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05.07.16

Links 7/5/2016: LibreOffice 5.0.6, gNewSense 4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • “Captain America: Civil War” Is a Big Dumb Movie You Will Enjoy

    My main problem with this movie: Captain America is sort of just a selfish hypocrite. Also, boring. And he isn’t even super. (He is strong, though.) And he could just be shot with a bullet. (There are a bunch of times in this movie when he loses his shield.) His whole team, in fact, save the Olsen twin who is a Witch, could just be shot to death by any old infantry unit.

  • Science

    • Junk Science on Trial in Bill Richards Bite-Mark Appeal

      This week, in an airy courtroom in San Francisco, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the notorious case of Bill Richards, who in 1997 was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal beating death of his wife, Pamela. The Richards case has long been viewed as a clear case of wrongful conviction that was based on the discredited forensic science of bite-mark analysis. The court’s eventual decision, due within 90 days, could finally vacate Richards’s conviction and clear a path toward his ultimate exoneration.

      Junk science and the fallibility of expert opinion are key to Richards’s case. After two hung juries failed to convict him of his wife’s grisly murder, in a third trial San Bernardino County prosecutors introduced new evidence that Richards had supposedly bitten Pamela’s hand while murdering her. If the mark on her hand was in fact a human bite mark that matched Richards’s teeth, that would prove Richards was present when Pamela died, a circumstance Richards has consistently and vehemently denied.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘We need fundamental changes’: US doctors call for universal healthcare

      A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health.

      According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare.

    • Should you be worried about PFOA in drinking water? Here’s what we know

      Over the past few months, several communities in upstate New York and New England have detected PFOA – perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8, a chemical linked to a range of health issues from cancer to thyroid disease – in their drinking water.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • OpenSSL Patches Six Vulnerabilities

      Only two of the flaws patched are rated as high impact, and none is getting the Heartbleed treatment.
      The open-source OpenSSL cryptographic library project issued a security update this week that patched six issues, though only two of them are rated “critical.”

    • Critical Linux Kernel Update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Patches 15 Vulnerabilities

      Canonical published a new security notice to inform the community about the availability of an important kernel update for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.

    • Linus Torvalds Talks IoT, Smart Devices, Security Concerns, and More [Video]

      Torvalds remained customarily philosophical when Hohndel asked about the gaping security holes in IoT. “I don’t worry about security because there’s not a lot we can do,” he said. “IoT is unpatchable — it’s a fact of life.”

      The Linux creator seemed more concerned about the lack of timely upstream contributions from one-off embedded projects, although he noted there have been significant improvements in recent years, partially due to consolidation on hardware.

      “The embedded world has traditionally been hard to interact with as an open source developer, but I think that’s improving,” Torvalds said. “The ARM community has become so much better. Kernel people can now actually keep up with some of the hardware improvements. It’s improving, but we’re not nearly there yet.”

      Torvalds admitted to being more at home on the desktop than in embedded and to having “two left hands” when it comes to hardware.

      “I’ve destroyed things with a soldering iron many times,” he said. “I’m not really set up to do hardware.” On the other hand, Torvalds guessed that if he were a teenager today, he would be fiddling around with a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone. “The great part is if you’re not great at soldering, you can just buy a new one.”

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Troubling Hidden Camera Video Reveals Why Children Should Never Be Left Around Guns

      Toddlers have shot a total of 23 people this year, and the issue of accidental shootings involving small children getting hold of guns has been making headlines.

    • Report: Toddlers have shot 23 people so far this year

      Toddlers ages three and younger have shot at least 23 people in the United States this year, according to an analysis by The Washington Post, with 18 of those incidents involving children shooting themselves.

    • Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism

      …Obama shows no signs of giving up his role as the most aggressively imperialist American president in modern history.

    • Film Review: National Bird Looks Deeply in the Drone War’s Abyss

      National Bird, a new documentary by filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck, co-produced with Errol Morris and Wim Wenders, is a deep, multilayered, look into America’s drone wars, a tactic which became a strategy which became a post-9/11 policy. To many in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world, America’s new national symbol is not the bald eagle, but a gray shadow overhead armed with Hellfire missiles.

      [...]

      The anonymity of that violence comes at a price, in this case in the minds of the Americans who decide who lives and dies. National Bird presents three brave whistleblowers, two former uniformed Air Force veterans (Lisa Ling, Heather Linebaugh) and a former civilian intelligence analyst (Dan), people who have broken cover to tell the world what happens behind the scenes of the drone war. There are elements of “old hat” here, chilling in that we have grown used to hearing that drone strikes kill more innocents than terrorists, that the people who make war justify their actions by calling their victims hajjis and ragheads, that America draws often naive young people into its national security state on the false promises of hollow patriotism and turns them into assassins.

    • Remembering Father Dan Berrigan, a prophet of peace

      A prophet of peace has passed. Daniel Berrigan, a Catholic Jesuit priest, a protester, a poet, a dedicated uncle and brother, died last weekend at the age of 94. His near-century on Earth was marked by compassion and love for humanity, and an unflinching commitment to justice and peace. He spent years in prison for his courageous, peaceful actions against war, living and practising the gospel that he preached. He launched movements, inspired millions, wrote beautifully and, with a wry smile, shared his love of life with family, friends and those with whom he prayed and fought for peace.

    • Human rights violations in south-east Turkey: failed peace talks followed by increasing violence
    • Does the Erdoğan-Davutoğlu split provide an opening for Turkish democracy?
    • 15 Steps for Turkish-Kurdish peace
    • Former U.S. Diplomats Decry the U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen

      Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been brutally bombing Yemen for more than a year, hoping to drive Houthi rebels out of the capital they overran in 2014 and restore Saudi-backed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      The United States has forcefully backed the Saudi-led war. In addition to sharing intelligence, the U.S. has sold tens of billions of dollars in munitions to the Saudis since the war began. The kingdom has used U.S.-produced aircraft, laser-guided bombs, and internationally-banned cluster bombs to target and destroy schools, markets, power plants, and a hospital, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.

      Despite all that, U.S. officials have done little to explain this support, have failed to explain the U.S. interests in the campaign, and have made scant mention of the humanitarian toll. In the absence of an official response, The Intercept raised those concerns with half a dozen former senior diplomatic officials, including U.S. ambassadors to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

    • One Last Chance for Peace in Yemen

      Absent much stronger U.S. and European pressure on their Saudi allies, Yemen’s latest ceasefire threatens to collapse — which could mean a return to massive civilian bombardments.

    • US Military Medical Ethics Guidelines in Limbo

      Health care professionals should have the freedom to follow their conscience and their professional association’s code of ethics during their service in the military. The DHB report will not only ensure the moral comfort of our medical service personnel, it also stands as a moral document that can frame our moral intent as we go forward into turbulent times.

    • How friends and family remember Daniel Berrigan

      One special memory I have is from 1972 when I was 13 and opened the door of the Danbury State Prison to free my uncle Dan after he had completed his prison sentence from Catonsville. As the door opened, we were mobbed by friends and reporters, and I remember feeling overwhelmed. I was always in awe of how Dan would keep calm and stoic with the media frenzy that tended to follow him. We ended the night having dinner, and sleeping in wicker ‘cat beds’ at Leonard Bernstein’s house in New York City.

    • Cowardice and Exoneration in Kunduz

      “The people are being reduced to blood and dust. They are in pieces.”

      The doctor who uttered these words still thought the hospital itself was a safe zone. He was with Doctors Without Borders, working in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where the Taliban and government forces were engaged in hellish fighting and civilians, as always, were caught in the middle. The wounded, including children, had been flowing in all week, and the staff were unrelieved in their duties, working an unending shift.

