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01.09.16

Links 10/1/2016: Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa” Xfce and KDE Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Sorry, grammar nerds. The singular ‘they’ has been declared Word of the Year.

    Singular “they,” the gender-neutral pronoun, has been named the Word of the Year by a crowd of over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening.

    In a landslide vote, the language experts chose singular they over “thanks, Obama,” ammosexual, “on fleek,” and other contenders for this annual award given to the most significant term or word in the past year.

  • Science

    • Scientists At Odds With EPA Over Fracking Study

      In June, the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report on fracking that concluded the practice has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water. Now, the agency’s own advisory board is taking some issue with those findings.

      In a draft peer review report released Thursday, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) said that it had concerns regarding the agency’s conclusion in the fracking report. Namely, it found that the EPA failed to “clearly describe the system(s) of interest (e.g., groundwater, surface water) nor the definitions of ‘systemic,’ ‘widespread,’ or ‘impacts.’” In addition, the review board said it was “concerned that this statement does not reflect the uncertainties and data limitations described in the body of the Report associated with such impacts.”

    • All of the Reasons Scientists Are Certain We Are Now Living in the Anthropocene

      “Human activity is leaving a pervasive and persistent signature on Earth.” So begins one of the more depressing scientific papers I’ve ever read.

      What follows in “The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene,” a new study published in Science, is a laundry list of human sins that, in total, add up to what its authors say is irrefutable evidence that Earth has entered a human-driven geological epoch that began midway through the 20th century and continues today.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why Are We Dying From Drinking in Record Numbers?

      Almost 31,000 Americans died from drinking in 2014, a nearly 40 percent increase since 2002.

    • Campbell Announces Support for Mandatory GMO Labeling
    • ‘No GMO Soup for You’? Consumer Victory as Campbell Announces New Labels

      Campbell Soup’s announcement that it will become the first U.S. company to begin labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in its products garnered accolades on Friday from food and safety groups, who heralded the development as a “significant win” for transparency.

      “The decision by Campbell’s sends a clear message to Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat GMO labeling laws,” Ronnie Cummins, the international director for advocacy group Organic Consumers Association, said in a statement.

    • Spike in Drug Shortages Worries ER Docs

      Drug shortages have jumped more than five-fold from 2008 to 2014, following a 7-year decline, and access issues are hurting emergency departments, researchers reported in Academic Emergency Medicine.

    • Lead Poisoned Kids in Flint Will Need More Than Apologies, Declarations

      The children of Flint will need more than new declarations of emergency, state-level resignations and public apologies to help reverse the damage that has been done to their young bodies and developing brains. And now is the time for the state to step in with a proven strategy to help the most vulnerable citizens among us.

      The tragic crisis in which too many Flint children have been poisoned by lead from drinking toxic water after lax state regulatory oversight requires an immediate and significant investment in proven interventions that already exist. That is why Michigan’s Children calls on the state to step in – without delay – to increase funding to Early On services, a proven and existing program that helps families with infants and toddlers birth to age three who have a developmental delay or a diagnosed health condition that could lead to such delay. Elevated lead is one of those health conditions that result in automatic eligibility for Early On due to its strong connection to cognitive impairment and developmental challenges.

    • President Obama Needs to Intervene in Flint Water Crisis

      It’s hard to believe that in 2016, people in the United States are contending with poisoned water, but that’s the sad, frustrating, outrageous problem facing many today in Flint, Michigan. Although Governor Rick Snyder finally declared a state of emergency, the problem has persisted for over a year, affecting almost 100,000 people, many of whom will feel the repercussions of this for years to come in the form of chronic health problems from lead exposure.

    • Important Reminder in the Flint Crisis: People Still Have No Safe Water

      The lead contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan is receiving increased national attention—yet what the people of the Rust Belt city urgently need to receive is clean drinking water.

      Republican Governor Rick Snyder on Thursday offered a second apology for the crisis, saying it’s an “unfortunate situation.” That problem, which began as the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, has left 200 children below the age of six with confirmed elevated blood lead levels, spurred calls for Snyder’s ouster, and prompted filmmaker Michael Moore to say the governor has to go to jail, as he “effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan.”

    • Death Rates Rise for Young White Americans Too

      It’s not just midlife whites – mortality rates for whites ages 25 to 34 are also increasing

    • Comments about people with mental illness

      As a developer, I wouldn’t really like the idea of doctors meddling with my code, so why is it that some people in the IT and business community are so happy to meddle around in the domain of doctors, giving such strong opinions about something they have no expertise in?

    • Unpatriotic militants? No, Jeremy Hunt – doctors are just fighting to be able to care for us all.

      For the last 9 years I have been the medical director of an NHS service providing confidential help to doctors and dentists with mental health problems, seeing a rising number of doctors week on week.

      But our patients have changed.

      In our early days the ‘typical’ patient was an older male (GP or psychiatrist) with alcohol problems.

      Now nearly half of all new patients are under 30 years old. They come to us with depression, anxiety and symptoms akin to posttraumatic stress disorder. Many have worked in the NHS only a few years. They started out bushy tailed and bright eyed, but end up ‘burnt-out’ (a polite euphemism for depression) after only a few years working. Our youngest patients are only a few months qualified and many are in their Foundation years.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Hackers caused a major blackout for the first time

      Hackers were behind a cyber attack on Ukraine in December that had real offline consequences: A blackout that killed electricity to roughly 700,000 homes.

      On December 23, around half the homes in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region lost power for at least a few hours. Initially reported in Ukrainian media as being caused by hackers, cybersecurity experts have now confirmed that was the case, saying the power company was infected with malicious software.

    • Finland extradites Russian hacking suspect to US

      US authorities are to escort Maxim Senakh out of Finland within a month. They suspect him of stealing millions of dollars from infected computer servers in the US, Finland and elsewhere.

