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  • Telegram refused to give Russia a back door to spy on its users. Now Russia has banned Telegram -- though precisely what that means in practice is not clear.

    A software developer cannot wish a tyrannical state away. But it has the obligation to refuse to become a tentacle of that state.

    Australians, I hope you can stop your state from becoming a similar tyranny.

  • More about Hassan Al Kontar, including how Turkish Airlines cheated him.

    Is there no country that will have the decency to offer him refuge?

  • Another US court has ruled that scraping information from a web site is not a crime under the CFAA law.

  • Avoid Gulf Stream Disruption at All Costs, Scientists Warn.

    We don't know how much more global heating it can stand before freezing northern Europe and drowning the eastern US.

  • The Onion quotes Pompeo: "They [the senators] just let me sit in this cushy chair the whole time without waterboarding me or anything."

  • Committee to Protect Journalists: Liberia should reform libel laws in wake of $1.8 million civil lawsuit against Front Page Africa.

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Israel to prosecute the soldiers that shot journalist Yaser Murtaja, and stop trying to excuse the act.

  • MIT students have cracked the surveillance system that tracks them as they enter dorms.

    That system is unjust surveillance, in the name of security. It is not limited to dorms; some lab buildings, including the one my office is in, use the same system that tracks people -- but I don't use it.

    I asked the MIT thug chief to document the effectiveness of this system in solving crimes in the building. He responded with platitudes and zero information. We have no reason to consider it any more than bullshit.

  • One source of the term "redneck" was the neckerchiefs worn by striking miners in West Virginia, fighting big coal.

  • The cheater pardoned Scooter Libby, who was convicted of obstruction of justice -- justice against Cheney's dirty tricks.

    I think this is meant as a threat against any attempt to hold him to account.

  • A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who advocates arming teachers left his pistol in a toilet. It was picked up by a drunkard who shot it (not hitting anyone and probably not trying to).

    Charging them with crimes is absurd. It is clear that the teacher did not intend to leave the pistol in a toilet, and as for the drunkard, punishing him will achieve nothing. Any sensible person already knows to try to avoid these things.

    The right lesson to draw is that arming teachers is a foolish and dangerous policy (though we already knew that).

  • Zuckerberg, testifying to Congress, pretended ignorance of Facebook's collection of data about people that don't have Facebook accounts, and its other data about people which it didn't get from their own Facebook accounts.

  • Big US banks have lent billions to companies that make loans, such as auto loans. Some of those companies are going down the tubes now because their own clients are defaulting.

    This could potentially lead to another crash.

  • Corrupt politicians in Wisconsin are designating people's houses as "blighted" as an excuse to kick them out and not really compensate them.

    This is to bring in a factory run by the company that drove Chinese sweatshop workers making Apple products to commit suicide.

  • The software company Lanetix fired all its programmers after they agreed to unionize. They have not given up, because it is illegal to do that.

  • A merger between Sprint and T-Mobile once again threatens.

    Maybe they think progressives in Congress might make mergers more difficult in the future.

  • A right-wing attack group is targeting striking teachers, arguing that they have a duty to children to suffer quietly any level of exploitation in favor of the rich.

  • FTC Says 'Warranty Void If Removed' Stickers Are Bullshit, Warns Manufacturers They're Breaking the Law.

    Will the FTC have the courage to take on Apple for bricking devices with third-party parts?

  • Thugs in a UK city decide whether to charge people with a crime based on stereotypes deduced probabilistically from big data.

  • US citizens, tell the Senate: Vote no on the Corker-Kaine blank check for war.

  • Businesses in the US actively keep wages down, despite big increases in business income and workers' productivity.

  • If the richest country on earth can't provide most workers with a decent wage, then we need to change the economic system so it can do so.

  • Hounding Commonwealth Citizens [living in the UK] Is No Accident. It's Cruelty by Design.

    Think of this when you see the bully's plans for hounding disfavored groups in the US.

