EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.19.16

Links 19/5/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.10, Android N

Posted in News Roundup at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • F5’s Latest Updates Give a Nod to Developers

    As virtual appliances become a bigger part of its business, F5 is tweaking some of its products to better fit the concept of developers programming the network.

    The company has separated its orchestration tool from its management tool. The latter, which involves monitoring the network and making sure features such as high availability are viable, is still within the purview of networking people. But orchestration and provisioning of services is becoming more of a programmer’s job.

  • Building a bootstrapped business on open source

    Back in 2009, our day-to-day life at Planio was writing software for clients. Client work is often fun, but there can also be a feeling that you’re stuck on a hamster wheel of endlessly churning through projects, always looking for new customers.

  • Getting started with Node-RED

    Node-RED is a browser-based flow editor that lets users wire together hardware devices, APIs, and online services in new and interesting ways.

    Node-RED’s nodes are like npm packages, and you can get them the same way. And because Node-RED has a built-in text editor, you can make applications as complex as you like by adding JavaScript functions.

    Because Node-RED is based on Node.js and takes advantage of the event-driven, non-blocking model, it can be run on low-cost hardware like the Raspberry Pi or in the cloud.

  • PyBERT: Open-Source Software for Modeling High-Speed Links

    PyBERT by David Banas frees you from IBIS-AMI models, which have their limitations, for modeling high-speed SerDes devices and systems for signal integrity.

  • Events

    • 5 keys to hacking your community. What works?
    • Kindness and Community

      This was all after a weekend of running the Community Leadership Summit, an event that solicited similar levels of kindness. There were volunteers who got out of bed at 5am to help us set up, people who offered to prepare and deliver keynotes and sessions, coordinate evening events, equipment, sponsorship contributions, and help run the event itself. Then, to top things off, there were remarkably generous words and appreciation for the event as a whole when it drew to a close.

    • OpenPGP.conf: Call for Presentations

      OpenPGP.conf is a conference for users and implementers of the OpenPGP protocol, the popular standard for encrypted email communication and protection of data at rest. The conference shall give users and implementers of OpenPGP based systems an overview of the current state of use and provide in-depth information on technical aspects.

    • OSCON for the Rest of Us Starts Today

      Things get cranked-up for real in Austin, Texas today at OSCON. Although the conference started on Monday, the first two days were reserved for special two day training classes and tutorials. Today the big gate opens wide on the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey of open source conferences. For the first time ever, the event is taking place deep in the heart of Texas, as OSCON has said goodbye to Portland, Oregon, at least temporarily, to say hello to the land of Tex-Mex vittles.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Welcome Alex Salkever, Vice President of Marketing Communications

        Alex was most recently Chief Marketing Officer of Silk.co, a data publishing and visualization startup, where he led efforts focused on user growth and platform partnerships. Alex has held a variety of senior marketing, marketing communications and product marketing roles working on products in the fields of scientific instruments, cloud computing, telecommunications and Internet of Things. In these various capacities, Alex has managed campaigns across all aspects of marketing and product marketing including PR, content marketing, user acquisition, developer marketing and marketing analytics.

      • Mozilla Rebuffed in Effort to Get Code Vulnerability Disclosed to it First

        All around the world, there continue to be many people who want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously, despite the fact that some people want to end Internet anonymity altogether. Typically, the anonymous crowd turns to common tools that can keep their tracks private, and one of the most common tools of all is Tor, an open source tool used all around the world. Not everyone realizes that Tor shares code with Mozilla’s Firefox.

        That fact had to do with why Mozilla recently asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, in the interest of Firefox users, to disclose any findings of vulnerability in Tor to it first, before any other party learns of the vulnerability. I covered the request here. Now, a federal judge has rejected Mozilla’s bid to have the government disclose any vulnerability related to its Firefox web browser. Here are details.

      • Firefox tops Microsoft browser market share for first time

        StatCounter, which analysed data from three million websites, found that Firefox’s worldwide desktop browser usage last month was 0.1 percent ahead of the combined share of Internet Explorer and Edge at 15.5 percent.

      • Report: Firefox Overtakes IE and Edge For the First Time
      • EFF wants to save Firefox from the W3C and DRM

        THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) and web stalwart BoingBoing are fretting about the future of Firefox after moves by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that they claim threaten competition and liberty.

        A post on the EFF blog and BoingBoing pages warned that the W3C’s weakening approach to openness threatens the future of the browser, which once looked like the only thing that could save the internet.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Notes for my HTCondor Week talk

      I’m delighted to have a chance to present at HTCondor Week this year and am looking forward to seeing some old friends and collaborators. The thesis of my talk is that HTCondor users who aren’t already leading data science initiatives are well-equipped to start doing so.

  • Databases

    • SQLite 3.13 Released With Session Extension, Postponed I/O For Temp Files

      SQLite 3.13 was released today as the newest version of this widely-used and relied upon embedded SQL database library.

      SQLite 3.13 integrates the Session Extension, which is used for generating change/patch-sets into a file for applying the same set of changes to another database with the same schema. This session extension can be used for merging changes from multiple users working off the same baseline database back into the original database and other use-cases where you may want to mege a “patch” of the changes to an original database. More details on SQLite’s Session Extension can be found via this documentation page.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Content Management and Site Analytics Solutions are Flourishing

      Whether you want to run a top-notch website or a blog, or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) and analytics tools have come of age. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3 BSD Firewall Gets Its First Major Update with Over 100 Changes

      Chris Buechler from the pfSense project announced the availability of the first point release in the stable 2.3.x series of the open-source, BSD-based firewall platform.

      pfSense 2.3.1 arrived on May 18, 2016, as an upgrade to the pfSense 2.3 Update 1 (a.k.a. pfSense 2.3-1) released at the beginning of the month to introduced an important patch to the Network Time Protocol (NTPd) package, which has been upgraded from version 4.2.8p6 to 4.2.8p7.

    • Reusing the OpenBSD in Multi-Threaded User Space Programs

      Now it is time for OpenBSD. Here you will read about “Reusing the OpenBSD arc4random in multi-threaded user space programs” by Sudhi Herle. Upgrade your OpenBSD to the latest version and start your testing.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • 40 governments commit to open contracting to fight corruption

      Forty government organisations have committed to implementing open contracting in an attempt to fight corruption. They did so at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016, which took place in London last week.

    • Open Data

      • Welcome to Academic Torrents!

        We’ve designed a distributed system for sharing enormous datasets – for researchers, by researchers. The result is a scalable, secure, and fault-tolerant repository for data, with blazing fast download speeds.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Computer science professor on the changing face of tech

      Dr. Kyla McMullen spoke at OSCON’s morning keynote session today. She was the first African-American woman to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. And it says a lot about tech’s lack of inclusiveness that this landmark achievement happened in 2012.

    • Scientists Gave Depressed Patients Psilocybin in a First for Psychedelic Therapy

      In a recent UK trial, 12 patients with major depression took a pill quite different to commonly prescribed antidepressants: 25mg of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms.

      Though it’s early days (the study is the first of its kind), the results of the trial are promising.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Antibiotics will stop working at a ‘terrible human cost’, major report warns

      Urgent action is needed to control the use of antibiotics before they cease to work, leaving a number of major conditions untreatable and causing “terrible human and economic cost”, a major study has warned.

      Resistance to antibiotics is growing at such an alarming rate that they risk losing effectiveness entirely meaning medical procedures such as caesarean sections, joint replacements and chemotherapy could soon become too dangerous to perform. Unless urgent action is taken, drug resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050, more than cancer kills currently, the report’s authors warn.

    • Superbugs will ‘kill every three seconds’

      Superbugs will kill someone every three seconds by 2050 unless the world acts now, a hugely influential report says.

      The global review sets out a plan for preventing medicine “being cast back into the dark ages” that requires billions of dollars of investment.

      It also calls for a revolution in the way antibiotics are used and a massive campaign to educate people.

      The report has received a mixed response with some concerned that it does not go far enough.

      The battle against infections that are resistant to drugs is one the world is losing rapidly and has been described as “as big a risk as terrorism”.

    • Surgery surprise: Small rural hospitals may be safer and less expensive for common operations

      “They” are critical access hospitals – a special class of hospital that’s the closest option for tens of millions of Americans living in rural areas. And according to new findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, having surgery at one of them may be a better bet for most relatively healthy patients than traveling to a suburban or city hospital.

    • How to provide Medicare for all

      Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, became law six years ago. The intention was to ensure that nearly all Americans have health insurance, while controlling costs. How did that work out?

      When the law was enacted, about 16 percent of Americans were uninsured. That has dropped to 10 percent. So instead of 50 million uninsured Americans, there are now about 30 million without insurance. That’s better, but hardly universal.

      Health cost inflation slowed for a few years, probably because of the recession, but it’s now resuming its rapid growth. In total, the United States spent $8,400 per person on health care six years ago, or $2.6 trillion. Last year we spent $10,000, or $3.2 trillion.

    • Health Advocates Worry About The Rapidly Increasing Cost Of ‘Opioid Overdose Antidote’

      In the midst of growing concern about the rising cost of prescription drugs, lawmakers are scrambling to slow down price increases for naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Some versions of the life-saving drug are 17 times more expensive than they were two years ago — stunting efforts to combat a drug overdose crisis that’s causing thousands of deaths across the country.

    • Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California

      Roughly half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted.

      Drug war money has become a notable source of funding for law enforcement interests. Huge government grants and asset-seizure windfalls benefit police departments, while the constant supply of prisoners keeps the prison business booming.

    • Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe

      This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) findings so that the European Commission (under pressure from Monsanto, Glyphosate Task Force and others) can re-authorise glyphosate for another nine years. This is despite the WHO classifying glyphosate as being “probably carcinogenic” to humans.

      An open letter from campaigner Rosemary Mason to Dirk Detken, Chief Attorney to the EFSA, follows the brief background article you are about to read. In the letter, Mason highlights the regulatory delinquency concerning the oversight of glyphosate in the EU. The evidence provided by Mason might lead many to agree that processes surrounding glyphosate ‘regulation’ in Europe amount to little more than a “cesspool of corruption.”

