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05.22.16

Links 22/5/2016: Systemd 230, Debian Installer Alpha 6

Posted in News Roundup at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 1000 contributors!

    On the ownCloud blog, Jos shared today that the ownCloud community has hit an impressive milestone!

    The project I started 6 years ago just got a contribution from the 1000th volunteer who considered ownCloud worth the time and effort to contribute code to! Only a year ago, we were so proud having hit over 550 contributors at our 5 year anniversary. It is stunning how fast ownCloud has continued to grow.

  • 7 ways to make new contributors feel welcome

    Sumana Harihareswara and Maria Naggaga gave back-to-back talks at OSCON 2016 on how we can build our open source communities in such a way that contributors feel safe and loved.

    First, recognize that people participate in open source for many reasons. Some of us are lucky enough to get paid to work on it, others are doing it for a school project, and others are doing it just for fun or for the passion of the project. Start by looking at your project as an outsider and try to think about what they might find discouraging or not helpful. There are things in our projects that can be alienating. Evaluate these weird things in your projects and decide if you want to make changes or not.

  • Events

    • DORS/CLUC 2016 – Event Report

      Between 11-13 May 2016, Zacharias Mitzelos and I had been to Zagreb, Croatia for the 23rd DORS/CLUC. We were joined by Elio Qoshi, Jona Azizaj from Albania and Gergely Rakosi from Hungary.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1 Lands in the Ubuntu Repos, But No Sign of Thunderbird 45

        Canonical recently pushed the first point release of the Mozilla Firefox 46.0 web browser to the stable channels for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, along with Mozilla Thunderbird 38.8.0.

        Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1 is a small bug fix update to the acclaimed and widely used open-source and cross-platform web browser, patching various security issues discovered by Mozilla’s skillful developers or reported by users since the release of Mozilla Firefox 46.0.

      • CSS coding techniques

        Lately, we have seen a lot of people struggling with CSS, from beginners to seasoned developers. Some of them don’t like the way it works, and wonder if replacing CSS with a different language would be better—CSS processors emerged from this thinking. Some use CSS frameworks in the hopes that they will have to write less code (we have seen in a previous article why this is usually not the case). Some are starting to ditch CSS altogether and use JavaScript to apply styles.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

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

      According to the organizers, there were approximately 90 attendees, 70% of whom were legal professionals and 30% technical professionals linked in some way to legal matters in their communities or companies. Attendees came from legal firms, traditionally open-source companies and communities, such as the Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Debian, tech companies with some open-source products (Intel and others), and companies that are using open-source software embedded in their products. Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule, which means that names and affiliations of participants are only available for those who have explicitly agreed.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • ReText and Markdown

      Markup formats can inspire just as much devotion and loathing as programming languages. TeX versus HTML, DocBook versus Mallard—the list is probably endless. But the “lightweight” markup formats (Markdown, reStructuredText, AsciiDoc, and so on) are the subject of particular scrutiny. Users almost always write them by hand, not in a dedicated tool, and the formats are becoming ever more widespread: as input formats in web applications and as the preferred document format on sites like GitHub. But these lightweight formats, Markdown in particular, have developed a reputation for compatibility problems in recent years—see the CommonMark effort for one of several attempts to impose order on the chaos. Thus, when version 6.0 of ReText, a GUI editor for Markdown and reStructuredText documents, was released recently, I was curious enough to take a look.

    • Embrace Open Source culture: the 5 common transformations.

      This is a story of what I have lived or witnessed a few times so far. A story of an organization that used to consume, develop and ship proprietary software for many years. At some point in time, management took the decision of using Open Source. Like in most cases, the decision was forced by its customers, providers, competitors… and by numbers.

      [...]

      This organization gained control over its production and, by consuming Open Source, it could focus many resources in differentiation, without changing the structure, development and delivery processes. At some point, it was shipping products that involved a significant percentage of generic software taken “from internet”.

      It became an Open Source producer.

      You can recognise such organizations they frequently create a specific group, usually linked to R&D, in change of brining all the innovation that is happening “in the Open Source community” into the organization.

      Little by little this organisation realised that giving fast and satisfactory answers, to its customer demands became more and more expensive. They got stuck in what rapidly became an old kernel or tool chain version…. Bringing innovation from “the community” required back-porting, solving complex integration issues, incompatibilities with what your provider brings, what your customer wants.

    • The rise of APIs

      It’s been almost five years since we heard that “software is eating the world.” The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market.

      The application programming interface (API) has been a key part of software development for decades as a way to develop for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows. More recently, newer platform providers, from Salesforce to Facebook and Google, have offered APIs that help the developer and have, in effect, created a developer dependency on these platforms.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How expiring patents are ushering in the next generation of 3D printing

        The year 2016 is quickly shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record for 3D printing innovations. Although there is still a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing and how it may or may not be the next industrial revolution, one thing is for certain: the cost of printing will continue to drop while the quality of 3D prints continues to rise.

        This development can be traced to advanced 3D printing technologies becoming accessible due to the expiration of key patents on pre-existing industrial printing processes.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Source Electrospinning Machine

        Electrospinning is a fascinating process where a high voltage potential is applied between a conductive emitter nozzle and a collector screen. A polymer solution is then slowly dispensed from the nozzle. The repulsion of negative charges in the solution forces fine fibers emanate from the liquid. Those fibers are then rapidly accelerated towards the collector screen by the electric field while being stretched and thinned down to a few hundred nanometers in diameter. The large surface area of the fine fibers lets them dry during their flight towards the collector screen, where they build up to a fine, fabric-like material. We’ve noticed that electrospinning is hoped to enable fully automated manufacturing of wearable textiles in the future.

  • Programming/Development

    • Upcoming changes in PHP 7.1

      Below are the key changes that will be introduced (or removed) in PHP 7.1. For a full list, and to see which changes are being discussed, check out the official PHP RFC.

    • Changes Being Worked On For PHP 7.1

      PHP 7.1 is coming later this year as the first significant update to last year’s PHP 7 release that delivered huge speed improvements.

      We’ve already been looking forward to new features with PHP 7.1 and in not looking at the 7.1 work in a few months, more improvements have materialized.

    • Perl 5.24 upgrade
    • Selected projects and mentoring organizations

      The following projects have been selected to participate to SOCIS 2016.

      Instruction for students: you can apply now, but you must first contact the mentor of the project of your choice and discuss the contents.

