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04.18.14

Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Amnesty Responds to Comments on CIA torture by Dr James Mitchell
    • John Pilger: Obama’s coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and lured Putin into a trap

      Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato enlargement project. Reneging on the Reagan administration’s promise to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet caucuses, Nato’s military build-up is the most extensive since the second world war.

    • Why Allende had to die

      The truck owners’ strike was the final blow. Because of the wild geography of the country, the Chilean economy is at the mercy of its transport. To paralyse trucking is to paralyse the country. It was easy for the opposition to co-ordinate the strike, for the truckers’ guild was one of the groups most affected by the scarcity of replacement parts and, in addition, it found itself threatened by the government’s small pilot programme for providing adequate state trucking services in the extreme south of the nation. The stoppage lasted until the very end without a single moment of relief because it was financed with cash from outside. “The CIA flooded the country with dollars to support the strike by the bosses and . . . foreign capital found its way down into the formation of a black market,” Pablo Neruda wrote to a friend in Europe. One week before the coup, oil, milk and bread had run out.

    • In War, Truth Is the First Casualty

      Thank God we live in America, where this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

    • Greece’s Golden Dawn party describes Hitler as ‘great personality’
    • The criminalisation of anti-fascist protest

      Tomorrow, 14 April, the Metropolitan police and CPS will prosecute five anti-fascists arrested on 1 June 2013 while trying to stop the British National party from marching on the Cenotaph. Police decided the anti-fascist protest was a “threat to public safety” and imposed a dispersal order under section 12 of the Public Order Act 1986; 59 people were arrested. A few months later 286 protesters against the English Defence League, which had declared its intention to march on a park named after Altab Ali, who was murdered in a racist attack, were arrested in Tower Hamlets.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Seattle’s Elite Begin Their Counter Attack

      Seattle’s corporations were blindsided, it all happened so fast. Socialist candidate Kshama Sawant’s successful City Council campaign tore through Seattle politics like a tornado, leaving the 1% devastated, unable to cope with a storm they didn’t see coming. The Seattle elite had no way to counter her arguments, silence her supporters, or keep her from gathering a tidal wave of support for the $15 campaign. The establishment was paralyzed, powerless.

    • Caring too much. That’s the curse of the working classes

      “What I can’t understand is, why aren’t people rioting in the streets?” I hear this, now and then, from people of wealthy and powerful backgrounds. There is a kind of incredulity. “After all,” the subtext seems to read, “we scream bloody murder when anyone so much as threatens our tax shelters; if someone were to go after my access to food or shelter, I’d sure as hell be burning banks and storming parliament. What’s wrong with these people?”

      It’s a good question. One would think a government that has inflicted such suffering on those with the least resources to resist, without even turning the economy around, would have been at risk of political suicide. Instead, the basic logic of austerity has been accepted by almost everyone. Why? Why do politicians promising continued suffering win any working-class acquiescence, let alone support, at all?

      I think the very incredulity with which I began provides a partial answer. Working-class people may be, as we’re ceaselessly reminded, less meticulous about matters of law and propriety than their “betters”, but they’re also much less self-obsessed. They care more about their friends, families and communities. In aggregate, at least, they’re just fundamentally nicer.

    • Matt Taibbi: America Has A ‘Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor’

      Living in America has taught Matt Taibbi that we as a society have “a profound hatred of the weak and the poor.”

      That’s one claim the former Rolling Stone writer makes in his new book, “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.” Taibbi defended this statement in a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday.

    • Happy Tax Day, and Why the Top 1% Pay a Much Lower Tax Rate Than You

      It’s tax time again, April 15, when our minds turn toward paying the taxes we owe or possibly getting a tax refund. But what we don’t think about enough is whether our tax system is fair. The richest 1 percent of Americans are now getting the largest percent of total national income in almost a century. So you might think they’d pay a much higher tax rate than everyone else.

    • New study finds US to be ruled by oligarchic elite

      Political scientists show that average American has “near-zero” influence on policy outcomes, but their groundbreaking study is not without problems.

      It’s not every day that an academic article in the arcane world of American political science makes headlines around the world, but then again, these aren’t normal days either. On Wednesday, various mainstream media outlets — including even the conservative British daily The Telegraph — ran a series of articles with essentially the same title: “Study finds that US is an oligarchy.” Or, as the Washington Post summed up: “Rich people rule!” The paper, according to the review in the Post, “should reshape how we think about American democracy.”

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • The Corruption of Mainstream Media

        America’s mainstream media still pretends it is the custodian of “serious journalism,” but that claim continues to erode as the corporate press shies away from its duty to challenge propaganda emanating from various parts of the U.S. government, as Danny Schechter describes.

    • Censorship

      • Censorship on the rise: CPJ

        According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the latest report documents 52 instances of censorship during the first three months of 2014 compared with 45 during the same period last year. The most notable example is the abrupt blackout of a live telecast on the final moments of parliamentary deliberations and voting on a controversial bill to create the new state of Telangana. While the government claims the blackout was due to a technical glitch, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) insists it was a tactical move by the ruling Congress party to ram through the vote to shore up support during an election in which its prospects look grim. Other parties also slammed the blackout as “undemocratic.”

