UPC is Class War (the Rich Fighting Everyone Else), Hence the Increasing Militarisation of the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s management is trying to ‘pacify’ the Office by force

Slave trade

Summary: In the face of resistance to controversial and often antidemocratic, illegal, possibly criminal or felonious acts, Team Battistelli resorts to ‘decapitation tactics’ (attacking or torturing figureheads) and armament around itself — all this while falsely accusing others of bearing arms or resorting to aggression

THE EPO scandals are happening for a reason. As Dr. Glyn Moody put it earlier this year: “When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Think along the lines of globalisation in line/lieu with TPP, TTIP or whatever corporate-leaning agenda is interjected in transit (amid unison, where laws get ‘harmonised’, i.e. modified in accordance to some peripheral interests).

Techrights is genuinely concerned about UPC and has been concerned about it for more than half a decade (we wrote about this well before it was known as “UPC”). We are gratified to see that writers, attorneys, examiners and even politicians are beginning to catch up. They realise what it’s all about and they occasionally rant about it. In response, the UPC’s proponents get all paranoid and even aggressive. As one tongue-in-cheek comment put it the other day: “Why are you astonished Merpel? Have you not been reading the comments on your own blog over these last few years? These people are so far up their own backsides,,,,they lost touch with reality so long ago,,,, However I can understand their insecurity, It’s pretty easy to imagine a scenario whereby somebody kidnaps an EPO VP or PD and sends a ransom note along the lines of “we have kidnapped a senior member of your EPO management – pay us 10 Euros in cash or we will send them back”” (that’s a joke of course).

Some people who perhaps lack a sense of humour responded as though it’s a Battistelli-funded comment. “Apparently,” one person wrote, “FTI Consulting keep sending out their trolls…”

Well, FTI is quite likely injecting EPO talking points into discussions, but this isn’t it. As one person put it:

Is it really necessary to call somebody a paid troll for pointing out the obvious?

Of course jihadists are unlikely to be aware of Mr. Battistelli’s existence, never mind hatch any scheme against it. However, Mr. Battistelli himself, who has a notoriously inflated opinion of his own importance, probably doesn’t see things like that, and may even be convinced that offing him would be ISIL’s biggest success since the fall of Mosul.

Another comment said (BB is short for Battistelli):

Thanks for the observation. I hadn’t noticed the second “trolling” comment and have to say I’m not sure who the first one was directed at, let alone with regard to what! I stuck to one factual statement, relevant to the issue of why security is thought by BB (for whatever reason) to be needed, and an expression of my own opinion that my colleagues are not a threat. Not clear how that can be trolling.
Perhaps it might be worth considering that an opinion which you don’t share is not trolling without further qualification – ironically, the criers appear to imply that their colleagues are such that BB may need protection. Now that would be trolling if I put that idea out there without any justification.
To return to my comment – BB thinks he could be a target of terrorists (I have no way of knowing, I hope he is over-egging it out of caution) and I don’t think my colleagues, however upset or even distressed, would resort to violence.
And if that is still provocative…

Battistelli is trying to maintain the illusion that EPO representatives are violent and dangerous. Keeping bodyguards around perpetuates this illusion and the aforementioned sarcastic comment (about kidnapping “a senior member of your EPO management”) is actually rather funny. Battistelli sees conspiracies where there are none (“To the man who is afraid everything rustles,” said this comment) and the only broad conspiracy nowadays is one that’s perpetrated by Battistelli and his super-rich buddies, who are eager to make the UPC a reality at all costs (even breaking European or international laws in the process). Recall the above remark from Dr. Moody about the role of the UPC in a lot of the present mess.

“Logic does not seem to enter into these recent “security” precautions,” one person pointed out, “an example being the need for representatives to demonstrate to security staff that the contents of their brief cases contain nothing more threatening than a ring-binder. I wonder what they would do if in a hearing concerning, say, a patent for an arrow tip, the rep. was to bring examples to the hearing.”

We wrote about it earlier this year. It is amazing, isn’t it? Here is another comment on the subject:

I read that: “the bodyguards are precisely for within the EPO”.

Also I read that the EPO’s highest paid employee, its President, wants DG3 bundled out of the building in which he has his office.

I conclude that Mr Battistelli in his Isar Building fastness finds inconvenient or embarrassing even the mere presence of any EPO employee, one who is not a member of the coterie he has gathered around himself. Incidentally, is it true, that he has his own private lift, to shuttle him in isolation between the garage and the penthouse suite?

The function of the bodyguards within the EPO is presumably then to keep all other humans a safe distance away from their man, to ensure that the President when in the office never has to even suffer eye contact with any other employee of the EPO.

“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid,” one person said. “You explore every roadmap and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.”

Here is another comment on this subject:

according to my info the bodyguards are precisely for within the EPO (contrary to the troll assertion above).

In the outside world no one knows Battistelli, Bergot al. And as to the real risks: the EPO is only the targetted by Greenpeace coming once in a while with a banner on the facade or the like.

Do not forget that Battistelli sees “enemies from within” (the insulting title of an interview he gave to the epo friendly Les Echos (FR in the past).

I also heard that first the epo wanted the sheriffs with weapons before to finally accept them without. A top management who needs to be protected from its workforce says a lot about the level of tensions reached.

At the EPO, as a result of this militarisation, a lot of money now gets wasted. “This money was entirely paid by the applicants and nobody knows where it will disappear,” said this one comment. To quote it in full:

Non-unity objections in search have become more popular in the EPO lately, because the internal rules have changed. Examiner have less time to deal with a search (they have larger numbers of searches and examination assigned than the previous years), and non-unity is seen by their directors as a quick way to send the file back to the applicants to be put into order. Or, if the applicants pay extra fees, the directorate figures are increased by the number of extra search fees.

It is one of the many measures of the Battistelli team designed to both lower the level of service and increase the fees.

I wonder why the industry does not complain about the evolution of the European Patent system. Battistelli is saving millions of euros, but the fees do not decrease. The official figures from the budget is that we have 340 millions left last year after we spend 200 millions on the new building and about as much on modernizing our computer system (all the money went to French firms like “Infotel conseil”, btw…). This money was entirely paid by the applicants and nobody knows where it will disappear.

The European Patent Office is simply not what it used to be. Examiners are not paid enough for it to be competitive on the Munich work market (Munich is not France where everybody seems to be desperate for a job), so the EPO cannot fill half the posts they want. Work pressure, especially under directors who want to profile themselves, is so high that people are cutting huge corners. The boards of appeal do not work for lack of staff. Staff representatives are dismissed and prohibited entry on the premises and more dismissals are under way. It has never been that bad since the EPO was founded.

“The European Patent Office is simply not what it used to be,” the above says, stating the obvious. Another person concurs:

I agree with that last posting, from “Concerned Examiner”. The Rules have been there since 1978, to discipline recalcitrant applicants. For example, the one that decrees that the consent of the Exam Division is needed, before you can get a second round of amendment admitted. Given the sequential performance at the EPO of search and then substantive examination, of course it was never going to be your right to switch during substantive examination to unsearched subject matter.

The trouble starts though, when management belatedly starts to dragoon examiners into enforcing the Rules rigorously and inflexibly, with no appreciation of user needs.

Of course, there needs to be a balance between i) allowing Applicants to file at the EPO materials drafted in US-style, and ii) expecting Applicants to re-draft, before the end of the Paris Convention year, into EPO style. I recall that G Decision which recognised the need for Applicants, post-filing, to be able to re-draft methods of medical treatment claims into EPC-compliant claims. To deny them that freedom, thought the EBA, would be unfair to such Applicants from outside Europe. Conversely though, you shouldn’t be letting such Applicants get away with amendments refused to those Applicants based in Europe.

Time was, when Examiners searched not only what was claimed but also what Applicant would likely fall back on, when all the originally filed claims turn out to be old or obvious. Personally, I haven’t yet noticed any general refusal amongst Examiners to examine amended claims that draw from the description but do still claim, albeit more narrowly, the inventive concept that the Applicant was presenting from the outset. Yes, there are rogue Examiners, but there always were. If you want to claim a different concept, file a divisional. That was always what you had to do.

Readers, I think you might find that there is only one jurisdiction which finds the EPC so difficult to understand. Everywhere else in the world, it is nothing special. When working for clients in that one jurisdiction, boy, it sure does help, to have amassed considerable experience so you can understand how they tick. For then you really can help them, by mediating effectively between what they can get under the EPC, and what they mistakenly suppose they are entitled to.

EPO Examiners, I am still your friend. I think you (or nearly all of you) continue to do a thorough, conscientious and competent job, giving Applicants all the help it is within your power to provide, while exercising the Rules in the same way for all Applicants, big or small.

“Basically,” noted this comment, “the EPO is turning fast into a registration system.” To quote with context:

unfortunately, I am afraid that you have no felt what is still in the pipe-line. Or maybe, you are active in a technical domain in which the director does not give in to pressure from higher up. But I can assure you that you will not be our friend when the changes have trickled down.

Battistelli wants to improve “efficiency”. Translation: 20% more grants per year. Last year, the examiners had to send out the easy cases out. This year, most have only the rubbish files left. But they still have to find something to grant or they’ll get bad markings. And the reform which has just been announced is that bad markings can get you dismissed for professional incompetence, the dismissal procedure has been streamlined.

Some examiners are resisting the push to grant the rubbish files, especially the older ones. Last year, the EPO silently got rid of the most reluctant examiners by pushing them into pension. This year will be different.

Basically, the EPO is turning fast into a registration system. That should not be a surprise, coming from a French president, should it? Except that it will be a registration system at the price of an examination system.

This is what we have been saying for quite some time. Quality is declining due to policy, so the EPO becomes not much better than the USPTO, which is also getting worse (in the quality sense) over time.

One commenter ponders and wonders if Battistelli “and the other politicians [are] nurtured by the lobbying activities of Big Corp?”

This is exactly what’s happening. See the memo “Closer Contact with Major Applicants”. The commenter agrees with the above, too:

It fits with what I gather from all sides.

Power users of the EPO want a pile of patents that is higher than the pile their competitors have amassed. Never mind the quality; instead, feel the weight! BB is only too ready to oblige them. BigCorp negotiates with BigCorp to stay out of the courts of law. Neither side knows what patent strength they really possess. The only thing the negotiators have to go on is how high is their own pile of patents and how high is the pile on the other side of the table.

Whether that is good for promoting technological progress is another thing entirely. Not sure that France can hold itself out to be the world’s best jurisdiction for technological innovation. But technological progress is the only thing that can create well-paid jobs, raise living standards and lift prosperity for the masses.

Now, do BB and the other politicians care about those living standards? Or is it just their own living standards, nurtured by the lobbying activities of Big Corp? If you want to see political hypocrisy and willful blindness in action, just look at the Conference on “Corruption” running at the moment in London. English politicians never come to the idea that the City of London is the sump of corruption in Europe, even after they read the most recent issue of The Economist, because they only see what they want to see.

Deep inside the EPO it’s still pretty ugly and nothing has improved, based on our sources and anonymous voices from within. Battistelli et al try to silence everyone by attacking figureheads and increasingly, over time, staff is controlled through fear rather than loyalty. To quote one last comment from another thread:

Do not worry. No DG3 members will dare to disobey.
From December 2015 onwards they can be suspended on half pay for a minimum of two years with the possibility of infinite extension.


All that is needed is for the President to make such a proposal to the AC.
Bye bye independence.

It should say December 2014 actually.

As the EPO crisis deepens we wonder if a month from now the Administrative Council will do the right thing and dismiss Battistelli from his duties, preferably along with his UPC ‘reforms’ that brought chaos (a coup atmosphere) to what was once a reputable Office.

With Software Patents Abound, Free/Open Source Software Loses, Patent Lawyers Gain

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time for programmers to get actively involved and put an end to software patenting

The tax on development

Summary: The tax on development — or the cost associated with patent-related mess — is rapidly increasing and in the case of Free software it by far exceeds the revenue gained from distribution, which is usually $0

THE US patent system is extremely hostile towards Free software, which is why all sorts of groups like OIN came into existence (even if they’re ineffective in practice). Put rather bluntly, the USPTO and Free software cannot coexist unless or until the patent examiners stop granting software patents and PTAB (or equivalent) tosses away already-granted software patents (there is a very high invalidation rate there).

Law 360, a site with stubborn paywalls, has this news about a new high-profile decision. It is worth noting that in SRI International Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc. it’s Free software, the software created by Sourcefire, which is deemed infringing. To quote Law 360:

Cisco Systems Inc. infringed two network surveillance patents owned by SRI International Inc., a Delaware federal jury decided Thursday, ordering the California tech company to pay nearly $24 million in damages.

SRI’s lawsuit had targeted products like Cisco’s so-called Intrusion Prevention System and some services Cisco acquired when it bought Sourcefire Inc. (Credit: AP) The eight jurors unanimously agreed the San Jose-based Cisco willfully infringed the patents with its network intrusion prevention products and failed to prove the patents were invalid.

What next? Jabber? Cisco deserves some credit for fighting back, but it lost anyway. This is bad news for Free software and it demonstrates the problem with software patents. Cisco should appeal if it’s possible; maybe Alice can help here.

“Software patents are silent killers and the mainstream media does little or nothing at all to highlight this problem.”Over the years we have covered several examples of Free software projects (programs, apps, plugins) which were killed (removed from the Net overnight) due to patent aggression, either litigation or threats thereof. Software patents are silent killers and the mainstream media does little or nothing at all to highlight this problem. This apathy is only made worse when they decide to quote patent lawyers, not software developers, regarding software patents (at times even just letting them contribute a whole column/article).

Another new article from Law 360 speaks about the massive legal fees in patent cases. To quote: “That rate has now reached $2,000 per hour, according to research conducted by BTI Consulting Group, a significant increase from the previous high of $1,600 reached last year and nearly three times the average rate clients pay for outside legal work.”

“59% of Companies Pay at Least One Law Firm $1000 per Hour,” one patent attorney wrote, to which Benjamin Henrion responded with “I always said it was a parasitic profession.”

“The media is besieged by patent lawyers.”How many Free software developers can afford patent lawyers at these truly extortionate rates? Why aren’t developers not up in arms? Where is the resistance? The media is besieged by patent lawyers.

The Hill, the lobbyists’ media, is now occupied by patent maximalists for patent maximisation (no surprise here). To quote the disclosure of this latest propaganda piece: “Stoll is a partner and co-chair of the intellectual property group at Drinker Biddle & Reath and a former commissioner for patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”

And these people now pose as ‘journalists’. Where are the software developers’ voices? The proponents of software patents try to amplify Stoll’s message with nonsense like: “Are patent decisions strangling our economy? Former Patent Commissioner Bob Stoll says yes.”

“There is nothing that poses an existential threat to Free software (not the vendor captive FOSS) more than software patents and more involvement is needed from more programmers in order to put an end to that.”“It’s “his economy,” Henrion pointed out. “Patent agents live off patents.” Well, they also take over the media.

“DDR Holdings is no longer only point of hope for innovators and patent owners in software space,” wrote another maximalist, “discussing Enfish” (which we have just covered).

As Henrion noted, is this “hope of the nightmare coming back?”

“Today we celebrate the anniversary of #MSFT’s very 1st #patent,” wrote a Microsoft account. “Cheers to 30 years of innovation & much more to come” (not innovation, blackmail, even against Free software).

As Henrion put it, “you mean the best nightmare for developers?”

We really need more developers — not just Free software developers — to get involved and counter these messages from patent lawyers, some of whom wish their way into more patents in Europe, including software patents that Germany is notorious for granting (“Are most patents in Germany valid after all?”).

There is nothing that poses an existential threat to Free software (not the vendor captive FOSS) more than software patents and more involvement is needed from more programmers in order to put an end to that.

Relying on EPO, CAFC — Originator of Software Patents in the US — Tries to Bring Them Back Into Play in Microsoft Case

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 6:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And the microcosm of patents lawyers helps CAFC by selective coverage and accompanying hype that is hardly justified

Omission bias
Reference: Wikipedia

Summary: The highly biased Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) rules in favour of a software patent, so the crowd of patent lawyers (or their sites) goes wild and makes it seem like an Earth-shattering development that suddenly makes software patents very eligible in spite of Alice/§ 101

CONCERNS about the EPO‘s rogue management and the EPO scandals are globally justified as these matters impact not only Europe. And it’s not just because the EPO is not a European body (it’s international/globalist) but because it inspires moves in other countries/continents, where labour rights gradually get abolished/eroded and patents get expanded in terms of scope, number, injunctions, damages, and so on.

“New USPTO Patent-Eligibility Guidance Not So New,” according to this pro-patents site. Lawyers’ sites which comment on USPTO guidelines would rather have us believe nothing has changed. This one says that “this memorandum simply lays out the by now well-known two-part Alice/Mayo test, spells out explanations that examiners are supposed to give when making Section 101 rejections, and provides examiners with responses to arguments that applicants may make. Applicants may find this guidance useful in pressing examiners for better explanation of rejections based on allegedly unpatentable subject matter. However, I suspect applicants will continue to be frustrated by the seemingly subjective, and undeniably unpredictable, nature of many rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”

“The USPTO does not care what the Supreme Court says.”Will this patent office stop issuing software patents at long last? We doubt it. The USPTO does not care what the Supreme Court says. It’s pretty much the same at the EPO, where the EPC is repeatedly ignored (on multiple levels).

EPC rules are being ignored/crushed by Battistelli with his lousy leadership (while he makes up the EPO rules/guidelines with zero oversight) and in the mean time we learn that: “The CAFC in Enfish v Microsoft employed the EPO technical test to define what, if anything, was abstract.”

Worth noting, as we have indicated before, is the gross deception (by omission) from lawyers’ sites. When decisions are made against software patents in the US the lawyers’ blogs and sites are mostly quiet; but they’re all in hype and joy otherwise, amplifying the news. This is why the lawyers’ sites were all over this case a few days ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], with headlines like “Federal Circuit Clearly Says Software Can Be Patentable” and summaries such as this: “A Federal Circuit panel (Judges Moore, Taranto, and Hughes) has unambiguously stated that some — one might even say much — software is patent-eligible, reversing findings of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for two patents “directed to an innovative logical model for a computer database.” Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., No. 2015-1244 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2016) (opinion by Judge Hughes). In addition to reversing a summary judgment of Section 101 invalidity, the court vacated a summary judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 102, and left intact a summary judgment of non-infringement. But the reason why this case will be a big deal is the holding — and analysis — pertaining to the patent-eligibility of software inventions.”

“Then came the think tanks (the think tanks of patent maximalism), like one that supports not only patent trolls but also software patents.”“The EPO tech feature test is 40 years old,” one person wrote. “Why didn’t CAFC use it before and avoid all this jurisprudential bullshit?”

As Benjamin Henrion put it, “because the EPO test is garbage.”

Another opponent of software patents asked, “US Court now using EU rules?”

A later question was, “so they just take rules from other Countries when they decide to?”

“The GAO Report has already cited the role of Software Patents in the problem,” it was added, “FTC Report will probably say the same” (the patent maximalists slam it before it’s even released).

“In her Dissent in Bilski,” said one patent attorney, “J. Moore said that the abstract test would swallow circuit court decisions. It did. Hence, Enfish Today.” Another tweet said: “Enfish v Microsoft et al.–Only 1 of 2 Fed Cir Decisions Holding Software Eligible under 101; Held Software Not Inherently Abstract”

“Suffice to say, patent maximalists were celebrating, expounding, and emphasising the news.”Then came the think tanks (the think tanks of patent maximalism), like one that supports not only patent trolls but also software patents. To quote: [1, 2] “Some much-needed sanity in #patent law: Fed Cir says today in Enfish v. Microsoft that #software NOT automatically “abstract” under 101 test [...] unfortunately, Alice left much to interpretation by courts & PTO, who took it as anti-software patent mandate” (still slamming the Supreme Court because, once again, CAFC is trying to promote software patents, which it made up or introduced in the first place).

Here is a press release about the case. Suffice to say, patent maximalists were celebrating, expounding, and emphasising the news. This is their time to deceive, mislead, and engage in shameless self-promotion/marketing. IAM wrote: “Since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Alice, many in the patent market have been searching for a case that provides some greater clarity on the Justices’ thinking or, at the very least, doesn’t simply see the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirm a lower court ruling and invalidate the patent in question. Those cases have been few and far between but the market took some encouragement this week from the CAFC’s decision in Enfish LLC v Microsoft, when the majority ruling explicitly stated that Alice did not simply eliminate broad swathes of software from patent eligibility.”

“So many sites, almost all of which are run by patent lawyers and their batsmen, are celebrating and emphasising this case because they love software patents and conveniently ignore the cases where the opposite is concluded.”Here is what Gene Quinn’s site and IP Kat wrote. So many sites, almost all of which are run by patent lawyers and their batsmen, are celebrating and emphasising this case because they love software patents and conveniently ignore the cases where the opposite is concluded.

National Law Review went with the headline “CAFC Finds Software Patent Eligible Under 35 U.S.C. §101″ and Andrew Chung from Reuters said “Federal Circuit revives patent, expands software eligibility”.

Software-related patents will survive challenges to their validity despite a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that has led to the widespread cancellation of patents, if they improve the way computers operate, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

In a dispute involving Enfish LLC and Microsoft Corp, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit revived two Enfish patents on an advanced database, agreeing with the company’s Cooley attorneys that the technology improves the functioning of a computer and thus deserved to be patented.

As Microsoft lobbies so hard for software patents, losing this case is possibly good news to Microsoft. One might argue that they’re winning by losing here. This case isn’t about patent trolls but about patent scope and the former “patent reform is minimal,” Benjamin Henrion reminds people, “real reform involves discussing patents for software.”

“Why did it rely on the EPO? It seems totally improper a thing to do.”Right now there’s just one case that shows digression (moving in the opposite direction) as “patent courts are always biased.” (especially true in the case of CAFC, which is full of well-documented corruption)

“In a rare win for a software patentee,” Patently-O wrote, “the Federal Circuit has rejected a lower court ruling that Enfish’s “self-referential” database software and data-structure invention is ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as effectively an abstract idea.”

Why did it rely on the EPO? It seems totally improper a thing to do.

In other cases — not the type of cases that patent lawyers want the public to know about, § 101 kills patents because it’s about an “electronic device to obtain clinical trial data that would otherwise be collected by pen-and-paper diary” (to quote the decision, not the Docket Report):

The court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s clinical drug trial patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea.

Another § 101 article from the Docket Report says “Popularity of § 101 Motions Weighs Against Certification for Interlocutory Appeal”. To quote: “The court denied defendant’s motion to certify for interlocutory appeal an earlier order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of patentable subject matter because, although there was a controlling question of law that would materially advance the litigation, the court exercised its discretion not to grant appeal given the popularity of 35 U.S.C. § 101 motions.”

The bottom line is this: Most decisions which involve § 101 wind up eliminating software patents. But reading the patent lawyers-dominated media (or their own ‘news’ sites) one might give the opposite impression.

[ES] Compañías Grandes Que Se Están Convirtiéndo Trolles Amenazan a Linux, Tratan de Embargar Importaciónes

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Article as ODF

Publicado en GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 11:17 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Las patentes de software atacan de nuevo

La creencia no es sustitúto de la aritmética.”

Henry Spencer

Sumario: Batállas legales que largamente envuelven a Android (y por extensión Linux) son notados en los medios esta semana porque hay una solicitud para su prohibición (interdicto)

Hay una creciénte tendencia en economías que están yendo para abajo porque crecimiénto infinito es imposible y los monopolistas luchan para compensar sus pérdidas y sobreponérse a nuevas fronteras. A las compañías que alguna vez produciéron productos asombrósos no les queda nada pero patentes, así que recurren a chantáje de patentes y tratan de escurrir a otras compañías de sus ganancias. Observen como, en medio de grandes despidos, IBM esta atacándo compañías legítimas usando patentes de software en estos días, ganándose títulos como “el Más Grande Troll de Patentes del Mundo”. IBM se considera una victicma y dijo: “IBM, una reliquia de las firmas tecnológicas del siglo 20, ha recurrido a usurpar la propiedad intelectual de las compañías nacidas este milenio.” ¿Puede alguién confíar IBM con la OIN más? IBM no es un aliado creíble, es un animal encorralado asustado de no emplear un medio millón de personas como solía. ‘Pobrecito’ IBM…

No sólo compañíás que pretendes ser todo por Linux hacen esto. Una de estas compañíás es Creative, de la que hablamos el otro dia. Como un nuevo artículo lo puso, “Creative se levanta de los muertos para tratar de destruir a Android” y para citar:

¿Recuerdas Creative? En la década de 2000, la empresa tuvo su gran periodo, ya que sus reproductores de MP3 Zen fueron los anti-sistema alternativo al iPod. En estos días, la empresa con sede en Singapur en su mayoría hace auriculares para juegos y altavoces de la computadora – nada que ver con los teléfonos inteligentes, en otras palabras. Pero gracias a una denuncia presentada en contra de todos los fabricantes de teléfonos Android grande, Creative ha declarado la guerra a Android en silencio.

La queja presentada contra un quién es quién de los teléfonos inteligentes Android: Samsung, LG, HTC, Blackberry, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo y Motorola. El tema en cuestión es reproductores de música: todos los teléfonos tienen ellos, y Creative tiene una patente que piensa está siendo violada. En concreto, todos los teléfonos son capaces de “reproducción de archivos multimedia almacenados seleccionados por un usuario desde una visualización jerárquica.”

Android Police escribió que “Creative Quiere Prohibir a la Mayoría de Telefonos Android Phones de los EE.UU por una Supuesta Infracción de Patentes” y para citar unos párrafos:

Creative no es un nombre que se oye tan a menudo en la electrónica de consumo en estos días. La firma con sede en Singapur es conocida por la fabricación de productos de audio, incluyendo la línea de Zen de reproductores multimedia. Creative ha presentado una queja ante la Comisión Internacional de Comercio (ITC), alegando que, básicamente, todos los fabricantes de teléfonos Android está infringiendo sus patentes de Zen al mostrar su música. Se quiere que todos sean prohibidos, pero lo que realmente quiere es el dinero.

La queja se dirige a ZTE, Sony, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, HTC y BlackBerry. La cuestión es cómo todo el mundo ve a las canciones y álbumes en un sistema de menú jerárquico muestra, que dice que es un invento suyo. Se fue detrás de Apple por lo mismo hace una década y, finalmente, consiguió un acuerdo de $ 100 millones. Si el CCI está de acuerdo con Creative, que podría conducir a la prohibición de dispositivos infractores, lo que sería una gran cantidad de teléfonos.

Ahora recuérden a Microsoft, un ¿ socio de Creative? No hay un cese al fuego a su chantaje de patentes como reporto hace poco. La parte de Google en Motorola teléfonos móviles viene a la mente, vean este nuevo reportaje que demuestra que Microsoft todavía esta atacándo a Linux/Android con patentes de software (mientras al mismo tiempo afirma “amar a Linux). Para citar a Reuters (reporte corto): “La patente de Microsoft Corp en camino para mostra que un web brows todavíá esta subiéndo contenido no es inválida, una corte de apelaciónes de los EE.UU dijo este Martes en vista del desafío de Motorola Mobility y Google Inc.

“Un panel de tres jueces de la Corte de Apelaciones de EE.UU. para el Circuito Federal falló a favor de Microsoft y sus abogados Klarquist Sparkman, la afirmación de un fallo de la Patente de EE.UU. Oficina de Marcas y que se negó a cancelar una parte clave de la patente. El panel no se dio por razones de su decisión, que se produjo dos días después de los argumentos orales en el caso.”

Por lo que Microsoft está todavía acosándo a Motorola y Google (es decir, Android) y al mismo tiempo dice que “ama a Linux”. Tiene sentido, ¿verdad? Mandatos no sólo buscados por Creative (recurrir a la ITC como lo hizo Microsoft hace cerca de una década con el fin de bloquear un rival al este de Asia); Es probable que sólo estrategia de crecimiento en Estados Unidos, a juzgar por estos nuevos artículos escritos por bufetes de abogados de Canadá y Brasil [1, 2] para ser incluído en IAM principios de esta semana.

ITC investigará a Samsung y Sony por reclamos de patentes” dice otro nuevo titular. ¿Quién se beneficia de esto? Para citar:

La Comisión de Comercio Internacional (ITC ) ha dicho que va a iniciar una investigación sobre fabricantes de teléfonos inteligentes como Sony, Samsung, ZTE y LG por la presunta violación de patentes.

En un comunicado en su página web, la ITC dijo que su investigación se centraría en “dispositivos electrónicos portátiles con la capacidad de reproducir archivos multimedia almacenados”.

Lenovo, Motorola, HTC y BlackBerry pueden destinarse también en la investigación.

La investigación de la sección 337 se basa en una denuncia presentada por Creative Technology con sede en Singapur y Creative Labs, con sede en Milpitas, California, en Marzo.

Creative solía ser amable en la década de 1990, pero ahora es notoria por su acoso a Linux (hay conexiones con Microsoft e Intel). Además de esta controvertida medida de Creative nos hemos enterado que el propio troll de patentes de Ericsson que todavía está activo en el Reino Unido y al parecer permanecera en la Corte de Patentes del Reino Unido en lugar de la Corte de Apelación Competitiva , basado en el informe de ayer, que dice: “Para cualquier persona se mantenga al tanto, la disputa de patentes de mamut en Unwired Planet v Huawei y Samsung continúa a lo largo de un trueno a paso. La última decisión del Tribunal de Patentes de la saga abordó la cuestión de si los problemas de competencia – posiblemente la parte más jugosa del caso – podrían ser transferidos a la Competencia Appeal Tribunal (CAT)? A finales de abril, el Sr. Justicia Birss respondió a esta cuestión, la decisión de que las cuestiones deben permanecer en la División de la Cancillería [2016] EWHC 958 (Pat).”

Permanecemos completamente comprometidos con el rastreo meticulóso de estas amenazas al Free software, incluyendo Android, ya que las patentes de software no son compatibles con el Free software como Linux. Cuando estas patentes comienza a sobrepasar las fronteras Europeas nos damos cuenta que la enfermedad se esta esparciéndo en vez de ser contenida (e.g. debido a Alice en los EE.UU). Hay mucho en riesto.

Links 15/5/2016: Gaming on Linux, LinHES R8.4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Follow Up: Linksys WRT Routers Won’t Block Open Source Firmware, Despite FCC Rules

    Is the suggestion that the Doppler weather radar in use at airports is less important than getting cat pictures from the comfort of your couch and not having to run an extra Ethernet cable? Because Delta Flight 191 is why these airport Doppler weather radar systems exist at all. Do we punish before or after the crash? As well I don’t think there is an appreciation for just how hard it is to find malfunctioning transmitters: it can be done but with significant amounts of work. The FCC is not funded for this level of enforcement right now. Everyone must share the very finite electromagnetic spectrum. I don’t have a problem giving life and safety critical systems priority over cat videos.

    As a quick experiment locate your WiFi router and check the verbiage. I’m sure everyone has seen the part 15 text but probably never paid attention to it. You will find This device may not cause harmful interference as well as this device must accept any interference received. That’s because the weather radar, by design, gets to break you but you don’t get to break it.

  • Reflections: The ecosystem is moving

    At Open Whisper Systems, we’ve been developing open source “consumer-facing” software for the past four years. We want to share some of the things we’ve learned while doing it.

  • The Evolution of Open Source

    For those who entered the IT industry in the late 2000s, open source software is part of the norm. For them, there isn’t a time when open source software was not free and available to everyone, and permeating through almost every facet of technology.

    But those who have been with open source from the beginning know that such was not always the case. As open source stands at the brink of technological breakthroughs, we remember its past and look forward to its promising future.


    By the 1990s to 2000s a new kind of movement emerged. Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel and because of it, more people were able to use open source operating systems and improve them to a level that was competitive with proprietary platforms.

    Unlike the programmers of Stallman’s time, Torvalds and his peers’ primary motivations for moving open source forward were not moral but functional. They viewed it as the more efficient way to code, and way less expensive than its proprietary counterparts. Despite this industry-aligned motivation and the developments that arose from it, open sourcing was still a much debated issue. Many a programmer had to battle with giants like Microsoft for using open source software.

  • Web Browsers/Mail

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • In search of a home for Thunderbird

        For fans of Thunderbird, the repeated back-and-forth from Mozilla leadership can be a source of frustration on its own, but it probably does not help that Mozilla has started multiple other non-browser projects (such as ChatZilla, Raindrop, Grendel, and Firefox Hello) over the years while insisting that Thunderbird was a distraction from Firefox. Although it might seem like Mozilla management displays an inconsistent attitude toward messaging and other non-web application projects, each call for Mozilla to rid itself of Thunderbird has also highlighted the difficulty of maintaining Thunderbird and Firefox in the same engineering and release infrastructure.

  • Databases

    • Enterprise NoSQL Database for the IoT Becomes Open Source

      Riak TS, an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT), recently upgraded to version 1.3. The Riak TS now has a free open source version for IoT developers, in addition to a more robust Riak TS Enterprise version.

  • BSD

    • Why OpenBSD Is Important To Me

      The US government has chosen to attack everyone’s privacy, US citizen and world citizen alike, in the name of attacking the privacy of terrorists. The government view is that privacy is an impediment to keeping us safe from physical harm. Tragically, they’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater–we want to be safe from physical harm so that we can engage with society as free citizens with the maximum possible liberty…putting us in a digital prison, where all of our communication is subject to the whim of government review is the opposite of keeping us safe, its a devastating attack on our freedom.


  • Licensing/Legal

    • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

      The Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW) is a three-day event held every year for legal professionals (and aficionados) who work in the realm of free and open-source software (FOSS). It is organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and, this year, the event was held in Barcelona (Spain), April 13-15. The topics covered during the event ranged from determining what constitutes authorship, how to attribute it, and what is copyrightable, to the complexity of licenses and how to make them more accessible for potential licensees lacking in legal background. In addition, license enforcement and compliance were discussed, with a particular focus on how the GPL and related licenses have done in court.

  • Programming/Development

    • Physicists ≠ Software Developers

      Nevertheless, I really think that being a physicist is not an excuse for not following good programming style and practise when working with others, especially given the large number of learning resources currently available online. I am especially fond of two non-profit projects that focus on providing resources and organizing events to improve computing skills in scientific research. One is lead by Software Carpentry and the other is lead by Mozilla Science Lab. There you can find some nicely curated lessons on basic software development practices.


  • EU Referendum: Boris Johnson compares EU’s aims to Hitler’s

    Boris Johnson has compared the EU’s aims to Hitler’s, saying both involved the intention to unify Europe under a single “authority”.

    The pro-Brexit Tory MP said both the Nazi leader and Napoleon had failed at unification and the EU was “an attempt to do this by different methods”.

    Labour MP Yvette Cooper, from the Remain campaign, accused the ex-London Mayor of playing “nasty, nasty games”.

  • Boris Johnson: The EU wants a superstate, just as Hitler did

    The European Union is pursuing a similar goal to Hitler in trying to create a powerful superstate, Boris Johnson says.

    In a dramatic interview with the Telegraph, he warns that while bureaucrats in Brussels are using “different methods” from the Nazi dictator, they share the aim of unifying Europe under one “authority”.

    But the EU’s “disastrous” failures have fuelled tensions between member states and allowed Germany to grow in power, “take over” the Italian economy and “destroy” Greece, he warns.

  • Sir John Major’s thinly veiled attack on Boris Johnson and Michael Gove: Vote leave campaigners risk ‘morphing into Ukip’

    Senior Conservatives leading the campaign to leave the EU risk “morphing into Ukip” by fuelling prejudices over immigration, Sir John Major is to say.

    In a thinly veiled attack on leading Brexit backing Tories including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the former Conservative prime minister will warn that they are straying into “dangerous territory” by focusing on immigration.

    Sir John will say that the Leave campaign risks “opening up long-term divisions in our society”.

  • Microsoft director, former Amazon director charged in prostitution sting [Ed: not so unusual at Microsoft]

    Charges have been filed against additional men – including a director from Microsoft and a former Amazon director – for promoting prostitution after investigators said they met with victims of sex trafficking at high-end Bellevue apartments.

    One of those charged is Sumit Virmani, the director of worldwide health for Microsoft.

    Using the names “Appy” and “Jaytee,” investigators said Virmani submitted over 70 reviews of prostitutes he had allegedly hired since April 2012, according to investigators.

    When asked about Virmani’s employment status, a spokeswoman for WE Worldwide — Microsoft’s PR company — said she couldn’t comment because it’s a “law enforcement matter.”

    A spokesman later confirmed Virmani is no longer an employee at Microsoft.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Political Economy of Dead Meat: Why Mad Cows are the Least of It

      Start today with one giant U.S. corporation, Monsanto, which makes chemicals and agribusiness products. It has spent many years and a billion dollars or two developing recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. The purpose of this product is to increase milk yield in dairy cattle. Inject BGH into cows twice a week and the milk yield goes up by some 10 to 20 percent. But crucially, with the artificially increased milk production, the cows need the infamous protein supplements made from rendered cows and sheep, thus opening the way to diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), which can transfer to humans.

      There are other problems, of course. First, who needs higher productivity per dairy cow when there’s a huge milk glut in the United States? Second, as happened with poultry and now with hogs, BGH accelerates the demise of small producers and the emergence of the industrial dairy conglomerates.

      Like any junkie, cows hooked on BGH tend to get sick, mostly with mastitis, an infection of the udder. Treatment of mastitis requires liberal doses of antibiotics. The antibiotic injected into the cow passes on to the human consumer, and thus contributes to the process whereby more and more bacteria are building up greater resistance to antibiotics. Moreover, BGH also causes cows to produce more Insulin Growth-like Hormone-1 (or IGH-1), which has been linked to a number of disorders in humans, including acro-megaly (gigantism in the form of excessive growth of the head and extremities) and an increased risk of prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. There is also research to suggest that IGH-1 reduces the body’s ability to suppress naturally occurring tumors.

    • The Dirty Secret Behind Russia’s 2014 Olympic Success

      Over two years ago at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian athletes walked away with 33 medals, including 13 golds and 11 silvers, more than any other country. None of these medal winners were caught doping at the time.

      However, an investigation by the New York Times reveals that this success was due in part to “one of the most elaborate — and successful — doping ploys in sports history.”

      Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, is the whistleblower.

    • Flint Residents Told Their Poisoned Water Might Soon Cost Them Twice as Much

      Michigan state officials announced Thursday that Flint residents will not be charged for their water usage in May as part of an effort to help flush the system, but the long-term picture for the lead-poisoned city is far less rosy, according to a new report.

      In fact, the Michigan Department of Treasury analysis presented Friday shows that water rates in Flint, already among the highest in the nation, could double within five years unless changes are made to the crumbling water system.

    • Report: Flint water bills set to double over five years

      The typical Flint resident is currently charged about $53.84 per month on the water portion of their bill, not counting sewer costs, according to the report prepared by Raftelis Financial Consultants of Missouri.

      But current residential rates are not projected to cover future costs, assuming the city purchases Lake Huron water from Detroit through fiscal year 2017 before transitioning to the KWA pipeline in 2018.

      As a result, the typical water portion of a residential bill is estimated to rise to $110.11 per month by fiscal year 2022 “if no action is taken” to address various issues, according to the report.

    • In “Profound Loss for Maine’s Citizens,” Court OKs Sale of Town’s Water to Nestle

      Decision “paves the way for a private corporation to profit from a vital public resource for decades to come.”

    • Hunt and Stevens – leaving their dirty footprints all over the NHS

      Sustainability and Transformation Plans – the biggest attack on the NHS you’ve never heard of.

    • Federal Lawsuit: Farmers Claim Monsanto’s Controversial ‘Roundup’ Weedkiller Gave Them Cancer

      Despite Monsanto’s claim that its Roundup weed-killer is “safe enough to drink,” four Nebraska farmers say the widely used herbicide gave them non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

      The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” but Monsanto has promoted Roundup as “safe enough to drink,” the farmers say in their federal lawsuit.

    • Monsanto’s Cancer-Linked Weedkiller Is Coming to a City Park Near You? Already 2,000+ Locations Sprayed in NYC

      New Yorkers who visit their local parks have likely been exposed to glyphosate, the controversial, cancer-linked main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup. But the data about herbicide and pesticide spraying projects across the city isn’t adding up.

    • Pesticides, GMOs and Corporate Control: The Poster Child is Monsanto but Neil Young is the Main Act

      Neil Young has a long history of activism. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid, which works to support small and family farmers in North America, while his song Ohio is often considered to be one of the greatest protest songs ever made. Last year, Young pledged a $100,000 donation to Vermont’s legal fight against the GMO-labelling lawsuit, and he has recently been involved in putting together a new website that will help people engage with issues such as GMOs, farming, ecology, justice and climate change (access the site here).

      His new albums The Monsanto Years (2015) and Earth (2016) have a strong anti-corporate theme running through them and feature songs exploring global hunger, pesticides, GMOs, seeds and ecology. Young spent part of 2015 touring the US. The tour was different from the usual concert tour because it was accompanied by an ‘activist village’ comprising a coalition of leading non-profit organisations housed in numerous tents.

    • Leaks Show Senate Aide Threatened Colombia Over Cheap Cancer Drug

      Leaked diplomatic letters sent from Colombia’s Embassy in Washington describe how a staffer with the Senate Finance Committee, which is led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, warned of repercussions if Colombia moves forward on approving the cheaper, generic form of a cancer drug.

      The drug is called imatinib. Its manufacturer, Novartis, markets the drug in Colombia as Glivec. The World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines last year suggested it as treatment not only for chronic myeloid leukemia, but also gastrointestinal tumors. Currently, the cost of an annual supply is over $15,000, or about two times average Colombian’s income.

      On April 26, Colombian Minister of Health Alejandro Gaviria announced plans to take the first step in a multi-step process that could eventually result in allowing the generic production of the drug. A generic version of the drug that recently began production in India is expected to cost 30 percent less than the brand name version.

    • New bill proposes mandatory donation of unsold food

      Finnish MPs are following in France’s footsteps and introducing legislation that would make it mandatory for potential food waste to be directed to charities and food banks while it is still edible. Coordination of the redistibution would be a challenge.

  • Security

    • Replacing /dev/urandom

      The kernel’s random-number generator (RNG) has seen a great deal of attention over the years; that is appropriate, given that its proper functioning is vital to the security of the system as a whole. During that time, it has acquitted itself well. That said, there are some concerns about the RNG going forward that have led to various patches aimed at improving both randomness and performance. Now there are two patch sets that significantly change the RNG’s operation to consider.

    • Mozilla asks the FBI for details of Tor vulnerability that could also affect Firefox

      Mozilla is fighting to force the FBI to disclose details of a vulnerability in the Tor web browser. The company fears that the same vulnerability could affect Firefox, and wants to have a chance to patch it before details are made public.

      The vulnerability was exploited by FBI agents to home in on a teacher who was accessing child pornography. Using a “network investigative technique”, the FBI was able to identify the man from Vancouver, but Mozilla is concerned that it could also be used by bad actors.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, the government says that it should be under no obligation to disclose details of the vulnerability to Mozilla ahead of anyone else. But the company has filed a brief with a view to forcing the FBI’s hand. The argument is that users should be kept protected from known flaws by allowing software companies to patch them.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 9/11 Commissioner Leaks Damning New Info: Saudi Government Officials Supported the Hijackers

      The 9/11 hijackers had support from Saudi government employees, said a former Republican official who investigated the attacks — and he wants the Obama administration to release evidence to prove it.

      John Lehman, an investment banker and Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, said his fellow 9/11 commission members had helped to obscure Saudi links to the 2001 terrorist attacks, reported The Guardian.

    • Saudi officials were ‘supporting’ 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

      The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

    • What the obituaries missed about my uncle, Dan Berrigan

      I moved to New York City in 1998, with an internship, a notion of being a writer, and a way station of sanity and welcome at 98th Street (where Dan and a dozen other Jesuit priests lived). I didn’t need a New York City dream — I had Uncle Dan.

    • Tensions Simmer as Moscow Calls New US Missile Site in Romania a ‘Direct Threat’

      Tensions between the United States and Russia continued this week with Moscow calling the U.S.’s newly activated missile defense site in Romania a “direct threat” to security and part of “the start of a new arms race.”

    • U.S. activates Romanian missile defense site, angering Russia

      The United States switched on an $800 million missile shield in Romania on Thursday that it sees as vital to defend itself and Europe from so-called rogue states but the Kremlin says is aimed at blunting its own nuclear arsenal.

      To the music of military bands at the remote Deveselu air base, senior U.S. and NATO officials declared operational the ballistic missile defense site, which is capable of shooting down rockets from countries such as Iran that Washington says could one day reach major European cities.

    • The Great Leap Backward: America’s Illegal Wars on the World

      Since 1945, America’s Manifest Destiny, posing as the Free World’s Crusade against the Red Menace, has claimed 20 to 30 million lives worldwide and bombed one-third of the earth’s people. In the 19th century, America exterminated another kind of “red menace,” writing and shredding treaties, stealing lands, massacring, and herding Native populations into concentration camps (“Indian reservations”), in the name of civilizing the “savages.” By 1890, with the massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee, the frontier land grab—internal imperialism– was over. There was a world to conquer, and America trained its exceptionally covetous eye on Cuba and the Philippines.

    • Despair and Unrest in Mexico

      The statistics explain the anger. Seven women are killed every day in Mexico. Over the past three decades, over 45,000 women have been killed. The passive voice is appropriate here. Over 95 per cent of these cases have not been properly investigated by the police and judged by the courts. The impunity rate is stunning. Two-thirds of Mexican women above the age of 15 report in surveys that they have experienced some form of physical or emotional abuse or discrimination at work.

    • The Bush Administration, U.S. Nuclear War-Fighting Policy & the War On Iraq

      The purpose of nuclear weapons never has been principally about deterrence or mutually assured destruction (MAD), but rather to serve as a coercive foreign policy instrument designed and intended for actual war fighting. In the words of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rebuttal to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 proposal to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 200 warheads, “U.S. nuclear strategy maintains military strength sufficient… to provide a war-fighting capability to respond to a wide range of conflict in order to control escalation and terminate the war on terms acceptable to the U.S..”v First strike nuclear weapons, designed to back up military intervention and enforce geopolitical dictates, are seen by Pentagon war planners as the backbone of war-fighting strategy, and in this capacity have been used at least 27 times between 1945 and 1998.vi Daniel Ellsberg, former RAND Corporation nuclear war planner, wrote; “Again and again, generally in secret from the American public, nuclear weapons have been used: …in the precise way that a gun is used when you point it at someone’s head in a direct confrontation, whether or not the trigger is pulled.”vii Dominating the most powerful economic system in world history, the U.S. will use any military force necessary, including the use of nuclear weapons, to expand, consolidate and maintain its control.

    • Radical and Anti-Imperialist Art on the Streets of Cuba

      With the recent visit of US President Barack Obama in Cuba and talks of lifting the decades-old embargo (it is still in effect), many Americans are excited at the notion of touring the long estranged Caribbean island. Cuba attracts those fascinated by its complicated history and ardent anti-imperialist modern culture, but it also boasts beautiful beaches, classic cars, colonial architecture, beautiful music and dance, and delicious Cuban cigars complemented by an assortment of Rum drinks. For those literary geeks among us, Cuba offers inspiration in the form of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hang out spots and watering holes.

      But aside from these marketing clichés, any self-respecting tourist must take time to admire the incredible variety of Cuban art. This can be easily achieved by visiting the truly wonderful Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana and complemented by walking the streets. As a culture led by a staunch and long-time anti-American socialist regime, it should be no surprise that the streets of Cuba’s cities are riddled with political art.

    • Should the U.S. provide reparations for slavery and Jim Crow?

      It continues today. The overwhelming majority of academics studying the issue have supported the calls for compensating black Americans for the centuries of chattel slavery and the 100 years of lynching, mob violence and open exclusion from public and private benefits like housing, health care, voting, political office and education that occurred during the Jim Crow era.

    • Robert Scheer Talks About Disrupting Militarism With Codepink’s Jodie Evans

      In this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” the Truthdig editor in chief sits down with Codepink activist Jodie Evans to discuss her organization’s efforts to move the United States away from military conflict, as well as the origins of her activism.

    • The Hillary Clinton/Neocon Merger

      Between the mainstream media’s demonization of Donald Trump and the neocons jumping ship to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a Clinton victory might prove grimly inevitable, but that will guarantee more neocon wars, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • Political Pressure Stymies US-Iran Ties

      With the Iran nuclear agreement, President Obama opened lines of communications to Iran, but political pressures in Washington prevent a more substantive shift in relations, reports Gareth Porter.

    • Venezuela Accuses US of Plotting Coup, Declares State of Emergency

      Venezuela’s leftist president Nicolas Maduro announced a 60-day state of emergency on Friday evening and accused the U.S. of plotting with right-wing groups within the country to overthrow his government.

      On the same day, unnamed D.C. officials warned of a coming “meltdown” in Venezuela.

    • Brazil Impeachment Brings to Mind Thailand’s 2014 Military Coup

      Q: What’s the difference between the coup that overthrew the elected government in Thailand in Thailand in 2014 and the coup that has now removed the elected government in Brazil?

      A: The coup-makers in Thailand wore uniforms.

      The Brazilian Senate has just voted 55 to 22 to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. She will be suspended for the next 180 days while the same body tries her on the charge of understating the size of the budget deficit before the last election.

      If two-thirds of the senators find her guilty, she will be permanently removed from office. Since they have just voted to impeach her by a bigger majority than that, we may take it for granted that she is a goner.

      As the long evening droned on, it was quite clear that most senators were only interested in the outcome, not the evidence. On several occasions the Speaker even had to tell them to stop talking and put their phones away. This was about politics, not about justice, and the deal was already done.

    • Escalations in a New Cold War

      The Obama administration poked Russia in the eye again by activating a missile defense site in Romania while building up NATO forces on Russia’s borders, acts that could escalate toward nuclear war, notes Jonathan Marshall.

    • NATO’s Reluctant 2 Percenters

      According to the 2014 US-NATO declaration of confrontation with Russia, all member countries are supposed to commit 2 percent of their GDP to military expenditure. But as with most NATO plans and endeavours, this one has failed to meet expectations.

    • Reflections on a Delegation to Imprisoned Palestine

      At the end of March 2016, I was part of a nineteen-member Prisoner Solidarity and Labor Delegation that traveled from the United States, the country with the largest number of prisoners in the world, to Palestine, a nation where 40% of the male population has been imprisoned. (This article focuses on the prisoner solidarity portion of the delegation. To understand the full breadth of the delegation’s trip, see our delegation statement.) Convened by Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, professor at San Francisco State University, this was the first U.S. delegation to focus specifically on political imprisonment and solidarity between Palestinian and U.S. prisoners. We built on a long history of mutual inspiration and exchange dating back to the 1960’s. In 2013, when prisoners at Pelican Bay prison in California undertook an historic hunger strike to protest long term solitary confinement at the same time as Palestinian prisoners were on hunger strike against administrative detention, this exchange was renewed. Khader Adnan, a former Palestinian political prisoner who had waged a hunger strike in Israeli prisons for 66 days, sent a strong message of solidarity to the California hunger strikers, supporting their actions.

    • Pfizer Cuts States Off From Execution Drugs

      After pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on Friday that it will clamp down on the distribution of its drugs so that they can no longer be used in executions, any state that wants to use lethal injection will now have to resort to getting them on underground markets.

      Pfizer announced that it will restrict seven products — pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide, and vecuronium bromide — that are used in executions. Those products will now only be available to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers who verify that they won’t resell them to correctional institutions for executions, and any government entity that wants to buy them has to certify that they will only be used for patient care and will not be resold.

    • Scalia’s Death Just Prevented Alabama From Executing A Man

      If Vernon Madison’s case had reached the Supreme Court three months ago, he would almost certainly be dead right now.

      On Thursday, a federal appeals court ordered Alabama to halt its plans to execute Madison, at least temporarily, so that it will have enough time to consider whether killing Madison would violate the Constitution. Almost immediately, the state asked the Supreme Court to vacate this order, and the Court denied that request in an order handed down late Thursday.

    • The Lies Military Recruiter Tell

      As I hinted at before, the US military is one of the few governmental institutions that have overwhelming respect from almost all residents of the United States. This phenomenon is largely due to a very concerted campaign by the ruling elites of this nation to place the Pentagon and its troops above reproach. This can be seen in the ever-constant presence of the military and its advertising at sporting events, civic festivals, and even some music concerts and festivals (especially country music.) As the authors point out, this barrage of advertising, or (let’s be honest) propaganda began almost immediately after the military draft was ended in 1973. As of 2012, direct recruitment advertising by all branches of the military stood at around 667 million dollars. This figure does not include the cost of buildings and staffing of actual military recruitment offices around the country, nor does it include the money spent on recruitment efforts in schools and other places youths congregate.

    • Good-Guy Gunslingers

      The audience believes the gunslinger is a better man than civilization gives him credit for because the gunslinger myth makes them value men differently from how civilization values them. We believe a little wildness is a good thing. The gunslinger sacrifices himself for civilization. Civilization has a problem with him, not he with it. He fights for civilization in spite of its hostility towards him. He acquiesces to his own expulsion. His real problem is running out of wilderness, for he is a civilizing force that cannot live in civilization. He needs to civilize and tame the wilderness although he is a wild creature himself. So he must always use up, move on, and seek more wilderness. He is an attractive loner from nowhere who lives only in his own fame. He comes into town, commits an act of violence or, depending upon your point of view, defends himself, and then leaves. Things are then better, we are told, though we do not see it, for we are moving on with the gunslinger. His fame makes him a role model. As a role model he is a cautionary tale and his effect, when he achieves it, is to inspire the boy to embody the illusion of a lawman without violence. The violence is forgotten in the peace. With the American wilderness gone who knows where he will quick-draw for the sake of civilization next.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • New Rules On Corporate Secrecy Have Glaring Loopholes

      The Treasury Department released a new rule and several proposals last week that they said are intended to address the problem of corruption and dirty money in secret U.S. shell companies.

      A White House news release announced what it called “several important steps to combat money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion, and called upon Congress to take additional action to address these critical issues.” (A White House fact sheet is available here.)

      The new rules at first glance appear strong. But after examining the details, several watchdog groups are warning that the new regulations and proposals leave open several glaring loopholes, and even practically provide instructions for how to get around the regulations.

    • Blind Item: ‘Dishonest Career Politician’ Dishes on D.C. Dishonesty

      A person claiming to be a U.S. lawmaker—one who may or may not still purport to represent American constituents—appears to rip into his congressional colleagues in a new “tell-all” book titled The Confessions of Congressman X.

      “Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that’s lavished upon them,” the alleged current or former congressman says in the questionable tome.

    • Assassinating Assange’s Character | Interview with Michael Ratner
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Civil disobedience is the only way left to fight climate change

      Right now, thousands of people are taking direct action as part of a global wave of protests against the biggest fossil fuel infrastructure projects across the world. We kicked off earlier this month by shutting down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales.

      Last Sunday, around 1,000 people closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and other bold actions are happening at power stations, oil refineries, pipelines and mines everywhere from the Philippines, Brazil and the US, to Nigeria, Germany and India.

    • Emissions Limits Will Test Gov. Inslee’s ‘Greenest Gov.’ Claim

      This past Friday, I was in a King County courtroom as history was being made. I am one of eight petitioners under the age of 18 who sued the Washington State Department of Ecology and won – not once but three times! The court not only affirmed that we children have the right to a safe and healthful future under the state constitution, but has just taken the next step by ordering Ecology to make a science-based rule by the end of this year.

    • Judge orders state to move on rules cutting greenhouse gases

      A King County Superior Court judge on Friday ordered the state Department of Ecology to complete by year’s end a new rule regulating greenhouse gases.

    • This Is What It Looks Like When People All Over The World Break Free From Fossil Fuels

      Over the last 9 days a global wave of actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground has been gathering momentum all over the world. Words alone are not enough to describe how powerful this moment of action is.

      If you’ve missed any of it, here’s what’s happened so far in just the first 9 days of Break Free:

      It started in Wales, where over 300 people shut down the UK’s largest open-cast coal mine for a day.

    • Fracking’s Air Pollution Puts Infants and Children at Risk of Developing Heart, Lung Problems: New Study

      A newly published peer-reviewed study concludes that air pollution from fracking puts people’s lungs, hearts, and immune systems at risk – and that the health risks are particularly pointed for young children and infants.

      The study — the first to specifically focus on how shale oil and gas drilling affects children ability to breathe — concludes that starting in the womb, children’s developing respiratory systems are particularly at risk from five airborne pollutants associated with fracking and drilling.

      “We conclude that exposure to ozone, [particulate matter], silica dust, benzene, and formaldehyde is linked to adverse respiratory health effects, particularly in infants and children,” the researchers wrote in the study, titled “Potential Hazards of Air Pollutant Emissions from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Operations on the Respiratory Health of Children and Infants” and published in Reviews on Environmental Health.

    • Westerners Bear Witness to U.S. Energy Boom’s Health and Environmental Tolls

      Coal, oil, and natural gas deposits have brought development, jobs, and tax revenue to Western states. But as recounted by locals in a recent storytelling project, fossil fuels have also created vicious boom-and-bust cycles that leave social upheaval, health problems, and environmental destruction in their wake.

    • In Colorado ‘Sacrifice Zone,’ Break Free Protest Escalates Fight Against Fossil Fuels

      Days after the Colorado Supreme Court denied two cities local authority to regulate fracking, hundreds of climate activists descended Thursday on a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction in Lakewood, just outside Denver, kicking off four days of major direct actions against fossil fuels across the United States.

      In addition to the Lakewood demonstration and a larger mobilization elsewhere in Colorado on Saturday, protests and civil disobedience actions are scheduled to take place between Thursday and Sunday in and around Anacortes, Washington; Albany, New York; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C., and Chicago, all under the Break Free banner.

    • Driving Bans Are Spreading As Most Urban Residents Breathe Unhealthy Air

      Most urban lungs around the world are breathing harmful air, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.

      More than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution breathe air that exceeds WHO air quality limits, according to the report, which was released Thursday. The report, which evaluated a database encompassing 3,000 cities in 103 countries, also found global urban air pollution levels increased by 8 percent from 2008 to 2013, despite improvements in some regions.

    • One Building Is Saving $1 Million A Year On Energy. What Would Happen If The Whole World Was More Efficient?

      Of course, not everything is intuitive. Take Trane’s work with a theater company in Minnesota, for example. The company wanted to better manage temperatures in their theaters — being too hot or too cold is one of movie-goers top complaints. Trane installed a management system, but wasn’t getting quite the results it was looking for. Now they have added a new data set: ticket sales. Knowing in advance how many people are going to be watching a certain showing allows the company to adjust the heating or air conditioning in advance and with more specificity. Now the theater isn’t over-chilling a a room with very few moviegoers, and they don’t have to over-correct in a room that has gotten too warm. (Trying to cool down a hot room is significantly less efficient — and less comfortable — than getting the temperature right from the beginning.)

    • Yet Another Oil Spill Wreaks Havoc On The Gulf Of Mexico And Nearby Coastal Communities

      A Shell oil facility has leaked nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to federal authorities. The spill has left a two-mile by thirteen-mile sheen in the Gulf, approximately 165 miles southwest of New Orleans. A helicopter first noticed the spill near Shell’s Brutus platform on Thursday morning, according to Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon.

      “There are no drilling activities at Brutus, and this is not a well control incident,” Windon told the Associated Press. Instead, authorities believe the leak came from a release of oil from subsea infrastructure, from a line connecting four wells. According to the Wall Street Journal, Shell had dispatched boats Friday to begin cleaning up the spill.

    • Taking on the Sacred Cow of Big “Green” Energy
    • New RSPCA chief promises less adversarial approach

      Jeremy Cooper says group made mistakes in past and often drifted into political activism rather than supportive, animal welfare society

    • Shock impacts hit Greenland’s ice

      New research indicates that melting of the Northern Hemisphere’s biggest ice sheet is being accelerated by the seismic impact of waves crashing against Greenland’s coastline.

    • Will New Chemical Law Hide the Fracking Industry’s Toxic Secrets?

      The makeup of hydraulic fracturing fluid – the slurry of chemicals, sand and water injected deep underground to free petroleum deposits trapped by bedrock – is a closely guarded secret of the oil and gas industry.

    • Exxon Faces Questions Over Climate As Gates Dumps BP

      The famous quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin is that “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

      Another certainty is that you know that the top executives of controversial companies absolutely hate the one day in the year that they are accountable to their shareholders: the AGM.

      It is a day to be endured under extreme duress. A day when normally aloof executives have to answer awkward questions. There is no escape. There is no spin doctor to wheel out instead. The chief executive and chairman have to go face to face with the public. And it can hurt.

      Often the questions are over ridiculously high pay levels. In addition, Big Oil executives are used to being quizzed on a whole host of other abuses: over the years answering why they were propping up apartheid; polluting the coasts of Alaska; colluding with the military who were murdering their critics in Nigeria; over-stating their reserves; polluting the Gulf of Mexico or spending silly money looking for oil in the Arctic. I could go on.

      And that is before we get to the thorny issue of climate change and stranded assets and pouring invaluable shareholder money down a big black hole.

      The companies are coming under increasing criticism over their flawed long-term business strategy.

      Just last week, the influential Economist Magazine reported that “it has been a grim decade for investors in international oil firms—among them, many of the world’s biggest pension funds. Even before oil prices started to fall in 2014, the supermajors threw money away on grandiose schemes: drilling in the Arctic and building giant gas terminals.”

    • At Break Free Protests Around the World, Climate Activists Put Bodies on the Line

      Fossil fuel projects were blockaded simultaneously on three continents on Saturday—the “crest” of a wave of global actions responding to the growing threat of climate change.

      Through rallies, civil disobedience, and kayaktivism, people around the world stood up to oil and gas interests to say: enough. Additional actions are planned for Sunday.

    • Justice for Berta Caceres Incomplete Without Land Rights: UN Rapporteur

      The murder of Honduran Indigenous woman Berta Caceres is only too familiar to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

      All around the world, Indigenous peoples are murdered, raped and kidnapped when their lands fall in the path of deforestation, mining and construction. According to the group Global Witness, one Indigenous person was killed almost every week in 2015 because of their environmental activism, 40 percent of the total 116 people killed for environmental activism.

      “We shouldn’t forget that the death of Berta is because of the protest that she had against the destruction of the territory of her people,” Tauli-Corpuz told IPS in a recent interview.

      Caceres, who was murdered at the beginning of March, had long known her life was in danger. She experienced violence and intimidation as a leader of the Lenca people of Rio Blanco who protested the construction of the Agua Zarca dam on their traditional lands.

    • Hillary Takes Millions From Fossil Fuel Industry, Lies About It
    • Proof That Koch-Backed Professors Are Using Universities To Spread Right-Wing Policies

      “Economic freedom centers” — or institutes with conservative, libertarian missions that are backed by the Charles Koch Foundation — are tightly controlled by the interests of the conservative foundation, according to remarks from Koch-backed professors and executives at the Association of Private Enterprise Education’s annual meeting in Las Vegas.

      The remarks were recorded by UnKoch My Campus, a group that focuses on the influence of powerful donors on research and coursework in universities, and shared by Greenpeace staff. At the event, Koch-backed professors and Charles Koch Foundation executives said that students act as “foot soldiers” for free enterprise ideals, deans will take money from anyone, and the slightest mention of the foundation’s legal team can bring universities back in line.

    • How Low-Income Households Can Take Advantage Of Renewable Energy And Efficiency

      Monya’ (pronounced “Monet,” like the French artist) Chapman, 53, lives with her 77-year-old mother in a house she rents in West Baltimore, a neighborhood she describes as moderate- to low-income. She earns about $30,000 a year as a pharmacy technician, which, along with her mother’s monthly social security benefits, covers rent, food, and basic necessities like soap and toilet paper.

    • Anthropocene vs Capitalocene: a Reflection on the Question, “What Have I Done?”

      There are approximately 150-200 species going extinct everyday. The background rate of the normal extinction process is roughly one to five species a year. We are at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate today due to human activities. As far as the last members of a doomed species might be concerned, humans are responsible, not just the capitalist class. To them, it is the Anthropocene. Might your perspective on this issue be determined by which side of the axe you are on?

    • Rancher spots first wolverine in North Dakota in 150 years — so he kills it

      A rancher shot and killed the first wolverine spotted for more than a century in North Dakota — where the animals had been eradicated.

      Researchers had been tracking the omnivorous animal, known as M56, since 2008, when a transmitter was placed under its skin after its capture just south of Yellowstone National Park, reported the Grand Forks Herald.

    • The legend of Arthur – the dog that followed me 100 miles

      I’ve always been a guy addicted to competition. My first love was ice hockey, as it was for anyone growing up in Örnsköldsvik, in northern Sweden, although I never quite made the grade. At 18 I had to do compulsory military service. And boy, was it tough. We were put through endless gruelling exercises in horrendous conditions, but in the middle of it all I suddenly realised I was enjoying myself. I had a strange talent, it seemed, not only for getting through things that would make most people give up, but for getting others through with me.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump Changes His Mind About Changing His Tax Plan

      Donald Trump can’t make up his mind about what to do about taxes.

      Last year, as a candidate for the Republican presidential nominee, Trump released a detailed tax plan. As soon as all the other Republican candidates dropped out of the race, however, he started to distance himself from it, saying the plan is just a “concept” and the starting place for negotiations. The distancing went so far that he commissioned two well-known conservatives to draft a set of suggestions for changing it, lowering its price tag.

    • Is This The Return Of U.S. ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’ Serving Corporations?

      Colombia is allowing local production of a generic form of a cancer drug that is ultraexpensive because of a government-granted monopoly handed to a giant, multinational pharmaceutical corporation. The U.S. government is stepping in on the corporation’s side with a modern form of “gunboat diplomacy” — even though the giant corporation isn’t even “American.”

    • “Print the Money”: Trump’s “Reckless” Proposal Echoes Franklin and Lincoln

      “Reckless,” “alarming,” “disastrous,” “swashbuckling,” “playing with fire,” “crazy talk,” “lost in a forest of nonsense”: these are a few of the labels applied by media commentators to Donald Trump’s latest proposal for dealing with the federal debt. On Monday, May 9th, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate said on CNN, “You print the money.”

      The remark was in response to a firestorm created the previous week, when Trump was asked if the US should pay its debt in full or possibly negotiate partial repayment.

    • Top 2 hedge fund managers bankroll Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, after making $1.7 billion each in 2015

      James Simons and Kenneth Griffin were the world’s top two hedge fund managers in 2015. Each made $1.7 billion last year alone, and have used their massive wealth to bankroll the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, the Guardian reported.

      Simons is the 50th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. The mathematician has made an estimated $15.5 billion as CEO of the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, and is individually richer than many countries.

    • The Declining Taste of the Global Super-Rich

      Today’s “patrons of the arts” are less interested in opera and ballet, and more interested in novelty furniture and enormous sculptures of their own faces…

    • Verizon Strike Exposes Broader Shifts in Telecom Labor Conditions

      The strike by 36,000 Verizon workers — represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) — is about to enter its second month.

    • Verizon Calls in SWAT Team to Keep Exploited Overseas Workers Under Wraps

      Representatives from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union whose members are currently engaged in a weeks-long strike against Verizon for its “corporate greed,” say they discovered this week that the communications behemoth has publicly lied about the extent of its offshoring of jobs.

    • Dilma Out: Brazilian Plutocracy Sets 54 Million Votes on Fire

      Never in modern political history has it been so easy to “abolish the people” and simply erase 54 million votes cast in a free and fair presidential election.

      Forget about hanging chads, as in Florida 2000. This is a day that will live in infamy all across the Global South – when what was one of its most dynamic democracies veered into a plutocratic regime, under a flimsy parliamentary/judicial veneer, with legal and constitutional guarantees now at the mercy of lowly comprador elites.

      After the proverbial marathon, the Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for “crimes of responsibility” – related to alleged window dressing of the government’s budget.

      This is the culmination of a drawn-out process that started even before Rousseff won re-election in late 2014 with over 54 million votes. I have described the bunch of perpetrators of what Brazilian creativity has termed ‘golpeachment’ (a mix of coup – “golpe” in Portuguese – and impeachment) as Hybrid War hyenas.

    • This Is the County With the Worst Childhood Hunger in America

      When Feeding America issued its annual Map the Hunger Gap, Apache and four other counties atop the northern part of Arizona—stretching the full expanse from the eastern state line to the west—were the darkest shade of green included on the map’s legend. The color indicated that more than 30 percent of kids in those areas are food insecure, meaning they live in households that experience limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Apache County, a long, narrow strip in the northeast corner of Arizona, includes parts of the Navajo Nation as well as the Zuni and Fort Apache Native American reservations. There, 42 percent of children—9,050 kids—are food insecure, twice the national rate.

    • Europe and the spectre of democracy: Michel Feher interviews Yanis Varoufakis

      Yanis Varoufakis: Firstly, let’s begin by stating the fact, the historical fact, that there is no new development here. The IMF has been repeating, quite correctly, that the debt is unsustainable since 2011, 2012.

      There was even a time, when Christine Lagarde in 2012, 2013, proposed to the Greek government of the time, the right-wing/PASOK government, to forge an alliance between Athens and Washington DC, the IMF, in the Eurogroup, in order to bring about debt relief. Then, the Greek government rejected that, choosing instead to remain loyal to Berlin. So what you just described is a repetition and continuation of this pattern.

      The explanation for this by Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minster, if you were to put this question to him, would be that the IMF keeps making these noises about the importance of debt relief but only refers to the part of the debt owed to the Europeans. He would tell you that the IMF would never consider debt relief for the part of the debt that is owed to the IMF. So it only puts forward the suggestion of a haircut to other people’s money, and not its own loans to Greece.

      In addition, and far more importantly, the IMF, he would say, sets ruthless and rather horrific conditions in the realm of labor relations and pension cuts. Alexis Tsipras has always held this view, even when I was in the cabinet. This was not my view, it was his, and I was ambivalent about whether we are better off getting rid of the IMF because the IMF’s noises regarding debt relief are insubstantial and hypocritical, and they don’t help much anyway.

      He believed that in order to achieve a better balance between social policies regarding labor markets, pensions, and debt relief, it was best to try to deal with European officials directly. I am of the view that this is a mistake because having the support of the IMF is instrumental to the federal government in Berlin.

    • We All Pay for Low Wages

      When you are paid starvation wages, it’s up to public-assistance programs to make up the difference. That government assistance, costing treasuries billions of dollars per year, is part of the high cost of low wages.

    • A Quiz [Ed: Privatizing the IRS?]

      Here is an additional bit of information: ignoring past experience Congress has decided that in some circumstances the IRS can once again use private debt collection agencies. Go figure.

    • The Washington Post’s Bernie Sanders Bashing

      The Washington Post really, really doesn’t like Bernie Sanders and they miss no opportunity to display this dislike. For this reason, it is not surprising that they had a field day highlighting a report from the Tax Policy Center showing that his program would increase the debt by $18 trillion over the course of a decade. As the folks at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)noted, this study was good for four different pieces over a seven hour period.

    • Boris Johnson accused of ‘dishonest gymnastics’ over TTIP U-turn

      The former mayor of London, a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign, wrote in his Daily Telegraph column in October 2014 that TTIP was a “great project”. He said: “It is Churchillian in that it builds transatlantic links, it is all about free trade, and it brings Britain and Europe closer to America. The idea is to create a gigantic free trade zone between the EU and the US, or a TTIP – a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

      “There is absolutely nothing not to like about the TTIP. As Churchill might have said, it is altogether unsordid. And yet virtually the only commentary we have been offered is absurdly hostile and misinformed. The debate is dominated by leftwing misery guts anti-globalisation campaigners.”


      However, in a speech last Monday backing a Brexit, Johnson changed his tune completely, likening the EU’s role in the continuing TTIP talks to a “pantomime horse” in which the 28 member states tried, chaotically, to agree a joint position on venture that was preventing the UK from striking its own, quicker and more effective bilateral trade deals.

      The speech by Johnson, who has written a biography of Churchill, lampooned the entire TTIP process. “As for the argument that we need the muscle of EU membership if we are to do trade deals – well, look, as I say, at the results after 42 years of membership. The EU has done trade deals with the Palestinian authority and San Marino. Bravo. But it has failed to conclude agreements with India, China or even America,” he said.

    • 2 minutes on the TPP

      My sign read:

      TPP is Oligarchy
      Oligarchy is a corruption of Democracy

    • Doubts over Thames garden bridge as Sadiq Khan probes £175m project

      The new London mayor, Sadiq Khan, is investigating his predecessor’s conduct over the procurement process for London’s planned £175m garden bridge.

      Khan, having completed his first week in office, has already begun scrutinising Boris Johnson’s decisions relating to the controversial project, to which £60m of public money has been allocated in circumstances previously criticised by parliamentary spending officials as unorthodox. An official report concluded that the process to select a designer for the bridge was unfair and that the office of the previous mayor was “less than honest” about his role in the process.

      A spokesman for Khan said: “He is only in his first days in the role but he is looking in more detail at some of the issues raised about the procurement.”

    • This Letter Exposes The Absurdity Of Donald Trump’s Excuses About His Tax Returns

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he won’t release his tax returns so long as they’re being audited. This week, Trump told the Associated Press he probably won’t be releasing any returns before November, which suggests he doesn’t expect the audits to be wrapped up anytime soon. That means Trump could potentially become the first major party candidate in 40 years to not release his taxes.

    • There’s a Way Out of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis If US Leaders Are Willing to Be as Bold as Alexander Hamilton

      Robert E. Wright, the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University and the Treasurer of Historians Against Slavery, is currently seeking a publisher for his eighteenth book, “The Poverty of Slavery: How Enslavers Victimize Us All.” His books include One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson, and the History of What We Owe. The views expressed herein are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the above mentioned institutions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Did the New York Times Just Accidentally Tell the Truth About the Obama Administration?

      Historians so inclined will have a blast when their turn comes to dissect the Obama administration and its people. I do not mean the old-line “presidential historians,” story-telling hagiographers such as Stephen Ambrose or the insufferable David McCullough. Obama will have to wait a while for somebody of this set to embalm him to take what place he might among our mythologized tenants of the White House.

    • Senior Trump Adviser Says Idea That Words Matter Is ‘Ridiculous’

      Donald Trump spent his first two weeks as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee changing his stances on a number of policy issues, sometimes multiple times. That got an interesting defense from one of his senior advisers on Friday.

      Speaking on a panel on CNN, Barry Bennett, a senior political adviser to the Trump campaign, defended Trump’s waffling by saying that anything he puts forward is “a suggestion to Congress,” noting that “he has to persuade Congress to do it and all he can try to do is persuade Congress to go along with him.”

    • Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private

      Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Stephanie Grimes, Former Editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

      On May 5, Stephanie Grimes uploaded a post to Medium titled “Why I’m out at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.” Grimes, who had been the publication’s features editor, was let go five months after the family of billionaire Sheldon Adelson purchased it for $140 million. Before diving into Grimes’ exposé, it’s important to understand the Review-Journal’s tumultuous recent history.

    • How Our Stone-Age Brains Get in the Way of Smart Politics

      Using science and history, author Rick Shenkman’s new book explains how our brain works in response to manipulative politicians and their appeals.

    • Chicago Election Official Admits “Numbers Didn’t Match”: Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders Election Fraud Allegations

      Jim Allen, Communications Director for the Chicago Board of Elections (BoE), acknowledges that “the numbers didn’t match” initially in the legally mandated 5% audit of voting and tabulating machines after the recent Illinois Democratic primary between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Allen, however, insists that this is simply a “perception issue” and that absolutely no election fraud took place.

      Allen was responding by phone to my questions regarding allegations from citizen vote monitoring groups Who’s Counting? – Chicago and the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project (IBIP). Dr. Lora Chamberlain is a leader of Who’s Counting, which works with IBIP to credential election day monitors and joined them this year to audit the audit. IBIP was started in Illinois in the aftermath of the 2000 Al Gore versus George Bush Debacle. A total of six members of the two groups gave affidavit-based testimony at the April 5, 2016 Chicago Board of Elections meeting.

    • This isn’t how a democracy should work: How the media boosted Donald Trump and screwed Bernie Sanders

      As this wildly unpredictable primary season heads toward the finish line, the two frontrunners are widely seen as their respective party nominees. Given that presidential elections are typically glorified as proof of our democracy at work, it seems appropriate to ask what kind of democracy has been revealed by this year’s primary season.

      In his book “Democracy, Inc.,” the late, distinguished political scientist Sheldon Wolin has argued that we have a “managed democracy,” that elite “management” of elections is the key to perpetuating the “primal myth” that the people determine the rulers. As Wolin put it, this “antidemocracy” doesn’t attack the idea of government by the people, it encourages “civic demobilization” – conditioning the electorate to be aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy.

      Obviously the mass media play a central role in the managed democracy. How, exactly, has this played out in this, the “year of the outsider,” when, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, almost two-thirds of voters in both political parties agreed with the statement that “The old way of doing things no longer works and we need radical change.”

    • None of the Bankers Think Hillary Clinton Believes Her Populism, a Financial Journalist Wrote

      As Hillary Clinton has no doubt noticed, the circumstances of 2016 present a striking similarity to the ones that put her husband in the White House in 1992. Again Americans are outraged at the way the middle class is falling to pieces and at the greed of the people on top. The best-seller lists are once again filled with books about in equality. Today Americans are working even harder for even less than when Bill Clinton made “working harder for less” his campaign catchphrase. Hillary Clinton — the way any Democrat — will play such a situation is extremely easy to guess.

    • Obama Endorses Idea of National Voting Holiday

      An enterprising Rutgers student who was at the White House as part of a college journalism program asked President Obama if he would do a one-on-one interview with the Rutgers student newspaper, and Obama said yes, and it happened, and if I’m not mistaken, the interview involves breaking news in the form of Obama, for the first time ever, endorsing the idea that Election Day should be a holiday in order to help improve turnout.

    • Following Sanders’ Lead, Obama Endorses National Voting Holiday
    • One of the Most Successful Right-Wing Myths of All Time: ‘The Limousine Liberal’

      Limousine liberalism is the specter haunting American politics. That has been true and getting truer for the last half century. Nowadays, Hillary Clinton serves as “exhibit A” of this menace.

      She’s an odd choice in some ways. As the metaphor vividly suggests, a thoroughbred limousine liberal should be to the manner born, a patrician of outsized wealth, socially connected, credentialed by the toniest prep schools and the Ivy League, raised to rule, who for reasons sometimes sinister and sometimes of excessive credulity has gone over to the dark side: a limousine liberal is history’s oxymoron, an elitist for revolution, working to undermine the ancient regime—or at least pretending to do so. Hillary Clinton was bred instead in far more modest circumstances. Her father owned a small fabric store outside Chicago. He ran a conservative home, demanding strict devotion to the frugality and work ethic of the respectable middle class. His daughter was politically precocious and had views congruent with her upbringing. Already by age thirteen she was out canvassing for Richard Nixon’s election in 1960. Four years later she volunteered for the Goldwater campaign, inspired by the fervent anticommunism of her favorite high school history teacher.

    • Trump’s past surfaces as GOP looks forward

      As Donald Trump pushed for party unity this week, he offered fresh reminders of the landmines from his past that he is carrying into a general election.
      The political outsider’s unconventional style and resume vaulted him into the role of party standard-bearer, but his unusual background was also exposed repeatedly this week as a major liability, with characters — real, or maybe even fictional — re-emerging to hound him.

    • Listen to This Insane Audio of Trump Pretending to Be His Own PR Guy

      In today’s most bizarre headline, the Washington Post released audio from a 1991 interview between People Magazine reporter Sue Carswell and “John Miller,” an alleged spokesperson for the Trump organization who just so happens to sound a hell of a lot like the reality TV star himself.

    • Fear And Loathing In USA

      This would be funny, fodder for Saturday Night Live funny, if it weren’t true. The GOP’s imminent candidate for POTUS being caught in lies and womanizing while he accuses Hillary of enabling her husband’s philandering… Really, would anyone trust this guy with running a lemonade stand rather than having a hand on the nuclear “button”? USA has a few months to wake up or become the laughing stock of the world. If this guy does any one of the things he promises to do it could well bring ruin to USA and may well cause the world to try to insulate itself from the nonsense. I wonder if Canada could handle the inflow of refugees? I doubt it. We might have to build our own wall.

    • Are Sanders Supporters Ever Going to Vote for Clinton If She’s the Nominee?

      One of the most striking—and disturbing—takeaways from Tuesday’s West Virginia Democratic primary were exit polls that found large numbers of Bernie Sanders supporters saying if not Bernie, they would actually vote for Donald Trump next fall.

      CBS News reported 44 percent said they’d vote for Trump, 23 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 32 percent for neither. These findings—especially Sanders’ supporters shifting to Trump—seem like a stretch, but maybe they’re not.

    • How Trump Gets Away With Lying and the Mainstream Media Colludes With Him

      Broadcast media has helped Trump perpetuate falsehoods like these four blatant lies.

    • The Politics of Triangulation

      “Ending welfare as we know it” was a signature accomplishment of the Clinton White House as well as a priority for Republicans. Both parties lead their attack on the poor with moralistic calls for “personal responsibility.”

      When Democrats protect big banks, Republicans are free to attack unions. When Democrats coddle big oil, coal, and gas, the Republicans resort to climate denial and gag rules. TPP is a bipartisan project of the center.

    • Copp’s Plea for You and Me

      The plain-spoken, public-spirited former Federal Communications Commissioner, Michael Copps, is indignant—and for good reason: The FCC is not enforcing the law requiring the “dark money” super PACs and other campaign cash conduits to reveal, on-the-air, the names of the real donors behind all political advertisements, which are now flooding the profitable radio and television airwaves.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Who is to Blame?

      Xenophobic traditions are truly long-lasting in some minds. Today Muslimophobia is far more useful than anti-Semitism, in older or newer forms, if only for a lack of numbers to victimize. And with next year’s elections approaching, all other parties are hunting for lost voters, frightened by the strength of the AfD in state elections in March, with 12 % and 15 % in two West German states and a startling 24 % in the East German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The changing polls now give the AfD overall 14 %, in third place and ahead of Die LINKE (Left) and the Greens.

    • Iranian animation faces censorship challenge

      Stunning Media has revealed further details of its ambitious Iranian animated feature Release From Heaven – and of the problems the production continues to face with censors in Iran.

    • Zuckerberg investigating Facebook censorship after staff admit deactivating Trending stories

      Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is investigating claims of censoring conservative news reports, following a discussion in the US Senate. Facebook’s Trending Topics has been criticised after anonymous former editors revealed that popular conservative news topics were not given the prominence they were due. A copy of Facebook’s “Trending Review Guidelines” shows how Facebook trained it’s internal employees to curate Facebook’s trending section to “inject” and “blacklist” topics.

      One former anonymous employee told tech news website Gizmodo that Facebook “used external topics, to push more external topics into people’s feeds”. The team of curators had the power to vet topics coming from a series of sources, including organisations such as BBC, the Guardian, NBC News, CNN and Buzzfeed – most of which generally reflect centre-left views – which may lead to the lack of attention to conservative topics, which featured sources such as Fox News.

    • Facebook Investigating Trending Topics Censorship Controversy
    • Milo Yiannopoulos challenges Zuckerberg to debate Facebook censorship [VIDEO]
    • Mark Zuckerberg Will Meet With Conservative Leaders Following Allegations Of Censorship
    • Jeremy Geltzer: Wisconsin played central role in censorship drama

      The First Amendment has come under siege. From free speech zones on college campuses to the battle between Apple and the Department of Justice over digital privacy, media is vulnerable.

      In recent weeks, even movies have been deemed improper. “Deadpool” was banned in Utah, and Houston’s mayor shut down “Vaxxed,” a controversial documentary.


      In Madison, a censor board was proposed in 1919, and it was up and running a decade later. Mayor — soon to be governor — Albert Schmedeman led the charge to shut down an edu-exploitation birth control flick called “No More Children” (1929). Other risqué pictures including “What Price Glory” (1926) and “Party Girl” (1930) raised eyebrows in Madison but played on.

    • Publisher’s Facebook page deleted after posting criticism of Turkish government

      Facebook has denied involvement in the deletion of the page of a London-based academic publisher who had published articles that criticised the Turkish government and discussed the outlawed (in Turkey) Kurdistan Workers party.

      The deletion sparked accusations of censorship against the social network, which has often been accused of siding with the Turkish government in battles over free speech. But Facebook says it did not delete the page, and Zed Books has accepted the claim. Both companies say they are trying to discover how the page was removed from the site, and who by.

      Zed Books, an independent publisher founded in 1976, found its Facebook page deleted outright on Tuesday, without any warning or notification. It said its attempts to contact Facebook for an official statement on why its page was removedhad gone unanswered, and that it had been given no timeframe for recovering it. After the Guardian contacted Facebook over the issue, Facebook got in touch with Zed Books, and told the Guardian: “Facebook has not taken Zed Books page down. We are in contact with them to help understand what has happened and to resolve the situation.”

    • Thai exhibit puts spotlight on censorship

      The Nation/Asia News Network–Banning books is a habit with Asian governments, as the art installation “Paradise of the Blind” in Bangkok shows.

      It look like somebody’s shot up all the books in the Reading Room off Silom Road. A second glance reassures you, though, that you’re actually just looking at an art installation.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • This 1 Simple Equation Describes Cybersecurity in a Nutshell [Ed:trying to frame mass surveillance as a science (it’s not)]
    • Privacy fears ‘deterring’ US web users from online shopping

      Almost half of American households with at least one internet user have been “deterred” from online activity recently because of privacy or security concerns, a survey has said.

      Their concerns had stopped them either using online banking or shopping or posting on social media, the survey by a Department of Commerce agency said.

      The study asked 41,000 households about their activity in the past 12 months.

      A US official said mistrust about privacy was causing “chilling effects”.

    • Researchers just released profile data on 70,000 OkCupid users without permission

      A group of researchers has released a data set on nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid. The data dump breaks the cardinal rule of social science research ethics: It took identifiable personal data without permission.

      The information — while publicly available to OkCupid users — was collected by Danish researchers who never contacted OkCupid or its clientele about using it.

      The data, collected from November 2014 to March 2015, includes user names, ages, gender, religion, and personality traits, as well as answers to the personal questions the site asks to help match potential mates. The users hail from a few dozen countries around the world.

    • Pay-for-Privacy Schemes Put the Most Vulnerable Americans at Risk

      The FCC has opened a proceeding on the rules and policies surrounding privacy rights for broadband service. One industry practice called into question in that proceeding could have a devastating impact on our most vulnerable populations.

      Internet service providers charge broadband customers a ton for Internet access. ISPs are increasingly finding new revenue streams too, by taking part in the multibillion-dollar market that’s evolved out of selling users’ personal information to online marketers. As the debate around privacy has heated up, ISPs have tried to placate the public’s growing interest in privacy protections while maintaining revenues they can get when they auction off their customers’ valuable personal information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Border That We Keep

      In order to establish a colonial system that would service their interests, the Spanish exploited and oppressed indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. After three centuries of such colonialism, social classes had become firmly institutionalized in Mexico. Class depended on race, birthplace, and also the internalization of racial inferiority. The Spanish even devised different kinds of systems (i.e., Hacienda and Encomienda) so as to regiment social order, marginalize, and subjugate indigenous peoples. One salient point to be made about this time in history, especially given relevance to the state-sponsored racial profiling that occurs along the border today, is that the indigenous persons who appeared to have a more European physiognomy might enjoy some of the elitist benefits that Spanish colonialism had crafted in Mexico. On the other hand, however, those with a more indigenous mien could hardly hope to ascend socially. Instead, they were relegated to what colonial elites considered lesser social classes. Such racism belongs to a five-hundred-year history in which people of Mexican origin, including those along the border, suffered at the hands of the Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and Anglo-America and its government. Of course, all of these were foreign powers and had much in common.

    • The New Chauvinists try to defend women – but who will defend us from them?

      Groups such as the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) have taken up the old banner of chaperoning white womanhood. But nothing about them makes me feel safe.

    • Federal Court Blocks ‘Truth About Torture’ in Ruling on Senate Report

      A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a lawsuit that called for the full release of the U.S. Senate’s report on the CIA’s post-September 11 abuse and torture of detainees.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said the report isn’t subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests—ruling against the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit seeking publication of the 6,000-page document.

      “This decision has the disappointing result of keeping the full truth about the CIA torture program from the American public, and we’re considering our options for appeal,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security project.

    • US Planning New Sweep of ‘Reprehensible’ Deportation Raids

      The Obama administration is planning more raids to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children in May and June, Reuters reported on Thursday.

      It is poised to be the largest sweep this year, following a two-day operation in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina in January. The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) said the announcement means the administration “is turning a blind eye to the many serious due process violations” that occurred during previous raids.

    • Is the Pentagon About to Be Forced to Release Damning Torture Photos?

      The Pentagon’s more than decade-long legal battle to continue suppressing a trove of photographs exposing the Bush-era torture at U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan may have reached a critical juncture on Wednesday.

      During a hearing, the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported, a federal judge expressed frustration over how the Pentagon came to determine that each of 1,800 photos must be suppressed because they supposedly jeopardize national security.

    • Judge criticizes Pentagon suppression of hundreds of Bush-era torture photos

      A federal judge has sharply rebuked the Pentagon for the process by which it concealed hundreds of Bush-era photos showing US military personnel torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting Barack Obama may have to release even more graphic imagery of abuse.

      Alvin Hellerstein, the senior judge who has presided over a transparency lawsuit for the photos that has lasted more than 12 years, expressed dissatisfaction over the Pentagon’s compliance with an order he issued last year requiring a case-by-case ruling that release of an estimated 1,800 photographs would endanger US troops.

    • ‘Racist McShootface’ Helps Drive Price Of George Zimmerman’s Infamous Gun Up To $65 Million

      George Zimmerman is trying to sell the gun that he used to kill Trayvon Martin to the highest bidder. It’s not going well.

      Zimmerman initially listed the weapon on GunBroker.com. The auction was removed from the site minutes after it began, however. “We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving,” the site said in a statement.


      But Zimmerman’s troubles were just beginning. The bidding on United Gun Group was quickly overwhelmed by trolls including ‘Racist McShootface’ and ‘Weedlord Bonerhitler’ who have helped drive the current price of the gun to over $65 million.

    • Saving the ‘girl child’: the politics of sexual purity and national honour

      Contemporary political activism is frequently geared towards efforts to name and shame nations that ‘fail’ to support and protect ‘their’ girls. This approach emerges clearly in the title of Human Rights Watch’s 2011 report ‘How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?’ Child Marriage in Yemen. Human Rights Watch uses this question, excerpted from a girl’s story in the report, to address and indict the government of Yemen.

    • WATCH: Amy Goodman on CSPAN’s Washington Journal
    • How Orange County Prosecutors Covered Up Rampant Misuse of Jailhouse Informants

      Prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants are persistent problems in the criminal justice system. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, since 1989 there have been 923 exonerations tied to official misconduct by prosecutors, police, or other government officials,­ 89 of them in cases involving the use of jailhouse snitches. Over the last two years, a scandal involving both has engulfed Orange County, California, exposing systemic violation of defendants’ constitutional rights and calling into question the legality of the prosecution of a number of violent felony cases.

      What makes the Orange County situation particularly troubling is its eerie similarity to another such scandal that unfolded just miles to the north, in Los Angeles County, starting in the late 1970s, and culminated in an exhaustive grand jury report that detailed widespread misuse and abuse of criminal informants and revealed questionable prosecutorial tactics, potentially in more than 200 cases.

    • Success Academy documents point to ‘possible cheating’ among challenges

      Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz did not approve of the finding — made by an “ethnographer” she hired to study her rapidly expanding charter school network — that some teachers at the high-performing network might be responding to the enormous pressure placed on them by cheating.

      So Moskowitz, Success’s combative founder, deployed senior managers to inform the staffer, Roy Germano, that he was banned from visiting schools for the remainder of the year. Moskowitz disparaged Germano to other employees, according to a memo written by Germano in July 2015 and obtained by POLITICO New York, and he was told to halt his research projects immediately.

    • Teachers at New York City’s Biggest Charter School Chain May Be Cheating on Standardized Tests

      “It seems possible if not likely that some teacher cheating is occurring at Success [Academy] on both internal assessments and state exams,” read a memo written last July by Roy Germano, a social scientist who the New York City-based chain hired to assess “questions we never thought to ask” as it was contemplating its continued growth. The memo was obtained byPolitico New York reporter Eliza Shapiro.

    • Six-hour work days do boost productivity. Too bad we can’t try them

      That Americans work too much is something that many Europeans accept as fact. I spent the first 10 years of my career working in the UK and Germany, but often collaborated with coworkers across the Atlantic. My European colleagues and I would raise our eyebrows at emails that we’d receive in the middle of the night from folks who were clearly working well into their evenings. We laughed at voicemails left at 8pm London time, with the preposterous assumption that we’d still be at our desks.

      Relocating to New York at the beginning of 2014, my situation flipped. In a company where the majority of my colleagues were based in Berlin, we did have more vacation days than the average American worker, who gets just a paltry eight. But we sometimes struggled to get work done when my European colleagues would exercise their right to go to the beach for two or three weeks at a time. It felt like those of us who were stateside were doing something wrong.

    • Welcome to 1984

      The artifice of corporate totalitarianism has been exposed. The citizens, disgusted by the lies and manipulation, have turned on the political establishment. But the game is not over. Corporate power has within its arsenal potent forms of control. It will use them. As the pretense of democracy is unmasked, the naked fist of state repression takes its place. America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly.

      “Our political system is decaying,” said Ralph Nader when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It’s on the way to gangrene. It’s reaching a critical mass of citizen revolt.”

    • From the shared futures of the UK & Scottish Labour to the RISE flop, 12 lessons from Scotland’s plodding election

      Labour should have stuck to plan A, but probably would have collapsed anyway. RISE sank. The SNP were dull but solid. The Greens managed to hold it together. And Scotland is still on the road to independence.

    • “More people, more agency”: Turning protests into movements

      It has been almost nine years since we felt the first shockwaves of a meltdown of the global economy triggered by the near collapse of the financial capitalism. In addition, because of the relative decline of the West, including the enduring European crisis – which has mutated from economic to social to political -, re-emerged authoritarian powers like China and Russia are now disputing world hegemony. This can be noticed in different fields, from the commodity trade to land buying in Africa and Latin America, from investments in extractive industries to media swaying through news agencies and global broadcasting networks such as Xinhua or RT. For both powers, crushing any sprout of organised civil society and flexing military muscles have become routine exercises. For citizens living in other places like Turkey and Egypt or now the Philippines, things do not look at all better.

    • These Black Parents Were Charged When Toddlers Shot Themselves—But These White Parents Weren’t

      Comparing those two cases is somewhat problematic, because Indiana — where Shelton lives — and Georgia — where the Coles live — have very different gun laws.

    • Texas Oil Billionaire Jumps on Board With Trump’s Proposal to Ban Muslim Immigrants From the U.S.

      T. Boone Pickens is a billionaire hedge fund manager and oil tycoon whose long-term financial backing of the Bush family included his recent $100,000 donation to the failed campaign of 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb.

      Now, the 87-year-old, who also donated to the campaigns of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, is emerging as a fervent supporter of fellow billionaire and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, including full embrace of his proposed ban on Muslims.

    • ‘Misconduct, Dishonesty, and Bad Faith’: Joe Arpaio Found in Contempt

      Notorious Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, found guilty in 2013 of racial profiling and violating Latinos’ constitutional rights, has now been found in contempt of court for failing to curtail those practices and in fact flouting the judge’s orders.

      The ruling on Friday from U.S. District Judge Murray Snow “marked one of the biggest legal defeats” in Arpaio’s career, wrote the Associated Press, and was expected to lead to greater court oversight of his office.

    • You Can Get Clearance If You Always Believed in the Fourth Amendment, But Not if You’re a Fourth Amendment Convert

      On Thursday night at 11PM, in advance of an Oversight and Government Reform hearing scheduled at 9AM Friday, James Clapper’s office rolled out a new policy integrating the use of social media in security clearance reviews. Basically, the government can use public social media in making security clearance determinations, but can’t ask for your password, friend you to collect information, or access your non-public social media activity. They additionally claim, implausibly, they won’t keep anything unnecessary to make such determinations.

      Even taking those caveats in good faith, the policy should not be regarded as a risk-free policy, because government bureaucrats don’t have a perfect record with attribution (something National Counterintelligence Director William Evanina admitted in the hearing) and they have a still worse one with irony. Plus, the history of FBI prosecutions of alleged terrorists for RTs suggests they will read certain actions in social media with a certain kind of intent that may not be true.

    • Do You Have Good Posture in the Airport Security Line? Meet the Guy Who Taught the TSA It’s a Clue You’re a Terrorist

      The TSA claims this is “simply the new normal” and blames “record travel volume.”

      According to the Intercept, which obtained a confidential TSA document, the TSA has a list of body language signs that it believes indicates a greater likelihood that a passenger is a terrorist, which include “fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms …arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture.”

      Behavior Detection Officers are employed to spot these behaviors at airports. The controversial screening program was created by a psychologist, Paul Ekman, who’s been studying behavioral analysis for nearly 50 years.

    • Homeland Security asks for patience as airport security lines grow

      Facing a growing backlash over extremely long airport security lines, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Friday asked fliers “to be patient” as the government takes steps to get them onto planes more quickly.

      Travelers across the country have endured lengthy lines, some snaking up and down escalators, or through food courts, and into terminal lobbies. At some airports, lines during peak hours have topped 90 minutes. Airlines have reported holding planes at gates to wait for passengers to clear security.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 50 Shades of Grey for Net Neutrality

      This week La Quadrature du Net was invited to participate to a workshop at the ARCEP1 in order to discuss the guidelines in the making by the BEREC and the new regulatory framework concerning Net Neutrality. While stressing the openness of the ARCEP, La Quadrature du Net deeply regrets that on such a crucial subject the negotiations were shadowy, without clear goals and keeping the possibility to by-pass Net Neutrality and thus threaten fundamental liberties.

  • DRM

    • Apple says it doesn’t know why iTunes users are losing their music files

      Apple today acknowledged iTunes users who claim the software deleted their music files, saying it will issue an update to iTunes next week that includes additional safeguards. The company confirmed, in a statement given to iMore, that “in an extremely small number of cases, users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission.” However, Apple was unable to reproduce the bug, indicating it doesn’t really know what’s going on here.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Ex Deep Purple member rocks up 20 years later to register band name as trade mark

        Purple seems to be a popular colour in the world of trade marks. Recently, this Kat reported on Cadbury’s ill-fated attempt to preserve an existing colour mark. Thanks to Katfriend Plamen Ivanov, this Kat has learned of another purple trade mark dispute, this time concerning the word mark ‘Deep Purple’. Deep Purple is the name of a British rock band, formed in 1968. A former member of the band, Richard Blackmore, applied to register ‘Deep Purple’ as a word mark for certain goods and services in class 9, class 25, and class 41. As this Kat will explain, the attempt to register the mark was largely unsuccessful.

    • Copyrights

      • Top programmer describes Android’s nuts and bolts in Oracle v. Google

        The Oracle v. Google trial rolled into its fifth day on Friday, beginning with videotaped deposition testimony from Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Later in the day, a former Sun scientist in charge of open source testified, as well as a key Android programmer.

        The two software giants are in court to resolve a lawsuit that Oracle filed in 2010, accusing Google of infringing copyrights related to 37 Java APIs. An initial ruling was a clean sweep for Google, finding that APIs couldn’t be copyrighted at all, but that result was overturned on appeal. Now Google’s facing a second jury trial, and its only available defense is that its use of Java APIs is “fair use.” Oracle acquired the Java copyrights after buying Sun Microsystems in 2009.

      • MPAA ‘Invests’ Millions in Academic Piracy Research

        Over the course of several years Hollywood’s MPAA has gifted millions of dollars to piracy related academic research. Tax records reveal that most funds have been directed to Carnegie Mellon University, which produced several high-profile studies. According to the most recent filing the university received $1 million in 2014 alone.

      • It’s the 1800s all over again: Free enterprise never really existed before now

        In the years 1791 to about 1850, laws were passed that abolished trade guilds as the permission-givers to run a business. But as we speak of “permissionless innovation” today, and see how these “permissionless” businesses often violate old regulations, we realize that the requirement for a permit to run a business never went away: the government just seized the permission issuance for itself.

      • Here’s a MOUNTAIN of willful-infringement evidence the Oracle v. Google jury won’t see in trial phase one

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts