Sunday, 19 August 2012

Politics stuff from the week 13-19/8/12

Wikileaks - one of the world's most important organisations for keeping governments to account - and a real hero of our age - has been experiencing denial-of-service attacks, hindering the activity of the site, and thereby its ability to hold governments to account.
Given certain governments' [cough: US and UK] efforts to prosecute Julian Assange for anything they can - recently threatening to *siege* the Ecuadorian embassy to get at him - it seems highly likely that these attacks, co-ordinated through many separate web addresses, are being conducted on behalf of the same governments whom Wikileaks was designed to keep in check. [cough: US and UK]
And here is the news of that threat:
And the Conservative government's rejection of the 'accusation' that their threat was a threat!
I must say this, though: "good on 'ya, Ecuador!"

[video] 'World's largest tobacco use study: Tobacco control remains major challenge'
"the magnitude of global tobacco use revealed in the current study reflects powerful pro-tobacco forces that often overpower the less well-funded tobacco control strategies."
"Our data reflect industry efforts to promote tobacco use," he says. "These include marketing and mass media campaigns by companies that make smoking seem glamorous, especially for women. The industry's marketing efforts also equate tobacco use with Western themes, such as freedom and gender equality."
Industry efforts also influence governments to back off of anti-tobacco regulations, he says, adding that in some countries the government owns the tobacco industry. "China National Tobacco, for example, which is owned by the Chinese government, sponsors dozens of elementary schools, where students are subjected to pro-tobacco propaganda. Some messages even equate tobacco use with academic success," says Giovino. "I find that mind-boggling."
Thankfully, the Tobacco Industry monster has failed in a recent attempt to prevent justice being done, but we can be assured that they will continue to try.

'Bahrain Regime Issues Stunning Jail Term to Nabeel Rajab'
"My arrest was arbitrary and without a warrant from the public prosecution . What hurt me was that the police beat me in front of my two daughters, who are aged two and five. They were crying."

'How train fares are becoming affordable only for the rich'

Because Israel has no repatriation agreement with Khartoum, it is rewriting people's nationalities, so that they can be deported to South Sudan

'Tony Nicklinson loses right-to-die court case'
"I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery," [Tony Nicklinson] said in a statement.
This belies our democracies' immaturity -- to prolong someone's suffering is torture. Torture. It smacks of immaturity to fail to deal with this subject.
They have condemned so many people to horrible lives, in a way that frankly seems flippant. We have evidence from countries such as the Netherlands, who saw sense and made euthanasia legal, that cases of murder-called-euthanasia are irrelevant to the scenario.
I'm wondering whether the presence of those demented superstitionists in the second House (bishops) are responsible for this result.
We know those sick bastards are responsible for manipulating governmental activity in favour of cultist superstition, in the cases of abortion, contraception, sex education, homophobia legislation, sexism legislation, schools, hospital/military chaplaincies, etc.
And of course, being social animals, culture plays a role in judgements -- it's not inconceivable that they got this decision so shockingly wrong because of the cultural precedent that superstition should be heeded.
Can you tell that i'm angry about this? Cos i bloody am!

It costs large amounts of water to extract coal and process it for use - a reason Greenpeace are using to lobby China to give up on coal-power.
"Areas surrounding some of China's biggest coal power bases have already suffered "accelerated grassland and wetland degradation", forcing the region's traditional herders off the land"

The US' CO2eq emissions have set a 20-year low, for the first quarter of this year, due to high temperatures, meaning less fuel burned for heating, and due to a shift from coal to fossil gas combustion, which releases fewer super-warming compounds such as NO2, and is more efficient, meaning less is combusted overall.
It is yet to be seen whether this trend can be maintained -- economic growth will, of course, easily outweight the benefits, if unmitigated.

Good on 'ya, eBay, too -- they've banned the sales of "supernatural items" - spells, potions, hexes, etc, on their site.
There will inevitably be some blurriness in its application, as the cultists try to sell 'holy' stuff, and eBay lets it pass, but this is a fantastic precedent to set.
People must know that these things are not frivolous -- superstition is dangerous, and should be prohibited.
"Among the prohibited items: "advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic services; prayers; blessings; Psychic, Tarot, Reiki, and other metaphysical readings & services; magic potions; healing sessions"."
According to a comment, they still allow homeopathy - but at least they're on the right track.

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