  • President Do-dirty threatens to arrest the International Criminal Court prosecutor who might investigate his murders.

  • Aside from giving useds' personal data to other companies (Cambridge Analytica was one of many), Facebook combines its own surveillance data with lots more data so as to sell access to targeted useds.

  • The US suffers from more surveillance than ever, but the FBI still complains because some things remain that it can't see.

  • Facebook is promoting Mexican "news" sites whose output is pure propaganda and were set up specially for the coming election just to smear candidate AndrĂ©s Manuel Lopez Obrador. They use Facebook to hide who's spreading this propaganda.

  • Make half of world more nature-friendly by 2050, to protect the survival of humanity.

    "Scientists say the greater threat to humanity comes from the conversion of wild habitats to farmland, the degradation of soil, overconsumption in wealthy nations and the pollution of rivers by industrial effluent, agrichemicals and plastic."

  • Uber charges different prices to different people. Other companies also engage, or have engaged, in price discrimination. It turns out that identifying customers helps many businesses put customers at a disadvantage.

    The only thorough solution is to do what is needed for other reasons: eliminate the systems that let companies know who the customer is.

  • A new agreement calls for reducing CO2 emissions from ships, but only by 2050, which is far too slow.

    The US played a crucial role in blocking a requirement for earlier reductions.

  • US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius resigned last year rather than ask Vietnam to take back 8,000 refugees that fled after the fall of Saigon.

    Most of those people must be pretty old by now. And most of them must have got along badly with the Communist government, which regularly imprisons people that criticize it. If they were back in Vietnam they might be sent to a re-education camp. Probably some of them were in re-education camps before.

  • The referendum for the UK to leave the EU was marred by massive illegal campaigning by the victorious Leave campaign. Surely this justifies holding another vote.

    The EU is itself a kind of business-supremacy treaty. Leaving the EU could enable the UK to throw off some of the EU rules that help business and especially banks dominate all EU countries. But it also presents an easy excuse for yielding to even worse business-supremacy treaties, and that's surely what Tories will do.

  • US citizens: call on your congresscritter to oppose HR 3144; don't override environmental laws to endanger salmon and the animals that eat them.

  • Israeli soldiers shot and gassed hundreds of Palestinian protesters across the Gaza border fence again.

  • Goldman Sachs dared to say what many have suspected: it is more profitable to sell people a treatment every day than sell them a cure just once.

    As long as we let businesses influence medical research, they won't look much for cures. We should take the choice away from them. We should tax these businesses and fund medical research with state funds.

    We should also fund tests of proposed medicines' safety and effectiveness with state funds, so that the tests will not be corrupted.

    This will take away the supposed reason to allow businesses to have patents on medicines.

  • Apple has gone on a rampage against "leakers", threatening to get them jailed.

    Apple makes software to attack people's freedom, and now is a lackey of the Chinese tyranny. A leak from Apple does not necessarily work against this at all, but in the case where it does, it is admirable.

  • The US, UK and France attacked Syrian military facilities that they related to chemical weapons production.

    At least they made an effort to avoid sparking a war between the US and Russia, or even Iran.

    Seymour Hersh wrote that Assad didn't actually use Sarin gas last year, and that US intelligence told the bully this, but the bully refused to accept the facts. That doesn't prove Assad isn't using chlorine gas now, but it makes me uncertain about that question. His and Russia's denials are not credible either.

    Either way, I won't shed a tear for Assad's army, which is responsible for numerous atrocities, in Gouta and elsewhere in Syria.

    This limited attack will not have much effect on the outcome of the war in Syria. It seems clear now that Assad will defeat the Arab rebels except where they are protected by other countries such as Turkey or Israel. As the front stabilizes, fighting will wind down.

    The one place where I fear fighting might continue is in the Kurdish enclave of Rojava. The Kurds are the only group in Syria that is secular and supports human rights -- the only one that deserves support. However, all the powers in the region consider them enemies, some because they are secular, some they support human rights, and some because they are Kurds. I fear they will not be left in peace.