      There are around 500 million people in the EU. They want EU officials to uphold the public interest and to be independent from commercial influence. They do not want them to serve and profit from commercial interests at cost to the public’s health and safety. However, what they too often get are massive conflicts of interest: see here about the ‘revolving door’ problem within official EU bodies, here about ‘the European Food and Safety Authority’s independence problem’ and here about ‘chemical conflicts’ in the EC’s scientific committees for consumer issues.

    • GMOs Safe to Eat, Says Research Group That Takes Millions From Monsanto

      Public skepticism is growing over a new report that claims genetically modified (GE or GMO) foods are safe for consumption, particularly as information emerges that the organization that produced the report has ties to the biotechnology industry.

      Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (pdf), released Tuesday by the federally-supported National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, states not only that GMO crops are safe to eat, but that they have no adverse environmental impacts and have cut down on pesticide use. Its publication comes as U.S. Congress—which founded the institution—considers making GMO labeling mandatory on consumer products.

    • Why Are Los Angeles Children Drinking Cloudy, Discolored Water?

      How would you feel if your child’s school water supply was murky and yellowish water? You would likely be outraged, like the community in Watts, California is.

      South Los Angeles residents were shocked to learn that, in January 2016, they were exposed to six-hours worth of untreated well water. And many residents are just now finding out about it. The affected water supply serves about 20,000 residents in Watts and neighboring Green Meadows, according to LA Times.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • Secure Hardware vs. Open Source

      Recently there have been discussions regarding Yubico’s OpenPGP implementation on the YubiKey 4. While open source and security remains central to our mission, we think some clarifications and context around current OpenPGP support would be beneficial to explain what we are doing, why, and how it reflects our commitment to improved security and open source.

    • The Alarming Truth

      Car alarms don’t deter criminals, and they’re a public nuisance. Why are they still so common?

    • Security hole in Symantec antivirus exposes Windows, Linux and Macs

      A major security vulnerability has been uncovered by UK white hat hacker and Google Project Zero developer, Tavis Ormandy. The vulnerability applies to the Symantec Antivirus Engine used in most Symantec and Norton branded Antivirus products and could see Linux, Mac and Windows PCs compromised.

    • Patch now: Google and JetBrains warn developers of buggy IDE

      Google has emailed Android developers advising them to update Android Studio, the official Android IDE, to fix security bugs. Other versions of the JetBrains IntelliJ IDE, on which Android Studio is based, are also affected.

      The bugs are related to the built-in web server in the IDE. A cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaw means that if the IDE is running and the developer visits a malicious web page in any browser, scripts on the malicious web page could access the local file system.

    • Researchers crack new version of CryptXXX ransomware
    • How to empty your bank’s vault with a few clicks and lines of code

      A security researcher has demonstrated how he could have theoretically emptied an Indian bank’s coffers with no more than a few clicks and lines of code.

      Earlier this week, researcher Sathya Prakash revealed the discovery of multiple, critical vulnerabilities and poor coding in an unnamed government-run Indian bank.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 9/11 bill passes US Senate despite Saudi ‘warning’

      A bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government has passed a key hurdle in the US Senate.

      The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) now moves to the House of Representatives.

      Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister warned that the move could cause his government to withdraw US investments.

    • Crooked Hillary and the Rape of Honduras

      The history of US-Honduran relations is the story of endless meddling by Washington on behalf of crony capitalists, notably United Fruit, now known as Chiquita. A series of invasions and military occupations in the early part of the twentieth century – seven between 1903 and 1925 – ensured that American investors would get good returns on their investments, while keeping the restless natives under the boot of local oligarchs. During the cold war era, the Jeanne Kirkpatrick doctrine of preferring “pro-American” dictators to left-wing democrats prevailed, and the Reagan administration used the country as a base for undermining the leftist Sandinista regime: the contras, funded by Washington, were based in the country, from which they regularly launched terrorist raids targeting civilians.

    • When Putin Called-Out Obama on a Big Lie, Press Ignored It

      U.S. President Barack Obama lied, about a very important matter. The people calling him out on it should be more than just the Russian President. This is an issue — World War III — that affects the entire world.

    • Obama Ratchets Up to Invade Russia

      America is installing in Europe a new system that’s designed to block Russia’s ability to retaliate against a nuclear attack, but Obama sold it to European nations saying it will protect them against a nuclear attack from Iran.

    • Can Iran sue the US for Coup & supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?

      Iranian members of parliament have approved the details of a bill that insists US compensate Iran for its crimes against that country.

      The bill comes as a result of a $2 billion judgment against Iran entered by a US court and backed by an act of the US Congress, on behalf of the families of Marines killed in a Beirut bombing in 1983. Iran was allegedly behind the attack, though responsibility for it was attributed to a fundamentalist Lebanese Shiite splinter group that was a predecessor of Hizbullah.

    • How the NSA Pushed Iraq Invasion

      Charlie Savage in the New York Times writes Tuesday: “On Monday, the news website The Intercept said it would publish the entire archive of the [National Security Agency’s Top Secret internal] newsletter and began by posting more than 150 articles from 2003…. For example, one article described the American and British ambassadors to the United Nations expressing thanks to the agency for providing what the latter called ‘insights into the nuances of internal divisions among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council’ during the diplomatic negotiations ahead of the Iraq War.”

      The Intercept on Monday in one of their postings stated the NSA’s intelligence “during the wind-up to the Iraq War ‘played a critical role’ in the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The work with that customer was a resounding success.” The relevant document quotes John Negroponte, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: “I can’t imagine better intelligence support for a diplomatic mission.”

    • The life and death of Daniel Berrigan

      Dan Berrigan published over 50 books of poetry, essays, journals and scripture commentaries, as well as an award winning play, “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” in his remarkable life, but he was most known for burning draft files with homemade napalm along with his brother Philip and seven others on May 17, 1968, in Catonsville, Maryland, igniting widespread national protest against the Vietnam war, including increased opposition from religious communities. He was the first U.S. priest ever arrested in protest of war, at the national mobilization against the Vietnam war at the Pentagon in October 1967. He was arrested hundreds of times since then in protests against war and nuclear weapons, spent two years of his life in prison, and was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Airline Confirms Plane Has Crashed, but No Cause Is Given

      The missing EgyptAir plane has crashed, the airline said on its Twitter account. The statement updates previous information released by the airline saying only that the plane was missing.

      Two security officials at Cairo International Airport also said the plane was presumed to have crashed.

    • Crashed Egyptair Flight

      His summary was as balanced and sensible as it could be possible to make. Indeed Eamonn Holmes felt it necessary to ramp up the terrorist narrative by stating there have only ever been 68 mechanical failures on Airbus 320 aircraft. That is true, but it is a very much larger number than the number of terrorist incidents on A 320 aircraft.

    • EgyptAir Flight Carrying 69 From Paris to Cairo Disappears Over Mediterranean

      National carrier EgyptAir said a plane carrying 69 passengers and crew on a flight from Paris to Cairo had gone missing on Thursday, disappearing from radar over the Mediterranean Sea.

    • Live Now: Missing EgyptAir Flight From Paris to Cairo
    • EgyptAir Flight Disappears From Radar With 66 Onboard After Entering Egyptian Airspace, Airline Says

      EgyptAir flight 804 left Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. It lost contact with the radar tracking system over the Mediterranean Sea at 2:45 a.m. at 37,000 feet, after entering Egyptian airspace. (Both France and Egypt are in the same time zone.)

    • Missing EgyptAir flight MS804: One Briton onboard as French security officials say they ‘cannot rule out terror attack’

      An official in Egyptair said Egyptian said that Military search and rescue operations have received an SOS message from the plane emergency devices at 4:26 am Cairo time (3.36am London time).

      The statement said that the Egyptian military sent some planes and navy units to search for the plane, and that the Greece has sent some planes with coordination with Egypt.

    • openDemocracy: Whose side is Belarus on anyway?

      Belarusians generally feel closer to Russia than Ukraine, but refuse to get involved in the conflict between them. It is, they insist, “not our war”.

      The validity of opinion polls in countries with authoritarian regimes is often questioned: how strong is the fear factor in responses? Do they just reflect respondents’ unwillingness to express opinions that don’t fit the official line.

      But practice shows this not to be the case. In surveys recently conducted by Belarus’ Independent Institute of Socio-economic and Political Studies (IISEPS), even positive responses to a pointed question about President Aliaksandr Lukashenka only scored between 20%-50% approval. If we assume that a refusal to show approval of the Belarusian ruler required actual civil courage, that would make 50%-80% of the country’s population “heroes”, which is improbable, to say the least.

    • Russian, Belarusian FMs Criticize U.S. Missile-Defense Plans

      Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makey says Belarus and Russia are concerned about the establishment of U.S. missile-defense systems in Eastern Europe.

      Makey made his comments after meeting in Minsk on May 16 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also held talks with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

    • Appeal from U.S. to World: Help Us Resist U.S. Crimes

      Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated “information warfare” that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.

    • Brazil’s Neighbors Warn of President’s ‘Dangerous’ Ouster–but US Press Isn’t Listening

      The effort to oust twice-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been big news in the United States. Since December 2015, when Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies began an impeachment process over Rousseff’s budget maneuvers, the New York Times has had 74 pieces that mention “Rousseff” and “impeachment,” according to the Nexis news database; the Washington Post has had 138 such stories.

      But something that hasn’t been big news in US corporate media has been the reaction from Brazil’s neighbors to Rousseff’s suspension pending a Senate trial. While some Latin American governments were supportive—notably, newly right-governed Argentina said it “respects the institutional process” in Brazil, while close US ally Colombia “trusts in the preservation of democratic institutionality and stability”—several others were harshly critical. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega called Rousseff’s removal an “anti-democratic process that has cast a shadow on the reliability and strength of institutions.” Bolivia’s Foreign ministry said Rousseff’s opponents were trying to “destabilize democratic processes and ignore the will of the people expressed in the popular vote.”

      Three Latin American countries—Venezuela and El Salvador on May 14, and Ecuador today, May 18—announced they were recalling their ambassadors from Brazil, one of the strongest expressions of disapproval a nation can take. Salvadoran President Sanchez Ceren said he would not recognize the government formed by Vice President Michel Temer after Rousseff’s removal. “We respect democracy and the people’s will,” Ceren said. “In Brazil an act was done that was once done through military coups.”

