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05.12.16

Links 12/5/2016: Qt Creator 4.0.0, Mozilla Thunderbird 45.1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Apple’s actual role in podcasting: be careful what you wish for

    This New York Times article gets a lot wrong, and both podcast listeners and podcast producers should be clear on Apple’s actual role in podcasting today and what, exactly, big producers are asking for.

    Podcasts work nothing like the App Store, and we’re all better off making sure they never head down that road.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russians Remember Their WWII Vets

      The West’s propaganda war against Russia filters events there through a prism of cynicism and contempt, but that misses the human component of a country still remembering the deep personal scars of World War II, as Gilbert Doctorow reflects.

    • Amid Embrace of Endless War, Report Shows Epic US Failure to Assist Refugees

      The U.S. is failing to fulfill its “modest pledge” to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by September 2016, according to the most recent government figures and a damning new report (pdf) from Human Rights First, prompting sharp critique from observers.

    • Al-Zawahiri Supports Syrian al-Qaeda, calls for more global Volunteers

      Some American analysts, partisans of the hard line fundamentalist factions in Syria, saw al-Zawahiri’s instruction to al-Qaeda to let the people choose their leader as a positive. Why haven’t they learned yet that these seedy terrorist organizations play mind games with people, including being passive aggressive? The Nusra Front or al-Qaeda in Syria already holds territory, and it has forcibly converted and stolen from members of religious minorities such as the Druze. Al-Zawahiri’s speech is dishonest tradecraft, not a sign of a mellower al-Qaeda. The Nusra Front controls vast swathes of Syrian territory. My guess is that they won’t relinquish an inch of it as a result of al-Zawahiri’s speech.

    • Ten Ways Israel is Just Like Saudi Arabia

      Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supporting extremist groups in Syria like Al Nusra, which is an al-Qaeda affiliate, as they both are more concerned with overthrowing Assad (who is aligned with Iran) than defeating the Islamic State. The Saudis have sent weapons and money to Al Nusra; Israel has been treating wounded Al Nusra fighters in Israeli hospitals and then sending them back to battle the Syrian army. Israel also killed Lebanese-Iranian advisers who were assisting Assad’s government in fighting against Al Nusra.

    • White House Hiroshima Visit Puts Spotlight on Nuclear Hypocrisy

      Thompson wrote:

      President Obama will end his Presidency pretty much the same way he began it: with a call to the world to rid itself of nuclear arms—this time at Hiroshima, the site of the first atomic weapon used in war.

      Too bad he did so little to reach that goal during the intervening seven years. Instead of bequeathing a smarter nuclear arsenal to his successor, he has launched the most-costly upgrade to the U.S. nuclear arsenal ever.

      [...]

      Kevin Martin, the president of Peace Action, added, “At this point, it’s not enough to repeat the words Obama has said several times since his historic Prague speech calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons. Obama must announce actions he will take in the his remaining months as president that will actually bring the world closer to being free of nuclear weapons.”

    • ‘Allahu Akbar’ cry at terror drill was scripted, police admit

      Greater Manchester police say phrase was not introduced by person playing role of terrorist at Trafford Centre

    • To the Next U.S. President, the Unlimited Power to Spy, Imprison and Kill

      Remember when coups and assassinations were secretive and presidents were obliged to go to Congress, tell lies and ask permission to wage wars? Remember when torture, spying and indefinite imprisonment were illicit, when issuing signing statements to rewrite laws was rare, and when yelling “state secrets” to shut down legal cases was considered abusive?

      For over two centuries, it would have been an outrage for the president to hold a meeting every Tuesday for the sole purpose of going through a list of names and picking out which men, women and children should be killed.

      Those times are gone. By mutual consent of those in power in Washington, D.C., all such resistance and outrage is now firmly in the past. It would now be unfair and violate established bipartisan precedent to deny the powers of unlimited spying, imprisonment and killing to the next president of the United States.

      The fact that this new reality is so little-known is largely a symptom of partisanship, as most Democrats still haven’t allowed themselves to hear about the kill list. But the widespread ignorance is also a function of media, of what’s reported, what’s editorialized, what’s asked about in campaign debates and what isn’t.

    • Obama Should Heed Hiroshima’s Survivors

      The White House announced this week that President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first atomic-bomb attack. He will be the first sitting president to go there, and only the second president ever, after former President Jimmy Carter visited in 1984. Obama’s pilgrimage to Hiroshima, where 140,000 people were killed and another 100,000 seriously injured on Aug. 6, 1945, will not be accompanied by a formal apology. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the trip was to highlight Obama’s “continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Yet the Obama administration also recently revealed its 30-year, $1 trillion plan to modernize the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal.

    • Human Rights Watch Claims Turkish Border Guards Are Killing Syrian Refugees

      Syrian refugees, seeking asylum in Turkey, are being killed and or wounded by border guards, according to a report released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch.

      “During March and April 2016, Turkish border guards used violence against Syrian asylum seekers and smugglers, killing five people, including a child, and seriously injuring 14 others, according to victims, witnesses, and Syrian locals interviewed by Human Rights Watch,” the report reads. “Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry maintains the country has an “open-door policy” for Syrian refugees, despite building a new border wall.”

    • Engaged In Good Causes: Longtime War Criminal Inexplicably, Unconscionably Gets Not Jail Sentence But Award (WTF?)

      Having blithely orchestrated several genocides and the deaths of millions of brown-skinned innocents in the specious, imperial name of the right to bomb neutral countries in order to save them and maybe us – a right that America, despite our ongoing carnage, still claims – Henry Kissinger, our best and brightest war criminal, on Monday won the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Defense Department’s highest honor for private citizens. In a stomach-roiling spectacle at the Pentagon wherein one discordantly unfit Nobel Peace Prize winner honors another, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called the former Secretary of State’s murderous service “unique in the annals of American diplomacy.” Kissinger, Carter said, “demonstrated how serious thinking and perspective can deliver solutions to seemingly intractable problems.”

    • Taking Responsibility for War

      On May 10, 92-year-old Henry Kissinger was given the Distinguished Public Service Award by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. It does little good to be outraged by this news, in that Kissinger may have the blood of (at least) hundreds of thousands of dead people on his hands, but that seems to bother very few people. Let us at least not take the time to bother being surprised.

      Sure, we can mention former Secretary of State Kissinger, we can seriously debate how many Cambodians, Chileans, and East Timorese he is responsible for killing. But at the end of it all, Kissinger is an old man with a funny accent and even seemingly bold and political (at least when going up against George W. Bush) people such as comedian Stephen Colbert feel comfortable palling around with him. If the man who so memorably trashed a sitting president to his face finds it okay to make cute with Kissinger, yeah, let’s give the man the finest civilian honor (and, you know, the Nobel Peace Prize. But jokes about that have been exhausted for decades).

    • Obama Broke Pledge to Demand Syrian Opposition’s Separation From Nusra Front

      The gradual erosion of the cease-fire in Syria over the past month is the result of multiple factors shaping the conflict, but one of the underlying reasons is the Obama administration’s failure to carry out its commitment to Russia to get US-supported opposition groups to separate themselves physically from the Nusra Front — the al-Qaeda organization in Syria.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chelsea Manning honored with award, cash prize for WikiLeaks disclosures

      Chelsea Manning, the former Army soldier convicted of the biggest leak of classified documents in U.S. history, was honored in absentia Monday at a London ceremony for her role in providing Wikileaks with secret documents concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Manning, 35, was named the winner of this year’s Blueprint Enduring Impact Whistleblowing Prize during an event hosted by Blueprint for Free Speech, a Melbourne-based nonprofit, at the London offices of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    • US Court System Just Another Extension Of The Government’s Ongoing Opacity Project

      The same law that gives the government warrantless access to citizens’ electronic communications — the Electronic Communications Privacy Act — also gives the government the privilege of preventing service providers from disclosing any information about these requests to targeted users. This blanket opacity is a problem for several reasons (First and Fourth Amendment concerns), not the least of which is no one — not even Congressional oversight — can provide an accurate accounting of these requests and their accompanying gag orders.

    • A Perfect Storm

      As if all this wasn’t enough bad news for Mrs. Clinton in one week, the FBI learned last week from the convicted international hacker, who calls himself Guccifer, that he knows how the Russians came to possess Mrs. Clinton’s emails; and it is because she stored, received and sent them from her personal, secret, non-secure server.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • It’s not just Alberta: Warming-fueled fires are increasing

      Alberta’s unusually early and large fire is just the latest of many gargantuan fires on an Earth that’s grown hotter with more extreme weather.

      Earlier this year, large wildfires hit spots on opposite ends of the world — Tasmania and Oklahoma-Kansas. Last year, Alaska and California pushed the U.S. to a record 10 million acres burned. Massive fires hit Siberia, Mongolia and China last year and Brazil’s fire season has increased by a month over the past three decades.

    • Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity

      On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point around 1pm the country’s solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%.

    • Renewable Windfall as Germany’s Green Energy Meets 90 Percent of Demand

      Germany, the fourth-largest economy in the world and a leader in renewable energy, produced so much energy this weekend from its solar, wind, hydro, and biomass plants that power prices went into negative territory for several hours. Consumers were being paid to use energy.

      According to Quartz, around 1 pm on Sunday, May 8—a particularly “sunny and windy day”—the plants supplied a combined 55 gigawatts, or 87 percent, of the 63 gigawatts being consumed.

    • The Plan To Revive Big Coal’s Fortunes Isn’t Panning Out

      Six years ago, coal companies like Arch Coal, Ambre Energy, and Peabody Energy had an idea. Domestic demand for coal was slumping, but they saw lifelines between the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, where coal was plentiful and relatively cheap to mine, and Asian markets, where economic growth was expected to drive a 40 percent increase in global coal consumption was by 2030.

      “Coal’s best days are ahead,” Peabody Energy said in 2010. China’s transition from a net-exporter to a net-importer of coal had recently sent prices rocketing, and energy companies were eager to turn profits in a rapidly expanding overseas market. Two years earlier, just 1 percent of the Powder River Basin’s coal production was exported. But if a network of railroads could carry more coal from Montana and Wyoming to the deep water ports of the Pacific Northwest — the cheapest, most direct line to Asia — coal companies could ship the coal to ballooning markets elsewhere.

    • Searing heat may spark climate exodus

      New research predicts that, by mid-century, summer temperatures will stay above 30°C at night and could rise to 46°C during the day. By the end of the century, maximum temperatures could reach 50°C, and this could happen more often. Instead of 16 days of extreme heat, there could be 80 days.

    • 87-Year-Old Billionaire Endorses Trump, Says He Doesn’t Care If It’s A Mistake Since He’ll Be Dead

      T. Boone Pickens, the prominent billionaire investor who made his fortune on fossil fuels…

    • Scientists Just Pinpointed Another Example Of Fracking’s Environmental Impact

      A dumping site for fracking fluids long suspected to be leaching into Wolf Creek, a West Virginia waterway with ties to a county’s water supply, has indeed contaminated the creek with multiple chemicals, a new U.S. Geological Survey study has found.

      The “study demonstrates definitively that the stream is being impacted by [unconventional oil and gas extraction] wastewaters,” Denise Akob, USGS scientist and lead author of the study, told ThinkProgress. Unconventional oil and gas extraction refers to the many processes that involve hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

      For this study, scientists in 2014 collected water and sediment samples upstream and downstream from Danny E. Webb Construction Inc.’s disposal site, which is still operational. Samples were then analyzed for a series of chemical markers that are known to be associated with fracking. “We were able to see some elements that are known to be associated with [unconventional oil and gas] wastewaters, including barium, bromide, calcium, chloride, sodium, lithium, and strontium,” Akob said.

    • Naomi Klein: Radical Solutions Only Proper Response to ‘Unyielding Science-Based Deadline’

      Climate crisis, argues author and activist, ‘might just be the catalyst we need to knit together the great many powerful movements bound together by the inherent worth and value of all people.’

    • ‘Death sentence’: Climate crisis driving global conflict, poverty & racism – Naomi Klein

      Climate change is driving inequality, conflict and racism as self-serving individuals and actors undercut the potential for a collective response to the crisis, journalist and author Naomi Klein has said.

      The Canadian, who is an avid environmental and political campaigner, made the observation at a memorial lecture dedicated to the late Palestinian political activist and academic Edward Said.

    • The Fort McMurray Fire: ‘Absolutely a Harbinger of Things to Come’

      The devastating wildfire in Fort McMurray, Canada appears to be losing its intensity, as weather conditions improve for firefighters and initial assessments of staggering damage trickle in.

      Meanwhile, awareness of the massive fire’s significance in the context of climate change continues to spread.

      “Alberta’s unusually early and large fire is just the latest of many gargantuan fires on an Earth that’s grown hotter with more extreme weather,” the Associated Press wrote on Wednesday.

  • Finance

    • Brazil’s Democracy to Suffer Grievous Blow Today as Unelectable, Corrupt Neoliberal is Installed

      In 2002, Brazil’s left-of-center Workers Party (PT) ascended to the presidency when Lula da Silva won in a landslide over the candidate of the center-right party PSDB (throughout 2002, “markets” were indignant at the mere prospect of PT’s victory). The PT remained in power when Lula, in 2006, was re-elected in another landslide against a different PSDB candidate. PT’s enemies thought they had their chance to get rid of PT in 2010, when Lula was barred by term limits from running again, but their hopes were crushed when Lula’s handpicked successor, the previously unknown Dilma Rousseff, won by 12 points over the same PSDB candidate who lost to Lula in 2002. In 2014, PT’s enemies poured huge amounts of money and resources into defeating her, believing she was vulnerable and that they had finally found a star PSDB candidate, but they lost again, this time narrowly, as Dilma was re-elected with 54 million votes.

      In sum, PT has won four straight national elections – the last one occurring just 18 months ago. Its opponents have vigorously tried – and failed – to defeat them at the ballot box, largely due to PT’s support among Brazil’s poor and working classes.

      So if you’re a plutocrat with ownership of the nation’s largest and most influential media outlets, what do you do? You dispense with democracy altogether – after all, it keeps empowering candidates and policies you dislike – by exploiting your media outlets to incite unrest and then install a candidate who could never get elected on his own, yet will faithfully serve your political agenda and ideology.

    • The Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Refusal To Release His Tax Returns

      In an interview with the Associated Press, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump revealed that he will not release any of his tax returns before election day.

      Previously, Trump blamed an ongoing audit for his failure to release returns, an excuse that was questioned by tax experts. As recently as Sunday, Trump pledged to release the returns “as fast as the auditors finish.” Last October, Trump said he would release his tax returns once Hillary Clinton released her emails. Now, Trump adds that he’s not planning to release them because “there’s nothing to learn from them” and voters aren’t interested in the information.

    • Top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13bn in 2015 – more than some nations

      Top earners, Kenneth Griffin and James Simons, made $1.7bn each despite ‘hedge fund killing field’ on Wall Street where many companies lost billions or closed

    • Hedge Fund Managers Are Winning: 2015 Another Year of ‘Outrageous Compensation’

      2015 was a “another year of outrageous hedge fund compensation,” said Robert Weissman, president of advocacy organization Public Citizen.

      Sparking his statement is the latest Rich List published by Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine, which reveals that the industry’s top 25 managers made an average of $517.6 million, and had combined earnings of $12.94 billion.

      The men at the top five spots all earned over $1 billion.

    • BinC Watch: Donald Trump Has Now Changed His Mind on the Minimum Wage Three Times In Three Days

      So what does Trump really think about the minimum wage? There’s no telling. Maybe he really has changed his mind over and over. Maybe he didn’t realize there were separate state and federal minimum wages until someone clued him in on May 8. But his tweet today sure makes it clear that he wants an increase in the federal minimum wage. He even capitalized it to make sure we got the point. I wonder how long we’ll have to wait before he claims he never said this and he really wants the states to decide after all?

    • Elizabeth Warren Mocks Trump on Twitter, and Goads Him Into Striking Back

      Warren also called out Trump University, the real estate magnate’s eponymous “university” that is currently under investigation for allegedly scamming its students, along with his position on Wall Street regulation.

    • Sanders, Sweden and Socialism

      As the 21st century moves forward facing ever increasingly disastrous economic, ecological and military crises, the momentum will increase toward a truly global movement that will permit the billions of working class people to move together in a coordinated fashion. The ruling classes might have the money but we have the numbers. Don’t ever forget that.

    • Why on earth would socialists support the neoliberal, undemocratic EU?

      The EU is a deeply undemocratic institution enforcing austerity and privatisation on its member states. In what strange world is this a progressive institution?

    • The vicious spiral of economic inequality and financial crises

      There is compelling evidence that economic inequality is both a result of, and contributor to, economic crises. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic inequality.

    • Trump Is Already Working On A Rewrite Of His Tax Plan

      And while Trump’s original plan included massive giveaways to the rich and not a whole lot for everyone else, the rewrite looks like it will keep most relief for the wealthy while reducing it for the poor.

    • The capitalism tribunal

      On the aftermath of the leaks related to the Panama Papers and the secretive TTIP negotiations, an important dialogue is maturing in Europe, with respect to the past, the present and the future economy.

      Many voices are now openly challenge the Union’s neoliberal model, as they witness capitalism’s great unkept promise to make life better for everyone. The current political dynamic is fuelled by a sense that activities stemming of the current mainstream economic system, pose a direct threat to the survival of our and other species.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A columnist’s work is never done

      For decades, columnists helped form new communities through their journalism. But now, they’re dying out.

    • Trump Picks White Supremacist Leader as California Delegate, Then Blames Selection on Database Error

      Donald Trump’s campaign is facing criticism after it named a prominent white supremacist leader to its list of delegates in California. William Johnson is the head of the American Freedom Party, which has openly backed the creation of “a separate white ethnostate” and the deportation of almost all nonwhite citizens from the United States. Johnson’s name appeared on a list of delegates published by California’s secretary of state on Monday. After Mother Jones broke the story on Tuesday, the Trump campaign blamed Johnson’s selection on a “database error.” But correspondence published by Mother Jones shows the Trump campaign was in touch with Johnson as recently as Monday.

    • To Counter Trump and Far-Right, Labor Leaders call for ‘Global New Deal’

      Notably, Tuesday’s panel placed “a sizable share of the blame” on center-left parties’ embrace of neo-liberalism, HuffPo reports, which has “diminished the public’s faith in the ability of labor unions and progressive politics to deliver for them—paving the way for far-right populism.”

    • Donald Trump’s Scary, 12-Point Legal Agenda

      Whatever additional consequences the upcoming presidential election may have, the vote will determine the future of the Supreme Court. You probably heard this admonition in 2008 and again in 2012, but this time you really should pay attention.

      In fact, with the death of Antonin Scalia in February and the continuing stalemate in the Senate over the nomination of Merrick Garland—a centrist appellate judge—to succeed him, the court’s future is already up for grabs. Assuming that Garland’s nomination dies on the vine, the next president may get to appoint no less than four members of the nation’s most powerful judicial body.

      Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Breyer and Anthony Kennedy will all be 78 or older by August. Ginsburg, the eldest of the trio, will turn 84 next March.

    • John McCain: Arizona’s sellout senator is the godfather of dark money

      U.S. Sen. John McCain wrote the rules on dark money when he sponsored campaign finance reform, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Now he’s using millions of dollars in dark money in a bid to hold on to his tightly contested Arizona seat.

      An investigation into the various PACs supporting McCain brought to light some stunning conclusions.

      First, the vast majority of McCain campaign donations are not from the Arizonans he represents but from people and corporations outside of Arizona with a vested interest in McCain’s continued support and votes for their interests.

    • FACT CHECK: Did Kelli Ward want to ban the NSA from operating in Arizona?

      Several attack ads have surfaced in the three-way race for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s seat ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.

    • Raining Rockets

      Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. said on CNN, “We have thousands of rockets raining down on our citizens.” In fact, we hear over and over again, “rockets are raining” down on Israel. It makes a strong impression.

      [...]

      Not the image of “rockets raining” that Israel wants. An average of four drops per month hardly qualifies as a rain. When I look out on my front drive and see four drops, I hardly expect to read in the paper that we had a rainy day. If there are not enough drops to wet the street or water my hedges, I don’t expect my neighbor to say, “Wow! What a rainy day.”

    • Democratic Convention Hosted by Republican Donors, Anti-Obamacare Lobbyists

      The Democratic Party’s 2012 platform pledged to “curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests.” But the 2016 convention in Philadelphia will be officially hosted by lobbyists and corporate executives, a number of whom are actively working to undermine progressive policies achieved by President Barack Obama, including health care reform and net neutrality.

      Some of the members of the 2016 Democratic National Convention Host Committee, whose job is to organize the logistics and events for the convention, are hardly even Democratic Party stalwarts, given that many have donated and raised thousands of dollars for Republican presidential and congressional candidates this cycle.

    • Sanders Wins West Virginia, Keeping the Pressure on Clinton

      Bernie Sanders won the West Virginia Democratic primary on Tuesday, once again demonstrating that his campaign retains ardent support despite Hillary Clinton’s significant lead in the delegate count.

    • Bernie Takes West Virginia

      West Virginia really likes Bernie Sanders. He swept the Democratic primary yesterday, winning 51.4 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent, even in the face of the mainstream media essentially declaring the race over.

      Speaking in Salem, Ore., Sanders described the key to his victory: “West Virginia is a working-class state, and like many other states in this country, including Oregon, working people are hurting. And what the people of West Virginia said tonight, and I believe the people of Oregon will say next week, is that we need an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”

    • Neocons and Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill

      Hillary Clinton wants the American voters to be very afraid of Donald Trump, but there is reason to fear as well what a neoconservative/neoliberal Clinton presidency would mean for the world, writes Robert Parry.

    • WaPo Columnist Urges Paul Ryan to Boast of Positions He Doesn’t Hold

      Marcus used her Washington Post column today (5/11/16) to present the speech that House Speaker Paul Ryan should give to Republicans in order to disassociate himself from Donald Trump. She has Paul Ryan being somewhat less than honest.

    • Washington Post Squeezes Four Anti-Sanders Stories Out of One Tax Study Over Seven Hours

      It’s not news that the Washington Post’s editorial board has been lobbying against Sen. Bernie Sanders since the beginning of his improbable presidential campaign. Sometimes this editorial ethos seems to extend to other parts of the paper, as it did in March, when the Post managed to run 16 negative stories about Sanders in 16 hours (FAIR.org, 3/8/16).

    • ‘Terrifying’ New National Poll Shows Trump and Clinton Statistically Tied

      The Reuters/Ipsos poll did not present a match-up between Bernie Sanders and Trump, but recent surveys, including two released Tuesday, show the Vermont senator holding a more secure national lead against the former reality TV star and real estate mogul, and also doing better than Clinton against Trump in major swing states.

    • True Life Adventures Of A Democratic Superdelegate

      In every election since 1984, the Democratic Party has used a semi-private, semi-public system to choose its presidential nominee — electing more than three-quarters of delegates through open state conventions, but giving a few hundred Democratic elected officials, Democratic National Committee members, and party elites an automatic vote. Unlike the pledged delegates, who must cast their vote for whichever candidate won their state or district, these so-called superdelegates can back whomever they choose.

    • Sanders, Clinton, and the Not-So-Simple Case of West Virginia

      Sanders’s broader message has to do with what he calls the corruption of the political system.

    • Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination — No, Seriously

      Last night on CNN, while discussing Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in West Virginia — which followed a 5-point Sanders win in Indiana last week — Michael Smerconish said that “Democratic super-delegates might have to rethink” their support of Hillary Clinton given how dramatically better Sanders fares in head-to-head match-ups against Donald Trump.

      After Clinton’s Indiana loss, John King had told CNN viewers that “if Sanders were to win nine out of ten of the remaining contests, there’s no doubt that some of the super-delegates would panic. There’s no doubt some of them would switch to Sanders. What he has to do is win the bulk of the remaining contests. Would that send jitters, if not panic, through the Democratic Party? Yes. Yes it would.”

    • What’s the Best Move Bernie Sanders Can Make Right Now to Strengthen the Progressive Movement?

      What should Bernie do? That seems to be the question of the month. Permit me to weigh in.

      Here’s what we know at this point in the campaign. For Sanders to have any chance of winning the support of superdelegates, he must arrive at the convention with more elected delegates than Hillary. To do that, he needs to win about 65 percent of all elected delegates in the remaining electoral contests.

      On March 26, Bernie won three states—Washington, Alaska and Hawaii—by huge margins. They were all caucus states. He has never won a primary in a state where only Democrats are allowed to vote. Five of the remaining 10 are in states with closed primaries. So his chances are infinitesimal. Is this an argument for him to drop out? No.

    • Networks, Major Papers Skip State Department Censorship of Fox News Q&A Video [Ed: right wing site]

      The same only-Fox-cares pattern happened after Fox diplomatic correspondent James Rosen reported that the State Department edited out an on-camera admission by Psaki in 2013 that it was necessary for the Obama administration to lie to reporters about negotating with Iran, since “diplomacy requires privacy to progress.”

    • Questionable Assumptions Behind Critiques of Sanders’ Economic Plan

      It’s “Neoliberals Gang Up on Bernie Sanders Week” along the corridor of Washington establishment think-tanks that include the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute and a Brookings offspring, the Tax Policy Center. Out of this corridor came not one, but two reports this week that give negative reviews to Sanders’ health care and tax plans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Turkish President Erdogan Now Demands Injunction Against German Media Boss For Saying He Laughed At Anti-Erdogan Poem

      Every time you think that the thin-skinned, insecure freakouts of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can’t get any more crazy, they do. If you don’t recall, Erdogan has a notrious thin skin, and a long history of censorship of views he doesn’t like. But since becoming President, this has gone into overdrive, with him filing over 1800 cases against people in Turkey for insulting him — including the famous case in which someone passed around an internet meme comparing Erdogan to Gollum.

      That kind of nuttiness jumped international boundaries recently, when Erdogan’s lawyers discovered a long-forgotten German law that made it illegal to insult the head of a foreign country, and demanded that the law be used against a satirical German comedian, Jan Bohmermann, who purposefully read an insulting poem about Erdogan, in order to mock his thin skin. Some might find suing over that poem to be… well… a bit on the nose in making the point the poem was intended to make. But, to Erdogan, it appears that suing over insults is just something he can’t stop doing. More recently, Erdogan discovered that Switzerland has a similar law and went after people there too (while also getting a Dutch reporter arrested).

    • Proof Positive that David Cameron, the BBC, Guardian, New Statesman and Entire Establishment are Peddling Blatant Untruths in the Kuenssberg Affair

      Here are all the comments on the scrapped Kuenssberg petition. You know, the petition David Cameron condemned in the House of Commons today because it was accompanied by a storm of sexist abuse? Well, here are the comments in their entirety and out of 35,000 people who signed, there is virtually nobody whose comment can be seen as remotely sexist. See for yourselves. Can you spot the one sexist comment I found?

      The comments show the petition was overwhelmingly signed by decent, concerned people who were sometimes quite eloquent. Also that the petition supporters are gender balanced and several specifically identify as feminists, and as supporters of the BBC. But neither Cameron, the Guardian and mainstream media nor 38 Degrees itself has any qualm about writing off all these decent citizens as a misogynist rabble.

      [...]

      Now the lies have been thoroughly exploded. Of course the fact Cameron has been involved in peddling the lie may now be leading to some creative design, backdating and history creation in assorted Government establishments.

    • 38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg

      This is the transcript of my conversation with the 38 Degrees Press Spokesman today about the scrapping of the Laura Kuenssberg petition, for which 38 Degrees were praised by David Cameron in the Commons today.

      [...]

      I do not claim the 38 Degrees do not have any evidence to show to “justify” removing this petition. But if they do, I find their attitude absolutely astonishing. It seems to me most probable they did so under establishment pressure with no serious consideration of evidence, and zero concern for the 35,000 people – about half of them female – they have now stigmatised as misogynists.

    • Camille Paglia: The Modern Campus Has Declared War on Free Speech

      Our current controversies over free speech on campus actually represent the second set of battles in a culture war that erupted in the U.S. during the late 1980s and that subsided by the mid-1990s — its cessation probably due to the emergence of the World Wide Web as a vast, new forum for dissenting ideas. The openness of the web scattered and partly dissipated the hostile energies that had been building and raging in the mainstream media about political correctness for nearly a decade. However, those problems have stubbornly returned, because they were never fully or honestly addressed by university administrations or faculty the first time around. Now a new generation of college students, born in the 1990s and never exposed to open public debate over free speech, has brought its own assumptions and expectations to the conflict.

    • The way out of the Labour Party’s ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ requires a politics of solidarity

      In recent weeks, the British Labour Party has been accused of suffering from a crisis of anti-Semitism. But the claim only makes sense if anti-Semitism is redefined to include anti-Zionism. To do so obscures the party’s actual history of anti-Semitism, which is rooted in its support for empire and nationalism, not in anti-Zionism.

    • Hillary Clinton Denounces BDS Again in Letter to Jewish Leaders Before Methodist Conference
    • Zionist Israel Hides Its Crimes Behind Its Smears of Truth-Tellers

      “Anti-semite” has lost its sting, because every justified criticism of the Zionist Israeli government is declared to be anti-semitism. The word is so overused and misapplied as to be useless. Indeed, to be declared “anti-semite” by the Israel Lobby is to be declared a person of high moral conscience.

    • Guy Who Didn’t Invent Email Sues Gawker For Pointing Out He Didn’t Invent Email

      Oh boy. Remember Shiva Ayyadurai? The guy who has gone to great lengths to claim that he “invented email,” when the reality is that he appears to have (likely independently) written an early implementation of email long after others had actually “invented email.” In the past we’ve called out examples where gullible press have fallen for his easily debunked claims, but he keeps popping back up. He somehow got an entire series into the Huffington Post, which was clearly crafted as a PR exercise in trying to rewrite history. The mainstream press repeated his bogus claims about inventing email after he married a TV star. And, most recently, he decided to scream at the press for memorializing Ray Tomlinson — someone who actually did have a hand in creating email — upon his death.

      [...]

      For what it’s worth, some have disputed the idea that he even added any features not existing in previous discussions. Nevertheless, he’s not the “inventor” of email, no matter how many times he claims he is.

      We, of course, have not been alone in debunking his claims. Back in 2012, a few weeks after we first debunked them, Gawker’s Sam Biddle did a long and thorough takedown of Ayyadurai’s claims. Apparently that story really angers Ayyadurai, and I’m guessing that seeing Hulk Hogan win his crazy lawsuit against Gawker helped Ayyadurai to decide to sue Gawker as well.

      And, in keeping with my belief that this is all one giant PR stunt, the lawsuit filing was accompanied by a press release that repeats the same debunked claims, and selectively quotes the very media he fooled as evidence that he really invented email. The actual lawsuit is a joke. As in the Hogan case, Ayyadurai is suing not just Gawker, but also the company’s founder Nick Denton, along with the author of the articles (in this case, Sam Biddle).

    • Game Of Thrones’ Season 6 Spoilers Restored Online After Failed HBO Censorship Attempt
    • HBO Accused of YouTube Censorship on Game of Thrones Spoilers
    • HBO Abuses The DMCA Process In The Name Of Game Of Thrones Spoilers

      We’ve talked in the past about how HBO has jealously protected its Game of Thrones property. The show, wildly popular to the point of being proclaimed as the most pirated show over certain time spans, has enjoyed success due in part to that piracy, according to the show’s director, who made sure to add how much he hated that piracy that helps his show. Add to that HBO’s insisting that certain fan gatherings and events centered around the show be shut down and we have a picture of a company and property very much at odds with anyone looking to share it in a way outside of their control.

      As a parallel, the topic of spoilers often centers on this show. I happen to hate this topic with the fire of a thousand suns, but there is no doubt that some folks out there see unbidden spoilers as the great scourge of our generation. And perhaps that made some people pause when it came out that HBO had issued a DMCA takedown on a YouTube video that discussed such spoilers.

    • Facebook Censorship: Which Images Passed (And Failed) The Nudity Test?
    • Conservative blogger files legal motion against Facebook

      On Tuesday, conservative blogger Steven Crowder announced that he had filed a legal motion against Facebook. According to the document posted by Crowder, “a petition for pre-suit discovery has been filed in Dallas County, Texas seeking discovery from Facebook regarding the actions of its News Feed curators as well as its billing department.”

      According to Crowder, the petition for information has been in the works for some time. Recent revelations regarding Facebook’s Trending Topics section, however, caused him to accelerate his timeline. As we reported Tuesday, Crowder’s site was one of those allegedly censored and blacklisted by Facebook’s news curators.

      Although allegations of censorship prompted him to act more quickly, Crowder said that “this is an issue regarding transparency and the trust of business clients (as well as users), NOT merely ‘censorship’ which Facebook has the right to do.”

    • Lawmakers Are Right To Demand Answers About Facebook Censorship
    • Facebook Censorship: Why a Federal Fix Could Hurt Free Speech
    • Outcry After Censorship Allegations by Facebook Trends
    • Angry about Facebook censorship? Wait until you hear about the news feed
    • US senator demands answers from Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s alleged news censorship

      “Social networks such as Facebook are an increasingly important source of news for many Americans and people around the world,” wrote Thume, adding: “Indeed, with over a billion daily active users on average, Facebook has enormous influence on users’ perceptions of current events including political perspective.”

    • Congress Questions Facebook About Something It Probably Didn’t Do With A Feature That Barely Matters
    • If Facebook Hides Conservative News, a Senate Inquiry is a Bad Idea
    • Ethereum Based Censorship-Immune Social Media Network “Akasha” Unveiled
    • Google Just Gave Payday Lenders The Boot From Its Massive Advertising Network
    • Google bans ads for payday loans

      As of July, Google will no longer allow ads for payday loans, TechCrunch reports. The banned ads are those that have to be repaid within 60 days, and, in the U.S., those that charge more than 36% annual interest, wrote David Graff, Google’s director of global product policy, in a blog post on the change.

      “When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that,” Graff wrote.

    • No more Google ads for payday loans: consumer protection or censorship?
    • Google to Ban Payday Loans From Its Advertising Systems
    • Google Pulls Plug on Predatory Payday Loan Ads, Huzzah!
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DOJ Tells Ron Wyden, ACLU, Court That It’s Under No Legal Obligation To Reveal Contents Of Secret Legal Memo

      There’s another secret legal memo that’s been floating around the nation’s intelligence offices for more than a decade that the DOJ won’t let the American public see. The memo’s contents have been hinted at repeatedly by Senator Ron Wyden, who dropped the heaviest hint of all roughly a year ago, during the runup to the passage of the cybersecurity bill. This lends some credence to the assumption that the secret Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo is somehow related to government demands for information and data from tech companies.

    • GCHQ get involved as a programme of Scottish cyber security career initiatives is launched [Ed: puff pieces reach Scotland]
    • Former NSA Chief, EFF Debate Privacy vs. Security
    • Ex-NSA Chief Michael Hayden: ‘Every Foreign Intelligence Service In The World Was Thumbing Through Hillary’s Email Server’
    • Ex-NSA Director Says Clinton’s Email Problems Were Caused by ‘Laziness’
    • Legal Action against the French Surveillance Law

      The Exégètes amateurs, the legal team of La Quadrature du Net, FDN and FFDN, has submitted new legal briefs in its legal challenge before the French Council of State against the 2015 Intelligence Act and its implementation decrees. The briefs detail all the arguments developed against this dangerous law. For the most part, the strategy consists in mobilizing the case law of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ). A very worrying provision completely overlooked during the parliamentary debate last year is also targeted with a constitutional challenge (so called QPC procedure))

    • FBI director warns that feds will bring more encryption-related cases

      The head of the FBI said Wednesday that the government will bring more legal cases over encryption issues in the near future, according to Reuters.

      Speaking with reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington, FBI Director James Comey specifically said that end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp is affecting the agency’s work in “huge ways.” However, he noted the FBI has no plans to sue Facebook, the app’s parent company.

      He also said that since October 2015, the FBI has examined “about 4,000 digital devices” and was unable to unlock “approximately 500.”

    • James Clapper’s Latest Effort To Fearmonger about Snowden’s Damage

      Clapper provides two pieces of evidence for damage:

      1. Snowden disclosures have made terrorist groups “very security-conscious”

      2. Snowden disclosures have “speeded the move” [by whom, it’s not entirely clear] to unbreakable encryption

      That’s a bit funny, because what we saw from the terrorist cell that ravaged Paris and Belgium was — as The Grugq describes it — “drug dealer tradecraft writ large.” Stuff that they could have learned from watching the Wire a decade ago, with a good deal of sloppiness added in. With almost no hints of the use of encryption.

      If the most dangerous terrorists today are using operational security that they could have learned years before Snowden, then his damage is not all that great.

      Unless Clapper means, when he discusses the use of unbreakable encryption, us? Terrorists were already using encryption, but journalists and lawyers and US-based activists might not have been (activists in more dangerous places might have been using encryption that the State Department made available).

      Neither of those developments should be that horrible. Which may be why Clapper says, “We’ve been very conservative in the damage assessment” even while insisting there’s a lot. Because this is not all that impressive, unless as Chief Spook you think you should have access to the communications of journalists and lawyers and activists.

    • Twitter ‘Blocks’ Intel Agencies From Tweet-Mining Service

      Twitter claims it does not want intelligence agencies using a Tweet-mining service for surveillance purposes. The company recently restated its “longstanding” policy of preventing a company called Dataminr from selling information to intelligence agencies that want to monitor Tweets.

    • Is It Really That Big A Deal That Twitter Blocked US Intelligence Agencies From Mining Public Tweets?

      Over the weekend, some news broke about how Twitter was blocking Dataminr, a (you guessed it) social media data mining firm, from providing its analytics of real-time tweets to US intelligence agencies. Dataminr — which, everyone makes clear to state, has investments from both Twitter and the CIA’s venture arm, In-Q-Tel — has access to Twitter’s famed “firehose” API of basically every public tweet. The company already has relationships with financial firms, big companies and other parts of the US government, including the Department of Homeland Security, which has been known to snoop around on Twitter for quite some time.

      Apparently, the details suggest, some (unnamed) intelligence agencies within the US government had signed up for a free pilot program, and it was as this program was ending that Twitter reminded Dataminr that part of the terms of their agreement in providing access to the firehose was that it not then be used for government surveillance. Twitter insists that this isn’t a change, it’s just it enforcing existing policies.

    • Former NSA chief tells former colleagues frustrated about increasing encryption: “Get over it!”

      Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA and the NSA during the Bush administration, is refreshingly blunt about the limits of government efforts to rein in encryption.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Secret NSA Diary of an Abu Ghraib Interrogator

      After working as an interrogator for a U.S. military contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair took a job as an analyst for the National Security Agency. When he went to the NSA, Fair was reckoning with the torture of Iraqi prisoners, torture he had witnessed and in which he had participated.

      Fair would go on to write a memoir detailing his experiences in Iraq; the book, Consequence, was published last month to strong notices, including not one but two positive reviews in the New York Times. But Fair actually wrote about his time as an interrogator more than a decade earlier in an internal NSA publication.

    • Book Notes: ‘Consequence’ an odd mix of warrior, worshipper

      When the New York Times editor of the Sunday Book Review mentioned, during a recent panel discussion at The Times, that Eric Fair regretted publishing his memoir “Consequence,” I thought I could understand why. The book about torture he had seen and inflicted in Iraq had to have been hard to write and harder still to live with, despite the many essays Fair had already published on the subject.

    • Abu Ghraib prisoners deserve, finally, their day in court

      Twelve years ago American citizens and the rest of the world were rocked by the graphic photographs of the sexual and physical torture at Abu Ghraib. Once seen, the images are impossible to forget: the terrified prisoners, wide-eyed, mostly naked; the pyramids of bodies; the dog-collared man on all fours led on a leash; the hooded man standing on a box, arms spread as if crucified, electrical wires dangling from his fingertips. And, in almost every picture, the guards, looking on with a smirk.

    • Will These 2 Court Cases Finally Hold Our Torturers Accountable?

      They may confirm that since torture is a war crime, it can never be a policy option.

    • Alleged 9/11 plotter’s lawyers ask prosecutor, judge to quit trial over destruction of evidence

      Lawyers for the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, are asking the Pentagon prosecution team and the trial judge to step down, saying they were involved in the secret destruction of evidence in the death-penalty case.

      Attorney David Nevin said by telephone Wednesday that under the rules of war court secrecy he cannot describe the evidence that was allegedly destroyed. He added that a court filing on Tuesday seeking the recusal of the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, and the prosecution team led by Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, does not describe it.

      “It was destroyed under circumstances where we were left with the impression, based on a ruling of the military judge, that the evidence would not be destroyed,” said Nevin.

    • Poor People Don’t Stand A Chance In Court

      Your landlord has decided to evict you and your family has nowhere to go. Or you’re in an abusive relationship and need a restraining order and probably a divorce and custody order for your children. Or you’re a homeless veteran trying to get VA benefits and navigate the complicated claims process. Or you’re being hounded by a collector for a debt you can’t pay who’s threatening to take away all of your income.

    • RIP Michael Ratner, Radical Attorney & Human Rights Crusader

      Michael Ratner, the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, died today in New York City. For the past four decades he has been a leading champion of human and civil rights, from leading the fight to close Guantánamo to representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to holding torturers accountable, at home and abroad.

    • Michael Ratner, RIP (Rest in Power)

      Michael Ratner, a friend of EFF who dedicated his life as a human rights attorney to fighting for justice, passed away earlier today.

      Michael was a staunch defender of civil liberties, forging new pathways for using the court systems and advocacy to fight for justice. As the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a formidable social justice attorney, Michael crossed paths with EFF around Wikileaks and related whistleblower cases, among others. CCR was our co-counsel in the early NSA spying cases. But more importantly, Michael was one of our legal heroes, unafraid to use law and lawsuits to try to address human rights problems in the U.S. and around the world. We have modeled our EFF litigation approach, in part, on the strong work he did. Michael’s many-decades career was colored by his commitment to human dignity, and he fought to ensure that we had a government accountable to the people—and that those who opposed government overreach would be protected and defended.

    • ‘This is History’: Police Officer Indicted on Federal Charges in Walter Scott Killing

      A federal grand jury has indicted former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager for the fatal shooting of Walter Scott.

      The April 4, 2015 shooting was captured on film by a bystander who later said, “I knew the cop didn’t do the right thing.”

      A statement issued Wednesday from the Department of Justice says that the three-count indictment includes charges for a federal civil rights offense for the shooting, excessive force without legal justification, and obstruction of justice for making false statements to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigators.

      Slager, who is white, initially pulled over Scott, who is black, for having a broken tail light on his car. As Scott attempted to run away, the North Charleston officer shot the unarmed 50-year-old Navy veteran and father of four five times from behind.

    • Majorities of Muslim Arabs in N. Africa want a Separation of Religion and State

      It turns out a lot of Muslims want a separation of religion and state, according to a new poll by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Arab Observatory. They polled people in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

    • Your Tax Dollars At Work: Cops Use Stingray To ALMOST Track Down Suspected Fast Food Thief

      According to the Capital News Service investigation, in the seven counties closest to Baltimore and Washington DC, agencies have spent nearly $3 million on Stingray equipment. While the word “terrorism” often appears on applications for funding grants, there’s no evidence the devices have ever been deployed in terrorism investigations. Instead, the most popular use for the devices is to fight the drug war.

      Law enforcement spokespeople will often point to the handful of homicide or kidnapping investigations successfully closed with the assistance of cell site simulators, but they’ll gloss over the hundreds of mundane deployments performed by officers who will use anything that makes their job easier — even if it’s a tool that’s Constitutionally dubious.

      Don’t forget, when a cell site simulator is deployed, it gathers cell phone info from everyone in the surrounding area, including those whose chicken wings have been lawfully purchased. And all of this data goes… somewhere and is held onto for as long as the agency feels like it, because most agencies don’t seem to have Stingray data retention policies in place until after they’ve been FOIA’ed/questioned by curious legislators.

    • Even non-police agencies are misusing the Police National Computer

      The Police National Computer (PNC) and access to the information held on it has always been a hotly debated topic. The PNC stores data on individuals who have been subject to a conviction, caution, reprimand, warning or arrest.

      Over the years countless stories have shown that the database has been misused time and again by some police officers and that thousands of entries are incorrect; leading to mistakes or miscarriages of justice.

    • Sadiq Khan and the End of Islamophobia

      To win the election, Goldsmith could have focused on all the work he’d done on the environment, as a journalist and former editor of the magazine The Ecologist. To further woo liberals, he could have highlighted his considerable international experience and his support of the rights of indigenous peoples. Conversely, he could have cemented his popularity among conservative populists by emphasizing his skeptical attitude toward the European Union. If he’d played it safe, Goldsmith could have translated an early lead in the polls into a victory at the ballot box.

      Instead, the Goldsmith team prompted a huge backlash by suggesting that his opponent, the Labor Party’s Sadiq Khan, was a Muslim extremist because of his associations and his political bedfellows. The rhetoric from the Conservative camp was nothing so blatant or ugly as some of the proposals in the Republican presidential primary, such as prohibiting Muslims candidates from entering the Oval Office (Ben Carson) or prohibiting Muslims immigrant from entering the country (Donald Trump).

    • Facing the facts: a progressive strategy for 2020

      Labour has never secured a convincing majority from opposition and implemented a progressive programme. To believe it can this time is absurd. It’s time for a different approach.

    • Arkansas Judge Resigns After Thousands Of Pictures Of Nude Defendants Found On His Computer

      An Arkansas judge resigned from his seat this week when thousands of photos of naked male defendants were found in his possession.

      The state’s Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission (JDDC) discovered approximately 4,500 photos on Judge Joseph Boeckmann’s computer, amid allegations that he coerced multiple defendants into performing sex acts for court favors. An investigation of the Cross County judge was launched when several men came forward with stories that Boeckmann offered them “community service” options to get their charges and fines reduced, as well as time extensions to pay off those fines.

    • FBI Is Manufacturing Terror Plots Against Jewish-Americans, Driving Divisions Between Jews and Muslims

      Since 9/11, the FBI and NYPD have solved dozens of terror plots that its own agents and assets manufactured, including some against synagogues. Even if the plots were less than real, the foiled “attacks” have greatly impacted both the defendants and their alleged victims, spreading fear among Jewish-Americans and triggering panicked reports about heightened threat against Jews.

      The arrest this April of James Medina, a recent convert to Islam with an extensive criminal history, may be the latest evidence of the disturbing practice. An FBI affidavit showed an FBI source suggesting that Medina bomb the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center in Hollywood, Florida on a Jewish holiday.

      The source even encouraged Medina to claim the attack in the name of ISIS—a group he had no affiliation to. “Yeah, we can print up… something and make it look like it’s ISIS here in America,” Medina said, one of a series of statements evincing an erratic mental state.

      “Aventura, watch your back,” he continued. “ISIS is in the house.”

      The FBI ultimately gave Medina a fake bomb and arrested him. He is now on trial for planning to commit an act of terror with a weapon of mass destruction, a charge that could land the 40-year-old in prison for life.

    • Tortured, Killed & Driven to Suicide: Whistleblower Exposes Abuse of Mentally Ill in Florida Prison

      A shocking new exposé in The New Yorker magazine documents how prison guards at the Dade Correctional Institution in Florida have subjected mentally ill prisoners to vicious beatings, scalding showers and severe food deprivation. Journalist Eyal Press notes the guards act with near impunity since prison staff, including mental health workers, often fear reprisals for speaking out. He writes that prisons have become America’s dominant mental health institutions. The situation is particularly extreme in Florida, which spends less money per capita on mental health than any state with the exception of Idaho. We speak with Eyal Press and one of his sources, George Mallinckrodt, a psychotherapist and whistleblower who lost his job after reporting on abuse of his patients in the Dade Correctional Institution’s Transitional Care Unit in 2011.

    • Slowly Abolishing Solitary Confinement for Children

      Children are still being held in isolation in detention and correctional facilities across the United States. Children can be found curled up on cement floors in bare cells for 22 hours a day, and for days at a time. In order to use bathroom facilities in Los Angeles County Jail, young people must bang on their cell door and hope that someone comes to escort them to a bathroom.

    • American Sheriff

      Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.’s podcast, The People’s Sheriff, begins with a slide-guitar and a boot-stomp beat before segueing into the rich baritone of the sheriff himself. Over the next 40 minutes, Clarke holds forth on the topics of the day: Planned Parenthood is “what I call ‘Planned Genocide.’” Public schools are so dangerous “there should be a body camera on every teacher.” Higher education has become “a racketeering ring.” The sheriff is also a big fan of presidential candidate Donald Trump: “He gets us. He understands us.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Germany: open WiFi after all?

      Following the opinion of Attorney General Szpunar in the pending McFadden case (C-484/14, IPKat post), the German coalition government has decided to abandon the “Störerhaftung” of providers of open WiFi Networks for illegal use of the Internet access by users of the hot spot.

    • Germany to abolish provider liability law, open path to more free WiFi

      The German government has cleared the way for open and private WiFi hotspots. A provider liability law that makes hotspot providers responsible for users’ activity has long limited public WiFi and is set to be scrapped.

  • DRM

    • Save Firefox!

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), once the force for open standards that kept browsers from locking publishers to their proprietary capabilities, has changed its mission. Since 2013, the organization has provided a forum where today’s dominant browser companies and the dominant entertainment companies can collaborate on a system to let our browsers control our behavior, rather than the other way.

      This system, “Encrypted Media Extensions” (EME) uses standards-defined code to funnel video into a proprietary container called a “Content Decryption Module.” For a new browser to support this new video streaming standard — which major studios and cable operators are pushing for — it would have to convince those entertainment companies or one of their partners to let them have a CDM, or this part of the “open” Web would not display in their new browser.

      This is the opposite of every W3C standard to date: once, all you needed to do to render content sent by a server was follow the standard, not get permission. If browsers had needed permission to render a page at the launch of Mozilla, the publishers would have frozen out this new, pop-up-blocking upstart. Kiss Firefox goodbye, in other words.

      The W3C didn’t have to do this. No copyright law says that making a video gives you the right to tell people who legally watch it how they must configure their equipment. But because of the design of EME, copyright holders will be able to use the law to shut down any new browser that tries to render the video without their permission.

      That’s because EME is designed to trigger liability under section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which says that removing a digital lock that controls access to a copyrighted work without permission is an offense, even if the person removing the lock has the right to the content it restricts. In other words, once a video is sent with EME, a new company that unlocks it for its users can be sued, even if the users do nothing illegal with that video.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: Markup and Commentary

      President Obama has signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) into law. The new law creates a private cause of action for trade secret misappropriation that can be brought in Federal Courts and with international implications.

      I have created a mark-up (with commentary) of the new law that shows how the DTSA’s amendments to the Economic Espionage Act (EEA).

    • India’s Proposed ‘Geospatial Information Regulation Bill’ Would Shut Down Most Map-Based Services There

      It’s obvious that technology changes our lives, but alongside the expected developments, there are some strange and unexpected ones, too. For example, half a century ago, who would have predicted that boring old copyright would have such a massive impact on everyday life, even to the extent of redefining what ownership means? Similarly, when mobile phones first appeared, few realized later iterations that included powerful computers would elevate another dry and dusty area — cartography — into a key aspect of modern technology.

    • Trademarks

      • Facebook Wins Trademark Case In China Over Chinese Beverage Company

        You should be aware by now that Facebook has taken a rather extreme stance when it comes to protecting its trademark. This stance has essentially evolved to consist of this: it will dispute pretty much anything else on the internet that has the word “book” in it. Examples include Designbook, Lamebook, and Teachbook. And, because trademark bullying isn’t something that should be done half-way, the company also disputed the name of Faceporn, because why the hell not?

        This has continued to this day, which is not news worthy. But what is news worthy is when Facebook gets one of these wins in a trademark dispute in China, where trademark disputes haven’t typically gone the way American companies would wish.

      • Merpel visits the EU IPO

        The first problem came with the new OHIM website in December 2013. Setting aside some issues of poor quality content, there was a catastrophic failure of the online filing search functions (see IPKat posts here and here). Users reported regular problems with online filing of designs thereafter, sometimes the system working perfectly well, and other times crashing irretrievably (a bit of a problem when you have just uploaded the representations for 50 designs). OHIM’s technical assistance frequently concluded that there was no issue at their end, so the problem must be with the user.

    • Copyrights

      • On the stand, Google’s Eric Schmidt says Sun had no problems with Android

        Alphabet Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt testified in a federal court here today, hoping to overcome a lawsuit from Oracle accusing his company of violating copyright law.

        During an hour of questioning by Google lawyer Robert Van Nest, Schmidt discussed his early days at Google and the beginnings of Android. Everything was done by the book, Schmidt told jurors, emphasizing his positive relationship with Sun Microsystems and its then-CEO Jonathan Schwartz.

        Schmidt himself used to work at Sun Microsystems after getting his PhD in computer science from UC Berkeley in 1982. Schmidt was at Sun while the Java language was developed.

        “Was the Java language released for anyone to use?” asked Van Nest.

      • Stakes Are High in Oracle v. Google, But the Public Has Already Lost Big

        Attorneys for the Oracle and Google companies presented opening statements this week in a high-stakes copyright case about the use of application-programming interfaces, or APIs. As Oracle eagerly noted, there are potentially billions of dollars on the line; accordingly, each side has brought “world-class attorneys,” as Judge William Alsup noted to the jury. And while each company would prefer to spend their money elsewhere, these are businesses that can afford to spend years and untold resources in the courtroom.

      • YouTube’s Copyright Robots Help Sony Shake Down Bluegrass Educators

        The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbors protect websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and many others against runaway copyright lawsuits. They also protect people’s fair use rights when they post their own creations online, by ensuring that online platforms don’t have to assume the risk of a user’s fair use case going the wrong way. But automated filtering and takedown systems on platforms like YouTube—systems that the DMCA doesn’t require—flag obvious fair uses as potential infringement, including educational work around the history of music itself. That’s why it’s alarming that major entertainment companies want Congress to scrap the DMCA’s safe harbor and make automatic filtering the law.

      • Fake Copyright Arguments at the FCC on Set-Top Boxes

        As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues working on breaking up the TV set-top box monopoly, the onslaught by large companies who have zero interest in promoting a competitive open technology environment has been fierce. Cable companies, the movie industry, the recording industry, and their parakeet allies are regularly misrepresenting the bounds of copyright law to Congress and the FCC in an attempt to secure powers that copyright law does not provide them.

      • Google took our property—and our opportunity, Oracle tells jury

        Oracle is making its case to a jury that Google should be forced to pay massive copyright damages, due to the search company’s use of 37 Java APIs in its Android operating system. It’s the second courtroom face-off for the two software giants. Google argued that APIs shouldn’t be copyrighted at all, but lost on appeal. Now Google’s only hope is that the jury finds that its use of the APIs was a “fair use.”

      • At WIPO, Music Industry Points Fingers At YouTube For Hiding Behind Safe Harbour
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  7. Brand Dilution in Action

    Microsoft's proprietary software which spies on people and businesses is getting a "free ride" on the "Linux" brand; and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to notice how perverse that it



  8. At the EPO Money -- Not Quality -- is King

    Financiers are ruining quality



  9. The EPO's Strategic Failure 2023

    Potemkin social dialogue



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  11. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  12. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  13. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  14. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  15. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  17. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  18. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  19. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  20. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  21. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  22. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  24. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  25. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  26. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  28. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  29. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  30. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day


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