  • The UK says it has intelligence reports that Russia tested door handles as a system for delivering nerve gas.

    We cannot entirely trust this. We cannot trust Russian denials at all.

    I agree that it would be good for Yulia Skripal to make a brief public appearance and speak to one or two reporters briefly for TV. It could be made easy enough that she could handle it.

  • The Equal Rights [for women] Amendment has languished since the 1980s, but is just two states short of approval. The Illinois senate has just approved it. If the Illinois lower house does likewise, it will be one state away from approval.

    If Democrats take back several states in November, the ERA could actually pass.

  • Pushing children into academic study too young can stop them from learning social skills and basic prerequisites for study.

    I pushed myself into academic study while young, perhaps because the basic prerequisites came naturally to me.

  • Wendy Vitter, being considered by Congress as a possible judge, suggested that she disagrees with the Supreme Court decision that ended official racial segregation.

  • The Republican tax attacks included tax cuts for the rich, but those will expire in 10 years. Now they want to make those cuts permanent, using the minuscule benefits for middle-class taxpayers as a smokescreen to hide the big giveaways to the rich.

  • Cynthia Nixon, a progressive challenging New York Governor Cuomo, showed her total defiance of centrist Democrats that reject her views.

    A union official responds to two of her criticisms of unions.

    I agree with his second point. Most Americans get low pay, and partly this is because they don't have unions. We should not criticize unions for getting workers good wages. Overall, the US needs stronger unions, not weaker unions.

    However, the subsidy for movie companies is bad and should be ended. When cities and states pay businesses to choose them rather than some other city or state, this competition benefits those businesses at the expense of society. Whether the business in question is a factory, a new headquarters, or making a movie, we should put a stop to letting cities compete.

    The excuse of "creating jobs" is entirely bogus because this competition mainly takes them away from somewhere else. But even if it really did mostly create more jobs, the price is too high.

  • Facebook and Google joined with ISPs to defeat a privacy initiative in California.

  • The corporate media acted as boosters for military action, as is their general practice.

  • The US Constitution requires the president to get authorization from Congress before attacking. I see no doubt that Congress would have given it, but the failure to ask Congress before bombing Assad's forces undermines the constitution. This bad tendency has persisted under several presidents. Some Democrats in Congress criticized the bully for not asking for authorization.

    The bully says he has a secret excuse which he won't show to Congress.

    The UK government did something similar.

  • The UK is experiencing an increase in gang warfare, sometimes deadly. One cause is budget cuts in programs that support troubled youth.

  • Google plans to offer "confidential" emails which can't be downloaded out of Gmail.

    This looks like an anticompetitive scheme to make suckers pressure others to use Gmail rather than anything else.

    It doesn't provide any real security. It interferes only with the more convenient means to copy the message.

  • Chinese take puns so seriously that they build them into taboos.

  • Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn that the chlorine attack in Ghouta may have been a false flag attack by the rebels that were under attack.

  • Republicans want to terminate food assistance to a million poor Americans.

  • Corbyn wants to establish clearly and firmly that the UK government needs to get Parliament's approval to enter a war.

  • Apple sues independent repair companies in many countries, using trademark law to bully these small companies into settling at a disastrous price.

    Not surprisingly, Apple uses the bogus concept of "intellectual property" to make the issue too vague and enormous to even try to confront.

    The article describes one time that Apple lost the lawsuit.

  • Corbyn calls for the UN to mediate between the US and Russia in regard to Syria.

    I agree with Corbyn that this can't hurt.

  • The UK's new strict vehicle inspections will make many diesel cars illegal and effectively unfixable. For their owners, this will be a disaster.

    It is important to get these cars fixed or off the roads, but the cost should not fall on unsuspecting car owners at random. The rational way to handle this cost is to divide it among all owners of diesel cars, and/or the companies that made them.

  • Uri Avnery, who joined the Israeli Army when it was first created, feels betrayed by today's army, in which the generals order snipers to shoot harmless civilians and reporters at a distance of hundreds of meters and they do so, gleefully and triumphantly.

    Here is more info about that video.

  • The UN Secretary General says that Burmese troops' use of sexual violence was a 'calculated tool' to force Rohingya to leave and not return.

  • Poor People's Campaign to US Christians: being poor is not a sin. Imposing systemic poverty is a sin.

    I am not a Christian, and I don't use the concept of "sin". If you replace "a sin" with "nasty, destructive and inexcusable", then the statement becomes one I agree with.

  • Facebook's "voter button" can increase election turnout by a small but significant amount. By showing the button to some people and not others, it could decide who wins.

  • Hundreds of thousands rallied in Barcelona to demand Spain allow independentist leaders to return home. Spain has imprisoned some and is trying to drag others back.

  • Two black men were arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia for "trespassing", because they wanted to use a toilet while waiting for their friend to arrive. The friend did arrive but the thug chief thinks that doesn't matter.

    One of the root causes of this incident may be racism. Another is that the store seems to have a policy of not allowing people to use the bathroom if they have not bought anything.

    Compelling someone to excrete on the street or soil per own garments is cruel and degrading. Therefore, an establishment that admits the public and has toilets for some members of the public should not be allowed to deny use of those toilets to any orderly person, or to require any sort of payment for using them.

    It looks like we need to resurrect CEPTIA, the Committee to End Pay Toilets In America. CEPTIA made itself look like a joke, but that was H.H.O.S. -- its campaign was very successful against explicit pay toilets. However, that Starbucks operates a system effectively equivalent to a pay toilet, but with a different form.

    If a restaurant owner complains, "There are too many people walking by our location, so it's unfair that we have to let so many use our toilet," the best response is, "How about moving to a location with less foot traffic, then?"

  • The US, UK and France call for resuming the Syria peace talks.

  • An A/B test that compared two messages Democrats could use for the 2018 election found that linking race and poverty won more support than talking only about poverty.

  • Citizens of Massachusetts: ask your state representative to support the ACLU's recommendations for the budget bill amendments.

    I added this note at the front of my response:

    My own personal note: it is vital to reduce the birth rate, in the high-footprint USA as well as other countries, but imposing poverty on children who are already alive is a stupid and vicious method which probably doesn't even achieve the purpose. Thus I support Amendment #1361.
  • Global heating is shifting the boundary between the arid US western plains and the rain-moistened Midwest. The boundary has moved 140 miles eastward so far, drying up a belt of land. It is likely to move a lot further in coming decades.

  • Senator McConnell will block any effort to prevent the bully from firing investigator Mueller.

    I interpret this as an effort to help the bully get rid of Mueller. Republican elected officials have basically surrendered to him, and lost the will to resist. They serve the bully no matter what he does, or might do.

  • It is not feasible for communications companies to quickly delete all offensive postings. AI of today's sort can't come close to recognizing them.

    Let's not assume that companies should be required to delete all offensive postings. A small site can decide arbitrarily what to let people publish, without really censoring people -- they can communicate elsewhere. Not so for a giant site.

    When a private company grows to the point of dominating a large fraction of people's communication, censorship by that company is almost equivalent to censorship by the state. It is ludicrous for giants such as Facebook and Google to claim the right, as "private" entities, to impose rules about what people can say, all the while profiting from being perceived as "indispensable" by many people.

    We did not allow telephone companies to censor conversations, and that's effectively what Facebook is doing.

    By the way, please don't use the term "content" to refer to publications or works. It disparages them all.

  • The International Criminal Court is prosecuting an Islamist for enslaving women.

  • China: Prisoner's scripted confessions

    The forced, scripted "confessions" of prisoners of China.

  • Wealth inequality soaring

    Wealth Inequality Is Soaring --- Here Are the 10 Reasons Why It's Happening.

    The ultimate reason, the reason that these policies exist, is plutocracy.

  • Oklahoma: Pruitt suppressed corruption report

    Saboteur Pruitt, as an official of Oklahoma, suppressed a corruption report that could have embarrassed Republican Senator Inhofe.

  • Australia: encryption back door

    Australia's government is continuing to draw up a bill to require back doors in encryption applications.

  • Republican bill ignores pesticides

    Common agricultural pesticides harm various endangered species. Republican response: a bill to ignore that problem when approving pesticides.

  • Confederate generals far from noble

    Confederate generals, including Robert E. Lee, were far from noble when they systematically killed black soldiers that their troops captured.

  • EU copyright proposal

    The EU's Latest Copyright Proposal Is So Bad, It Even Outlaws Creative Commons Licenses.

  • Gaza protesters

    Israelis that live near Gaza rallied to demand an end to the siege and to killing peaceful protesters.

    World-wide criticism is having an effect: this week Gazans protested again, and this time the Israeli soldiers killed only one protester.

    I would like to know how many protesters were wounded by sniper fire this time, because previously snipers wounded over a thousand protesters.

  • Going mad from racism

    Racism makes people go mad. Brennan Walker, a black teenager, knocked on a white couple's door to ask for directions. The couple freaked out, assumed he was a robber (knocking on a door?), and shot at him without engaging their common sense.

    Walker says he looks older than his real age, which is 14. What if he looks 18? What if he really were 18 years old? I don't think that would change anything.

  • Effects of pesticides

    It's not just mice -- widely used pesticides were found to make human children weaker, less intelligent, and more aggressive.

    The greater aggression could be a consequence of the lower intelligence. Lead exposure also makes children less intelligent, and more likely to be aggressive.

  • Former Justice Department employees

    250 former employees of the US Justice Department signed a statement calling on the bully to obey the law, and called on Congress to protect against firing investigator Mueller.

  • Neoclassical macroeconomics

    Economists are waking up to the biases in neoclassical macroeconomics and how that provides an excuse for plutocratist cruelty.

    There is no such thing as "the free market" -- every market is regulated somehow, and a market without proper regulation is likely to have instabilities (such as crashes).

  • UK's version of DACA issue

    The UK has its own version of the DACA issue, with a twist: the people threatened with expulsion were British citizens when they moved there from former colonies, and they are legally entitled to live there. They just don't have documents to prove this.

    One MP knows of 16 victims in her constituency, which leads to a quick rough estimate that the victims number around 10,000.

    Another pertinent secondary point is that they have paid taxes there for decades, so denying them medical and retirement benefits is robbery on top of exile.

    The cause of all this is that the government has decided on the principle of giving all immigrants the short end of every stick. That's what the US is now doing. While the details are different, this attitude systematically leads to cruelty.

  • Defending the pussy-grabber

    A theory for why evangelicals defend the pussy-grabber: their belief system is primarily to reimpose patriarchy.

    One point I don't see how to resolve is why patriarchalists don't became enraged that their daughters might get involved with the pushy males they defend.

  • The bully's buildings

    The bully is suing US local governments to reduce the tax assessments of his buildings.

    The cities in question have to fear that he and his officials could retaliate in an underhanded way if they don't give in.

  • Homosexuals in China

    China seems to be starting to repress homosexuals.

  • Responsible for global heating

    Who is legally responsible for the damage that global heating does and will do?

    I think that the responsibility for harmful actions done by millions of people because they have been intentionally misguided falls on those who misguided them.

  • Protesters at Starbucks

    Protesters came to the Starbucks where an employee had two black men arrested after refusing to let them use a toilet.

  • The bully's profiteering

    Accounts show the bully is profiteering from his elected office, just as we thought.

  • Deregulating construction

    In construction as in other areas, deregulation sometimes leads to death.

  • Trudeau and big oil

    Trudeau has openly taken the side of big oil against the environment.

  • XML
    Stats & Atts.

    We don't need no stinkin rock stars.