      • Oliver Stone: China’s film-makers need to confront country’s past

        Hollywood’s habit of allowing Chinese censors to cut offending material from blockbuster movies has led to accusations of artistic surrender from some critics. But at least one US film-maker has clearly not been reading the script: Oliver Stone has told an audience in Beijing that the world’s most populous nation desperately needs to confront its past on the big screen if its burgeoning film industry is to be taken seriously.

      • Weibo Warns Censorship Could Hit Future Earnings
      • Turkey to censor tweets with ‘malicious’ content

        Twitter might not be banned in Turkey anymore, but the country’s government isn’t quite done putting it through the censorship wringer yet. In fact, Turkish Communications Minister Lütfi Elvan just released a written statement that says: “We [Twitter and Turkey] have reached a consensus to ‘neutralize’ malicious content that is the object of court decisions by pixelating.” He didn’t expound on what he means by “pixelating,” but it’s typically associated with the mosaic-like classic approach to censorship. If Turkish authorities can indeed blur out tweets, then this saga might have taken an even crazier turn. Since that’s bordering on the absurd, though, it’s possible that “pixelating” might have just been the term Lütfi used for Twitter’s Country Withheld Tool, which the website uses to hide tweets and accounts from a whole nation.

    • Privacy

    • Civil Rights

      • Answers and Questions About Military, Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agency Chatbots

        Sgt. Star is the U.S. Army’s dedicated marketing and recruitment chatbot, and he isn’t going to turn whistleblower any time soon. There’s no use threatening him for answers either—he’s programmed to report that kind of hostility to the Army Criminal Investigation Division.

      • Army comes clean about its recruitment AI, accidentally discloses info about pedophile- and terrorist-catching chatbots that roam the net

        Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, “Not too long ago, Boing Boing covered EFF’s (at the time) unsuccessful attempt to retreive records about Sgt. Star (the Army’s recruiter-bot) using the Freedom of Information Act. We’ve now received the files and compiled our research: It turns out Sgt. Star isn’t the only government chatbot — the FBI and CIA had them first.

      • US Has A ‘Secret Exception’ To Reasonable Suspicion For Putting People On The No Fly List

        Over the past few months, we covered the bizarre trial concerning Rahinah Ibrahim and her attempt to get off the no fly list. In January, there was an indication that the court had ordered her removed from the list, but without details. In February, a redacted version of the ruling revealed that the whole mess was because an FBI agent read the instructions wrong on a form and accidentally placed her on the no fly list, though we noted that some of the redactions were quite odd.

      • Outside counsel to probe FBI’s action in Guantánamo 9/11 case

        A four-day hearing meant to edge legal arguments closer to an actual 9/11 trial ended in uncertainty Thursday as the war crimes prosecutor named a special outside counsel to probe for possible FBI spying on defense lawyers.

      • Iranian woman pardons son’s killer — after slapping him at the gallows — moments before his scheduled execution

        But at the last minute, Hosseinzadeh’s mother, Samereh Alinejad, forgave him, after giving a speech to the crowd and then slapping Bilal in the face. Hosseinzadeh’s father helped take the noose off of Bilal, whose weeping mother hugged Alinejad in thanks, as seen in the photos.

      • Arundhati Roy: Another World Is Not Only Possible, She Is on Her Way

        Speech to the People’s University of the Occupy Movement

        Yesterday morning the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We’re not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for Justice. Justice, not just for the people of the United States, but for everybody. What you have achieved since September 17, when the Occupy Movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language, into the heart of Empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerized into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment. As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. I cannot thank you enough.

      • Bay Area transit police conduct militarized training exercises with TSA

        Among the problems that got us here is that the federal government asserts we have no Fourth Amendment rights at the border, and claims that the border extends a full 100 miles inside the country. That extremely broad definition of “the border” means two-thirds of Americans live in the Constitution Free Zone. To give you a sense of the magnitude of this assertion, consider that both the Bay Area and the entire state of Massachusetts fall within this 100-mile rights-swallowing vortex.

    • DRM

      • Kill-switch coming to smartphones

        CTIA and participating wireless companies today announced the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment,” which is the most recent effort by the industry to deter smartphone thefts in the U.S. The safety and security of wireless users remain the wireless industry’s top priority, and is why this commitment will continue to protect consumers while recognizing the companies’ need to retain flexibility so they may constantly innovate, which is key to stopping smartphone theft.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Grand majority of Parliament votes in favour of a regulation on investor-state lawsuits – Greens sharply criticise the result

        Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has come into the focus of critics since the start of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the US (TTIP). ISDS means that foreign investors can sue the states hosting their investments in front of international courts when they see their rights and profit expectations violated. Often it is environmental or social legislation of a state which investors claim to be in violation of their investment expectations. Currently, for example, Vattenfall is suing the German federal government for 3 billion euros because of the German nuclear phase-out. Since Lisbon, the EU has gained the competence on investment policy, and thus also on ISDS policy. This Regulation establishes rules on whether EU or Member States act as a defendant in ISDS proceedings and who pays in the case of successful investor claims.

      • Copyrights

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