases that contribute heavily to global warming.
Until the day of the superbowl or when CBS changes its decision. In the US: sign this petition calling on CBS to apply the same rules on advertising to conservatives as it does to progressives, and thus reject an ad from an anti-abortion right-wing group.
The US could find 85 billion to bail out AIG, but refuses to forgive Haiti's 1 billion dollars of debt. Bad decisions like these come from bad goals.
The doctor whose mistaken claims made many people fear measles vaccine has been found to have carried out unethical experiments on children.
Western countries say they will give aid for the third world to cope with their CO2 emissions, but they plan to take it away from other aid.
US citizens: Sign the EFF petition demanding true network neutrality, without a big loophole.
The UN has begun talking with the Taliban.
US citizens: call your congresscritter to call for public financing of election campaigns.
Douglas Robinson has been arrested 96 times in 2 years, but he always gets released because the jail is full and he is no threat to anyone.
Almost all of these arrests were for actions that at worst annoy someone. Is it right to arrest people for such things?
The phone company Rogers in Canada is forcing Android phone users to give up all control of their phones, cutting them off if they don't accept imposed software changes.
If all the software in the phone were free, users could program it to pretend that they have installed the patch while continuing to run software that does not restrict them. I wonder if this is possible now.
B'liar spoke in the Chilcot inquiry, insisting on all the lies he told before.
This is because the inquiry lacked the skill to catch him in the lies.
If the inquiry had an experienced prosecutor, it might have achieved something.
The "mass overdose" protest against homeopathy campaigns against support for bogus medicine from the state and from pharmacies.
These sugar pills are not totally inactive; the sugar can make you fat.
US citizens: sign the petition in favor of Rep. Grayson's bills to make it hard for corporations to give money to political campaigns or secretly help them.
This is good, public financing is good, and the two together are even better.
It is not widely known that Haiti has oil.
Is that why Bush launched a coup against Aristide?
A UN report says that "proxy detention" (a.k.a. "extraordinary rendition") is tantamount to torture, and secret detention is equivalent to "disappearing" people. Although this report is directed at the UK, it is clear that the same conclusions apply to the US. It is appropriate that this UN committee was set up to investigate the disappearances practiced by Pinochet, since his regime was installed by a coup organized by the US.
I rarely watch movies, but I watched and enjoyed Nasty Old People, which is released for download and redistribution online ( more info ). Hollywood movies tend to hammer each point in, and underline it with music that says, "Watch this, this is very important!" Nasty Old People is the opposite: most of the points are stated very quickly, and crucial connections are stated by implication. Perhaps a little too much so. But it is still better than most of Hollywood.
UK police used "anti-terror" powers to justify their interference with people making a children's TV program. The outrage is not that the police thought a hair drier was a gun when seeing it from far away. The outrage is what they did when they knew it is a hair drier. They didn't say, "Sorry, we thought you were carrying a gun, but you're not, so carry on." Instead they invoked "anti-terror" powers, obviously too broad, and gave the TV presenters a warning, as if the mistake were their fault.
That's what's dangerous about police these days. If they make a mistake about you, they hold you as the victim responsible for the mistake.
A corporation announced plans to run for Congress, demonstrating that "government by the people" has been replaced with "government by the corporations."
Making the region of the Chagos Islands a marine reserve would help many species survive, but no one consulted the Chagos islanders about it. They have not given up hope of returning to the home they were kicked out of. If they return home, and practice traditional fishing methods, the reserve will still function as long as nobody else can fish there. I hope that these two campaigns can join together.
Bush regime torture continues under Obama. He has banned only some torture methods.
NATO is pressuring Karzai to act to reduce corruption, and Karzai is resisting with all his might.
China accused the US of hipocrisy for criticizing Chinese censorship. The Chinese argument is fallacious when it equates all political dissent with promoting terrorism. Rumors are the only way to spread the news in China when officials suppress it, as they often do. But the US is flawed in that regard too, since the corporate media keep most Americans unaware of how the government works for the corporations against the people. The US is also using a double standard by failing to criticize "free" countries for their censorship.
Both the US and China are insulting us hackers by using that term to refer to people who break security.
A thoughtful study of prospects for peace with the Taliban.
Frances Inglis may have been too quick to give up on her son's chances of regaining consciousness. By the time she actually killed him, there was more basis to conclude his case was hopeless. It does happen on rare occasions that someone comes out of a coma after a long time, but the probability is low.
It may be that Tom was not conscious enough to feel pain. If so, his death was not urgent. It would have been better to wait longer. But, given that the system was unwilling to offer Tom Inglis anything but death from hunger and thirst, I cannot criticize Ms Inglis' for taking action to avoid that.
Australians: support the blackout campaign against Internet censorship.
Doctors trying to reexamine the suspicious "suicide" of Dr. Kelly found the the UK government has sealed the records more than usual. This fuels suspicion that the government murdered Dr. Kelly to silence him.
Kay Gilderdale was found innocent of attempted murder. She had helped her daughter commit suicide.
Everyone: sign this petition to cancel Haiti's debt.
Microsoft executives tried to excuse Chinese censorship by saying it is "limited" and that wizards can get around it. It is true that wizards can get around the censorship, especially if they have help from western friends. But only a tiny fraction of Chinese internet users know how to do that; as a result, Chinese censorship achieves its goal of suppressing political opposition in China.
A study casts doubt on UK police claims that searching lots of people on the street for no specific reason has cut down on knife crime. In the 90s, New York Mayor Giuliani imposed many practices that violated civil liberties and claimed they were responsible for a big decrease in crime. But other cities which did not employ those practices had a similar decrease in crime at the time, showing that Giuliani's nasty policies were not responsible for the decrease.
As for the real cause of the decrease, one theory is that there were fewer males in the main violence age group that had been raised by mothers who couldn't cope with them, because starting in the 70s women in such situations often had abortions instead. It is an interesting theory but I am not sure we can regard it as proved.
Abortion can't be the reason for the decrease in knife crime in the UK this year, because it has been legal there since much more than 20 years ago. But this illustrates how hard it can be to determine the causes of reduced crime,
Bush gave Shell permission to drill for oil in the sea near Alaska, disregarding environmental threats, but now Shell is running into legal snags. The idea of "reducing US dependence on foreign oil" made sense in the 70s, but it is obsolete now. Now the whole world needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Leaving this oil in the ground would be a step towards that; however, we must leave dirtier Canadian shale in the ground too.
This article illustrates how corporate funding of university research corrupts research; we see this in medicine too. This corruption will touch any area of science which pertains to how business practices public well-being.
The solution is to deny these businesses the choice of whether to support research. We should increase their taxes, and pay for the research out of that.
Novelist Martin Amis faces controversy after advocating easy euthanasia for anyone who wants it. I am almost as old as Mr. Amis, and I feel much as he does. Respect for other people's lives means that, while they see value in their lives, we should help them stay alive. Respect for their lives also means that, when they consider their lives to be torture and death is the only escape, we should help them escape.
After years of fascist pressure and assassination, only one doctor in the US does late term abortions. Someday he will die or be incapacitated. Unless other doctors take up the work, American women in danger of dying from pregnancy will have to travel to other countries — if they can afford it.
A judge ruled that Americans can't sue over illegal wiretapping because we are all victims of it.
A meeting about ACTA in Mexico was attended by activists for freedom.
There are probably around 3 million disabled Iraqis, and the government cannot do anything for them.
US citizens: sign the ACLU's petition to close the Guantanamo prison and either give the prisoners fair trials or release them.
Some of the Taliban are imitating NATO's effort to avoid civilian casualties, which are now mostly caused by them. It now seems that the main obstacle to defeating the Taliban is the Afghan government itself. It is hard to motivate anyone to fight for a government that inspires no loyalty.
UK police want to add military drone airplanes to their drone helicopters, and they have chosen a cover strategy to divert criticism.
The US is still encouraging biofuels made from food crops, even though that is wasteful, makes food expensive all around the world, and contributes to global warming by destroying rainforests to grow crops. Growing the crops uses fertilizer and machinery, and both consume petroleum. Biofuels make sense only when made from plants that grow wild or with only renewable inputs.
Obama has begun to advocate real banking reform. After so much merging, it is not enough to prevent further mergers. We need to split up the existing big banks, and not just along the lines between their divisions, so that afterwards the banks we have are no longer "too big to fail." The same goes for other industries.
Nonetheless, Obama is heading in the right direction. He seems to have realized that he needs to appeal directly to the people who voted for him.
The big pharma company GSK will publish a list of some 13000 chemicals that might do some good against malaria, but is trying to make that sound like more than it is. The article becomes incoherent when it starts discussing what GSK will or won't do with its patents that restrict some of these drugs. Perhaps it is only offering to make deals with the other big pharma companies.
We cannot really tell. What is clear is that GSK wants to avoid the real solution: poor countries should not allow patents on medicine.
The Supreme Court ruling that let corporations buy US elections effectively lets Chinese corporations do it too.
Polish citizens: sign this petition against Internet censorship in Poland.
Iranian influence is behind Iraq's election purge of Sunni candidates. I do not think Iran can take control of Iraq through agents such as Chalabi. Iraqis will not go along with that. Rather, I think that Iraqi Shi'ites are going to aim for chasing out the Sunnis, with Iran's encouragement and support.
In effect, Bush's invasion gave Iraq a rough kind of democracy, but not the toleration of disagreement and human rights that need to go with democracy. Saddam Hussein's dictatorship was based on support, more or less, from the minority Sunnis. Now the majority Shi'ites have control and regard the Sunnis as an enemy.
Majority rule in Iraq inevitably means most of the voters are Shi'ites. I don't think it inevitably had to mean a split along religious lines, civil war, and the expulsion of the Sunnis; but expulsion of the Sunnis is what the Shi'ites are determined to do, I don't think any outside pressure can prevent it.
Thus, a large fraction of the population of Iraq will end up as refugees; those who remain will be split effectively between two states (Kurdish and Arab Shi'ite). The Shi'ite state will be aligned with Iran. But at least the oil will belong to the multinational companies, and that's what they wanted when they launched the war.
How Haiti's history of foreign rule and oppression, by France and then the US, created the poverty which made people so vulnerable to the earthquake. The article doesn't mention that it was the US that overthrew and kidnaped President Aristide.
US citizens: sign this petition for public financing of election campaigns.
The Republican appointees on the Supreme Court have dashed democracy to little pieces, by letting corporations spend as much as they like on election campaigns. The party which claimed to be against "judicial activism" swept away a century of precedent.
Democracy in the US has already been nearly submerged by a flood of business money going indirectly into political campaigns. Witness how the Senator from Aetna has turned health care reform into a give-away to insurance companies, and how other business-dominated legislators have blocked banking reform and global warming prevention. Now the last dam has fallen and democracy will be washed away.
There are various ways the US could correct this problem. One would be a constitutional amendment to reverse it. Another would be public funding for campaigns (a good thing anyway). People are trying to implement these, and I will help, since we can't achieve anything by not trying.
But I don't think we have much chance of implementing any measure that would take this power away from business, because the companies will use their newly augmented dominion to block any attempt to take it away.
The US government was already largely a tool of the corporate empire. After this change it will be nothing but.
Clinton denounced Chinese government censorship of the Internet. She apparently did not denounce Internet censorship in "democratic" governments such as Denmark, Australia, and soon Poland.
Russian police arrested a journalist and beat him to death. Of course, like any gang, they lie to protect each other when caught in crimes. The article does not say this journalist criticized the powerful, so maybe the police did this on their own initiative and not at a request from on high.
For comparison, the US seems probably to have tortured several prisoners to death in Guantanamo, and is still covering it up, and that was done on orders from the White House. Obama is still protecting the people who gave the order from prosecution.
US citizens: support the campaign for a constitutional amendment to explicitly authorize limiting corporations' influence on elections. I think we should go further. We should strip corporations of entitlement to legal status as persons, and allow the federal and state governments to decide which rights of persons apply to corporations and which don't.