    • Linux Ransomware creators third time unlucky as researchers crack encryption again

      Researchers find Linux.Encoder 3 version still uses buggy encryption and allows file recovery

      Much to the delight of security researchers, a group of malware creators are currently having difficulty getting cryptographic implementations right in their ransomware. This has not happened once but thrice.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • In Response to Continued Resonance of Awlaki Videos, US Relaunched Social Media Propaganda Campaign

      As far as we know, the perpetrators of the November attack on Paris were radicalized by each other, in specific neighborhoods in Europe.

      According to the complaint filed against his Enrique Marquez, the friend who got him guns, Syed Rizwan Farook, adopted radical beliefs after consuming the lectures, videos, and magazine of Anwar al-Awlaki. In fact, Farook and Marquez moved towards planning an attack in 2011, in the immediate wake of the drone killing of Awlaki and his son. As to Tashfeen Malik, Farook’s wife, while she did some searches on ISIS just before Farook started an attack on his workplace, public reporting suggests that like the French terrorists, she adopted extreme beliefs through relationships formed in brick and mortar life.

    • Saudi Arabia’s US-Backed Air War in Yemen May Have Committed War Crimes—Again

      Saudi Arabia is yet again adding to its trail of destruction in its war in Yemen, and its tactics are drawing condemnation from the United Nations. The Saudi’s latest actions include firing missiles on civilian buildings in the capital, Sanaa—striking a wedding hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and a center for the blind—as well as dropping US-made cluster bombs on at least two of Sanaa’s residential neighborhoods.

    • One by One, South Sudan Tries to Name Its War Victims

      It was December 16, 2013, just hours into a civil war pitting President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, the largest tribe in the country, against Riek Machar, his former vice president and a Nuer, the second largest tribe. The war has defied ceasefires and continues to this day despite a peace deal signed in August.

    • Does North Korea Need Nukes to Deter US Aggression?

      Question 1– How many governments has the United States overthrown or tried to overthrow since the Second World War?

      Answer: 57 (See William Blum.)

      Question 2– How many of those governments had nuclear weapons?

      Answer— 0

    • North Korea’s “H Bomb”: No Ado About Something

      In my opinion, a lot of the mockery of the North Korean nuclear test—the silly little man with his silly little bomb—is racism that reassures. It evokes the explanation for why many poor rural whites adopted a posture of racial exclusion instead of class solidarity with poor rural blacks in the American South: “because ‘If you ain’t better than a ****, who are you better than?’”. We may have our problems, in other words, but at least we’re not North Korea.

    • Decades After Atrocities During US-Backed Dirty Wars, Nations Take Promising Legal Steps

      El Salvador says will make arrests over notorious massacre of Jesuit priests; Guatemala arrests over a dozen former officials for rights abuses

    • US drone crashes in Iraq; not shot down by enemy fire

      U.S. military officials say an American Predator drone crashed Thursday in Iraq but say it was not shot down by enemy fire.

    • 112 Killed across Iraq; US Drone Crashes
    • We Are the Human Shields of the Political Class

      Sitting ducks, in other words, people that are easy to kill. This is why they are targeted, obviously. A “hard target”, on the other hand, is an individual, structure, or institution that is very hard to inflict much damage on by any organization other than a technologically advanced military. The Pentagon (with the exception of 9/11), White House, Congress, Homeland Security, the elites who can afford round-the-clock protection, all these come to mind. These “hard targets”, although safe from attack, are usually the ones chiefly responsible for whatever danger from terrorism that we “soft targets” are exposed to. Blowback, the retaliation by those angered at Western interventionism, is our lot in life in the thick of War on Terror hysteria.

    • Saudi Arabia Executed a Nonviolent Shiite Cleric – It’s Going To Cost Them Big

      Apparently not content to rest on those dubious laurels, Saudi authorities followed that high water mark by executing 47 people – by beheadings and firing squads – on New Year’s Day alone. It was the highest number of executions in a single day in the kingdom since 1980, when Saudi authorities publicly beheaded 63 Sunni fundamentalists behind the takeover of the Kaaba during the 1979 Hajj.

      The majority of those killed on January 1 were alleged terrorists convicted on charges stemming from the country’s al-Qaeda insurgency, which wreaked havoc across Saudi Arabia in the mid-2000s. Four, however, were Shiites – including the internationally revered Ayatollah Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a vocal advocate for the kingdom’s oppressed Shiite minority.

    • Taking On the Nuclear Goliath

      Say hello to the Marshall Islands, the tiny, heroic island nation in Micronesia, with a population just over 70,000. This former U.S. territory, which still bears the terrible scars of 67 aboveground nuclear blasts between 1946 and 1958, when this country used it as an expendable nuclear test site, has engaged the United States – and, indeed, all nine nations that possess nuclear weapons – in lawsuits demanding that they comply with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and begin the process of negotiating global nuclear disarmament.

    • Kenya has become a perilous place to be a teacher with the threat of al-Shabaab leaving young people in crisis

      Morning was several hours off when passengers boarded the ill-fated bus bound for Nairobi. Among them, teachers heading home for the long holidays started to doze off, others murmured quietly.

      An hour into the journey from Mandera in northern Kenya, Osinga Atibu was awoken from his reverie by the sound of gunfire. Masked men, armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, forced the driver to a shuddering halt. A short while later, the terrified passengers were ordered off the bus, non-Muslims singled out, and forced to lie face down on the ground.

    • Saudi Arabia a Force for Stability? Dream On!

      The Saudi mass beheadings on January 2 proved nothing new to a world that well knows Saudi Arabia is still a tribal police state with a moral code of medieval barbarity. Saudi Arabia is a Sunni-Muslim country that executes people for witchcraft, adultery, apostasy, and homosexuality (among other things). And the Saudi regime is perfectly willing to torture and kill a Shi’a-Muslim cleric for the crime of speaking truth to power, knowing that that judicial murder will inflame his followers and drive the region toward wider war. The Saudi provocation is as transparent as it is despicable, and yet the Saudis are held to no account, as usual.

    • U.N. Chief to U.S.-Backed Saudi Air Coalition: You May Be Committing War Crimes in Yemen

      The U.N. has asked Yemen to reverse its decision to expel a top U.N. human rights official after cluster-bomb complaints.

    • Noam Chomsky: Electing the President of An Empire

      The spectrum is broad but in an odd sense. The spectrum is basically center to extreme right. Extreme right. Way off the spectrum. The Republican Party about 20 years ago basically abandoned any pretense of being a normal political party. In fact, the distinguished, respected conservative commentators, from the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank, like Norman Ornstein, described the Republican Party as a radical insurgency which has abandoned parliamentary politics. They just don’t want anything to happen. Their only policies are “don’t do anything” or bomb. That’s not a political party.

    • Regime Change Madness: Hillary, Obama and Murderous Mayhem in the Muslim World

      Still, recalling that it was a Democratic U.S. president (Jimmy Carter) who first provided the resources that made Osama bin Laden a force to be reckoned with and that leading Democrat Hillary Clinton voted (as a U.S. Senator) for Bush’s invasion, responsible observers of U.S. policy need to give the current Democratic president, Barack Obama, and the next one, his former Secretary of State, Hillary, equal credit for growing deadly Sunni extremism. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have pursued aggressive policies of regime change that have opened the door for jihadist expansion. They have done so over and against the opposition and warnings not just of peace activists but also of top U.S. military analysts and officials.

    • Russia, as Explained to Russians by Americans

      This is rather odd because who needs propaganda when the Russians can read the Western media themselves and see firsthand all the lies it puts forth about them and the demonizing of Putin. There are several political-debate shows on Russian television where they invite Western journalists or politicians; on one there frequently is a really funny American journalist, Michael Bohm, who keeps regurgitating all the western propaganda, arguing with his Russian counterparts. It’s pretty surreal to watch him display the worst political stereotypes of Americans: arrogant, gullible, and ignorant. He stands there and lectures high ranking Russian politicians, “explaining” to them the “real” Russian foreign policy, and the “real” intentions behind their actions, as opposed to anything they say. The man is shockingly irony-impaired. It is as funny to watch as it is sad and scary.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Federal Judge Finds NYPD Engaged In Evidence Spoliation By Destroying Documents Related To Summons Quota Lawsuit

      Just recently, we discussed the revelation that former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s emails were deleted right as he was exiting office — despite being ordered by a federal court to preserve all communications relevant to a summons quota lawsuit.

      The city claimed it was a clerical error, but the plaintiffs pointed out that, despite the retention order being issued in 2010, the city had yet to produce a single email from Kelly’s account in response to its discovery requests.

    • FBI Finally Completes FOIA Request 1,393 Days After It Was Filed; Withholds All 509 Responsive Pages

      Michael Morisy — founder of FOIA clearinghouse MuckRock — has been waiting since February of 2012 for the FBI to hand over information on its GPS tracking devices. Specifically, Morisy was looking for information on any devices it deactivated/recollected after the Supreme Court (US v. Jones) declared the warrantless, long-term tracking of individuals could amount to a Fourth Amendment violation.

      The decision didn’t explicitly state GPS tracking devices now needed to be accompanied by warrants, but it was enough that the FBI began shutting down its 3,000 devices. (It turned most of them back on a month later after securing the proper paperwork. Only 250 or so were permanently switched off. And, of course, the FBI grumbled about having to obtain warrants for devices it had already deployed, because the Fourth Amendment doesn’t do anything but slow down law enforcement.)

    • US Courts Administrative Office Sued Because PACER’s Bad Math Is Overcharging Users

      There’s plenty to complain about when discussing the federal court’s document filing system known as PACER. Lots.

      [...]

      Then there’s the fact that PACER hands over PDFs like the pages are rolling off the Xerox. To access a digital file, you’ll be paying $0.10 a page. Sure, it caps at $3.00 (30 pages) but that’s only per individual PDF. Download another from the same case and you’re back to square one, paying a dime a page. Opinions are free, which helps, but everything else steadily adds up.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Emergency Declared by Governor as Massive Methane Leak in Los Angeles Spews Record Amounts of Pollution
    • FBI to Track Animal Abuse Like Homicide—But Which Animals?

      Activists say new system is step in the right direction, but reveals bias that favors household pets over farm animals

    • More droughts may mean less power

      Rising temperatures and reduced rainfall will make the flow of rivers less dependable, affecting supplies to the electricity generators that rely on them.

    • Donald Trump fined for pollution from one of his private jets

      US presidential candidate joins the Bahrain royal family and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox America whose aircraft have all fallen foul of the EU’s emissions trading scheme

    • The U.S. Was Hit With Seriously High Temperatures In 2015

      If you thought 2015 was unusually hot, you were right. Last year was the second hottest on record in the United States since data collection began in 1895, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

      Last year was also the 19th consecutive time that average temperatures in the U.S. exceeded the 20th century average, which means everyone born after 1996 has only experienced warmer than normal temperatures. NOAA also reported that December was record warm for the contiguous United States, with temperatures at 6°F above average. Twenty-nine states had their warmest December on record, while no state was record cold. The last time the country saw a warmer December was in 1939.

      This year-over-year trend could continue in 2016. For this winter, NOAA said in October that above-average temperatures are forecast across much of the West and the northern half of the contiguous United States. Temperatures are also predicted to be above-average in Alaska and much of Hawaii.

