04.19.16

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Links 19/4/2016: Kali Linux Rolling Release, PCLOS Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why the Internet of Things needs open source

    It should come as no surprise to you that the Internet of Things already depends upon open source. Many IoT devices run one form of embedded Linux or another. In fact, without Linux many IoT devices simply wouldn’t exist. What should come as a surprise to you is when companies that produce these IoT devices close up shop, they leave those devices out in the wild to die. Perfectly good hardware no longer capable of functioning…even when open source is at the heart of the device.

    This needs to change.

  • CUBA Platform is Going Open Source

    The long-awaited moment has come, and now we are happy to announce that the CUBA Platform has finally joined the free software community! From now on, the runtime part of the platform is open source and distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. This means that you will be able to create and distribute your applications for free! So, go ahead and start your CUBA application right now!

  • Events

    • Device Tree Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Device-tree discussions are probably not quite as spirited as in the past, however, device tree is an active area. In particular, significant issues remain.

    • OpenSchool 2016 in Brno

      Last week Red Hat Czech has for the first time hoster a very special event. We’ve called it OpenSchool and the purpose of the event was to explain to high school students trends in IT, trends in software development as well as why should they care about opensource. It was fairly tough for us to figure out the level of knowledge that these kids between 12-16 years of age know about IT now. Sure they use smart phones daily, are on most of social networks and intuitively use tons of different applications – but do they know how their favorite apps are developed and what powers their daily used social network in the back?

    • Event report: rootconf 2016

      Rootconf is the largest DevOps, and Cloud infrastructure related conference in India. This year’s event happened on 14-15th April in the MLR convention center, Bangalore. I traveled on the day one of the event from Pune. Woke up by 3AM in the morning, and then took the first flight to Bangalore. Picked up Ramky on my way to the venue. Managed to skip most of the (in)famous Bangalore traffic thanks to a govt holiday.

    • The night I became a hacker

      You may ask yourself, how does one become a hacker?

    • Announcing systemd.conf 2016

      After our successful first conference 2015 we’d like to repeat the event in 2016 for the second time. The conference will take place on September 28th until October 1st, 2016 at betahaus in Berlin, Germany. The event is a few days before LinuxCon Europe, which also is located in Berlin this year. This year, the conference will consist of two days of presentations, a one-day hackfest and one day of hands-on training sessions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Some Of What You Can Find On Mozilla’s Servo Roadmap

        Besides planning for the Servo and Browser.html initial release this summer there are a lot of other exciting items on the roadmap for developers working on Mozilla’s Servo next-generation engine written in Rust.

        Among the hopes for Servo in 2016 are more performance improvements, continue advancing the browser front-end (such as the current browser.html effort), fill in remaining subsystem implementations, bringing the Windows port up to scratch, moving WebRender into production quality, and begin shipping Rust/Servo components gradually within the Gecko engine. Among the performance items on the agenda for Servo this year is CSS support on the GPU, SIMD layouts, DOM wrapper fusion, and more.

      • This Week In Servo 60
  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman Talks GNU, Linux, Terrorism and French Politics

      What is Richard Stallman, the father of free software (if not open source) like in person? And what is he thinking now about Linux, terrorism and French politics? I gained some insight recently when the founder of the GNU operating system spoke near Paris.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Govt should nurture open source sector

      Governments that want to increase the use of open source software by public administrations should encourage the growth of an open source service sector, recommends Maha Shaikh, researcher at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick (UK). Public administrations should share their open source expert consultants.

    • OSI’s Comments to the White House Office of Management and Budget Regarding the “Federal Source Code Policy”

      Governments around the globe recognize the value of open source as both a technology solution delivering value to the public they serve, as well as an approach for development returning tax-payer investments back to the society they represent. The implementation of the Federal Source Code Policy will be a key component in “reducing Federal vendor lock-in, decreasing duplicative costs for the same code, increasing transparency across the Federal Government, and minimizing the challenges associated with integrating large blocks of code from multiple sources” (Line 30, Federal Source Code Policy).

    • Munich publishes interim report on IT performance

      The city of Munich (Germany) has published the first part of a report on improving the city’s IT performance. The report by Accenture, a consultancy, suggests that the city uses a great many software applications, making its IT too complex.

    • Munich, Revisited

      News of the death of GNU/Linux in Munich’s local government is exaggerated, apparently. A thorough review of the global IT-system finds nothing to report. What it does find is that Munich is still using too many applications even after pruning them back severely in the migration to GNU/Linux.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open Source: Licensing Pitfalls May Outweigh Benefits [Ed: certainly another attack on using common talking points]

      A common provision of such licenses, however, is that any software that derives from the open-source software must also be made publically available under the same copyleft provisions. Some of these licenses can be incompatible with one another, so that by combining code blocks with different licenses a developer would create a situation where conforming to one license violates the terms of the other license. Some licenses may conflict with a businesses’ objectives by forbidding commercialization of derivative products. And some licenses, Leach noted, are “viral” in nature in that not only is the specific software built on the open-source component to be made open source under the license, so is all other integrated software that becomes part of the product. Further, such a viral license not only “infects” the developing company’s proprietary product software, forcing it to be open source, the license can force application software created by the product’s user to also become open source under the viral license.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • This open source tool will help you use your mind to control DIY projects

      Move over pressing buttons with hands. You can now use your mind to control smartphones, robots, and even your friends’ limbs with OpenBCI, an open-source brain-computer interface.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • RuuviTag, an open-source Bluetooth Sensor Beacon, heading to KickStarter

        RuuviTag is a low power, compact Bluetooth beacon solution that can monitor its surroundings in various ways, that can be implemented to other devices and projects due to its open development.