Jack Straw, former foreign minister, said that he "believed the war would be averted by Saddam Hussein complying with the requirement to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors." That makes no sense, because Hussein <em>did</em> comply, and everyone knew he was complying. Bush decided to attack anyway and had the inspectors removed from Iraq. If the inquiry does not grill him on this point, it is not doing its job.
Obama has not achieved much as president, but he has the strength to attack Americans for sharing.
Frances Inglis was convicted of murdering her son, rather than let him die of thirst and hunger in the hospital. Those who participated in convicting and sentencing Ms Inglis defend the principle of obedience to unjust laws. If the state orders you to torture someone, they say you must obey. Shame on them all.
Ms Inglis' courageous act was a reaction to the policies of the hospital, which are perhaps imposed by the state. The hospital should have offered him a painless death instead of a cruel one.
Perhaps it did offer him that but misled Ms Inglis. Perhaps the doctors would have given Tom morphine to save him pain (and maybe speed his death), but thet didn't dare tell her so, lest they be prosecuted. If so, it would make this a tragedy reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet.
Ms Inglis' sentence supposedly would make it possible for her to be released after around 8 years. However, I think that under UK prison rules she cannot be released early (i.e., while alive) unless she says that her act was wrong. That would mean betraying herself, the others who loved Tom, and everyone who in the future is in a similar situation. I hope she will have the strength to stay in prison instead.
The big banks, which masterminded the mortgage bubble, sold mortgage debt to lots of investors while betting that they would lose it. That ought to be a crime, and maybe is. But the government investigation is ineffective at getting to the bottom of the wrongdoing.
The IPCC rejected its statement that Himalayan glaciers could disappear in a few decades, finding it was included by mistake, not based on scientific evidence.
The Democratic Party is foundering because it has failed to propose reforms that energize the public.
The reason for this, I suspect, is that too many Democratic legislators are under the control of business, and few really want to challenge that control.
US citizens: sign this petition telling Democrats that they must really oppose business interests or they will lose.
The New York Times says it will charge people to read articles, beyond a certain number per month.
I would not object to paying to see these news articles, if I could do so anonymously. But I absolutely refuse to identify myself to read the articles, and I fear that means I will be totally excluded.
I also will not link to articles that require readers to identify themselves. However, there are already links to nytimes.com on this site, and I suspect that they will become an embarassment.
So I invite people to look for replacement links for them. These should be either the same story in another site, or another good story that provides the pertinent information. These links should be stable (as far as we can tell), and should allow anonymous access.
Please mail these replacement URLs to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include the full HTML text of the note that contains the link.
Kay Gilderdale is on trial because she helped her daughter commit suicide to escape unendurable, incurable pain. I admire Ms Gilderdale for having the courage to the sad task that her daughter wanted and needed. This illustrates why the right to assisted suicide must not be limited to people with illnesses that won't last long. People such as Lynn Gilderdale should not be condemned to decades of pain and helplessness.
China will block text messages with "illegal content". Compare this with the UK, where you could get arrested when the government reads a joke you send through computer systems. I suppose China already does arrest people for their text messages.
Haitians need humanitarian help. The US sent a military invasion. (You may need to go through this link a second time to reach the correct page.)
Vietnam threatens to execute dissidents who wanted democracy and human rights instead of rule by the "Communist" party. This party admires free trade agreements more than Marx; it is no longer a Communist dictatorship, just a dictatorship.
The latest overreaction: a school was closed because of a student's harmless electronics project. I wonder what "school policies" were violated. "Don't bring electronics projects to school"? "Don't do anything that the principal might misunderstand?" At least they didn't file criminal charges to pretend it wasn't their mistake, as police in Boston did to Star Simpson.
Skeptics will take an "overdose" of homeopathic "remedies" to illustrate the fact that they have no medicine in them. Sugar may not be a real treatment for an illness (other than starvation), but it is not an inactive ingredient. An overdose of sugar could make you fat.
The FBI illegally obtained Americans' phone call records and made up false excuses afterwards.
A UK man was arrested, and has lost his job, because of joking with his friends on Twitter. Taking away his job seems utterly gratuitous. As for seizing his computer, if he had made a joke with his voice would they seize his mouth?
This shows the danger of allowing police too much access to people's private communications. "Terrorists" have been unable to do anything in the UK for several years, but hundreds of thousands of people in the UK must be examining their every word with fear.
Maliki is attacking Iraqi Sunnis in many ways, provoking a boycott of the election and a possible resumption of civil war. Since the Sunnis could at best elect a small minority, I can't see Maliki's motive for disenfranchizing them. It must be due to something not visibly political.
Guantanamo prison staff say some prisoners who supposedly committed suicide in their cells actually died somewhere else; this suggests they were tortured to death.
The Taliban sent suicide bombers and commandos into Kabul, attacking government buildings and civilians inside a supermarket. Throwing grenades into a market is a worse attack on civilians than the US troops have done. They have killed Afghan civilians many times by carelessness, mistaking them for combatants and not checking enough; but the grenades in the supermarket must have been intended to kill Afghan civilians.
India joins China in the tyranny of restricting satellite phones. Restriction of citizens' communication is unacceptable no matter what excuse is given.
The US took control of Haiti's airport and did not allow a deligation from neighboring countries to land.
Haitians are franticly obssessed with what will happen to their dead relatives' corpses, to the point where they are ready to spend their last dollar on burials. How foolish is this obsession with corpses! What difference does it make where your body (or mine) ends up? No matter how many other bodies are in the same grave, we won't feel it. How many people's lives will be lost for the sake of burial?
In the past, mass graves caused one real problem: it was hard to be sure whether someone you were looking for had been buried in one. But is easy enough, when burying corpses together, to record all the names that are known, and to take photos of all the corpses buried there to help people identify them later.
Kenyan fishermen report that ocean fish which had been depleted have bounced back, because the Somali pirates have chased away the illegal foreign fishing ships. It is heartening that these species of predators have bounced back in just two years. That shows increased protection of them in other areas would bring results soon.
However, it may be that effective enforcement of current international law would not suffice to achieve that result. The fear of piracy affects an area of the ocean well beyond the limits of Kenyan sovereignty.
The person quoted calling pirates "terrorists" was mistaken, just as it is a mistake to describe ordinary burglars as "terrorists". The Somali pirates rob, they kidnap, and maybe they sometimes kill, and that in itself is bad enough. Let's not exaggerate by calling it "terrorism".
The west aims to keep itself safe regardless of the suffering this causes in other countries.
China and Iceland got aid to Haiti fast, while the US couldn't get its act together. I am sure the US slowness was not an intentional goal. It stems from a sort of rigidity of thinking — for instance, the obsession with security in a zone where there is no enemy — which makes it hard to do any job right. They can't airdrop water lest people fight over it, but is it better if all die of thirst? If you drop enough water at one time in any one area, people there won't fight over it, they will drink it. Or they could drop a squad to hand out the water that was dropped. Meanwhile, why did the earthquake do so much damage? Because Haiti is too poor to build buildings that will stand up. That is due to two centuries of mistreatment by France and then the US. The article doesn't mention that US troops under Dubya's command kidnaped Aristide, showing that the coup was Dubya's work. The government set up afterwards has effectively banned Aristide's party from elections.
The president of Haiti vetoed a bill to increase the minimum wage because the multinational companies did not like it.
US citizens: Sign this petition asking the FDA to pull apparently dangerous genetically modified corn off the market (for food). The links in that page explain more about the issue; do follow them if you are curious.
Genetically modified corn causes liver and kidney damage in rats. More studies are needed, but Monsanto uses its patents to suppress and control research.
Iran's Majlis censured an official responsible for fatal mistreatment of arrested protestors.
Not satisfied with banning 500 candidates for office, Iraq's government wants to ban their parties too. The connection with Iran makes sense, since Iran also bans candidates from elections.
So Bush's war of conquest has resulted in an Iraq whose government is aligned politically with Iran, but the multinational companies get the oil.
Organized poachers are killing more and more elephants in Africa. A question that the article does not answer is whether the killing of 10% of the elephants each year will drive them to extinction.
Conspicuous consumption is a major element in Chinese culture. The reason Chinese are wiping out the world's sharks to make shark's fin soup is not because they love the taste. That is a customary way of showing you're prepared to spend a lot of money on a banquet. So it could be that the high price of ivory paradoxically increases the demand for it.
Everyone: call on credit card companies not to charge fees for donations to charity.
Stephen Gough faces life imprisonment for walking around Scotland nude.
Yemen says it has killed the leader of the local al Qa'ida group. Killing the leader of a guerrilla group usually has little effect; they just appoint a new leader. Killing or capturing a considerable fraction of the membership can make a dent in the group, but only if that goes faster than recruitment.
In Italy, il ducino wants to require people to get administrative permission to distribute video (any video) by internet.
US citizens: sign this petition to investigate how insurance companies paid for their lobbying.
Hazing in South Africa is done with a knife, and can kill. It continues because those who have been through it sneer at those who have not. It's absurd to claim that Shaka Zulu's troops were not manly enough, given that they defeated everyone in the area.
After Bassam Nabulsi published a tape showing Sheikh Issa of Abu Dhabi torturing a captive, the court there found Sheikh Issa innocent, and convicted Nabulsi of blackmailing him. Lest Americans feel smug, remember that Obama is protecting the officials responsible for US torture.
Global warming has brought the shipworm (a kind of clam, I think) into the Baltic Sea, where it is now eating the wood of ancient shipwrecks.
If global warming raises the seas by 20 feet, that will destroy a lot more of humanity's past, around the world.
A Yemeni program claims to be successful at convincing fervent Muslims that terrorism (attacking civilians) is wrong, but the US doesn't like it, because it distinguishes terrorism from fighting an occupying army.
In other words, the US wants to stretch the definition of "terrorism" to include people like George Washington.
Everyone: support the boycott of the planned Tintin film, which responds to the oppressive use of copyright by the author's widow's husband. As a further measure, don't buy new Tintin books, either! If you want to read them, borrow them or get used copies.
Many who criticize the Chinese government have found their email has been cracked or diverted, apparently by China. It's unfortunate that they use the term "hack" as meaning "attack", but that doesn't reduce the importance of the article's point.
The US is imposing the utmost pressure to make Costa Rica sign the CAFTA treaty, which faces opposition because it would make copyright law nastier there. The article also mentions an unrelated issue which concerns trademarks, and thus gives the impression that the two issues are similar. This is inaccurate: there is no similarity or relationship between copyright law and trademark law. The only resemblance between the two issues is that in each one the US is demanding something that would benefit some of the companies (American and foreign) that the US government works for. This confusion between different laws is the typical result of allowing the term "intellectual property" into your thinking.
AT&T appears to be tricking and suborning various organizations into supporting its campaign against net neutrality, through its local representatives, and their friends who owe them favors.
US citizens: sign this letter to the FCC which opposes the copyright loophole in proposed net neutrality rules.
Coca-Cola company tried to block showing of a film about the US lawsuit filed by the families of murdered Colombian union organizers.
Copyright has locked up the vast majority of 20th century culture. My view is that copyright should last for 10 years from the publication of any work, and this reduction should be applied retroactively just as the extensions were.
Police in Massachusetts have arrested people for recording police brutality with their phones.
The former operator of OiNK, a site which posted links to torrents for unauthorized copying, was found innocent on charges brought by the copyright industry. When the entertainment companies lose the fight against an individual, they present this as a reason why they need nastier laws.
China canceled a gay beauty contest by saying the event wasn't properly "licensed". To require events to get licenses is itself an act of tyranny.
Scientists who were fired or quit the UK's "scientific" drug advisory committee have founded an independent organization to study the risks of various drugs.
