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01.05.16

Links 5/1/2016: NVIDIA Shows Linux Some Love, Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8.0 DP3

Posted in News Roundup at 7:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Residents Sue Over ‘Negligent’ Practices By Gas Company, As Pipeline Leak Goes Into Third Month

      For more than two months, methane has been escaping from a storage well in Los Angeles, causing the evacuation of thousands of homes and dumping more than six coal plants’ worth of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

      Now, residents are suing, alleging that Southern California Gas Company took out and never replaced a safety valve that could have shut off the leak, and generally failed to maintain the site.

    • Thousand of Californians Are Fleeing an Enormous Methane Leak. Here Are 8 Things You Need to Know.

      For more than two months, California has experienced a slow-moving environmental disaster: Methane leaking from a faulty natural gas well near Los Angeles neighborhood Porter Ranch has displaced thousands of families and is releasing the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 7 million cars each day.

    • The GOP’s ‘First Priority Of 2016’ Is Pretending They Can Repeal Obamacare

      Republicans in Congress have wasted no time in establishing their lead battle of the new year: repealing Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan calls it his “first priority of 2016,” and the Senate promises a bill repealing the health law will hit President Barack Obama’s desk no later than Tuesday.

      For now, the GOP’s threat is purely symbolic. Obama will undoubtedly veto any move to quash his landmark health care law. But, with an election on the horizon, this may be the point. This is the first time that a bill seeking to repeal Obamacare will actually reach the White House — and, for conservative members of Congress, the fact that a bill will make it that far is a success.

    • Organic Farmers Score New Victory in ‘David and Goliath’ GMO Fight

      Jackson County, Oregon wins new protections against cultivation of genetically engineered crops

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Bribery over Humanity: The UK, Saudi Arabia and the UN Human Rights Council

      Wither human rights – especially when it comes to strategic partnerships. The UK-Saudi Arabia relationship has been one of a seedier sort, filled with military deals, mooted criticism and hedging. When given the John Snow treatment as to what Britain’s role behind securing Saudi Arabia its position on the UN Human Rights Council was, Prime Minister David Cameron fenced furiously before embellishing Riyadh’s value in its relations with the West.

    • Ottawa going ahead with Saudi arms deal despite condemning executions

      But the biggest Saudi mass execution in decades – delivered by beheading and in a few cases firing squad – is not moving Ottawa to reconsider a massive deal to supply the Mideast country with armoured fighting vehicles. The transaction will support about 3,000 jobs in Canada for 14 years.

    • Canada Condemns Saudi Executions, But Arms Sales Speak Louder Than Words

      Despite condemning Saudi Arabia’s recent mass executions and raising concerns about human rights abuses, the Canadian government said this week it is moving forward with a controversial $15 billion weapons sale to the Gulf state.

      Reportedly Canada’s largest-ever arms export contract, the deal was confirmed amid growing condemnation of ongoing western support for Saudi Arabia, despite mounting evidence of atrocities committed by the state, from neighboring Yemen to its own soil.

    • The Refugee Conundrum

      This past summer, Germany suspended the Dublin regulation, requiring refugees to remain in their port of entry, unfairly burdening certain countries with a staggering number of refugees.

    • US Enabled Saudi Arabia’s Crackdown on Pro-Democracy Protesters

      Just days before Saudi Arabia performed a mass execution of 47 people, including four pro-democracy protesters; the US approved tens of millions in military contracts to the Saudi government. The contracts include $24 million to Raytheon Company for equipment relating to Patriot missiles, $12 million to Advanced Electronics Co. for electronics updates to F-15 fighter jets, and tens of millions of dollars to Boeing Co. for implementation of a laser guided, air-to-ground weapons system.

    • Iraqi Shiites up in Arms, claim Saudi “Spying on behalf of ISIL/Daesh”

      Saudi Arabia’s execution on Saturday of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr has so far not created a crisis between Riyadh and the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government. But Saudi Arabia’s name with the rank and file Shiites and parliamentary backbenchers is mud.

      On Tuesday, thousands (or perhaps only hundreds) of demonstrators from the Muqtada al-Sadr bloc came out in front of the walled-in Green Zone to demand that the Saudi embassy be closed. Alarmed, al-Jubeir called his counterpart, expressing fears that the mission might be overwhelmed by angry crowds. The Iraqi foreign minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, pledged to Riyadh that his government would protect the Saudi embassy. Contrary to some reports, it has not been attacked.

    • Saudi Arabia, Our Great and Good Ally

      One way or another, there’s not much question that this was a calculated move by Saudi Arabia. They knew how Iran would react—and they hoped that it might scuttle the Syrian peace talks, maybe the Iranian nuclear deal too, and at the very least, create some chaos that they could take advantage of.

      Ladies and gentlemen, this is our great and good ally. They flog apostates. They export Sunni extremism. They treat women as chattel. They flog and imprison gays. They import slave labor from abroad. They have no truck with freedom of religion or freedom of speech. Their royal family is famously corrupt. And they really, really want to start up a whole bunch of wars that they would very much like America to fight for them.

    • The Saudis Go Full ISIS

      Saudi Arabia has perpetrated a mass execution that puts ISIS’s beach beheadings to shame. Forty-seven heads rolled on Saturday. One of them belonged to Nimr al-Nimr, a revered Shi’ite cleric who had been sentenced to death for sermons in which he criticized the government (especially for its persecution of the country’s Shi’ite minority). His brother has been sentenced to be crucified.

    • US Should Stop Supporting Likely Saudi War Crimes

      Yemen is a small, poor, and insignificant (from the perspective of US vital interests) country just South of Saudi Arabia. It doesn’t even produce much oil; but of course Saudi Arabia does – and that’s why the Saudis are getting so much US support, despite Saudi Arabia’s despicable foreign and domestic policies. The US government ousts dictators in Iraq and Libya and loudly criticizes Iran’s bad human rights policies; in contrast, the United States mutes its criticism of Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights record, sweeps under the under the rug that the 9/11 attackers were mostly Saudi nationals, and ignores that Saudi Arabia is the biggest exporter of militant Sunni Islamism by its support for radical schools around the Islamic world. Why does the world’s only superpower tolerate a major ally supporting potential US enemies (the US has the same toleration for Pakistan doing a similar thing)?

    • US Military Leadership Resisted Obama’s Bid for Regime Change in Syria, Libya

      Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

    • Does Bernie Sanders’ Imperialism Matter?

      When Sanders attempted to frame Hillary as “pro-regime change” in relation to the catastrophe she created in Libya, Hillary pointed out that Sanders voted “yes” to support that regime change. As the war machine rolled into Libya Sanders wasn’t a speed bump; he was a lubricant. Clinton and Sanders both have Libyan blood on their hands.

      Sanders has Afghan blood on his hands too, having voted for the invasion of the now-endless Afghan war that triggered the beginning of the flurry of Middle East wars. And while Sanders brags about voting “no” for the 2003 Iraq war, his vote soon morphed into a “yes,” by his several votes for the ongoing funding of the war/occupation.

      Sanders also voted “yes” for the U.S.-led NATO destruction of Yugoslavia, and supports the brutal Israeli military regime that uses U.S. weapons to slaughter Palestinians.

      When it was announced that Obama was choosing sides and funneling guns to the Syrian rebels — thus exacerbating and artificially extending the conflict — Bernie was completely silent; a silence that helped destroy Syria and lead to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

    • Saudi Arabia ‘Torpedoes’ American Middle East Policy With Execution Of Shia Cleric

      The execution of Nimr has already raised sectarian tensions in the Middle East between Iran, a country ruled by Shia Ayatollahs, and a few Sunni-majority states. The execution led to protests by Shia in Baghdad, Al Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia, Srinagar and Lucknow in India, and Tehran. A crowd stormed and torched the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the weekend, leading Sunni-ruled states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, and Bahrain to suspend diplomatic ties with Iran.

    • Donald Trump Displays Profound Foreign Policy Incoherence on O’Reilly Factor

      First off, the US is already plenty involved in Yemen, with more than a billion dollars in sales of munitions (including internationally-banned cluster bombs) to the Saudis, as well the use of US military personnel offering direct “targeting assistance” for the relentless Saudi-led bombing campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who overthrew the Saudi-backed Yemeni government last year.

    • Agh Scary Dark Hordes Are Coming!

      So fetid real Donald Trump has released his first TV ad, a stunningly unsavory mess of race-baiting, fear-mongering and lies that highlights the long, dark, mournful plunge this country has taken from our better angels. The grainy=sinister black and white ad begins with images of Obama and Hillary quickly and subtly morphing into photos of the San Bernardino shooters – get it?!? – and goes downhill from there. The real Trump says Muslim terrorists are everywhere which is why we need a “temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on” – the most coherent policy proposal and Bestest Line Ever – and then Donald will “quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil,” even though actually it’s not theirs, and then he’ll “stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for.” This promise is accompanied by overhead video of ant-like brown folks swarming toward a wall that turns out to be Moroccan migrants trying to cross the border into Spanish territory in 2014; his campaign said “No shit, but that’s what our country is going to look like” – even though actually illegal immigration has steadily dropped – and the “Pants on Fire” lie was “1,000% on purpose,” so it’s all good. Or, umm, not.