        Aside from being just a standard proximity beacon, it can also monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure and acceleration, and can be easily adjusted to cover different kinds of needs without programming or electronic knowledge. The device can operate for several years on a single coin battery.

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 more timeless lessons of programming ‘graybeards’

      The HR departments and hiring managers in Silicon Valley have a challenge. They can’t ask an applicant’s age because their companies have lost brutal discrimination lawsuits over the years. Instead, they develop little tricks like tossing in an oblique reference to “The Brady Bunch” (“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”) and seeing if the candidate gets the joke. Candidates who chuckle are deemed a poor cultural fit and are tossed aside.

    • Node.js Foundation 2016 User Survey Report

      The Node.js Foundation recently conducted an expansive user survey to better understand Node.js users (you, or maybe you :). We were interested in getting a better sense of the type of development work you use Node.js for, what other technologies you use with Node.js, how the Node.js Foundation can help you get more out of Node.js, how you learn new languages, and more.

    • Learn Computer Science And Programming With Google’s New Education Website

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Britain’s scientists must not be gagged

      Unless government officials make a major U-turn in the next few days, many British scientists will soon be blocked from speaking out on key issues affecting the UK – from climate change to embryo research and from animal experiments to flood defences. This startling, and highly controversial, state of affairs follows a Cabinet Office decision, revealed by the Observer in February, that researchers who receive government grants will be banned, as of 1 May, from using the results of their work to lobby for changes in laws or regulations.

      The aim of the Cabinet Office edict was to stop NGOs from lobbying politicians and Whitehall departments using the government’s own funds. The effect, say senior scientists, campaigners and research groups, will be to muzzle scientists from speaking out on important issues. The government move is a straightforward assault on academic freedom, they argue.

    • How ‘The Jungle Book’ Made Its Animals Look So Real With Groundbreaking VFX

      A small, colorful bird flutters about on screen in the opening scene of Disney’s new live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, inviting the audience into the mythical wilds with an adorable chirp and clear message on behalf of the filmmakers, which amounts to, “Look what we can do now!”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • John Oliver Shames Congress for America’s Lead Contamination Crisis

      “There is no safe level of lead,” Oliver said. “It’s one of those things that are so dangerous, you shouldn’t even let a little bit inside of you—much like heroin or Jeremy Piven. Even low-level exposure can lead to irreversible damage like lower IQ’s, anti-social behavior, and reduced attention span.”

    • Bernie and Hillary Have Very Different Positions When It Comes to Fracking

      When Bernie Sanders addressed a huge crowd in Binghamton, New York last week and proposed a national fracking ban, it was the first time I’ve heard a national leader of his prominence get the science on fracking right.

      New Yorkers know that science, because we fought tooth and nail to ensure the perils of fracking were understood. In December 2014, our voices were heard, as the health commissioner found that fracking endangered public health. Governor Cuomo famously said he would follow “the science, not emotion” on fracking, and banned it throughout New York.

    • Davison student journalists broadcast loud and clear

      Surrounded by a throng of media outlets from all over the state at a news conference with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about replacing the city’s lead-tainted water pipes, Bruns, a 17-year-old reporter with Davison Community Schools’ DTV, knew she had to ask a question. Her camera person gave her a small shove into the crowd. She asked about the cost.

      “I have to put my voice out there,” said Bruns, a junior at Davison High School. “It’s taught me a lot about putting myself out there and being confident in my questions. …We’re the only high school doing this.”

      Bruns is part of a small but ambitious group of high school journalists at DTV, Davison’s student-run cable access station. Covering Flint’s water crisis long before the national media descended on Flint, they’re getting powerful first-hand lessons about the role of the media, politics and the human toll when government fails to do its job. Davison is just 10 minutes outside Flint.

    • Investment Court System put to the test

      New EU proposal will perpetuate investors’ attacks on health and environment

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • DHS CIO walks back staff comments on open source

      Some IT professionals at the Department of Homeland Security raised eyebrows over recent comments on GitHub that suggested a proposed federal open-source policy could result in the “mafia having a copy of all FBI system code” or could give terrorists “access to air traffic control software.” The comments were attributed to the CIO’s office.

      However, DHS CIO Luke McCormack has since filed his own official comments, noting that “prior comments do not represent DHS policy or views.”

    • Microsoft PowerShell — Hackers’ New Favorite Tool For Coding Malware

      You might not know but PowerShell, the ubiquitous force running behind the Windows environment, is slowly becoming a secure way for the attackers to hide their malicious activities. Unfortunately, at the moment, there’s no technical method of distinguishing between malicious and good PowerShell source code.

    • MIT reveals AI platform which detects 85 percent of cyberattacks

      Today’s cybersecurity professionals face daunting tasks: protecting enterprise networks from threats as best they can, damage limitation when data breaches occur, cyberforensics and documenting the evolution and spread of digital attacks and malware across the world.