Iraq's government has banned 500 candidates, most of them Sunni, delegitimizing the coming elections.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and say, don't give any more funds for the war in Afghanistan without a concrete plan to remove the troops in 2011/2012 as Obama said he will do.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The Iraqi army is diverting oil and selling it. It is arguably more patriotic for Iraqis to do this than to let the foreign companies sell the oil.
Pat Robertson says that Haitians made a pact with the devil and this is their punishment. That sort of craziness is what results when people believe in Christianity in a literal-minded way.
Israel has killed over 300 Palestinians from Gaza by not letting them leave for medical care. The latest victim was 3 years old. Egypt too is responsible, since it could also let these people leave for treatment. Egypt participates actively in the siege of Gaza.
Increased methane seepage from the Arctic, caused by warming there, can now be estimated by satellite observations. Although it is a small fraction of methane emissions now, the danger is that further warming in the Arctic could trigger catastrophic methane emissions. There is some temperature at which that will happen, but we don't know what it is.
Israel continues frequent killings of Palestinians near the borders of Gaza.
Wasteful US consumer culture is spreading to the wealthier people around the world. It will lead to disaster, one way or another, if it isn't checked.
Israel made 150 Palestinians homeless by destroying their homes. The excuse that these homes are illegal (i.e., forbidden by Israel) could fool someone who wants an excuse to be fooled. However, when Israelis build houses in the West Bank, violating international law as well as Israeli law, the government disregards court orders to demolish them and tries to legalize them instead.
Uganda plans to sentence people to life imprisonment or even death for homosexual sex. Knowingly having sex with others while infected with HIV can be considered attempted murder, and people have been prosecuted in some countries for doing so. But it is absurd for the gender of the victim to make a difference.
Amnesty International is campaigning for Israel to release various Palestinian political prisoners — organizers of nonviolent protests. Bringing charges of illegal weapons against someone who collects used bullets and gas grenades shows egregious contempt for justice.
Israel released one of them, organizer Jamal Juma, after a month of detention without charge. But it has recently arrested other nonviolent protest organizers. One of the foreigners who come to act as witnesses to Israel's treatment of Palestinians was grabbed by the Army from the West Bank and deported.
Journalists face arbitrary expulsion too, if they don't support Israel's line. The US also restricts the entry of foreign journalists, a policy that would a shame to the US, except that it is lost under piles of far worse nastiness. The Palestinian Authority also carries out arbitrary arrests of opposition, despite a crackdown which has mostly stopped torturing them.
A Bush forces soldier got in trouble when the Pentagon received a copy of his hip-hop song that talks about killing the officers. Today's volunteer soldiers share in the responsibility for their presence in Iraq, so they can't put all the blame on the officers. I admire those who refuse to fight, who denounce the war as immoral (or, secondarily, as illegal).
The lawyers for Guantanamo prisoner Shaker Aamer have received secret UK documents that prove MI5 agents were involved when the Bush regime tortured him in Afghanistan.
But the Clown regime is keeping these secret from the public, so it can continue to lie to the public about its involvement in torture. And continue to protect the US from being held responsible for its torture.
Americans should demand that the UK release this proof of US torture in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post ran a propaganda piece from a right-wing organization as a news article.
US citizens: call your congresscritter and senators and say that the health care bill must not interfere with coverage of abortion.
And demand a public option too. The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Goldman Sachs thinks it can continue feeding at the public trough by requiring its executives to give 4% of their pay to charity.
Insurance companies gave millions of dollars to the US Chamber of Commerce to run ads to destroy health care reform.
A Dutch inquiry concluded that the invasion of Iraq "had no legal mandate" under the UN, which means it violated the UN treaties.
The UK will ban two Islamic extremist organizations for their political views, which are described as "glorifying terrorism". I don't like terrorism, but banning opinions is more dangerous than terrorism. Since the UK regularly labels protest as "terrorism", it could use this as a pretext to ban all organizations that glorify protest.
Google refuses to continue censoring search results for the Chinese government even if that means it ceases providing the service in China. It is unfortunate that the article uses the totally vague term "intellectual property". In this context, it could refer to any data whatsoever that was on Google's computers, but gives a false impression of having a more specific meaning.
Amazon insists on restricting ebook users even when the author and publisher don't want to; Amazon boasts of selling lots of ebooks, and then claims they have not been sold.
B'liar wrote to Bush in April 2002 promising the UK would attack Iraq, although in public Bliar pretended the decision would depend on later events.
The west may be kidnaping some Iranian nuclear scientists, or perhaps they are defecting. One was just killed, and it's no clear by whom or why.
A European court ruled that the UK's law allowing police to search anyone on the street they suspect of "terrorism" is a violation of human rights.
A poll reports increased support in Afghanistan for Karzai and NATO. This is good news, if true, but I have to wonder if it is too good to be true.
In London: Join the mass photo shoot to click for the right to take photos.
Iceland's president vetoed a bill to take responsibility for the debts of failed banks. There is no moral reason why Iceland's people should assume this debt, which was never theirs, and no logical reason why anyone should refuse to do business with Icelandic companies in general merely because the government won't bail these banks. (Most companies are not going to be bailed out by the state if they fail, and we don't refuse to do business with them.)
So if it is true that companies will refuse to do business with everyone in Iceland, that is a threat aimed at extortion.
US citizens: phone your senators to oppose Murkowski's amendment that would stop the EPA from limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Also sign this petition.
US citizens: write to the FCC in support of net neutrality.
Multinational seed companies are using patents on genes to restrict and censor research into the effects of genetically modified crops.
According to a law professor, patents are the basis for this policy.
The article blurs the issue through its use of the term "intellectual property": it is not clear from the article itself that the issue is due to patents. Even more confused, when the article says seed companies consider this "necessary to protect their intellectual property", that is backwards: the license is based on the patent, not vice versa. They don't need to obstruct science in order to maintain the patents. They obstruct science because they don't want the truth to be known.
The term "intellectual property" also provides an excuse for the article to rush to endorse the policy of forbidding farmers from saving and distributing seeds. I disagree, but I don't want to raise that issue here, only to point out that the propaganda term is doing additional dirty work.
45,000 people die each year in the US for lack of proper health care.
By comparison, terrorism is a minor danger.
The Gaza aid convoy was able to bring most of its aid across the border from Egypt.
But Egypt used the occasion to block all further aid to Gaza.
Egypt's government is a US-sponsored dictatorship, and the US requires Egypt to support the Israeli siege of Gaza. I have doubts that Egypt will allow aid to reach Gaza via the Egyptian Red Crescent, but we will see.
This policy will increase Egyptians' disgust for their government. Its main opposition is an underground Islamist group. Sooner or later that group will overthrow the current dictatorship and replace it with an unjust Islamic regime. (The Islamic tyranny in Iran came to power through the overthrow of the US-supported dictator, the Shah.)
I wonder if Obama and his men are planning on that outcome. It would give them another enemy they could cite as an excuse for unending war.
There is a controversy over whether people are overly worried about small radiation leaks from nuclear power plants. A few scientists even claim that small doses are harmless.
It is misguided to compare nuclear power with radiation therapy, because radiation therapy isn't meant to be safe. It just needs to be safer than other treatments for a fatal disease.
I'm sure people exaggerate the danger of small radiation leaks, just as they exaggerate the danger of terrorism. There is no point worrying about doses of radiation that are much smaller than what we are exposed to in other ways.
That doesn't mean building nuclear power plants is a good idea. The waste is very radioactive and will remain so for millenia. The plants are so expensive that we should spend our money on renewables and efficiency instead.
Karzai's man in charge of anti-drug activity is a former minister who was sacked for egregious corruption.
The Nazca people may have caused a disaster through deforestation. Much of Peru is following the same path today.
Howard Dean is giving voice to many Democrats who now see that Obama is rather right-wing.
The president is not all-powerful, and perhaps Obama simply can't do some of the things he said he would do. I would not criticize him for admitting that he cannot pass a good bill. However, that is no excuse for passing a bad one. And many of the bad things he has done did not require congressional help.
Global warming will force species to move up to 10 km per year to follow the climate conditions they can live in.
Large animals can do that, but trees and soil organisms will find it quite difficult.
Koalas are among beloved species that could be wiped out by global warming.
2008 was not unusually warm in North America because a La Niña event occurred.
US residents (and maybe others): move your money out of the big banks that have robbed the US, and into small local banks and credit unions.
(I do not refer to their home page because it contains a YouTube video. It is harmful to distribute or recommend video in Flash and MPEG4.)
Global warming has increased the escape of methane from the Artic sea bottom.
This is a positive feedback cycle that could cause greatly increased global warming.
A study suggests that we're headed for 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30) feet of sea-level rise, enough to flood important large inhabited areas of the world.
African workers in mafia-controlled Italian farms rioted against the local mafia, after some of them were shot for no specific reason.
The police arrested all the immigrants, but not all of the mafia.
The US had better think about Somalia before intervening in Yemen.
It is common to call Somalia a "failed state", but that is not true nowadays. The last Somali state didn't fail, it was destroyed by the US. The Islamic Courts Union set up a state that brought peace to the country and had considerable public support, but Bush used the dictators of Ethiopia to destroy it.
That state followed unjust Islamic law, but that's not enough to justify the intervention — not that Bush cared much about justice.
His intervention sought to install the previous "transitional government" which had been set up by the West. Hardly anyone in Somalia supported it before. Not surprisingly, few support it now. As a result, Somalia now has lots of pirates and renewed civil war.
Many scientists and campaigners have rejected the UK's government plans for genetically modified crops, pointing out that their main effect is to replace forests with cattle and contribute to global warming.
UK MP Galloway was deported from Egypt after returning there from Gaza. His exclusion from future aid efforts will make it easier for Egypt to block them quietly and without much world attention.
A 50% tax rate on bank executive bonuses in the UK did not convince the banks to reduce the billions they spend on bonuses. However, it's a good thing anyway, since it collects more tax from these rich people. If not for that, poor people would lose that money (one way or another).
Iran is following the path of totalitarian crackdown as it bans talking with many foreign news organizations.
More fallout from drug prohibition: a student was punished for bringing peppermint oil to school. I distrust the school's claim that this policy is meant to protect students who have allergies. If the school is serious about this, it should focus on likely causes of severe allergies. Does it have a rule against bringing nuts to school and sharing them? If it does, I will believe that claim.
A Japanese whaling ship rammed a small Sea Shepherd vessel, the Ady Gil, which is sinking. The Japanese whalers claim that the Ady Gil's crew intentionally caused the collision; so too, police will accuse a protestor of assaulting an officer's stick with his head. It is plausible that the Ady Gil crew stopped in front of the Japanese ship so that it would have to turn to avoid a collision. The Japanese crew must have decided to ram it rather than turn.
Blackwater has paid compensation to people killed in Iraq, but other employees face murder charges for killing civilians in Afghanistan. Both mercenaries and official soldiers ought to be prosecuted when they wantonly kill civilians. But only a small fraction of such cases can be prosecuted, because it is hard to get the necessary evidence.
Controlling a country whose populace is in rebellion, as in Iraq and now Afghanistan, predictably leads the occupying soldiers to dehumanize the populace, and repeatedly leads them to kill whoever vaguely seems like a threat. In the case of Iraq, the war was obviously unjustified at the outset. Bush, and other officials who started it, are responsible for all these killings.
I wonder how much of the settlement money is really going to the Iraqi victims' families, and how much will be diverted to officials before it reaches them.
The US has recently used its "no-fly" list to interfere with travel between other countries, effectively labeling journalists such as Hernando Calvo Ospina as "terrorists". Those events occurred in April, so it is possible that the policy has changed since. If that is so, I would like to know.
In Bulgaria: join the protest on Jan 14 against broad new government surveillance plans.
UK police intensify their attacks on innocent photographers, suspected (along with everyone else) of "terrorism".
Cancer and birth defects increased in Iraq after the 1991 war, and they are increasing again now, probably called by Dirty Uranium in US weapons.