    • New US Diet Guidelines Say Yes to Meat, Screw the Climate

      Every five years, the government tries to tell Americans what to put in their bodies. Eat more vegetables. Dial back the fats. It’s all based on the best available science for leading a healthy life. But the best available science also has a lot to say about what those food choices do to the environment, and some researchers are peeved that new dietary recommendations released yesterday seem to utterly ignore that fact.

      Broadly, the 2016-2020 dietary recommendations aim for balance: More veggies, leaner meats, try some fish! Oh, and eat way less sugar, no more than 10 percent of your total diet.

    • Charles Koch Is Disappointed That He Can’t Buy More Influence

      There are two interesting things going on here. First is Koch’s disappointment that his money doesn’t buy him more influence. It’s easy to laugh at that, but he’s probably right. He’s raised a lot of money. But it’s hard to see that Republican views have changed in his direction much. The entire party denies climate change and wants to lower taxes already, so there was no work to be done there. But a less aggressive foreign policy? An end to corporate welfare? Turning down the volume on social issues? Koch is right: all his money has had no effect on that. It’s only had a significant effect when he’s pushing in the same direction that the GOP wind is already blowing.

    • The Arctic Is Melting at a Record Pace — and It’s Having a Scary Impact on Global Weather

      Arctic sea ice is melting at a record pace – and every summer looks grimmer. This past summer saw the ice pack at its fourth-lowest level on record, and the overall trend in recent decades suggests this will only continue.

    • Look What We’ve Done: Human-Made Epoch of Nightmares Is Here

      There’s no question about it. A new epoch—the Anthropocene—has begun.

      So says an international group of geoscientists, in a paper published Friday in the journal Science. They point to waste disposal, fossil fuel combustion, increased fertilizer use, the testing and dropping of nuclear weapons, deforestation, and more as evidence that human activity has pushed the Earth into the new age that takes its name from the Greek anthropos, or human being.

      Some argue the new era began in the 1950s, the decade that marks the beginning of the so-called “Great Acceleration,” when human population and its consumption patterns suddenly speeded up, and nuclear weapons tests dispersed radioactive elements across the globe.

  • Finance

    • Basic Income, Basic Issues

      But basic income is much more than that because it addresses the basic human right without which all other rights are impossible: the right to material existence.

    • Yet Another Fabricated Jobs Report — Paul Craig Roberts

      Americans of prime working age, 25 years old to 54 year old, only received 16,000 or 5% of the new jobs.

      Those aged 46 to 54 lost 165,000 jobs. In other words, middle aged people are losing their jobs before they can provide for their retirement.

      There are 527,000 more Americans working multiple jobs in December 2015 than in December 2014.

    • Hillary Clinton Made More in 12 Speeches to Big Banks Than Most of Us Earn in a Lifetime

      Clinton’s most lucrative year was 2013, right after stepping down as secretary of state. That year, she made $2.3 million for three speeches to Goldman Sachs and individual speeches to Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments, Apollo Management Holdings, UBS, Bank of America, and Golden Tree Asset Managers.

      The following year, she picked up $485,000 for a speech to Deutsche Bank and an address to Ameriprise. Last year, she made $150,000 from a lecture before the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

      To put these numbers into perspective, compare them to lifetime earnings of the median American worker. In 2011, the Census Bureau estimated that, across all majors, a “bachelor’s degree holder can expect to earn about $2.4 million over his or her work life.” A Pew Research analysis published the same year estimated that a “typical high school graduate” can expect to make just $770,000 over the course of his or her lifetime.

    • Paul Krugman: Are We Heading to a Global Economic Catastrophe?

      Paul Krugman does his best to analyze the current economic crisis and venture a guess about whether it will trigger a worldwide economic catastophe in Friday’s column.

    • The corporate university and its threat to academic freedom

      Neoliberalism has facilitated the emergence of the ‘corporate’ university, which dangerously prioritises market rationality and public relations over academic freedom.

    • How to Spend Less So You Can Afford to Save More
    • 6 Creepy Schemes Companies Use To Bury You In Debt

      Unless you come from an obscenely rich family, one of the first things you find out when you hit adulthood is that your future might depend on your willingness to take on debt. Do you want to go to college? You’ll probably need a loan for that. Need a car? That’s going to require a loan. Ready to put down some roots and settle in a permanent place of your own? Unless your name is Mr. or Ms. Money Bags, get ready to borrow.

      And the fact that borrowing is a part of adulthood isn’t even the bad news. If you were paying attention as a child, you saw that one coming. The bad news is that your car, education, and house are only the tip of the debt iceberg. Beneath the sea is a whole other landmass of ways the world wants to keep you in the red.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Nuclear Perceptions: North Korea and the arts of Guerrilla Partisanship

      Nuclear weapons have always had a habit of inviting games of perception. Will the state in possession of a nuclear option make use of it? Obviously, there is always precedent that any state with an option will, at some point, make do with it. The importance here is one of perception.

      The DPRK has tended to be in the business of mastering perceptions over reality for much of its existence. In many ways, it has had to. In the face of a dominant United States, a retreating Russia, and a China that has proven to be more qualified about its support, Pyongyang has become more boisterous and terrier-like in its pronouncements.

    • How is citizen journalism transforming the BBC’s Newsroom practices?

      User-generated content offers new ways of covering ‘black hole’ stories such as the Syrian conflict. But how do journalists make sense of what is happening on the ground?

    • Latest: Trump crowd estimated at 2,000, plus protests

      Donald Trump says the crowd for his speech Thursday night in Burlington was 25,000.

      Untrue, according to the city police chief.

      About 2,000 people lined up starting at 4:30 a.m. for access to the Flynn Center, Chief Brandon del Pozo told the Burlington Free Press. The Trump campaign instituted a loyalty test at the door and allowed into the 1,400-seat Flynn Center only people who professed support for the candidate.