Leftovers

  • A Day in the Life of an F-35 Test Pilot

    Here at the F-35 integrated test force, pilots spend their days simulating real missions to prepare the jets to one day operate on the battlefield.

    Defense News got a glimpse into the day-to-day life of an F-35 test pilot during a May 4 visit to Edwards Air Force Base. We followed Maj. Raven LeClair, assistant director of operations for the 461st flight test squadron, as he zipped up his flight suit, climbed into the cockpit, taxied to the runway and finally took off into the clear, desert sky.

  • An Oral History of Our Week Without Slack [iophk: "It's just getting proper Swedish-style dot-com hype. That doesn't stop it from being proprietary garbage and all-around useless though."]

    Our announcement got a lot of attention—much more than we were expecting. Throughout the week, our friends, fellow media workers, and coworkers at VICE have been asking us how the experiment is going.

    The short answer is, the experiment went well. We are learning what Slack is essential for, and in what ways it has been serving as a bandaid for what could be a more robust editorial structure.

  • Science

    • EgyptAir: Images released of debris found in plane search

      The Egyptian military has released images of items found during the search in the Mediterranean Sea for missing Egypt Air flight MS804.

      They include life vests, parts of seats and objects clearly marked EgyptAir.

      The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard when it vanished from radar early on Thursday.

    • Bad News

      I think it could be months or years before the cause will be known unless explosive residue is discovered on the stuff already recovered.

  • Hardware

    • Petition for Intel to Release an ME-less CPU design

      Please sign below, allowing Purism to provide this petition to our Intel Partner Account Manager that users want an “ME-less” CPU. “ME-less” is a defined term from within Intel created when discussing with Purism the need to have a CPU without the Management Engine (ME).

    • One Billion Drive Hours and Counting: Q1 2016 Hard Drive Stats

      For Q1 2016 we are reporting on 61,590 operational hard drives used to store encrypted customer data in our data center. There are 9.5% more hard drives in this review versus our last review when we evaluated 56,224 drives. In Q1 2016, the hard drives in our data center, past and present, totaled over one billion hours in operation to date. That’s nearly 42 million days or 114,155 years worth of spinning hard drives. Let’s take a look at what these hard drives have been up to.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Activists, Farmers, Indigenous People Rise Up to March Against Monsanto

      Anti-corporate activists, organic farmers, Indigenous peoples, environmental groups and others took the streets across six continents and over 400 cities on Saturday in a global grassroots march against bioengineering giant Monsanto.

      “The fight against corporate control of our food is global,” a food sovereignty campaigner with UK-based nonprofit Global Justice Now rallied the crowd marching in London.

    • Big Pharma Seeks to Capitalize on Pain-Reducing Compound Derived From Cannabis

      The medicinal properties of cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, are quickly drawing the attention of scientists, plant-medicine lovers, dietary-supplement companies, venture capitalists, professional athletes and Big Pharma — not to mention people living with serious, chronic medical conditions. Insiders predict the burgeoning market will be as profitable as the NFL.

    • Congress Approves A Major Step Forward For Medical Marijuana

      In states that allow it, veterans are a major step closer to being able to obtain medical marijuana.

      On Thursday, both chambers of Congress approved measures prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from enforcing a policy prohibiting government doctors from prescribing medical marijuana to veterans. That essentially means doctors will now be able to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in the 24 states (plus D.C.) where it’s legal.

    • City of Long Beach Sues Monsanto for Ongoing PCB Contamination of Storm Runoff, Waterways

      The city of Long Beach filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. Thursday, claiming the manufacturer’s long-banned cancer-producing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are responsible for the contamination of the city’s storm water, port waters, and other bodies of water.

    • Microplastics in the sea a growing threat to human health, United Nations warns

      Millions of tons of tiny debris from plastic bags, bottles and clothes in the world’s oceans present a serious threat to human health and marine ecosystems.

      This is the stark warning issued by the United Nations in a report on the most dangerous environmental problems facing the world today.

      Global plastic production has increased dramatically in recent years. Between 2004 and 2014, the amount of plastic produced rose by 38 per cent, the report said.

    • Florida Man Says He Killed Sick Wife Because He Couldn’t Afford Her Medicine, Sheriff Says

      William J. Hager, 86, said he had run out of options.

      His wife, Carolyn Hager, 78, had been ill for the last 15 of the more than 50 years they were married. The cost of her medications had become so burdensome that they could no longer afford it, he said. So on Monday morning while she was sleeping, he shot her in the head, he told the deputy who came to their Florida home.

      The killing in Port St. Lucie and Mr. Hager’s explanation were detailed in an arrest affidavit and by local news media. Mr. Hager was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. But the case appeared to also highlight the difficulties faced by older people who are retired or on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for their medicine when they are ill or in pain.

      At the sheriff’s office, Mr. Hager told deputies that his wife had a “lot of illnesses and other ailments which required numerous medications,” which he “could no longer afford,” the affidavit said.

      According to a study by the AARP, an advocacy group for people over 50, specialty drugs that treat complex, chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis come with huge price tags.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Security brief: CoreOS Linux Alpha remote SSH issue

      On May 15, CoreOS was informed of a vulnerability in the alpha version of CoreOS Linux. Within 8 hours of this notification, over 99% of affected systems had been automatically patched. Though this issue was limited to an alpha version, we hold all of our releases to the same security standards, and we immediately responded, reported, and corrected the issue. This post describes the nature of the vulnerability, our response, and our plans to avoid similar issues in the future.

    • Purism Laptops to Protect You from Surveillance Capitalism

      There’s a new hardware company on the scene called Purism, and the name is a significant clue as to what the company is all about: pure software. At its heart, Purism is dedicated to providing computer hardware driven entirely by open source software so that users can “trust, but verify.” Purism is putting itself in direct opposition to what it considers “surveillance capitalism.”

      I spoke with CEO Todd Weaver at Pepcom, and it was one of the most significant conversations I’ve had with a tech exec in a long time. I was already on board with Mr. Weaver’s general message when he laid that phrase on me, “surveillance capitalism.” That’s when he really had me hooked.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Set to Deploy (More) Ground Troops to Libya

      The decision by President Obama, egged on by his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to depose Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, led to near-complete chaos inside a country that had been otherwise stable since the 1960s.

    • Israel Veers Even Further Right

      Now come reports that Netanyahu is offering the Defense Ministry to former Moldovan nightclub bouncer (and resident of a West Bank settlement) Avigdor Lieberman. This will bring into the ruling coalition Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, which even within the Israeli context is usually described as “hard right.”