    • Changing your password regularly is a terrible idea, and here’s why [Ed: security advice from agencies whose modus operandi, based on leaks, is to target sysadmins and hoard all their passwords isn't good advice]

      Most administrators force users to change their password at regular intervals — every 30, 60, or 90 days, for example. But this carries no real benefits as stolen passwords are generally exploited immediately, said CESG, the IT security arm of surveillance agency GCHQ.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US-Led Coalition Against Daesh Contracts for ‘Indefinite Quantity’ of Ammo

      The US-led coalition against Daesh will buy an unspecified amount of non-standard ammunition from Orbital ATK weapons manufacturer.

    • Orbital ATK making non-U.S. standard ammo for U.S. allies

      Non-U.S. standard ammunition and mortar weapons systems are to continue to be produced by Orbital ATK under a new indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity award from the U.S. Government.

    • Orbital ATK Wins Ammunition and Mortar Weapons Contract From Dept. of Defense (NYSE:OA)
    • Explaining Trump and Clinton to a Global Audience (and to Americans)

      Then across the span of a day, September 11, 2001, America changed. We became, as a nation, afraid.

      We were afraid of enemies most Americans had heard little about. We were afraid of what might happen next. We were afraid of an attack against the shopping mall, the school, the tiny place in our tiny town that didn’t show up well on most local maps, never mind one bin Laden might use. Our fears were carefully curated by opportunistic people in two successive administrations, who used that fear to manipulate democracy itself. They turned America’s vast spying apparatus inward, imposed a global gulag archipelago of torture sites and secret prisons, and institutionalizing the drone wars.

      Amid the various causes and justifications, that it is all about oil, or empire, what it is all about at the root level is fear. Fear of the latest bogeyman, fear screeches of groups on YouTube are real, and that they are ready to strike what we now all call the Homeland. That word never existed in America prior to 9/11.

    • US War Crimes in Iraq: Fallujah Residents Starving, Murdered, Besieged by US Backed Government Forces and ISIS

      Fallujah is now under siege by the US imposed Iraqi puppet government and ISIS – as people demonstrate in thousands in protest at yet another American backed administration which has brought nothing but misery to the population. Incredibly US Vice President Joe Biden and Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani have come together: “to make clear … that no attempt should be made to unseat” the current Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi. (“US, Iran Keep Iraqi PM in Place”, Reuters, 6 April 2016.)

    • Saudis have lobbying muscle for 9/11 fight

      Saudi Arabia has an army of Washington lobbyists to deploy as it tries to stop Congress from passing legislation that could expose the country to litigation over the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

      The kingdom employs a total of eight American firms that perform lobbying, consulting, public relations and legal work.

      Five of the firms work for the Saudi Arabia Embassy, while another two — Podesta Group and BGR Group — have registered to represent the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, an arm of the government. PR giant Edelman, meanwhile, is working for the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority to encourage international investment.

    • Uncovering the Hidden Truths of 9/11

      This vexing issue is back in the news again thanks to CBS, whose 60 Minutes program reported on the so-called “28 Pages,” the portion of the official report on 9/11 that has been withheld from the public since 2003, through two presidencies. Many former officials, including members of Congress, long demanded Washington release the 28 Pages, to no avail. Presidents Bush and Obama have demurred because those pages reveal some very unflattering things about Saudi Arabia, our longtime ally.

    • An Interview With Gustavo Castro, Sole Witness to Assassination of Berta Cáceres

      The government wanted me under its control. It has no laws that protect victims. Nor does it have regulations or protocols or a budget to protect human rights activists. Nor does it have regulations for protected witnesses. So they wanted me under their so-called protection where there is no law that obligates them to do anything. Which is why I stayed in the Mexican Embassy. But it was a month of horrible stress and tension, in which the government, with its complete lack of regulations or protocols, could easily accuse me of anything at any moment, show up with a judicial order, and the Mexican Embassy wouldn’t have been able to do anything. One week before I arrived in Honduras, the Judicial Commission had been dissolved, so there was no legal instrument with which I could defend myself. There was no commission before which I could denounce a judge who acted illegally, because that commission had been dissolved. So I found myself in total legal defenselessness — without a lawyer, because they suspended her. And it seemed neither international pressure nor the Mexican government could do anything. So it was a state of complete insecurity and a constant violation of my human rights.

    • Saudi Arabia Coerces US Over 9/11

      Saudi Arabia is threatening to financially punish the U.S. if it holds the kingdom to account for its 9/11 role…

    • Clinton and Sanders Back Saudi-9/11 Bill, But Who Has Read ‘Missing 28 Pages’?

      Though he has access to the pages, Sanders told “CBS This Morning” on Monday that he hasn’t yet read them—nor will he, until they are publicly released.

      “The difficulty is,” he explained, “you see then, if you read them, then you’re gonna ask me a question, you’re gonna say, ‘You read them, what’s in them?’ And now I can tell you honestly I have not.”

    • The Pretense of Nation-Building

      It is no wonder then, that U.S. intervention has fomented and fueled sectarian and tribal civil wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere. The expertise of America’s geopolitical planners has proven to be, not in the building of nations, but in the demolition of societies.

    • Tomgram: William Astore, Words About War Matter

      Since 9/11, can there be any doubt that the public has become numb to the euphemisms that regularly accompany U.S. troops, drones, and CIA operatives into Washington’s imperial conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa? Such euphemisms are meant to take the sting out of America’s wars back home. Many of these words and phrases are already so well known and well worn that no one thinks twice about them anymore.