    • How Obama ‘Legalized’ the War on Terror

      Among the troubling legacies of Barack Obama’s presidency is his consolidation of the dubious legal principles that George W. Bush cobbled together to justify the Global War on Terror, explains Michael Brenner.

    • Obama’s Drone War is a Shameful Part of His Legacy

      Father Daniel Berrigan died Saturday at 94. The longtime peace activist gained national attention in 1968 when he and eight others, including his brother Philip (also a priest), burned draft records taken from a Selective Service office in Maryland. Decades later, he remains a powerful example of a man who never wavered in his beliefs, standing up time and again for the poor and oppressed. In his last years, Berrigan no longer had the energy to protest as frequently. But if he had been a few generations younger, can there be any doubt that he would have been at forefront of those protesting the expansion of the drone war under President Obama?

    • Afghanistan: Bombing the Land of the Snow Leopard

      News alert! Despite what you may have heard, the war in Afghanistan is still raging. Nearly 10,000 US troops remain, and since 2014 the Obama administration has carried out almost 2,000 airstrikes on whatever they damn well please in the country. No question the mounting Afghan death toll and the bombing of hospitals and civilian infrastructure ought to infuriate the few remaining antiwar activists out there; but the toll the Afghanistan war is having on the environment should also force nature lovers into the streets in protest.

    • Daniel Berrigan, a Leader of Peaceful Opposition to Vietnam War, Inspired a Generation of Activists

      In 1970, Spellman’s friend and ally inside the government in matters of protest and war, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, took the extraordinary step of publicly and falsely accusing Daniel and Philip Berrigan of conspiring to blow up tunnels under federal buildings in Washington, D.C. and to kidnap President Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Hoover did this despite knowing that FBI investigators and Department of Justice officials had officially concluded there was no such conspiracy. But to save Hoover’s reputation after his public comments, Justice officials convinced a grand jury to bring charges against Philip Berrigan and others; Daniel Berrigan was named an unindicted co-conspirator. The 1972 trial ended in a hung jury.

    • Court victory gives momentum to long struggle against London arms fair

      After a week-long trial that ended on April 15, a judge from the Stratford Magistrate Court in London found me and seven co-defendants not guilty for our actions last September to shut down the Defence Security and Equipment International arms fair, or DSEI, on the basis that we were preventing a greater crime. This is a huge victory in the long struggle to shut down one of the largest arms fairs in the world, which takes place in east London every other year.

      The last fair was in September 2015, and it saw more than 1,500 exhibitors from around the world displaying the latest technology of the war industry. DSEI is an invitation-only event, where invites go to governments, industry representatives and specialized press. Delegations from repressive regimes and countries violating human rights — such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel — walk through its corridors every other year browsing the latest weaponry. This huge event is not just to showcase the latest technology, but also to facilitate new sales.

    • The Wall Street Journal is Playing Dirty in El Salvador, Again

      As usual, Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady has raked up such a scandalous mountain of defamation, fabrication and redbaiting in her most recent piece on the power struggles within El Salvador’s oligarchic private sector that it’s hard to know where to start. The task of refuting Ms. O’Grady is daunting to the point of exhaustion. That is, of course, a hallmark of this kind of Reaganite Cold War propaganda: overwhelm the public with so much misinformation that those seeking the truth are left far behind as they scramble to disprove, fact-by-fact, the long-cold trail of lies.

    • Top Gun Lobbyist Calls Hundreds of Child Gun Deaths “Occasional Mishaps”

      In an in-depth investigation in 2013, Mother Jones found that guns kill hundreds of children per year in the United States. Many die in homicides, and many others die in accidents—mostly when children themselves pull the trigger. The kids shooting themselves or others have often been as young as two or three years old. Invariably these “tragedies” result from adults leaving unsecured firearms lying around in their homes or, in some cases, in their cars.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Contamination at Largest US Air Force Base in Asia: Kadena, Okinawa

      Located in the center of Okinawa Island, Kadena Air Base is the largest United States Air Force installation in Asia.

      Equipped with two 3.7 kilometer runways and thousands of hangars, homes and workshops, the base and its adjoining arsenal at Chibana sprawl across 46 square kilometers of Okinawa’s main island. Approximately 20,000 American service members, contractors and their families live or work here alongside 3,000 Japanese employees. More than 16,000 Okinawans own the land upon which the installation sits.

      [...]

      In January, the USAF released 8725 pages of accident reports, environmental investigations and emails related to contamination at Kadena Air Base. Dated from the mid-1990s to August 2015, the documents are believed to be the first time such recent information detailing pollution on an active U.S. base in Japan has been made public.

    • Organizers Say Peabody Coal Will Not Escape Justice Through Bankruptcy

      Missouri activists have long struggled against the environmental devastation, residential displacement and unsafe labor practices of Peabody Coal, the world’s second-largest coal producer, which is based in St. Louis. Peabody’s acts of destruction have been vast and numerous, from contaminating aquifers with toxic coal sludge to its disregard of labor safety standards, and even the looting of sacred Native artifacts. But the company’s recent bankruptcy filing has brought little comfort to those most affected by Peabody’s conquest and avarice.

    • Florida Mayors Rush To Prepare For Rising Seas

      Cindy Lerner and Carlos Gimenez are, in many ways, typical local politicians. Both are mayors, and both are intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations that their constituents face on a daily basis, from trash pickup to traffic. Both serve communities along the southeastern Florida coast — Gimenez is mayor of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the seventh-most populous county in the United States, while Lerner is mayor of the village of Pinecrest, a suburban village of about 18,000 residents located within Miami-Dade County.

    • Polluters In South Carolina Are About To Get A Huge Boost From The State House

      Coal ash is a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. For decades, plant operators have dumped the toxic waste — which can contain heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals — in unlined pits near waterways. ​That, in and of itself, is not illegal. But the pits have been tied to groundwater contamination and, in some cases, the companies have been found to dump the waste directly into the waterway, which is illegal. Coal ash is an ongoing environmental issue across much of the southeast.

    • Fort McMurray Wildfire Grows Tenfold as Mass Evacuations Continue

      The devastating wildfire in the Canadian province of Alberta has grown tenfold, destroying more than 100,000 hectares (roughly 247,000 acres) by Friday morning as convoys of trucks and helicopter airlifts continued evacuating the town of Fort McMurray.

      Between 80,000 and 90,000 people have already been forced to flee from their homes as Alberta declared a state of emergency. Officials said about 25,000 people have taken refuge in nearby tar sands work camps, and the trucks will escort them further south.

    • There’s more to Fort McMurray than oil sands – it’s a real community

      Fort McMurray is a real place, not a Dante-esque metaphor for hell, despite the wildfires currently raging, which has forced its entire evacuation.

      An urban service area at the heart of the municipality of Wood Buffalo in north-eastern Alberta, one of Canada’s western provinces and currently in a state of emergency, it is not some frontier gold rush town huddled under a blanket of perpetual snow. It is not a work camp, although different work and service camps located at the mining sites, from 20 to 100 miles away, circle it. And it is not actually very far north in Canadian terms: the boreal forest just nudges the edge of the near north, and the far and the extreme north (yes, Canada has a near, far, and extreme north) are much farther beyond. It lies roughly between the longitudes of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and no one would dare to call either Edinburgh or Aberdeen remote.

    • Donald Trump’s Hairspray Woes Inspire Climate Denial Riff

      Donald Trump launched into a bizarre riff on Thursday night, denying climate science in remarks to West Virginia coal miners by comparing the regulation of their industry to the ban on something closer to his personal experience: aerosol hairspray.

    • These Activists Are Building A Sanctuary For SeaWorld’s Remaining Orcas

      The nonprofit is using an initial donation of $200,000 from Munchkin, Inc. — better known for making sippy cups and other baby products and toys — out of a pledge of a million, to fund a team of 35 experts. This team includes experts in marine mammal science and behavior, veterinary medicine, husbandry, engineering, and law. They are now laying the groundwork for a sanctuary that would ideally have a budget in the tens of millions. “It’s not going to be cheap, but when you think about it, it is certainly doable,” Marino said.

    • Alberta Declares State Of Emergency As Thousands Flee Massive Wildfire

      The Canadian province of Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as 88,000 people in the city of Fort McMurray were forced to flee a fast-moving, immense wildfire. The blaze has already destroyed 1,600 buildings, including a school.

    • Fort McMurray and the Fires of Climate Change

      The town of Fort McMurray, some four hundred miles north of Calgary, in Canada, grew up very quickly on both sides of the Athabasca River. During the nineteen-seventies, the population of the town tripled, and since then it has nearly tripled again. All this growth has been fuelled by a single activity: extracting oil from a Florida-sized formation known as the tar sands. When the price of oil was high, there was so much currency coursing through Fort McMurray’s check-cashing joints that the town was dubbed “Fort McMoney.”

    • ALEC Appoints New Chair To Climate Denial Task Force

      The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has named a new corporate chair for its task force that works to oppose action to tackle climate change: Jennifer Jura of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

      NRECA is a powerful trade association that represents more than 900 independent electric utilities. Its annual spending lobbying Congress regularly exceeds $2 million each year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This has included lobbying in support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It’s Political Action Committee gives nearly $3 million per electoral cycle, with the majority going to Republicans.

    • Climate confusion creeps into Trump camp

      Despite the Republican US presidential candidate’s claim that climate change is a hoax, a new survey has found that more than half of his supporters believe global warming is happening.

  • Finance

    • Economic Update: What Inequality Does

      This episode addresses wealthy tax evaders, Takata airbags, equalized wealth data and the money in Chicago’s politics. We also discuss corporate food scandals, government fiscal “crises” and why we should build worker co-op sectors.

    • Ready for the Coming Assault on Social Security? Five Things Paul Ryan and Friends Don’t Want You to Think About

      It’s disturbing to hear young people say that Social Security won’t be around when they retire. But it’s not just young people. I’ve heard older Americans–some of them receiving SS benefits–claim that SS is dying. I think that if young and old knew the facts, they would be armed to support SS against the Party of Bads and Stupids that wants to tear it down. Here are common views and my responses.

    • American Tax Havens: Elites Don’t Have to go to Panama to Hide Their Money–They’ve Got Delaware

      The first thing you notice on the cab ride from the airport to downtown Panama City is the skyscrapers. They’re architecturally beautiful, but jumbled together as if there was no plan or consideration for how they might look next to one another.

      What you might not notice is that they’re nearly all empty.

      Panama, a small Central American country with just 4 million people, has dominated the news in recent weeks.

      For that you can thank the Panama Papers — a massive leak of private documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which serves well-heeled companies and individuals all over the world. The leaks exposed a vast global system of shady offshore tax shelters and the global elites that benefit from them.

      A few months before Panama landed on the front pages of nearly every newspaper in the world, I visited the country and got a look at those empty buildings firsthand.

    • This Town Ran An Illegal Debtor’s Prison For Years. Now It Has To Pay Back The People It Jailed.

      Colorado Springs will pay back destitute people it illegally jailed because they couldn’t pay court fines, the city announced Thursday.

      The city will also discontinue its debtor’s prison policy, which violated both the U.S. Constitution and a 2014 state law in Colorado. The system usually targeted non-jailable offenses like jaywalking, violating park curfews, or drinking in public.

      More than 60 victims of the city’s debtor’s prison policy are getting repaid with interest under the $103,000 settlement with the state’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter. Under the city’s previous “pay or serve” sentencing policy, people who couldn’t afford fines for non-criminal violations like panhandling near highways were forced to spend one day behind bars for every $50 the court said they owed. The settlement sets compensation for 66 pay-or-serve victims at the rate of $125 per day they were jailed.

    • ‘Why? And Why Now?’ Panama Papers ‘John Doe’ Steps Out of Shadows

      The anonymous source behind the Panama Papers stepped out of the shadows on Friday to offer justification for what has been called the biggest leak in history.

      The whistleblower’s gender and name remain secret, as does their occupation. German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the leaker’s initial contact, has authenticated that the statement came from the Panama Papers source.

    • C.F.P.B. Proposes Class Action Boost for Bank Victims

      The rule would prohibit so-called “forced arbitration” clauses, which firms have used to deny customers an opportunity to file class action lawsuits. Forced into one-on-one proceedings, cheated Americans are often over-matched by their corporate abuser’s legal resources, and unlikely to recoup any damages.

    • Job Growth Slows in April

      Some of the news in the household survey was positive. Most of the duration measures of unemployment fell and the share of unemployment due to voluntary quits rose to 10.8 percent, the highest level of the recovery to date.

      Also, the number of workers involuntarily working part-time fell by 161,000 more than reversing a jump in March.

      On the whole this report suggests that job growth may be coming in line with the slow pace of economic growth.

    • Americans Finally Get A Raise, But Fewer People Get Jobs

      The economy added 160,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 202,000 jobs to be added. That’s the weakest job creation since September 2015.

    • The chart that shows the UK economic recovery is ‘on its knees’

      The latest survey of the UK’s dominant services sector has today rounded off a dismal hat-trick of disappointment for the British economy.

      The Markit/CIPs PMI Index for April came in at 52.3. That’s above the 50 point that separates contraction from growth. But it’s also the weakest reading since February 2013, when the economy’s recovery was just starting.

    • Mayor of Cupertino Clashes with Tax-Dodging Apple: Company ‘Abuses Us’
    • Germans increasingly doubtful of TTIP

      Germans are growing increasingly wary of a vast EU-US trade pact currently under negotiation, an opinion poll showed on 5 May, as Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped for a deal by December.

      Some 70% of Germans polled by the dimap institute for broadcaster ARD said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal would bring “mostly disadvantages”, up from 55% in a similar poll in June 2014.

    • Scott Walker Implements Backdoor Way To Drug Test People For Unemployment Benefits

      Under current law, states aren’t allowed to institute drug tests for unemployment benefits. But that hasn’t kept Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) from trying.

      In July, Walker approved legislation that would implement drug tests for both unemployment benefits and food stamps, neither of which are currently permissible. To get his way, he’s suing the government to allow him to move forward with implementation, arguing that these programs are “welfare” just the same as the welfare cash assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, that does in fact allow states to implement drug tests.

    • Irish beef farmers protest over ‘sell-out’ trade talks

      Dozens of Irish farmers staged a demonstration outside the offices of the EU Commission in Dublin, claiming that plans being discussed as part of European trade talks will “sell out” the EU’s beef sector.

      The protest was staged by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and was focused on the Mercosur deal being negotiated with South America and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being hammered out with the US.

    • Panama Papers source breaks silence over ‘scale of injustices’

      The whistleblower behind the Panama Papers broke their silence on Friday to explain in detail how the injustices of offshore tax havens drove them to the biggest data leak in history.

      The source, whose identity and gender remain a secret, denied being a spy.

      “For the record, I do not work for any government or intelligence agency, directly or as a contractor, and I never have. My viewpoint is entirely my own.”

      The whistleblower said the leak of 11.5m documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca had triggered a “new, encouraging global debate”, thanks to the publication last month of stories by an international consortium of newspapers, including the Guardian.

    • Karen Hansen-Kuhn on TTIP Leak, Josmar Trujillo on Bronx Police Raid

      This week on CounterSpin: Despite the impact it would have on millions of people and the planet, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), like all such agreements, was being negotiated in secret. That is, until Greenpeace Netherlands released classified documents revealing elements of the deal the EU and the US were moving merrily toward — now some say the pact may be scuttled. What’s in those documents? We’ll hear from Karen Hansen-Kuhn of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

    • Inequality Soars as Retirement Benefits Dwindle for All But the Rich

      A report released Thursday from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) offers more evidence that the shift away from traditional pensions to 401(k)-like plans contributes to inequality.

      As Bloomberg reported Friday, “The U.S. retirement landscape is starting to look like a Charles Dickens novel.”

    • Retired Truckers Duck Pension Cuts – For Now

      The Treasury Department on Friday rejected a bid by the Central States Pension Fund to cut current retiree benefits for 270,000 Teamster truckers by as much as 50 percent.

      Kenneth Feinberg, the special master to the Treasury tasked with handling proposals by pension funds to cut benefits, said he was not persuaded that the plan would solve Central States’s solvency problems because of faulty assumptions.

    • Panama Papers Source Wants Whistleblower Immunity to Aid Law Enforcement

      The anonymous source responsible for leaking the vast document trove known as the Panama Papers said in a manifesto published on Friday that she or he “would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement” to ensure the prosecution of wrongdoing revealed by the paper trail — but only once “governments codify legal protections for whistleblowers into law.”

      The source wrote that the leaked files on offshore business dealings and shell companies organized by Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama, revealed “the scandal of what is legal and allowed.”

      But the source, who took the name “John Doe,” argued that since “the law firm, its founders, and employees actually did knowingly violate myriad laws worldwide, repeatedly,” the wrongdoers there should now be prosecuted.

      Doe added that prosecutors require access to the original documents, noting that media outlets “have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies. I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”

    • Quote of the Day: Debt? What Debt?

      There you have it. If Trump crashes the economy, he’ll just default on our sovereign debt. Easy peasy. Why is everyone so worried?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Rick Perry Endorses Cancer for President, Would Be Willing to Accept Position as Cancer’s Running Mate

      During his brief, run for the GOP presidential nomination last year, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry emerged as one of the loudest and harshest voices of criticism against Donald Trump. Last July, shortly after Trump entered the race, Perry devoted an entire speech to blasting Trump as a form of “cancer” on the conservative movement.

    • The Need for Progressive Voices

      The media industry reshaped our precious public commons into a fortress of exclusion that blocks dissenting, innovative and majoritarian viewpoints on matters that address society’s most basic needs,” writes Nader. “One thing is clear―something’s gotta give.”

    • This Teen Went to Prom With a Cardboard Cutout of Bernie Sanders

      Prom is a big deal for most teenagers. For high school social events in general, the less you take it seriously, the more fun you’re likely to have. Teen hero Chloe Raynaud didn’t have a date for prom and so she went to prom with a cutout of Bernie Sanders. Her pictures have since gone viral and this is the best kind of way to go viral in my opinion.

    • Hey, Bernie, Leave Them Kids Alone

      Many of Sanders’ older fans are disappointed that Sanders will clearly end up as another episode in the bigger stories told by Stauber, Yates, Shoup and other veteran radical intellectuals (myself included). But I doubt that the nation’s leading left intellectual Noam Chomsky (87 years old) is losing much sleep about the Sanders fade.

    • May Looking Bright for Sanders as Political Revolution Marches On

      Coming off a big win in Indiana and with the Democratic Party holding four more primaries this month, May could end up showing a resilient Bernie Sanders campaign despite the concerted effort of the mainstream press to count him out.

    • NYC Board of Elections Suspends 2nd Official, Delays Hillary Clinton v. Bernie Sanders Results Certification

      New York City’s Board of Elections (BOE) was expected to certify results of the primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at 3:30pm Thursday. Instead, around 5:30pm BOE Director Michael Ryan officially announced the suspension-without-pay of a second high-ranking Board employee from Brooklyn and delayed certification of the results at least until 1:30pm on Friday, according to reporting from Gothamist journalist Nathan Tempey.

    • Sheldon Adelson Pledges to Support Donald Trump

      As for Trump, he appeared to have sought Adelson’s approval from the outset: Last summer, Trump sent Adelson a book of photographs of himself receiving an award for promoting US-Israel relations with the note, “Sheldon, no one will be a bigger friend to Israel than me” on the cover.

    • KING: Bernie Sanders would be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare; Hillary, not so much

      You may not like Donald Trump. Hell, you may hate his guts and think he is the worst thing to ever happen to American politics in modern history.

      If you called him an offensive, sexist, xenophobic bigot, I’d be first in line to agree with you.

      Yes, his skin is orange and his hair is ridiculous. He’s also an incredibly formidable politician who just beat the dog crap out of more than a dozen different Republicans including the current governors from Ohio, Wisconsin and New Jersey, two widely-known multi-term governors from Florida and Texas, four current U.S. senators from Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida and Texas, a doctor and a former tech CEO.

    • Donald Trump’s Sacking of GOP Forces Elected Officials and Party Leaders to Make a Decision
    • Across Los Angeles, Hope Remains for a Big Upset in the California Primary

      If Sanders wins California, it would be a big upset. Yet even if he does, he probably wouldn’t get enough delegates to force the convention into a second ballot and to stop a Clinton nomination. But what happens after the convention is important, too. Will the Sanders movement remain intact? Will Lauren Steiner, Julie Tyler, Nasim Thompson and Ismael Parra get behind Clinton for the fall campaign against Donald Trump?

    • BBC Spread the Hatred

      No matter how terrible the BBC is, it constantly manages to get worse. The BBC News this evening appears like an especially rabid Tory Party broadcast. Sarah Smith was just breathtaking, while I thought Laura Kuenssberg must be the Chairman of the Conservative Party.

      Sarah Smith’s report from Holyrood was so astonishingly biased that a rather bemused BBC correspondent named Keane followed it with “But after Sarah Smith’s report let’s not forget that the SNP have won an historic third election”. Sarah Smith’s contribution was a voiceover of a photo montage of Ruth Davidson. Smith told us the election was all about Independence and the “stunning” Tory result was evidence that voters were firmly rejecting the idea of any second referendum. Cut to Ruth Davidson saying the Tories were firmly rejecting any second referendum.

      Let us for a moment accept Sarah Smith’s contention that the Tories attracted those voters who do not want a second referendum. The truth of the matter is that just 1 in 9 of eligible Scottish voters, voted Tory. 21% of those who voted. So the proper conclusion should be that the Tories came a distant second and most people rather fancy a second referendum. Sarah Smith’s anti-independence tirade was gobsmacking, but then it was topped by some BBC pundit comparing Ruth Davidson’s Tories to Leicester City.

    • Pundits Will Pay No Price for Being Arrogantly Wrong About Trump

      These experts, it would seem, were wrong—and confidently, arrogantly, condescendingly so. But as noted by Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani, who corralled many examples for The Intercept (5/4/16), they will pay absolutely no price for it. And that’s a problem. It isn’t that journalists should never make predictions; or that they’re expected to always be right. But you do have to wonder why so much energy is devoted to crystal-ball gazing when nothing seems to be learned when pundits are way off target.

    • Robert Scheer Discusses What a Clinton Versus Trump Election Would Mean for Progressives

      Truthdig went live with Editor in Chief Robert Scheer as he examined the potential impact of a Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump election and how it would affect progressives.

    • This Taco Bowl Is What Donald Trump Is Offering As Hispanic Outreach

      If a taco bowl is presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s way of reaching out to the Hispanic community, he might want to rethink his strategy.

      Trump, who has focused much of this election cycle on making inflammatory remarks about Latino immigrants, declared his love for Cinco de Mayo with a taco bowl at his namesake building in New York City on Thursday.

    • Sometimes There Is No Lesser of Two Evils

      The Republic will survive an election cycle but the Republican party may not

    • The General Strike to Corbyn: 90 years of BBC establishment bias

      On the anniversary of the 1926 General Strike, looking back to the early BBC helps us understand the latest bias scandal, over coverage of Labour’s anti-semitism scandal vs Tory election fraud.

    • Here Is the Wrong Way to Go About Defeating Trump

      Democrats are as much to blame as Republicans for the conditions that produced Trumpism.

    • Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Astroturfing on Social Media, Op-Ed Pages

      An anti-Bernie Sanders column allegedly penned by Atlanta’s “influential” Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed ahead of Georgia’s Super Tuesday primary appears to have been “primarily written by a corporate lobbyist” and “edited by Correct the Record, one of several pro-Clinton Super PACs,” according to The Intercept on Friday.

      “Sanders’ record is simply not strong when compared to Obama and Clinton,” Reed’s op-ed read, “both of whom have prioritized reducing gun violence in our cities and across our country.”

    • Atlanta Mayor’s Column Ripping Bernie Sanders Drafted by Lobbyist, Emails Show

      A few days before the Georgia primary, influential Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed published a column on CNN.com praising Hillary Clinton and ripping her opponent, Bernie Sanders. Reed attacked Sanders as being out of step with Democrats on gun policy, and accused him of elevating a “one-issue platform” that ignores the plight of the “single mother riding two buses to her second job.”

      But emails released from Reed’s office indicate that the column, which pilloried Sanders as out of touch with the poor, was primarily written by a corporate lobbyist, and was edited by Correct the Record, one of several pro-Clinton Super PACs.

      Anne Torres, the mayor’s director of communications, told The Intercept this week that the column was not written by the mayor, but by Tharon Johnson, a former Reed adviser who now works as a lobbyist for UnitedHealth, Honda, and MGM Resorts, among other clients. The column’s revisions by staffers from Correct the Record are documented in the emails.

    • The Intelligence Community Casts Its Vote for Hillary Clinton

      Since Donald Trump all-but sealed the nomination the other day, there has been a bit of a tizzy because he’ll receive intelligence briefing(s). Several spooks and former spooks complained to the Daily Beast that Trump might run his mouth and let something slip.

    • Election 2016: Not Donald Trump vs Not Hillary Clinton

      The candidates likely voters are backing in the upcoming presidential election appear to be Not Donald Trump and Not Hillary Clinton.

      That’s according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday, which looks at a general election hypothetical matchup between Clinton and Trump, and found the Democrat leading the Republican 45 to 36 percent.

    • Hillary Clinton and the End of the Democratic Party

      Liberal incredulity at Charles Koch’s (Koch Bros.) recent (soft) endorsement of Hillary Clinton — assertions that is was either a non-sequitur or a ploy to discredit her, was to dismiss the endorsement without answering the question: what about Mrs. Clinton’s policies, or those of any other establishment Democrat for that matter, could inheritance babies, oil and gas industry magnates and long-term supporters of the radical Right like Mr. Koch possibly object to? Mr. Koch was simply saying out loud what anyone paying attention to American politics in recent decades already knows: the Democratic Party is the Party of Wall Street and of corporate America.

    • Global press reaction to Sadiq Khan a mix of curiosity and ignorance

      Labour candidate for London mayor judged by his faith, rather than actions or politics, in several European and US media outlets

    • London’s FIRST Muslim Mayor: Sadiq Khan ahead as Goldsmith slammed for anti-Islam campaign

      The fight to run the British capital has pitted the Labour Party’s Khan, 45, the son of a bus driver who grew up in public housing, against Conservative Zac Goldsmith, 41, the elite-educated son of a billionaire financier.

      But rather than their social backgrounds, it has been accusations of smears over Khan’s Muslim faith and anti-Semitism in the Labour Party that have dominated the campaign to replace Conservative Boris Johnson as mayor of the city of 8.6 million people which is usually known for its tolerance.

      [...]

      Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in turn accused the Conservatives of “smearing” Khan. He said one of the men Cameron had accused Khan of sharing a platform with had also been close to Goldsmith.

    • Uber picks up ex-EU digital chief Neelie Kroes—after cooling-off period

      Europe’s former digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has landed a senior role with ride sharing app, Uber.

      The appointment is significant, given that the company faces a legal backlash in several countries across the EU.

      Uber has had difficulty retaining higher-ups in recent years. Last year, French authorities arrested two executives after Uber failed to comply with draconian new taxi laws that were widely viewed as targeting Uber and its ilk.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Media Censorship: The News That Didn’t Make the News

      The presidential primaries offer a single choice for both Democrats and Republicans to vote for empire and permanent war. This year’s entertainment spectacle, what we call democratic elections, is a particularly gross circus of meaninglessness, misinformation, sound bites, and lies. Both parties are in support in the continuation of the US/NATO global empire of permanent war and the protection of the capital of the global 1%. Even Bernie Sanders calls for drone strikes and continued war on Isis and other evil terrorists.

    • Censorship or lack of confidence

      Pakistan Censor Board has banned this year’s much anticipated movie “Maalik” after three weeks of its release for being “biased”, inciting violence and promoting vigilantism. The Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, and National Heritage issued a notification declaring the Urdu feature film “uncertified” according to Section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979. According to government officials the film had generated complaints regarding its controversial depiction of the some politicians, Sindhi people and the assassination of a prominent government official by his personal security guard.

    • Baidu Pushes Back On Chinese Gov’t Investigation By Freeing Up Images Related To Tiananmen Square

      So we’ve talked a lot about the Great Firewall of China and how it works. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not just a giant government bureaucracy blacklisting content, but a huge ecosystem that partially relies on unpredictability and the lack of intermediary liability protections online. That is, rather than directly say “this and that are blocked,” the Chinese government will often just let companies know when they’ve failed to properly block content and threaten them with serious consequences. Because of this, you get a culture of overblocking, to avoid running afoul of the demands. This is one of the reasons why we believe that strong intermediary liability protections are so important. Without them, you’re basically begging for widespread censorship to avoid legal consequences.

    • Elsevier Keeps Whac’ing Moles In Trying To Take Down Repository Of Academic Papers

      We’ve written a few times now about Sci-Hub — the website put together by Alexandra Elbakyan, an academic from Kazakhstan. It’s a somewhat creative hack on the idea that many academics are more than willing to share PDFs of useful research with each other, basically building a search engine of such research, which is actually stored in a different repository (called LibGen). But the really clever part of Sci-Hub was that it also had some people sharing their login tokens to various research databases, so that if the LibGen doesn’t have the document, Sci-Hub uses a login to retrieve the document, deliver it to the user who requested it and then uploads it to LibGen to make it available for anyone else. Publishing giant Elsevier has been particularly upset by all of this — despite the fact that its argument appears to go 100% against the stated purpose of copyright law.

      Remember, this isn’t about sharing some sort of commercial music or video or anything. This is about academic research, much of which has been paid for with public tax dollars, and which Elsevier paid no money to create. Elsevier not only gets academics to submit papers for publishing, but to also hand over their copyrights to Elsevier. In some subject areas, it even makes the academics pay to submit their papers for publishing. Then Elsevier gets free editing help from other academics who do peer review for free. Some publications even have unpaid editors as well. And then Elsevier goes out and charges hundreds of thousands of dollars for subscriptions to universities for research it had no hand in creating, for which it paid no money, but where it gets the copyright.

    • UK Sports Star Threatens American Newspaper For Posting Public Information About His New Home

      People don’t always like it, but home ownership records are public information in the US, and they often get reported on. There are all sorts of things that people do to deal with this, including using shell companies to buy homes or, like most people, just sucking it up and recognizing that such information is public. But, sometimes that message is hard to get across, and then you have a lawyer come and do something stupid. As you may know (or as you absolutely know if you even remotely follow football — the non-American kind), in the world of UK Premier League football, there was just quite an insane and unexpected victory by Leicester City (beating 5000 to 1 odds).

      At about the very same time, reporters at the NY-based Observer noted that one of the team’s players, Christian Fuchs, not only won the title, but also had purchased a nice new townhome in Manhattan. Again, this is a public record, and it is not uncommon for the news to report home purchases of celebrities.

    • Media Blackout on Nuit Debout

      One of the fastest growing social and political movements in recent history has been sweeping across France, spreading through Europe and now developing in North America and elsewhere. In the space of just over a month, it has transformed countless public and private spaces, in nearly 300 cities, by making them into dynamic centers of non-violent protest and political experimentation. Although the future is unpredictable, it has the potential to significantly transform the horizons of social and political possibility.

    • Funnyman Cyrus Broacha bristles at the idea of censorship as he describes how comedy in India has become a tough business

      Cyrus Broacha is staying away from risks.

      “From now on I will write a letter to the PM every month, with a list of mistakes I have made over the past 30 days, and with due apologies,” he says.

      The mock resolution is meant to highlight the current state of affairs all around, for comedy seems to have has become tough business in India right now.

      “India is a funny democracy. Our laws are never clear and there is confusion all around. Comedy is a natural outcome of confusion but we as a nation are happy only when the joke is on someone else. People are too quick to take offence if they are the butt of a joke,” he says.

    • Censorship is an outdated concept: Kunaal Roy Kapur
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mexico’s Supreme Court Won’t Halt Data Retention: Activists Plan to Take Case to International Court

      In a disappointing decision, Mexico’s Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Mexico’s Ley Telecom data retention mandates and its lack of legal safeguards. The challenge, or writ of amparo—a remedy available to any person whose rights have been violated—was filed by R3D.mx on behalf of a coalition of journalists, human rights NGOs, students arguing that Articles 189 and 190 of Ley Telcom violate the privacy rights of Mexican citizens. The articles compel the country’s telephone operators and ISPs, to retain a massive amount of metadata — including the precise location of its users — for 24 months.

      In a statement, our colleagues at Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D.mx), who filed the case, declared that the court “missed an historic opportunity to establish a precedent for the privacy and safety of all users of telecommunications services.”

    • Why Government Use of Social Media Monitoring Software Is a Direct Threat to Our Liberty and Privacy

      Rather than accepting SMMS’s use by police as inevitable, we should consider the serious implications for our society.

      A version of this post originally appeared at the ACLU of Oregon.

      As we’ve previously written about, analysts at the Oregon Department of Justice used a tool called Digital Stakeout to surveil people — including the department’s very own director of civil rights — who used over 30 hashtags on social media, such as #BlackLivesMatter and #fuckthepolice. While an internal investigation confirmed the illegal surveillance and made recommendations to ensure it doesn’t happen again, much less attention has been paid to the tool itself.

      Digital Stakeout is social media monitoring software (SMMS) that can be used to covertly monitor, collect, and analyze our social media data from platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It is part of a rapidly expanding industry that the public knows little about. Our goal here is to answer a few basic questions about SMMS: What can the technology do? How widespread is the use of SMMS by law enforcement in Oregon? What privacy concerns does it raise? And how we can protect free speech and privacy moving forward?

    • Oregon DOJ Encourages Surveillance Of First Amendment Activities; Acts Surprised When Agents Do Exactly That

      According to documents released to the ACLU, the Oregon DOJ has problems complying with both state and federal laws. Law enforcement agencies are forbidden from conducting surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities unless they can demonstrate beforehand that there is evidence of criminal activity tied to it.

      But the DOJ’s own presentations suggest agents should perform surveillance first and fix it in post. According to its instructions, agents should be “creative” when looking for justification for surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities. Literally, “any crime will do.”

    • Homeland Security Wants To Subpoena Us Over A Clearly Hyperbolic Techdirt Comment

      Earlier this week, one of our writers, Tim Cushing, had a story about yet another abuse of the civil asset forfeiture procedure. You can read that whole story for the details, but the short version is that US Customs & Border Patrol, along with Hancock County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Dept. officers, decided to seize $240,000 in cash from a guy named Najeh Muhana. Muhana sought to get that cash back, but after a series of ridiculous communications, his lawyer was told that Customs and Border Patrol in Ohio was keeping the money, and that Muhana had “waived his rights to the currency.” This was not true, and certainly appeared to be pretty sketchy. Because of all of this, Muhana filed a lawsuit against US Customs & Border Patrol asking for his money back.

      Not surprisingly, this story of what many would argue is just blatant theft by law enforcement (the people who are supposed to be protecting us from theft) upset a number of folks who expressed their frustrations in the comments — some using colorful language. That kind of language might not necessarily be considered appropriate in polite company, but isn’t entirely out of place in internet forums and discussions where rhetorical hyperbole is not uncommon.

      So I have to admit that I was rather surprised yesterday afternoon when we received a phone call from an agent with Homeland Security Investigations (the organization formerly known as ICE for Immigration and Customs Enforcement), asking where they could send a subpoena to identify a commenter on our site.

    • NSA Spying: Another Foreign Intervention Come Home

      The Washington Post recently ran an article titled, “Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism.” In the article, journalist Radley Balko explains that provisions in the Patriot Act have allowed the NSA to share information with a variety of other agencies, including the FBI and state and local law enforcement. The issue has received additional attention from the ACLU, but it’s made practically zero difference.

      He goes on to say that now the NSA will be able to share data with agencies like the FBI and others “without first applying any screens for privacy.” This means that a variety of agencies will now have access to incredible amounts of data obtained without warrants. In the event one of these agencies looks through the data in the course of another investigation, they can use the data uncovered to put people in prison. Balko notes that, while shocking, this new revelation is simply the formalization of what we’ve seen for the past several years—the NSA sending data to the DEA and IRS to be used for purposes other than counterterrorism.

    • US Intelligence Agencies Expand Electronic Surveillance Worldwide

      The US National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency approximately doubled their surveillance of telephone and electronic communications in 2015, according to documents released in a US government “transparency report” this week.

      US intelligence analysts carried out some 25,000 analytical searches of archived communications data derived from the NSA’s sweeping data collection programs last year, including nearly 5,000 searches of data collected from communications by US citizens.

      The figure represents a more than twofold increase over 2013, which saw the agencies conduct 9,500 searches of the surveillance database.

    • ‘Too Much Data’: Why US Intelligence Unable to Prevent Terrorism

      US intelligence agencies can’t cope with the vast amount of information they receive, former US National Security Agency employee William Binney said in an interview with RT. He explained that due to their inability to process the huge inflow of personal data the work of intelligence agencies is becoming inefficient.

    • NSA Discloses Hundreds of Hardware, Software Bugs Per Year [Ed: NSA as the ‘good guys’. Puff pieces nearly outnumber the signal now.]
    • NSA recognizes Embry Riddle as a top school for cyber defense
    • Embry-Riddle Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education [Ed: NSA is thinking about the children. More puff pieces.]
    • UK’s Spy Agency Wants Users to Stop Resetting Their Passwords – No Joke [Ed: cui bono? We already know, based on leaked documents, that they 'hunt' sysadmins for passwords.]
    • Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt’s spy network
    • You Can’t Handle It: UK Spy Agency Tells Public to Stop Resetting Passwords
    • Stop resetting passwords often says British intelligence agency
    • Why Changing Passwords Often Could Make Them Weaker
    • Companies should NOT force customers to keep changing their passwords – GCHQ
    • FBI Harassing TOR Software Developer, Refusing To Explain Why They Want To Meet Her

      Little did Isis Agora know that working for the Tor would land her into a land of troubles. This account of a series of events that happened between her and the FBI is sufficient to explain the intention of the FBI and what traumatic and post-traumatic behavioural changes a normal citizen has to go through after such incidents.

    • Court Upholds Sentence For Ex-Cop Who Abused Law Enforcement Database Access

      The defendant, Taylor (MI) police officer Michael Calabrese, was originally charged with 11 counts of misusing the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). This makes Calabrese somewhat of an anomaly. While every user of the LEIN is warned that improper access could result in criminal charges, this almost never actually happens. Suspensions may be handed out, but they tend to be minimal (three days at most). Others just receive written reprimands. Someone actually convicted of abusive access is a rarity.

    • What you’re asked when interviewing with the NSA, according to GlassDoor [Ed: back to puff pieces]
    • NSA Silent on Spies’ Child Porn Problem

      Two senior U.S. intelligence officials said recently that defense and intelligence employees have an “unbelievable” amount of child pornography on their work computers and devices, and that child porn has been found on the systems of the National Security Agency, the country’s biggest intelligence organization.

      But the NSA, which is responsible for keeping tabs on its own computers as well as military and intelligence agency networks, cannot say just how many times employees have been found to posesses or share child pornography, or how many times such cases have been referred to law enforcement for investigation and potential criminal prosecution.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Connecticut Plans To Break The School-To-Prison Pipeline

      Months after Connecticut’s governor announced he would shut down the state’s abusive juvenile jail, lawmakers hope to divert young people from the juvenile justice system.

      On Wednesday, Connecticut’s Senate approved an omnibus bill that cracks down on the school-to-prison pipeline by forcing school officials to handle disciplinary matters in-house. And in order to reduce the likelihood of ending up in the juvenile justice system, school administrators will be required to ensure educational alternatives for kids who are expelled.

      On average, the state has 1,000 expulsions a year, and students fall far behind in school as a result.

    • Conservative Christian Tow Truck Driver Abandons Disabled Woman Because of Her Bernie Bumper Sticker

      North Carolina tow truck driver and self-proclaimed “conservative Christian” Ken Shupe followed the example of Jesus on Monday by providing roadside assistance to disabled Bernie Sanders supporter Cassandra McWade even though Shupe himself professes loyalty to God’s Own Party. Oh. Wait. I got that backward. Shupe saw the Sanders sign in McWade’s car and drove off, leaving her stranded on the roadside—the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches in the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan.

    • Support Diego Garcia Football

      This blog makes a point of never asking for money or taking advertising, yet has asked for donations for good causes twice in a fortnight. I apologise but I love this idea, both for the spirit of football and to support the islanders in affirming their right to be considered a nation and to return to their homeland. I have carefully checked it out and this football team – based in Croydon – really does consist of the Chagos community, and it is important to them in helping the young people preserve their identity.

    • Lawmakers In Missouri Just Passed A Voter ID Bill That Could Disenfranchise 220,000 People

      Republicans in Missouri have been trying to pass a voter ID bill for more than a decade, and they may soon claim victory.

      This week, a supermajority of lawmakers sent a bill to the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon (D). Even if the governor vetoes, as he did to a similar one in 2011, lawmakers may have the votes to override it.

      Democrats in the state Senate staged an all-night filibuster last week to stop the ID bill, but backed down after striking a compromise deal with Republicans.

    • The limits of borders

      Borders are constructed to separate people, but they become a permanent point of contact and violence between the two sides.

    • Gangbusters: Law Enforcement’s Dubious Means to Police Public Housing Residents

      Taylonn Murphy Jr. was 14 years old when law enforcement began to monitor him. He is to be sentenced next month, two years after a raid that forever changed the lives of dozens of families in West Harlem.

    • Rep. Issa Calls Out Civil Asset Forfeiture As Letting ‘Cops Go Treasure Hunting’

      We’ve been writing an awful lot about civil asset forfeiture over the past few years, and how it’s basically a program that lets law enforcement steal money (and goods) from people and businesses without ever charging them with a crime. Instead, they just charge the thing with being part of a crime and then keep the proceeds. Just recently, the federal government reopened its asset forfeiture “sharing” program that basically makes it even more lucrative for police to just take people’s money and things. Most people don’t even realize this is happening, but when they find out the details, they are almost all opposed to the program, that looks like little more than supporting legalized theft for law enforcement, with basically no recourse. In that last link, we noted that most lawmakers don’t seem to care about this issue at all, perhaps because of the fear of being branded as “anti-cop” or something silly like that.

    • European Greens Present Draft Law On Protecting Whistleblowers

      It’s a sad commentary on the state of transparency these days that whistleblowers have come to play such an important role in revealing wrongdoing and abuse, as numerous stories on Techdirt attest. At the same time, whistleblowers enjoy very little protection around the world. Indeed, a countervailing trend to strengthen protection for so-called “trade secrets” makes it increasingly risky to be a whistleblower today. A case in point is the European Union’s new law on trade secrets, which completed its passage through the EU legislative process last month. Although it contains some protections for whistleblowers, many feel they are insufficient.

    • Report Shows There Aren’t Enough Teachers Of Color Coming Through Traditional Teacher Pipelines

      The U.S. teaching workforce is still very white, according to a new report on diversity in the teaching workforce released Friday from the U.S. Department of Education. In public schools, 82 percent of teachers are white, compared to 51 percent of students.

    • After Arresting Driver for Silence, Cops Tell Her She Has a Right to Remain Silent

      After New Jersey state troopers arrested Rebecca Musarra for remaining silent, they informed her, “You have the right to remain silent.” That should have been a clue that something was amiss with their legal justification for hauling her off to jail.

      According to a federal lawsuit filed by Musarra, a Philadelphia attorney, and dashcam footage recently obtained by NJ Advance Media, Trooper Matthew Stazzone pulled her over for speeding on October 16 and asked for her license, registration, and proof of insurance. She handed over the documents but did not respond when Stazzone asked her a question. He repeated the question several times, becoming increasingly agitated and warning her that she would be arrested if she did not answer. Here is the vitally important question that Stazzone kept asking: “Do you know why you’re being pulled over tonight?”

      In other words, Stazzone was trying to get Musarra to incriminate herself. She declined to do so. Mind you, she did not say, “I decline to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me,” or “I am asserting my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.” But she did eventually identify herself as an attorney, saying she was not legally required to answer Stazzone’s question. Unimpressed, he proceeded to handcuff and arrest her with the assistance of another trooper, Demetric Gosa.

    • What does an anti-Semitic party look like in Europe today?

      While people are distracted by the debate over anti-Semitism and the left in Britain, genuinely anti-Semitic and racist parties are on the rise across Europe.

    • Sadiq Khan Overcomes Nasty Attacks From Conservatives, Becomes London’s First Muslim Mayor

      Londoners elected the city’s first Muslim mayor in a historic victory Friday, against the backdrop of rising xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment throughout Europe.

      The Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, 45, an MP and son of working class Pakistani immigrants, defeated the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, who is the son of a billionaire. London’s 8.6 million overwhelmingly elected Khan, despite attacks that portrayed him as a “radical” and linked him to “extremist” figures.

    • How London’s Sadiq Khan Triumphed Over Race-Baiting

      This year’s London mayoral election, only the fifth time citizens of Great Britain’s capital have directly elected a mayor for the whole of the metropolis, initially promised to be the boring one. Previous polls had been dominated by two big beasts: Ken Livingstone, the ultimate left-wing machine politician and scourge of Margaret Thatcher when he led the Greater London Council in the 1980s, and Conservative Boris Johnson, the charismatic, floppy-haired, classics-quoting, New York-born buffoon whose reign as leader of the city has largely been characterized by vanity projects (a pointless new design for the city’s famous red buses, a bizarre “garden bridge” that no one apart from the mayor seems to want or understand, a cable car over the river that goes from nowhere to nowhere else).

    • Transcending Ugly Campaign, London Elects First-Ever Muslim Mayor
    • How Opponents of UK Labour Leader Corbyn Advanced a Political Coup with Antisemitism Smears

      Chris Mullins’ 1982 political thriller, A Very British Coup, introduced British readers to a Marxist former steelworker named Harry Perkins who sends his country’s political elite into a frenzy by winning a dramatic election for prime minister. Desperate to foil his plans to remove American military bases from British soil, nationalize the country’s industries and abolish the aristocratic House of Lords, a convergence of powerful forces led by MI5 security forces initiate a plot to undermine Perkins through surveillance and subterfuge. When their machinations fail against a resolute and surprisingly wily politician, the security forces resort to fabricating a scandal, hoping to force him to abdicate power to a more pliable member of his own party.

    • The Enduring Racism of Wonder Woman

      The superhero’s creator, William Marston, linked her superpowers to her whiteness.

    • The New Wave of Repression in Puerto Rico

      On April 20 the FBI detained Puerto Rican pro-independence activist Orlando González-Claudio. He was driving his car along the Caribbean island nation’s Route 2 when several US government vehicles intercepted him and forced him to stop. They told him they would take DNA samples from his body and that they were fully authorized to force him to comply. If he did not cooperate they would sedate him, they said. They would sample his DNA the easy way or the hard way. González-Claudio voluntarily got off his car and entered the FBI vehicle he was led to. He was then handcuffed and driven to the San Juan Medical Center, where the samples were taken. Afterwards he was released and taken back to his car. The agents would not tell him what were they investigating, and he was not charged with anything.

    • White Power Meets Business Casual

      “Thank God for Donald J. Trump,” cried National Policy Institute director Richard Spencer into the microphone.

      Spencer, 37, has a boyish, straitlaced look about him. With his well-tailored suit and a nicely kempt undercut, he’d meld perfectly into the swarms of youthful think tank employees trotting down Massachusetts Avenue. But NPI is no ordinary Washington think tank. Founded by an heir to a conservative publishing fortune, it drew white nationalists and sympathizers from around the country—and at least one from Canada—to its innocuously named “Identity Politics” conference a couple of days after Donald Trump dominated the field on Super Tuesday. For $45, I snagged the last ticket designated for millennials.

      It is the rise of the bombastic Republican frontrunner that brought this amalgam of aggrieved crusaders together for an evening of cocktails, appetizers, and songs of praise to the candidate who’s inspired them to dip a toe into the stream of establishment politics.

      To get in, I waded through a throng of protesters gathered around the entrance of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, yelling “Nazi,” “racist,” and “KKK” at attendees. A few protestors got close enough to snap pictures.

    • Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?

      Do police in the United States keep anyone safe and secure other than the very wealthy? How do history and global context explain recent police killings of young Black people in the US?

    • Will Our Love of Cheap Clothing Doom the Sustainable Fashion Movement?

      An Associated Press–GFK poll released late last week found that when it comes to purchasing clothes, the majority of Americans prefer cheap prices over a “Made in the USA” label. The poll, inspired by campaign trail promises by presidential candidates to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., asked respondents to choose between two pairs of pants of the same fabric and design. The pair manufactured in the United States would set the shopper back $85, while the one sewn overseas would cost $50. A full 67 percent of respondents, regardless of household income, said they’d choose the cheaper pair of pants.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress Scolds The FCC For Making The Cable Set Top Box Market More Competitive

      Congress is simply fed up with the FCC’s pesky new habit of standing up to giant cable and broadband companies. Congress was outraged when the FCC announced it wanted to stop states from letting large ISPs write horrible, protectionist state laws. Congress was outraged when the FCC announced it wanted to pass actual, functioning net neutrality rules. Congress was even outraged when the FCC decided to raise the standard definition of broadband to 25 Mbps, since it only served to highlight a lack of competition for next-generation broadband service.

      Now, not too surprisingly, Congress is just pissed that the FCC wants to try and bring some competition to the cable set top box space.

    • FCC Officially Approves Merger to Create ‘Price-Gouging Cable Giant’

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a $90 billion merger between three telecom corporations, a move that consumer advocates warn will create a “price-gouging cable giant.”

      According to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the conditions of Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner and Bright House Networks will include data caps for broadband customers and fees for online services, including for video providers.

    • FCC Approves Horrible Merger, Hurting Consumers Nationwide

      Instead of standing with the people who use the Internet, he sided with the companies that want to control it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Game Developer Forced To Change Game’s Name Because ‘Wasteland’ Is A Trademark, Apparently

        Several years ago, we wrote about InXile, a game studio that rode Kickstarter success to producing Wasteland 2. The theme of the post was about how open and awesome InXile had been to its backers and other Kickstarter projects, bringing a gracious attitude to the former and promising to use some of the game’s proceeds to pay it forward to the latter. These actions built a nice reputation for InXile, somewhat unique in gaming circles, by engaging with fans and customers alike, while also acknowledging the rest of the industry. In short, InXile was human and awesome.

        Yet, since then, InXile has occasionally acted aggressively in enforcing the trademark it has on the term “Wasteland” for the gaming industry. First, in 2013, it forced a smalll gaming studio to change the name of a game it had originally called Wasteland Kings to Nuclear Throne after InXile contacted them. And, now, InXile has gone a step further and fired off a cease and desist letter to a single developer attempting to produce his own shooter game, which he had entitled Alien Wasteland.

      • Advice To Immediately Trademark Kickstarter Projects Rests On Crowdfunding Not Being Commerce

        Because we talk a great deal about trademark law here at Techdirt, it occasionally leads us writers down interesting reading paths. One such path I recently traveled led me to a Gamasutra community post written by attorney Stephen McArthur, a lawyer who has built something of a specialty in video game industry law. The theme of the post is that anyone crowdfunding the production of a video game, via Kickstarter for example, should be registering the trademarks for their game during or before the crowdfunding process, rather than waiting until the production is funded successfully. Putting aside the heavy importance McArthur places on trademark registration, his argument is more of a PSA on the procedural timelines and what he considers to be a misunderstanding about both when common law trademark kicks in and when certain aspects of the trademark-ability of a product or service are initiated.

    • Copyrights

      • Do You Own What You Own? Not So Much Anymore, Thanks To Copyright

        Do you own the things you own? No, that is not a riddle being served up by the Cat in the Hat. Nor is it a rhyme spoken by the Lorax — after all, he speaks for the trees, not for copyright laws.

        It seems like every week there is a debate about a new topic involving ownership rights. Consumers are engaged in a constant tug of war with rights holders over what they can do with the products that they already purchased from them. A wide array of questions has confused the understanding of fundamental issues such as when people can resell or repair the things that they bought. The First Sale Doctrine stipulates that a rights holder is no longer entitled to control the distribution of a good once it has gone through a legitimate first sale. However, recent technological developments have created a new disagreement to this long-standing law — do people ever actually own the things that they purchased? Were the products ever truly sold to them, or is everything instead just a temporary lease?

        Take the recent debate over Nest products. Nest is one of the leading companies in “smart” thermostats for personal use. These products utilize a variety of light, sound, and heating sensors to automatically regulate the climate in a home and increase energy efficiency. Back in 2014, Nest purchased a company named Revolv that also made “smart” thermostats and proceeded to continue selling them for $300 each.

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