      Bringing Lieberman into the government is indicative not only of the overall orientation of that government but also of some larger disturbing trends in Israeli attitudes that the government has fomented more than it has discouraged.

      If Lieberman is made defense minister he would replace Moshe Ya’alon, who in recent days has backed the Israeli military in prosecuting (though only for manslaughter, not the murder that occurred) an Israeli soldier who was caught on videotape shooting in the head, at close range, a Palestinian man who was wounded and lying on the ground, already subdued and obviously not a threat. Lieberman has joined other hardliners in expressing support for the soldier. (Netanyahu has visited the soldier’s family to express sympathy.)

    • The Republicans’ Military Budget Could Make Every Homeless Person In America A Millionaire

      Last year, the United States spent more than $596 billion on the military, a total greater than the next six countries in the world combined. But the Republican-controlled Congress is looking to increase that number for next year.

      On Wednesday, the House passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing for $602 billion to be spent on the country’s defense in 2017, but the way the money is budgeted could mean that total military spending could actually end up being far higher.

      Under the bill, $18 billion would be moved from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is currently used primarily to fund operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, to the general budget to be used for additional troops and equipment. As Politico reported, this would likely leave enough money for such operations only through April, forcing the next president to request additional funding. Thus, the House bill would effectively increase the total military expenditure for next year.

    • The Parable of the Fat Man Earrings

      This rationalization perpetuates one of the great frauds of the war in the Pacific. As described in John Dower’s excellent War Without Mercy, by the spring of 1945 the Japanese military had been demolished. The disparities in the casualties figures between the Japanese and the Americans are striking. From 1937 to 1945, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy suffered 1,740,955 military deaths in combat. Dower estimates that another 300,000 died from disease and starvation. In addition, another 395,000 Japanese civilians died as a result of Allied saturation bombing that began in March 1945. The total dead: more than 2.7 million. By contrast, American military deaths totaled 100,997.

    • The West’s Needless Aggression

      If we continue down the road toward a totalitarian society, propaganda may become even more pervasive. With the population unendingly surveilled, relentlessly entrapped, enslaved by debt, permanently profiled and all-too-frequently imprisoned, elites will go about their exploitation with calm impunity as ordinary citizens internalize the dictates of power. The question is whether the flashpoints of unrest seemingly everywhere in the world will coalesce into a popular front that can stem the tide of empire. We have little time left before state repression, blood-soaked bombing campaigns, and ecological ruin overcome us. It’s either a Green New Deal or Mad Max. The choice is ours.

    • First Take: Taliban leader’s death may not reduce war

      The apparent death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor on Saturday won’t have an immediate impact on the military operations of the insurgent group, which has been expanding in recent months, analysts and Afghan government officials said.

    • How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools

      To return all military grade weapons to the Department of Defense “Excess Military Equipment Program” AKA the 1033 Program that is arming police departments all over the U.S. In particular, they returned 1 Tank, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, 3 grenade launchers (“37 mm less less-lethal launch platforms” and 61 M-16 rifles).

    • Venezuela and the Silence of the Left

      Venezuela is nearing collapse It can turn violent soon. Last week Nicolás Maduro decreed a state of emergency and suspended constitutional rights. He fears “the Empire” is set to strike soon. This measure comes abruptly as the opposition demands Venezuelan Electoral Panel to ratify the 1.8 million signatures collected in just a few hours as a first step to constitutionally call for a referendum to remove him from power. And he is looking for ways to delay this process.

      An article in Counterpunch written by Eric Draitser characterized the referendum as a coup orchestrated by the opposition to oust Maduro and destroy the legacy of Chávez’ revolution. It further argues that Venezuela’s economic predicament—already a humanitarian crisis—is the product of a plot of the Venezuelan right-wing elites that control the National Assembly and the U.S. imperial interests, comparing the current crisis in Venezuela with the overthrow of Allende in the seventies by Nixon, Kissinger, the CIA and the Chilean elites.

    • New Turkish PM backs constitution to strengthen Erdogan

      Turkey’s incoming prime minister said on Sunday his top priority was to deliver a new constitution to create an executive presidency, giving President Tayyip Erdogan the broad powers he has long sought.

      As delegates from the ruling AK Party unanimously elected Transport Minister Binali Yildirim as their new party leader, and therefore the next premier, Yildirim left no doubt that he would prioritize the policies closest to Erdogan’s heart.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Haze war worsens as Indonesia halts joint projects with Singapore

      The tussle between Singapore and Indonesia over last year’s crippling haze escalated with Jakarta saying it will halt cooperation with Singapore on environment, forestry and haze-related issues.

      Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister also said Jakarta will undertake a unilateral review of several agreements with Singapore on collaboration on haze related matters.

    • Antarctic glacier melt could raise sea level by 3m

      One of Antarctica’s great glaciers could become unstable if global warming continues at the present pace. As warm seas wash the ice shelf, the land-based mass of ice could begin to retreat, cross a critical threshold in the present century and then withdraw 300 kilometres inland.

      In the course of doing so it would spill tremendous quantities of water into the oceans: enough to raise global sea levels by 2.9 metres and threaten cities that are home to billions.

    • Top Democrats Ally With Oil and Gas Industry to Fight Colorado Anti-Fracking Ballot Measures

      Oil and gas companies are spending heavily to crush three Colorado ballot initiatives that would limit fracking. And some of the state’s most powerful Democrats are helping them.

      The stakes are particularly high for several Colorado communities that have voted to limit or ban oil and gas development locally. Those limits were nullified in two cities by state Supreme Court decisions earlier this month. So the ballot initiatives may be their last best chance to slow development whose speed has surprised even cities that initially supported oil and gas projects.

    • Another Gulf oil spill adds fuel to movement against new offshore drilling leases

      Last week a damaged pipeline at a Royal Dutch Shell deepwater production field about 100 miles off the Louisiana coast spilled what’s been officially estimated at 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before the leak was stopped.

    • How To Socialize America’s Energy

      Coming out of last December’s landmark climate negotiations in Paris, the question is no longer if societies will shift toward renewables, but when and how. For all the limitations of the deal—that it is largely unenforceable, contains only passing reference to human and indigenous rights, and treats historical polluters with kid gloves—its clearest and most redeeming feature is that it signals an end to the fossil fuel era.

    • This Country Just Set A Major Renewable Energy Record

      Last week, Portugal set a record for renewable energy use. Through a combination of hydroelectric, solar, and wind power, electricity use in the country was completely covered for four consecutive days.