      Here are just a few: collateral damage for killed and wounded civilians (a term used regularly since the First Gulf War of 1990-1991). Enhanced interrogation techniques for torture, a term adopted with vigor by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of their administration (“techniques” that were actually demonstrated in the White House). Extraordinary rendition for CIA kidnappings of terror suspects off global streets or from remote badlands, often followed by the employment of enhanced interrogation techniques at U.S. black sites or other foreign hellholes. Detainees for prisoners and detention camp for prison (or, in some cases, more honestly, concentration camp), used to describe Guantánamo (Gitmo), among other places established offshore of American justice. Targeted killings for presidentially ordered drone assassinations. Boots on the ground for yet another deployment of “our” troops (and not just their boots) in harm’s way. Even the Bush administration’s Global War on Terror, its label for an attempt to transform the Greater Middle East into a Pax Americana, would be redubbed in the Obama years overseas contingency operations (before any attempt at labeling was dropped for a no-name war pursued across major swathes of the planet).

    • Iraqi Refugee Kicked Off Plane for Speaking Arabic in L.A. Says Islamophobia Boosts ISIS

      An Iraqi college student was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in Los Angeles this month and interrogated by the F.B.I. because a fellow passenger overheard him speaking Arabic during the boarding process.

      The student, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, was granted asylum in the United States after his father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s secret police. He told The Intercept that he wants Americans to know about what happened to him because the current wave of anti-Muslim hysteria in the United States is counter-productive, since it reinforces the propaganda of the Islamic extremists. Americans who see all Muslims as potential terrorists, he said, are “playing straight into the rhetoric of the Islamic State — they fall into the trap.”

    • Politics, racism and Israel/Palestine

      If we need to be vigilant against the evil of antisemitism, we need to be equally vigilant against the kind of virulent racism which is gaining ground in Israel.

      [...]

      Anti-Zionist Jews in Israel and in the diaspora find common cause with the Palestinian Authority not because they share a desire to annihilate the Jewish state but because they oppose a militant, ultra-nationalist Zionism that ironically has the denial of Palestinian statehood at its core.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Netherlands moots electric car future with petrol and diesel ban by 2025
    • The Netherlands Could Soon Ban The Sale Of Non-Electric Cars

      In the Netherlands, gas-powered cars could soon be a thing of the past.

      The lower house of the Dutch parliament passed a motion recently that would ban the sales of non-electric cars in the country by 2025. The motion still needs to pass the Senate to become binding, but if it does, it would mean that the only non-electric cars allowed in the Netherlands would be those already on the road today: anyone in the country looking to buy a new car would have to buy electric.

      Such a law would, naturally, lead to a big increase in electric car ownership in the Netherlands. Already, the Netherlands is doing pretty well on EV purchasing: last year, Dutch residents bought more than 43,000 new electric cars, and EVs currently make up nearly 10 percent of the country’s market. The Netherlands ranks second in the world for market share of electric vehicles — behind Norway, where over 22 percent of the market is made up of electric cars. In the United States, for comparison, EVs make up 0.66 percent of the market.

    • 250 Faith Leaders Demand Nations Ratify Paris Climate Deal

      Former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres has credited faith groups for helping to advance the Paris Climate Agreement by supporting “holistic, equitable, but above all, ambitious climate action.”

    • Fossil fuels could be phased out worldwide in a decade, says new study

      The worldwide reliance on burning fossil fuels to create energy could be phased out in a decade, according to an article published by a major energy think tank.

  • Finance

    • How The American Neoconservatives Destroyed Mankind’s Hopes For Peace

      The only achievements of the American neoconservatives are to destroy in war crimes millions of peoples in eight countries and to send the remnant populations fleeing into Europe as refugees, thus undermining the American puppet governments there, and to set back the chances of world peace and American leadership by creating a powerful strategic alliance between Russia and China.

    • Lies and the Koh I Noor Diamond

      Britain annexed the Sikh Kingdom. Poor Dulip Singh was forcibly separated from his mother and exiled to Scotland, where he was held effectively a state prisoner until his death.

      It is bad enough to see senior Indians kowtowing to that lazy bald bloke and his skinny wife, on the very expensive luxury holiday I am paying for, without also seeing the Indian government playing lickspittle in court.

    • Wonks and Activists

      In other posts I wrote about how Paul Krugman, a genuine expert, was completely wrong about the impact of trade treaties, especially NAFTA. Larry Summers, a genuine expert with a lot of real-world experience, has been disastrously wrong on a number of occasions, not least of which was his loud endorsement of financial deregulation, even after the Long Term Capital Management debacle. Summers was one of the people who quashed the efforts of Brooksley Born to regulate derivatives.

    • The Obamacare “Wonks” Are Awfully Selective about Which Taxes and Costs They See

      In this passage, Cohn talks about the things that Bernie Sanders might do as President that fall short of his goal of “single payer” health care (I put that in quotes because what we’re really talking about is government paid health insurance — as providers pull out of exchanges in Obamacare we’re actually moving closer to a much more alarming sort of single payer model).

    • Panama Papers: Reigniting the Debate for a Global Tax Body

      Globally, economists estimate that $7.6tn worth of assets are held off shore and are thereby avoiding taxation – 25% more than five years ago and equivalent to 8% of the world’s total financial assets. Citizens for Tax Justice have calculated that Fortune 500 companies alone hold a record $2.4tn in offshore accounts, which they argue allows them to avoid almost $700bn in US federal income taxes. Most recently, Oxfam have estimated that the 50 largest US companies have $1.4 trillion hidden in Tax havens, which costs the US government approximately $111 each year. In the EU, governments are reportedly losing out on revenues of between 50-70bn euros ($56-79bn).

    • The Panama Papers and the 1%

      Mainstream media have had little to say about the tax evasions of global corporations, choosing instead to focus on world leaders who, personally or via family and cronies, have moved funds into companies abroad to avoid paying taxes—for instance, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, David Cameron, Nawaz Sharif, and Iceland’s Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (the only one to step down). Naturally, they all reject criticism, saying that what they did isn’t illegal (Britain, Pakistan, and Iceland), or the leaks are a Western attempt to undermine their rule (Russia), or the news isn’t fit to print (China). Largely missing from the discussion is the consequences of tax avoidance: it robs the poor—countries and people—to further enrich the wealthy. Unpaid taxes skew government budgets, reduce spending on social well being, and, for a poor country, force reliance on foreign loans that typically come with strings attached. In countries with widespread official corruption, the poor are doubly cheated.

    • Patriotic Philanthropy?

      On one hand, Rubinstein uses his wealth to preserve various artifacts of American history. On the other, he uses his wealth to convince lawmakers to maintain a preferential and fundamentally unfair tax status for himself and other millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing patriotic or philanthropic about subverting the fabric of our democracy.

    • Hooray for Hillary Clinton’s Ties to Walmart

      Senator Bernie Sanders is emailing supporters highlighting the fact that his opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton, is being supported by “enormous checks from people like Alice Walton (yes, Wal-Mart).” And it is true. Federal campaign finance records show that Walton, of Bentonville, Arkansas, gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign $2,700, and then wrote another check, for $353,400, to the “Hillary Victory Fund.”

      The support for Clinton’s campaign represents something of a political shift for Walton. Previously, her large donations had mainly gone to Republicans. The Federal Election Commission records show she donated a total of $200,000 in 2011 and 2012 to a committee backing Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, and a total of $2 million in 2004 to a group supporting President George W. Bush’s reelection. Additional contributions of more than $150,000 in the past dozen years have gone to groups supporting Republican candidates for the House and Senate.

    • Panama and the Criminalization of the Global Finance System

      Well, Panama was basically carved off from Colombia in order to have a canal. It was created very much like Liberia. It’s not really a country in the sense that a country has its own currency and its own tax system. Panama uses U.S. dollars. So does Liberia.

      The real story didn’t come out in the Panama papers. Reporters naturally focused on criminal people laundering money. But Panama wasn’t designed to launder money. It was designed to launder earnings – mainly by the oil and the gas industries, and the mining industry.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton and the Gender Card

      Not race nor gender — nor any other innate characteristic — should be the touchstone in voting for President of the United States. Yet, as I have traveled the country these past several years, I have been amazed at how many Americans have no qualms in stating that their support for President Barack Obama is based solely – or mostly – on his being black. Equally amazing is the unabashedly indiscriminate support I hear voiced by highly educated women for Hillary Clinton – “because she is a woman and it’s our turn,” as they put it.

    • Bernie Sanders Is Almost Tied Nationally and Ahead of Clinton in Three Democratic Primary Polls
    • Once Ahead by 60 Points, Clinton National Lead over Sanders Has Dwindled to Zero

      Though all political eyes in the U.S. are now focused like a laser beam on Tuesday’s New York primary, the national trends remain startling when it comes to the intense competition between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

      Though Clinton led Sanders by sixty points when he entered the campaign less than a year ago, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Monday shows that lead has been “all but eliminated” – with only two percentage points now separating the Democratic candidates.

      As the Journal reports, “The result continues a steady narrowing of the gap between the two Democratic candidates since January, when Mrs. Clinton led by 25 points, 59% to 34%. And it is a far cry from the way the race looked when Mr. Sanders began his campaign last year: In June 2015, a Journal/NBC poll found Mrs. Clinton leading by 60 percentage points, 75% to 15%.”

    • Bill Moyers: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics

      When a politician talks anger and they talk fear, they are mainlining, just like a heroin addict, going straight for the most sensitive parts of the brain because fear and anger are those emotions that we really relate to. And when a politician engages and indulges people’s fears and their angers, they seem really authentic. That’s why Donald Trump seems so authentic to so many millions of people because these emotions are so strong and powerful.

    • Democrats March Toward Cliff

      It is hard to imagine someone who is viewed unfavorably by a clear majority of voters (56 percent) and with a net-negative of 24 points winning the White House, except that most voters also don’t like the top Republican choices either. Donald Trump sports a 41-point net-negative and Sen. Ted Cruz is at minus-23 points. (By contrast, of the two trailing candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders gets a net-positive 9 points and Gov. John Kasich a net-positive 12 points.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russia’s Top Investigator Wants Internet Censorship to Fight U.S. ‘Info War’
    • Top Russian investigator proposes internet censorship using Chinese experience
    • Literary censorship in schools impedes progress

      “I believe that books challenge and interrogate. They give us windows into the lives of others and give us mirrors so that we can better see ourselves. Ultimately if you have a worldview that can be undone by a novel, let me submit that the problem is not with the novel,” states bestselling author John Green in his latest YouTube video, “On the Banning of Looking for Alaska.” His response comes right after the American Library Association (ALA) released its list of the most banned or challenged books of 2015 with Green’s award-winning novel, “Looking for Alaska,” topping off the list at number one.

