Link Roundup for 3/2/2019

From Filter: Portugal’s experiment with drug decriminalization

From QZ: Amazon plans to enter the affordable grocery market

From Gizmodo: China’s social credit system is blocking millions of train and air tickets.

From Eurekalert: Climate change is already impacting fisheries.

From Wikipedia, our Historical Event of the Week: The English Civil War.

3 Comments

  1. I just shake my head and laugh sadly when reading the various articles about global warming, which are appearing with increasing frequency.

    Politicians, business people, and most importantly, the general masses, are simply not prepared to make the sacrifices needed to save the biosphere as we know it. When I see more and more plastic packaging (created primarily out of of oil), because it is convenient, that alone is a sign that humanity and our environment is hopelessly screwed.

    I am of an age when I remember glass bottles for most things. Were they heavy and clunky? You bet. But they were recyclable, and glass is a relatively benign product. Will we ever go back to them? We should, but we won’t.

    The only way to effect the drastic change needed is equally drastic measures. I have made it clear what that entails, but the vast majority here are not prepared to go down that path. Well, in an insane world, the sane path looks radical.

  2. The news that Amazon wants to get into regular groceries comes almost a year after The Nation wrote an article pointing out Amazon’s aims to “become the market”, the tactics that it’s used to grow to its absurd size, how this has been bad for workers and consumers, and has at the very least been a boon to those pushing for antitrust to regain the power that it lost when Reagan shifted the way we think about antitrust to create a much weaker and ineffective system of interpretation and enforcement:

    https://www.thenation.com/article/amazon-doesnt-just-want-to-dominate-the-market-it-wants-to-become-the-market/

    The EFF recently posted an article about the FTC’s new task force that’s being designed to monitor competition in technology markets, and how this could lead to some good positives in antitrust enforcement, if they do their job correctly:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/02/antitrust-enforcement-needs-evolve-21st-century

    Elsewhere in tech, the EU parliament continues to blatantly lie in efforts to push forward with a Copyright Directive that would effectively kneecap the Internet. They are blatantly ignoring the wild unpopularity of this among the peoples of the EU. This serves to undermine the legitimacy of the EU as a body that can truly represent its member nations:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190228/11154441694/why-is-eu-parliament-pushing-fake-propaganda-hollywood.shtml

    Just a few days after the layoffs at the game company Activision-Blizzard, the AFL-CIO issued a public statement of support to U.S. game developers. The Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler gave an interview to Polygon as well. If game developers organize and form a union to push back against corporations such as Activision-Blizzard and EA, who have a well-deserved reputation for being two of the worst corporations in America, and it actually works, it could provide a boost for greater activism in the tech industry in general:

    https://kotaku.com/an-open-letter-to-game-developers-from-americas-largest-1832652654

    https://www.polygon.com/2019/2/20/18233232/game-industry-union-afl-cio-interview

    In regards to foreign policy, the U.S. just can’t stop messing with South America. Everything looks like it’s going to lead up to some serious military intervention there. Of course this was inevitable, since Guaidó comes from a right-wing U.S.-backed student movement, and we’re in all likelihood going to have to support him with soldiers and other resources:
    https://www.thenation.com/article/venezuela-washington-funded-counterrevolution/
    Lastly, a friendly reminder that Elliot Abrams, our special representative to Venezuela, has a long history in this. He helped out Republican Saint Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair. The U.S. has a long history of jackbooted thuggery that needs to be addressed. We need to stop playing Nation Builder and World Police.

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