      The news was reported by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) in collaboration with ZERO System Sustainable Land Association. According to their measurements, from 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 to approximately 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, Portugal was able to rely entirely on renewables for an impressive 107 hours, the longest the country has ever been able to go.

    • Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump: ‘Almost a death knell for the human species’

      As he appears in new documentary The Divide, the great intellectual explains why Brexit is unimportant, why Trump’s climate change denial is catastrophic – and why revolution is easier than you think

    • Cherry Blossoms Paint A Lake Purple Making Tokyo Look Like A Fairytale

      Tokyo-based photographer Danilo Dungo uses drones to take stunning pictures of Japanese cherry blossoms. Every spring, he goes to the Inokashira Park to admire the blossoms, and while regular photography capture the park’s beauty, the drones reveal something else altogether.

      When seen from a great height, the lake Inokashira Park lake appears to be entirely covered in blossoms! Resembling pollen in a river stream, the blossoms turn the lake a surreal pink, a view unseen by most before the drone age. Be sure to check out Dungo’s other photographs at the National Geographic link below!

  • Finance

    • Sierra Club Statement on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s TPP Study

      Today the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a study on the potential impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as required by law. The report projects that the controversial trade deal would result in a decline in U.S. manufacturing due in part to an increase in manufactured imports in some sectors from Vietnam and Malaysia, where production spurs far more climate pollution than in the U.S. It also notes the controversy surrounding the TPP’s conservation provisions, which are too weak to actually curb environmental abuses in TPP countries. The report further acknowledges broad concern that the TPP would empower polluters to sue the U.S. government in private tribunals over climate and environmental protections.

    • Will Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Have Her Husband Fix the Economy Hurt Her at the Polls?

      Hillary Clinton is dishing out details on how her potential administration would function—and apparently, it includes a lot of help from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

    • Trump Attacks On Hillary Take Violent Turn

      Less than one day after his speech at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention, Donald Trump tweeted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would not only eliminate people’s gun rights but strip Clinton of her armed security team as well.

    • ‘This is for Our Families’: Children of Striking Verizon Workers Join Picket Line

      From Indianapolis to Philadelphia, there were new, younger voices joining the usual chant on the Verizon strike picket lines on Saturday: “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!”

      Children of striking workers joined their parents for 25 nationwide “Family Day” protests organized by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the unions behind the strike.

    • Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Greece Can and Must Leave the Eurozone and EU

      As discussions continue to take place between the Greek government and the country’s lenders, Greece’s economic crisis is showing no signs of abating. Meanwhile, new cuts to pensions, wages and social services are currently on the table. Unemployment remains at record levels, while large-scale privatizations of profitable publicly owned assets are moving forward to appease the demands of Greece’s lenders.

    • The Privatization of the Public Sphere

      The attempt to privatize Social Security and Medicare are but two of a growing number of campaigns underway to privatize key aspects of public or social life. These efforts range from local water services, schools and healthcare insurance as well as prisons and the military. And this says nothing about the effort by private corporations to control the postal service and the telecommunications superhighway. With privatization comes increased cost, the deterioration of quality, the increased power of the 1 percent and America’s deepening social crisis.

    • Testing The Limits on Wealth Inequality

      In this post, I pointed out that we are going to see an empirical test of Piketty’s theory of rising wealth inequality. The theory itself is not well understood, and Piketty has revisited it since the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and published an economist’s dream of a paper in full mathematical glory here. The American Economics Association devoted space in its journal to arguments about the theory, giving Piketty an opportunity to discuss his theory in what I think is a very readable paper, and one worth the time.

      He starts by saying that the relation between r, the rate of return to capital, and g, the rate of growth in the overall economy, are not predictive. They cannot be used to forecast the future, and are not even the most important factor in rising wealth inequality. The crucial factors are institutional changes and political shocks. Neither can the relation tell us anything about the decrease in the labor share of national income. He points to supply and demand for skills and education in this paper, as he does in his book, but this is a at best an incomplete explanation, owing more to the neoliberal view that the problems of workers are their fault than to a clear understanding of social processes in the US. A better explanation lies in tax law changes, changes in labor law and enforcement of labor law, rancid decisions from the Supreme Court, failure to update minimum wage and related laws, and government support for outsourcing and globalization.

    • Amazon bought this old hotel in Seattle and turned it into a homeless shelter

      Last month, Amazon announced that it’s turning an old hotel it bought in downtown Seattle into a temporary shelter for homeless people.

    • Noam Chomsky Reveals The Hypocrisies of Capitalism in the Financial Capital of the World

      Chomsky spoke at the New York Public Library last month about why the financial sector is basically tax-funded.

    • Karl Polanyi and twenty-first century socialism

      Gold certificates were used as paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933. These certificates were freely convertible into gold coins.Wikicommons. Public domain. Polanyi, however, brought a new angle of vision to this question. He had watched closely the process by which the Labour Government in England in 1931 and the Popular Front government in France in 1936 were effectively forced to abandon their radical reform agendas by international economic pressures.

    • Pensions may be cut to ‘virtually nothing’ for 407,000 people

      The Central States Pension Fund has no new plan to avoid insolvency, fund director Thomas Nyhan said this week. Without government funding, the fund will run out of money in 10 years, he said.

      At that time, pension benefits for about 407,000 people could be reduced to “virtually nothing,” he told workers and retirees in a letter sent Friday.

      In a last-ditch effort, the Central States Pension Plan sought government approval to partially reduce the pensions of 115,000 retirees and the future benefits for 155,000 current workers. The proposed cuts were steep, as much as 60% for some, but it wasn’t enough. Earlier this month, the Treasury Department rejected the plan because it found that it would not actually head off insolvency.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

      To paraphrase the words of that Scottish master Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice, men — and women — go often astray, or “gang aft agley,” as they say in the Highlands. No one knows this better than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

      Twice now, the flight of her presidential aspirations has been forced to circle the airport as other contenders put up an unexpected fight: In 2008, Barack Obama emerged to grab the Democratic nomination away and this year, although all signs point to her finally grabbing the brass ring, unexpected and powerful progressive resistance came from the mighty wind of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

      Certainly, Hillary Clinton is angered by all of this, but the one seemingly more aggrieved — if public comments and private actions are any indication — is Democratic National Committee chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Hillary surrogate who takes umbrage like ordinary folks pop their vitamins in the morning.

      As we recently wrote, “… She embodies the tactics that have eroded the ability of Democrats to once again be the party of the working class. As Democratic National Committee chair she has opened the floodgates for Big Money, brought lobbyists into the inner circle and oiled all the moving parts of the revolving door that twirls between government service and cushy jobs in the world of corporate influence.”

    • Dems in a pickle

      I’ve written before about how the Hillary Democrats are running against hope, and how the Sanders campaign have outed them as frank corporate shills and enemies of even mild social democracy. But now even nominal liberals, or progressives, or whatever we’re calling them these days have gotten in on the act. Not content with merely saying “No!” to new programs like single-payer health insurance and free college, they’re highlighting the worst aspects of the New Deal in an effort to…well, what exactly? Promote Hillary? Fight Trump? It’s hard to tell.

    • Trump and the Dance to the Right

      Donald Trump’s nationalism echoes that of Europe’s rising right-wing parties and movements — but is far more dangerous.

    • Hyperdemocracy or Hypermodulation?

      It’s the encompassing paradigm we are in, one that has made us vulnerable to the demagoguery of Donald Trump.

    • Yes, Bernie’s Waging War on the Democratic Party—But if Hillary Loses, It Won’t Be His Fault

      Hey, remember what I said about the coming civil war in the Democratic Party, and how it wouldn’t necessarily be a whole lot more polite than the Republican version? Well, everybody who spouts opinions for a living loves to say “I told you so,” but in this case I can’t claim that: Neither I nor anyone else thought it would get here quite this quickly. After the ugly, angry chaos of the Nevada state convention last weekend and Bernie Sanders’ big victory in the Oregon primary on Tuesday — to go with a virtual tie in Kentucky, where Hillary Clinton won by fewer than 2,000 votes — Democrats now face the possibility of a highly contentious convention in Philadelphia this summer, where the outcome may not be in doubt but the mood will hardly be harmonious.

    • 8 European Far-Right Parties Who Are Celebrating Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s campaign is truly testing the limits of the old saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Unless one operates under the assumption that a hate-filled platform fueled by bigotry, xenophobia and sexism is what the world needs right now. In which case, the Trump cloud appearing on the horizon is seen by some as an invitation to open their arms in exaltation, awaiting the inevitable Trumpian shower to follow.

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘House of Cards’

      For “House of Cards” fans who can’t get enough of fictional President Frank Underwood and his First Lady Claire, it must be tempting to view Bill and Hillary Clinton as their real-life political doppelgangers. Certainly there’s fertile ground for those seeking parallels between the main protagonists of this quintessential political soap opera, and our more flesh and blood “heroes.” Like their imaginary foils, the Clintons’ moral compass is functionally impaired, so much so one suspects the HoC scriptwriters modeled their lead characters on the Democratic Party’s resident “royal couple.”

    • $25 vs $30, Hats Off to the Two-Party System!

      It is sad comedy to view working class individuals lather themselves up about Mexicans (when in fact more Mexicans are leaving this nation than entering these days) and steam up over Black Lives Matter (cause White Lives Matter, too, they bellow….the best response to this I’ve seen is….just because you say “Save the Rainforest” doesn’t mean you believe “Fuck the Tundra”)…..and these people don hats that say “Make America Great Again”, as if there was a magical time and place with greatness falling from the heavens on the white and shining American hordes. Okay, maybe that sort of happened, but there were quite a few “others” who did not receive such blessings. Some even received blessings like genocide and slavery, but those are pesky details, “Make America Great Again!” Sometimes these people seem just lost, not evil (but plenty are bile dripping Evilsaurus Rexes to be sure). The billionaire knows these people are disgruntled souls to actively mine–lots of rancor, insecurity and lust for authoritarianism under that crust and mantle. The hats sell for $25.00 on the official Trump site, or about 3 ½ times the Federal Minimum Wage, so what a bargain.

    • Project Censored Invited to Speak at Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power in D.C.

      More specifically, Nader states the goals for day two on Breaking Through the Media: “Leading authors, documentary filmmakers, journalists, cartoonists, new media content producers and other creative advocates will gather to discuss tactics to reform our communications landscape, and open the airwaves and internet up to serious and compelling content. Together we will launch a new organization – ‘Voices’ – a full-spectrum advocacy group to champion an open, democratic communication commons.”

    • Millions Now Understand That Capitalism Needs Socialism to Work—Which Is Why Bernie Is So Popular

      Context is important. When Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist, he is referring to democratic socialism as practiced in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Norway and many other countries in Western Europe; in other words, capitalism with a safety net. Sanders is essentially a capitalist who rejects the type of crony capitalism and ruthless corporatism that is killing America’s middle class. By European standards, Sanders is a mainstream liberal, which is a far cry from orthodox Marxist-Leninism as practiced in the old Soviet Union. And compared to some of the left-wing parties that have been gaining momentum in parts of Europe (such as Podemos in Spain or Syreeza in Greece), Sanders is not that far to the left. Rather, the political discourse in the U.S. moved so far to the right in the 1980s and ’90s that openly embracing socialism on any level was considered toxic.

    • The Most Reliably Democratic County in America Just Sent Hillary Clinton a Signal [iophk: "And how many tens of billions per year is the US willing to spend on incarceration?"]

      Through most of the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has been seen as the Democratic contender who appeals to Democrats. Bernie Sanders might attract independents in open-primary states, and political newcomers in most states, but Clinton, we’ve been told, is the candidate of the party faithful. That did not turn out to be the case in rural Kentucky, however.

      In what has been characterized as the most consistently Democratic county in the United States—Elliott County in eastern Kentucky—Sanders was an easy winner Tuesday night. The strength Sanders showed in the historically Democratic counties of eastern Kentucky helped him to hold Clinton to a virtual tie in the Bluegrass State. With 99 percent of the ballots counted Wednesday morning, Clinton was clinging to a 1,923 lead out of more than 400,000 votes cast statewide and the candidates split the elected delegates 28-27. On a night when Sanders easily won Oregon, Clinton had hoped for a big win in Kentucky, a state where she beat Barack Obama by a 65-30 margin in 2008.

    • Key Sanders backer: DNC chair must apologize [iophk: "DNC has been acting fucked up this whole election cycle. It has failed to remain neutral even from the beginning."]

      The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee should apologize to Bernie Sanders for her handling of the primary fight with Hillary Clinton, says Nina Turner, the Ohio state lawmaker and high-profile Sanders surrogate.

      In an interview with The Hill, Turner stopped just short of calling for Wasserman Schultz to resign, but said that at a minimum there should be an apology.