    • American Self-Censorship Association

      The American Bar Association is bowing to China again. Last year it barely mumbled condemnation after Beijing rounded up more than 200 lawyers and legal activists across China. Now comes news that it also nixed a book deal with a leading human-rights lawyer for fear of “upsetting the Chinese government.”

    • Teng Biao Book Canceled for Fear of “Upsetting” China

      Human rights lawyer and activist Teng Biao, living in the U.S. since 2014 as the situation for rights lawyers back in China has become increasingly bleak, has been working on the book “Darkness Before Dawn,” a reflection on his 11 years of fighting for human rights in China. The American Bar Association (ABA), which had commissioned the book in late 2014, last year wrote Teng with bad news: they would not be able to publish the book due to “concern that we run the risk of upsetting the Chinese government.”

    • Leaked Email: ABA Cancels Book for Fear of ‘Upsetting the Chinese Government’

      The American Bar Association insists the move was market-driven, but an employee email says otherwise.

    • Is the ABA Afraid of the Chinese Government?

      The American Bar Association retracted an offer to publish the book of a well-known Chinese human rights lawyer last year, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

      In a January 2015 email to human rights lawyer and author Teng Biao, one ABA employee said the book was being killed because of the “risk of upsetting the Chinese government,” according to the article in Foreign Policy. A reporter for the magazine said Teng only forwarded the ABA’s email to his publication last week.

    • China Bans Rich Kids From TV So They Can’t Embarrass the State
    • Censorship FTW! China bans Paris Hilton, minor Kardashians et al

      It might be time to reconsider the evils of China’s censorship regime, after the Middle Kingdom slapped a ban on reality TV shows featuring celebrities’ children.

      China’s not super-keen on reality shows: this 2015 speech by official Tian Jin urges their producers to make people, not celebrities, the real heroes of such programs. It also calls for reality shows to demonstrate proper socialistic values, represent historical and cotemporary Chinese culture faithfully and avoid sexing things up and thereby straying from the truth.

      State-owned outlet Xinhua now reports that the nation’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has circulated an edict effectively banning reality shows featuring celebrities’ kids from state-owned media.

    • Government denies allegations of state media censorship

      This declaration comes days after a US State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2015, cited actions of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo under the heading of ‘Censorship or Content Restrictions’.

    • US Human Rights report cites PM’s “headline” concern

      Nagamootoo’s directive to the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper that all headlines must first get his office’s green-light.

      ‘In August the prime minister issued a directive that all headlines in the state-owned print media be first scrutinized and approved by his office before they are published. The directive was a response to a headline criticizing the government,” the report notes.

    • Nothing About The Story Of An Artist Being Threatened With A Lawsuit Over A Painting Of A Small-Dicked Donald Trump Makes Sense

      The Guardian had a weird story over the weekend claiming that artist Illma Gore is being threatened with a lawsuit if she sells a painting she created of a naked Donald Trump with, well, a less than average sized schlong (and I use that term, only because Trump apparently likes that word). I won’t post an image of the painting. The Guardian has the whole thing if you really feel like seeing it. But almost nothing in the story makes any sense at all.

    • Another police report made against Amos Yee – this time for insulting Islam

      Amos Yee whose whereabouts is still unknown has uploaded a photo in his Facebook. In the photo he is seen with a shawl over his head, holding up a Quran with one hand and making an extremely rude gesture with another.

    • Indonesia tells Singapore to mind its own business over the haze issue

      IN comments certain to rile Singaporean officials, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said Singapore should stop commenting on Indonesia’s efforts to combat haze and fires, and “focus on their own role.”

      Indonesia’s neighbors, Singapore and Malaysia, are frequently victims of haze from fires in Indonesian territory in what seems to be an annual affair. Jakarta has often been accused of not doing enough to address the problem, and the minister’s comments suggest that it is irritated over the criticism it receives.

      While strongly defending her government’s commitment to curbing land and forest fires, Siti questioned Singapore’s role in doing the same.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Indonesia rules out apology to victims at state-endorsed talks on 1965 massacres

      Human rights advocates are hopeful the symposium will lead to a public hearing process, so Indonesians can hear firsthand accounts from survivors and descendants of victims.

      “This is an essential element of an effective accountability process,” said Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth.

      “Dozens of countries around the world have had truth commissions shed light on past atrocities, issues that are always difficult matters to address. Why not Indonesia?”

    • Police Officer Attempts To Set Record For Most Constitutional Violations In A Single Traffic Stop

      As we’re well aware, officers need not trouble themselves as to the details of the laws they enforce. If they feel something is a violation of the law, they’re pretty much free to pull someone over and engage in some light questioning. (The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court recently declared it’s even OK for police officers to lie about the reason they’ve pulled you over.)

    • 27 Percent of New York’s Registered Voters Won’t Be Able to Vote in the State’s Primary

      New York’s restrictive voting laws hurt voters across the political spectrum, but could have a particularly chilling effect on younger Bernie Sanders supporters. “Thirty-seven percent of voters under the age of 30—the Vermont senator’s core group of supporters—aren’t registered to a political party in New York City,” writes Russell Berman in The Atlantic. There’s a good chance a surge of non-affiliated voters will show up at the polls on Tuesday, only to be turned away. (Hundreds of New Yorkers have also filed suit because their registrations have mysteriously changed from Democratic or Republican to not affiliated or independent.)

    • Only Bernie Sanders can break the power of capitalism in the US

      Defining the race as a choice between class and identity, between economic justice and social justice, was Clinton’s masterstroke. If it works, Sanders will be sunk by a combination of Wall Street money and millions of black votes in the southern states. The latter backed Clinton in some places eight or nine to one.

    • UC Davis Chancellor Survives 5-Week Sit-In Protesting Her Ties To Companies That Profit Off Students

      It’s one thing for a university chancellor to sit on a for-profit board. It’s another for a chancellor to sit on the board of a company that makes money off of students with expensive textbooks, and then move on to another that’s under investigation by the federal government.

    • #BlackLivesMatter in Britain too: why does our media care less?

      The UK media seems more comfortable talking about race issues in America than those closer to home. It is the BBC’s responsibility to challenge these double standards.

    • Pennsylvania Cop Threatens Child on School Bus: Don’t Smile or I’ll Drag You to the F*cking Police Car

      A police officer outside the city of Pittsburgh was caught on tape berating a school child on a bus for smiling at him, according to a video posted to Facebook.

      The video was posted on April 13 but the caption doesn’t give much in the way of details. It says the officer works for the North Braddock Police Department. He walks over to a child seated on a school bus and leans over threateningly.

    • Court Shoots Down Cops Attempting To Prop Up Two Warrantless Searches With A Stack Of Lies

      “Our word against yours,” says law enforcement. The accusers are almost always deemed eminently credible. Presumption of innocence and all that, but the accused are almost always deemed… incredible[?]… right up until law enforcement shows its narrative can’t hold hydrogen or oxygen, much less water. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      Roughly paraphrased, this is the story: some cop saw a guy take a white grocery bag full of something and put it in his car. Surveillance commenced. The car’s driver failed to signal a turn, which was all the cops needed to begin an exploratory stop.

      As we know, law enforcement is no longer allowed to artificially prolong traffic stops until probable cause for a search develops. Instead, it must hand out its tickets and move along. Exceptions apply, of course, but that is the gist of the Supreme Court’s Rodriguez decision.

    • N.D.Okla: Material govt’s LEO witnesses to consent were so bad govt retracted their testimony, and search fails

      The government realized when they called defendant’s estranged wife near the end of the suppression hearing about the alleged consent search of their house that “As the suppression hearing unfolded over the course of two days, the credibility of certain law enforcement witnesses was called into serious question” about the search of the house. They regrouped, asked to reopen the proof, and retracted the testimony they found false. The court makes the credibility determination that all the material government witnesses aren’t believable and suppresses the consent search. Without the consent search, the search warrant fails, too. United States v. Fernandes, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17933 (N.D.Okla. Feb. 12, 2016).

    • City Council Using Open Records Requests To See What Members Are Saying About Them Behind Their Backs

      Most convicts already have diminished rights, depending on their convictions. Denying open records to ex-cons or those in prison denies them access to justice. It doesn’t happen often, but prisoners have been able to have their cases reheard by uncovering prosecutorial misconduct through FOIA requests. And let’s not forget that a man imprisoned for tax fraud blew the lid off law enforcement’s use of Stingray devices while still behind bars, thanks to incessant FOIA requests.

      The step back from the slope was one of pure capitulation: council member Emma Acosta never tabled the motion. Apparently she was well-aware the discriminatory suggestion wouldn’t survive a challenge. She instead proposed that telephone numbers of city employees should be redacted and her “no criminals allowed” suggestion was removed from the agenda.

    • Bernie Supporters Are Mostly Disappointed in Obama

      As for Bernie supporters, I don’t think they view Obama as a rebel or a truthteller. Bernie himself is careful not to criticize Obama, but a lot of his supporters see Obama as basically a disappointment: just another squishy centrist who made some incremental progress and called it a day. In the end, we still don’t have universal health care; the banks are still running things; the Republican Party continues to obstruct; and rich people are still rich. That’s the very reason we need a guy like Bernie in the Oval Office.

    • The Oregon Department of Justice Trains Agents on How to Break the Law

      After about five months of waiting, the Oregon Department of Justice last week released its internal human resources investigation conducted by the special assistant attorney general looking into the surveillance of people on Twitter using #BlackLivesMatter.

    • An Internal Report on Oregon’s Illegal Surveillance of Black Lives Matter on Twitter Leaves Us With More Questions Than Answers
    • The Oregon Department of Justice’s Illegal Surveillance Shows It Lives Inside a Bubble of Bias

      The state of Oregon last week finally released the long awaited report on its Department of Justice’s surveillance of people using the Black Lives Matter hashtag among others. The report and the 162 page appendix, the work of an independent investigator, is disturbing and reveals a range of deeply troubling issues about the Justice Department’s Criminal Justice Division, so much so, that we decided we needed to tackle it in separate posts.

    • More than 900 ‘Democracy Spring’ protesters arrested in D.C. – so far

      Police have calmly arrested hundreds of people in Washington, D,.C. protesting the influence of money in politics during the last week, in what several participants described as a striking display of restrained law enforcement.

      More arrests are expected Monday, the final day of protests when the focus of the non-violent protests turn to voting rights and timely consideration of the Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police have arrested more than 900 protesters through Saturday.

      Mass demonstrations by a group called “Democracy Spring” began last Monday. A related group, “Democracy Awakening,” joined the efforts on Saturday and are holding often integrated sit ins and other demonstrations to protest laws it considers discriminatory, such as Voter ID laws.

    • Why Can’t The Nation & the Left Deal With Election Theft?

      To avoid the circular firing squad in which the left indulges every election year, we should make it clear that we are both members of the Green Party. We prefer Bernie to Hillary, but like Jill Stein most of all. We hope Bernie at some point will establish a substantial string of grassroots training camps so the thousands of highly active young people who are supporting him will convert those energies to great long-term community organizing.

    • Sweden’s housing minister resigns amid ‘extremist links’ row [iophk: "This is the same guy that has openly admitted to pushing an islamist agenda"]

      Turkish-born Mehmet Kaplan denies wrongdoing and says he is stepping down due to public and media criticism

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Broadband Industry Is Now Officially Blaming Google (Alphabet) For…Everything

      From net neutrality to municipal broadband, to new broadband privacy rules and a quest to open up the cable set top box to competition, we’ve noted repeatedly that the FCC under Tom Wheeler isn’t the same FCC we’ve learned to grumble about over the years. For a twenty-year stretch, regardless of party control, the agency was utterly, dismally apathetic to the lack of competition in the broadband space. But under Wheeler, the FCC has not only made broadband competition a priority, but has engaged in other bizarre, uncharacteristic behaviors — like using actual real-world data to influence policy decisions.

    • House Passes Bill Attempting To Gut Net Neutrality, Supporters Declare The Internet Saved

      As we’ve been discussing, the House has been pushing a new bill dubbed the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act” (pdf). As the name implies, the bill is being framed as a way to keep an “out of control” government from imposing new price caps on broadband, not coincidentally as the broadband industry increasingly eyes usage caps and overages to take advantage of a lack of sector competition. The bill has numerous problems, not least of which being that a special definition of “rate regulation” included in the bill would effectively prevent the FCC from doing, well, anything.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Russia: New Amendments Would Allow Use Of Inventions Without Permission Of Patent Holders

      The Russian government is considering approval of a package of controversial amendments to national legislation that would allow the use of inventions without the permission of patent holders.

    • WIPO Committee Adopts New Development Projects, Agrees Future Work, Stumbles On Technical Assistance

      The issue of technical assistance that WIPO provides to developing countries is a tough issue as developing countries have expressed concern about the nature of advice being provided – that it might favour the strict application of intellectual property rights instead of also presenting flexibilities available to developing and least-developed countries.

    • Computer generates all possible ideas to beat patent trolls

      Alex Reben came up with 2.5 million ideas in just three days. Nearly all of them are terrible – but he doesn’t mind. He thinks he has found a way to thwart patent trolls by putting their speculative ideas in the public domain before they can make a claim.

      In his project, called All Prior Art, Reben, an artist and engineer, uses software to rummage through the US patent database, which is freely available online. The software extracts sentences from patent documents and splices them into phrases that describe new inventions.

      The result is a bizarre array of contraptions that don’t quite make sense. A robotic phone book. A nasal plug adorned with magnetic jewellery. 3D-printed soap that kills pests on strawberry plants. And one of Reben’s favourites – a temperature-regulating adult nappy with a built-in hood.

    • Epic Trade Secret Case Billion Dollar Verdict

      I expect that 2016 will be the year that Congress to creates a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. Acting in rare unanimous fashion, the Senate recently passed the Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA) with republican leadership. The house is expected to follow with President Obama also indicating support. In his most recent State of the Union Address, President Obama noted that “[n]o foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to . . . steal our trade secrets.”

    • Copyrights

      • After 4 Years… Copyright Holders Still Think Megaupload is Alive

        More than four years after Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. Government, several prominent copyright holders still ‘think’ that the site is hosting infringing content. Automated bots operated by their anti-piracy partners continue to send Google numerous takedown notices for Megaupload URLs, more than it received when the site was still online.

      • A Pirate in Local Government – An Interview with David Elston
      • EU Regulators Seem To Think They Can Tell YouTube That Its Business Model Should Be More Like Spotify

        We’ve been quite concerned about new internet regulations on the way from the EU, with a focus on how internet platforms must act. As we’ve noted, the effort is officially part of the (reasonable and good!) idea of making a “Digital Single Market,” but where the process is being used by some who think it’s an opportunity to attack the big internet companies (mainly Google and Facebook). There are two EU Commissioners heading up the effort, and one, Gunther Oettinger, has been fairly explicit that he’d like to burden American internet firms with regulations to “replace” them with European equivalents. Of course, as we’ve noted, when you have giant companies like Google and Facebook, they can pretty much handle whatever regulatory burden you throw at them. It’s the innovators and the startups that will be shut out because they won’t be able to manage it. So, ironically, in trying to hold back Google and Facebook with regulations, the EU would really only entrench them as the only players able to handle those regulations.

      • Supreme Court Says It Won’t Hear Authors Guild Appeal Over Google Books Ruling

        Last fall, the 2nd Circuit appeals court gave a clear and convincing win to Google in the long-running Authors Guild case against Google’s book scanning program. And, really, the decision was a massive win for the public, in that it was a strong defense of fair use (even in commercial settings). But, of course, the still clueless Authors Guild — which doesn’t seem to actually represent the interests of most authors (many of whom have found Google Books to be a profoundly useful tool) — decided to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the case.

      • Case Closed: Supreme Court Lets Fair Use Ruling Stand in Google Books Litigation

        The Google Books case is over after a decade of litigation, leaving in its wake new guidance on the reach of the fair use doctrine and, not incidentally, protection for an extraordinary public resource for finding books and information.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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