    • Pentagon Slush Fund is Draining the Economy and Militarizing Foreign Policy

      Late last year, Congress authorized $514 billion in baseline defense spending for fiscal year 2016. However, on top of the baseline budget, another $59 billion was authorized for the war budget, also known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund. These budgets combined give the Pentagon a total of $573 billion to spend this fiscal year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Power Imbalances in Ukraine

      The western press is ginning up alarm because hackers caused a power outage in Ukraine.

      [...]

      While the physical attack did get coverage, there seemed to be little concern about the implications of an attack aiming to undercut Russian control of the peninsula. Whereas here, the attack is treated as illegitimate and a purported new line in the sand.

    • US gives meat producers a pass on climate change emissions

      If the Paris climate pact is going to succeed at staving off climate change disaster, the 195 participating countries will need to achieve a difficult feat – trust.

      Yet the U.S. government already is failing to implement its own rules on tracking emissions. It is not collecting emission reports from one of the country’s largest sources of greenhouse gases: meat production.

    • ‘Volcanic’ Porter Ranch Gas Leak May Take Months to Close

      The gas leak in Porter Ranch, California that has been pumping tens of thousands of kilograms of methane into the air every hour since October 23 may take months to close up, according to state officials.

      Thousands of residents in the San Fernando Valley community, roughly 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, have been forced to relocate due to health problems caused by the fumes—including, in some cases, bleeding eyes and gums.

      However, officials recently announced that fixing the broken pipe will take more time than initially planned, with emergency crews unlikely to finish closing it up before March or April due to unexpected safety concerns.

      Methane emissions are up to 87 times more polluting than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span. Advocates for the residents warned there could be untold public health consequences, while environmentalists note that the size of the leak, which continues full force, is roughly a quarter of California’s total annual methane emissions.

    • Sanders Blasts Trump On Weird Climate Change Claim

      Bernie Sanders is apparently fed up with Donald Trump’s offhand and often outlandish claims. On Monday night, the Democratic candidate blasted Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

      “What an insight,” the independent senator from Vermont told the audience at a New Hampshire rally. “How brilliant can you be? The entire scientific community has concluded that climate change is real and causing major problems, and Trump believes that it’s a hoax created by the Chinese. Surprised it wasn’t the Mexicans.”

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Fate of Our Earth

      It’s clear that neither of these true terrors of our planet and our age has to happen (or at least, in the case of climate change, come to full fruition). To ensure that, however, we and our children and grandchildren would have to decide that the fate of our Earth was indeed at stake and act accordingly. We would have to change the world.

  • Finance

    • Trade negotiators won’t face the truth: investors don’t need special treatment

      The year started with a bang in the trade world. The Commission published initial findings from a 2014 public consultation on the reform of ISDS, or investor-state dispute settlement. The report found that less than 3% of the 150,000 participants supported this reform agenda. The remaining 97% opposed either ISDS reform or the mechanism altogether.

    • How The TPP Is Trouble: Public Interest Explicitly Tossed In Favor Of Corporate Interests

      Michael Geist is counting down the days to when the TPP can first be signed in the US (February 4th) by going through and highlighting problematic aspects of the agreement. He’s started with the simple fact that the TPP’s intellectual property section is explicitly designed to favor corporations over the public. We’ve obviously discussed some of this ourselves, such as the fact that the only reference to things like the public’s rights (such as fair use) is to recommend that countries consider them, but when it comes to stronger copyright and patents, the TPP requires them.

    • Wall Street Kicks Off 2016 With a Faceplant

      While the proximate cause of the current turbulence is China’s flagging manufacturing sector, the underlying reasons are even more important, like the dismal state of the US economy which continues to languish in a long-term coma. Here’s a brief recap from economist Jack Rasmus at CounterPunch:

    • Why Sanders’ Economic Plan Is Best For The 99 Percent

      Sanders would increase the public investments in jobs-creating infrastructure by $1 trillion over the same five-year period – creating one million new jobs, while helping to retool the U.S. economy to reduce carbon emissions.

    • ‘Break Em Up!’: Sanders Speech Takes Aim at Big Bank Greed
    • U.S. Laws Criminalizing Sleeping in Public Have Grown as Much as 60 Percent in Just a Few Years

      There is a war on, and it concerns the homeless’ right to sleep. Across the United States, recent years have seen a spate of municipal laws that criminalize the act of sleeping in public places. These laws often target the act of sleeping in private vehicles under the guise of “anti-camping” legislation.

    • People My Age Have Had Their Aspirations Crushed by Austerity – It’s Time to Change That

      We know the devastating impact austerity has had on our most vulnerable, but what we don’t talk about is how it has resulted in crushed aspirations for a whole generation.

    • Ghoulish Wall Street Speculators Pour Money Into Gun Companies

      Even before President Obama began explaining a slate of executive actions to tighten background checks for gun buyers on Tuesday morning, Wall Street speculators delivered a late Christmas present to gun manufacturers.

      Stocks in Smith & Wesson and competitor Sturm Ruger leapt dramatically in morning trading as investors flocked to the firms, anticipating that gun sales will spike in response to the modest tightening of background check rules.

    • Top bosses will earn ‘more than UK average salary’ by end of today

      Top FTSE 100 bosses will have earned more money by Tuesday afternoon than the average British worker will do in the entire year, a think tank has claimed.

      The High Pay Centre (HPC) compared the earnings of top executives with the average salary of UK workers and found that bosses would only need to work 22 hours to reach the median full-time employee salary.

    • Happy 2016! These CEOs Have Already Banked An Average Worker’s Salary

      By lunchtime Monday, Canada’s top chief executives had already banked an average worker’s annual salary.

      To put that another way, in 2014, the country’s top-paid CEOs took home 184 times as much as the average Canadian worker, according to an annual report on publicly-traded companies released Monday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

      According to the report, the average take-home for a CEO in the country was $8.96 million, accumulated through salaries, stock options, bonuses, and share grants. Meanwhile, the average worker earned a total of $48,636, while the average minimum wage worker got $22,010.

    • Who’s Being Fined? Not Corporate Criminals

      One way to check on government action against corporate crime is to type into Google News the word “fined.”

      Who is getting fined for wrongdoing?

      Five years or so ago, if you did this, you would get a smattering of corporate criminals on the first page.

      But let’s look and see what we get today.

      First story up out of the NBA — Paul George, Marcus Morris fined for Saturday’s altercation.

      Second story up also out of the NBA — Bucks’ Mayo fined $25,000 by NBA for dispute with referee.

      Then you have a story out of Thailand — Western tourists fined for flashing their breasts on Thai island of Phuket.

    • The ‘Pink Tax’ Is a Myth

      During the height of holiday shopping season, a consumer report stoked ample ill-will toward American manufacturers after purporting to show that women’s products are priced higher for completely arbitrary reasons. This so-called “pink tax,” said the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), affects almost every product marketed at American females, “from cradle to cane.”

    • Dow Plunges 276 Points in First Trading Day of 2016

      Global stocks kicked off 2016 with a stumble, as a disappointing report on China’s economy rekindled concerns over slowing global growth and tempered hopes for a better year.

    • Forget the Market Plunge. This Year, the Global People Plunge Continues

      Though global stocks peformed gymnastics on Monday, the real problem for working- and middle-class people: The economy is rigged.

    • The Economy in 2016: On the Edge of Recession

      Consider: The median wage is 4 percent below what it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. The median wage of young people, even those with college degrees, is also dropping, adjusted for inflation. That means a continued slowdown in the rate of family formation—more young people living at home and deferring marriage and children – and less demand for goods and services.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • O’Reilly Lets Trump Off The Hook For His Misleading TV Ad That Misrepresented US Southern Border
    • 12 Craziest Things About Trump’s Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson

      Pierson’s most recent act of provocation was wearing a necklace of bullets for a CNN interview, to show her love and support for the NRA. When she was criticized, she said she’d wear a necklace of fetuses next time, to bring “awareness to 50 million aborted people that will never [get] to be on Twitter.” She did not stop there, adding “the liberals freaking out about my accessories are sexist. They only approve of women in pantsuits and jackets. Oh, and tampon earrings.” That last bit was a reference to MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry’s unusual accessories in a July 2013 broadcast.

    • Debate Schedule Is Allowing GOP To Frame Election Narrative

      The last Democratic presidential debate was buried on a Saturday night up against the opening of Star Wars. Naturally it drew a fraction of earlier Republican debate audiences – and even of the earlier Democratic debates. The next debate is scheduled, astonishingly, on a Sunday night, January 17, the middle day of a three-day weekend. But just in case that might still draw an audience, it is also up against NFL playoff games. What is going on?

    • Jeb Bush May Seek a Campaign Boost From His “Very Popular” Brother

      With Hillary Clinton bringing her husband (and 42nd US president) Bill Clinton on the campaign trail with her in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush may soon follow suit with his presidential kin. The former Florida governor appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, and host Brian Kilmeade asked whether he would follow Clinton’s lead and recruit his brother, former president George W. Bush, to boost his struggling campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

  • Censorship

    • Schools’ PC censorship strangles the free mind

      In the face of spiraling campus demands for trigger warnings, safe spaces, mandatory diversity training and sanctions against offensive words, some pundits are asking where today’s college students learned to be so fearful of competing viewpoints.

      One answer that has escaped scrutiny could lie in our public schools, where principals and school boards too often fail to teach and respect students’ speech rights.

      Writing in 1943, while the nation was at war, in a case on the right of students to refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Justice Robert Jackson proclaimed that individual rights must be respected even in grade schools “if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source.”

    • Turkey Has Released VICE News Journalist Mohammed Rasool On Bail

      VICE News journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool has been released on bail in Turkey after spending more than four months behind bars on terrorism charges.

      Rasool was detained alongside two VICE News colleagues on August 27 and sent to a maximum security prison.

      A document issued by a court in Diyarbakir stated that no bail payment was made, that Rasool was detained “as a protective measure,” and he cannot leave the country. He must also report twice a week to a police station near where he lives.

    • US Copyright Office Asks For Public Comments On DMCA’s Notice And Takedown

      What comes out of this may certainly be interesting, but it’s not difficult to predict that there will be two huge piles of responses that are more or less diametrically opposed: a group of content creators who are obsessed with the fact that they have to send takedown notices and that their works still keep popping up will complain about all of this, and say that the notice and takedown process is too onerous for content creators, and that we should move instead to a world where platforms have to pro-actively monitor things, such as with a “notice and staydown” procedure. On the flip side, you’ll have plenty of people and internet platforms talking about how onerous things are from the other side: platforms are inundated with piles of requests, many of which are completely bogus, but which companies often feel compelled to take down to avoid liability. And end users face tons of censorship due to bogus and abusive takedowns.

    • ‘ISIS New Years Eve Terror Plot’ Story Is Totally Bogus

      Another major holiday, another sensational ISIS terror plot the FBI takes credit for preventing. This time, the case splashed across the news is that of Emanuel Lutchman, a 25-year-old panhandler in Rochester, New York who allegedly plotted to attack a restaurant on New Years Eve. All major network broadcasts lead with the story and it was breathlessly featured everywhere from The New York Times to CNN. There’s only one problem: the way the story is being presented is wildly inaccurate and in many ways factually false.

      Like almost all 11th hour FBI terror busts, the only thing the media has to go off is a DOJ criminal complaint that’s released to the press. Statements from the accused or their lawyer very rarely reach the public. And he criminal complaint and FBI press release are framed to deliberately deceive the media.

      Let’s run down some of the key claims made by the media and why they’re either factually incorrect or misleading.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Man Charged With Planning (Non-) Attack on Behalf of ISIS

      New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in an interview that “the arrest of Emanuel Lutchman is an important reminder of the new normal of global terrorism.”

    • Out of Options, California Ships Hundreds of Troubled Children Out of State

      At 14, Deshaun Becton’s life is a roadmap to California’s faltering efforts to care for its most troubled children.

      Over more than a dozen turbulent years, he lived with a half-dozen foster families and in five different group homes. Now he is among the more than 900 children that California sends to out-of-state residential facilities, most of them in Utah, a ProPublica analysis shows.

      Each of these children represents a surrender of sorts: a tacit acknowledgement that California — the nation’s biggest and, by some measures, richest state — somehow has no good answer for them.

    • Children Caught In Sweep as Feds Begin Mass Deportations
    • More Than 120 Central Americans Taken Into Custody In Large-Scale Deportation Raid

      Don’t open your door. Ask for a warrant when a stranger knocks on your door. Memorize the phone numbers of relatives and lawyers.

      These are just some of the pieces of advice that immigrant advocates have been giving Central Americans who entered the country after May 2014, now that the Obama administration has begun an aggressive immigration operation targeting them for deportation in the new year.

      Over the weekend, at least 121 Central American individuals primarily from Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina were taken into custody and are now in the process of being repatriated to their countries of origin.

    • Cliven Bundy’s Neverending War

      A year and a half after television news crews departed Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch, the revolution he hoped to spark against federal stewardship of public lands is still going. But it’s hard to say it’s going strong.

    • It’s Not Just Militia Members Who Want to Take Over Federal Land

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also endorsed state or private control of federal land. “You run into problems now with the federal government being, you know, this bully,” Paul told a crowd in June before meeting with Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refused to pay more than $1 million in fees for grazing his cattle on federal land. The meeting, Bundy said, helped show Paul “the difference between Cliven Bundy’s stand and Ken Ivory’s stand.” Bundy’s son Ammon is currently leading the armed occupation in Oregon.

    • The Rule Of Law No Longer Exists In Western Civilization — Paul Craig Roberts

      Bundy and militiamen, whose count varies from 15 to 150 in the presstitute media, have seized an Oregon office of the BLM as American liberty’s protest against the frame-up of the Hammonds on false charges. As I write the Oregon National Guard and FBI are on the way.

    • The Bundy Siege is a Wake-Up Call: American Extremists Are Getting Desperate and Dangerous

      Something scary is happening in the so-called libertarian west. Armed terrorists have taken over a federal building in Oregon. By now, you know the story, even as it plays out in real time. It’s an escalation of an ongoing battle that started with the Cliven Bundy Ranch fiasco, wherein a gutless Federal government let a bunch of armed kooks run roughshod over basic law enforcement. Bundy refused to pay his grazing fees, and instead decided to make his private profit with stolen public resources, threatening violence if authorities attempted to correct his infractions. This latest dustup is superficially about a couple of ranchers given five-year prison sentences for setting fires that destroyed public land, but that is only a flimsy pretext; this is another round of antisocial behavior by a group of (mostly) men who are watching the decline—if not outright elimination—of their power and influence in the west.

    • What’s Wrong With Laughing & Labeling Oregon Militants “Terrorists”

      There are others, who have made similar funny remarks. Cliff Schechter, a Daily Beast columnist, suggests, “Could be much worse. Could be group of 12 year-old African American kids wielding toy guns in Oregon. Then we’d use napalm.” And various others believe they are clever as they compose variations of, when will leaders in the White community renounce this violence?

      I have a joke of my own. Good thing these militants aren’t in North Waziristan. Otherwise, President Kill List would have an armed drone flying over their heads faster than one could say white caliphate.

      However, there is one issue with all of this humor: it is predicated on concepts of identity, which are reinforced through disproportionate actions of the State.

      The language is a product of understandable frustration and cynicism toward a government, which fails to apply a system designed to fight “terrorism” equally against all people regardless of their skin color or religion. It is rooted in a powerlessness, a recognition that there is no movement to meaningfully unravel a system, which fuels the disparity in law enforcement. But the target appears to be the government for failing to criminalize all people to the same extent as the government would criminalize brown or black people, who engaged in similar acts.

    • These Two Photos Are Worth a Million Words in Explaining Oregon Militia Leader Blain Cooper

      These two photos are pretty much all you need to know about the leader of the armed white men who have taken over the federal building in Oregon, a group the Internet has dubbed Y’all Qaeda.

    • Terrorism, American Style

      We in America thus must deal with the unfortunate fact that domestic terrorism is becoming a serious national security threat, greatly helped by the provocative rhetoric of the leading Republican presidential candidates. Since 9/11, “non-Islamic extremists” actually account for more lives lost than “Islamic extremists,” by 48 to 45. Yet, this predominantly white, male, Christian terrorism invariably escapes being labeled as such. Instead, the mass media uses more polite language, such as “militia men” and “armed activists”—words that probably would not be applied if the terrorists were American Indians, African Americans, Jews, or of course Muslims. As Janell Ross writesin the Washington Post, “The descriptions of events in Oregon appear to reflect the usual shape of our collective assumptions about the relationship between race and guilt—or religion and violent extremism—in the United States.”

    • Take a Bite Out of Crime

      Henderson, Nevada, officials have agreed to pay $13,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a 17-month-old girl mauled by a police dog.

    • Confusion, language barrier contribute to Henderson police dog biting child — VIDEO
    • Who Killed Sammy Younge Jr.? SNCC, Vietnam, and the Fight for Racial Justice

      Issued more than a year before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous Riverside Church speech against the war, SNCC faced repercussions for its dissent. For example, the Georgia legislature denied SNCC spokesperson and elected state representative Julian Bond his seat because he stood by the statement. As he fought for his elected office, Bond wrote an educational comic book on the history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the connection between the struggles of the Vietnamese and the struggles of African Americans for self-determination and human rights.

    • Attacks on Hoffman Report From Military Psychologists Obfuscate Detainee Abuse

      In the wake of the July 2015 Hoffman Report, which found that the American Psychological Association (APA) colluded with the Department of Defense (DOD) to ensure that no APA policy would constrain psychologists’ participation in DOD’s “enhanced interrogation” program, the APA Council of Representatives passed an historic ban on the involvement of psychologists in national security interrogations and at detention sites that operate outside or in violation of international law, including Guantánamo Bay Detention Center.

    • “Speed Trap Town” Dissolves Entire Police Dept After Years of Officials Getting Rich from Fines

      Despite issuing and collecting a record number of traffic fines, the money from those fines never found its way to the village bank account. The clerk of courts and the deputy clerk of courts, with the help of the ticket writing cops, enriched themselves to the tune of $260,000 before they were finally caught in October.

    • Report Finds Juvenile Program Failed to Reduce Robberies, but Police Are Expanding It

      For years, the New York Police Department has tried to stop robberies before they might happen by intervening in the lives of some young offenders. The approach was heralded by the author Malcolm Gladwell in a best-selling 2013 book as an innovative way to shake up the criminal justice process. Elected leaders gave $2 million over the last two years in support.

    • Upholding Power of the People, Court Says Voters Can Weigh In on Citizens United

      When it ruled Monday that California lawmakers can ask for voters’ opinions on campaign-spending laws, the state Supreme Court underscored “that the ultimate power of our government is vested in the people,” Common Cause senior vice president Karen Hobert Flynn declared in the wake of the decision.

      By upholding the legality of Proposition 49—which would ask voters whether Congress should propose an amendment overturning the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United—the court spoke “directly to the question we have faced since the Citizens United ruling,” Hobert Flynn continued. “Are we a democracy of, by, and for the people, or are we to be ruled by an elite, moneyed class, where the power of government rests in the hands of a few wealthy special interests?”

    • California Supreme Court backs advisory ballot measures

      The unprecedented legal test stems from Proposition 49, a measure removed from the November 2014 ballot by the state’s high court that sought voter views on whether Congress should be asked to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling on unlimited independent campaign spending.

    • California Supreme Court Says Voters Can Advise on Citizens United

      A California Supreme Court ruling will let the state’s voters offer their collective opinion on political campaign financing. The court decision, which was handed down Monday, allows Californians to urge their members of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.

    • Conservatives Mock Obama For Crying About Child Victims Of Gun Violence During Speech

      Several conservative media figures attacked President Obama for crying as he spoke about child victims during a speech detailing executive actions designed to reduce gun violence.

    • ISIS’ War On Children

      Grace “Khadija” Dare’s camo-clad child might be one of the youngest to appear in an ISIS propaganda video, but the militant group has been eerily inclusive when it comes to children. Perhaps more than any other militant group, ISIS has made children into war machines. Children have long been brainwashed, drugged, and threatened children into picking up arms. ISIS has elevated their place in conflicts, given them revered roles as trained executioners, guards, and recruiters. The United Nations has confirmed that children as young as 12 are being trained by ISIS.

    • You Can’t Report Truthfully on Israel Without Facing Its Wrath

      Makarim Wibisono has announced his resignation as UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, the position I held for six years until June 2014.

      The Indonesian diplomat says that he could not fulfill his mandate because Israel has adamantly refused to give him access to the Palestinian people living under its military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

      “Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” Wibisono explains.

      His resignation reminds me in a strange way of Richard Goldstone’s retraction a few years ago of the main finding in the UN-commissioned Goldstone report, that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in the course of Operation Cast Lead, its massive attack on Gaza at the end of 2008.

    • Entire Florida Police Dept Busted Laundering Tens of Millions for International Drug Cartels

      The latest revelations show that at least 20 people in Venezuela were sent drug money from the Florida cops, including William Amaro Sanchez, the foreign minister under Hugo Chavez and now special assistant to President Nicolas Maduro.

      They wired a total of $211,000 to Sanchez, even while the U.S. government was investigating Venezuelan government leaders involved in the drug trade. Instead of reporting their knowledge of Sanchez to federal agencies, the cops went on laundering money, taking their cut, and all the while aiding Sanchez in his machinations, which likely included political corruption.

    • Cologne sex attacks: Merkel disgust at New Year gang assaults

      Women have made at least 90 criminal complaints to police about the harassment by gangs at Cologne’s main railway station on Thursday night.

      Germans have been shocked by the scale of the attacks, involving many groups of drunk and aggressive young men.

      Witnesses and police said the men were of Arab or North African appearance.

      Mrs Merkel called Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker on Tuesday and expressed her “outrage over these disgusting attacks and sexual assaults”.

      The chancellor said everything must be done “to find the perpetrators as quickly and comprehensively as possible and punish them, regardless of their origin or background”.

      Up to 300 women demonstrated against the violence near the scene of the attacks on Tuesday evening. One placard read: “Mrs Merkel! Where are you? What do you say? This alarms us!”

      There is an intense debate in Germany about refugees and migrants, who arrived in record numbers last year. But Mayor Reker urged people not to jump to conclusions about the Cologne assailants.

      “It’s completely improper… to link a group that appeared to come from North Africa with the refugees,” she said, after crisis talks with the police.

    • Two Arab-Israeli passengers deplane following demands of Israelis on-board

      “The whole episode , which did indeed delay the flight for more than 1 hour and 30 minutes, is indeed very unfortunate and we are grateful that the two Israeli passengers affected did agree to fly the next day. We thank again the two Israeli passengers that agreed to disembark for their understanding and collaboration and we apologize for the whole episode which was indeed extremely unfortunate.”

      The Director of Amnesty International in Israel Yonatan Gher said the incident on the plane reflected the Israeli government’s incitement against the Arab Israeli community following the Tel Aviv shooting attack last week in which two people were killed.

    • Imagine If They Were Black: How Oregon Reveals the Real Story About Race and Whiteness in America

      I recently wrote two pieces on white privilege and the occupation of federal property in Oregon by a gun-toting terrorist insurrectionist “militia” that is led by the sons of Cliven Bundy—the Nevada rancher who, with the aid of an armed group of anti-government protesters, stood down federal authorities in 2014 because he did not want to pay his back taxes and grazing fees.

    • Families are taken into custody as push to deport immigrants denied refuge begins

      After searching the house, the agents showed Gutierrez a photo of her niece, 30-year-old Ana Lizet Mejia. Mejia fled Honduras when her brother was killed by gangs. She entered the U.S. illegally with her son as part of a wave of Central American migrants seeking refuge from violence in the summer of 2014.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • DSL Users Still Can’t Get Advertised Speeds They Pay For, Nation’s Telcos Couldn’t Care Less

      And that 12 Mbps mark is rather generous. There are tens of millions of DSL customers who are lucky to nab 3 Mbps downstream on a good day, thanks to phone companies that face no serious competitive incentive to upgrade. Worse, some of these companies (like AT&T and Verizon) are actively trying to drive these unwanted customers away with apathy and price hikes so they can focus on more-profitable wireless. Others, (like Frontier, Windstream and CenturyLink) are buying these aging assets up, but wind up being so saddled with debt meaningful upgrades aren’t possible (assuming they had competitive incentive to do so).

    • What Is P2P File Sharing And How It Works?

      The rudimentary internet was more like a peer-to-peer network – “Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the World Wide Web was close to a P2P network in that it assumed each user of the web would be an active editor and contributor, creating and linking content to form an interlinked “web” of links”,” writes Wikipedia.

  • DRM

    • Warner Brothers, Intel Begin Futile Legal Assault To Defend Ultra HD And 4K DRM

      Believing it can keep the lid on HDCP 2.2 stripping technology, Warner Brothers and Intel’s daughter-company Digital Content Protection have filed suit (pdf) against LegendSky. According to the lawsuit, the company’s technology violates not only the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, but also the Lanham Act by falsely claiming that its HDFury hardware complies with HDCP’s license requirements.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Understanding David Lowery’s Lawsuit Against Spotify: The Insanity Of Music Licensing

        We generally don’t talk much about musician David Lowery around here any more. We covered a few stories about him a few years ago, and he seemed to take it ridiculously personally, and continues to attack me with false and misleading claims. Every so often someone sends me a link to a blog post he’s written and it’s almost always laughably wrong (for example, in one recent story he falsely claimed that “Google” is on Spotify’s board — because a former Google exec who is no longer at the company also happens to be on Spotify’s board). So, take the following with that caveat in mind. I tried to be objective in the analysis, but some will likely suggest that’s impossible given his years-long attacks on me.

      • Daughters Sue ‘Big Bang Theory’ Over Infringing Use Of Mother’s 82-Year-Old Poem ‘Warm Kitty’

        A copyright infringement lawsuit has been filed against a long list of defendants — all of it related to the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” Supposedly, a poem written in 1933 is being used without permission of the putative rights holders (the author’s daughters) and making everyone involved with the show a lot of money.

        The poem, titled “Warm Kitty,” is often sung by one of the main characters. It has been used often enough to become its own cultural force, resulting in a pile of Big Bang Theory merchandise featuring the words and/or title.

      • Celebrate Aaron Swartz in Seattle (or Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, NYC, SF)

        I’m organizing an event at the University of Washington in Seattle that involves a reading, the screening of a documentary film, and a Q&A about Aaron Swartz. The event coincides with the third anniversary of Aaron’s death and the release of a new book of Swartz’s writing that I contributed to.

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