    • Fleeing Gangs, Central American Refugees Fight Deportation From the U.S.

      Alberto was shackled with ankle and waist chains last December when he flew in an airplane for the first time of his life. He and a dozen other Central American refugees were being transported from a Border Patrol detention center in Texas, where Alberto had been held for 25 days, to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in York County Prison, Pennsylvania, where he would spend the next nine weeks. When he arrived, his clothes were confiscated and he was handed an orange jumpsuit, three pairs of boxers, two sheets, and a blanket. Then he was brought to a dormitory with 60 bunks and as many detainees. The room was freezing, and it stayed that way. “They would charge us $17 for a good sweater,” he told me. “And there were a lot of guys in there whose families couldn’t send them any money.”

    • Bill Clinton Talking like Trump on Immigration
    • Noam Chomsky: Why Obama Suddenly Decided to Cozy up With Cuba—It Wasn’t Warm and Fuzzy Feelings

      Michael Ratner: Well, Amy, let’s just say, other than the birth of my children, this is perhaps one of the most exciting days of my life. I mean, I’ve been working on Cuba since the early ’70s, if not before. I worked on the Venceremos Brigade. I went on brigades. I did construction. And to see that this can actually happen in a country that decided early on that, unlike most countries in the world, it was going to level the playing field for everyone—no more rich, no more poor, everyone the same, education for everyone, schooling for everyone, housing if they could—and to see the relentless United States go against it, from the Bay of Pigs to utter subversion on and on, and to see Cuba emerge victorious—and when I say that, this is not a defeated country. This is a country—if you heard the foreign minister today, what he spoke of was the history of U.S. imperialism against Cuba, from the intervention in the Spanish-American War to the Platt Amendment, which made U.S. a permanent part of the Cuban government, to the taking of Guantánamo, to the failure to recognize it in 1959, to the cutting off of relations in 1961. This is a major, major victory for the Cuban people, and that should be understood. We are standing at a moment that I never expected to see in our history.

    • Anti-War Democrats Try to Repeal Authorization for Endless War

      After years of bombings and a new, protracted conflict in the Middle East, the U.S. House on Wednesday is expected to vote on a measure that could end or extend President Barack Obama’s “blank check” for war, which is now currently used to sanction attacks against the Islamic State (or ISIS).

    • US Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

      The US senate has passed legislation that would allow the victims of the September 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages from officials from Saudi Arabia – a move that sets the bill for a showdown with the White House.

      Fifteen of the nineteen men who hijacked four planes and flew them into targets in New York and Washington in 2001 were Saudi citizens, though Riyadh has always denied having any role in the attacks.

      A US commission established in the aftermath of the attacks also concluded there was no evidence of official Saudi connivance. However, the White House has been under pressure to declassify a 28-page section of the report that was never published on the grounds of national security.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Agencies Brace for Historic Wildfire Season, Cite Climate Change

      Representatives with the US Forest Service met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday to prep for what could be another record-breaking wildfire season due to global warming.

      This year has already seen five times more acreage burned than at this time last year, the most aggressive wildfire season ever recorded. The Forest Service spent $2.6 billion on dousing fires alone in 2015.

      “We keep setting records we don’t want to see beat,” Secretary Vilsack said in a statement after the meeting.

    • National Parks on the Verge of Taking Corporate Funding

      The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing a relaxation on rules governing corporate partnerships in a move that could see parks increasingly commercialized and dependent on the whims of private donors.

    • Forget Cars: Cows And Fertilizer Could Be A Big Pollution Problem

      But the use of widely-available fertilizer has also come with some considerable downsides. Fertilizer runoff making its way into streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans has contributed to algal blooms and oxygen-free “dead zones” across the United States, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. In Iowa, the Des Moines Water Works utility filed a federal lawsuit against three farm counties, claiming that the filtration technology required to strip the drinking water of nitrates from excess fertilizer runoff costs the utility between $4,000 and $7,000 a day.

    • Trial by Fire in Alberta

      Last week Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the BEAST roaming the forests of Northern Alberta was under control. In a scene reminiscent of George Bush’s fly-by over New Orleans after Katrina, Trudeau flew in to Fort McMurray in a helicopter a week or so after things had cooled down, so to speak, to survey the damage. He came, he saw, he conquered the BEAST, or so it was made to appear. Trudeau was so confident that the danger had passed he spurned an offer of help from Russia, saying, “We don’t need help from other countries”. All seemed well over the weekend; the wildfires magically disappeared from our TV screens, and news reports focused, of course, on the return of people to work in the oil-sands. Suddenly however, it is being reported today, May 17th , that things have taken a drastic and unexpected turn for the worse. The CBC is reporting the evacuation of 8,000 workers, explosions and fires consuming homes in the area, and the emergency withdrawal of firefighters because it is “so dangerous out there”. Mais, qu’est-ce qu’ill se passe?

    • Activists in Pacific Northwest Vow to Keep Fossil Fuel Industry on Notice

      They call it a tipping point. It began with the “Shell No” mobilization last spring, when activists in Portland and Seattle thwarted the oil giant’s Arctic drilling plans. Now, after days of successful mass actions with the Break Free From Fossil Fuels campaign, in which thousands of protesters on six continents took defiant action earlier this month to keep fossil fuels in the ground, from the coal fields of Germany to the oil wells in Nigeria, a cross-regional campaign that’s taken root in the Pacific Northwest is vowing to continue the momentum.

    • Oil Company To Face Felony Charges Over Massive California Spill

      The company responsible for spilling 140,000 gallons of oil on the Pacific coastline near Santa Barbara, California, has been indicted on 46 charges, including four felony charges. One employee of Plains All American Pipeline was also indicted.

      The company faces up to $2.8 million in fines plus additional costs and penalties, which would be split between the state and Santa Barbara County. The employee, 41-year-old environmental and regulatory compliance specialist James Buchanan, faces up to three years in jail.

    • Portugal’s Renewable Energy Record: A Harbinger of What’s Possible

      In what is being hailed as a major achievement, Portugal just generated all of its electricity from renewable sources for more than four days in a row.

      According to an analysis of national figures by the Sustainable Land System Association in collaboration with the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN), from the morning of May 7 until the early evening on May 11—a total of 107 consecutive hours—”Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power, ” the Guardian reports.

    • The American West Is Rapidly Disappearing

      A new study released Tuesday by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Conservation Science Partners (CSP) found that every 2.5 minutes, the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development. This project, called the Disappearing West, is the first comprehensive analysis of how much land in the West is disappearing to development, how quickly this transformation is taking place, and the driving factors behind this loss.

    • The Past 30 Years Have Seen A 10-Fold Increase In The Cost Of Disasters. That’s Going To Get Worse.

      So much for renewable energy ruining the economy.

      By 2050 there will be $158 trillion in assets at risk from flooding alone — not to mention 1.3 billion people at risk — driven largely by climate change and urbanization.

      This is according to a new World Bank report, which finds that damages from disasters have been on the rise for decades and will keep getting worse.

    • Sticky fingers: The rise of the bee thieves

      The bees crawled up the thief’s arms while he dragged their hive over a patch of grass and through a slit in the wire fence he had clipped minutes earlier. In the pitch dark, his face, which was not covered with a protective veil, hovered inches from the low hum of some 30,000 bees.

      The thief squatted low and heaved the 30kg hive, about the size of a large office printer, up and on to the bed of his white GMC truck. He had been planning his crime for days. He knew bees – how to work them, how to move them, and most importantly, how to turn them into cash.

      He ducked back through the fence to drag out a second box, “Johnson Apiaries” branded over the white paint. Then he went back for another. And another.

    • Storing The Sun’s Energy Just Got A Whole Lot Cheaper

      We are witnessing the dawn of a revolution in which the grid rapidly increases renewable energy penetration, and lithium-ion batteries play an increasingly important role.

    • Global Warming Accelerates

      New climate data shows that the global warming crisis is worse – and accelerating at a faster pace – than was understood as recently as last year’s climate-change conference in Paris, writes Nicholas C. Arguimbau.

    • As Kinder Morgan Decision Looms, Trudeau’s New Pipeline Panel Denounced as “Smokescreen”

      In a move widely seen as an attempt to quell resistance to the expansion of British Columbia’s controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced a new three-member ministerial review panel—with no veto power—that is meant to supplement the National Energy Board’s (NEB) much-maligned analysis of the project.

      The panel is intended as a fulfillment of Trudeau’s Liberal party’s campaign promises to expand environmental reviews of upcoming pipeline projects—but critics decried the effort as nothing more than a “smokescreen.”

      The NEB will release its recommendation as to whether the pipeline expansion is “in the public interest” on Friday. “If approved, the twin lines would carry nearly 900,000 barrels of crude a day starting in 2018,” notes CBC.

    • Trump’s Bizarre Climate Beliefs Would Jeopardize Meaningful Global Climate Action

      Donald Trump’s climate science denial and dubious deal-making skills just raised the stakes of this election to “existential.”

    • Glad tidings for sea power potential

      The daily ebb and flow of the tides promise a renewable energy bonanza for countries such as Canada and the UK that have shallow seas and a steep tidal range.

    • Neocon-Bashers Headline Koch Event as Political Realignment on Foreign Policy Continues

      In the latest example of how foreign policy no longer neatly aligns with party politics, the Charles Koch Institute — the think tank founded and funded by energy billionaire Charles Koch — hosted an all-day event Wednesday featuring a set of speakers you would be more likely to associate with a left-wing anti-war rally than a gathering hosted by a longtime right-wing institution.

      At the event, titled “Advancing American Security: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy,” prominent realist and liberal foreign policy scholars took turns trashing the neoconservative worldview that has dominated the foreign policy thinking of the Republican Party — which the Koch brothers have been allied with for decades.

  • Finance

    • The Age Of Impunity

      Impunity is epidemic in America. The rich and powerful get away with their heists in broad daylight. When a politician like Bernie Sanders calls out the corruption, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal double down with their mockery over such a foolish “dreamer.” The Journal recently opposed the corruption sentence of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell for taking large gifts and bestowing official favors — because everybody does it. And one of its columnists praised Panama for facilitating the ability of wealthy individuals to hide their income from “predatory governments” trying to collect taxes. No kidding.