    • ESPN Employees Keep Failing To Disclose Their Advertising Tweets As Advertising
    • Bernie Sanders Goes on the Offensive Against Trump: He’s “Doing What Demagogues Always Do”

      Sanders noted that the American worker is making far less today “in real, inflation adjusted for dollars” than thirty years ago, and that Trump is tapping into the anger that’s creating. “What I am saying is you have a right to be angry. Let’s create an economy that gets to the root cause of greed and corporate greed. Let’s take them on.”

      “You know what Trump is saying?” he asked. “The cause of your problems is that Latino tomato picker who’s making $8 an hour, or that Muslim engineering student — that’s the old-fashioned scapegoating, it’s doing what demagogues always do.”

    • Muslim Woman Gets Kicked Out Of Donald Trump Rally For Being Muslim

      A Muslim woman was kicked out of a Donald Trump rally on Friday night for no apparent reason. The woman, Rose Hamid, told CNN that she “came to the rally to let Trump supporters see what a Muslim looks like.” She stood silently with a t-shirt that read “I Come In Peace.”

      About halfway through the rally, held in Rock Hill, South Carolina, some people in the crowd “turned pretty ugly” toward the woman, shouting “epithets.” She was then escorted out by security.

    • Donald Trump’s Supporters Are Poorly Paid, Distrustful and Convinced They’re Anything but Racist
    • Trump’s angry white men – and why there are more of them than you think

      Michael has presumably had a rough day. Nine hours working as an exterminator takes a physical toll on the 45-year-old, who didn’t go to college, makes $33,000 a year, and relies on a steady swarm of pests to pester people in his 90% rural county.

      But home, with a glass of wine and Fox News, he’s excited to hear from the only candidate who’s making any sense these days: Donald Trump.

    • Fox Downplays Sexual Assault, Until It Fits Their Anti-Muslim Refugee Agenda

      Fox News devoted numerous segments to reports of mass sexual assaults committed in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve by men “having a ‘North African or Arabic’ appearance,” using the story to fearmonger about the “direct threat” posed by “how fast you allow … Syrian refugees into this country.” This reporting stands in contrast to Fox’s history of downplaying sexual assaults when it doesn’t fit their anti-refugee agenda.

  • Censorship

    • Canadian Company Netsweeper to Censor Bahrain’s Internet for $1.2M

      A Canadian company has offered to provide the Bahraini government with internet censorship technology, according to a tender published on Thursday—the latest in a string of questionable partnerships the company has forged in recent years.

    • ‘Censorship should be at the individual level’

      Censorship of any kind has to be individual wherein a person who does not like something should not watch or read it, said eminent author Nayantara Sahgal here on Friday.

    • Twitter Celebrates The Return Of Politwoops, Which It Tried To Murder

      Well, Politwoops has been resurrected, and here to tell us how great that is, is the new CEO of Twitter, the company that initially killed it off.

      [...]

      It’s a nice, well-crafted message, to be sure. That said, it wouldn’t feel right to laud Twitter for about-facing a terrible attempt to knee-cap the usefulness of its own site. If Twitter is a platform chiefly about inter-expression, then hiding any of that expression is antithetical to its very purpose. Reinstating a service primarily useful to the public, once murdered out of deference to the elite class, is self-evidently the right thing to do, and the only lesson to be learned here is that Twitter’s initial treatment of Politwoops was a major mistake to begin with.

    • The Pirate Bay Now Starts Operating From New .MS Domain

      Notorious file-sharing website The Pirate Bay has just started operating from a new .MS domain name. Notably, The Pirate Bay already registered the new .MS extension many years ago but it didn’t use it as a primary domain until now. If we recall the recent troubles faced by the website operators over the copyright issues, the future of .MS domain name seems very uncertain.

    • Hong Kong Bookseller Abducted by Chinese Government Thugs
    • Sense and censorship

      A committee led by Shyam Benegal may have been set up to look into revamping the Censor Board. But if not censorship, then what system should films be subjected to?

    • Poll: Colleges Should Punish Students for Offensive Speech

      A new HuffPost/YouGov survey found majority support for the position that colleges should punish students who engage in racially offensive speech.

      Respondents consisted of 1,000 random adults from around the country—not just college students, in other words. Fifty-three percent agreed that colleges should discipline students for making racially insensitive comments. Just 28 percent disagreed, and 19 percent weren’t sure.

  • Privacy

    • Note to Congress: The NSA Seizes More than Just Your Conversations with Israeli Leaders

      Over the holiday break, Congress was up in arms over a Wall Street Journal report revealing lawmakers’ private conversations with Israeli officials and interest groups were swept up by the National Security Agency during the US-Iran nuclear negotiations. But these aren’t the only congressional communications collected by the NSA.

      How vast is the dragnet? On what other national policy matters has NSA surveillance impacted Members of Congress? A congressional investigation remains long overdue, but these revelations should prompt Congress to create a Church Committee for the 21st Century.

    • The NYPD spied on Muslim Americans. Will a court settlement change anything?

      Five years ago, news broke that the NYPD was engaged in an expansive domestic spying operation targeting American Muslim communities for surveillance, mapping and infiltration. Two lawsuits were filed in the New York federal courts in response to these practices and in defense New York City Muslims’ – and all minority communities’ – right to equal treatment and religious freedom.

    • Your Apps, Please? China Shows how Surveillance Leads to Intimidation and Software Censorship

      Xinjiang, home of the China’s muslim Uighur minority, has long been the world’s laboratory for Internet repression. Faced with widespread local unrest, and online debate, China has done everything it can to enforce its vision of the Net in the region, from imprisoning bloggers and online publishers, to quarantining the entire Xinjiang network from the rest of the Internet for over ten months in 2009. Nonetheless, Xinjiang residents still circumvent censorship and surveillance in the pursuit of privacy and free expression. They use virtual private networks and other methods to get around the Great Firewall. They use popular messaging apps that they have heard could defend them against surveillance, like WhatsApp and Telegram.

    • After Spending Time As Surveillance Subjects, Intelligence Oversight Committee Suddenly Performing Some Oversight

      Once again, it appears the only way to make our nation’s intelligence oversight committees care about surveillance is to include them in the “fun.”

      Fervent surveillance apologist Dianne Feinstein had zero fucks to give about the steady stream of leaks until it became apparent that the CIA was spying on her staffers while they put together the Torture Report. Likewise, many members of the House Intelligence Committee couldn’t be bothered to care much about domestic surveillance until they, too, were “inadvertently” included in the NSA’s dragnet.

    • White House Raises Encryption Threat in Silicon Valley Summit
    • Germany reportedly resumes domestic surveillance efforts with the NSA

      After halting its internet surveillance targeting German companies and officials last May, the country’s BND intelligence agency has resumed its spying operations in collaboration with the NSA, according to Reuters.

      German media reported that collaboration between the two agencies have started up again at the Bad Aibling surveillance station and that the BND has resumed supplying intelligence to the NSA.

    • Forbes, ad blockers and malware

      If you’ve been following the news about ad blockers, you might have heard about Forbes asking its readers to turn off ad blockers to access its content. Apparently the site promised to provide an “ad light” version of its site that provides less ads or something like that.

      Well one guy, Brian Baskins, turned off his ad blocker and promptly got some pop-under malware on the Forbes site.

    • The Transatlantic Data War

      The United States faces a profound choice. It can continue to work in a world of blurred lines and unilateral demands, making no concessions on surveillance and denouncing privacy rights as protectionism in disguise. Yet if it does so, it is U.S. companies that will suffer.

      Alternatively, it can recognize that globalization comes in different flavors and that Europeans have real and legitimate problems with ubiquitous U.S. surveillance and unilateralism. An ambitious strategy would seek to reform EU and U.S. privacy rules so as to put in place a comprehensive institutional infrastructure that could protect the privacy rights of European and U.S. citizens alike, creating rules and institutions to restrict general surveillance to uses that are genuinely in the security interests of all the countries.

      More broadly, the United States needs to disentangle the power of a U.S.-led order from the temptations of manipulating that order to its national security advantage. If it wants globalization to continue working as it has in the past, the United States is going to have to stop thinking of flows of goods and information as weapons and start seeing them as public goods that need to be maintained and nurtured. Ultimately, it is U.S. firms and the American economy that stand to benefit most.

    • How the US Is Playing Both Ends on Data Privacy

      There’s an excellent article in Foreign Affairs on how the European insistence on data privacy — most recently illustrated by their invalidation of the “safe harbor” agreement — is really about the US talking out of both sides of its mouth on the issue: championing privacy in public, but spying on everyone in private. As long as the US keeps this up, the authors argue, this issue will get worse.

    • House with Banksy mural mocking GCHQ spooks goes on sale for £350,000
    • United States network NBC News reports on ‘$300K sale’ of Cheltenham’s Banksy house
    • Millionaire businessman to put in offer for Banksy house with aim of turning it into a ‘spy museum’
    • Juniper will scrap code giving NSA backdoor access
    • Juniper promises to scrap firmware code that granted NSA backdoor access
    • New Questions Swirl About Security Failure at Tech Giant Juniper Networks
    • Juniper will release another patch for its backdoored firewalls
    • Juniper Networks will drop code tied to National Security Agency
    • Juniper’s products are still insecure; more evidence that the company was complicit

      It’s been a month since Juniper admitted that its firewalls had back-doors in them, possibly inserted by (or to aid) US intelligence agencies. In the month since, Juniper has failed to comprehensively seal those doors, and more suspicious information has come to light.

      U Illinois researcher Stephen Checkoway has revealed that Juniper’s backdoor was only possible because the company added a known-insecure random number generator, Dual_EC, years after the company had started using a more-secure alternative, ANSI X9.31, deliberately introducing a vulnerability into its product.

    • ‘Insider Threat’ Program: Hundred Thousand Pentagon Personnel Under Total Surveillance

      At least a hundred thousand military, civilian, and contractor personnel at the Defense Department have been subjected to a “continuous evaluation” or total surveillance of their electronic activities and communications. The surveillance is part of the department’s “Insider Threat” program and raises concerns about the extent to which whistleblower communications are being intercepted.

      According to a 2015 report to Congress obtained by Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News, “Multiple pilots and concept demonstrations using ‘push’ and ‘pull’ capabilities to conduct continuous evaluation” have been used to monitor personnel with access to classified information.

    • Top White House Officials Talk Encryption in Silicon Valley
    • Gmail Creator Named Head of Y Combinator’s Tech Startup Incubator

      Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s largest startup factory, is rejiggering responsibilities at the executive level and adding more staff. Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail and of Google’s onetime slogan “Don’t be evil,” replaces Sam Altman as managing partner of Y Combinator’s main accelerator program, which helped launch companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, and Stripe.

    • This is the web browser you should be using if you care at all about security

      No matter what you’ve heard about the Tor network, the basics of the service are simple: Tor keeps anyone who uses it safe, secure, and anonymous on the Internet.

      Originally created by the U.S. Navy, Tor can be used to browse the Web anonymously, send and receive private communications, or make other computer software anonymous by integrating it with Tor software.

      Tor’s reputation, however, is less straightforward. Many equate the anonymity the network provides with those who decide to use it for illegal purposes. From terms like “Dark Net” and ”Deep Web” to who actually uses the privacy software, here’s everything you need to know about Tor.

  • Civil Rights

    • Neoliberalism and its forgotten alternative

      …the natural ‘commons’ is turned into a potential new source of value which can be speculated on by investors…

    • On the edge of a nation, sitting on the border

      Life in UK’s indefinite immigration detention regime evokes the ‘barbed wire disease’ experienced by ‘enemy aliens’ interned during the World Wars. We must learn from our past to end detention.

