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04.25.16

Links 25/4/2016: Kodi 16.1, OpenStack Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Running Windows on System76

      By tonight, this laptop’s time as a Windows only machine will be over. As soon as I finish writing this, I plan to print a file copy of my return, which got mailed before last Monday’s deadline by the way, and also save a copy of the file that Tax Act created to a USB drive so I can move it to our desktop for safekeeping. Then I’ll be downloading the recently released Xubuntu 16.04 for a review, partitioning the hard drive to save Windows for next year’s taxes and then seeing what our new laptop can do running a real operating system.

  • Server

    • Debunked! The CIA-Docker connection

      Some readers may have been alarmed to also learn that one of the companies that presented at a summit sponsored by In-Q-Tel was Docker. But Docker’s involvement with In-Q-Tel appears limited to a government support contract for its software — a wholly uncontroversial connection between Docker and the spy agency.

  • Kernel Space

    • Inside The Mind Of Linus Torvalds — Open Source, Linux, And Power Of Code

      Linus could be very easily regarded as one of the most influential peoples of last century who created a software that serves as the foundation of the 21st-century computing. Notably, he changes the technology twice — first with the Linux kernel, and again with Git, the source code management system being used all over the world by developers to maintain their code.

    • Kernel 4.4.8 Has Been Released
    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.6 RC5, Final Release Lands Mid-May

      Just a few moments ago, April 24, Linus Torvalds made his regular Sunday announcement about the next RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.6 kernel.

      Things are looking great and safe for the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.6, and while this fifth RC build is considerably bigger than the previous one, it still remains in the normal range, at least as Linus Torvalds sees it, and Linux 4.6 might just be one of those rare releases to not even get a seventh RC.

      “If things continue this way, this might be one of those rare releases that don’t even get to rc7. At least that’s how it feels now, although to be honest I suspect that even if things continue this calm I’d do the normal rc7 just because there’s no particular hurry or reason not to,” said Linus Torvalds in today’s announcement.

    • Linux 4.6-rc5 Is Another Fairly Calm Weekly Kernel Update
    • Linux 4.6 rc5
    • Kernel 4.2.8 CKT8 Has Been Released
    • /dev/random – a new approach

      The venerable Linux /dev/random served users of cryptographic mechanisms well for a long time. Its behavior is well understood to deliver entropic data. In the last years, however, the Linux /dev/random showed signs of age where it has challenges to cope with modern computing environments ranging from tiny embedded systems, over new hardware resources such as SSDs, up to massive parallel systems as well as virtualized environments.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Reordering a Qt Quick ListView via drag’n’drop

        It is common in user interfaces to provide the user with a list of elements which can be reordered by dragging them around. Displaying a list of elements with Qt Quick is easy, thanks to the ListView component. Giving the user the ability to reorder them is less straightforward. This 3 article series presents one approach to implementing this.

      • A note to those who test kde apps building them from sources
      • Google Summer of Code,2016

        So, finally, the wait is over. The result of GSoC selections is out and Voila! my proposal has been accepted and is now a GSoC project. I would like to thank KDE community, my mentor, and co-mentors for their support and giving me an opportunity to be a part of this programme. I will be working on the project LabPlot (KDEdu) which is a KDE-application for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data. LabPlot provides an easy way to create, manage and edit plots.

      • open365, let’s declare war at Google and Microsoft

        Open365 is a public and/or private cloud designed to compete with the likes of Google Drive or Office365 by leveraging all the best free software out there.

        The service is designed to scale horizontally as well as to be resilient to components crashing or going crazy. In order to achieve this we have implemented a microservice architecure that communicate using a bus (rabbitmq) plus some other tricks so we can scale using commodity hardware horizontally. Nothing fancy, nothing revolutionary but it had to be done :)

        Finally, we’ve integrated under the same system very well know software solutions for File sinchronization, PIM (Email, calendar,contacts…) and office.

        Specifically

        Seafile
        Kontact
        Libreoffice

        For the last two, we re using SPICE and our HTML5/Javascript client to run those applications in the server and send only the interface to the Web browser in a really efficient way.

      • clazy: Suppressing warnings
      • Summer Is Coming

        First, we managed to kill of projects.kde.org for good. It used to run ChiliProject – which has been discontinued and no longer provides security updates – and used to be a constant source of headaches for the syasadmins, with the seemingly endless HTTP 500 ISEs we’d generate. After it went down in the middle of CKI – and resulted in a few embarrassing moments in the middle of talks – we decided it had to go.

      • Interview with Tomáš Marek

        I’m a GNU/Linux user and when I wanted to paint I always had to reboot to Windows to use Photoshop for painting, so with Krita I don’t have to use Windows at all.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cinnamon 3.0 Desktop Primed For Release

        The GNOME3-forked Cinnamon Desktop is ready for its 3.0 milestone.

        Linux Mint lead developer Clement Lefebvre has tagged version 3.0 of Cinnamon within their official Git repository on GitHub. Cinnamon 3.0.0 succeeds Cinnamon 2.8 and adds an option for showing/hiding the favorite box in the menu applet, new default application buttons, changes to the sound settings, effects on dialogs and menus are enabled by default, power setting improvements, and many bug fixes.

      • Cinnamon 3.0 Desktop Environment Tagged for Linux Mint 18, Here’s What’s New

        Linux Mint project leader and Cinnamon lead developer Clement Lefebvre has tagged the Cinnamon 3.0.0 desktop environment as ready for release on the project’s GitHub page.

        Therefore, we’re happy to inform you today, April 25, 2016, that the development cycle of the Cinnamon 3.0.0 desktop environment has ended, and it should hit the stable repositories of various GNU/Linux operating systems, such as Arch Linux, in the coming days.

        Cinnamon 3.0 has been tagged as ready for deployment in the upcoming Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” distribution, which should hit the streets this summer, sometimes around June or July, but we should be able to get an early taste in the coming weeks as the developers will announce the RC (Release Candidate) version.

  • Distributions

    • This Week In Solus – Install #27

      Welcome to the 27th installation of This Week in Solus and one I’m happy to say is actually being written and published on schedule.

    • Kali

      • Kali Linux 2016.1

        Kali Linux Kali Linux, which was formally known as BackTrack, is a forensic and security-focused distribution based on Debian’s Testing branch. Kali Linux is designed with penetration testing, data recovery and threat detection in mind. The project switched over to a rolling release model earlier this year in an effort to provide more up to date security utilities to the distribution’s users.

        I have been finding a lot of posts about Kali Linux from Linux newcomers on various forums and social media recently and this surprised me. Kali Linux is not marketed toward novice users, in fact the distribution has a fairly narrow focus (security, forensics and penetration testing) so I was eager to experiment with the distribution and see if I could find out why so many newcomers to Linux have been installing Kali as their first GNU/Linux distribution.

        Kali Linux is available in two editions, with each edition available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The main (or full) edition ships with the GNOME desktop and a large suite of security tools. The Light edition features fewer tools and the Xfce desktop. There is also an ARM port of Kali Linux. The 64-bit build of the main edition is 2.7GB in size and this is the ISO I downloaded for the purposes of my trial.

      • Kali Sana New Look & Features – Cyber Security OS
    • New Releases

      • Solus 1.2 Linux Operating System Is Coming in May with Multilib Support

        Josh Strobl from the Solus Project published earlier today, April 24, 2016, the twenty-seventh installment of the weekly “This Week In Solus” newsletter to inform the community about the latest news from the Solus OS land.

        This week’s newsletter reminds us that the second point release of the GNU/Linux operating system, Solus 1.2, is coming next month, in May, with multilib support, updated packages, and latest security patches.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Evangelizing open source: Interview with OSCON speaker Gabrielle Crevecoeur

      A recent graduate of Florida State University, Gabrielle Crevecoeur is a technical evangelist at Microsoft specializing in open source development. She will be speaking at OSCON about how to run the Johnny-Five Javascript framework on Arduino and have it sing Frozen’s hit song Let It Go. So, I caught up with her to ask some questions before her talk.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google open sources Chromium browser bug tracker

        Chrome is a proprietary software application development product… and Chromium is open source. Google draws its source code for Chrome from the Chromium project once it is happy with the stability and functionalities of features in production.

  • OpenStack

    • OpenStack’s director: Why open source cloud should be the core of your data center

      Six years ago over two days engineers from Rackspace and NASA met in Austin, Texas, for the very first OpenStack Summit. Six years later, OpenStack is returning to its roots.