    • Why This Is the Year of the Anti-Corporate Presidential Campaign

      Voters hit hardest by free-trade economics are rebelling against the status quo. We can use that energy to build a powerful, grassroots movement for democracy.

    • Obama Administration Tweaks Final Overtime Rule After Backlash

      It’s official: More Americans are going to get extra pay when they work extra hours.

      All workers paid hourly are always owed two and a half times their normal rate for working overtime hours. But currently, salaried workers who make over $23,660 a year aren’t guaranteed any extra pay when they put in more than 40 hours a week, a threshold that hasn’t been updated since 1975.

    • Swiss City of Zug accepts Bitcoin payments

      The Swiss Municipality of Zug will accept Bitcoin as payment for municipal services. The pilot will run from July 1 till the end of the year. According to Niklas Nikolajsen, CEO and cofounder of the Bitcoin Suisse trading house, this is the first time that a government agency will accept the cryptocurrency.

    • The Theory of Business Enterprises Part 3: Capital and Credit

      There is effectively no limit on the amounts that the monopolist can collect. We see this in operation in the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer, for example, raises the prices regularly on drugs in which it has a monopoly or an oligopoly. See also this discussion of an interview Pfizer CEO Ian Read did with Forbes. The pricing strategy for new drugs is to maximize profits, not to provide for the needs of the community. The explanation is that a business valued by capitalization of future earnings, like Pfizer, must show increases in earnings every year, or the stock price will stabilize or perhaps fall, and perhaps even the interest rates charged by lenders will rise. That should make us ask why we think this is a good plan for something as important as medicine. But we don’t ask that question. Instead, our politicians protect businesses with favorable trade treaties and other accommodations, and raise prices to consumers for drugs.

      Suppose the goal of manufacturing drugs is to produce sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the community, and to pay the owner of a plant a reasonable living wage, as Veblen says was the case in Adam Smith’s time. This business model was used by actual non-profit hospitals like the one my Dad worked at, a Catholic hospital built and operated with cash raised from the community. In that setting, there is no need to raise prices beyond inflation and depreciation (shorthand for new and replacement equipment and plant, training and so on). Any new entrant would face the same situation, so there is no advantage to be obtained in the near term from introduction of new capital. The business of creating new drugs can be pushed off to venture capital, as is mostly the case already, so there is no need to provide for R&D. There would be no need in this setting to pay dividends, and the need for interest payments would also be reduced. There would be other savings as well.

    • Left-leaning users veer right on regulating Uber and Airbnb, study finds

      First major survey on the sharing economy finds most users of services such as Airbnb and Uber identify as liberal, but take conservative stance on regulation

    • Foreclosure Fraud Is Supposed to Be a Thing of the Past, But It Happens Every Day

      Every day in America, people continue to be kicked out of their homes based on false documents. The settlements over allegations of robosigning, faulty paperwork, and illegal mortgage servicing didn’t end the misconduct. And law enforcement, along with most judges and politicians, have looked away in the mistaken belief that they wrapped up a scandal that just goes on and on.

    • Led by Mega-Donors, Wall Street Is Crushing Previous Records for Outside Political Spending
    • More Than 50 Percent of Super PAC Mega-Donors are from Wall Street

      Unencumbered by much in the way of campaign finance regulation, Wall Street mega-donors are on pace to eclipse even their own “exorbitant precedents” during the 2016 election cycle, according to a new report from national watchdog group Public Citizen.

      The analysis, which uses data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission, finds that employees and businesses in the finance, insurance, and real estate sector already had given more to outside groups—specifically, super PACs devoted to presidential candidates—by the end of March than during any entire election cycle in history.

      On top of that, the securities and investment industry, a subset of the finance sector that includes hedge funds and private equity funds, also has given more to outside groups than in any full election cycle.

    • Samantha Bee Proves Even Super PAC Donors Are Sick of This Messed-Up Campaign Finance System (Video)

      In a comical interview with a real-life Republican Super PAC donor, the “Full Frontal” host highlights how dysfunctional our democracy has become.

    • Donald Trump Promises To ‘Dismantle’ Wall Street Reform

      In an interview with Reuters published on Wednesday, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he will release an economic plan in two weeks that will undo nearly all of the financial reforms that went into effect in 2010.

      “I would say it’ll be close to a dismantling of Dodd-Frank,” he said, naming the financial reform package. “Dodd-Frank is a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name.”

      [...]

      Bernie Sanders has promised to break up too big to fail banks within the first year of his administration, cap ATM fees and interest on consumer products, and institute a financial transaction tax on Wall Street. Hillary Clinton has promised to crack down on the shadow banking system that still often falls outside the purview of regulation and expand on Dodd-Frank’s rules.

    • The 1 percent’s most dangerous weapon: Donald Trump and the global acceleration of income inequality

      No shocker, Donald Trump is once again defying conventional political wisdom and refusing to release his income taxes publicly. So far, his gut instincts have served him well in the first successful hostile takeover of one of America’s two major political parties by an individual. Trump knows better than most, great wealth, like mushrooms, flourishes best in darkness and with a steady stream of excrement to nourish it, which thanks to the corporate news media, 2016 has already supplied in ample quantities.

      Perhaps the candidate was emboldened by the lack of news media blow back on his stunning reversal on his pledge to “self-finance” his presidential campaign. The original story line was so Capraesque; the last great white hope billionaire willing to put his fortune at risk to redeem the Republic sullied by elites that had sold out the national interest to feather their own nests. But now with Trump’s selection of Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund founder and second generation Goldman Sachs alum, as his finance chair, Trump is back in proper alignment with the hedge fund pirates of the Caribbean who to this day continue to profit from the 2008 Wall Street’s heist of the Main Street economy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump and His Angry Voters Are Furthering an Extremist Christian Agenda

      Whether they know it or not, Donald Trump and millions of angry voters are taking their cues from a Southern Baptist preacher who died nine years ago. When that preacher, Jerry Falwell, decided in the late 1970s to “bring America back to God,” he gave rise to a brand of fundamentalist Christianity that fed directly into the current chaos in American politics. Falwell’s Moral Majority convinced fundamentalist Christians to become politically active. Media mogul Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition organized those same fundamentalists to seize control of the Republican Party one precinct at a time. The Tea Party and those who share its ideas in fact represent fundamentalist Christianity in its latest guise.

    • Neocons Cry Anti-Semitism Over the Pro-Trump ‘Renegade Jew’ Smear That They Popularized

      An article labeling neoconservative movement leader, Fox News pundit and orchestrator of the #NeverTrump movement William Kristol as a “Renegade Jew” has sparked a frenzy on online news and social media forums. Written by David Horowitz, another neoconservative, for the pro-Trump Breitbart website, the piece trashed Kristol for his plans to back a third party candidate against Trump, the populist evildoer at the top of the Republican establishment’s political kill list.

    • Too Little Democracy Thwarts Fighting Trump

      Things were easier in late June 1912 when delegates loyal to Teddy Roosevelt stormed out of the Republican Convention — and set up camp a mile away in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. Under a giant portrait of the former president, the rump convention nominated the 53-year-old Roosevelt as a third-party candidate against incumbent William Howard Taft and soon-to-be Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.

      Addressing the delegates (the first time in history that a presidential nominee accepted the honor in person), Roosevelt thundered, “If you wish me to make the fight, I will make it, even if only one state shall support me.”

      Actually, the former Rough Rider did better than that — carrying six states (including Pennsylvania, Michigan and California) with 88 electoral votes. But Wilson (435 electoral votes) swept to victory over the divided Republican Party with the beleaguered Taft only winning Vermont and Utah.

      With apparent ease, the newly created Progressive Party appeared on the ballot in all 48 states. Histories of the 1912 campaign like Sidney M. Milkis’ Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy do not even mention ballot access as a problem confronting the Bull Moose brigades.

      What a difference a century makes.

    • BREAKING: Connecticut To Automatically Register 400,000 Voters

      On Tuesday, Connecticut became the fifth state in the nation to approve a system where residents are automatically registered to vote every time they visit a Department of Motor Vehicles, following the lead of Oregon, California, West Virginia, and Vermont. The state is the first, however, to implement the policy administratively rather than passing a bill through the legislature.

    • Sanders wins Oregon primary while Clinton claims narrow win in Kentucky

      With 60% of the vote reporting, the Vermont senator was ahead of Clinton 53%-47%.

    • ‘This is nonsense’: Sanders dismisses Democratic criticism of protests at Nevada convention

      Senator Bernie Sanders issued a stinging rebuke to the Democratic Party’s leadership for criticizing his supporters’ protests at the Nevada convention last weekend, saying it had used its power “to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

    • BBC unveils shake-up of online services including recipes website

      The BBC has announced that a number of websites, including BBC Food and Newsbeat, are to close as part of plans to save £15m.

      The online News Magazine will also close but “long-form journalism” will continue in some form.

      Local news indexes for more than 40 geographical areas in England will also cease to exist.

      But the BBC will continue to offer a rolling Local Live service. The BBC’s Travel website is also facing the axe.

    • US Media as Conduits of Propaganda

      Nothing disturbs me more about the modern mainstream U.S. news media than its failure to test what the U.S. government says against what can be determined through serious and impartial investigation to be true. And this is not just some question of my professional vanity; it can be a matter of life or death.

      For instance, did Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cross President Barack Obama’s supposed “red line” against using chemical weapons, specifically in the sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, or not?

    • Plan B Is Not Bernie

      To begin with, the Democratic Party, an institution dedicated to plutocratic class rule and imperialism, would not allow Bernie Sanders to be their nominee. The plutocracy will not permit Bernie Sanders to be the CEO of American and world capitalism, let alone the Commander-in-Chief of the American empire.

      Furthermore, Bernie Sanders does not want to play either of those roles. He entered the race, as his advisors acknowledged to the New York Times, “to spread his political message about a rigged America rather than do whatever it took to win the nomination,“ and he has repeatedly pledged to support whomever the Democrats nominate.