US support for tyranny in Egypt, and intervention in countries such as Somalia and Yemen, helps Al Qa'ida spread around the world.
Anthrax-contaminated heroin demonstrates the danger of prohibition. I do not like being dependent on a drug, so I would never try heroin, and I would urge others not to try it. But as regards real danger, prohibition is much more dangerous than heroin itself. For instance, most of the people that die from a heroin overdose got the overdose because of the unreliability of illegal, unsupervised production. That would not happen in the Netherlands where addicts can register and get their dose from a doctor. Neither would the current contamination.
The other dangers of prohibition include corruption of police, corruption of politicians, support for criminal gangs, denial of human rights, expansion of prison population, reduced wage levels due to competition from prison labor, suppression of research about effects and uses of these drugs, and a tendency towards dishonest anti-drug propaganda. Many of these effects extend into the countries where drugs are produced or trafficked.
Denmark continues to hold Copenhagen activists in prison on trumped-up charges, and intends to prosecute protestors for walking into a meeting uninvited.
China sentenced a Tibetan filmmaker to years of imprisonment after a fraudulent trial.
Minnesota has placed a tax on electricity from coal. This should be done everywhere.
US immigration agents are holding prisoners (accused of illegal immigration) in secret prisons and under horrible conditions.
UK airport body-scanners can't be used on anyone under 18 because the images are "child pornography".
The irony of this case demonstrates the general absurdity of this system of censorship — including its supposition that people of age 17 are not accustomed to having sex. But the real harm of the law is in the cases that are not related to security: for instance, art, taking pictures of or for one's lovers, and taking pictures of one's children. These important cases are, naturally, not the ones that the UK proposes to legalize.
This law should be abolished.
If the concern is about real sexual abuse of children, it would make more sense to aim action at actual abuse (in which photos are rarely taken), rather than censor images. That would also be safer for society, since it would not offer an excuse for the dangerous practice of censorship.
Someone in Japan could face a prison sentence, if the marijuana planted in his suitcase by a customs officer gets found later by police.
A Slovakian in Dublin was arrested, after Irish police were tipped off about the explosives that were planted in his suitcase, without his knowledge, by Slovakian police.
The coup regime in Honduras keeps killing dissidents.
It is clear that the election they ran was baloney; a fair election cannot occur under repression like this.
US troops in Afghanistan took 8 sleeping schoolchildren from their homes, handcuffed them, and shot them (along with a couple of adult relatives). No possible orders could excuse shooting captives, even if they were enemies. US therefore has a duty to prosecute these soldiers, with any commanders who gave orders that encouraged this act. Unless it does so, unless it clearly rejects such conduct and punishes all those responsible, the US is no better than Al Qa'ida.
Israel plans to demolish hundreds of buildings in East Jerusalem where Palestinians live. Individual Palestinians are often attacked by fanatical "settlers". In the West Bank, "settlers" that have occupied Palestinian farmland destroy their olive trees. This is ethnic cleansing, carried out slowly enough that the US government can pretend not to recognize it.
EU citizens: sign the petition against software patents in Europe.
China is building a commercial empire as the US builds a military one.
Iraqi doctors demand a probe into why cancer rates in a region have risen by tenfold.
Iran took Shirin Ebadi's sister hostage and Mousavi's brother-in-law hostage, after murdering Mousavi's nephew right outside his home.
A Muslim fanatic tried to attack the cartoonist who drew cartoons making fun of Mohammad. That's religion for you.
Irish Atheists have defied the law that prohibits blasphemy.
US citizens: Phone your congresscritter and insist that the health care reform bill have a public option. Passing Lieberman's gift to insurance companies would do harm rather than good.
The bill should also tax the rich (as the house bill does) rather than working Americans, and should make health care affordable (as the house bill does) for them. And it should extend anti-trust law to insurance companies (as the house bill does).
On the difference between activism and organizing.
Kazakhstan's turn as the head of the OSCE, responsible for human rights in Europe, comes as it systematically attacks opposition press.
Kucinich will run an investigation of the Fannie/Freddie bailout.
Uri Avnery on Egypt's support for Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Egypt is building an underground metal barrier to make the siege of Gaza even tighter.
The US is surely behind this, even though it pretends not to be involved. Egypt gets a lot of money from the US, and would not do this if the US had not demanded it.
I am not at all impressed by the argument that missiles are brought in along with the food and supplies for building houses. Israel imports missiles too. Is that a reason for a siege of Israel?
The obsession with "child pornography" has reached the point of censoring art.
How about ancient Greek sculptures and paintings of boys?
A court dismissed charges against Blackwater guards who killed Iraqi civilians, saying prosecutors acted illegally collecting evidence.
In the 2000 decade, right-wing economics proved itself a failure and a lie. But it reinforced the power of big business over US politicians. That is why Republicans call for more of the same bad policies while Democrats don't dare say how bad they are.
As an example, the government just gave the banksters more presents.
Nigerians are suing Shell in the Netherlands for pollution from its oil operations in Nigeria.
Reportedly Iranian agents kidnaped Britons from Iraq to stop one of them from installing accounting software that would reveal their embezzlement from the Iraqi government.
I am not ready to take all that at face value. I won't say that Iran's government would not do such a thing, but I there are many Iraqis in the government who would too, and putting the all blame on the government we love to hate would be great for diverting suspicion away from themselves. Perhaps Iraqi officials and Iranians worked together.
I wonder why kidnaping Moore prevented installation of the accounting software. Was there no one else to do it? That seems unlikely, a priori. Whoever wanted to block the installation probably had to take further steps to prevent someone else from doing so.
Israel continues to persecute Mordechai Vanunu, who told the world about Israel's weapons of mass destruction.
More than 20 years later, Vanunu has no more secrets to reveal. That is just an excuse to continue his punishment. Many of today's Israelis came from the Soviet Union, and found it difficult to leave since they were banned from emigrating. Now it is Israel that prevents Vanunu from emigrating.
"President Obama, It's Time to Fire the TSA".
I don't agree 100%. I think it is valid to check airline passengers for weapons and obvious bombs, and I don't particularly care whether this is done by the TSA or by some replacement organization.
But I agree with the basic point, which is that the TSA is terrorizing Americans into surrendering their freedom and that is very dangerous.
Egypt is blocking the Gaza Freedom March (surely on orders from Obama), so Hedy Epstein, who survived Nazi genocide, is now on hunger strike demanding passage for her and the rest of the march.
Reportedly the government of Yemen is crushing a local rebellion by bombarding villages and killing many civilians.
I can't judge the accuracy of the statements and I don't know enough to draw conclusions, but I don't think I should just ignore it.
Many US companies have imposed censorship on Indian internet users.
Chomsky: the "war on drugs" gives the US an excuse/opportunity to militarize Latin America.
The Senate health care bill would increase prescription costs by blocking the introduction of generic drugs.
Israel has announced a large construction project in East Jerusalem, in effect asserting that the rest of the world is too cowed to do anything about it. The ethical policy for the US to follow would be to condition all future aid to Israel on measured progress in reducing settler occupation in the West Bank territory conquered in 1967.
Historic protest at CIA HQ against murderous drone bombers.
US courts convict people of terrorism based on evidence so flimsy it is hardly proof of anything.
Abdulmutallab's home-made bomb reportedly set the airplane's cabin wall on fire. The new security measures are surely unnecessary in some ways and inadequate in others. Meanwhile, you don't need a terrorist to cause a fire in an airplane — for instance, survivable crash landings sometimes start fires.
So what's an airplane doing with a flammable material in the cabin wall? That's what needs the attention.
Protestors in Iran fought back after police started shooting them. Families of members of the police, army and militia should start pressuring them to quit or disobey orders.
How Denmark sabotaged the Copenhagen negotiations. I've seen several reports of who sabotaged the talks and how. For instance, that China did and that the US did. These accusations do not contradict each other, so they could well all be true. The accusation I am inclined not to believe is the one made by the US against the hostile Latin American governments in Bolivia and Venezuela.
How the Senate health care bill is bad.
Israel is escalating attacks against Palestinians, and also against Israeli dissidents.
Over 30 "terrorist" suspects have been killed while prisoners of the US; 8 seem to have been tortured to death. The victims were never tried, so we don't know whether they were really terrorists. The perpetrators enjoy more or less immunity.
"Green consumerism" can backfire, serving as an excuse to leave vital government-organized conservation undone.
Liu Xiaobo, who dared to call for free elections in China, has been imprisoned for "subversion".
Iraqi Christians have been targeted for bombings. But Iraq is not quite an equal-opportunity killing field. No matter who you are, someone is trying to kill you, but the enemies of some groups try harder than others.
A campaign to free 2200 Venezuelans punished for protesting. I got information on some of the laws they want to repeal. Some of them could prohibit protests that ought to be allowed in a democracy, but most of them seem like valid laws to me.
One cause of the problem of US business is that business schools teach finance rather than production. I agree with those who pointed out this is not the only cause. The "free trade" policies that made US workers compete with slave labor in China are also very much responsible.
One insightful comment said:
There are more people who have the skills needed to run a manufacturing operation, but the bigger issue is that while a dozen people working for a year can wring out an extra $1 million in manufacturing efficiency in the factory, on Wall Street, one person with the right skills can generate the same amount of revenue in a day.It follows that if we want US business to try to do anything other than buy and sell companies, we need to change those conditions. We need to make it much harder to make that million on Wall Street, so that instead of half the CEOs in the US competing to be among the few who succeed in making amillion dollars in a day, they go back to trying to invest in producing something.
The US is attacking al Qa'ida with drone missiles in Yemen. In principle, there is nothing wrong with fighting and killing Al Qa'ida fighters, when they are in places where it is impossible to arrest them. But what limits the strength of such groups is not their current manpower but rather their ability to recruit more. Attacks that kill civilians are just the thing to strengthen them.
ACM members: tell the ACM you condemn its opposition to "open access" publishing. The ACM's expensive "digital library", whose expense it cites as a reason to restrict access, solves a "problem" that exists only because of these restrictions.
Post about the issue, too.
A witness to the Copenhagen negotiations says that China suckered Obama into accepting a lousy deal that poor countries blamed on the US. If the events happened as described, that doesn't mean the blame falls on China. It takes more than one to make a deal; Obama could have denounced China's proposals as inadequate and demanded a deal that would really solve the problem. But he didn't, indicating that he took the cowardly view that a pretend solution, no matter how bad a failure it covers up, is better than admitting failure.
The Chinese negotiators must have figured that out.
But how did this situation arise? It was created by the "free trade" policies of the US adopted by Clinton (with Republican support), which allowed China to become so powerful and destroy the US economy. This, in turn, occurred because business had taken control of the Democratic party, which got itself into power by surrendering most of what it stood for.
The death of Ayatollah Montazeri has brought renewed large protests in Iran. If Shah Khamenei's men fear that a major Shi'ite holiday will be the occasion for protests, evidently the "Islamic Republic" cares as little for Islam as it does for the Republic. The quest for power has undone it totally. It makes an interesting comparison with the early years of the Soviet Union.
Israeli border police shot Lily Sussman's laptop, fortunately missing the disk. I cannot imagine any possible valid motive for this act, no matter what crimes they may have suspected her of.
The Bush regime fell for a hoax that claimed Al Jazeera was sending coded messages to terrorists. Probably this is because Bush wanted to believe Al Jazeera was in league with terrorists. Meanwhile, the US has never satisfactorily explained the tank attack that killed an Al Jazeera journalist in Baghdad.
Jimmy Carter calls on the US and other powers to support a UN-imposed ban on construction of Israeli "settlements" in Palestinian territories. I agree.
Israel systematically represses nonviolent Palestinian activism.
Everyone: tell your Egyptian consulate to let the Gaza Freedom March cross into Gaza.
