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  • 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.

  • High-Speed Pig Slaughter Will Be Disastrous for Everyone Involved.

  • 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.

  • In the US: sign up to join a protest if the corrupter fires investigator Mueller.

    That page does not work with JavaScript totally disabled, but it works ok with LibreJS.

  • 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.
  • US citizens: call on Democrats to fight to undo the Republican tax attacks.

  • 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.

  • 'Rednecks' fighting big coal

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

  • Urgent: Blank check for war

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

  • Urgent: Clean Power Plan

    US citizens: support the Clean Power Plan.

  • Canada: teen charged for downloading publicly accessible files

    A Canadian teenager downloaded publicly accessible files off a government web site, and was charged with "unauthorized use of a computer." This is absurd; it should never be a crime to look at what others are showing to the public.

    The charge is, in effect, "We told you to look in _this_ direction. We never told you to look in _that_ direction, so we intend to imprison you for turning your gaze without authorization."

    This is comparable to the companies that try to punish people for reporting the companies' security errors.

    By seizing the family's computers the thugs have done them irreparable damage. If they don't have substantial savings, they could end up homeless from this blind act of injustice.

    What makes me saddest is that the teenager fears being permanently stigmatized because of having been arrested. This reflects a social problem that affects a lot more people than the US CFAA and its Canadian equivalent. People who have been arrested, no matter for what, systematically face many kinds of repression. Wealthy people can avoid most of the painful consequences -- they don't need a job, they don't need public housing or welfare, they can pay for college, etc. But when these things happen to the non-rich, they will find that the only paths open to them are poverty or crime.

  • UK: company registry prosecuted whistleblower

    The UK's company registry finally prosecuted someone for setting up a fraudulent company, but it's a whistleblower who told them he did it.

  • Elizabeth Pierce fraud charges

    Ajit Pai's "broadband adviser" has been charged with fraud adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

    I don't suppose that Pai knew she was committing this fraud. But it makes sense that the kind of people Republicans admire would not have scruples against committing fraud.

  • US Syria bombings bolster propaganda

    Blowing stuff up is a great way for a US president to build public support, but in the long term it provides a bigger propaganda boost for the enemy (whoever that may be).

    If we Americans don't want to be played via bombings, we have to learn to resist this technique of manipulation.

  • US: Sessions' marijuana crusade canceled for now

    The bully canceled Sessions' crusade against state-legalized marijuana. At least that's what he says for the moment.

    The level of random discord between statements of high officials of the US government means that one takes a risk by relying on any of their statements.

  • UCLA Forced labor study

    From 1850 to 1950, low-wage convict labor caused a substantial reduction in US wages, and it is surely doing the same today.

  • UK government destroyed citizen entry records

    The UK government had entry records for citizens that moved from Caribbean colonies in the 50s and 60s, and destroyed them in 2010 although staff warned that would lead systematically to injustices against people who had no proof of when they had come.

    There is a clear and easy solution now: give those people the benefit of the doubt.

  • Comey whitewashes injustices of justice system

    Comey whitewashes the gross injustices of the US justice system, while lauding it and saying we should fear it more.

  • Mississippi delta mega-project

    Scientists are studying a mega-project to run more fresh water from the Mississippi through the delta wetlands. This would delay their loss to the rising seas.

    I fear, though, that in the long term this will only give us a one-time reduction in the loss of those wetlands, after which each centimeter of sea-level rise will give us the same amount of loss it would have given us. The money would be used more effectively on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Pompeo confirmation uncertain

    Opposition to Pompeo puts his confirmation in doubt.

    A week or so ago I posted a note that seemed to say he had been confirmed and criticized some Democratic senators for voting for him. I had that taken down because it seems to have been incorrect.

  • Political platitudes mask cruel policies

    "Rightwing politicians spout rhetoric with which no reasonable person would disagree, while we wait for a catastrophic injustice to expose the reality."

  • Urgent: oppose Pompeo's confirmation

    US citizens: phone your senators' offices at 877-591-6399 and tell them to oppose Pompeo's confirmation. You can mention that he has supported torture, is gung-ho for fossil fuels, and is likely to support more wars.

  • Dramatic effect of Balkan Dam on fish species

    Balkan Dam Projects Could Result in Loss of One in 10 European Fish Species.

  • Great Barrier Reef heat wave of 2016

    Great Barrier Reef: 30% of Coral Died in 'Catastrophic' 2016 Heatwave.

    In the next decade there will be another, hotter heat wave and more of the coral will die.

  • US: Major editorials lack war opposition

    The New York Times has not opposed any US war or attack in 30 years. Other US newspapers generally agree.

  • US Senate more family-friendly

    The US Senate changed its rules to accommodate senators with babies.

  • US: Trump TPP

    The cheater is thinking of undoing the principal good thing he has done: his rejection of the TPP.

    or "Treacherous Plutocratic Poison" as I call it.

    That treaty has the "I Sue Democratic States" provision which would give foreign companies more rights in the US than US citizens have.

    The TPP would strengthen the grip of the business-dominated globalization that increasingly concentrates the world's wealth. The suffering that this form of globalization causes is opening the door to right-wing bigots such as the cheater.

  • Military contractor profits

    The Onion: the US stands ready to escalate military contractor profits as much as it takes.

  • Lawsuit by Florida youths

    Eight Florida youths are suing the state government for willfully disregarding the danger that global heating poses to life in Florida.

  • Facets of Comey

    Comey has become the most visible enemy of Americans' worst enemy. That doesn't mean he has been our friend all this time. Don't forget his campaign for more surveillance and against our right to privacy.

    In the long term, unchecked surveillance will be almost as harmful as the bully.

  • Political prisoner Ahmed Mansoor

    Citizens of Manchester hope to press Abu Dhabi to release political prisoner Ahmed Mansoor by naming a street after him.

    The ruling family of Abu Dhabi has effectively purchased the support of the city's government by making a big investment there. It is dangerous for any government to treat the support of a specific company as indispensable; this is one of the reasons why we need to make large companies split into many smaller ones.

  • Russian journalist dies

    A Russian journalist that investigated mercenaries fell off his balcony and died. The state wants to say that he fell accidentally.

  • Legalizing drugs in Canada

    Canada's ruling Liberal Party is considering legalizing possession and use of all drugs.

    The US uses "Liberal" to mean what Europe calls "social-democratic", but the Canadian Liberal party is nothing like that. Nowadays it mainly seems to mean "let them drill and mine anything."

  • Hustlers of the tech industry

    The digital tech industry considered as a pile of hustlers climbing over each other to become a billionaire by standing on the rest. All while looking for ways to atomize people's lives and turn their jobs into piecework.

  • Natural gas in Australia

    Australia is turning to the hype of fracking to pump lots of natural gas and overshoot its greenhouse gas targets by a factor of three.

  • Deporting for criticism

    Philippine President Do-dirty is deporting foreigners for criticizing him, even for being near others that criticize him.

    What does deporting a (real or suspected) critic have in common with murdering a (real or suspected) drug dealer? Both attack the idea that people have legal rights.

  • Facebook is like herpes

    One of Facebook's first useds compares it to herpes, and says she was a fool to have trusted Zuckerberg.

  • Millionaire's taxes

    "I'm a millionaire who creates zero jobs. Why do I pay less tax than you?"

  • Soldiers of Unit 731

    Japan has published the names of the soldiers of Unit 731 which experimented with chemical weapons using Chinese and Koreans as guinea pigs.

  • Targeting striking teachers

    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.

  • 'Warranty void if removed'

    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?

  • Charging with crimes using stereotypes

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

  • Actively keeping wages down

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

  • Providing decent wages

    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

    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.

  • Investigating Do-dirty

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

  • Extraction Oil and Gas

    Fracking company Extraction Oil and Gas is suing protesters and a journalist.

    Several states plan to make it a crime to plan a protest at a fossil fuel pipeline site.

  • Facebook selling access

    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.

  • FBI not satisfied

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

  • Fake news in Mexico

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

  • Nature-friendly world

    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's price discrimination

    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.

  • Emissions from ships

    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.

  • Ambassador to Vietnam

    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.

  • Leave campaign

    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.

  • Urgent: Endangering salmon

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

  • Protesters at Gaza border fence

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

  • Journalists entering the US

    The Committee to Protect Journalists is asking journalists to report hassles with entering the US, including searches of their digital devices and (for those not US citizens) hassles in getting a visa.

  • XML
    Stats & Atts.

    Ask not what the Internet can do for you.