      As it does so, OpenStack has cemented itself as the dominant open source IaaS platform. But at the same time, more proprietary offerings from vendors like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and VMware still seem to reign in the broader market.

    • Blueprint: Top 10 Use Cases for OpenStack SDN

      Years ago, Linux opened up the data center and made it programmable, uncorking a Genie’s bottle of previously unimagined use cases, wealth and possibilities that became known as the cloud. For years after the data center became a software-programmable cloud, networking remained the bottleneck in an otherwise programmable environment. Today, we’re seeing a similar transformation with the advent of SDN and NFV. Launching in 2010, a free and open-source software infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform for cloud computing, OpenStack, made it easier to configure cloud infrastructure by linking compute, storage, and networking resources to support a range of use cases. Now, SDN is not just supporting but driving some of the biggest innovations in cloud services. Enabling users to easily deploy and manage resources from a single pane of glass, production services that used to take months to provision are now live in mere minutes.

    • OpenStack by the numbers: Who’s using open source clouds and for what?

      The latest bi-annual survey data of OpenStack users shows a continuing march of the open source cloud software into mainstream of enterprises, but also the project’s continued challenges related to ease of deployment and management.

    • Kicking off the Summit, and more OpenStack news

      Catch up on the latest OpenStack happenings in this special summit edition of our weekly OpenStack news. Members of the Opensource.com team will be in Austin this week for the feature event, so be sure to follow us on Twitter to learn what’s happening this week in real time.

    • Akanda Releases New Version of OpenStack Astara at OpenStack Summit Austin

      Customers Can Cut the Cord With Over-the-Top Network Functions; Advanced Features for High Network Availability; and New IPV6 VPN Services for Hybrid Cloud & IOT Infrastructures

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgaria moves towards open source repository

      The Bulgarian parliament is likely to approve plans to start a repository for software developed by or for the government. The source code store is to be managed by a new organisation, the eGovernment Agency. The proposal has passed the first reading in the National Assembly on 15 April and is expected to be accepted by vote in May.

    • France Chooses Freedom

      It’s been a long time coming but France is now on its way to giving preference to ODF over M$’s mess of a standard for documents.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Open Data Barometer 2015: 5 European countries in the Top 10

        The UK is still at the top of the barometer, but is now followed by the USA and France, both ranked second. France, which was third in 2014, received good marks in three criteria: government action, political impact and, citizens and civil rights.

  • Programming/Development

    • Q&A: Python Creator Guido van Rossum on How He Got His Start in Programming

      Guido van Rossum is the creator of Python, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Guido was kind enough to tell us his story, from growing up and discovering computers in the Netherlands, to creating Python and landing at Dropbox in San Francisco.

    • 5 Eclipse tools for processing and visualizing data

      Gone are the days of scientists processing data by hand. Scientific tools are rapidly scaling to meet the increasing demands of their users, both in terms of complexity and sheer volumes of data.

      In various domains, highly sophisticated scientific workbenches have been developed to enable scientists and researchers to quickly make sense of their data in a reproducible way. Several scientific workbenches have been built on top of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) framework and offer up open source environments for processing and visualizing data. The companies and institutions behind these workbenches got together to collaborate on these tools, and so the Eclipse Science Working Group was born.

Leftovers

  • England always dreaming

    No, this isn’t some misguided claim to England being the ‘home of football’, those days are long gone. Rather it is a means to understand how football frames both a brutish form of nationalism and the most popular version of internationalism. Sometimes at one and the same time. Football is the most global of sports because of its simplicity, its suitability to be played on almost any surface, with next to no equipment – ‘jumpers for goalposts’ will do – by bodies of any shape or size, and for the very few it is a route out of poverty from wherever they come. Football is both a global actor and a global subject. Football is played all over the world more or less according to those thirteen rules adopted more than 150 years ago. Our ‘English’ game couldn’t be more globalised : the players, the managers, the owners, the shirts sponsors, the fans, the TV audience.

  • Something Huge Is About to Go Down With Scientology That Could Destroy the ‘Church’ Once and for All

    The only daughter of rock icon Elvis Presley has been slowly pulling herself away from Scientology, to which she was introduced as a child by her mother, since at least 2008, reported Tony Ortega.

  • 14 Simple Charts For Teaching Children That Life Is Hard

    There’s a lot of harsh realities of life that people just don’t want to face. But people also love to look at pictures, especially if they think they’ll be smarter for doing so after.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fresh EU-US trade spat brewing over new plant breeding techniques

      The EU’s decision on how to regulate NPBTs is “not yet clear”, Commission officials admit.

      But in any case, time has come to “move away from a GMO-centered discussion” when it comes to innovation in plant reproductive materials, an EU spokesperson told EurActiv.com.

    • Making Polluters Pay In Flint Et Al

      Joining the furious voices of poisoned Flint residents calling for even “an ounce of accountability,” Green For All marked Earth Day by launching a national campaign calling on polluters to pay for what they break via a modified carbon tax to be invested back into the communities they trash. The campaign will start in Flint, where the Snyder administration trucked in clean water for state workers while continuing to contaminate residents, and where the many afflicted, now entirely dependent on bottled water, say they “feel like the walking dead.”

    • Journalism, Pro-GMO Triumphalism And Neoliberal Dogma In India

      Aiyar’s piece is standard pro-GMO PR. Unfortunately, this type of article is becoming all too common (see this and this). Instead of informing the public, this form of ‘journalism’ is designed to misrepresent facts and misinform the public on behalf of powerful commercial interests.

    • Ocean Pollutants Found in Tuna Weaken the Immune System

      Eating seafood tainted with a class of common, long-lasting environmental contaminants can weaken the human body’s ability to defend itself against toxic substances, a new study has found.

      A team of California scientists, led by Amro Hamdoun of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tested how exposure to 10 persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, affected an important cellular protein found in most animals and plants.

    • ‘Poverty is a death sentence,’ Sanders declares during Baltimore stop

      Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders used a campaign stop Saturday in this economically challenged city to decry the difference between the life expectancies of the nation’s rich and poor, declaring that “poverty is a death sentence.”

      “If you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood, your life expectancy is almost 20 years shorter than if you’re born in its wealthiest neighborhood,” the senator from Vermont said, adding that “15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine’s West Bank.”

    • CIA invests in Skincential Sciences, a firm that collects DNA painlessly

      The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via its venture capital branch In-Q-Tel has provided funding to a beauty products manufacturing company called Skincential Sciences. Wondering why the CIA would be interested in skincare products? It is because Skincential Sciences has patented a technology that painlessly collects human DNA.

    • What Do You Do When Your Family Was the Victim of CIA Mind-Control Experiments?

      In 1956, her grandmother, Velma Orlikow, checked into Montreal’s Allan Memorial Institute for postpartum depression. Orlikow was treated by renowned psychiatrist Dr Ewen Cameron, whose controversial “de-patterning” treatment—prolonged, drug-induced sleep comas, followed by multiple doses of electroshock therapy—turned out to be a part of Project MKUltra.

    • Early Lessons From Marijuana Legalization in Colorado

      So what can other countries learn from the U.S. experience with marijuana legalization?

  • Security

    • Does Your Email Provider Know What A “Joejob” Is?

      The first inklings that Google had reservations about delivering mail coming from my bsdly.net domain came earlier this year, when I was contacted by friends who have left their email service in the hands of Google, and it turned out that my replies to their messages did not reach their recipients, even when my logs showed that the Google mail servers had accepted the messages for delivery.

      [...]

      The forum is primarily intended as a support channel for people who host their mail at Google (this becomes very clear when you try out some of the web accessible tools to check domains not hosted by Google), so the only practial result was that I finally set up DKIM signing for outgoing mail from the domain, in addition to the SPF records that were already in place. I’m in fact less than fond of either of these SMTP addons, but there were anyway other channels for contact with my friends, and I let the matter rest there for a while.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Pentagon’s Twisted Potlatch

      The global military-industrial complex similarly stands outside normal market economics. You can’t buy a nuke or even an F-35 on Amazon. The state intervenes in the economy in order to guarantee the production of these items and ensure that they are not available through normal market mechanisms. The state does so, moreover, not so much to make money from their sale — though this happens, too — but to reaffirm the country’s status.

    • Kagame Goes to Harvard

      Never underestimate the global myopia and indifference that lurks beneath the surface of the United States’ supposedly Leftist higher educational system. Between August of 2005 and May of 2006, I worked as a visiting professor of American History at a Midwestern public university. The U.S. was into the third year of one the most monumental, mass-murderous, and openly imperial crimes in history: the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Where, I asked students and faculty, was the on-campus antiwar movement? Where were the protests and teach-ins on and against Washington’s egregious and blood-soaked assault on Mesopotamia, sold on thoroughly false pretexts and already estimated to have the caused the premature death of many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?

    • The ‘Credibility’ Illusion

      The Obama administration protects its “credibility” by refusing to budge on its claims about the 2013 Syria-sarin case or the 2014 plane shoot-down in eastern Ukraine even as the evidence shifts, writes Robert Parry.

    • Oil and Amnesia: Obama and Saudi Arabia’s “Forgotten” Ties to 9/11

      Poor old Barack. Off he goes to Riyadh to talk to his so-called ally, Saudi Arabia. The Sunni Wahhabi kingdom long ago run out of patience with the US president, who befriended Shiite Iran and who failed to destroy the Alawite (read: Shiite) regime in Syria. So why is Obama even bothering coming to the Gulf? Does he have any friends left among the kings, emirs and princes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Emirates and Oman?

    • ‘True Cost of Covert Killings’ Demanded as Drone Strike Victims Speak Out

      The environmental engineer from Sanaa, Yemen continued his lengthy battle for justice on Wednesday, filing a federal lawsuit (pdf) in Washington, D.C. demanding his “a legal right under FOIA” for the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury to provide him with pertinent information about the strike that killed his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in 2012.

      Thus far, according to human rights organization Reprieve, which is representing Jaber, the agencies have not provided “substantive responses” to FOIA requests related to the killings.

      Reprieve points to the contrast between the administration’s treatment of Jaber with that of a 2015 drone strike that killed an American, Warren Weinstein, and an Italian, Giovanni Lo Porto.

    • Stiffing Iran on the Nuke Deal

      Secretary of State Kerry boasts about how little Iran has gotten from the nuclear deal – accessing only $3 billion of its frozen assets – but that hurts U.S. credibility and endangers the deal, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Obama may be preaching ‘tough love’ to Saudi – but arms sales tell another story

      When President Barack Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for a meeting of Gulf leaders, he was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, instead of the Saudi king. Unlike his previous visits, Obama’s arrival was not broadcast on Saudi state television with its usual pomp and circumstance. It was one sign of how livid Saudi leaders are at Obama and his administration – the decades-long Saudi-US alliance has rarely been more tense.

      Saudi rulers believe that Obama has shifted US foreign policy to be more friendly toward Iran, especially after his administration expended considerable political capital to reach a nuclear deal with Tehran last summer. Obama also reduced direct US involvement in the Middle East, resisting calls to intervene military in Syria and to send more US troops to Iraq. And Saudi leaders were particularly upset after Obama suggested in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that they should figure out ways to “share the neighborhood” with Iran.

    • War out of sight, sacrifice out of mind

      In practice, roughly 1 percent of the population bears the burden of actually fighting our wars. A country that styles itself a democracy ought to find this troubling. Yet unlike the inequitable distribution of income, which generates considerable controversy, this inequitable distribution of sacrifice generates almost none. Even in a presidential election year, it finds no place on the nation’s political agenda. In the prevailing culture of choice, those choosing to remain on the sidelines are not to be held accountable for the fate that befalls those choosing to go fight.

    • A Note on Clinton’s Faux-Concern

      Hillary Clinton’s recent comments on the 43 students for La Opinión show the media’s failure to judge her pandering rhetoric against her actual, substantive actions. When she states she is indignant about the case, she erases her role in the violence engulfing Mexico. The corporate media allows this, because their pages never print about the US-role in Mexico’s War on Drugs.

    • What We Know About The Mass Shooting In Ohio

      On Friday, officials in the Appalachian region of Ohio announced that eight people had been killed execution-style, all members of the Rhoden family. The mass shooting happened over four crime scenes within miles of each other in the early hours of Friday morning.

      The victims include seven adults and one teenager, and investigators believe the family was targeted. Each was shot in the head, “executed,” according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and some were still in their beds. DeWine released their names on Saturday evening. Three children, ages three years, six months, and four days, were the only survivors at the crime scenes.

    • Pakistan dismisses claims of ties to 2009 suicide bombing targeting CIA officers

      Declassified US diplomatic cable says bomber of listening post in Afghanistan was‘triple agent’ and top Pakistani spy agency paid $200,000 to facilitate attack

    • John Brennan, CIA chief, in Bosnia on unannounced counterterrorism visit
    • Head of the CIA arrives in Bosnia for anti-terrorism talks
    • CIA accidentally left explosives on a school bus after training exercise
    • CIA accidentally leaves ‘explosives’ material in Virginia school bus engine for a WEEK after K-9 training exercises at local school
    • CIA ‘inadvertently’ left explosive training material under school bus
    • Anniversary of an Attempt to Overthrow France’s Charles De Gaulle. Did CIA Help?

      Evidence suggests that Allen Dulles, the US Director of the CIA, and his numerous contacts deep within the French government, helped orchestrate the plot.

      Many French — along with Dulles — feared an independent Algeria would fall into the hands of Communists, giving the Soviets a base in Africa.

    • Life on a CIA Kill List in Pakistan

      VICE News meets Malik Jalal in Pakistan and London to find out about a legal action he is pursuing to get his name stripped from the kill list — and prevent further drone strikes in North Waziristan.

    • The Strange Death of Hugo Chavez: an Interview with Eva Golinger

      Eva Golinger– I believe there is a very strong possibility that President Chavez was assassinated. There were notorious and documented assassination attempts against him throughout his presidency. Most notable was the April 11, 2002 coup d’etat, during which he was kidnapped and set to be assassinated had it not been for the unprecedented uprising of the Venezuelan people and loyal military forces that rescued him and returned him to power within 48 hours. I was able to find irrefutable evidence using the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that the CIA and other US agencies were behind that coup and supported, financially, militarily and politically, those involved. Later on, there were other attempts against Chavez and his government, such as in 2004 when dozens of Colombian paramilitary forces were captured on a farm outside of Caracas that was owned by an anti-Chavez activist, Robert Alonso, just days before they were going to attack the presidential palace and kill Chavez.

    • Hidden Costs of US Air War

      When Russian air strikes kill civilians in Syria, it is big news in U.S. newspapers, but there is near-total silence when U.S. bombs kill civilians in Iraq or Syria, a human rights dilemma addressed by Nicolas J S Davies.

      [...]

      Previous statements by U.S. officials have absurdly claimed that over 40,000 U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria have killed as few as 26 civilians. Speaking to USA Today, a senior Pentagon official who is briefed daily on the air war dismissed such claims, noting that heavier civilian casualties were inevitable in an air war that has destroyed 6,000 buildings with over 40,000 bombs and missiles.

    • Yes, Prince Faisal, We Need to ‘Recalibrate’ Our Relationship

      For decades the US and Saudi Arabia have shared a peculiar relationship: the Saudis sell relatively cheap oil to the United States for which they accept our fiat currency. They then recycle those paper dollars into the US military-industrial complex through the purchase of billions of dollars worth of military equipment, and the US guarantees the security of the Saudi monarchy.

      By accepting only dollars for the sale of its oil, the Saudis help the dollar remain the world’s reserve currency. This has meant that we can export inflation, finance the warfare/welfare state, and delay our day of financial reckoning.

      But it seems this longstanding entangling alliance is coming apart.

    • Obama Bows to Turkish Genocide Denial as Erdogan Calls for War on Armenia

      President Obama broke a campaign promise in refusing to honor the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians so as not to anger Erdogan, his dictatorial, terror sponsoring counterpart.

    • Turkish border guards ‘shoot eight Syrian refugees dead’ including women and children trying to reach safety

      Women and children are among eight Syrian refugees reportedly shot dead by Turkish border guards while trying to reach safety.

      Footage obtained by The Times showed survivors of the alleged attack fleeing down a mountain path for treatment to their injuries.

      One man was seen carrying his young son, who appeared to be bleeding heavily from gunshot wounds in both legs.

    • Saudi Arabia, 9/11, and the secret papers that could ignite a diplomatic war

      Twenty-eight secret pages of a report locked away in a room in the Capitol in Washington lie in the centre of a crisis between America and Saudi Arabia which threatens to have severe and widespread repercussions.

      The US Congress is considering legislation which would enable the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, presented by the West as its most valuable ally in the Middle East, over alleged links with al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks on New York and Washington.

      The issue had cast a long shadow over the recent visit of President Barack Obama to Riyadh, with the Saudis threatening to sell off $750bn of American assets they hold if the bill is passed by Congress.

    • Clooney Joins Armenians to Mark Anniversary of Massacre

      Actor George Clooney presented a $1.1 million award on the 101st anniversary of a massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks to a Burundi woman who offered sanctuary to thousands of orphans in the middle of a civil war there.

      The killing of more than 200 Armenian intellectuals on April 24, 1915 is regarded as the start of the massacre that is widely viewed by historians as the first genocide of the 20th century in which they estimate 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered.

      Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, vehemently rejects that the deaths constitute genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

    • Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil

      To illustrate with another example of dog-whistle diplomacy: On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military kidnapped the country’s president, Mel Zelaya, and flew him out of the country. The White House statement in response did not condemn this coup, but rather called on “all political and social actors in Honduras” to respect democracy.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • First TransparencyCamp to take place in Europe

      TransparencyCamp Europe is to take place for the first time as part of a series of events to promote transparency and Open Government in the EU.

      The event, scheduled on June 1st 2016 in Amsterdam, is organised by the Dutch Open State Foundation and the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Netherlands holds the presidency in the first half of 2016.

    • Slovenia: a portal to monitor country’s legislative footprint

      Several civil society organisations in Slovenia have developed a portal to make legislative processes more transparent for citizens.

    • Will The Panama Papers Kill Journalism?

      During the past years, investigative journalism has changed. Pioneered by WikiLeaks, whistle-blowing has transformed from a lonely activity to a new kind of publication. From CableGate, to LuxLeaks, then to SwissLeaks and the revelations of Chelsea Manning, from Edward Snowden, Herve Falciani and Carmen Segara, today we arrived at the Panama Papers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It?

      In just two decades, the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half.

    • Victory: Kinder Morgan Nixes New England Pipeline Plan

      Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has suspended its plans to build a fracked gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, citing poor demand for its gas in a statement (pdf) released late Wednesday. Pipeline opponents are cheering the decision.

      The pipeline would have cost over $3 billion and spanned nearly 200 miles, according to the Boston Globe.

      “I read the announcement from Kinder Morgan that they had suspended their process” for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, said Bob Hamilton, chairman of the board of selectmen in Rindge, N.H., which was on the pipeline’s route. “I led the room in a happy dance.”

      “They said that we would welcome them with open arms, and it was the opposite,” Elisa Benincaso of Rindge told New Hampshire’s WMUR.

    • Fox Uses Stuffed Armadillo to Persuade Viewers ‘There’s Nothing to Worry About With Global Warming’

      Fox News on Sunday invited self-styled climate expert Marc Morano to explain how a stuffed armadillo could prove that climate change was a hoax.

    • Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites

      Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham travelled to Chinchilla in South Western Queensland to investigate the impact of the coal seam gas industry on the environment as part of the Greens’ campaign to ban fracking and unconventional gas in Australia.

      “I was shocked by the force of the explosion when I tested whether gas boiling through the Condamine River, Qld was flammable,” Buckingham said. “So much gas is bubbling through the river that it held a huge flame for over an hour.”

    • “We’re wasteful”: Catherine McKenna wants Canada to step up its climate game

      Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she gets frustrated when she searches for a spot to lock up her bike on Parliament Hill.

      “I’m a huge cyclist, so it just drives me crazy that there are no bike racks out in front of Parliament Hill, because I think if you have them out there, people will see — they will be reminded — that it’s actually faster to get around by bike,” she told her parliamentary colleagues this week.

    • You can buy a cheap chicken today, but we all pay for it in the long run

      Have you ever asked yourself why an everyday “value” chicken can now be cheaper, pound for pound, than bread? Cheap chicken has become the “healthy” meat of choice for most shoppers and sales are booming, up 20% since 2000 in the UK. But is it really either cheap or healthy?

      Producers who use intensive methods are not financially accountable for the harm they cause. The apparently cheap price tag of industrial chicken does not include any of the costs related to pollution of the environment, destruction of natural capital, greenhouse gas emissions or the damage to public health resulting from such systems. It turns out that low-cost chicken isn’t cheap at all.

    • The world’s largest primate is being wiped out by war

      The population of the world’s largest primate — a gorilla subspecies that lives in a region of Central Africa beset by conflict — is collapsing.

      Back in 1998, a team of researchers estimated that 17,000 Grauer’s gorillas, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, lived in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    • Cuomo administration rejects Constitution pipeline

      The Cuomo administration has denied the water quality permits for a controversial pipeline in what has become another primary test of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental legacy.

      On Friday, which is Earth Day, the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied the water quality certificate the pipeline developers need to begin construction. Most of the pipeline’s federal permits have already been approved and the project developers have already shipped all of the pieces into the state and even began clearing trees in Pennsylvania.

    • Internationational Gathering of ”Berta Caceres Lives On” Ends in Violence

      The aggressors were paid 250 lempiras, the equivalent of USD$11 dollars, by one of the companies implementing the Agua Zarca dam project, according to local residents.

    • This Earth Day, Lets Defend Earth’s Defenders

      Almost 7 weeks have passed since Berta’s murder, and the Honduran government has no answers. Much like the more than 100 environmental activists that have been killed there since 2010, her case is unlikely to be solved. In 2014, the country’s impunity rate was a shameful 96% according to Honduran NGO, Alliance for Peace and Justice. Yet, leaders claim the situation is improving and the murder rate is dropping. That’s what former Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales told a group of NGOs assembled recently in Washington. A few days later he resigned his post after being linked to the murders of several police officials when he was security minister.

    • “Grim Drumbeat” Behind Historic Climate Agreement

      As the Independent puts it “But even if countries manage to bring the agreement into effect soon, it may not be enough. Scientists say that the measures in the document might not be enough to keep temperatures below the 2 degrees Celsius limit that, if breached, could cause huge damage across the world.”

      John Sterman, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells the Independent: Even “if the Paris pledges are implemented in full, they are not enough to get us even close to a 2-degree pathway. I don’t think people understand how urgent it is.”

      There is increasing evidence that the politics is not keeping up with the world’s rapidly changing climate: As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis report in the Washington Post, there is a “grim drumbeat” behind today’s agreement…

    • Towards a post-nuclear Ukraine

      Ukraine’s energy oligarchs have a strong voice in the country’s day-to-day politics. Take the concentration of the thermal coal power market, for instance: thermal is largely steered by the DTEK conglomerate, which is Ukraine’s largest energy company, and is controlled by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man. In the past, DTEK was able to negotiate a strong position (and higher tariffs) for coal generation, which, in turn, had to be cross-financed by lower prices for nuclear power.

    • Chernobyl, and Cesium, at 30

      April 26 is the 30th anniversary of the reactor meltdown and radiation disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine, which brings to mind cesium. Thirty years is how long it takes for half a given amount of cesium-137 — dispersed in huge quantities from Chernobyl (and Fukushima) — to decay into radioactive barium. This 30-year “half-life” means half of Chernobyl’s jettisoned cesium-137 is still around — over four million billion “Becquerels” in Europe alone, according to TORCH: The Other Report on Chernobyl. This cesium will persist in decreasing amounts in soil, water, and food for another 270 years.

    • Goldman Prize for a Gold Mining Opponent

      A petite woman from Peru has been honored with a huge award, the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, for years of principled resistance to the Colorado-based gold-seeking conglomerate Newmont Mining Company.

    • Climate Change Has All But Destroyed Great Barrier Reef, Study Confirms

      More than 90 percent of world’s largest living ecosystem has been hit by “severe” coral bleaching

    • Chris Hedges and Josh Fox on Holding Onto Our Humanity Amid Climate Change

      Hedges observes the similarities between his own book, “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” and Fox’s film, noting that both “empower the imagination.” While Fox acknowledges that his latest documentary doesn’t pull any punches, he says he intended it to remind viewers why the human species is “worth keeping on this planet.”

    • New Campaign Calls For Polluters ‘To Pay For What They Break’

      The California experience could be a sign that so-called polluters pay funds could multiply across the nation. After all, California is a pioneer in progressive laws and programs that other states then pick up. Yet, creating a polluters pay fund puts communities against polluters, which are often wealthy businesses or corporations that oppose more stringent laws in the first place. What’s more, Green For All proposes the Clean Power Plan, a court-challenged rule that calls for reductions in carbon emissions from the electricity sector, to be used as a vessel for the fund.

      The plan, now under a Supreme Court stay, has been opposed by many lawmakers and multiple states. However, the rule also enjoys its share of support and some states are moving forward with it. Truong said a polluters pay fund attached to the plan could bring communities to rally around the controversial rule.

    • “It’s Possible”: Koch Brother Says Hillary Clinton Might Be Best Choice for Him

      ‘We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way,’ says billionaire industrialist and far-right ideologue

    • Prominent Conservative Will Only Support Republican Candidates If They Walk Back Policy Positions

      Conservative billionaire Charles Koch said “it’s possible” Hillary Clinton could be a better president than any of the current GOP candidates.

      In an interview on ABC News’ This Week that aired Sunday, Koch said that Bill Clinton was “in some ways” a better president than George W. Bush. “As far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, it was two and a half times [greater] under Bush than it was under Clinton.”

      “So is it possible another Clinton could be better than another Republican next time around?” asked ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

    • Philadelphia Prison System Receives Accolades from EPA

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the City of Philadelphia today for its innovative food recovery achievements at the Philadelphia Prison System that include composting 1.35 tons of wasted food each day and saving the city $31,000 each year in landfill fees.

    • We’re flirting with apocalypse: The planet inches ever closer to the 1.5°C threshold

      Global leaders are meeting in New York this week to sign the Paris climate agreement. One of the expressed purposes of the document is to limit warming to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”

      A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet that goal. The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December.

      February exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking the first time the global average temperature has surpassed the sobering milestone in any month. March followed suit checking in at 1.5°C. January’s mark of 1.4°C, put the global average temperature change from early industrial levels for the first three months of 2016 at 1.48°C.

    • “Global Elite’s Theater”: Paris Deal Is Mere Starting Point for Climate Justice

      The Paris climate agreement, hammered out at last December’s COP21 talks and signed Friday by close to 170 nations, is alternately being hailed as “a turning point for humanity” and denounced as “a dangerous distraction.”

      There’s no doubt that the deal “is the capstone of years and years of hard work,” as Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) president Ken Kimmell put it on Thursday.

    • Cattle in Grizzly Country

      Coexistence, commonsense and compassion must be the norm rather than the exception when we get around to removing Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears.

  • Finance

    • Trade backers hope for ‘watershed’ Obama visit

      President Barack Obama will try to rally reluctant Europeans behind a U.S.-EU trade deal when he touches down in Germany Sunday, but he doesn’t exactly arrive with the political trade winds at his back.

      Back home in the United States, anti-trade sentiment in both parties is the highest in a generation, and nearly all of Obama’s potential successors are hardening their views on the subject — with potential implications for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • While Workers Struggle for $15, CEOs Enjoy Obscene Pay Raises

      Interestingly, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, Easterbrooks’ 368% raise is quite consistent with the overall pay increase enjoyed by the top 0.1% of earners over the past several decades.

    • TTIP Is Dying; Here’s How to Help Finish It Off

      There are no comparable figures for the UK, but they probably wouldn’t be as good: the almost total lack of media coverage on TTIP and CETA might make cynics suspect a conspiracy, and many people in the UK have never heard of it. If asked, they would probably say they were in favour of a trade deal with the US – indeed, some surveys carried out for the European Commission ask precisely that question, and get generally favourable answers. That’s not surprising, since the problem is not so much with US trade deals in general as TTIP in particular: when people find out exactly what is in TTIP they are generally pretty appalled at what is being done in their name.

      Given the reluctance of mainstream media to provide objective information – if any – there’s not much we can do other than post to social media. One other thing we Europeans can all do is to contact our politicians expressing our concerns, and asking them some questions about their knowledge and support or otherwise for TTIP.

      Linda Kaucher, the main organiser of the Stop TTIP movement in the UK, has put together a useful sample letter for UK citizens to send to their MPs to do precisely that. It could easily be modified for other EU countries. Ideally, you could take the letter and edit it to make it more personal, but the most important thing is to send it to your political representatives so that they appreciate the strength of public opinion on the topic of TTIP and CETA.

    • Hillary’s State Department Stopped Haiti From Increasing Its Minimum Wage to 61 Cents

      The #FightFor15 movement is continuing to make gains. After steamrolling through large urban centers such as Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, now it may be coming to entire states near you. New York and California recently adopted a $15 statewide minimum wage, and both Democratic presidential candidates have advocated extending the policy nationwide.

    • Bernie Sanders Calls Out Hillary Clinton for Supporting Soda Taxes

      Kenney wants to use the money the city gets from the tax to help fund preschool programs for Philadelphia. A government program for the children? Sign Hillary Clinton up immediately! She declared her support for the soda tax this week as a way to achieve this end.

    • Calling Corporate-Backed Deals an “Indisputable” Good, Obama Makes Pitch for TTIP

      Despite the tens of thousands of people who marched against the deal in Germany ahead of his arrival and the steady drop in support for such neoliberal trade deals overall, President Barack Obama stood next to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and defended the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and said similar past deals have been an “indisputable” benefit to the U.S. economy.

      “It is indisputable that ["free trade"] has made our economy stronger,” Obama said during a joint news conference. “It has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world.”

      Though the failure of past deals like NAFTA have become rallying cries on both sides of the partisan aisle in this year’s U.S. presidential campaign—with middle- and working-class Americans speaking out against them like never before—Obama said Sunday that “the majority of people still favor trade” and “still recognize, on balance, that it’s a good idea.”

      Offering a quite visible contradiction to that assertion, tens of thousands marched in the streets of Hanover on Saturday to let both Obama and Merkel how strong their opposition to TTIP remains.

    • Obama and Merkel Should Change Course on TTIP and Heed Bipartisan, Transatlantic Revolt Against More-of-the-Same Trade Agreements
    • Beyond the Empire of Chaos: the Life Capital Solution

      In short, life capital provides the true goods of life which are now everywhere at risk without a life-value ground and compass to guide choice and action.

    • Tom DeLay, ex-CIA director ask judge to go easy on Dennis Hastert

      Attorneys for ex-speaker Dennis Hastert on Friday filed dozens of letters of support from former colleagues, constituents and friends, asking a federal judge to consider the former lawmaker’s decades of service when he is sentenced next week on bank fraud charge.

      Hastert, 74, pleaded guilty in October to one count of illegally structuring bank withdrawals, as part of an effort to payoff one of his former student-athletes from his days as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in a small town outside of Chicago decades ago, according to prosecutors.

    • Defend Brazil!

      Dilma Rousseff, whatever your foes are saying, whatever the Empire is uttering in its toxic and cynical voice, the Workers Part (PT) changed absolutely everything!

    • Bernie’s Right on Free Tuition — We Had It Once

      Brooklyn College also welcomed a son of Polish immigrants, Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He entered in 1959 and finished his degree at University of Chicago.

      Sen. Sanders has proposed a national program of free higher education for all at public colleges and universities. New Yorkers would return to a system that had worked for a century before ending 50 years ago.

    • Swiss banker whistleblower: CIA behind Panama Papers

      Birkenfeld, an American citizen, was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy.

    • Everyone Knows Why Hillary Clinton Won’t Release Her Goldman Sachs Speeches
    • Rich list: ‘Asylum King’ who houses migrants in budget hotels enters list of richest Britons

      He has been dubbed ‘The Asylum King’ after securing lucrative Home Office contracts to house refugees in his budget hotels.

      Now Britannia Hotels founder Alex Langsam, 77, has entered The Sunday Times rich list after amassing an estimate fortune of £220 million.

      The hotel chain, which has twice been voted the worst in Britain by consumer watchdog Which?, made £14 million in profit last year as the number of asylum seekers soared to 36,000-a-year.

    • New York Times plans to cut hundreds of jobs later this year

      Times CEO Mark Thompson, who has been working to restructure the staff to meet new challenges, saw his total compensation nearly double last year — to $8.7 million.

    • Quinn: After a year of slowing sales, Silicon Valley’s future takes shape

      Silicon Valley firms, large and small, are stepping over their competitors and former tech giants to become the new dominant players.

      It’s a story captured by this year’s SV150, this newspaper’s annual survey of the region’s top tech firms.

      As the merry-go-round of the giddy boom time slows — whether just taking a breather or coming to a stop — new players are emerging from sectors such as the Internet and social media, consumer information technology and health. Semiconductors and enterprise, meanwhile, are sinking lower on the SV150 list this year.

      [...]

      In Silicon Valley last year, tech companies overall boosted employee productivity by 2.2 percent.

      But productivity, determined by dividing sales by the number of employees, is a strange measure. The ratio raises as many questions as it answers.

      Did the company increase employee productivity by increasing sales or by cutting staff? The increased use of technology has often been cited as the reason companies that aren’t in the tech sector are able to increase employee productivity. If a machine can do a job faster or better, fewer employees are needed.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Countdown to the RNC Apocalypse: Republicans Still Can’t Control Trump as the Clock Ticks Down to the Convention

      But that’s for later. For now, the RNC members look like the rest of the party and many observers have for a solid year: Standing around scratching their heads, trying to figure out what the hell is going on and, wondering whether they can climb out of this mess.

    • The Corporate Media Echo Chamber

      As I mentioned above, none of this really matters to Senator Sanders and his supporters anymore, now that the media (and the immutable laws of mathematics) have announced that they are one big, all-white, hacky sack-playing bug splat after getting creamed in New York. Still, it is awe-inspiring to watch the corporate media at work.

      I can hardly wait for this year’s feature presentation, wherein Mrs Clinton and her neoliberal buddies save us all from Hitler … again.

    • Bernie Sanders Won’t Drop Out, Here’s Why

      With increasing intensity after each primary or caucus he loses — and for that matter after each primary or caucus he wins — party big-wigs call on him to concede the race and get out of Hillary Clinton’s way. Politico‘s informal April survey of anonymous Democratic “insiders” has nearly 90% wanting Sanders out no later than the DC primary in mid-June and only 10% urging him to hold out to the bitter end.

    • No One Thought It Was Possible: 12 Ways the Sanders Revolution Has Transformed Politics

      Sanders hasn’t just climbed from a 55-point deficit in national polls to being just 1.4 percent behind Hillary Clinton (who, counting her husband’s, is waging her fourth presidential campaign); he has fundamentally changed the national political landscape for the better by reviving the very best progressive traditions and principles within the Democratic Party.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Support Base as Bogus as US Democracy

      US elections, despite all the media hype and endless rhetoric about ‘democracy in action,’ are in fact little more than manufactured political theater. The country that ceaselessly trumpets democratic values and transparency practices neither when it comes to its own elections.

    • Inside the CIA’s Troubling Collaboration With Hollywood

      According to a 2012 audit report on the CIA’s engagement with the entertainment industry obtained by Leopold as part of a Freedom of Information request, the CIA has had its hand in at least 22 entertainment projects between 2006 and 2011, which run the gamut from books and movies to reality television. It’s all part of the CIA’s effort to work with entertainment professionals “to debunk myths about CIA and intelligence work, present a balanced and accurate image of the CIA and lend authenticity to entertainment industry projects,” according to the report.

    • American democracy is rigged

      The Republican and Democratic parties are functioning like two identical but competing Orwellian Ministries of Truth.

    • Everybody Wants Bernie Sanders’ ‘Precious’

      Bernie Sanders is a long way from conceding the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton. So party operatives won’t be getting their hands on his impressive, grass-roots list of voters and donors any time soon.

    • Described as ‘Most Pro-Worker in a Lifetime,’ Rank-and-File Union Backs Bernie

      Announcing democratic consensus of its members across all three regional chapters nationwide, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America said it was officially endorsing Bernie Sanders for president on Sunday.

      The 35,000-member UE—which uses “the members run this union” as its tagline—said it was support from rank-and-file members which drove the endorsement.

      “As more of our members around the country have seen and heard Bernie over the past few months, they’ve seen that his policies and priorities match our own,” said the EU’s general president Peter Knowlton in a statement. “There has been a groundswell of support for Bernie with members volunteering for the campaign.”

    • Forget Bernie Bros — the Worst Trolls Work in Corporate Media

      One of the more popular pastimes of establishment media pundits is complaining of their various “trolls”—anonymous, faceless basement dwellers who lurk online and harass with aggressive, non-stop vigor. But a recent online dust-up started by Washington Post columnist Philip Bump made something clear: When you factor in actual impact, big media pundits troll just as much as—if not more than—any random egg avatar on Twitter.

      [...]

      This is the living, breathing definition of trolling: provocation for its own sake. To deliberately seek a reaction from people in bad faith. It’s something one sees often: Corporate media use deliberately antagonizing headlines to solicit outrage and generate traffic—only to turn around and feign indignation when they get precisely the reaction they sought.

      As I’ve noted before, the “Bernie Bro” label—often used to describe pro-Sanders “trolls”—isn’t entirely without merit. As in any large system, there is a cohort of sexists lurking in the broader Sanders “movement,” and it’s useful to point this out when it happens. But the term has morphed into a catch-all to describe any online dissent aimed at traditional media, namely Clinton partisans.

      [...]

      It’s a symbiotic relationship, except only one side is finger-wagged and derided for promoting a “toxic atmosphere.” Indeed, generally neo-liberal (and thus pro-Clinton) Slate has made something of a joke out of writing “provocative” headlines, often referred to as “Slate pitches,” specifically designed to get a rise out of people. What is this if not trolling on a wholesale level?

      There’s a libertarianism to the discussion that is out of whack—power dynamics are never really factored in. Establishment media folks like Bump–the kind who get a “blue checkmark” when they post on Twitter, to certify that they really are who they claim to be—are the victims under siege, while random Twitter users with 40 followers are social media terrorists that must be condemned.

    • The Real Hillary Clinton

      Enough of this. Let’s meet the real Clinton.

    • Backing Bernie’s Bold Vision, Biden Knocks Hillary’s “No We Can’t” Mantra

      Although Vice President Joe Biden has promised to stay neutral on the Democratic presidential candidates this campaign season, he offered high praise for Bernie Sanders’ message in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday: Biden will “take Mr. Sanders’ aspirational approach over Mrs. Clinton’s caution any day,” the newspaper reports.

    • Who Runs Strongest Against Trump? ‘That Candidate is Me,’ Says Sanders

      “Look, if we do not have a majority, it’s gonna be…hard for us to win,” Sanders told reporter Andrea Mitchell in his first interview since losing the New York primary to rival Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. “The only fact that I think remains uncertain is if we continue to be running significantly stronger than she is against Donald Trump, or whoever the Republican nominee will be. I think that’s a factor.”

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, Obsession, Addiction, and the News

      Think of the 2016 presidential campaign as the political equivalent of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s loud; there are plenty of abusive special effects; the critics hate it, but the crowds turn out; a media company or three rake in the dough; and foreigners can’t get enough of this new vision of the American way of life — or is it of a Bizarro world?

    • SuperPAC to Spend $1 Million to Target Hillary Haters on Social Media

      It’s fascinating to see anybody supportive of Hillary Clinton complaining about aggressive “Bernie Bros” when hatchet man David Brock is standing around as a very obvious counterpoint.

      And those Bernie Bros are finding out right now how aggressive an effort forces connected to Brock may use to push back against them. “Correct the Record,” a PAC that was spun off of Brock’s American Bridge SuperPAC, has started a project called “Barrier Breakers” to go after anybody who says anything they don’t like about their candidate on social media like Reddit and Facebook.

    • You may hate Donald Trump. But do you want Facebook to rig the election against him?

      While the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency is a terrifying one, perhaps this is scarier: Facebook could use its unprecedented powers to tilt the 2016 presidential election away from him – and the social network’s employees have apparently openly discussed whether they should do so.

      As Gizmodo reported on Friday, “Last month, some Facebook employees used a company poll to ask [Facebook founder Mark] Zuckerberg whether the company should try ‘to help prevent President Trump in 2017’.”

      Facebook employees are probably just expressing the fear that millions of Americans have of the Republican demagogue. But while there’s no evidence that the company plans on taking anti-Trump action, the extraordinary ability that the social network has to manipulate millions of people with just a tweak to its algorithm is a serious cause for concern.

    • Bill Moyers: Meet the Rare Conservative Who Admits That Money Corrupts Politics (Audio)

      I sat down with former Bush administration lawyer Richard Painter to discuss why conservatives should care about the influence of money in politics—and how they can fight to get it out.

    • Trump Has Insane General Election Optimism About States He Can’t Possibly Win

      If there’s one quality the Donald Trump presidential campaign does not lack, its confidence. In the days since Trump barreled through the New York primary, his team has been making a deliberate show of strength intended to discourage his rivals and win over skeptical Republicans. And, in characteristic Trump fashion, their pitches have an eye-catching, over-the-top quality intended to distract from the obvious lack of substance behind the product.

    • Is Hillary Clinton ‘Honest’?

      Hillary Clinton’s defenders object to the widespread public view that she is a liar by noting she scores reasonably well on the accuracy of her policy statements, but that is missing the point, says Robert Parry.

    • The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America

      To their everlasting discredit, most of the MSM Big Feet, which is what the late journalist Richard Ben Cramer labeled the self-important, pontificating political reporters and pundits who dominate our press, got it all wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

    • Sanders Assures Supporters Nationwide: ‘We’re Going All the Way to California’

      Confronted on multiple weekend news shows over his campaign strategy going forward, Bernie Sanders assured his supporters in no uncertain terms on Sunday that the race for the Democratic nomination is not yet over and that every voter in upcoming state contests will have a chance to have their voice counted ahead of the party’s national convention this summer.

      “We’re going all the way to California,” Sanders told George Stephanopolous on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning.

      Sanders mentioned his campaign stop in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday and said the endemic poverty he sees in such cities is a major reason why the status quo of “establishment politics” and “establishment economics” must be overcome.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Ad Blocker-Blocking Websites Might Be Violating European Privacy Laws

      The ad-blocking wars are getting ugly again.

      In the latest phase of the conflict, several high-traffic websites have started denying entry to users whenever they detect their browsers running ad-blocking extensions like uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus. These new ad-blocker-blocking scripts typically present offending readers with a choice: Either disable your blockers by whitelisting the site, or pay a small subscription fee to help keep the lights on.

      But that might not fly in Europe, where using these detection scripts could be a violation of local privacy laws, according to a letter from the European Commission.

      Under European law, websites are required to get users’ consent before they can send you cookies, the tiny blobs of data that live in your browser and allow sites to recognize and target you with ads. The letter suggests that since the law’s scope isn’t limited to cookies, scripts that scan your browser looking for ad-blocking extensions without consent might be verboten too.

    • Schools are helping police spy on kids’ social media activity

      Schools in Florida are renewing a program that monitors their students’ social media activity for criminal or threatening behavior, although it has caused some controversy since its adoption last year.

      The school system in Orange County, where Orlando is located, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the program, which partners the school system with local police departments, has been successful in protecting students’ safety, saying that it led to 12 police investigations in the past year. The school district says it will pay about $18,000 annually for SnapTrends, the monitoring software used to check students’ activity. It’s the same software used by police in Racine, Wis., to track criminal activity and joins a slew of similar social media monitoring software used by law enforcement to keep an eye on the community.

    • Court Rebukes, Then Excuses, FBI, NSA Excesses

      Never mind the veneer-thin excuse that the illegal data was “accidentally” collected in the first place. The NSA still chose to keep the data, and then the Office of Director of National Intelligence said, “The Government has informed the Court that there was no intent to leave the FISC with a misimpression or misunderstanding, and it has acknowledged that its prior representations could have been clearer.”

      So, because officials didn’t mean to break the law and then lie about it, it’s no big deal. After all, everybody makes mistakes.

      The FBI is required to purge surveillance records of data that would violate attorney-client privilege. In cases where conversations between defendants and attorneys are scooped up, the FBI is supposed to have “such surveillance reviewed by a ‘taint team’ that can excise any legal communications, but that was not happening in all cases,” according to the report by Politico.

    • Congress to US spy chief: Tell us how many Americans were ensnared by PRISM

      Lawmakers are demanding that the Obama administration comes clean on how many Americans have been caught up in its domestic surveillance programs.

      Without that information, a bipartisan group of leading lawmakers aren’t able to fully determine what changes need to be made to US surveillance laws, some of which will expire by the end of 2017.

    • The CIA is getting serious about monitoring social media
    • The NSA Has Never Not Been Violating FISA Since It Moved Stellar Wind to FISA in 2004

      Back in 2013, I noted that FISA Judge John Bates had written two opinions finding NSA had violated 50 U.S.C. §1809(a)(2), which prohibits the “disclos[ure] or use[ of] information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by” FISA. Each time he did it, Bates sort of waggled around the specter of law-breaking as a way of forcing NSA to destroy data they otherwise wanted to retain and use. I suspect that is why NSA moved so quickly to shut down its PRTT program in 2011 in the wake of his upstream opinion.

      [...]

      Consider what this means: between the five years between when, in fall 2004, NSA told Colleen Kollar-Kotelly it was violating her category restrictions on the bulk Internet dragnet until the time, in 2009, it admitted it continued to do so with every single record collected, between the non-disclosure of what NSA was really doing with upstream surveillance between 2008 and 2011, and between the time FISC told NSA it couldn’t keep illegally collected data for management reasons in May 2011 to the time in July 2015 it confessed it had continued to do that with 702 data, NSA has always been in violation of 50 U.S.C. §1809(a)(2) since it moved Stellar Wind to FISA.

    • NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Is Suing Norway To Prevent Extradition To US

      Whistleblower Edward Snowden filed a lawsuit at the Oslo District Court in Norway in order to seek assurance that the country will not extradite him to the United States if he attends a local award ceremony.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • To Prevent Spike In Domestic Violence Around Soccer Game, Scottish Police Remove Abusers From Homes

      Last weekend, police in Scotland prepared for the Old Firm soccer match between Glasgow football clubs Celtic and Rangers in an unusual way — by removing serial domestic abusers, who were potentially a risk to their partners, from their homes. Officials described the plan as a preventative effort aimed at reducing the spikes of domestic violence that have been associated with Old Firm games in the past.

    • We Won’t Improve Education By Making Teachers Hate Their Jobs

      Does this sound like a place you’d like to work?

      The work environment is “depressing” … “morale is at an all-time low.”

      “It feels like a lot of busy work and hoop jumping and detracts from the work.” “Every move … needs to be documented and noted.”

      “We have to respond to feedback given by an administrator who did a one-minute walk through and thought they knew what was going on … but didn’t.”

    •  The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Most Visible on Twitter But Its True Home Is the Hard Work of Organizing

      A little over a year later, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty on charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Undeterred by the legal setback, the activists—calling themselves the Dream Defenders—showed up in Tallahassee and occupied the Florida statehouse for four weeks in an effort to push Republican Governor Rick Scott to call a special legislative session to review the state’s “stand your ground” law, racial profiling, and school push-out policies, all of which the organization linked to Martin’s death. Fueled in part by participants sharing updates on Twitter, the occupation became a national story, and Selah fielded a flood of requests from media and progressive organizations. Some wanted to give an award to the Dream Defenders; others wanted to add Selah to lists proclaiming the arrival of a new generation of civil-rights heroes. (One writer said he embodied the spirit of Nelson Mandela.) Others wanted his perspective on the burgeoning racial-justice movement. After a while, Selah wanted none of it.

    • Milwaukee Teacher’s Aide Caught Abusing Child on Camera—and Adults on Facebook Blame the Kid

      It’s hard to tell from the video what led up to the violence but the boy can be heard saying something to the 39-year-old aide before the man roughly pushes him down and then climbs on top of him and holds him down, cursing at him. Neither the suspect nor the student are named by the station.

    • How the FBI May Have Tried to Turn a Muslim Civil Rights Advocate Into an Informant

      In April of 2009, amidst the capture of the one surviving Somali pirate involved in the infamous Captain Phillips hostage situation, Jamal received a text from an FBI agent he alleges was Special Agent in Charge Ralph Boelter calling him a self-promoter after Jamal spoke on the issue on a local news channel. At the time, Jamal’s organization had been in contact with the family of the accused pirate and was working on getting him a lawyer, which seems to have put Jamal back on the FBI’s radar. It quickly degenerated into a nasty exchange, with the agent appearing to pressure Jamal. (An attempt to call the phone number of the sender in the texts provided below returned a notice that the number had been disconnected)

    • Redefining the Possible for Labor

      Our best weapon to combat wealth inequality remains a strong union contract, but innovative direct action is also needed.

    • Church and State in the South Forecast U.S. Future

      Thus the church receives the nurture and protection of the state, and the masters of the state retain the ghostly powers derived from the slave era without interference by the church. This explains the South’s periodic spasms of theocratic enactments that astonish and darkly amuse the rest of the country.

    • What GOP New Yorkers just voted for: Torture, Syria Intervention, murder of innocents

      In the wake of his big win in New York, I want to push back once more against the normalization of Trump as a legitimate presidential candidate, given his policy positions. Let us remember what the Republicans of New York voted for (there are hardly any Republicans in New York City, so it can be spared the shame).

    • Denaturalisation: a brief (French) history

      The potential insertion of denaturalisation into the French Constitution raised important questions, such as: if, in order to prevent statelessness, denaturalisation were only to apply to citizens with dual nationality, how does one reconcile denaturalisation measures with one of the most fundamental principles of democracies, i.e. the principle of equality before the law? But also: would denaturalisation be effective to combat terrorism? And would it indeed only have effect on those targeted? What does denaturalisation mean for the rest of the community? The scope of the political disagreements on the topic is best exemplified by Christiane Taubira’s resignation from her position as Minister of Justice 27 January 2016, which she presented as the expression of her resistance to the government’s plan.

    • Victims Of CIA Torture Notch Historic Victory In Legal Battle

      A lawsuit against two psychologists behind the CIA’s torture program moved forward on Friday, when a judge decided he could not throw out the case.

      “I don’t think I have any other choice,” said Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush, after rejecting the claim of the psychologists’ lawyer that the two are immune from civil liability, according to the Huffington Post.

      The lawsuit was first filed in a federal court in Spokane, Washington in October 2015 by Suleiman Abdullah Salim, a Tanzanian citizen, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, a Libyan citizen, and the family of Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen who froze to death at a secret CIA prison in Kabul. All three men allege that they were subject to some of the harshest physical and psychological torture methods while in CIA custody.

    • Prince’s Islamophilia as a Problem: “It’s fun to be in Islamic Countries”

      Prince was in error that all Muslims dress in this Gulfie way. Actually only the small citizen populations in the Gulf– 1.4 million in the UAE, 250,000 in Qatar, 20 million in Saudi Arabia, etc., wear this kind of clothing. The other 300 million Arabs tend to wear European clothing, and they have as much choice in what to wear as any Westerner does.

    • The New Common Ground Between Populist Left and Right
    • University Official Threatens to Call Police on Reporter at Milo Protest Because Students Need ‘Safe Space’

      A female journalist and her film crew were harassed by a university official while trying to cover a protest over the appearance of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at American University.

      Ashe Schow, a reporter for the the Washington Examiner, turned up at the protest to cover the story. However, she was soon told to stop filming by a university officia,l who on realising she was being filmed said, “Are you kidding me? Seriously I’m calling the police.”

    • Obama Urges Britain to Remain in European Union, Says UK Could Go to Back of Trade Deal Line

      Unfortunately for Johnson, he led with a debunked story about a Winston Churchill bust and suggested the half-Kenyan Obama’s “ancestral dislike of the British empire” informed his thought process. In Britain President Obama scores approval ratings in the 70s. Americans and Brits largely set aside any “ancestral dislikes” long ago. Whether Obama’s personal popularity translates to the issue of EU membership, on which polls find British voters more or less evenly split, remains to be seen.

    • Portugal Clears the Way for Extradition of Ex-C.I.A. Agent to Italy
    • Ex-CIA officer to be extradited to Italy for role in Egyptian cleric kidnapping

      A former CIA officer, now residing in Portugal, faces extradition to Italy after her alleged involvement in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, otherwise known as Abu Omar, in Milan 13 years ago, The Washington Post reported.

      An Italian court convicted Sabrina De Sousa, 60, in absentia along with 26 other Americans, sentencing her to four years in prison. In 2009, De Sousa avoided potential imprisonment by leaving Italy before the trial started.

    • Ex-CIA Officer Faces Extradition From Portugal To Italy For Alleged Role In Cleric’s Rendition

      More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy, where she was sentenced to four years in prison for the abduction.

    • Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial

      The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence.” The fact that no one – not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA – has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future.

    • CIA Veterans Gather To Honor Duane Clarridge, A Sometimes Unsubtle Spy

      In the early 1980s, Clarridge served as chief of the CIA’s Latin America division, a perch from which he ran the CIA’s covert war against communism in Central America. He was indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, but pardoned before the end of his trial by the first President Bush.

    • Violent groups aggravate government crackdowns on civil society

      Violent extremists in Bangladesh have been responsible for a spate of attacks against outspoken critics and bloggers. In January 2013, Asif Mohiuddin, a self-described “militant atheist” blogger, was stabbed near his office in Dhaka. Mohiuddin, a winner of a prominent award for online activism, was on an Islamist hit list because of his opposition to religious extremism. In another harrowing case in February of 2014, bio-engineer Dr. Avijit Roy and his wife Bonya Ahmed were attacked in Dhaka by machete-wielding assailants. Roy was a founder of the influential Bangladeshi blog Mukto-Mona (“Freethinkers”) and a champion of liberal values and secularism.

    • Let’s Be Clear About Andrew Jackson (and Lord Jeffery Amherst)

      Jackson told the Court (and the Cherokee) to drop dead. In 1838, Martin Van Buren (Jackson’s vice president and successor) sent in the troops. That May, some 14,000 Cherokee were forced out of their homes at gunpoint. They were imprisoned on an open field (a concentration camp!) without shelter, food, or care for their children or animals. About a thousand escaped into the hills.

      In the fall about 13,000 were “ethnic cleansed” to Oklahoma. More than a quarter died along their infamous “Trail of Tears.” They were promised the right to live in Oklahoma as long as the “rivers flow and the grasses grow.” But 50 years later their land was divided.

      Jackson’s face does not belong on our money. Harriet Tubman was a great hero who repeatedly risked her life to win freedom for others. Hopefully the idea to replace him with a black female anti-slavery activist is making Andy flip in his grave.

    • Defiantly principled: Breivik v Norway

      Last week a Norwegian court ruled that all prisoners are equal before the law and have the right to have their human rights respected. To many this was outrageous. The prisoner in question was Anders Behring Breivik. The man who in 2011 bombed the Norwegian Government Headquarters killing 8 before going on a shooting spree on Utøya Island where the Labour Youth Party were holding their summer-camp. There he killed 69 more. I could have been the 70th. Yet I stand up for Breivik’s rights as a prisoner, and as a human.

    • Behind the murder of Berta Cáceres: corporate complicity

      The corporate denial of violation of human rights in the death of Berta Cáceres reveals the web of complicities and impunity that prompted her assassination.

    • Obama vs. Britain’s ‘Isolationists’

      Indeed, the entire history of post-World War II American foreign policy is the story of US intervention in the internal affairs of nations from Western Europe to Eastasia. What other country has agencies of government devoted to bending the politics of other nations to their will?

    • Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Bangladeshi Professor’s Murder

      Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a university professor in Bangladesh on Saturday, heightening concerns about the rise of radicalism in the South Asian country.

    • ‘Green Party may have been infiltrated by Islamists’

      Lars Nicander, director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, fears that the Green Party, the junior partner of the Social Democrats in the Swedish coalition government, has been infiltrated by Islamists.

    • National Parks Are Used Mostly By Older White People: Here’s Why That Needs to Change

      It’s simple math: Today’s young people, the most diverse generation in U.S. history, will determine the future of our public lands and waters. And if they never use these places, then they’ll feel no connection to them.

      [...]

      The National Park Services has a complicated relationship with race, as many of its parks followed Jim Crow laws and remained segregated through World War II.

      But that history, as well as Native American narratives about their connections to these open lands, is often missing from the stories told about our parks.

      Jourdan Keith, who founded the Seattle-based Urban Wilderness Project 13 years ago, has been trying to address this in her writing, public speeches, and wilderness excursions taken each summer with a group of local young people.

      Keith, who is African American, says she learned about the outdoors from a “European perspective,” but, as a wilderness trainer, is introducing new generations to untold stories of public lands.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Paint it Vantablack — Artists owning colours and the dark side of IP

      Also, it can be used in art. As some newspapers reported, Surrey NanoSystems has just provided British-Indian artist Sir Anish Kapoor (that of ArcelorMittal Orbit) with exclusive rights to paint using “Vantablack”. While Surrey and Sir Kapoor have not disclosed the details of the agreement, the British company confirmed that – from now on – Mr Kapoor alone can paint using Vantablack.

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