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05.04.16

Links 4/5/2016: Wine Staging 1.9.9, ImageMagick Bug Fixes

Posted in News Roundup at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source is Good for Business

    The technology industry is changing fast – much faster than we’ve seen in the past – due to the proliferation of high quality, free and open source software, said Stephen O’Grady, co-founder and principal analyst at RedMonk, in his keynote talk at Collaboration Summit in March. Developers have access to open source technologies without asking for permission.

  • Planned Death [Ed: Pieter Hintjens has terminal cancer]

    A planned death is not a moment in time, like a car accident or a fatal stroke. It is a process. A social process that involves hundreds of people, each doing their part, grieving their loss, accepting their own mortality.

  • Zebra Technologies’ RhoMobile App Development Platform Goes Open Source

    …its enterprise and consumer mobile app development platform, is now released to open source under the MIT License.

  • What makes React so special?
  • Events

    • How to identify small problems for big team wins

      Every software project has moments where they have “a bit of spinach in their teeth”—that is, a simple problem that they just can’t see.

      To address this, Deb Nicholson started SpinachCon, an informal workshop that brings free and open source software projects and volunteers together to identify and fix little problems that can pose big obstacles.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • NoSQL Databases, Explained: How They Help Solve the Data Storage Deluge

      NoSQL databases have emerged as a key tool for organizations battling the data deluge. What does NoSQL actually mean, and which advantages does it deliver for data storage needs? Here’s everything you need to know about NoSQL.

      For starters, let’s make clear that NoSQL is not a specific database product. It’s a term that refers to a general category of database, which different vendors have implemented in different ways.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Document Foundation Kicks Off Month of LibreOffice Campaign, Awards Contributors

      Softpedia has been informed by The Document Foundation’s Mike Saunders about a new campaign which aims to credit every single contributor to the open-source LibreOffice office suite.

      Dubbed Month of LibreOffice, the new campaign kicks off on the first day of May 2016, awarding some of the LibreOffice contributors with a barnstar via a special wiki page. The campaign has just started, so you won’t see many entries there, as they need to be added by members of The Document Foundation in time, depending on the task they did.

  • CMS

    • Workflow and efficiency geek talks Drush and Drupal

      Meet Greg Anderson, an open source contributor at Pantheon and co-maintainer of Drush. If you’ve used Drush before, you’ve probably saved a bunch of time on repetitive tasks. If you haven’t used it yet, what are you waiting for?

      Greg Anderson is all about boosting productivity and improving development workflows. He shared some of his insights in this interview. We also found out how he got involved with Drupal and got a preview of his session at DrupalCon NOLA on command line tools for Drupal 8 modules.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD Foundation Announces Gold Sponsor

      Not only is it great to hear that companies are giving back to the project, but also that OpenBSD was nominated by DDG users. A big thanks to them and their community!

  • Public Services/Government

    • After three years of Linux, Munich reveals draft of crunch report that could decide its open source future

      As for the implications of this interim report, Matthias Kirschner, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), said its assessment of Accenture’s findings is that the problems don’t lie with the PC clients themselves but with the way they are managed and their associated backend infrastructure.

      “The study does not mention any concrete problems with the PC clients (neither GNU/Linux nor proprietary). It highlights, that IT security, especially at the client level, is perceived as bad for getting things done.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

Leftovers

  • Leicester City: ‘Every bookmaker is crying out in pain’

    “In the history of betting, certainly since it was legalised in 1961, a [single event] winner with odds of 5,000-1 has never happened,” says Simon Clare from the betting firm Coral. “Every bookmaker is crying out in pain.

    “That’s a barometer of what Leicester have done and just how amazing this win is.”

    Jessica Bridges from rival Ladbrokes agrees.

  • Science

    • Your Brain Warps People’s Faces To Match Stereotypes, New Research Shows

      Implicit biases are incredibly powerful. Unconscious stereotypes affect how we evaluate who is running for political office, who we promote at work, who we encourage academically, and, perhaps most devastatingly, who we regard and react to as threats.

      A huge body of research shows that black Americans are perceived to be more threatening than white Americans, and are stereotyped as more likely to be involved in criminal behavior. During split-second decisions, those biases can have devastating consequences — particularly when it comes to policing and the justice system. In 2015, young black men were nine times as likely to be killed by the police as other Americans, even though about 25 percent of them were unarmed, according to reporting by the Guardian.

    • Death by GPS

      One early morning in March 2011, Albert Chretien and his wife, Rita, loaded their Chevrolet Astro van and drove away from their home in Penticton, British Columbia. Their destination was Las Vegas, where Albert planned to attend a trade show. They crossed the border and, somewhere in northern Oregon, they picked up Interstate 84.

      The straightest route would be to take I-84 to Twin Falls, Idaho, near the Nevada border, and then follow US Route 93 all the way to Vegas. Although US 93 would take them through Jackpot, Nevada, the town near the Idaho state line where they planned to spend the first night, they looked at a roadmap and decided to exit I-84 before that junction. They would choose a scenic road less traveled, Idaho State Highway 51, which heads due south away from the I-84 corridor, crossing the border several miles to the west. The Chretiens figured there had to be a turnoff from Idaho 51 that would lead them east to US 93.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medical Errors Are Leading Killer After Heart Disease and Cancer, Study Finds

      After heart disease and cancer, medical errors kill more Americans than anything else, claiming a quarter of a million lives a year, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

      If bungles and safety lapses in the hospital were accounted for as deaths from disease and injury are, they would be the third most common cause of death in the U.S., leading to more fatalities than respiratory disease, the report in the British Medical Journal argues.

    • America’s Pill Popping Is Making Our Fish Anxious and Possibly Getting Into Our Vegetables

      In America’s never-ending pursuit to be number one in all things, it has achieved top billing in a number of troubling areas, including where overmedication is concerned. We are the most pill-popping country on earth, with an astounding 70 percent of us regularly taking one prescription drug and about half of us taking two. A quarter of us take five or more prescription medications, according to the Mayo Clinic, which for the record, is a whole lot.

      What goes into our bodies ultimately must come out, and that’s as true for meds as it is for anything else. Without getting into the elephant in the room (what does it mean when a good portion of the population is taking enough drugs to kill said elephant?), let’s turn to another issue. That is, when some of those pharmaceuticals are excreted—meaning peed out by users—they generally end up in our toilet water. From there, they enter our waterways and recycled water supplies, the latter of which are used to irrigate food crops. Ultimately, new research finds, those drugs can unwittingly be re-absorbed both by humans and by fish who never signed up for a prescription.

    • How limiting women’s access to birth control and abortions hurts the economy

      As a consequence, the right to control their reproductive health has become increasingly illusory for many women, particularly the poor.

    • The contradictory reasons cancer-drug prices are going up

      The $10,000-a-month cancer drug has become the new normal, to the dismay of physicians and patients who increasingly face the burden of financial toxicity. A pair of new studies illustrate just how recently that pricing model has come into vogue and pull back the curtain on the strange market forces that push prices steadily higher in the years after the treatments are launched.

      The first study, published in JAMA Oncology, examined 32 cancer medications given in pill form and found that their initial launch list prices have steadily increased over the years — even after adjusting for inflation. The average monthly amount insurers and patients paid for a new cancer drug was less than $2,000 in the year 2000 but soared to $11,325 in 2014.

    • As Flint was slowly poisoned, Snyder’s inner circle failed to act

      A year ago, Gov. Rick Snyder was stoking rumors of a presidential bid as a metrics-driven Republican whose ability to run government like a business transformed a troubled state.

    • BREAKING NEWS: CJEU says Tobacco Products Directive is valid

      According to the press release, the CJEU ruled that Article 13, as well as the other provisions regarding “the integrity of health warnings after the packet has been opened, to the position and minimum dimensions of the health warnings and to the shape of unit packets of cigarettes, the minimum number of cigarettes per unit packet” and “health warnings covering 65% of the external front and back surface of each unit packet” are proportionate and well-compliant with the principle of subsidiarity, due to the overriding interest of public-health protection that the Directive intends to pursue.

    • Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!

      The Flint water crisis is now two years old — and the water still isn’t safe to drink. There have been civil and criminal investigations, two congressional hearings and extensive reporting, particularly during the presidential primary in Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed a special task force. Yet only 33 pipes — 3 of every thousand — have been replaced.

    • Feds Agree to Tolerate the Country’s Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary

      The Justice Department, which has been trying to shut down Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country, since 2012, is backing down. Yesterday Oakland officials, who have supported the dispensary all along, announced that the feds had agreed to let it stay open.

      “We celebrate the release from federal prosecution,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “We believe in compassion. We believe in health.”

      The announcement comes a few weeks after the DOJ abandoned its efforts to enforce an injunction against another California dispensary, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM). In allowing MAMM to reopen, the feds let stand a ruling that said such enforcement actions against state-legal dispensaries violate a spending rider known as the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment, which prohibits the DOJ from using appropriated funds to prevent states from implementing their medical marijuana laws.

    • Detroit to begin water shutoffs Tuesday

      Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department is set to begin Tuesday shutting off service to customers who haven’t paid their bills.

      Linda Clark, a spokeswoman for the department, said they initially planned to begin the process Monday, but the water department’s director, Gary Brown, delayed it one day.

      “We want to give our customers every opportunity to schedule arrangements,” Clark said. “We wanted to give them another day.”

  • Security

    • Open Source ImageMagick Security Bug Puts Sites at Risk

      ImageMagick, an open source suite of tools for working with graphic images used by a large number of websites, has been found to contain a serious security vulnerability that puts sites using the software at risk for malicious code to be executed onsite. Security experts consider exploitation to be so easy they’re calling it “trivial,” and exploits are already circulating in the wild. The biggest risk is to sites that allows users to upload their own image files.

      Information about the vulnerability was made public Tuesday afternoon by Ryan Huber, a developer and security researcher, who wrote that he had little choice but to post about the exploit.

    • Huge number of sites imperiled by critical image-processing vulnerability

      A large number of websites are vulnerable to a simple attack that allows hackers to execute malicious code hidden inside booby-trapped images.

      The vulnerability resides in ImageMagick, a widely used image-processing library that’s supported by PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and about a dozen other languages. Many social media and blogging sites, as well as a large number of content management systems, directly or indirectly rely on ImageMagick-based processing so they can resize images uploaded by end users.

    • Extreme photo-bombing: Bad ImageMagick bug puts countless websites at risk of hijacking

      A wildly popular software tool used by websites to process people’s photos can be exploited to execute malicious code on servers and leak server-side files.

      Security bugs in the software are apparently being exploited in the wild right now to compromise at-risk systems. Patches to address the vulnerabilities are available in the latest source code – but are incomplete and have not been officially released, we’re told.

    • Server-jacking exploits for ImageMagick are so trivial, you’ll scream

      Samples of booby-trapped image files that exploit ImageMagick to compromise servers and other computers are well and truly out in the open now.

    • Every Now And Then The World Of FLOSS Messes UP

      Yep. This is one of those widely used FLOSS tools that has big holes in security. It’s again one of those vulnerabilities where images are treated as code with no checking/sanitizing.

    • CII’s Best Practices badge program is making open source projects more secure
    • Linux Foundation Badge Program to Boost Open Source Security
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Terrorism: From the Irish Dynamite War to the Islamic State

      How many Western leaders are honestly interested in terrorists’ motives?

    • Lessons from Iraq’s Green Zone Protests

      The temporary takeover of the Iraqi parliament building and other facilities in the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr was a demonstration not only of current fractures in Iraqi politics but also of a recurring American misconception about the application of military force on behalf of political objectives.

    • What Is the US Military Doing in the Baltics?

      Get ready for the new cold war, which will no doubt turn hot if Hillary Clinton gets into the White House: NATO has just announced it is “considering” the addition of 4,000 more troops to be stationed in Poland and the Baltic states, i.e. right on Russia’s western border. The Washington Post helpfully informs us that this is being done “to deter future Russian aggression” – as if there’s any real possibility that Putin will order the Russian army to take Warsaw or march on Estonia.

      What this is is another NATO provocation aimed at showing Putin who’s really in charge in the former Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. They’re hoping the Russian leader will respond in kind. But he’s too smart for that: instead, Putin will retaliate in a different theater, perhaps in Syria or Armenia, where the fight with Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh is in full swing.

    • Turkish Parliament Members Brawl Over Potential Constitutional Amendment

      The next time you get fed up with the partisan politics of the United States Congress, take a look back at the Turkish parliamentary session on Monday night, which ended in a huge fight.

      A committee within the Turkish Parliament passed a bill that, if approved, would remove legislators’ immunity and potentially trigger investigations of certain Parliament members. Members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party believe the bill “is designed to target them and suppress dissent,” Reuters reports.

      Shortly before the bill was approved by the committee, a fight broke out between members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and the AK Party, which currently holds power.

    • Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry

      Breaking his pledge, Obama issued the monsters a “get out of jail free” card. There wouldn’t even be an investigation, much less indictments. “We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” he said. The new president traveled to Langley to reassure the torturers everything would be cool. (“I will be as vigorous in protecting you as you are vigorous in protecting the American people.”) He even cooperated with the Republicans who approved of torture to pressure other countries not to file charges against U.S. torturers.

    • Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea

      Sanctions on North Korea have failed.

      [...]

      Foremost among the obstacles to an effective North Korea sanctions regime is smuggling along the China-DPRK (North Korea) border. Military items disguised as ordinary goods seem easily able to evade detection thanks to inconsistent inspection by border guards, bribery, false declarations, and North Korean firms based in China that actually belong to military-run trading companies. Since these practices are surely well known to the Chinese authorities, it seems fair to assume they have no strong interest in preventing or at least substantially reducing it—something they could accomplish with a more intensive border inspection process. That China is not doing so no doubt reflects its oft-stated position that the North Korean nuclear issue is the result of other countries’ policies, not China’s, hence that resolving it is others’ responsibility, mainly the US.

    • The Myths and Secret Lives of the Men and Companies That Make Our Millions of Guns

      The gun business, as a business, remains invisible, a secret in the closet of the gun culture.

    • Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?

      There were corporate benefits for the US along the way, of course. Eight NATO countries bought hundreds of F-16s and all the add-ons, for example, and “NATO Standardization” was military code for “Buy American.” The State Department is barefaced about this. Its head of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Andrew J Shapiro, proudly declared that “We view the American defense industry as an integral part of our efforts to advance US national security and foreign policy.” You can’t be more open than that.

    • The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?

      It is difficult to predict what kind of government misstep can seriously tarnish a government’s reputation. Some mistakes have legs and others, inexplicably, seem not to. But the stunningly stupid decision to go ahead with a $15 billion sale of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia has the potential to expose Justin ‘Canada is back’ Trudeau as a phony. Indeed you could hardly design an issue so perfectly fitted to reveal a government with a progressive public face contradicted by a ruthless disregard for human rights. It begs the question as to whether the spin doctors simply misjudged how widespread the public revulsion would be or whether there is something deeper going on. Is it really just about jobs or is there a hard-nosed commitment, inherited from the Conservatives, to a backward Middle East foreign policy?

    • New Risks from Brussels’ ‘Security’

      After a terror attack, Western governments react – or overreact – to show they’re doing something, but often make matters worse, as Belgium’s new layer of security outside Zaventem airport shows, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

    • David Cameron keeps accusing this British citizen of supporting ISIS – but did he?

      David Cameron has been accused of misleading MPs, breaking the ministerial code and smearing a British Muslim by accusing him of supporting Islamic State.

      The Prime Minister accused Imam Suliman Gani of being a supporter of Islamic State during PMQs last month.

      He used the claim to launch a crude and blistering attack on Sadiq Khan , whom he said “shared a platform with him” on nine occasions.

    • Jeremy Corbyn just slated David Cameron over his awful football knowledge
    • David Cameron tried to congratulate Leicester City and people have relentlessly mocked him

      David Cameron has struggled with football teams, historically.

    • A Tale of Two Cities: Muslim Rebels strike back at Hospital in Gov’t held West

      Muslim fundamentalist rebels, including al-Qaeda, took revenge Tuesday on West Aleppo for the heavy government bombardment of East Aleppo that has killed dozens in the past week, including at a hospital run by Doctors without Borders. At the same time that the government was bombarding the slums of the east into yet more rubble, the rebels were lobbing mortar shells over on to the upscale West, also killing dozens over the past week (though probably fewer dozens than the government did).

    • Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO

      Is Russia really a military threat to the United States and its neighbors? Is it seriously trying to “revenge” itself for the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union? Is it actively trying to rebuild the old Soviet empire? The answers to these questions are critical, because, for the first time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, several nuclear-armed powers are on the edge of a military conflict with fewer safeguards than existed 50 years ago.

    • Ending the silence around German colonialism

      Perhaps you have never heard of German colonialism; it is less commonly spoken about than other colonialisms. The most common reasoning for this is that Germany lost its colonies too early for them to be of any significance (by 1918). It is often argued that the empire was short lived, and that it detracts attention from the crimes of the Second World War to discuss it.

    • Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America

      By now it is old news that there is a coup afoot in Brazil and that the right-wing is using extraordinary political measures to overthrow of Dilma Rousseff.

    • The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits

      Even with support from the thousands that pack his speaking engagements, pundits continue to count Bernie Sanders out once the 2016 Democratic National Convention rolls around in July. This rhetoric should not be taken lightly. History reveals how candidates, who are unpopular with their own establishment, have been taken down by the powers-at-be even as they gained popularity in the polls. Green Party presidential frontrunner Dr. Jill Stein noted how this occurred with Dennis Kucinich, who was redistricted out of an election, with Jessie Jackson, who was branded an anti-Semite, and with Howard Dean, who was taken down by a public relations campaign. Despite the back talking, Sanders’ delegate count is the primary predictor of his success in the 2016 primary races. Sanders is trailing in pledged delegates and he must win nearly 95 percent of the remaining delegates to get the democratic nomination. Despite these nail biting odds, Sanders’ supporters have an alternative choice if he falters.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Economic Value of Yellowstone National Park

      Recently it was reported in the Livingston Enterprise that visitors to Yellowstone National Park contributed $493.6 million in spending in communities near the park. That spending supported 7,737 jobs.

      And this research does not include all the jobs and income resulting from those with footloose businesses and/or retirement that they bring to communities like Livingston, in part, because people want to live near protected lands like Yellowstone.

    • Celebrity ape selfies harming efforts to curb wildlife trafficking, UN body warns

      Instagram snaps of celebrities including Paris Hilton and James Rodriguez posing with apes in the Gulf are damaging efforts to clamp down on wildlife trafficking and endangering the survival of some species, a UN body has warned.

      New research by the UN’s great apes survival partnership (Grasp) points to an alarming rise in trafficking of orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos stolen from the wild, mostly to feed demand from a boom in macabre Chinese circuses.

    • Is Your Governor Or Attorney General A Climate Denier?

      After sweating through the second straight year that earned the title of hottest year on record, new research from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that 24 governors and attorneys general publicly deny the reality of climate change. It also gives a comprehensive summary of their records and public views on climate change and energy issues. The 21 governors publicly confirmed as climate deniers is an increase from previous years.

    • Dead zones devour oceans’ oxygen

      Scientists in the US have identified a new hazard in a world in which the climates change and the oceans warm: measurable stretches of the seas could become sapped of oxygen.

      They say that parts of the southern Indian Ocean, the eastern tropical Pacific and the Atlantic are already less oxygen-rich because of global warming. And oxygen deprivation could become increasingly widespread across large regions of ocean between 2030 and 2040.

    • Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga

      The original Hanford Project, which manufactured plutonium for the world’s first atomic bomb and over its forty years of operation produced 63 short tons of plutonium, is now home to the largest environmental clean-up in the country. The place is literally steaming with radioactivity. 56 million gallons of nuclear sludge currently sit in double-walled underground tanks built in the 1970s. This waste is awaiting a plant to be built, known as the Hanford Vit Plant, that can turn the nasty gunk into glass rods. The Vit Plant, to be constructed by Bechtel, continues to run way over its initial budget estimates and keeps being delayed. The plant, if it’s ever completed, will end up costing taxpayers over $30 billion. Meanwhile, those old holding tanks aren’t fail-safe. They continue to be a colossal problem for the environment and workers alike.

    • Reconsider The Almond: California’s Most Infamous Crop Is Trying To Win Back The Public

      When things go wrong — especially if they go really, historically wrong — people tend to look for answers. So when California entered the fourth year of one of the worst droughts the state had ever seen, everyone — the media, politicians, scientists — wanted to know what had gone wrong.

      In the process, a number of things were set upon the altar of public opinion as scapegoats for the drought: lawns, golf courses, wealthy Californians taking more than their fair share of the state’s dwindling resources, climate change. But none provoked the maelstrom that surrounded the almond, which seemingly transformed overnight from a healthy snack to the evil source of California’s water woes.

  • Finance

    • Accounting giant KPMG defends Isle of Man tax practices before House committee

      A senior partner in the global accounting giant KPMG, which has been accused of being behind a tax avoidance scheme in the Isle of Man, says a lot of international tax rules “are broken” — and they need to be fixed.

      Gregory Wiebe, speaking before the House of Commons finance committee on Tuesday, addressed concerns about the “disconnects” between Canada’s tax system and those Canadians may encounter elsewhere. Speaking in the wake of both the Isle of Man reports and the “Panama Papers” revelations, Wiebe said the public has come to question the fairness of global tax systems.

    • Who Says Crime Doesn’t Pay?

      For example, the deal calls for the felonious bank to put a quarter-billion dollars into affordable housing, but generous federal negotiators put incentives and credits in the fine print that will let Goldman escape with paying out less than a third of that. Also, about $2.5 billion of the settlement is to be paid to consumers hurt by the financial crisis. But the deal lets the bank deduct almost a billion of this payout from its corporate taxes – meaning you and I will subsidize Goldman’s payment. As a bank reform advocate puts it, the problem with these settlements “is that they are carefully crafted more to conceal than to reveal to the American public what really happened here.”

      Also, notice that the $5 billion punishment is applied to Goldman Sachs, not the “Goldman Sackers.” The bank’s shareholders have to cough up the penalty, rather than the executives who did the bad deeds. Goldman Sachs’ CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, just awarded himself a $23 million paycheck for his work last year. That work essentially amounted to negotiating the deal with the government that makes shareholders pay for the bankers’ wrongdoings — while he and other top executives keep their jobs and pocket millions. Remember, banks don’t commit crimes — bankers do.

      One more reason Wall Street bankers privately wink and grin at these seemingly huge punishments is that even paying the full $5 billion would only be relatively painful. To you and me, that sounds like a crushing number — but Goldman Sachs raked in $33 billion in revenue last year, so it’s a reasonable cost of doing business. After all, Goldman sold tens of billions of dollars in the fraudulent investment packages leading to the settlement, so the bottom line is that crime can actually pay — if it’s big enough.

    • TTIP’s Looking a Lot Less Likely, But We’re Still Not Safe from Toxic Trade Deals

      Could things get any worse for TTIP? On Monday the hugely damaging leak of consolidated texts confirmed exactly what everyone had feared about the deal, with all its massively pro-corporate provisions on display for everyone to see. And then the following day the French government launched one of the most high profile attacks on TTIP that’s ever been seen.

      Whether TTIP survives these body blows is debateable, but it is almost fatally wounded.

      Francois Hollande, the French president, is lagging in the polls and his threat to block TTIP could be seen as a gambit to shore up some votes. But it is a reflection of the popular mood in the country, where the media’s negative reporting on TTIP has soared in the past fortnight. Hollande said at a conference that he could not accept “the undermining of the essential principles of our agriculture, our culture, of mutual access to public markets.”

    • TTIP expected to fail after US demands revealed in unprecedented leak

      Bernd Lange, the chairman of the European Parliament’s important trade committee, has indicated that he now expects the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations will probably fail, following a major leak of confidential documents from the talks.

      Greenpeace Netherlands has released half of the entire TTIP draft text as of April 2016, prior to the start of the 13th round of TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US, which reveal US demands in detail for the first time.

      Although the EU has improved transparency recently, and routinely publishes its offers for each TTIP chapter, the US has consistently refused to do so. Even MEPs and MPs have faced extreme restrictions on what they are allowed to look at, copy, or even say when it comes to the US position. The new leak by an unknown whistleblower represents a major blow to US attempts to keep its negotiating demands confidential, and provides important information to the both the EU and US public for the first time.

    • Greenpeace Publishes Leaked TTIP Documents… Show How Backroom Deals Are Driven By Lobbyists

      We’ve written plenty of stories about the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) agreement being worked on between the US and the EU. Think of it as the companion to the TPP, which covers the US and a variety of countries around the Pacific ocean. Like the TPP, the US has demanded extreme levels of secrecy around the negotiations (in the past, the US negotiating body, the USTR, has admitted that the more the public is aware of the details, the less likely they are to support the agreement). And while there have been reports out of the EU arguing that negotiators there are more willing to be more open about the negotiations, so far, the US has not allowed it. This has resulted in some crazy situations including secretive “reading rooms” where politicians are carefully guarded if they look at the current drafts — and where they’re not allowed to bring any device or copy anything from the documents.

    • TTIP—American Economic Imperialism

      Greenpeace has done that part of the world whose representatives are so corrupt or so stupid as to sign on to the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic “partnerships” a great service. Greenpeace secured and leaked the secret TTIP documents that Washington and global corporations are pushing on Europe. The official documents prove that my description of these “partnerships” when they first appeared in the news is totally correct.

      These so-called “free trade agreements” are not trade agreements. The purpose of the “partnerships,” which were drafted by global corporations, is to make corporations immune to the laws of soverign countries in which they do business. Any country’s sovereign law whether social, environmental, food safety, labor protections—any law or regulation—that impacts a corporation’s profits is labeled a “restraint on trade.” The “partnerships” permit corporations to file a suit that overturns the law or regulation and also awards the corporation damages paid by the taxpayers of the country that tried to protect its environment or the safety of its food and workers.

    • McDonald’s, the Corporate Welfare Moocher

      But the Times noted another interesting and crucial point, one that is seldom discussed: Namely, the issue of what is often called corporate welfare.

      While the conservative right is content to shame poor mothers for receiving federal assistance, rarely do they dare call, say, General Electric or Walmart “welfare queens,” despite the fact that they receive enormous direct and indirect taxpayer subsidies year after year.

      This is true for McDonald’s, as well: The Times observes, “Through it all, taxpayers continue to pick up the difference between what fast-food workers earn and what they need to survive. An estimated $1.2 billion a year in taxpayer dollars goes toward public aid to help people who work at McDonald’s.”

    • Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve

      Andrew Levin, professor at Dartmouth College and former special adviser to former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and then-Vice Chair Janet Yellen, released a proposal for reform of the Federal Reserve Board’s governing structure in a press call sponsored by the Fed Up campaign. The proposal has a number of important features, but the main point is to make the Fed more accountable to democratically elected officials and to reduce the power of the banking industry in monetary policy.

    • Economist Paul Craig Roberts: Greece Must Leave the Eurozone to Regain Its Sovereignty

      In Greece, the Syriza-led coalition government is now set to agree to new rounds of cuts and privatizations demanded by the country’s lenders. Prior to its initial election in January 2015, Syriza had promised to abolish the country’s loan agreements and austerity policies. Now, unemployment remains at record levels, and the young and educated continue to leave the country, while recent large-scale privatizations such as the sell-off of the port of Piraeus have been pushed through.

      Paul Craig Roberts, a former undersecretary of the US Treasury and former Wall Street Journal editor, agreed to share his thoughts on the recent developments in Greece. The author of over a dozen books and numerous journal articles, Roberts regularly analyzes global economic conditions and geopolitics in his writing. In this interview, which has been lightly edited, he discusses how countries are indebted and forced to accept austerity, as well as current US economic conditions and the presidential election.

    • Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?

      Has the U.S. economy therefore come to a halt the past three months? If so, what are the consequences for a global economy already progressively slowing? What will an apparently stagnating US economy mean for Japan, already experiencing its fifth recession since 2008? For Europe, stuck in a long term chronic stagnation? And for emerging market economies, struggling with collapsing commodity prices and currencies, rising unemployment, and long term capital flight trends? Once heralded as the only bright spot in the global economy, the US economy now appears to have joined the slowing global trend.

    • What Good Are Hedge Funds?

      Hedge funds make big returns by manipulating markets in ways that are illegal for small investors. Remind us: Why are they permitted?

    • Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion a Year From German Taxpayers

      German companies are known for paying some of the heftiest dividends among world stocks, one reason U.S. investment giants such as BlackRock and Vanguard are among the biggest holders of German shares.

      But Wall Street has figured out a way to squeeze some extra income from these stocks. And German taxpayers pay for it.

      A cache of confidential documents obtained by ProPublica and analyzed in collaboration with The Washington Post, German broadcaster ARD and the Handelsblatt newspaper in Düsseldorf details how Wall Street puts together complex stock-lending deals that drain an estimated $1 billion a year from the German treasury.

      Similar deals extend beyond Germany, siphoning revenue from at least 20 other countries across four continents, according to the documents, which show how “dividend-arbitrage” transactions — known in the trade as “div-arb” — are structured and marketed as tax-avoidance vehicles.

    • Trickle-Down Economics Has Ruined the Kansas Economy

      Republicans have long sung the praises of trickle-down economics: Just cut taxes, and the economy will flourish as companies and individuals use the windfall to boost investment and create jobs. But a grand experiment in implementing those policies at the state level has revealed a far less rosy reality—and the consequences are threatening to spark a civil war among Republicans.

    • Crying Rape: Trump’s Slurs Against China

      Describing China as “raping” the US economy embraces inaccuracy and distaste. This has not bothered him before and it is unlikely that he will lose any sleep over it. But shrugging our shoulders and rolling our eyes upward at yet another example of his crassness seems a totally inadequate response.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Twitter erupts as BBC struggle to keep Tory Election Fraud under wraps until after May elections

      Despite the furore that Channel 4’s investigation has created, there has been virtually no other coverage from the mainstream media of this deeply undemocratic scandal. And Twitter was rightly outraged at the lack of coverage.

    • Tories accused of trying to fix next election as millions disappear from electoral register

      The Tories have been accused of trying to “fix” the next election after new figures show millions of people have fallen off the electoral register.

      In some constituencies, nearly half those eligible to vote are no longer on the electoral roll, the House of Commons Library has found.

      But the Government is pushing through boundary changes as it cuts the number of MPs from 650 to 600 based on the number on the register, not those eligible to vote.

      The library figures show the majority of those who have fallen off the electoral roll are in Labour areas.

    • Conservatives alleged election overspend: the full documents

      Notts Police ask to see records of Tory by-election expenses declaration & returns following our investigation into undisclosed spending across three by-elections and a key General Election marginal.

      Evidence obtained by Channel 4 News appears to show that the Conservatives racked up tens of thousands of pounds in undisclosed spending across three by-elections in 2014.

    • BREAKING: Ted Cruz Drops Out, Handing Nomination To Trump

      Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race today after badly losing Indiana, a state that he staked his campaign on, to Donald Trump.

    • President Trump
    • Bernie Sanders wins Indiana primary in an upset

      Sanders continues to run strong with younger voters — 72 percent of 17 to 29 year olds support him. Clinton performs well among older voters — 60 percent of people over the age of 65.

    • Sanders upsets Clinton in Indiana
    • Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana

      But Tuesday’s win means Sanders is likely to keep trekking on, at least until California votes on June 7. His campaign has outpaced Clinton in donations in recent months, so he has the funds to keep things going until the end of the process. The longer he sticks around, the more leverage he might gain for extracting concessions from Clinton to include his pet policies in the party platform at this summer’s Democratic convention.

    • This CNN Exchange Demonstrates The Absurdly Low Standards For Donald Trump

      During previous primary night speeches, Donald Trump called the media “disgusting,” was flanked by fringe right-wing figures who are mostly remembered for saying ridiculous and offensive things, and broadsided Hillary Clinton with sexist attacks.

      But on Tuesday, fresh off a dominating victory in Indiana that prompted Ted Cruz to suspend his campaign and all but sealed that Trump will be the Republican nominee for president, the billionaire toned things down a bit.

      While he did make up the word “bigly” and elicited groans by saying, “I love winning with women,” for the most part Trump steered clear of controversy and attempted to portray himself as a magnanimous winner. For instance, just hours after calling Ted Cruz a “wacko” on Twitter, Trump had kind words for his defeated rival, describing him as “one hell of a competitor” who has a “beautiful family.” (In March, Trump retweeted a meme suggesting Cruz’s wife Heidi isn’t attractive.)

    • After Indiana Win Sanders Declares: ‘I Say We Keep Fighting. Are You with Me?’

      Proving that U.S. voters are still energenized to go to the polls to voice their support for “political revolution,” Bernie Sanders won the Indiana primary on Tuesday night – besting rival Hillary Clinton and notching a much-needed victory as the corporate media and political class continues to discount his chances and downplay the accomplishments of the campaign.

    • 5 Reasons Bernie Sanders Wins Big With Cruz Dropout

      Sanders was already looking strong in Oregon, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Dakota, and California, but given that he’s within single digits in New Jersey (where Trump is very popular) and performed incredibly well with nonwhite voters in Indiana (meaning New Mexico could be in play), it’s not unthinkable that Hillary Clinton could lose all of the remaining primaries and caucuses and therefore as many as thirteen or fourteen contests in a row to finish the Democratic primary season.

    • Bukit Batok by-election: Highlights for May 3

      “They jailed me, sued me, made me a bankrupt, but I’m still standing,” he said.

      Before ending the speech, he told the crowd he had walked with his head held high, and that he had grown stronger with every attack.

    • This isn’t public policy: the prelude to the BBC White Paper

      Debate about the BBC’s Charter Review has been dominated by leaks and rumours that ultimately play into the hands of commercial lobbyists. Where are the voices of licence-fee payers?

    • Need a Fix of Tanta-Rants? Andrea Tantaros’ 8 Stupidest Moments
    • Let’s Open Up the Democratic Party to Public Participation

      Sometime between now and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, there will almost certainly be a deal between the Sanders forces and the Clinton forces. The $64,000 question is: What are the forces of progress going to get out of the deal?

      Here’s what I hope will be in the deal: a set of agreements to make the Democratic Party more democratic — in particular, to make the party more transparent and accountable to the public.

    • Help Bernie Keep His Halo

      The main victim is the Republican Party; Hillary Clinton expects a blowout victory. Her husband won against a fractured Republican Party with 43% of the votes in 1992 and 68% of the Electoral College. Ross Perot had 19,743,821 votes—18.91% and NO electoral votes. Having Bernie Sanders run as a Green Party candidate would represent a radical change. Suddenly, the Democrats would be the party in trouble.

    • Trump aide: Cameron should apologize for Trump comments

      British Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize for his description of Donald Trump as “divisive, stupid and wrong,” said an adviser to the presidential hopeful.

      The call came as the billionaire businessman all but clinched the Republican U.S. presidential nomination after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz bowed out of the race after a defeat in Indiana.

    • It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia

      Unfortunately, the pundits are right about the mathematics. Sanders would need more than 64% of remaining delegates to take the lead. It would require a political bombshell to turn things around, especially with so many closed primaries where independents are shut out of this rigged process. And even with a majority, Bernie would still face the undemocratic brick wall of the establishment’s hand-picked crew of superdelegates.

    • Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!

      Confident that she has the Democratic nomination pretty much locked down and turning toward a general election contest against Donald Trump, Secretary Clinton’s surrogates and paid Internet trolls are targeting Sanders devotees via email and seeding comment threads on political websites with a low-key sales pitch.

    • Bernie Sanders Wins Indiana – And The Political Debate

      Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist insurgent, won Indiana convincingly Tuesday night – 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent – over Hillary Clinton, the establishment moderate. This is a remarkable victory, a statement of the extent and scope of the Sanders surge.

    • Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon

      Bernie Sanders’ defeats in the East Coast primaries have triggered a flurry of conversation about what the 25 to 35% of Sanders supporters who’ve told pollsters they will not vote for Hillary Clinton will do instead. Socialist Alternative, led by Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, and others have called for Sanders to found an independent left party for the 99% and run as an independent, or to appeal to Jill Stein and the Green Party to join their ticket, despite his oft repeated promise to endorse the Democrats’ nominee.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship And Self-Censorship In Times Of Crisis

      Whether it’s about Syrian refugees, Syria or Iraq, the truth is sometimes better left unsaid. It all depends on the country in which it is said. One thing is certain: In these troubled times, censorship and self-censorship are thriving.

    • It was a great year for censorship

      Newsrooms attacked with grenades in Burundi, journalists getting fired over a tweet in Turkey, heavy propaganda in China, Russia, Eritrea, a blogger sentenced to prison and whipping in a public place in Saudi Arabia, and there’s even some being sent to military camps for journalists in Thailand. Scary stuff. We need more awareness like this, but we also need a way to do something about it. What this campaign has going for it is the fact it was created in France where they have the freedom. The question becomes how do you make sure people in the oppressed countries also see it. Solidarity is sometimes as important as awareness. I also think it could be a better idea if you managed to get people in the countries where press is restricted to actually see something like this.

    • Why The Growing Unpredictability Of China’s Censorship Is A Feature, Not A Bug

      China’s vaguely-defined web content rules and inconsistent censorship enforcement work the same way as the fog near a cliff: since people can’t see exactly where the edge is, they’re more likely to stay far away from it, just in case. There’s no toeing the line, because nobody knows exactly where the line is. So instead of pushing the envelope, many people choose to censor themselves.

      In order to ensure that margin of safety, people will tend to censor themselves more than is necessary according to the stated rules. If the line in the sand were well defined, they could step right up to it, fairly secure that they will be safe provided they don’t cross. In effect, by introducing an unnerving element of uncertainty into its actions, China obtains a more stringent self-censorship on the part of its citizens than it would from formally applying well-defined rules through official channels.

    • Malinauskas: Censoring profanity is ineffective at purifying content

      Self-censorship is the most effective route to protecting youthful innocence. Content makers are aware of their audiences; they should have the decency to keep content clean if it is likely to be seen or heard by children. However, content dealing with mature subject matter shouldn’t be cleansed of curse words while still retaining information on adult subjects. It’s a half-measure which ultimately is ineffective.

    • Artist/Internet Troll BeigeType Talks Disgust, Cyberbullying And Censorship

      Artist/self-proclaimed troll Karim Boumjimar is the creative force behind the BeigeType Instagram, a bizarrely beautiful collection of off-kilter, visceral visuals and digitally-altered nudes that take the practice of self-portraiture to a whole new level. Exploring the union between the mind and the body through the use of materials as disparate as blood oranges to used cigarette butts, we were instantly enamored with his eccentric, polarizing approach to depictions of the body on such a public platform. As such, we spoke to Boumjimar himself about everything from Internet narcissism to Instagram censorship, and, of course, how hater drama makes everything a little more interesting.

    • ERR: Trolls, hate speech and crowd censorship seminar takes place in Tallinn

      Themes of the seminar included the impact of aggressive online discussion on press freedom, the impact of internet “trolling” on targeted journalists, and the spread of crowd censorship and the potential threat it poses to freedom of speech and democracy.

      Jessikka Aro discussed how her investigation into the phenomenon of pro-Russian online trolling quickly found her a target of online attacks and abuse herself, including international harassment, smear campaigns, and dissemination of her personal information.

    • There’s No Room for Censorship in a Democracy
    • Censors should not be allowed to cut scenes in films: Shyam Benegal
    • Benegal panel’s suggestion to allow CBFC to take last call on films on state security leaves scope for misuse: Filmmakers
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • When Traffic Cops Become Part of Immigration Enforcement, Civil Rights Violations Are Almost Inevitable

      Whether they like it or not, state and local police do not have the authority to enforce immigration law. And that’s a good thing, because when cops try to act like Border Patrol agents, civil rights violations are almost inevitable. An ever expanding number of lawsuits across the country bear that out.

      This issue gained national notoriety in 2007 in Maricopa County, Arizona, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio instructed police officers to conduct immigration checks during traffic stops, specifically targeting Latinos. The ACLU sued, and Arpaio’s department was found liable for widespread rights violations.

    • Forced Arbitration Is a Bad Deal

      What are you really agreeing to when you select “I agree” on a click-through contract? Whether you know it or not, you’re often agreeing to waive a host of fundamental rights. Want to buy a new mobile device? Click on an agreement that says you won’t modify the software on it. Going to the dentist? Sign a contract waiving your right to leave negative reviews online.

      While these contracts are unfair to customers in virtually any context, they’re particularly appalling when we’re talking about basic needs like Internet access. You shouldn’t have to waive your rights just to get online, but virtually every telecommunications provider includes a clause in its customer agreement forbidding you from exercising one of the most basic constitutional rights: the right to take them to court.

    • Why Activists Today Should Still Care About the 40-Year-Old Church Committee Report

      The Church Committee Report reveals the lengths the government was willing to go in order to crush grassroots activism and spy on American citizens.

    • Writing as an Act of Generosity

      Every now and then, I teach a class to young would-be journalists and one of the first things I talk about is why I consider writing an act of generosity. As they are usually just beginning to stretch their writerly wings, their task, as I see it, is to enter the world we’re already in (it’s generally the only place they can afford to go) and somehow decode it for us, make us see it in a new way. And who can deny that doing so is indeed an act of generosity? But for the foreign correspondent, especially in war zones, the generosity lies in the very act of entering a world filled with dangers, a world that the rest of us might not be capable of entering, or for that matter brave enough to enter, and somehow bringing us along with them.

    • Telling the Truth Is Not A Crime
    • Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”

      Five hunger strikers – angered by new police murders of Black and brown people – have been occupying half the sidewalk in front of Mission Police Station since April 21. It’s Day 11 of their liquid-only fast and they’re losing weight, but they vow to keep it up until SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns or is fired.

    • Racists Flip Out About Malia Obama and Interracial Couple—Internet Responds Spectacularly

      The internet has always been a place where racists can go to register their hatred while bravely hiding behind a cloak of digital anonymity. That’s been extra true over the last 48 hours, as racist trolls—self-loathing sacks of shit who live in perpetual fear of their own inferiority—have logged on to share their reactions to news and images involving black people. Unsurprisingly, Fox News is involved.

    • Brickbat: Cool, Clear Water

      The city council of San Antonio on the island of Ibiza has banned all drinking on the street. Council members say the move is aimed at deterring people from drinking alcohol and causing problems. But the ban applies to all liquids, since authorities say police can’t just look at a glass and tell what’s in it.

    • Boycott Is the Only Way to Stop the Israeli Occupation

      Aluf Benn’s proposal for Israel’s left to establish a base of domestic support for its positions is hopeless considering the brainwashing and increasing extremism of our society.

    • The Cruel and Pointless Push to Get Preschoolers ‘College and Career Ready’

      In case you missed it, April 21 was officially Kindergarten Day. This obscure holiday honors the birth of Friedrich Frobel, who started the first Children’s Garden in Germany in 1837. Of course, life has changed tremendously in the 179 years since Frobel created his play-based, socialization program to transition young children from home to school — and so, too, has school itself. But what hasn’t changed in all this time, not one iota, is the developmental trajectory of the preschoolers Frobel was thinking about when he created what we now call kindergarten.

      Frobel, a German teacher, strongly believed that children learn through play and by using open-ended materials like blocks, which he called “gifts.” His approach was a radical departure from the way children were viewed and taught at the time. Prior to Frobel, children were thought of as mini-adults who were educated through lectures and rote recitation. How ironic that today kindergarteners, and even preschoolers, are once again being subjected to these inappropriate methods of instruction. This despite all we have learned about child development in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    • Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides

      The Freedom Riders drew inspiration from the Journey of Reconciliation in 1947, led by Bayard Rustin and George Houser. The Freedom Rides campaigns followed on the heels of the highly visible lunch counter sit-in campaigns that began in 1960. Diane Nash, a veteran of the Nashville, Tennessee, campaign, was one of the lead organizers of the Freedom Rides, and it was at her urging that the demonstrators persevered through the extreme violence, carrying on to success despite life-threatening situations.

    • Suspect Held in Solitary for Seven Months for Forgetting Hard Drive Passwords

      Innocent until proven guilty? Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination? Hah! Not if you forget your passwords, in Post-Constitutional America.

      Former Philadelphia Police Sergeant Francis Rawls, above, has spent the past seven months in solitary confinement without conviction because passwords he entered for investigators failed to decrypt his hard drives, seized in connection with a child porn investigation. Rawls says he’s forgotten the correct passwords and so can’t decrypt the drives and provide the cops with evidence that he possessed child porn.

    • Angela Davis and asha bandele: Getting People out of Prison Is Just the Start to Solving America’s Incarceration Crisis

      The United States is locking up and dehumanizing its people at extraordinary rates. Just over 4 percent of the world’s population lives in the U.S., yet we hold captive within our borders a whopping 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. This gives the U.S. the largest prisoner population in the world. And that population is growing, though not for any noble reason, like “crime is on the rise” (au contraire). It’s growing because of the same sleaze that’s behind most of our country’s problems: giant corporations are incentivizing, and profiting from the expansion of the prisons industry.

    • Louisiana May Stop Funneling Teenagers Into Adult Prisons

      In 2007, after white students hung nooses on a tree the day after a black student sat beneath it, racial tensions boiled over at Jena High School in Louisiana. Soon after the incident, a white student was beaten by a group of black students dubbed the Jena 6 — all of whom were arrested and charged with attempted murder instead of assault.

      Theodore Shaw was one of the Jena 6, but he always maintained his innocence. As a 17-year-old at the time, he was locked up with adult criminals for seven months because his family couldn’t afford his bail. And throughout the duration of his incarceration, he fought hard to convince himself that he wasn’t a criminal.

    • Who’s behind unpaid prison labor in Texas?

      Several of the officials charged with regulating Texas’s prison labor program, wherein thousands of workers behind bars are compelled to produce goods and provide services for free, are connected to some of the richest and most powerful institutions and people in the state.

      The Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which oversees Texas Correctional Industries (TCI), the prison industry division within the state’s Department of Criminal Justice, has authority over how much compensation inmates working for the state receive for their labor. Currently, inmates working for TCI are not paid for the work done while serving their time; the only inmates who are paid anything are the small fraction who are employed by TCI’s private sector prison industries program.

    • Catching a Flight? Budget Hours, Not Minutes, for Security

      Security lines at airports are getting longer — much longer — and wait times could reach epidemic levels when air travel peaks this summer, according to airlines, airports and federal officials.

      A combination of fewer Transportation Security Administration screeners, tighter budgets, new checkpoint procedures and growing numbers of passengers is already creating a mess at airports around the country.

      While federal security officials say they are hiring and training hundreds of additional screening officers, matters are not expected to improve anytime soon.

      Airline and airport officials have said they fear that the current slowdown will last through the year, and could cause a summer travel meltdown when more than 220 million passengers are expected to fly during the peak travel months of July and August.

      “This is going to be a rough summer; there is no doubt about it,” said Gary Rasicot, who was recently appointed to a newly created position as the T.S.A.’s chief of operations. “We are probably not at the staffing level we would like to be to address the volume. This is why we are talking about people getting to the airport a little earlier than planned.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Web accessibility to be law in Europe—deal struck after lengthy talks

      A political deal to make public sector websites more accessible—particularly to those with disabilities—was agreed by the three European Union institutions on Tuesday.

      In a late night deal, the parliament, council, and commission backed Europe-wide rules to make public bodies’ websites and mobile apps more user-friendly for the blind, the deaf, and the hard of hearing.

      At present, around 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability, according to the commission. But that figure is expected to rise to 120 million by 2020 due to an ageing population.

      The Internet has become an essential method of communication, so the deal aims to make sure that citizens of all capabilities can access public administrations, including courts, police departments, public hospitals, universities, schools, and libraries.

    • Congress Has No Idea How The FCC’s Cable Box Reform Plan Works, Conyers, Goodlatte Compare Effort To ‘Popcorn Time’

      As we’ve been discussing, the FCC is cooking up a plan to bring much-needed competition to the cable set top box market. As a fact sheet being circulated by the agency (pdf) notes, the FCC hopes to force cable operators to offer their existing cable lineups to third party hardware — without the need of a pesky CableCARD. This would obviously disrupt the $21 billion in annual, captive set top rental fees enjoyed by the industry, and the competitive set top box market that emerges would likely drive more users than ever to alternative streaming options.

      As such, the cable industry has been having a monumental hissy fit. This has ranged from threatening lawsuits to publishing an absolute ocean of misleading editorials in news outets nationwide, claiming the FCC’s plan would destroy consumer privacy, increase piracy, hurt programming diversity, and make little children cry.

  • DRM

    • Yes, All DRM

      Everybody knows that the digital locks of DRM on the digital media you own is a big problem. If you’ve bought a digital book, album, or movie, you should be able to do what you want with it—whether that’s enjoying it wherever you want to, or making it more accessible by changing the font size or adding subtitles, or loaning or giving it to a friend when you’re done. We intuitively recognize that digital media should be more flexible than its analog forebears, not less, and that DRM shouldn’t take away rights that copyright was never intended to restrict.

      But while it may not be as intuitive yet, DRM on digital media that you don’t own is also a major threat. Whether it’s books from the public library, streaming songs from Spotify, or TV shows from Netflix, wrapping media in DRM software—especially when it brings with it a cloud of legal uncertainty—is not just a bad way to enforce license contracts; it’s also a danger to our rights and our security.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Recent Federal Circuit Decision in Acorda Therapeutics v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals May Not be the Last Word on Personal Jurisdiction in ANDA Cases

      Mylan filed two separate ANDAs with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) seeking permission to market generic versions of unrelated pharmaceutical products marketed by Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. and AstraZeneca AB under the statutory scheme outlined in the Hatch-Waxman Act (the “Act”). As permitted under the Act, Mylan certified that the patents of the brand name drug companies listed in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (“the Orange Book”) were either invalid or would not be infringed by Mylan’s marketing of its proposed generic versions of the drugs. Each certification is deemed an artificial act of infringement under the Act, and permits the brand name drug companies to sue the generic drug company. Acorda and AstraZeneca sued Mylan for patent infringement in separate lawsuits filed in Delaware. Mylan moved to dismiss in both cases, arguing that it was not subject to either general or specific personal jurisdiction.[4]

      [...]

      Regardless of the Federal Circuit’s final ruling, the losing party may very well file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court seeking review of the Federal Circuit’s decision. That Acorda and Mylan were represented at the Federal Circuit by former Solicitor Generals (Theodore Olson for Acorda and Paul Clement for Mylan), while AstraZeneca was represented by another Supreme Court veteran (Kannon Shanmugam), shows that each party considers this case to be important and that they are likely preparing to ask the Supreme Court to consider the matter. So the panel decision in Acorda appears to be merely the beginning of the appellate proceedings. Given these expected actions it will be interesting to see if the brand name drug companies continue to file suits in both the brand name drug company’s preferred jurisdiction as well as where the generic drug company is incorporated or has its principal place of business until all the Acorda appellate proceedings are concluded.

    • Citing “Toxic” Environment, US Congress Members Urge Secretary Kerry To Get UN Report On Gurry

      WIPO Director General Francis Gurry was investigated after charges were levelled by a deputy director that he wrongfully ordered DNA samples to be taken from several unknowing staff members, and that he improperly influenced a WIPO contract to steer it toward a particular businessman. The congressional members said Gurry is “engaging in a lobbying effort to prevent disclosure of the report or to have the report heavily redacted.” Redacted means sections are blacked out.

    • Trademarks

      • Appeals Court Says Trademark Bully/HIV Denialist Must Pay Defendant’s Legal Fees

        Almost three years ago, a team of pro bono attorneys (D. Gill Sperlein, Paul Alan Levy, Gary Krupkin and Neal Hoffman) took up the defense of Jeffrey DeShong, an HIV-positive blogger who had been served a bogus trademark infringement lawsuit by Clark Baker, a retired LAPD officer who spends his free time defending people who have hidden their HIV-positive status from sexual partners.

        Baker had no legal basis for his claims, but was obviously hoping airy claims of Lanham Act violations based on URL similarities would be all that was needed to shut up a vocal critic. He was wrong. The lawsuit was tossed in the pleading stages by the district court and that decision was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Founder Aims to Disrupt Online Advertising Industry

        After disrupting the entertainment industry with The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde now hopes to do the same with the advertisement business. Today, Sunde’s micropayment service Flattr teamed up with Adblock Plus, offering publishers a way to get paid without having to show annoying ads.

      • French National Assembly Votes (Sorta) To Finally Kill Its Three Strikes Hadopi Program

        Remember Hadopi? Back when the legacy copyright players were totally focused on kicking individuals off the internet via a “three strikes” program, France and its former President Nicolas Sarkozy, married to a musician, was the first to embrace the idea of kicking casual file sharers off the internet (we’ll leave aside the fact that Sarkozy was a mass infringer himslef). The program that was built up around the plan was eventually called Hadopi, and created a big bureaucracy to send out threat notices. The program turned out to be a complete disaster. It issued many notices, but really had to massage the numbers to make its activities look reasonable. Even when people did lose their internet access, there were problems. A detailed academic study of Hadopi found that it was a miserable failure that actually resulted in an increase in infringement.

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    Microsoft entryism and other subversive tactics continue to threaten and sometimes successfully undermine the competition; Microsoft is nowadays doing that to core projects in the Free/Open Source software world



  12. Links 18/8/2019: New KNOPPIX and Emmabuntus Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 17/8/2019: Unigine 2.9 and Git 2.23

    Links for the day



  14. Computer-Generated Patent Applications Show That Patents and Innovations Are Very Different Things

    The 'cheapening' of the concept of 'inventor' (or 'invention') undermines the whole foundation/basis of the patent system and deep inside patent law firms know it



  15. Concerns About IBM's Commitment to OpenSource.com After the Fall of Linux.com and Linux Journal

    The Web site OpenSource.com is over two decades old; in its current form it's about a decade old and it contains plenty of good articles, but will IBM think so too and, if so, will investment in the site carry on?



  16. Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

    At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?



  17. Caturdays and Sundays at Techrights Will Get Busier

    Our plan to spend the weekends writing more articles about Software Freedom; it seems like a high-priority issue



  18. Why Techrights Doesn't Do Social Control Media

    Being managed and censored by platform owners (sometimes their shareholders) isn’t an alluring proposition when a site challenges conformist norms and the status quo; Techrights belongs in a platform of its own



  19. Patent Prosecution Highways and Examination Highways Are Dooming the EPO

    Speed is not a measure of quality; but today's EPO is just trying to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible (before the whole thing implodes)



  20. Software Patents Won't Come Back Just Because They're (Re)Framed/Branded as "HEY HI" (AI)

    The pattern we've been observing in recent years is, patent applicants and law firms simply rewrite applications to make these seem patent-eligible on the surface (owing to deliberate deception) and patent offices facilitate these loopholes in order to fake 'growth'



  21. IP Kat Pays the Price for Being a Megaphone of Team UPC

    The typical or the usual suspects speak out about the so-called 'prospects' (with delusions of inevitability) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, neglecting to account for their own longterm credibility



  22. Links 17/8/2019: Wine 4.14 is Out, Debian Celebrates 26 years

    Links for the day



  23. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  24. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  25. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem



  27. Links 15/8/2019: GNOME's Birthday, LLVM 9.0 RC2

    Links for the day



  28. 'Foundation' Hype Spreads in China

    Nonprofits seem to have become more of a business loophole than a charitable endeavour; the problem is, this erodes confidence in legitimate Free software and good causes



  29. Links Are Not Endorsements

    If the only alternative is to say nothing and link to nothing, then we have a problem; a lot of people still assume that because someone links to something it therefore implies agreement and consent



  30. The Myth of 'Professionalism'

    Perception of professionalism, a vehicle or a motivation for making Linux more 'corporate-friendly' (i.e. owned by corporations), is a growing threat to Software Freedom inside Linux, as well as freedom of speech and many other things


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