    • Mein Trumpf Makes a Stop in Vermont
    • VIDEO: Is Right-Wing Populism the New Normal?

      In this video from The Guardian, Younge describes the ascent of rightwing populist leaders as the result of democracy in crisis…

    • San Bernardino Police Abuse Victims May Get Screwed Over by Bankruptcy

      Today, three and a half years later, The Wall Street Journal reports that the city wants to find its way out of bankruptcy by wriggling out of its police abuse settlements.

    • Migrants In Europe Are Getting Stereotyped As Dangerous Criminals

      At least 18 migrants are among the 31 people believed to have carried out a spate of attacks on women at a New Year’s Eve celebration in Cologne, Germany. More than 170 criminal complaints have been filed, the majority of which claim sexually motivated attacks. A spree of similar attacks across Europe has been used to justify fears that so many Middle East and North Africa natives will not be able to fully integrate into European societies.

    • When Men and Women Work Together, Men Get All the Credit

      Anne Case and Angus Deaton recently wrote a paper that’s gotten a lot of attention. One of the minor ways it’s gotten attention is in the way a lot of people talk about it: as the Deaton paper, or the Deaton/Case paper, despite the fact that it’s traditional in economics to list authors alphabetically.

    • A Left-Wing Hero of Brazil, Jean Wyllys, Comes Under Fire for Israel Trip, Anti-Palestine Comments

      A POPULAR LEFT-WING Brazilian congressman known for his leadership in the social justice movement is trying to fend off a major backlash from his left flank while he travels in Israel. The legislator, Jean Wyllys, has angered much of the base of the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), which he represents, after participating in a conference at an Israeli university with deep ties to human rights abuses against Palestinians and then defending that decision with anti-Palestinian talking points common among hard-core Israel defenders. Wyllys’ unexpected stance is one of the most powerful cases yet to highlight the tried-and-true tactic of exploiting liberal social issues to generate left-wing support for militarism.

    • For Maine Gov. Paul LePage, “Cocaine Negroes” Have Given Way to Horny Heroin Dealers

      Says “guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” drive north from New York and Connecticut to sell drugs and knock up local girls.

    • Here’s Gov. Paul LePage’s Non-Apology for Comments About Drug Dealers “Impregnating” White Women

      “You’s don’t like me and I don’t like you.”

      That’s how Gov. Paul LePage began his press conference on Friday to formally address the racially charged remarks he made this week about drug dealers with names like “D-Money” and “Smoothie” coming to “impregnate” young white girls in Maine.

      LePage’s opening line, which he cited as a quote from the film “Rocky,” was aimed squarely at media and reporters in the room.

      “I made one slip up,” he said. “I was going impromptu and my brain didn’t catch up to my mouth.”

      “Instead of saying Maine women, I said white women,” he added. “I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you will see we are 95 percent white.”

    • Yo Guv, We Mighta Found Smoothie, Still Looking For D-Money and Shifty

      Sigh. Our racist imbecile of a governor Paul LePage is making news again for projectile vomiting moronic words out of his face – this time, blaming Maine’s real, ruinous, death-dealing heroin epidemic on imaginary black dudes named D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty, who come here from New York and Connecticut to sell dope, impregnate white girls, maybe rap a bit and then go home. After everybody freaked out that he actually out loud said those things, he sorta lumbered through an even more stunningly offensive non-apology that utterly, miraculously missed the point, blathering about how his “brain (sic) didn’t catch up to my mouth” and why are these lefty bloggers out to get him for One Little Slip-Up and anyway who said anything about race, not him, nope, uh uh. Twitter was on it. Samples: “The governor of Maine’s comments are disgusting. D-money, smoothie & shifty are actually stand-up guys once you get to know em” and “Je suis smoothie.”

    • Governor Delivers Racist Rant At Public Meeting
    • Right-Wing Governor LePage Issues Appalling Defense of His Racist Remarks

      He did add that perhaps his brain was slower than his mouth. “Instead of ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘white women’ and I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you’ll see that we’re essentially 95 percent white.”

    • Man Shoots Officer While Pledging Allegiance To ISIS, But Mayor Says He Doesn’t Represent Islam

      The shooting comes at a time when police deaths are actually at a low point, but when anti-Islam incidents — where American Muslims are harassed, shot, or have their houses of worship damaged or destroyed — are on the rise.

    • Cop Arrested Twice for Assaulting Women, Stayed a Cop and Was Just Arrested a Third Time

      Philadelphia police officer Deric Lewis was recently arrested for the third time, after being arrested on two other occasions and losing his job as a result. In his two previous arrests, Lewis was charged with assault and reckless endangerment, and was reported as being violent in both situations.

    • America Must See the Truth About Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan

      The Obama administration must see Turkey under the reign of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for what it is.

    • Saudi Arabia executions: Philip Hammond condemned by rights campaigners for ‘excusing’ mass killings

      The Foreign Secretary says ‘just to be clear, these people were terrorists’ – despite at least four of the 47 being arrested over political protests. Rights groups say Britain continues to ‘parrot the propaganda’ of its Middle East ally

    • Artist protests naked at Cologne cathedral

      “Respect us! We are not fair game, even when we’re naked,” Moiré’s sign read.

      The 32-year-old Swiss artist stood on the square outside Cologne’s world-famous cathedral for around 20 minutes on Friday morning, watched by members of the public and a few police officers, who joined the group of onlookers but took no action against Moiré.

      “I stand for women’s freedom to move freely. For the things we’ve achieved in the past 50 years – for women’s emancipation,” Moiré told Bild.

      “I don’t want people to trample on these values and for women to have to adapt themselves. Women must be able to live their values of freedom, with self-determination and self-awareness,” she said.

    • Former Cardinals Scouting Coach To Plead Guilty To Hacking In Espionage Case

      But media reports speculated that charged officials could incur heavy penalties for computer hacking under the controversial Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) — a law that has been used to convict malicious hackers but has also been used to prosecute more innocuous online behavior, such as downloading documents or using a shared password.

      Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide after the Justice Department charged him with criminal hacking under the CFAA for downloading documents from a research database. He was facing up to 35 years and $1 million in fines for downloading millions of academic articles.

    • The 2 Refugees Charged With Terrorism-Related Crimes, In Context

      Two Palestinian refugees, both born in Iraq, were arrested in Sacramento and Houston respectively on Thursday for terror related charges. The arrests have already elicited responses from certain U.S. governors who vowed to not accept Syrian refugees.

      “This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement, according to Fox News. “I once again urge the President to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans.”

    • Teacher Says She Was Fired For Teaching Students About The Central Park Five

      A New York City high school teacher says she was fired after teaching her class about the Central Park Five — a case involving five black and Hispanic men who were accused of raping a jogger as teenagers but later exonerated after spending between six to 13 years in prison — because administrators were worried the lesson would “rile up” students of color.

    • Alabama Cops, Confederate Flags, Racism, and an Over-Eager Media

      Last month, dozens of news outletsshared a “bombshell” story about a cabal of neo-Confederate police officers in Dothan, Alabama. The officers had allegedly been systematically planting evidence on innocent black men for decades, resulting in hundreds of wrongful convictions.

    • 7 of 2015′s Most Outrageous Killings by the Drug War Police

      Drug law enforcement operations in the US killed people at the rate of more than one a week last year.

    • What The San Francisco Police Wants You To Do With Your Smartphone Instead Of Recording Police Misconduct

      San Francisco police want onlookers to turn their smartphone camera on suspected criminal activity — instead of police behavior.

      The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is reportedly developing a crime-reporting app, Fight Crime SF, that will allow citizens to submit photos and video of suspected criminal activity. The app doesn’t have a release date but is expected to be released to the public early this year, according to SFD spokeswoman Officer Susan Merritt’s statements in a recent issue of the police union’s journal.

    • The Rise of France’s Far Right

      France’s far right benefits from almost everything in the country: a broken economy; a still-rising unemployment rate; job insecurity and a fear of loss of social status; an endangered welfare system and public services; a repellent “European project”; a wave of migration, heightened by chaos in some Arab countries; coordinated attacks planned by those who claim to act in the name of Islam. And a Socialist Party that for almost 30 years has shared with the right the responsibility for neoliberal policies now locked in through European treaties, and a project of remaining in power indefinitely by presenting itself every election as the last defence against the Front National (FN).

      [...]

      Like the far right, the mainstream right likes to lambast the politically correct.

    • Europe Besieged

      More than a million requests for asylum; dozens of boats landing daily on Greek and Maltese beaches; a record number of deaths in the Mediterranean; armies sent in to control borders — migration in 2015 was exceptional in scale, and has challenged how the EU functions. Between August and October, Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all reintroduced border controls to try to stem the influx.

    • Why the Feds Punk Out When Confronting White Rightwing Insurgents

      When a criminal justice system born in Native American genocide and Black slave patrolling finds itself in conflict with conservative white Christian landowners, it short-circuits.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile CEO John Legere got caught lying by the EFF, and now he’s totally losing it

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation caught T-Mobile and its bombastic CEO John Legere in a huge lie, and instead of addressing the findings, Legere is quickly becoming unhinged. Here’s the short version: T-Mobile has been claiming that its “BingeOn” program, which offers some free video from select partners to customers, and also downgrades the quality of all other video as part of an opt-out program, is collectively a form of video “optimization.” Three days ago, the EFF published an investigation that exposed T-Mobile’s marketing language for the euphemistic misdirection it is: instead of “optimizing” video streams, the company has been identifying video traffic and then throttling that traffic to 1.5Mbps.

      In other words, it’s the biggest fuck you to net neutrality that any company has dared since the FCC passed new rules in 2015. And John Legere wants you to thank T-Mobile for it.

  • DRM

    • iPhone & iTunes sync – Don’t want

      Aesthetics and hardware aside, iPhone 6 does not have a single usability advantage over its rivals. None whatsoever. Moreover, the ultra-restrictive way you must do things is frustrating and maddening and utterly sub-100 IQ. Fine for people who believe California is the center of the Universe, less so for people who can spell cynicism without getting confused. I will not partake in this silliness. Which means the moment my bunch of Apple stocks finally makes some kind of a profit, I will most likely dump them all back into the shares sea. There is no reason to keep investing in this. All I wanted was to play an MP3 file. That’s all I asked. Won’t let me play? Won’t give you my money. Fair deal. And you’re welcome, dear readers. I’m suffering so you don’t have to. We’re done.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Monsanto + Syngenta: Agribusiness Giants Get Even Bigger

      A merger between agricultural biotech giants Monsanto and Syngenta is becoming likelier by the minute. The proposed merger has generated much commentary and speculation in the business world as well as among anti-GMO activists since the resulting corporation would control 45% of the global seed market and 30% of the agrochemical market (1).

      In 2015 the US-based Monsanto tried to buy Syngenta twice, and was twice spurned by the European corporation. But Monsanto is not the only suitor. Syngenta has also been courted with similar buyout bids by Germany’s BASF and Asian corporate colossus ChemChina.

    • A Pill That Cures Hepatitis Costs Just $4, but If You Live in America It’s $1,000

      On April 8, 2013, the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc., filed a New Drug Application claiming to be able to cure hepatitis C. They received the FDA’s coveted Breakthrough Therapy Designation, which is is given to drugs that show significant treatment advantages to existing options.

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