The CO2 cuts proposed in Copenhagen were insufficient to prevent a disastrous 3 degrees C of warming. This is supposing they were real cuts, not paper cuts. As explained previously, cap-and-trade leads to reductions on paper which don't reduce real emissions.
The CIA works closely with Palestinian "security agencies" that torture prisoners that are held without trial. Israel holds thousands of Palestinians prisoner without trial and often tortures them. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority depend on US support, and the US could simply order them both to stop torture. So the US is responsible.These prisoners include leading Palestinian human rights activists. They have not been charged with anything, just imprisoned.
When Israeli "settlers" set up an outpost in a Palestinian neighborhood, they start harassment attacks against people who live nearby, including children. It is one step in a many-step process of ethnic cleansing.
Clown tried to blame China for the failure of the Copenhagen talks, plus the countries in Latin America that do not bow to US pressure. How strange to omit Canada and the US from the blame, as well as the oil companies whose influence pulls their strings.
Lithuania set up secret prisons for the CIA, and allowed the CIA to transport prisoners in and out without checking them. The transportation of prisoners without checking who they are is the real root of the problem. Many US "allies" allow the US to do this. The practice must be stopped.
I agree fully with the churchman who told people it is better to steal food from large stores than starve.
US citizens: tell the EPA to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Saboteurs cut the main Iraqi oil pipeline, perhaps trying to prevent their nation's wealth from being handed over to foreign conquerors.
Child labor booms among Iraqi refugees in Syria.
Mexico has authorized planting transgenic maize, which endangers its traditional varieties with contamination. Since maize pollen is carried by wind, 500 meters of separation is completely inadequate.
The experiments are unnecessary unless Mexico intends to allow farming of transgenic maize. But that would be a disaster. Contamination with artificial genes has already been discovered in Mexico, but this would mean a lot more.
Uri Avnery: Obama is a total disappointment.
The Senate health care bill is good only for the insurance companies, but Obama and most Democrats are not honest enough to admit defeat. They would rather pass a harmful bill and pretend it is good.
London police accused an Italian tourist of "terrorism" for filming famous buildings. They didn't believe anyone would do this for pleasure. Part of what we see here is the tendency of police to believe and support other police. It is no good to give PCSOs less powers than real police, if the real police come to arrest anyone that PCSOs tell tales about.
Police in Pennsylvania face charges for helping murders lie so as to escape conviction. The federal "hate crime" charges are a disguised form of double jeopardy. Even for murder grave, double jeopardy can never be excused. However, the dishonesty of these policemen is a deeper form of rot than the murder itself, and charging them is not double jeopardy.
Haiti's principal political party, Lavalas, has been banned from the coming elections that will be run by the UN. Even if the mechanism of these elections is "fair", they are no more democratic than the Iranian elections in which the mullahs veto candidates.
Banks "too big to fail" must not be allowed to exist. To prevent banks from exceeding a certain size, it is not sufficient to pass a law saying it's not allowed. We need a system which will take hold of any bank heading for that size and send it firmly and irresistably in the other direction.
One way to do this is to impose a tax that starts small but rapidly gets bigger as the bank's size gets close to the limit. This tax could be charged per day. So if a bank gets near the limit on Tuesday, it won't have to split up by Wednesday or shut down — but it will be under strong pressure to take effective action soon.
Why Propaganda Trumps Truth: how the official story about 9/11/2001 helps maintain a bunch of other lies
Protestors in Copenhagen have to face the obstacle of police that are allowed to arrest and imprison anyone on a whim.
US citizens: phone your senators to oppose nuclear power. Also sign this petition.
Uganda proposes to execute people that have homosexual relationships, and imprison anyone that speaks in favor of homosexuals' rights. For information about the history of this proposal, see here.
The International Emissions Trading Association effectively represents the oil companies, which suggests they know that cap-and-trade won't really reduce oil consumption. If the US had participated in the Kyoto accord, cap-and-trade would have been thoroughly tried and its failure would be conclusive too.
Global warming denialist PR works together with Murdoch to spread falsehood and boost nuclear companies.
Obama renominated incompetent Bernanke to head the Federal Reserve Bank. Senator Sanders is leading efforts to block the nomination.
The Wall Street Journal is now the printed equivalent of Faux News.
How the health insurance companies trick Facebook users into opposing health care reform. How a right-wing billionaire secretly funds opposition to health care reform.
Everyone: sign this petition condemning the violent attacks of police in Denmark against nonviolent protests and against even people suspected of possibly planning a protest.
March Forward aims to organize opposition to the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan among soldiers. I am obligated to mention that I originally supported the war in Afghanistan. I think it is hopeless, that Afghans won't fight for Karzai any more than Iraqis fought for Hussein, but I disagree with the stronger things that some of the people quoted said about that war.
There is some validity in Raughter's point that people who enlisted since the start of the Iraq war should have thought about the morality of the war, and declined to enlist. But if they failed to think before, that doesn't mean they must not start now.
I'm skeptical of Marjorie Cohn's claim that all the US wars since World War II were illegal. My understanding is that the US participation in the Korean War was authorized by the UN Security Council, as well as by South Korea's request for help defending against an invasion. So was the first gulf war which kicked Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait. It seems to me that those wars were lawful (and justified, which is a different question). However, the US has engaged in a number of unjustified wars which may have been illegal too.
A detailed history of Gaza over the past few decades, and of the war crimes committed there. I find myself unmoved by Gilad Shalit's pleading for special concern. His son, a soldier, was taken prisoner; that is normal. Israel has taken many civilians prisoner without charges; that should not be normal. Each of their relatives has more claim to our sympathy than Mr. Shalit.
The nuclear power reactor companies, which have already won US government support for subsidies for reactors that would lose lots of money, gained further support in a draft Copenhagen treaty produced by a few corrupt governments.
The Australian government says it will erect a China-style censorship wall, censoring a secret list of web pages with no explanation.
Censorship is an attack on human rights. No matter how offensive something seems, that is no excuse for censorship. But this is not the first way that the Australian government has declared itself the enemy of its citizens.
Police in Copenhagen attacked a massive peaceful protest, after preemptive arrests and sabotage. The conference is turning out to be a failure, so there will be a big protest, which surely the police will sabotage again.
As British scientists try to recommend a diet that will cause less environmental damage and less global warming as well as better health, food businesses use their political power to prevent government support.
Here, as in many other issues, the political power of business threatens everyone's health. There are major government subsidies for many kinds of agricultural production. Governments should stop subsidizing those that do harm, and start taxing them instead.
Protestors closed a store in London that sells products made in an Israeli colony in the West Bank.
In the Gaza Freedom March, 1000 foreign activists will enter Israel from Egypt.
The city of Vancouver ordered the removal of anti-Olympics mural.
This is one of many ways the city has attacked the rights of citizens who complain about the trouble the games will cause them. And small businesses with "Olympic" in their names (because that city is on the Olympic Peninsula) were forced to change their names.
Perhaps in the future the Olympics will have to be held in countries such as China that generally don't respect human rights. Or else the games will have to stop being a scheme to benefit some of a city's businesses at the expense of the citizens in general.
Israeli officials told Aadel Suad it would take 30 years for an Arab like him to get a permit to build a house on his land. So far it has been 12 years and the officials are still finding excuses.
B'liar was seduced into Bush's invasion of Iraq through sycophancy: he was star-struck by Bush's power. However, his own lack of honesty predisposed him to this.
B'liar is no longer the prime minister, the British government continues its cowardice, shamefully bowing to Israeli demands to protect them from arrest for war crimes. What exactly distinguishes Israeli soldiers from "terrorists", Ms Livni? Is it the fact that Israeli soldiers kill a lot more civilians? Or is it the fact that their victims are Arabs?
Monsanto is using gene patents to take control of seed industry. Patents on genes used in agricultural plants should be abolished, along with anything that stops farmers from saving, breeding and exchanging seeds.
US citizens: phone the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell Obama to stand up to Senator Lieberman and not let him get a health care bill without a public option.
Even if you have "nothing to hide", you must not ignore threats of surveillance.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter and senators to support HR1147 and S592, the Local Community Radio Act. See http://www.prometheusradio.org/
The Copenhagen plan for trading carbon emission cuts is tailor-made for industrial-scale fraud, rather than real emission reduction.
Jews and Arabs held a peaceful protest near houses in Jerusalem that Israel has taken away from long-time Arab residents. Police viciously attacked the protestors, including some who were only filming the events. The police say the videos of spraying pepper spray in Professor Nir's face were "edited" to hide the justification for doing this. That claim is absurd; whatever may have happened before, it couldn't justify such a damaging act towards someone unarmed.
Science Fiction writer Peter Watts was beaten up by the US border police as he tried to return home to Canada, then charged with attacking the police. It is easy for police to make false accusations because they are habituated to lying in court.
Tobacco companies pay to set up "Life Skills Training" programs in schools because they found these programs are ineffective at helping people quit smoking.
Proposed in Congress: a bill to tax stock trades and other financial transactions of the big casino.
Obama has done one thing right in Afghanistan: tightly controlling air strikes so as to avoid killing civilians. (I find the attitude of the article repulsive, but the facts it describes are interesting.)
This is a big step forward from the Bush regime policy of lying about the problem. If this had been done in 2005, perhaps the Taliban would not have become as powerful as it is. But it already is powerful, and I don't think ceasing to kill civilians is enough to win admiration for a regime that is visibly both undemocratic and corrupt.
The Obama regime seeks to use unrelated trade issues to pressure Canada into imposing unjust copyright restrictions. In effect, the US offers monetary rewards for a few Canadians in exchange for denying freedom to all of them. A government that serves the rich, which is what most of them mainly do these days, would consider this a great bargain.
The use of the term "intellectual property" when the topic is copyright law (and not patent law, not trademark law, not trade secret law, not publicity rights, etc.) is confusion; for the sake of clear thinking, please avoid repeating this practice in your own discourse.
The U.N. Commission against Torture reports on many forms of systematic injustice in China. These include not investigating accusations of torture, shielding torturers, narrowing the definition of torture, imprisoning people without trial, holding prisoners in secret prisons, threatening defense lawyers, deporting people to countries likely to torture them, and blocking access to information about casualties of state violence. These practices should be familiar because the US has done all of them in recent years, and continues doing several of them.
The US government has become so despicable that it cannot rebuke China any more. I suppose this explains the good relation between the US government and the Chinese government.
CO2 is making the oceans acidic, and many kinds of of sea life are in danger, directly or indirectly.
The House of Representatives passed a bank regulation bill that can prevent some abuses against the public, but fails to address the structural problems that caused the financial crisis.
The IRS persecutes poor people for making too little money to get by.
London police say, "We didn't search him for taking photos, we did it because he didn't think he owed us an explanation for taking photos." That's a shoddy excuse and shows that the police have the attitude of bullies. Furthermore, the continued willingness to use "anti-terrorism" laws against people merely for refusing to be intimidated shows that these laws are part of a dishonest system of bullying.
US citizens: phone your senators and say, "Give us a real public option in health care reform -- or vote against the bill."Also sign this petition.
The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
The Climate Research Unit discarded some of the raw data its conclusions are based on, in the 1980s, because it did not have space for the magtapes and paper. This does not seem to be misconduct, but the result is unfortunate. The lesson we should draw is that we should insist scientist release their raw data when they publish conclusions based on it.
Egypt will allow some Palestinian students to leave Gaza through Egypt. When Egypt keeps the Rafah crossing closed, it helps maintain the siege of Gaza. It is surely doing so in response to US pressure.
The EU firmly rejected Israel's wish to annex East Jerusalem and parts of Palestine. If only the US would do so as well, peace might be achievable. The idea that a policy of not offending anyone might lead to peace is utter confusion.
The WTO is trying to ban countries from regulating the financial derivatives that caused the bank crisis.
Irish women have gone to the European human rights court for abortion rights.
Israel's "Justice minister" wants to impose ancient Torah law. He is the Jewish equivalent of the theocratic Christians in the US and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
50 years ago, Israel forced Bedouin in the Negev to move to a town, Heiran. Now Israel is forcing them to move again.
Amnesty International reports widespread torture of dissidents in Iran as well as threats to torture their relatives.
US citizens: tell the Senate Democrats not to compromise away the public option in health care reform. It would be a total surrender to the insurance companies.
Senator Bernie Sanders explains why Bernanke did exactly the wrong things in dealing with the financial crisis.
The insurance companies and the senators they fund seem to have defeated the public option. At this point, the honest and useful thing to do is to declare that they have blocked useful reform, give up, and condemn them and their paid senators for it. But what I expect most Democrats to do is to try to paint it as a success.
Police in Copenhagen tried to sabotage protests by arresting 200 people and seizing equipment for nonviolent protests. This is an attack on democracy. The excuse that someone is planning violence is what the police always say when they sabotage protests, but even if that is true, it is no excuse for the police to attack democracy. And there is no excuse to seize equipment for nonviolent protests.
The Republicans today are using the tactics of McCarthyism: guilt by association, and exaggerated accusations of treason. One pervasive right-wing lie not criticized in this analysis is the claim that Obama is a Liberal. I'm a Liberal, so I can tell: Obama is not one.
A real Liberal would restore FDR's reregulation of the banks, so they can't cause more crashes. A real Liberal would help the working people who are in danger of losing their mortgages. A Real liberal would not bail out any company except in exchange for ownership of it.
A real Liberal would support a national health care system. A real Liberal would not sign Free Exploitation Agreements that give businesses increased power over everyone's lives. A real Liberal would not secretly negotiate a treaty (ACTA) to restrict citizens for the sake of companies.A real Liberal would not trample the human rights of Americans by letting the police listen to our conversations without court approval. A real Liberal would not support coups against democratic countries. A real Liberal would not continue pointless wars to prop up corrupt rulers.
Obama is no Liberal. Kucinich for president!
Israelis came in the middle of the night for a pogrom against the inhabitants of Enabus village.
The multinational oil companies are gaining control of Iraq's oil, and some of Dubya's officials are profiting personally from this. Iraqis should stop fighting each other and unite to nationalize the oil again.
What the house health care bill says; what the senate bill is likely to say.
There is little scientific evidence that Tamiflu can prevent deaths from flu, and the manufacturer is blocking access to the results of some studies. We should not let drug companies directly fund studies of the effects of drugs. They use this arrangement to get power to skew and suppress the results. Instead we should tax them, and the government should fund the studies.
The social health of a nation correlates inversely with religiosity. This shows that religion does not make life better, and suggests that people turn to religion to bear life in a bad society.
Some of the organizations now trying to manufacture a scandal from the Climate Research Unit emails have been funded for many years by oil companies.
Civil forfeiture continues to be used in the US to punish people without even accusing them of crimes. Letting police or prosecutors punish people without a trial is surely convenient for fighting criminals and non-criminals alike. It fights everyone unlucky enough to get in the way. With marauding police like this, who needs criminals?
Punishing people without trial (or even accusation of a crime) is tyranny, and the practice must be abolished.
Famous musicians are suing the major record companies for billions of dollars which they owed to the musicians but didn't bother to pay. The non-famous musicians have contracts that exploit them, and would not get very much.
These are the companies that want governments to adopt unjust laws against sharing, in the name of those musicians.
There were massive protests in Iran, on the anniversary of the murder of student protestors by the former Shah. The current Shah Khamenei sent his militias to attack the protestors.
The UK's first ID card office has met with protests.
Why we need to stop global warming before it reaches 2 degrees C.
US citizens: phone your senators and say, vote against the Nelson-Hatch amendment to forbid insurance plans from covering abortions.
In the Himalayas, global warming has reached 4 degrees C, around 7 degrees F. The effects are blatant and dangerous.
Iran is trying to silence critics all around the world by threatening their families in Iran.
A Canadian climate researcher's lab has experienced robbery attempts recently.
Obama will use the EPA to cut CO2 emissions if Congress fails to approve a strong bill.
UK police officials told police to stop threatening photographers using "anti-terror" laws. Ending this one abuse of these unjust laws does not make them acceptable. Some of these laws make it a crime to be suspected, and others are handy for sabotaging protests of any kind. It is not enough for the authorities to be refrain from trampling the rights of people in one activity. The UK must explicitly restore human rights.
The UK police must also pass an "attitude" of their own: to respect people's rights instead of trying to intimidate people out of them. Do they still pressure pubs to set up cameras and let the police view the footage whenever they wish? It should be <em>illegal</em> for anyone to show security camera footage to the police without a court order.
Public Citizen (founded by Ralph Nader) organized a protest to break up the banks that are "too big to fail."
US citiziens: sign this petition for regulating the banks to prevent more bubbles and crashes.
A musician tells how his record company habitually lies to him about income even though it would not have to pay the band any money for many years.
Canada has given its political allegiance to dirty oil made from tar.
Rom Houben, who has been in a coma for 23 years, is said to be conscious and able to communicate. But is it really he who is communicating?
Bangladesh's finance minister called on Britain and other wealthy countries to accept millions of refugees whose lands will be submerged by rising seas. I think it is more feasible to pay millions of people to have no children.
Think tanks funded by arms companies helped convince the US government to send more troops to Afghanistan and now are telling the public that this is going to result in victory.
Why it's a pointless annoyance to check train passengers' luggage for bombs.
Turkey plans to assign every citizen an email address, which means the government will automatically track everyone's email. I don't think either a government or a large company with millions of users can be trusted with my email (or yours).
The airline lobby uses misleading statistics and distraction to try to avoid being regulated for the sake of controlling global warming. If most of the global warming effect of jet planes comes from causes other than the CO2 they emit, that makes the case difficult since a tax on petroleum will underestimate the harm done. It would be necessary to put an extra tax on jet fuel to cover the other global warming effects.
That isn't hard, since jet fuel is already taxed.
Attempts to train the Afghan army and police are undermined because they don't have anything positive to fight for. Perhaps NATO would do better recruiting an army of Afghan women. Surrender would be no option for them, and no Taliban could ever sneak in. They would fight the Taliban until the Taliban are dead or surrender. Then they would tell Karzai where to get off.
US citizens: sign this petition to Senate Majority Leader Reid saying to use all possible methods to protect the public option in the health care bill.
A would-be governor in the Philippines is accused of murdering the family and supporters of another candidate.
After the Bush regime's monsters tortured Abu Zubaydah, and took photos of his injuries, they showed the photos to other prisoners threatening to torture them the same way.
Iranian exiles in Turkey say Iranian agents are threatening them there.
In Honduras and Haiti, the U.S. Rules by Proxy.
James Hansen says that the approach chosen in the Copenhagen negotiations, "cap-and-trade", is so misguided that it won't help at all. The idea of cap-and-trade is that those for whom reducing emissions is expensive can pay someone else to reduce emissions for them. In theory, it should work; in practice, those who reduce emissions anyway — or can pretend they did — sell these credits, so nobody else has to conserve, and the policy doesn't achieve much.
An emissions tax could be collected easily by taxing carbon-containing fuels, and cattle (for the methane they produce). There would be no way to escape paying, so everyone would feel the pressure to really conserve.
Paying this tax might be painful, but the changes we need to make cannot help being painful. The resistance to undertake these changes is what Hansen means by "business as usual".
Israeli activists joined Palestinian farmers so soldiers wouldn't stop them from plowing their land.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter to oppose funding for escalation in Afghanistan. Also sign this petition to Congress.
Fresh water entering the North Atlantc can turn off ocean currents and plunge Europe into an ice age in a period as short as a couple of years. Melting of lot of Greenland ice could do this, at least for a while, so that Northern Europe would get cold. The rest of the world would continue getting hotter.
An Iranian doctor who testified that prisoners were tortured to death has been killed by poison. Suicide seems like an implausible theory. If you decide to take an overdose of drugs, why put the drug in a salad?
The UK's high court ruled that the Clown regime cannot use denial of bail to keep suspects in prison forever based on secret evidence that they are not allowed to see or answer.
Obama will send more troops to Afghanistan in a futile attempt to win an unwinnable war. Little will be different in 2012, but Obama may be able to pull the troops out then just as Nixon pulled them out of Vietnam — through the pretense that Karzai's government will be able to sustain itself. Then it could be allowed to fall on its own, as the South Vietnamese government did, or make some accommodation with part of the Taliban. The inter-group fighting in Afghanistan could continue as it has done for most of the past 20 years.
A BBC photographer was stopped by police from taking a photo of a cathedral in London.
A study found that religious people often attribute to gods they worship whatever moral beliefs they hold.
US citizens: phone the White House at 202-456-1111 to oppose escalation in Afghanistan.
Canadian border police searched Amy Goodman's notes, car, and computer, afraid she would say something about the Olympic games and the police repression aimed at those who criticize it.
Citizens of India: tell your prime minister he should go to the Copenhagen negotiations.
Obama plans to appoint a sort of viceroy in Afghanistan to exercize the real power in place of Karzai (to the extent he has any). This approach is necessary since Karzai's corruption makes his government contemptible. At the same time, the critics are right that this approach cannot work, since it will make Karzai's government contemptible. You can't make a good government out of a corrupt flunky.
An activist denouncing police gangsterism in Venezuela has been killed, apparently by the police.
Concordia University censored David Bernans' book reading, then tried to pretend it hadn't done so. Now he has proof that the secret "risk assessment committee" compiled a dossier of false information about him.
A pub in the UK has been fined because someone used its Wifi net for illegal sharing. This is an example of the practice known as "collective responsibility". When a state attacks the people it rules, they tend to turn a blind eye to each others' acts of defiance. The natural next step for such a state is to punish anyone who refuses to serve as an enforcer against the rest. Collective responsibility is meant to make people afraid to cooperate with each other.
This is one more demonstration that the UK government is fighting an undeclared war against its citizens.
B'liar is going to be examined in regard to a letter that told him in July 2002 that invading Iraq was illegal. B'liar had already committed himself to an invasion with the goal of deposing Saddam Hussein, whether or not there was any legitimate reason.
Honduras' coup-installed government has tried to legitimize the coup with an election carried under repression. I would expect that the candidate aligned with Zelaya pulled out because his rallies and supporters were being attacked by police.
If the turnout was 70% in rich areas and 30% in poor areas, it seems that Zelaya's call to boycott the election was heeded by his supporters. This government should not be recognized.
Marwan Barghouti could become a Palestinian leader with enough authority to win peace, putting an end to the practice of negotiation that is not really trying to reach a deal.
In the UK, political parties can take contributions from companies, even from craudulent ones.
I think the "honest" businesses—those not engaging in illegal forms of fraud—are a bigger threat to democracy in practice.
Government papers that could prove B'liar lied about the Iraq invasion in January 2003 (or, in principle, could support what he said) are being withheld from the Chilcot hearing on various pretexts.
Netanyahu gave Obama a "supension" of settlement building which hardly slows their actual construction, and Obama has pretended it means something.
Aminatou Haidar, a nonviolent activist who rejects Morocco's conquest of Western Sahara, was summarily exiled to Spain without a passport. She is now on hunger strike in an airport terminal.
Clown plans to send more troops to Afghanistan, supposedly to train the Afghan army.
You can train Afghani troops in various techniques, but mere training will not lead anyone to be loyal to Karzai's goverment. It has no virtues to inspire loyalty, except a cut of the money.
Former ambassador Meyer's testimony has directly given the lie to B'liar's claim that the reason for attacking Iraq was the mythical Iraqi weapons. While saying that to the public, in private it was all "regime change".
After widespread repression, Honduras' coup-established government is holding an election with right-wing candidates.
The US rewarded the coup by agreeing to recognize the results of the election. This reinforces the suspicion that the US encouraged the coup in advance.
Everyone: participate in a vigil for ending global warming.
The former German "defense" secretary admitted blame for denying that there were civilian victims in an Afghanistan attack, when he knew that there were civilian victims.
At least he shows a certain amount of integrity by his willingness to resign when caught. In the US, or the UK, officials caught in a lie go on lying for years.
China and Russia joined in demanding Iran stop working on a secret nuclear enrichment plant.
Electronic products are still made in sweatshops by people regularly working 80-hour weeks. The corporate "codes of conduct" are regularly circumvented and mainly serve to hide the problem. The US should require companies selling products in the US to disclose the subcontractors that actually made the products and their major subsystems. Each company wants to keep this secret to gain some tiny advantage over its competitors; but if all were required to publish the information, they wouldn't really lose anything.
East Antarctica's ice sheet is melting.
When B'liar claimed to be a restraining influence on Bush, that was a lie: he didn't even try to influence Bush.
The UK government safety agency found that French and US reactor designs have flaws that affect safety.
Even if a nuclear reactor is totally safe in its own operation, its waste cannot be safe. And nuclear power plants are so expensive that it is better to invest the same money in renewable energy and more efficient energy use. If the putative "energy crunch" in 2017 is for real, wasting money on nuclear plants will make it worse.
Bush tried to convince the UK to join in attacking Iraq even in early 2001.
A Honduran teacher active in resistance against the coup was kidnapped and then shot, presumably by agents of the illegitimate government.
Instead of offering to cut CO2 emissions, China says only that it will slow the growth of emissions. That's a program for disaster.
A UK government report proposes major reforms in how police treat protestors. This may be a big step forward, but reform is equally needed in organization that investigates accusations against the police. Instead of seeking to ignore and whitewash police crimes, it must make justice its goal.
I suspect that it was not by coincidence that the police under B'liar and Clown have made it their mission to crush protests and never mind the cost. I suspect that they were catering to pressure from the government. If the government does not stop the pressure, the police will find a way to serve it.
UK citizens: phone your MP to condemn the plan to disconnect people from the Internet for sharing, and say that the deepest problem with this plan is that the goal is wrong. Sharing is good!
I saw a petition which condemns only the means proposed but since it grants undeserved legitimacy to the evil goal of this plan, I do not recommend people sign it.
Global warming deniers have had a field day taking phrases out of context in some emails that were taken from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit and leaked. This article explains the real, innocent meaning of some of those guilty-sounding phrases.
Obama wants to continue the tyrannical parts of the U SAP AT RIOT act.
A secret CIA prison site in Lithuania has been found, but the CIA continues to try to conceal the crimes it committed there.
Geithner seems to have engineered the bailout of AIG so as to hand out billions of taxpayers' dollars to its wealthy creditors.
Large bonuses for stock-trading bank employees were a crucial factor in last year's crash.
Obama has rejected the idea of capping bonuses. A simple cap may be the wrong solution. However, requiring bonues to be delivered in shares that can't be sold for several years might help.
Pakistan has put militants on trial for the Mumbai terrorist attack.
Iraqis believe Bush and B'liar destroyed their country and got away with murder.
The tobacco companies developed many techniques to control the legistative process. Now other industries have taken up the same techniques.
Pakistanis who tortured British prisoners told Human Rights Watch that British agents knew all about it and were "breathing down their necks".
The UK must prosecute B'liar for this, just as the US must prosecute Bush for approving torture.
Certain bacteria on children's skin help reduce inflamation.
The family of de Menezes has settled its legal case against the UK police for around $200k. However, the police have not reformed their conduct so as to cease to be a danger to the lives of everyone in the UK. I doubt this compensation is enough to discourage them from reoffending.
Police in the UK are arresting people as an excuse to take DNA samples from them.
The UK's investigation into how the invasion of Iraq was launched has been hamstrung by the government, which did not appoint legal experts and skilled cross-examiners.
A prosecutor in Afghanistan wants to prosecute two ministers for corruption.
Developing nations call for UN body to police battle on climate change.
The US has started arming local militias in Afghanistan to keep the Taliban out of their areas. This suggests to me that Obama has given up on depending on Karzai to establish security in Afghanistan. I agree Karzai cannot do that.
It also, paradoxically, could be a path towards removing the US troops. A balance of power between various militias may be as close to peace as Afghanistan can get. Since the Taliban are not united either, the foreign forces might be able to depart leaving that balance in place.
B'liar stopped the army from preparing properly for the invasion of Iraq just to prevent Parliament from realizing that he had already made the decision to attack.
Former pilot Lotfi Raissi was mistakenly suspected of involvement in the 9/11 attacks in the US, and had to wait months in jail while prosecutors failed to tell the judge that they knew the suspicion was spurious.
World-wide opposition to Scientology is heating up after the defection of various celebrities and church executives, who have denounced its abusive practices and its absurdities.
UN troops again shot people in Haiti.
The Clown regime admits that pervasive surveillance of cars is used to harass protestors using "anti-terrorist" laws. It amounts to tyranny. Britons, don't let talk of "terrorists" distract you from the real enemies of your freedom!
Although the claim goes squarely against the US legal tradition, the propaganda campaign based on the term "intellectual property" puts pressure on courts to go along with attempts to stretch copyright power.
Sri Lanka has agreed to release all the Tamil civilians now held in prison camps.
NASA's Earth-observation satellites, crucial for measuring and understanding climate, are getting old and not being replaced.
Measuring how global warming affects the climate is vital if we intend to do something about it. If we are just going to wait for disaster, we might as well keep our eyes closed.
Cuba's repression has increased under Raul Castro; people are still imprisoned on suspicion, without committing any actual crime.
Understanding just how many species we humans are wiping out.
The Clown regime says Karzai would fall in weeks if not propped up.
This is because his government has done nothing to earn respect or loyalty from people in Afghanistan. It never has, and it never will, since its basis is just corruption. So the situation will not improve. We can keep propping it up, but victory is a pipedream (as in Vietnam). The only real question is how long to go on doing so.
The UK's new internet law is a plan for digital tyranny.
Iran rejected the deal for Russia and France to reprocess its uranium into reactor fuel. I don't think there is any way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran will not agree to abandon its uranium refining, and China won't approve more sanctions, and a military attack is not justified and probably wouldn't stop the development anyway.
Iran might agree to nuclear disarmament if Israel does too.
Iraqis are still fleeing as refugees, but UN support for these refugees is dwindling. According to the article, 1000 new refugees register every month in neighboring countries. Meanwhile 1000 Iraqi refugees either return to Iraq or move to countries outside the region. That means the number now returning is less than 1000, less than the number now fleeing.
Many refugees may soon face the choice between starving in Syria or being murdered in Iraq, all thanks to the USA.
I don't know how to reconcile that expectation with the many news reports saying that thousands of Iraqis had been imprisoned for months or years, without any attempt to try them. But even supposing it was true, it seems to imply that the soldiers had no real evidence that these prisoners had committed any crime, and also that they were not going to be treated as prisoners of war.
Koalas are heading rapidly towards extinction due to habitat destruction, disease, and global warming.
Version 2 of the proposed Google Book Search settlement is approximately as bad as the first draft.
Even authors of bestsellers can make little money compared with the publisher. Keep this in mind when the publishers demand more copyright power in the authors' name.
US citizens: phone your senators in support of a single-payer health care system. Or sign this petition, but phone calls generally have more impact.
US citizens: use this form to tell the EPA you support strong fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks (such as SUVs).
Israeli soldiers shot two Palestinians in Bil'in in the head with tear gas canisters. The second victim died from the blow. The first victim was permanently injured, but he is well enough to continue nonviolent protests. He give this interview.
People whose home were flooded by Hurricane Katrina may get compensation after a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers was callously negligent. Repairing the wetlands around New Orleans might make sense if we stop global warming. But if we fail to act on that, it is futile: the rising ocean will cover them, and New Orleans.
Afghanistan and Iraq judged among the 5 most corrupt states.
Dignitas helps the incurably ill to commit suicide.
The idea of a "good death" is self-deception; death is very bad, so bad that it is always an unjust fate. But there are circumstances where continuing to live is worse. Those condemned to a life of torture or helplessness are entitled to help in escaping from it, if they wish, even if the only escape is to the lesser injustice of death.
Lemurs in Madagascar are facing extinction as the government encourages businesses to cut down the remaining forests and drought-stricken farmers burn them.
The human hunger in Madagascar is due to overpopulation combined with the drought; but the drought may be partly human-caused too, through CO2 emissions and deforestation. What's being done now will make the drought worse.
Global warming is headed for total disaster — 6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century.
But we may not get all the way there. I am not sure civilization could keep going through the mass starvation, mass migrations, and wars that would occur before that point.
Everyone: tell the US Chamber of Commerce to stop its support for laws that let companies protect rapists.
Over a million children in the US often don't have enough to eat, and many of them have a parent who has a job.
The battalion commander set the tone for this.
Many congresscritters repeated lobbyist-supplied text in their speeches about the health care bill.
This provides a nice demonstration of what we already knew: most congresscritters are mouthpieces for the lobbyists.
Nuclear power doesn't eliminate CO2 emissions if you consider the uranium mining.
A government investigator says the bailout of AIG was so incompetently done that it made matters worse.
A UN event to discuss governance of the Internet censored a poster that mentioned China's censorship of the Internet.
US citizens: sign up to send coat hangers to congressional Democrats that supposedly support abortion rights but voted to ban insurance coverage for abortion.
Protestors in the UK shut down exports from Israeli settlements in Palestine.
A UK soldier faces 10 years in prison for condemning the war in Afghanistan.
The Economist says that population growth is falling fast in many poor countries. This is great news, but it does not mean we are safe from the effects of population growth (some of which increase global warming). We should make every effort to reduce world-wide population growth now, as well as helping poor countries develop and protect the environment.
Israel is trying to discredit Human Rights Watch with lies.
The US calls for an "Afghan FBI" to fight official corruption. With corruption streaming down from Karzai and his ministers, I also doubt they can find enough Afghanis who are ready, willing and able to resist corruption and yet capable of commanding respect. If they can't, this body would inevitably be a puppet of the US, and be perceived as such. So it will either arrest the whole government, or give up on its mission.
There is little difference between arresting all the ministers and officials and replacing the government bodily. It would be easier to let the Taliban do that.
Neda Soltan was not a bystander — she was prepared to die for freedom in Iran.
As Obama heads for China, he probably won't talk about the human rights activists that are being arrested in honor of his visit.
The current recession will not delay dangerous global warming by very long.
The UK is pushing for negotiations with some of the Taliban.
The TSA banned snowglobes, all of them, because it is too stupid to measure whether they fit its arbitrary criterion for liquid content.
Clown endorsed the sensible idea of taxing financial transactions to raise money for future bank bailouts. It was shot down by the US. Obama doesn't do much to confront the power of the banks.
The US is moving to seize assets from an Iranian-controlled foundation through civil forfeiture. The Alavi foundation is accused of feeding funds to Bank Melli, which is illegal. But it will not be tried for breaking that law. Instead, the US government wants to confiscate its assets through "civil forfeiture". This procedure, often used against people accused (truly or falsely) of selling or buying drugs, was invented as an excuse to bypass the US constitutional protections for the rights of the accused.
I have no sympathy for the government of Iran or for its agents, but whenever anyone in the US who is accused of any sort of wrongdoing, that someone must not be punished without a fair trial.
Former Blackwater executives say the company authorized bribing Iraqi officials to drop their criticism after employees shot civilians in Baghdad for no reason.
Italians: join the protest in Rome demanding Berlusconi's resignation.
A whistleblower in the International Energy Agency says it has deliberately overstated the possible rate of oil extraction. In fact, shortages are coming. The way to prevent these shortages from causing price spikes is to raise the price in advance using taxes. That will help the world get used to using less oil. Wise countries have used high gasoline taxes since the 70s.
Meanwhile, we must make sure that the response consists of burning less, not burning coal or shale-oil instead.
An institute of engineering says the UK needs a "war-time mentality" to succeed in reducing its CO2 emissions. Even if some of the issues raised by this study are real, I have doubts about its assumption that new nuclear plants are needed, given that Amory Lovins has shown they are wastefully inefficient as ways to reduce CO2 emissions. Also, some of these methods might reduce warming but would not prevent acidification of the ocean which threatens to wipe out all molluscs.
Many of the principal officials that Bush placed over Iraq have profited personally from Iraqi oil dealings.
The economic downturn was caused by a failure to regulate financial markets and companies properly, which in turn was (and still is) caused by the antidemocratic political dominion of large companies over the state. Individual corruption played a role, too.
In the UK: send a message to Mandelson opposing the plan to disconnect people from the internet if they share music. I suggest going beyond criticism of this particular method and condemning the very idea that sharing should be stopped. Sharing is good.
Everyone: sign this petition for increased food aid for 1 billion people that don't get enough to eat. We must also give them birth control aid, because starvation is a very bad way to limit population growth.
US citizens: sign this petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that the health care bill should not ban insurance coverage for abortions.
The Kyoto treaty has been a failure: countries that promised to reduce emissions have increased emissions instead.
Kucinich explains why he voted no on the health care reform bill. I agree with his goals, but I think it is better to pass the bill (if the abortion coverage ban can be removed) than not. It will help Americans get coverage and remove abuses. It will also increase prices. But then, when people see how much it costs, there may be more support in the future to eliminate the insurance companies.
Extremadura, which led the world in moving computer education to free software, is improving sex education with practical lessons. Teaching people to explore masturbation is useful; they may be able to tell their lovers what they like. But that's still not complete sex education. Complete sex education would include practical study in pleasing your lover.
US citizens: if your congresscritter voted against the amendment to ban insurance coverage for abortion, call your congresscritter and say thanks. Otherwise, call your congresscritter and say you're angry. The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Although Hamas has suppressed rocket attacks from Gaza, Israeli soldiers continue shooting at Palestinian farmers with rifles and artillery.
In the West Bank, Israeli settlers (i.e., land thieves) started plowing on Palestinian shepherds' land. Probably the Palestinian owners cannot grow crops on that land because Isreal has taken most of the water resources. This water is available for irrigation only to the settlers.
The US ambassador in Afghanistan says more US troops are a mistake with so much doubt about Karzai. In other words, he appreciates the similarity to Vietnam and its corrupt rulers which others have pointed out.
Iran executed a man for belonging to a banned opposition group. The US, less barbaric but no more just, only imprisons people for belonging to banned opposition groups.
Emergency workers who assisted at the World Trade Center are starting to get cancer. This article does not mention that officials falsely denied that the fumes around the WTC were toxic.
The US press is starting to consider the idea of using the US subsidy to make Israel get serious about peace. I propose that the US stop offering aid to Israel, and instead offer to purchase the West Bank settlements, building by building. The US can then rent out the apartments, to Jews and Arabs, on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, ensuring that inhabitants respect each other's rights.
Without some real changes, the Palestinian Authority is likely to disappear as its officials resign. They are concluding that the P.A. cannot achieve anything except to legitimize the occupation.
Toward a slow news movement.
There is a campaign to change the UK's libel laws, which have the effect of censorship. My prediction is that the Clown regime will not try to do anything about this problem. This is because the Clown regime mainly tries to serve the companies, and the companies probably find these laws useful.
The government of Iraq is trying to impose censorship on the Guardian (of London).
Israel frequently demolishes Arab houses in East Jerusalem, where Arabs can't get a building permit. Now it plans to demolish the Womens Society office there.
With global warming, all islands and coastal areas are in the same leaky boat.
The Clown regime is determined to subsidize dangerous, polluting, expensive nuclear plants, and silence local opposition to them. Amory Lovins has shown that renewable energy and efficiency improvements can eliminate more CO2 emissions for the same money. So building nuclear plants actually hampers efforts to reduce emissions.
Activists ask the New York Mets to cancel a fundraising dinner for Israeli colonization of Hebron.
An associate of RAWA debunks the idea that the war in Afghanistan helps Afghan women's rights. The Taliban are horrible rulers, but not all of them are as bad as they were before. And the ones the US is supporting are not much different.
As in Vietnam, the US is propping up a corrupt dictator that can't inspire anyone's loyalty, and using worthless elections to legitimize him.
A US pullout would not immediately end the fighting in Afghanistan. In Vietnam, what happened was that the fighting increased, until one of the two bad sides won, and then the fighting ended. That might happen in Afghanistan too, but it is an improvement over what is happening now. The fighting is increasing even now, and will keep increasing, and as long as the US troops remain the fighting cannot end.
Jimmy Carter defends the Goldstone report and explains how Israel's siege of Gaza continues even though Hamas has cracked down on rocket attacks.
B'tselem reports that Israel is investigating accusations against soldiers that abused civilians in Gaza (sometimes fatally). This is inadequate because it only addresses isolated incidents in which soldiers violated their orders — not the much worse atrocities that form a pattern because they followed orders.
Greg Palast explains why associating the Taliban with the 9/11 attacks is stretching the facts. His article only states part of the uncertainty. We can't even be sure that the Saudis accused of carrying out the attack were the real attackers, or that the Bush regime was not involved. Bush tried to block the investigation, then weakened it and corrupted it.
Uri Avnery: As Obama continues Bush's policies of letting Israel use a fake "peace process" as an excuse for further colonization, Palestinian President Abbas has refused to participate any longer.
The US State Department reports on how Israel does not recognize the rights of non-Jews.
The London police SWAT team has had thousands of accusations of brutality in the past few years, and nearly all were systematically ignored. The police are gangsters that enjoy official protection.
The UK government's spying on Muslims and dissidents amounts to the systematic semi-prohibition of dissent.
The coup regime in Honduras cheated on the accord with Zelaya, perhaps encouraged when the US said it would recognize elections carried out by the coup regime. This encourages suspicions that the US supported the coup all along.
Iraqi police are attacking journalists who publish dissent, and the government has imposed licensing of TV reporters.
The citizens of Amherst, Massachusetts, want to welcome Guantanamo prisoners (those not charged with any crime) as refugees.
Iraqi police try to detect bombs and guns by dowsing. No surprise that it doesn't work.
Europe only goes half-way in protecting Internet rights.
CIA agents and Italian governmemt agents were convicted of kidnaping Abu Omar to be sent to Egypt for torture.
Carbon Trading, which is supposed to enable reductions in emissions to be made wherever it's cheapest to do so, has been converted into a vehicle for speculation, and is failing to reduce emissions.
I prefer a tax on CO2 emissions, collected on fuels.
The government of Bangladesh tried to censor a photo exhibit about Tibet on behalf of the Chinese government, a "good friend" of Bangladesh.
In Venezuela, gays and transsexuals face frequent and dangerous harassment from the police.
The Copenhagen talks have failed; if they reach an agreement, it will be a gesture only.
Palestinian President Abbas says he will not run for reelection, because Israel offers no hope for peace.
Development of recreational drugs is moving so fast that prudish governments can't keep up.
Among all these new, untested substitute drugs, sooner or later there will be one that is particularly dangerous. It would be safer to let people use the not-so-dangerous well-known drugs.
London Police are still covering up how they killed Ian Tomlinson.
Another report the bombings in Iraq may have been done with help from inside the government "security" forces, for political infighting.
A new guide tells how to visit Sicily and not contribute to Mafia protection racket.
What Europe needs next is a guide for how to run computers without contributing to the software protection racket.
When Obama's men carry prisoners to the US, they treat the prisoners horribly.
I think it can be ethically acceptable to seize criminals in other countries to put them on trial. For instance, as long as the US protects the kingpins of torture, such as Bush and Cheney, and refuses to either prosecute them or consider extradition to some other country willing to do so, it is legitimate for another country to seize them and try them. But they should not be tortured into a confession that might be false, or convicted based on such a confession. Even Bush and Cheney deserve a fair trial.
Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to meet with US diplomats visiting Burma.
Pseudo-scientific attacks on vaccination are endangering lives in the US.
US citizens: sign this petition telling Obama not to appoint a pesticide company advocate as a US trade negotiator.
Comparing US health care costs with other countries: look what the insurance companies have managed to take from us.
Another report the bombings in Iraq may have been done with help from inside the government "security" forces, for political infighting.
If your emails are stored in a US company, it can turn them over to the police without even telling you.
Defectors from Scientology reveal how the cult hounded people who had quit.
The UK convicted a woman of the "crime" of being suspect.
To imprison people on suspicion is an evident act of tyranny, but in the UK it fits a general pattern of tyranny in the B'liar/Clown regime. Tyranny is far more dangerous than underground terrorism.
The absence of strong reforms of banking and business are preparing the way for the next financial crisis.
But that may be the intention, according to Naomi Klein's idea that crises are planned as opportunities to shift wealth to the rich.
Health insurance company lobbyists have won themselves a bill that will do more to protect their profits than to protect the public's health.
This bill might solve, mostly, the problem of poor Americans that don't have insurance coverage. But Americans who are not poor will be forced to pay whatever price the insurance companies decide to charge. And we can expect those prices to increase substantially as a result.
Perhaps those price increases will lead to rebellion and some of the bought legislators responsible might get voted out. That is all we can hope for.
1/5 of known mammal species are threatened due to human activity. The danger is worse for other kinds of vertebrates.
B'liar's approach to government: don't allow a major change to be discussed, because that way he couldn't keep everything under control.
This is typical of the attitude of New Labour towards the people. A few years ago, it abolished a cabinet office without discussion. Now it is negotiating the ACTA treaty without discussion. They could do a great job of governing a country, if only those pesky people were not in the way.
The opposition candidate in Afghanistan has quit the presidential election, saying it will be fraudulent.
From what else I've read, it seems he is right. How sad that Karzai was unwilling to settle for a highly probable honest victory. Now he has no chance of being more than a crook.
Now the US intervention in Afghanistan aims for nothing more than to keep a crook in power. The similarity to South Vietnam is increasing.
Coca Cola has offered the American Academy of Family Physicians a lot of money, and some doctors are quitting in disgust.
The coup government of Honduras has agreed to let Zelaya return as president, one month before the election of his successor.
What I am concerned about is whether Zelaya will have the time and cooperation needed to properly run an election.
India's elephant population is in rapid decline.
A major cause of the elephant population loss is human population growth. More people demand more land, leaving less and less for most wildlife.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter in suport of the Weiner amendment for a single-payer health care system.
To prevent people from knowing about prisoners tortured to death, Bush turned off all reporting of deaths of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama has done nothing to change this.
The US government adopted a law to cover up evidence of torture by its agents.
Everyone: sign the statement of support for the Goldstone Report on war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
US citizens: phone your congresscritter in support of the Goldstone Report. Congress is planning to pass a resolution to denounce it.
As the Indian state sells off poor people's land to big companies, it drives them to rebellion.
A retired assistant police chief says the TSA's practices are misguided in spirit and practice.
These conclusions fit well with the conclusion that the TSA's main function is to provide an impression of security ("security theater") and to instill a general tendency towards obedience.
The B'liar/Clown regime has instituted multiple systems of intense surveillance of protestors.
The insurance conpanies' bought politicians are blocking the appointment of the US Surgeon General as opposition to health care reform.
It is understandable that these companies oppose health care reform, because the purpose of such reform is to put an end to their profitable, dishonest and harmful business. Understandable, but not excusable. Neither is it excusable for politicians to serve them.
The idea of limiting the right to death to those who are going to die soon anyway, and turning away those condemned to helpless suffering that could last for decades, is particularly cruel. Switzerland should be proud to be the place they turn to for compassion.
The UK will split up banks that it rescued.
Any company that gets rescued because it is "too big to fail" should be split up, preferably into more than two pieces.
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