An essay about the militarization of campus police, in response to the pepper-spraying of peaceful protesters at UC Davis this week. William Gibson (@GreatDismal) reminisces:
Glad I had opportunity to visit overtly fascist nations as a young man. Good to know the smell. Like skunk, state terror.
In Berlin, Pirates have won 9% of the vote, and now have 15 seats in the city-state’s legislature. This kind of gradual integration of supposedly “fringe” issues into mainstream politics is valuable, and also impossible in an electoral system like the US has.
A scathing review of an official German government trojan by the Chaos Computer Club. They decompiled the binaries and reverse-engineered the software, and found that not only did it fail to comply with the German constitutional court’s mandate to limit its capabilities, but was so poorly designed and secured as to enable “even attackers of mediocre skill” to completely compromise any machine on which it had been installed. Clearly not the best of German engineering!
Crowdfunding, Why the SEC Bans It, Obama Wants It, and Banks Fear It. Kickstarter would be illegal if you were making investments in a business, instead of donations to a cause. Even so, people have raised on occasion hundreds of thousands of dollars via the site for honor-system bound innovation. Hopefully this will be legitimized soon.
Apparently the agricultural industrial complex is willing to take down its competition with a hail of lead if necessary. A multi-agency SWAT team descended upon a raw milk and cheese buying club in SoCal, and is holding the proprietor without bail. How can this be a serious law enforcement priority?
Obama DOJ Leaves Medical Marijuana Patients Sick and Suffering. So apparently the Obama DOJ is now going to pursue marijuana producers, even if they are in compliance with state regulations. This is a reversal of the administration’s previous position, and it’s absurd. People are going to use weed. Nobody takes the “reefer madness” BS seriously, and it’s been illegal for close to 100 years, and usage has only increased. You can either have it produced by tax paying, locally owned small businesses, or you can funnel a lot of that cash to drug cartels in Mexico and the domestic tax-exempt boutique black marketeers.
Investment management firms have license to lie, backdated, courtesy of the Supreme Court decision in the Janus case. It’s hard to believe, but the court decided that ultimately, nobody could be held accountable for misleading statements made in the mutual fund’s prospectus. All the more reason to go with Vanguard, as it is the only mutual fund company which is wholly owned by the people whose money they manage, making it in effect a large investing cooperative.
After more than six months, Assange has yet to be charged with a crime in any nation, and he remains under house arrest.
China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work. Prisoners are coal mining by day, gold farming by night… to the benefit the prison guards. Don’t earn enough gold? Get beaten with a pipe. Yet another indication we are living in a cyberpunk novel.
There’s some controversy over working conditions at an Ikea plant in Virginia. Apparently wages start at $8/hr, with 12 days of paid vacation (8 of which are determined by the company). Oh, and also you’ll often be informed Friday evening that you have no choice but to work over the weekend too. And don’t even think about unionizing. Sweet! It’s just like we keep saying about all those workers in China that make our cheap plastic crap. “At least they’ve got jobs.” I sense that we’re going to have to re-learn all of the lessons about balancing the rights of labor and capital that we already learned so bloodily about 100 years ago. Only now, maybe we get to learn it in the context of becoming an exploited low-wage nation in a global economy. Ikea workers doing the same jobs in Sweden make $19/hr and get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year. And they’re all unionized.