      “My husband told me I needed to be ready to answer this question,” Turner said. “It’s hard for me to say because I try not to judge people based on one snapshot of their lives or their career, but she should certainly apologize to Sen. Sanders for her words and deeds in making this an unfair fight.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • DMCA ‘reform’ harbors return of SOPA

      Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The open Internet is under attack by lawyers and lobbyists hoping to promote their own narrow interests under the guise of reform.

      Similar “reform” efforts gave us the controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation that died four years ago in the face of massive protests by Internet users. Those threats to free speech have since been recycled into backroom-negotiated trade deals and court cases.

    • Pirate Bay’s Domain Shuffle Has Come Full Circle

      After years of rotating domain names, The Pirate Bay is now back at its original .ORG domain. The notorious torrent site started redirecting users after a Swedish court ruling put its .SE domain at risk. Today we take a look at the rather impressive domain shuffle the site went through.

    • Fox ‘Stole’ a Game Clip, Used it in Family Guy & DMCA’d the Original

      This week’s episode of Family Guy included a clip from 1980s Nintendo video game Double Dribble showing a glitch to get a free 3-point goal. Fox obtained the clip from YouTube where it had been sitting since it was first uploaded in 2009. Shortly after, Fox told YouTube the game footage infringed its copyrights. YouTube took it down.

    • Amid Censorship Allegations, Conservative Activist Says Facebook Removed This Post and Briefly Suspended Her Account

      Conservative activist Lauren Souther claimed on Friday that Facebook deleted one of her posts because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

      Ironically, the post was about Facebook allegedly “censoring” one of her conservative friends.

      “As I suspected my friend who res Disdain for Plebs has been banned on all his accounts that run the page AND Facebook deleted his post calling them out for censoring conservatives. This is utterly insane,” she wrote in the offending post.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Enterprises Stumble on Data Management

      Information governance essentially describes an end-to-end approach to managing, protecting and extracting the maximum value of enterprise data, typically stored as business records or documents. To accomplish this, CIOs, IT managers and business leaders use a wide range of technologies, management tools and policies to ensure that information is not only routed, stored and used appropriately, but that it doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands causing regulatory compliance and privacy headaches.

    • TorrZan Allows You to Download Torrents Via Telegram

      TorrZan is a new service that allows Telegram users to download torrents through their favorite instant messaging application. The Telegram bot can find files on popular torrent sites and downloads them securely through its service. When the transfers are complete, users can download or play the files directly through the instant messaging service.

    • Steve Allen: @GCHQ stop looking at cat pictures [Ed: they look at naked people through webcams]

      Given that social media is a mixed bag for a radio presenter, I’m not sure why GCHQ joined Twitter this week.

    • Terrorists no longer welcome on OneDrive or Hotmail [Ed: or, Microsoft spies on everyone, everything]]

      Microsoft says that it will be using the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List to determine whether something is terrorist or not; content posted by or in support of the individuals and groups on that list will be prohibited.

    • Uber Knows When You’ll Pay Surge Pricing, But Promises Not to Use It Against You

      Other than the company’s notoriously lax attitude about background checks, allegations of drivers kidnapping and raping riders, and that, um, interesting new logo, the worst thing about Uber is surge pricing. And, not surprisingly, the company has figured out exactly when you are more likely to pay double or triple the cost of your ride: when your phone battery is low.

    • This Is Your Brain On Uber

      Uber is built on the scourge of surge. When demand is high, the company charges two, three, even NINE-POINT-NINE times as much as normal for a ride. Riders hate it… but not so much that they stop riding. “Dynamic pricing” has helped the company to grow into one of the largest ride-booking services in the world. What’s the psychology behind it? Shankar sits down with Uber’s Head of Economic Research Keith Chen to talk about when we’re most likely pay for surge, when we hate it the most, and why monkeys would probably act and feel the same way.

    • British Airways website blocking non exit relays IPs?
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Detained and interrogated for 10 hours in North Korea

      The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was last week expelled from North Korea and forced to apologise for his reporting. He was held incommunicado for 10 hours and interrogated. Here he gives his first account of what happened.

      After a week in North Korea I was more than ready to go home. The trip, to cover a visit to Pyongyang by a delegation of three Nobel laureates, had been exhausting and stressful.

      I couldn’t move anywhere in Pyongyang without a team of five minders following my every step. At night the BBC team was confined to an overheated villa in a guarded compound. We’d fallen out with pretty much everyone. Our North Korean minders were now openly hostile.

    • Ted Nugent Reelected To NRA Board After 2016 Of Hate

      Ted Nugent was reelected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors just weeks after he promoted a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot and during a year in which he caused a national controversy for promoting anti-Semitic material.

    • Guantánamo Prisoner, Never Convicted, To Be Released After Decade-Plus Detention

      An Afghan man detained for 14 years in Guantánamo—without ever being convicted of a crime—was on Friday recommended by the Pentagon for release.

      The man, known as Obaidullah, was arrested and detained in 2002, when he was about 19, but the U.S. government failed to successfully prosecute him for any crimes, AP reported. Charges were eventually made against him in 2008, but were dismissed in 2011.

      “This young man should have been released years ago,” Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. “He was taken from his bed at his home peacefully without resistance. He was subjected to real abuse at Bagram.”

      Obaidullah was allegedly arrested by U.S. special forces in 2002 because unarmed land mines were discovered buried near his house. The U.S. government did not formally bring charges against him until 2008.

    • As peace deal nears, Colombia’s journalists and activists still live in fear

      In the following months, his investigation into the killing and disappearance of hundreds of men, women and children in the department of North Santander by the paramilitary group Frente Fronteras (linked to the AUC, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) resulted in dozens of threats against him and his family.

    • Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation

      The latest thematic report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerning Colombia makes for shocking though quite important reading. [1] In short, it details human rights abuses on a massive scale, and lays the blame for these abuses chiefly upon the right-wing paramilitaries aligned with the Colombian State. Citing Colombia’s Center for Historical Memory, the IACHR concludes that Colombia, with its over 6 million internally displaced persons, is indeed “a displaced nation.”

    • ‘America Was Never Great’ Hat Leads to Death Threats

      A Staten Island woman who supports Senator Bernie Sanders said she received death threats after photos of her wearing a cap with the message “America Was Never Great” were posted widely on social media.

      The woman, Krystal Lake, 22, said Thursday that she had ordered the custom-made hat online with the phrase, a play on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” popularized by the campaign of Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

      Ms. Lake said she had gotten tired of hearing Mr. Trump’s slogan from his supporters and thought America “was never great.” She said that Mr. Trump’s slogan did not make room for bigger aspirations beyond the past and that he was dismissive of groups that did not fit his ideal demographic.

    • Corruption in Latin American Governments

      It should be remembered that Joseph Stalin, with Lenin’s approval, robbed banks to finance the Bolshevik party. Chavist politicians have also robbed banks: their own. This may seem relatively lacking in glory, but at least most of the time it is also in the service of political ends.

    • Can Sisi stop Egypt’s implosion?

      Contrary to popular belief, there has been a steady increase in under-reported forms of protests since the military coup. The regime has also moved from one security blunder to the next. From the increasingly sophisticated insurgency in Sinai, the bomb on a Russian airliner, and the murder of Mexican tourists by the Egyptian military in the western desert, the tourism industry is crashing.

    • After Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Black Woman, San Francisco Police Chief Resigns

      Shortly after an unarmed black woman was fatally shot by police in San Francisco, Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned at the urging of Mayor Ed Lee. The move comes days after Lee defended the chief’s leadership, despite a string of department scandals and months of protests calling for Suhr’s departure.

    • A Federal Judge Just Ordered A Dox Attack Against 100,000 Innocent People

      A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court.”

      It appears to be, as several immigration advocates noted shortly after the order was handed down, an effort to intimidate immigrants who benefit from certain Obama administration programs from participating in those programs, lest their personal information be turned over to people who wish them harm. As Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director for United We Dream, said in a statement, the judge is “asking for the personal information of young people just to whip up fear” — fear, no doubt, of what could happen if anti-immigrant state officials got their hands on this information. Or if the information became public.

    • Brazil’s Guarani Indians killing themselves over loss of ancestral land

      The small Apy Ka’y community of around 150 Guarani Indians has lived in squalor by the side of Highway BR 463 in southern Brazil since 2009. Since then, they have been forced out three times by unknown gunmen, had their makeshift camp burned down twice by arsonists and three young people from the group have killed themselves.

      Each time they were intimidated they returned and reoccupied their last patch of land but last month a Brazilian judge ordered the Apy Ka’y community to permanently move off the land that was theirs for hundreds of years but was seized without compensation by wealthy plantation owners in the 1970s.

      “It will be a death sentence,” says anthropologist and community leader Tonico Benites Guarani who estimates that 1,000, mostly young, Guarani, have killed themselves in the last 10 years throughout Brazil – hundreds of times more than the average Brazilian suicide rate, and unequalled among all other indigenous peoples in Latin America.

    • GOP Senator’s Dying Wish Was To Apologize To Muslims On Behalf Of His Party For Trump

      As former Utah senator Bob Bennett lay dying this spring, the staunchly conservative lawmaker voiced a final, unexpected wish: he wanted to apologize to Muslims for Donald Trump.

      “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” the Republican asked his wife and son, according to the Daily Beast. “I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.”

    • How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

      Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

      The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

      Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

      Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

      They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

    • Islamophobia on the Rise in England

      During a casual conversation inside a store on a swanky shopping street located a short distance from London’s fabled Kensington Palace a twenty-something retail clerk said she feels a strange sense of discomfort that she’s never felt before in London, the city where this native of Algeria has lived most of her life.

      She traces this alienating discomfort to the sharp increase in Islamophobia.

      Islamophobia is generally defined as dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.

      This London resident is an identifiable target for Islamophobia because she wears a modest headscarf that is traditional in her culture and religion – Islam. (She does not wear a full-face covering burka.)

      For her and others, Islamophobia ranges from disdainful stares and caustic comments to physical assaults. A few assaults have ended in fatalities. And then there are British government policies like ‘Prevent’ – the professed counter-terrorism program that seemingly is targeted solely at Muslims. Prevent enlists citizens to report actions and attitudes deemed suspicious.

    • Police make naked dead woman sandcastle, then swiftly apologise

      A local police force has come under fire for building a fictitious crime scene from sand, featuring a naked dead woman.

      The peculiar sandcastle, surrounded by police tape and even featuring a green beach spade sticking out of her back, won the Cornwall Beach Games competition.

    • The crisis in European social democracy: a crisis like no other

      That said, representative democracy must itself be more open to a more balanced selection of representatives (in terms of generations and gender), while the various implementation mechanisms must facilitate genuine debate on issues and challenges that are impossible to face in isolation. These are all huge changes, but constitute only the beginning, a beginning that might suffice in restoring self-confidence, prompting the first steps towards major transformation, by way of the required social and ecological transition.

    • We Can Dream, or We Can Organize

      The swift rise, and swift crumbling, of the Occupy movement brings to the surface the question of organization. Demonstrating our anger, and doing so with thousands of others in the streets, gives us energy and brings issues to wider audiences.

    • Price of calling women crazy: Military women who speak out about sexual assault are being branded with “personality disorder” and let go

      As all too many rape victims discover when they speak out, many react by just wishing the victim would shut up and go away.

      Most rapists attack someone they know, which means that holding them accountable means tearing apart whatever community — school, work, friend group — that the accused and accuser belong in. Often, it feels just easier to pressure the accuser to shut up and go away so everything can return to normal, even though that often requires ignoring that there’s a sexual predator in your midst.

      In a report released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch turned up alarming evidence that, in the military, forces that want to shut accusers up and make them go away have found a disturbingly potent weapon: Misogynist stereotypes. By leaning on prejudiced beliefs that women, especially outspoken women, are either dishonest or crazy, the military was able to get rid of women who came forward with rape accusations.

    • GOP Senator Says America, The World’s Leading Jailer, Doesn’t Put Enough People In Prison

      Many lawmakers appear ready to begin unwinding the system that’s left millions of Americans rotting in prison and blocked those who do make it out from the economic opportunities they need to rejoin polite society. But one Republican lawmaker rejects the idea that America has a mass incarceration problem at all.

      “The claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact,” Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Thursday at the right-wing Hudson Institute. “For the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed.”

    • House Republican Staffer: If You Don’t Support The Confederate Flag You Are Just Like The Terrorists

      On Thursday, the U.S. House approved a measure to ban most displays of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries.

      The final tally was 265-159, but a majority of Republicans opposed the measure, with 158 voting nay and 84 voting in favor. Before the vote, a staffer working on behalf of one of the Republicans who voted against restricting the Confederate flag, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), distributed an email comparing those who support the measure to ISIS.

      “You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL. I urge you to vote NO,” Westmoreland’s legislative director, Pete Sanborn, wrote, signing the email, “Yours in freedom from the PC police.”

    • Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy

      There is nothing new about people being transgender or using the restrooms they choose. They have been doing so for years. In contrast, black people risk death constantly just because they exist in this society. Driving, walking, riding a bicycle, being in a public space at the wrong moment, or even calling the police for assistance can get them killed. Yet Obama’s FBI doesn’t even maintain a record of killings committed by the police.

      Black people unilaterally surrendered their history of fighting for justice ever since Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008. From the moment it became clear that he could become president there was no amount of contempt or indifference from him that would dissuade millions of people from giving him unquestioned support.

    • 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.

    • Daddy Knows Best

      I’m staring at that separation of politics and life, Obama’s saying “In politics and in life.” But politics IS life, or it at least is where decisions about people’s lives are legislated.

      “Ignorance is not a virtue.” No, it’s not. Yet Obama, this nation’s daddy, decides when we’re better off unaware. As a candidate for president, he promised transparency, but his tenure has been the least transparent in American history.

    • An open letter to #NuitDebout from the Indignados’ districts of the internet

      The strength of r-evolutions like #NuitDebout or 15M lies in:

      (1) decentralization and a distributed leadership according to expertise, not according to media visibility; these new ways of organising will overcome the limits of the horizontal governance of assemblies and will transform into networks.

      (2) Our abilities, well above those of the institutions and political parties, to resolve specific problems with specific solutions that are derived from the specific experiences and expertise of each of us, and not from ideologies. It’s about collaboration between people with different skills and abilities, not about merging under a single banner or a unique trade mark. The strength of a federation based on diversity.

      (3) Shared responsibility: we want grown-up, adult societies that don’t need a parental figure whose proclamations are fanatically observed, or in the same vein, a leader for whom we are the critical current, and who we legitimise ‘democratically’ through our disagreements.

    • Truthdiggers of the Week: Brazilians Protesting Absorption of the Ministry of Culture

      What would you do if a bunch of politicians ousted your democratically elected president and installed one of their own?

    • Is Pope Francis a Teamster at Heart?

      And I say the following not only as a non-Catholic and non-Christian, but as a non-theist. Who is the American public more apt to listen to? The Pope and Jesus? Or Wal-Mart executives?

    • After Damaging Washington Post ‘Redskins’ Poll, Change The Mascot Movement Moves On

      For Native American leaders who have been fighting for the Washington team to change its name — and making strides, at least on the local level — this poll felt like a slap in the face.

      “This is just an investment in white supremacy, plain and simple,” Dr. Adrienne Keene wrote on her website, Native Appropriations. “It is an attempt to justify racism, justify the continued marginalization of Native peoples, justify divide-and-conquer techniques that are pitting Native people against one another. It devalues Native voices, stories, and experiences.”

      Joel Barkin, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation and the Change The Mascot campaign, agreed.

    • ‘I’m sorry, I’m scared:’ Killing of student enrages ABQ

      Jonathan Sorensen, a 25-year-old University of New Mexico student, died at the K-Mart location at Carlisle and Indian School Road after he was held down by three loss prevention employees who suspected him of shoplifting.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality complaints have flooded into FCC since rules took effect

      The data includes 86,114 Internet service complaints filed since October 31, 2014 against home Internet and cellular ISPs. Net neutrality has been the most common type of complaint since the rules went into effect and is near the top of the list even when counting the first seven months of the data set in which net neutrality complaints weren’t yet being accepted. In the full data set, billing complaints led the way at 22,989—with 16,393 since June 12. The other top categories for the entire period since late 2014 were service availability with 14,251 complaints, speed with 11,200 complaints, and privacy with 7,968 privacy complaints.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Deborah Cohn on a year of progress for the Trademark Caucus

        Deborah Cohn has been busy since starting as INTA’s Senior Director of Government Relations in March last year. “We are trying and succeeding in raising the visibility of trademark issues and INTA on Capitol Hill,” the former Commissioner for Trademarks for the USPTO says of her role.

    • Copyrights

      • ISP: Police Request Most User Data for File-Sharing “Crimes”

        For the first time Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof has shared details on the nature of police requests for subscriber identities. The data reveals that with 27.5% “file-sharing” is by far the largest category. The ISP, however, doesn’t see piracy as a serious crime and has refused to hand over any subscriber data.

      • Why Is Oracle Suing Google and What’s at Stake?

        For the past week or so, Google — which, uh, I imagine you’re familiar with — and Oracle, an enormous but less flashy technology company, have been sparring in court over Google’s use of a version of Java, the programming language owned by Oracle, in its Android operating system. At the heart of the matter is the question of whether or not the Java API could be copyrighted, and whether Google’s use of it was exempt under fair use. In short, Oracle wants to know if it can get some cash because Google used a program it created.

      • How an Oracle win over Google could set the software industry back to the licensing age

        What’s at stake in Google and Oracle’s copyright dispute over Java isn’t really about the future of open source, as Quentin Hardy seems to argue, but rather about the future of software licensing, period. A pro-Oracle verdict essentially dumps us back into the software Stone Age, an era of arcane software licensing designed to mimic the pre-digital world of physical goods.

      • Google’s legal war with Oracle could undermine a core pillar of the software industry

        Oracle alleges that Google violated its copyright when it put pieces of the crucial Java technology into the Android operating system, which now ships on 80% of smartphones sold. Google’s defense hinges on “fair use,” the idea that it was legally allowed to use Java as it did.

      • Music Industry Wants More Money From YouTube

        UK music industry group BPI is not happy with YouTube and other streaming sites that can feature their music for just a few pennies. According to the major labels, EU legislation needs an overhaul to deter piracy and make sure that labels and artists are properly compensated for their work.

      • Ancillary Copyright: bad for both end-users and creators

        The Commission’s public consultation on whether to grant additional rights to press publishers is aimed at audiences beyond the publishers themselves, to include a wide range of stakeholders – including end users, consumers, and citizens. In this third post of our series on the consultation, we highlight what the introduction of an additional right for publishers would mean for end-users of news and online information, as well as content creators. We encourage everyone to make their views known to the Commission by answering the consultation questionnaire by 15 June.

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  7. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  8. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  9. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  10. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  11. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  12. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  13. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  14. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  15. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  16. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  17. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  18. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  19. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  21. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  22. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  23. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  24. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  25. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  26. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  27. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  28. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  29. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  30. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day


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