      Whatever unexpected and undeniable success his campaign has had, it’s a “political revolution” that will be limited to exerting pressure on the Democratic Party and its eventual nominee. One can complain that it’s been blocked by electoral hijinks or by the anti-democratic superdelegates, but those sores have been festering for a long time in the party Bernie chose to run in. At this point, if Hillary comes to the convention with one more pledged delegate and more popular votes than Bernie—which she will—she will win fair and democratically square—and any attempt by him to use superdelegates against her would contradict his own erstwhile complaints about them. At any rate, those supredelegates were put in place expressly to prevent anyone like him from becoming the nominee, and are not going to be persuaded, even by wonderful arguments based electoral logic, to forsake their duty. Which of these folks is going to switch to Bernie because polls show he’d do better against Trump in the general?

    • How Democrats Manipulated Nevada State Party Convention Then Blamed Sanders For Chaos

      Days after a convention in which leaders incited chaos and disorder, the Nevada State Democratic Party demonized supporters of Bernie Sanders in a letter written to the Democratic National Committee.

      “We believe, unfortunately, that the tactics and behavior on display here in Nevada are harbingers of things to come as Democrats gather in Philadelphia in July for our National Convention,” declared Bradley S. Schrager, the state party’s general counsel. “We write to alert you to what we perceive as the Sanders campaign’s penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior — indeed, actual violence — in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting, and furthermore what we can only describe as their encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats.”

    • Will 712 Democratic Officials Decide 2016 Election? Uncovering the Secret History of Superdelegates

      The relationship between the Bernie Sanders campaign and the Democratic Party leadership has been challenging from the start of the 2016 election campaign, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began the primaries with a more than 400-delegate lead by securing support from superdelegates—the 712 congressmembers, senators, governors and other elected officials who often represent the Democratic Party elite. Now a new article from In These Times by Branko Marcetic uncovers “The Secret History of Superdelegates,” which were established by the Hunt Commission in 1982. We are joined by Jessica Stites, executive editor of In These Times and editor of the site’s June cover story, and Rick Perlstein, the Chicago-based reporter and author of several books, including “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.”

    • Naked Politics: Sanders, Clinton and How to Win When You’re Losing

      For his trouble, Sanders gets called a “thug” on live TV. I’ve been watching politically oriented television “news” programming with dreary regularity since Reagan was elected in 1980, and I’ve never seen anything like what I saw on Tuesday. MSNBC — the ha ha ha “liberal” news network — went to work on the Sanders campaign as if Bernie had shot Rachel Maddow’s dog in her front yard. It went on for hours. The crux of it centered around the mess that went down at the Nevada Democratic Convention this past weekend. The process of appointing delegates from the Nevada caucus was hijacked by Clinton surrogates in broad daylight, and some Sanders people flipped their lids.

      [...]

      It was remorseless, relentless “coverage” that entirely overshadowed what actually went down in Las Vegas. The Sanders campaign got jobbed by Clinton allies within the Nevada Democratic Party who didn’t even have the humility to do it out of sight; they stood at a podium and flipped the bird at a room filled with cameras and people who actually care about something beyond keeping their cushy sinecure within the Party. Some of those people freaked out and acted stupidly, but ask yourself: If you were in the room in 2000 when the Supreme Court decided to give the election to Bush, what would you have done? I might have thrown a chair, too.

    • Ben And Jerry’s Recipe To Save Democracy

      The new flavor, Empower Mint, is a peppermint base with fudge brownies and swirls. The new campaign, “Democracy is in Your Hands,” is aimed squarely at the fallout from two Supreme Court cases: Citizen’s United and the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Larry Wilmore Was Invited on CNN Post White House Correspondents’ Dinner—and Then Abruptly Banned

      “I know a thing or two about cable news … I know that they literally have blacklists,” said Uygur. “It is not a conspiracy theory. … Mediaite has a source that says that [Wilmore] is [blacklististed] … and based on my experience, I am not at all surprised by that.”

    • Subtle: Iraq Flips The Internet Switch For 3 Hours To Combat Cheating Students And Corrupted Teachers

      We’ve talked about cheating in academia in the past, usually revolving around whether or not what used to be called cheating might be better thought of as collaboration. Beyond that, we’ve also talked about some of the strategies used to combat the modernity of “cheating”, which has included the monitoring of students online activities to make sure they weren’t engaged in cheating behavior.

      Well, the nation of Iraq doesn’t have time for all of this monitoring and sleuthing. When its students have their standardized tests, they simply shut the damned internet off completely.

    • Iraq Shuts Down Internet for Entire Country to Prevent Exam Cheating

      Iraq has done it again. The country’s Ministry of Communications has shut down Internet access in the entire country for the second year in a row just to make it harder for Iraqi students to cheat on their exams.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan blasts Europe’s silence on Bangladesh Islamist leader’s execution

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday lashed out at Europe’s silence over the execution of a veteran Islamist leader in Bangladesh, accusing the West of “double standards.”

      “If you are against political executions, why did you remain silent to the execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami who was martyred a couple of days ago,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

      “Have you heard anything from Europe? … No. Isn’t it called double standards?” Erdogan said.

      Nizami, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at a Dhaka jail late Tuesday for the massacre of intellectuals during the 1971 independence war with Pakistan.

    • How Facebook Censorship Flap Could Affect Zuck’s Political Agenda

      When reports surfaced that Facebook might be suppressing conservative news in its trending topics bar, Republicans reacted as you would expect. They were pretty upset. And Facebook reacted as you would expect as well: The company denied the accusations, and its CEO is meeting with Republican leaders today to smooth things over.

      But Mark Zuckerberg isn’t just the CEO of a company accused of suppressing political views. He’s also a CEO well-known for his own political activity, and is particularly known for working to build rapport with Republicans and Democrats alike. A pet issue of his is immigration reform, and it’s an area where he has made special efforts to win conservative hearts on the side of creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

    • After censorship scandal, Zuckerberg scrambling to re-obscure Facebook’s true nature

      This month, Facebook came under fire for allegations of censoring conservative-slanted news from users’ supposedly auto-generated Facebook news feed.

    • Conversation not PC censorship leads to tolerance

      Language is important says Rabbi Monique Mayer of Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation

      The seriousness of words and the attitudes that certain kinds of language reflects has come into sharp relief over the last few weeks in the furore over anti-Semitism in the Labour party and remarks made by the new president of the National Union of Students.

      Words have been tossed around carelessly and callously, and there are arguments over who has the right to define what is offensive to whom.I spend a lot of time mulling over words and meaning and intention. Each time I sit down to write a sermon, article or presentation, I consider my message and the conclusions people may draw.

    • Senator’s Inquiry Into Facebook’s Editorial Decisions Runs Afoul of the First Amendment

      Allegations that Facebook’s “trending” news stories are not actually those that are most popular among users drew the attention of Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who sent a letter of inquiry to Facebook suggesting that the company may be “misleading” the public, and demanding to know details about how the company decides what content to display in the trending news feed. Sen. Thune appears particularly disturbed by charges that the company routinely excludes news stories of interest to conservative readers.

      Congressional inquiries usually come with the tacit understanding that Congress investigates when it thinks it could also legislate. Yet any legislative action in response to the revelations would run afoul of the First Amendment. It is possible that Sen. Thune, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, sees Facebook as engaging is “unfair or deceptive” trade practices, but that still does not create a legal basis for regulating what amounts to Facebook’s editorial decision-making.

    • Malaysian Parliament Suppresses Debate on Anti-Blogger Amendments

      This week, the Malaysian Parliament went back into session to consider a series of amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 that, if passed, will further chill online speech and worsen the Malaysian regime’s persecution of journalists, bloggers, and activists. The amendments may pass as early as next week, even before the public has had an opportunity to see them. We’ve written about the planned amendments before, based on the scattered information we had about them from leaks and rumors, but local activists have brought to light another likely feature of the planned amendments that is equally or more concerning: a requirement to register political blogs and websites.

    • Belarus. The two hidden mechanisms of media censorship

      The Freedom of the Press ranking recently published by Freedom House has found Belarus’ media environment to be Europe’s most restrictive. The ranking placed Belarus as 192nd out of 199 countries and territories within the “worst of the worst” category. These results suggest that media freedom in Belarus has neither been influenced by the country’s recent improvements in its relations with the West nor by the rapid spread of digital technologies. Some of the business community’s representatives have been unsatisfied with the ranking’s results, which call for a deeper reflection on the hidden mechanisms of control that afflict Belarusian media.

    • Age checks for porn sites in Queen’s Speech [Ed: frames the censorship debate as one about “the children” and “porn” (paedophilia connotations). Well, that’s BBC… typical.]

      The UK government will require pornographic sites to verify users are over 18 as part of a raft of measures announced in the Queen’s Speech.

      As part of its Digital Economy Bill, the government promises more protection for children online.

      It also pledged more protection for consumers from spam email and nuisance calls, by ensuring direct consent is obtained for direct marketing.

      And it reiterated its plans for driverless cars to be tested in the UK.

      The Conservative Party pledged in its manifesto to increase protection for children online.

    • Facebook blocked in Vietnam over the weekend due to citizen protests

      Facebook appears to have been blocked in Vietnam as a part of a government-imposed crackdown on social media, amid public protests over an environmental disaster attributed to toxic discharges from a steel complex built by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics. Dissidents are blaming wastewater from the steel plant for a mass fish death at aquatic farms and in waters off the country’s central provinces. Citizens have been using Facebook to organize rallies, which is likely the cause of the shutdown.

      Instagram also appears to have been affected, according to reports.

      In addition to helping protesters organize, social media has been used to share photos of people at rallies, holding up handwritten signs that read “I choose fish.”

    • Facebook bans the Beaufort Observer

      The Beaufort Observer has been honored by Facebook. Our Observer Facebook site was getting so much attention and was obviously such a threat to Facebook that they felt they must shut it down. The way they went about doing it was to force us to convert it to what they call a “Page.”

    • Media Ignoring a MAJOR Part of the Facebook Scandal
    • Here’s the real reason Facebook agreed to meet with conservatives
    • Federal Lawsuit Alleging Google Improperly Censored Search Results Clears Hurdle
    • Florida court allows Google to be sued by publisher delisted as “pure spam”
    • Google Must Face Claims Over Search Removals
    • Google’s 1st Amendment defence to search censorship fails in court
    • Florida Court Denies Google’s 1st Amendment Defense
    • Censor board is outdated, junk it
    • Angry Birds got PG rating everywhere but U/A in India. Believe it
    • Fewer A-rated movies are made in India now, but censor asking for more cuts
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Man Who Streamed Son’s Birth on Facebook Live Didn’t Know He Was Sharing It with the World: ‘I Thought It Was Just Going to My Family’

      When Kali Kanongata’a recorded a video of his partner giving birth Monday, he had no idea he was sharing it with the world until his cousin chimed in with some helpful advice: “keep pushing.”

      “That’s when I saw the viewer count,” Kanongata’a, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I thought it was just going to my family and friends!”

    • The Shift To A Cashless Society Is Snowballing [INFOGRAPHIC]

      Love it or hate it, cash is playing an increasingly less important role in society.

      In some ways this is great news for consumers. The rise of mobile and electronic payments means faster, convenient, and more efficient purchases in most instances. New technologies are being built and improved to facilitate these transactions, and improving security is also a priority for many payment providers.

      However, there is also a darker side in the shift to a cashless society. Governments and central banks have a different rationale behind the elimination of cash transactions, and as a result, the so-called “war on cash” is on.

    • Hush To Judgment

      Your friends seem to be confusing privacy with secrecy. Secrecy is about having something to hide — often something shady you’ve done — while privacy is about choosing who gets the scoop on your life. There’s this notion that if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide. Well, you aren’t doing anything wrong on the toilet, but you probably don’t want to replace your bathroom walls with glass and set up bleachers in the backyard. Apparently, your boyfriend just expects people to put in effort to invade his privacy — rather than his being all “Welcome to our relationship! The usher will lead you to your seats — 13A and B, right by the headboard. We look forward to your comments. Even if you’re an Internet troll. Even if you’re a bot!”

    • SEC Says Hackers Like NSA Are Biggest Threat to Global Financial System

      Reuters reports that, in the wake of criminals hacking the global financial messaging system SWIFT both via the Bangladesh central and an as-yet unnamed second central bank, SEC Commissioner Mary Jo White identified vulnerability to hackers as the top threat to the global financial system.

      [...]

      Of course, the criminals in Bangladesh were not the first known hackers of SWIFT. The documents leaked by Snowden revealed NSA’s elite hacking group, TAO, had targeted SWIFT as well. Given the timing, it appears they did so to prove to the Europeans and SWIFT that the fairly moderate limitations being demanded by the Europeans should not limit their “front door” access.

    • It’s trivially easy to identify you based on records of your calls and texts

      Contrary to the claims of America’s top spies, the details of your phone calls and text messages—including when they took place and whom they involved—are no less revealing than the actual contents of those communications.

      In a study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford University researchers demonstrated how they used publicly available sources—like Google searches and the paid background-check service Intelius—to identify “the overwhelming majority” of their 823 volunteers based only on their anonymized call and SMS metadata.

    • District Attorney Arguing Against Encryption Handed Out Insecure Keylogging ‘Monitoring’ Software To Parents

      Beyond James Comey, there are still a few law enforcement officials beating the anti-encryption drum. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is one of those. He’s been joined in this fight by some like-minded district attorneys from the other coast, seeing as New York and California both have anti-encryption bills currently working their way through local legislatures. Vance, along with Los Angeles County DA Jackie Lacey and San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis, penned an op-ed against encryption for the LA Times. In it, they argue that tech companies have set them up as “gatekeepers” of communications and data, which they believe law enforcement should always have access to, no matter what.

    • New Leak Reveals the Fun and Follies of the NSA
    • Snowden NSA docs released by The Intercept
    • NSA Spied on Russian Crime Boss in Search for Links to Putin
    • Access to Snowden cache opens
    • Newsletters Released From Secretive National Security Agency
    • Report: NSA Tapped Phone Of Russian Crime Boss To Probe For Putin Ties

      Documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden suggest that the spy agency eavesdropped on a Russian mob kingpin in an effort to determine his possible ties to President Vladimir Putin.

    • Snowden files set for wider release

      The full cache of secret documents from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is being opened to journalists and organizations willing to work with the news organization holding the archive.

    • Hacktivism and the Insider Threat
    • Civil Liberties and National Security Expert on Edward Snowden and the NSA

      Civil liberties and national security expert Geoffrey Stone lays out little-known facts about NSA surveillance and the pitfalls of Snowden’s defense. Snowden and the NSA: Behind the Scenes.

    • Judge: Taking Your Facebook Account Private During Litigation Isn’t Exactly ‘Preserving Evidence’

      If your social media “presence” has been submitted as evidence, you’d better leave everything about it unaltered. That’s the conclusion reached by the judge presiding over a Fair Housing Act lawsuit. The plaintiff didn’t go so far as to delete Facebook posts relevant to the case at hand, but did enough that the defense counsel (representing the landlord) noticed everything wasn’t quite the way it was when the plaintiff was ordered to preserve the evidence.

    • The Police State and License Plate Scanners

      One of the latest tools for violating our privacy and creating the American police state are license plate scanners.

    • The NSA and Guantanamo Bay
    • Video: NSA involved in Gitmo interrogations – new Snowden leak

      The NSA participated in Guantanamo Bay interrogations, newly released leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden show. A decade’s worth of NSA newsletters will be published over the coming months.

    • Updategate: Microsoft said to be auto-creating Skype accounts in Windows 10 [Ed: malware on top of more malware]

      A post on Betanews seems to suggest that Microsoft’s latest trick in its attempts to ‘respond to public demand’ (i.e. meddle) is to create and log you into a Skype account based on your Windows account, automatically.

    • The DAO raises $100 million: How the old world really can’t comprehend the new world

      The DAO – short for Distributed Autonomous Organization – is actually a rather bad name for this venture. That name is a modern equivalent of “The Corporation”. Something like “The Distributed Autonomous Venture Investor” would probably have been more understandable for this particular organization, as there are many more DAOs (just as there is more than one corporation). But still.

      TheDAO is the largest investment crowdfunding ever, beating the game Star Citizen which has pulled in $100 million in funding. TheDAO has currently attracted 108 million dollars in investment money, mostly from small and individual investors. This has left all the large investment institutions in complete confusion and disarray, as the technical term for this kind of amount is “a shitload of money”, which in turn attracts the attention of Wall Street.

      Star Citizen is understandable to Wall Street. It is a high-end entertainment product with an experienced game designer, with some of the most successful products ever, at the helm. The CEO has recruited some of the best people in the industry. This is grokable for the old world.

      [...]

      And that’s why you can trust the new kind of organization. Unregulated, unstoppable, uncensorable free enterprise, with the source code open for all to see.

    • Developer of anonymous Tor software dodges FBI, leaves US

      In its mission to hunt criminals, the FBI has been keen to hack Tor, the Internet browser that hides your true location.

      The FBI’s attempts to break into Tor are starting to manifest in strange ways.

      FBI agents are currently trying to subpoena one of Tor’s core software developers to testify in a criminal hacking investigation, CNNMoney has learned.

      But the developer, who goes by the name Isis Agora Lovecruft, fears that federal agents will coerce her to undermine the Tor system — and expose Tor users around the world to potential spying.

    • Top EU Legal Advisor Says IP Addresses are PII

      The Advocate General, top advisor to the European Court of Justice, has issued an opinion today about Internet anonymity. He found that dynamic IP addresses are personal data subject to data protection law. The opinion concerns the case of German pirate party politician and privacy activist Patrick Breyer who is suing the German government over logging visits to government websites. “Generation Internet has a right to access information on-line just as unmonitored and without inhibition as our parents read the paper,” says Breyer. The opinion is not legally binding but “is usually a good indication of how the court will eventually rule”. EPIC has supported Internet anonymity since the 1990s and brought a similar challenge to the US government tracking of users of government website.

    • European Court advisor: Dynamic IP addresses are personal data

      The chief advisor for the European Court of Justice has declared that dynamic IP addresses are tantamount to personal data and should be protected under Europe’s privacy laws, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reports.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Exploding the Myth of the Traditional Family

      What kind of family stories are worth telling? For too long, the answer has been painfully limited to families that fit the traditional mold: a married couple raising 2.5 biological kids, while living together under the same (probably middle-class) roof.

    • Defending democracy, reinventing the left

      Representative democracy can only strengthen if it resorts to more participatory and deliberatory mechanisms, a new generation of public action built on co-construction.

    • Some British Muslims refuse to let their children be part of British society. We should say so openly

      Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, is generally an admirably plain-spoken man, willing to talk with refreshing candour about problems in the education system that others refuse to confront. Yet his letter revealing his inspectors’ findings about scores of unregistered schools operating in England is curiously circumspect, almost mealy-mouthed. Referring to the risk that children face “indoctrination”, Sir Michael does not explain exactly which harmful ideas could be foisted on those children.

    • American flyers are losing their minds – and missing their planes – as security screening chaos mounts

      Travelers passing through airports in the United States this summer are being told to build in lots of extra time because of maddening back-ups at the security check-points that are already causing thousands of flyers to miss their planes every week.

      Frustration at airports all around the country is close to boiling point as screeners hired by the federal Transportation Safety Agency, TSA, struggle to keep up with surging numbers of passengers. At least one major airport, in Phoenix, Arizona, is threatening to throw the TSA out and hire private screeners instead.

    • EU does secret deal with suspected war criminal in desperate bid to stop migrants

      THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) is brokering a secret deal with a suspected war criminal in a desperate bid to stop more migrants from Africa arriving on European shores.

    • Maximum security Belmarsh prison is ‘like a jihadi training camp,’ says former inmate

      Group of jihadists called ‘the Brothers’ or ‘the Akhi’ have the run of the prison, a whistleblower claims

    • Terror groups ‘using migrant routes’: Warning of ‘increased risk’ after Interpol report says extremists are making ‘opportunistic use’ of smuggling networks and 800,000 people are waiting to flee Libya
    • Employees With Criminal Records May Be Better Workers: Study

      In 2013, the American Bar Association catalogued approximately 38,000 laws in jurisdictions around the United States that impose collateral consequences on people with prior convictions. Loss of voting rights, government benefits, access to public housing and even certain health care programs are among the hefty penalties that continue to be levied, well beyond release, against those with prior convictions. While all of these prohibitions, some of which are lifelong, can make it hard to find stability, the inability to find a job is one of the most difficult punishments people with prior convictions have to contend with. Some states have laws that close certain classes and categories of employment to those with criminal records. But even when employment prohibitions are not codified into law, employer biases may prevent those with arrest or conviction records from accessing one of the most critical means of post-release self-sufficiency and survival.

      A new study provides a rebuttal to negative assumptions ex-offender employees, as well as evidence that in some cases, those with criminal records may actually do a better job than those without. Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst tracked 1.3 million people — 5,000 of whom had prior felony convictions — who enlisted in the military between 2002 and 2009. Though a felony conviction is an official disqualifier for entry to the armed forces, applicants may request “moral character waivers,” which are granted only after a background check that researchers note “takes into consideration the age at offense, the circumstances and severity of offense, the recruit’s qualifications, references, as well as a personal interview.” Those who cleared such vigorous vetting, which the military dubs a “whole person” evaluation, became recruits who were “no more likely to be discharged for the negative reasons employers often assume,” such as bad behavior or just generally doing a poor job. “Contrary to what might be expected,” researchers write, “we find that individuals with felony-level criminal backgrounds are promoted more quickly and to higher ranks than other enlistees.”

    • Rekia Boyd’s Killer Resigns as Activists Call for End to “Reign of Terror” by Chicago Police

      As Democracy Now! broadcasts from Chicago, Illinois, we look at major developments in several high-profile cases of police shootings of unarmed African-American men and women, and how the independent media has played a key role in exposing police misconduct. On Tuesday, Dante Servin resigned from the Chicago Police Department just days before hearings were set to begin into whether he should be fired for shooting Rekia Boyd while he was off duty and she stood with a group of friends near his house. This comes as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that he plans to disband the city’s controversial police oversight agency that has been criticized for sluggish investigations that rarely resulted in disciplinary action. Mayor Emanuel is also facing calls to resign over a possible cover-up of the police killing of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times in 2014. We are joined by Jamie Kalven, founder of the Invisible Institute and a freelance journalist who uncovered the autopsy report showing Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times and who first reported on the existence of the video of the shooting. In recent months, he has won a George Polk Award, an Izzy and the Ridenhour Courage Prize for his reporting on Chicago police misconduct. We also speak with Page May, a co-founder and organizer with Assata’s Daughters. She was also a member of the We Charge Genocide delegation to the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

    • As Singapore prepares to execute Kho Jabing this Friday, activists are fighting back

      The news came out of nowhere; it was like we’d all been struck by lightning. “This is to inform you that the death sentence passed on Jabing Kho will be carried out on 20 May 2016.”

      Just a week-and-a-half before this awful announcement, I’d been in Kuching with Jabing’s family, telling the press that his lawyer would be submitting a fresh petition for clemency, which would be likely to buy him another three months while it was being deliberated by the Cabinet and president of Singapore.

    • Government Argues That Indefinite Solitary Confinement Perfectly Acceptable Punishment For Failing To Decrypt Devices

      Recently, we covered the ongoing jailing of a former Philadelphia police officer for his refusal to unlock encrypted devices for investigators. “John Doe” is suspected of receiving child porn but the government apparently can’t prove its case without access to hard drives and Doe’s personal computer. So far, it’s claiming the evidence it’s still seeking is a “foregone conclusion” — an argument the presiding judge found persuasive.

    • One Year Later: We Still Don’t Know How Many Shot by Police

      One year ago today, the White House released The Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing — 116 pages of recommendations meant to address the epidemic of killings of unarmed Black and brown people by the police officers sworn to protect them. The report was supposed to be a blueprint for reforms in policing this country has needed for decades. Yet 12 months after its publication, our government still can’t even come up with the number of people who have been killed by U.S. police.

    • Don’t Let the CIA Disappear the Senate Torture Report

      Torture is a war crime under international law and is prosecutable under federal law. The Senate Torture Report contains evidence of crimes. Destroying, disappearing, or continuing to hide the report undermines the rule of law and denies the American people their right to know when the government engages in criminal conduct.

      The CIA’s lawlessness cannot be allowed to subvert justice and erase history. Unless the report is preserved and made public it could be lost forever.

    • Historical Amnesia and the Destruction of the Senate Torture Report

      When Winston Smith thinks he has finally made contact with the underground movement he has always hoped existed, in George Orwell’s 1984, he drinks a toast, not to the hoped-for future, but to the past, because “he who controls the past controls the future.”

      With the “erasure of the past,” current events can look like anomalies and accidents when stripped of the historical context that belies the patterns that reveal the possibility of intent and guilt.

      The recent revelation that the CIA “mistakenly” deleted its copy of the Senate report on detention and torture, and then, in an “inadvertent” error, deleted the hard disk backup, may be a just such a case. The whisking of the report down the memory hole could be seen as an “inadvertent,” though incredible, mistake if not for the challenge posed by recovering a little history from the memory hole. Former Chinese Premier Chou En-lai once remarked that “One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.”

    • The Misconduct Continues: Border Officer Verbally Abuses 51-Year-Old Grandmother By Calling Her a ‘Whore’

      That’s what a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer told 51-year-old grandmother Amanda Rodríguez, as she passed through the Ysleta port of entry in El Paso, Texas, for her weekly shopping trip to Wal-Mart.

      Her ordeal began last September when the officer conducted a routine inspection as she crossed from Ciudad Juárez to El Paso to run errands. At the port of entry, the agent made sexist comments about her looks and asked her leading questions about whether she was entering the U.S. to perform “favors.” Rodríguez, who was confused by the line of questioning, didn’t understand well enough to contradict the agent’s allegations that she was a sex worker.

    • What About Human Nature?

      In the struggle for a more just society, we will be aided, not hurt, by our shared nature.

      [...]

      Socialists don’t believe these truisms. They don’t view history as a mere chronicle of cruelty and selfishness. They also see countless acts of empathy, reciprocity, and love. People are complex: they do unspeakable things, but they also engage in remarkable acts of kindness and, even in difficult situations, show deep regard for others.

    • Michael Ratner: Missionary of Human Rights

      Rather (a long-time CounterPuncher) proved an incessant warrior against the unspeakable in US foreign policy. His criticism was informed by an educational diet nourished by a major in medieval history studies at Brandeis and the political push of Herbert Marcuse.

    • Bolivar County, Mississippi Fought School Desegregation For 50 Years. It Finally Lost.

      In the summer of 1965, dozens of children sued the Bolivar County, Mississippi Board of Education “on their own behalf and on behalf of all other Negro children and parents.” They sought an end to racially segregated schools. But more than half a century later, the county continues to operate at least two schools that are almost entirely black.

      On Friday, just days before the 62nd birthday of Brown v. Board of Education, a federal court ordered the district to end this practice.

    • The first 50 lashes: a Saudi activist’s wife endures her husband’s brutal sentence

      After Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was arrested and sentenced to prison and 1,000 lashes, Ensaf Haidar wondered what to say when the person you love tells you that he’s going to be abused in the most horrible way

    • Democracy in the Spotlight

      On 22 May a citizen meeting will be hosted at the Reykjavik City Theatre on the future of democracy. It is based on the ideology of the National Assemblies which took place in Iceland after the crash inviting citizens to visualize values which could underline a new and better society.

    • American Law Institute rejects affirmative consent standard in defining sexual assault

      Standards of affirmative consent, which generally require parties to affirmatively and continually vocalize their willingness to participate in a sexual encounter, have mostly germinated on college campuses, as well as in a few states in some contexts, including California and New York.

    • Kenya launches inquiry after police photographed kicking and beating man in crackdown on protests

      Shocking images of a protester being beaten and kicked by riot police in Kenya have ignited outrage over a crackdown on demonstrators.

      Thousands of people were sharing a photo showing an officer wearing body armour and a shield kicking a man as he lay incapacitated on the ground.

      “This image…will live on in infamy,” wrote Al Jazeera Imran Garda in a Twitter post re-tweeted by more than 1,200 people.

    • The Sanders Voter: Protesting American Privilege at Home and Abroad

      What does too often go unsaid though is how the rightful condemnation of popular violence masks the larger violence perpetuated by those with power. In this case, the legitimate critique of the actions of a few Sanders delegates is hiding the just as real present and future threat posed by the Democratic establishment to many within America and many more around the world.

    • Copenhagen bars tired of ‘Sharia patrols’ rampage & threats raise issue with integration minister

      A group of bar owners from one of Copenhagen’s suburbs, who have been endlessly harassed by Muslim youth activists trying to impose a so-called “Shariah zone”, have taken their case to a government minister, urging her to protect their businesses and the locals.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality/TV/Cable

    • Cable Company CEO Calls TV Business A ‘Tragedy Of The Commons’ That Ends Badly

      While larger cable companies have the scale and leverage necessary to negotiate better programming, smaller cable companies are finding themselves facing tighter and tighter margins as broadcasters push for relentless programming increases. As such, many have begun candidly talking about exiting the pay TV sector entirely and focusing on broadband service only. When approached by broadcasters like Viacom about major hikes, some cable operators have simply culled the channels from their lineup permanently and refused to look back.

  • Oracle-Google

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IPEC or bust? High Court refusing to deal with IP claims with a value of less than £500,000

      We all know that the Chancery Division is changing and modernising in a number of ways. I fear that some of these changes are having an adverse impact on the ability of IP owners to enforce their rights in the High Court.

      The changes are not just changes to fee structure but also the transfer and triage processes introduced by the new Chancery Guide and how these are being deployed in practice. Could this lead to an overburdening of IPEC, and is the Chancery Division out of step with other divisions of the High Court when it comes to transfer?

    • DTSA Litigation Begins

      The first couple of DTSA lawsuits have been filed.

    • President Obama Signs Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act
    • USITC Finds TPP Benefits US Economy, But Maybe Not Jobs; Unclear On IP Rights [Ed: remember what ITC does]

      The United States International Trade Commission (ITC), an independent government agency, today released an 800-page analysis of the economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement completed last year.

    • Merck & Cie v. Watson Laboratories, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016)
    • Trademarks

      • Interview: a designer’s view of trade marks

        Co-owner of London-based branding agency Grain Creative Madelyn Postman started her career as a freelance graphic designer. She spoke to Managing IP about the impact of the IP legal environment on approaches to brand creation and protection

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Holders Dominate Closed-Door DMCA Hearings

        As discussions over DMCA reform continue, a number of closed-door hearings have taken place in San Francisco. Representatives from Fight for the Future and YouTube’s Channel Awesome were there and they report that discussions were dominated by copyright holders seeking new powers to permanently disappear content and even whole sites from the Internet.

      • A Dozen Bad Ideas That Were Raised At The Copyright Office’s DMCA Roundtables

        The Copyright Office has been holding a series of “roundtable discussions” on copyright reform that it’s going to use to produce a paper supporting certain changes to copyright law. We already know that some sort of copyright reform bill is expected in the near future, and what comes out of this whole process is going to be fairly important. Unfortunately, the roundtables are not encouraging. There was one held in NY a few weeks ago, which Rebecca Tushnet blogged about in great detail, and I attended the ones last week in San Francisco and I’ve gathered up my tweeted commentary, if you feel like reading through it.

        Unlike the House Judiciary Committee roundtable that was held in Silicon Valley last year, where the Representatives surprised many of us by actually asking good questions and listening to the answers, the Copyright Office’s roundtables were bizarre and troubling. First, the whole setup of the two two-day events was problematic. The Copyright Office wanted to make sure that everyone who applied to speak was allowed to participate in some manner, so for each set of roundtables, they set up 7 roundtables of 20 people each on pre-defined topics, where each roundtable was only 90 minutes.

      • Megaupload Hard Drives Are Unreadable, Hosting Company Warns

        Megaupload’s former hosting company Cogent has warned that several drives, which are preserved as evidence for civil and criminal lawsuits, have become unreadable. While the data might not be lost permanently, various stakeholders including the MPAA and RIAA are urging the court to help secure the data.

      • Mega-Publisher Elsevier Is Buying an Open Research Site. That’s Bad for Science

        The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is an open access repository of scientific papers that’s treasured by academics, journalists and researchers—and it’s easy to see why. For years the site has provided free publishing and access to pre-prints of more than 500,000 academic papers on topics ranging from privacy law to socioeconomics and media studies.

        But academics were understandably worried after it was announced on Tuesday that the site has been acquired by infamous mega-publisher Reed Elsevier. The move follows the company’s previous acquisition of Mendeley, a collaborative research platform Elsevier says will enhance SSRN’s massive store of scientific articles.

        Among the corporate gatekeepers of the science publishing industry, Elsevier is arguably the biggest and undoubtedly the most notorious of the bunch. For years the company has been ruthlessly cracking down on the sharing of academic material it owns the rights to, eventargeting academics for publishing their own papers on personal websites.

      • SSRN—the leading social science and humanities repository and online community—joins Elsevier
      • Elsevier Acquires Social Science Repository SSRN

        The publishing giant Elsevier has acquired the Social Science Research Network, an online open-access repository for research. Elsevier said in the announcement that it plans to develop SSRN alongside Mendeley, the company’s own academic social network. Neither SSRN’s user policies nor its leadership will change, Elsevier said. It will still be free for users to submit their papers and download others. Elsevier did not disclose how much it paid to acquire SSRN.

      • Disappointing: Elsevier Buys Open Access Academic Pre-Publisher SSRN

        The vast, vast majority of time when we point to new academic research, we end up linking to the research hosted on SSRN, which stands for the Social Science Research Network. SSRN has been around for a long, long time, and it’s basically the go-to place to post research in the legal and economics worlds — the two research areas we most frequently write about. At this moment, I have about 10 SSRN tabs open on interesting papers that I hope to write about at some point. Technically SSRN is what’s known as a “preprint server,” where academics can share papers before peer review is completed and the final papers end up in a locked up, paywalled journal. The kind of paywall run by a giant company like Elsevier.

        So it’s been quite distressing to many this morning to find out that Elsevier has now purchased SSRN. Everyone involved, of course, insists that “nothing will change” and that Elsevier will leave SSRN working as before, but perhaps with some more resources behind it (and, sure, SSRN could use some updates and upgrades). But Elsevier has such a long history of incredibly bad behavior that it’s right to be concerned. Elsevier is not just a copyright maximalist (just last week at a hearing I attended involving the Copyright Office, Elsevier advocated for much more powerful takedown powers in copyright). It’s not just suing those who make it easier to access academic info. It’s not just charging insane amounts for journals. It also has a history of creating fake peer reviewed journals to help pharmaceutical companies make their drugs look better.

      • Anti-piracy firm Rightscorp’s Q1 financials read like an obituary

        Rightscorp heralded itself as a content savior when it was founded in 2011 with a novel business model—enforcing copyrights by capturing online pirates and demanding about a $20 fee per pilfered work.

        But a few things happened along the way to a year-over-year 78-percent plummet in first-quarter revenues and a loss of $784,180. Among other things, pirates are seemingly masking their IP addresses more and more, and ISPs aren’t forwarding Rightscorp’s money-demand letters to pirates, the company announced Monday. Still, the California-based anti-piracy company has never made a profit. Last year, it lost $3.5 million and, judging by its first-quarter earnings report released Monday, it’s on course to go defunct.

        For the moment, the company is teetering on the brink of financial collapse. It raised $500,000 on February 22, the company reported, but it needs another $1 million to stay afloat. It has enough cash on hand to continue “into the second quarter of 2016,” according to the company’s latest financial report.

      • House of Commons Fast Tracks Copyright Bill To Implement Marrakesh Treaty

        Bill C-11, the copyright bill that will allow Canada to accede to an international copyright treaty that will improve access for the blind and visually impaired, was fast tracked on Tuesday with unanimous approval to consider the bill read, studied, and passed three times. There will be no House of Commons committee hearings on the bill, which now heads to the Senate for approval. The bill received first reading at the Senate today. With no hearings and little debate, the bill will pass quickly without any changes. I wrote about Bill C-11 last month, noting that it is a positive step forward but that some provisions may be unduly restrictive when compared to the implementation approach recommended by some copyright groups.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Unitary Patent (UPC) Died Along With the Credibility of Managing IP and the Rest of the UPC Lobby

    It is pretty astounding that Team UPC (collective term for people who crafted and lobby for this illegal construct) is still telling us lies, even in the absence of underlying supportive facts, and pressure groups disguised as "news sites" latch onto anything to perpetuate an illusion of progress (even in the face of a growing number of major barriers)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 06, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 06, 2019



  3. Links 7/12/2019: Fedora 31 Elections Results, Lots of Media Drama Over VPN Bug

    Links for the day



  4. Links 6/12/2019: DRM in GNU/Linux and Sparky Bonsai

    Links for the day



  5. The EPO Rejects Innovation

    The EPO ceased caring about the needs of scientists whose work involves invention; instead, EPO management crafts increasingly lenient guidelines that yield illegal European Patents (not compatible with the EPC) that heavily-besieged EPO judges are unable to stop



  6. Startpage CEO Robert Beens in 'Damage Control' Mode, Trying to Get Startpage Relisted After Selling to a Massive Surveillance Company

    PrivacytoolsIO is being lobbied by the CEO of Startpage to relist Startpage, based on no actual refutations at all



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 05, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 05, 2019



  8. Links 5/12/2019: qBittorrent 4.2.0, Expensive Librem 5 and OpenBSD Bugs

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Staff Repeatedly Refuses to Tell How Many People Use WSL, Defends Patent Extortion and Blackmail of Linux Instead

    The people who develop WSL (mostly Microsoft employees) get easily irritated when asked how many people actually use this thing; but more interestingly, however, they reveal their disdain for GNU/Linux and support for Microsoft blackmail (for 'Linux patent tax')



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 04, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 04, 2019



  11. Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

    Links for the day



  12. Google Tightens Its Noose

    Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs



  13. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)



  14. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 03, 2019



  16. Links 3/12/2019: elementary OS 5.1 Hera, Plasma 5.17.4, Firefox 71

    Links for the day



  17. Laundering the Reputation of Criminals: That's an Actual Job

    An important reminder that the manufactured, paid-for (media is being bribed) image of Bill Gates is the product of the PR industry he enlisted to distract from his endless crimes



  18. 'Priceless' Tickets to the EPO's Back End and Team UPC

    CIPA's and the EPO's event (later this week) is more of the same; the EPO exists not to serve European businesses but a bunch of law firms and their biggest clients (which usually aren't even European)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 02, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 02, 2019



  20. New EPO Leak Shows That the Rumours and Jokes Are Partly True and We Know Who 'Runs the Show'

    Europe’s second-largest institution is so profoundly dysfunctional, a reprehensible kakistocracy of tribalism, money-grabbing career-climbing autocrats and possibly major fraud; today’s leak looks at what motivated and enabled the formation and latest incarnation of “Team Campinos”



  21. Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

    Links for the day



  22. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

    Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach



  23. Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, 'Open Source' is Just Proprietary Software Trying to 'Buy Time'

    More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 01, 2019



  25. Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

    The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)



  26. Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

    The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of 'punishing' people who are not 'true believers' in Microsoft



  27. Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

    Thierry 'revolving doors' Breton as seen by the United States government



  28. 13 Years of UPC Promises

    The anatomy of UPC 'fake news' or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions



  29. Is Water Wet?

    The criteria for patent eligibility reduced only to this question: will allowing these patents increase ‘production’ (number of patent grants)?



  30. The EPO's President Admits He's Illegally Granting Software Patents (CII, 4IR, IoT, AI and Blockchain Mean Software Patents at the EPO)

    The EPO's chief liar is openly and proudly promoting software patents using buzzwords and hype waves (and mysterious acronyms that are rather meaningless but spread by the media in exchange for money received from the EPO)


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 Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts