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06.03.16

Links 3/6/2016: OpenSwitch Under Linux Foundation, GCC 5.4

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Inner Source—Adopting Open Source Development Practices in Organizations

    OPEN SOURCE has had an enormous impact on the software industry. Software development organizations have widely adopted open source software (OSS) in a variety of ways.1 Besides adopting OSS products, as either productivity tools or off-the-shelf components, numerous organizations have adopted open source practices to develop their software. This is called inner source because the software is sourced internally, although different terms have been used, such as “progressive open source” and “corporate open source.”2 Unlike with traditional approaches, developers of an inner-source project don’t belong to a single team or department. Anybody in the organization can be a contributing member of this community, as either a user or contributor. Eric Raymond compared traditional software development approaches to building cathedrals, while calling open-source-style development a “bazaar.” 3 So, you can view inner source as a bazaar within a corporate cathedral.

  • Hackathons bring open source innovation to humanitarian aid

    In open source software, end users, decision makers, subject matter experts, and developers from around the world can work together to create great solutions. There are a lot of mature open source projects out there already in the field of humanitarian and development aid, for example: Ushahidi and Sahana in crisis management and information gathering, OpenMRS for medical records, Martus for secure information sharing in places with limited freedom of speech, and Mifos X, an open platform for financial inclusion for people in poor areas where financial services such as savings, payments, and loans are not offered.

  • ​OwnCloud closes US office, blames Nextcloud

    Yesterday, ownCloud co-founder Frank Karlitschek announced he was starting a new open-source, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud project and company, Nextcloud. The same day, ownCloud, announced it was closing its US office.

  • OwnCloud Issues Statement Over Today’s Nextcloud Fork, OwnCloud Inc Closes Up Shop
  • ownCloud Statement concerning the formation of Nextcloud by Frank Karlitschek
  • OwnCloud forked to create Nextcloud

    As I expected, Frank Karlitschek is forking ownCloud to create a new open source project called Nextcloud. In an interview, Karlitschek told me that he is joining with Spreedbox founder Niels Mache to create a new company with the same name.

    The new company, Nextcloud, is being founded in Germany. Both Mache and Karlitschek will serve as managing directors.

  • ownCloud Founder Forks Open-Source Project to NextCloud

    NextCloud is supposed to be a drop-in replacement for ownCloud 9 with added security and stability updates as well as integration of Spreed.ME video conferencing and chat. Perhaps most importantly, Nextcloud GmbH (which is the new commercial entity behind NextCloud) has pledged that it will fulfill all contracts customers signed with ownCloud, Inc. until June 2nd – “That way customers won’t be without the support from the experts they need to keep their servers running.,” the company stated.

  • Use the Web to make interactive displays out of almost anything
  • Google Open Sources Tool for Making Interactive Displays Smart

    The digital display trend has been going through a renaissance for some time now, with many organizations reaching out to their employees and customers by curating and delivering information via displays that are, increasingly, interactive. Touchscreen displays that respond to you can create immersive experiences, and Google has announced that it is open sourcing its hardened and tested AnyPixel software for programming interactive displays similar to the one in the lobby of its New York City office.

    Hardware and software tools and references and example apps are available now on GitHub.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

    • Rapid7 CEO Aims to Secure the Future

      The company also some strong open-source roots, with the Metasploit penetration testing framework, which has both free and commercially supported editions available.

    • If Your Kickstarter Campaign Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

      If you’re an open source enthusiast who thinks you might have a good idea for a Kickstarter campaign, but are not yet ready to launch the campaign, why not launch a draft campaign and request feedback from the public? In doing so, you might be able to rally supporters before your campaign launches — and you might also receive vital cautions that could help you revise (or abandon) the planned campaign. This neat video for an Audio DSP Shield for Arduino reminds us that you can use Kickstarter to test the waters before launching a campaign.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GDB Debugger Now Supports The Rust Language, Other GNU Toolchain Improvements

      The GNU Toolchain has continued making improvements this year beyond just the recent GCC 6 stable compiler release.

      Nick Clifton of Red Hat has sent out a mailing to share the GNU Toolchain updates made over the past two months. He covers the GCC 6 improvements with the new warning options, GDB 7.11.1 improvements, and more.

    • GCC 5.4 Released
    • GCC 5.4 Compiler Released, Fixed 147+ Bugs

      Version 5.4 of the GNU Compiler Collection is now available.

      Before getting too excited, this is just a maintenance update to GCC 5 under their funky new versioning scheme. Beyond that, GCC 6 has already been available in stable form via GCC 6.1.

      GCC 5.4 represents just another maintenance/bug-fix release to GCC 5 since its first stable release last year, GCC 5.1. GCC 5.4 is known to fix at least 147 bugs compared to the GCC 5.3 stable update from a few months back.

    • Twenty-seven new GNU releases in May

      8sync-0.1.0
      autogen-5.18.9
      cflow-1.5
      denemo-2.0.8
      fontopia-1.2
      freeipmi-1.5.2
      gcc-6.1.0
      gdbm-1.12
      gneuralnetwork-0.9.1
      gnumach-1.7
      gnupg-2.1.12
      gnu-pw-mgr-2.0
      gnutls-3.4.12
      guile-ncurses-1.7
      gzip-1.8
      help2man-1.47.4
      hurd-0.8
      icecat-38.8.0-gnu1
      jel-2.1.1
      librejs-6.0.13
      make-4.2
      mig-1.7
      parallel-20160522
      remotecontrol-2.0
      swbis-1.13
      tar-1.29
      xboard-4.9.0

  • Public Services/Government

    • San Francisco funds open source voting

      San Francisco’s open source voting project is quickly becoming a reality. Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed budget includes $300,000 towards planning and development of an open source voting system that would allow the city to own and share the software.

      Dominion Voting Systems, formerly known as Sequoia Voting, has provided San Francisco’s voting technology for years, but its contract with the city and county expires at the end of the year, according to KQED News.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • 8 steps to more open communications

      Open communications is a major change, and, as with all good changes, it will take constant care and feeding to keep it going. My leaders need to remain involved. We need to ensure newcomers are encouraged to stay. The last thing I want is for team members to feel their input isn’t heard or taken seriously.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Obama Wanted to Cut Social Security. Then Bernie Sanders Happened.

      “We can’t afford to weaken Social Security,” he said during a speech on economic policy in Elkhart, Indiana. “We should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.”

    • President Obama Finally Gets It Right On Expanding Social Security

      Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, was as late as last year making critical comments about President Obama’s stance on Social Security, telling Talking Points Memo that Obama “hasn’t been great on this issue.” Then, Altman was still smarting from Obama’s willingness to cut a deal with Republicans in 2011 that would have resulted in a reduced cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits, and thus would have eroded seniors’ buying power over time.

    • Great Recession Caused 500K Additional Cancer Deaths
    • Thanks to Activism And Sanders, Obama Changes Course on Social Security

      Progressive groups welcomed President Barack Obama’s call to expand Social Security by increasing taxes on the wealthy, praising the effort and crediting it in part to “relentless grassroots activism” and Bernie Sanders’ political efforts.

      During a speech on economic policy in Elkhart, Indiana on Wednesday, Obama announced, “We can’t afford to weaken Social Security. We should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement they’ve earned.”

      “We could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more,” he said.

    • Obama’s Social Security push pleases liberals

      President Barack Obama called for expanding Social Security on Wednesday, prompting progressive groups to declare victory after they tangled with him over a plan to save costs in the entitlement program three years ago.

      “And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned,” Obama said in an economic call to arms in Elkhart, Indiana. “We could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.”

    • Revealed: At Least 21 Cities Use Same Water Testing ‘Cheats’ as Flint Endangering Millions

      While authorities in Flint, Michigan charged three officials with a myriad of crimes for failing to properly test the city’s water supply, a major Guardian investigation released Thursday revealed at least 21 U.S cities used similar water testing methods as those that prompted a criminal probe into one of the worst public health crises in recent history.

      According to the Guardian, cities including Chicago, Boston, Philidelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee all use water testing practices that could underestimate the levels of lead present in drinking water. In Philadelphia and Chicago, officials asked employees to test the water safety in their own homes. And in cities throughout Michigan and New Hampshire, water departments were advised to leave more time for testing in order to remove results showing levels that exceed federal limits.

    • Water Departments to Change Lead-Testing Methods After Investigators Find ‘Cheats’ in 33 U.S. Cities
    • At least 33 US cities used water testing ‘cheats’ over lead concerns

      Guardian investigation reveals testing regimes similar to that of Flint were in place in major cities including Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia

    • Six Questions for Monsanto

      Monsanto may not be the largest company in the world. Or the worst. But the St. Louis, Mo. biotech giant has become the poster child for all that’s wrong with our industrial food and farming system.

      With 21,000 employees in 66 countries and $15 billion in revenue, Monsanto is a biotech industry heavyweight. The St. Louis, Mo.-based monopolizer of seeds is the poster child for an industry that is the source of at least one-third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and is largely responsible for the depletion of soil, water and biodiversity. Not to mention the company’s marginalization—and sometimes terrorization—of millions of small farmers.

    • ‘Hoop After Hoop’: How Gulf Coast States Are Playing Politics with Women’s Health

      Women on the Gulf Coast continue to face concerted attacks on their right to healthcare, as Louisiana passed new abortion restrictions this week and the ACLU sued Alabama over several recently enacted, draconian laws.

      On Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed into law a bill banning the abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” or D&E—which women’s health experts say is the safest and most common method of abortion for women in their second trimester of pregnancy.

    • Louisiana Bans Common, Safe Abortion Method

      The Louisiana law, called the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” will likely force doctors to use an abortion method associated with a higher rate of medical complications on women after their first trimester. Women in the state already have to wait 72 hours to have an abortion after meeting with the doctor. Abortions performed later in a pregnancy are riskier, and the new policy only increases the potential dangers.

  • Security

    • Hackers Find Bugs, Extort Ransom and Call it a Public Service

      Crooks breaking into enterprise networks are holding data they steal for ransom under the guise they are doing the company a favor by exposing a flaw. The criminal act is described as bug poaching by IBM researchers and is becoming a growing new threat to businesses vulnerable to attacks.

      According to IBM’s X-Force researchers, the new tactic it is a variation on ransomware. In the case of bug poaching, hackers are extorting companies for as much as $30,000 in exchange for details on how hackers broke into their network and stole data. More conventional ransomware attacks, also growing in number, simply encrypt data and demand payment for a decryption key.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • John Kerry Gives Saudis a Big Pass on Indiscriminate Bombing of Civilians in Yemen

      Secretary of State John Kerry this week waved off concerns about U.S.-supported Saudi-coalition airstrikes in Yemen that have indiscriminately bombed civilians and rescuers, and instead blamed the Shiite Houthi rebels for the bulk of the civilian casualties.

      “There have been a lot of civilian casualties, and clearly, civilian casualties are a concern,” Kerry told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “I think the Saudis have expressed in the last weeks their desire to make certain that they’re acting responsibly, and not endangering civilians.”

    • America’s Greatest Threat Is Its Crazed “Leadership” And Its Brainwashed Population

      But times have changed since then. If Hitler were to attack Russia today, he would be dead 20 to 30 minutes later, his bunker reduced to glowing rubble by a strike from a Kalibr supersonic cruise missile launched from a small Russian navy ship somewhere in the Baltic Sea. The operational abilities of the new Russian military have been most persuasively demonstrated during the recent action against ISIS, Al Nusra and other foreign-funded terrorist groups operating in Syria. A long time ago Russia had to respond to provocations by fighting land battles on her own territory, then launching a counter-invasion; but this is no longer necessary. Russia’s new weapons make retaliation instant, undetectable, unstoppable and perfectly lethal.

    • As US/ Kurdish force Moves on ISIL at Manbij, Turkey goes Ballistic

      The left-leaning Beirut daily al-Safir (Ambassador) points out that less than two weeks after the Syrian Democratic Forces announced their campaign against al-Raqqa, the capital of the phony caliphate of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), the SDF instead has veered off to the west in a bid to capture Manbaj. The SDF mainly consists of leftist Kurdish YPG fighters along with some American-trained token Arabs.

      The SDF, with help from intensive US bombing, moved to the west of the Euphrates on Wednesday, taking over a dozen villages in the vicinity of Manbaj and ending up only 10 km from the city center.

    • Trump, Trade and War

      Those questions include why the United States must play the role of world policeman, whether NATO’s mission is obsolete, why the U.S. always pursues “regime change” when the results – in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, etc. – are a “disaster,” and why Russia has been made into an enemy.

    • A Gunfight in Guatemala

      Enrique Degenhart tried to clean up Guatemala’s immigration service. His story is part of a nation’s extraordinary fight against corruption.

    • A Hellfire from Heaven won’t Smash the Taliban

      So Taliban supremo Mullah Mansour’s white Toyota Corolla was rattling across the Baluchestan desert just after it had crossed the Iranian border when a Hellfire missile fired from a US drone incinerated it into a charred / twisted wreck.

      That’s the official narrative. The Pentagon said Mansour was on Obama’s kill list because he had become “an obstacle to peace and reconciliation.”

    • 192 Killed, 139 Wounded in Iraq Battles, Bombings

      For whatever reasons, the Iraqi government has long undercounted its casualties, and this operation appears to be no exception. A large number of civilians have also been killed, but their numbers remain uncounted. Many cannot even reach the local cemetery to bury their dead.

    • Clinton’s Foreign Policy Speech Marred by Inherent Contradictions

      “Hillary Clinton’s history of supporting interventionism puts her in a weird place to be portraying her opponent as trigger happy.”

    • Poverty, Militarism and the Public Schools

      What’s the difference between education and obedience? If you see very little, you probably have no problem with the militarization of the American school system — or rather, the militarization of the impoverished schools . . . the ones that can’t afford new textbooks or functional plumbing, much less art supplies or band equipment.

      The Pentagon has been eyeing these schools — broken and gang-ridden — for a decade now, and seeing its future there. It comes in like a cammy-clad Santa, bringing money and discipline. In return it gets young minds to shape, to (I fear) possess: to turn into the next generation of soldiers, available for the coming wars.

    • With Trump or Hillary, The Crisis in Syria Will Only Worsen

      No-fly zones, American troops on the ground, thousands more dead–that’s the future of Syria if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have their way. Either will surely make us miss Barack Obama’s subtle restraint, at least when it comes to how he’s handled the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, our former ally in torture.

    • The New Facade for Regime Change: a Brief History of Humanitarian Interventionism

      Sitting in his presidential palace in 1991, Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein and his Culture Minister Hamad Hammadi drafted a letter to Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). Hussein and Hammadi hoped that the U.S.S.R. would help save Iraq from the West’s barrage. Hammadi, who understood the shifts in world affairs, told Hussein that the war was not intended “only to destroy Iraq, but to eliminate the role of the Soviet Union so the United States can control the fate of all humanity”. Indeed, after the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S.S.R. fell apart and the United States emerged as the singular superpower. The age of U.S. unipolarity had dawned.

    • The Bigger Nuclear Risk: Trump or Clinton?

      If the U.S. election comes down to Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump, the American people will have to decide between two candidates who could risk the future of the planet, albeit for very different reasons, writes Robert Parry.

    • Hillary Clinton and the Politics of Overcompensation

      Likely Democratic party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a woman – and that seems to be a very large part of her platform. She talks incessantly about her gender and how it infuses her politics, and her supporters, taking their cues from her, are quick to label any and all criticism of Mrs. Clinton as “sexist” – a label that, these days, can mean anything from believing traditional sex roles have some basis in human biology and the survival of the species to heterosexual men whistling and making lewd comments at attractive women as they walk down the street.

    • Missouri Senator To Introduce Bill To Help Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas

      Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., plans to introduce legislation today to help World War II veterans who were exposed to mustard gas. The vets were used in classified experiments conducted by the U.S. military, and were sworn to secrecy about their participation for a half-century.

    • A Policy of Assassinations Is Being Conducted in Our Name

      From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — deserving of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.

    • Weak End at Bernie’s

      Barack Obama is a complicated, contradictory human being. His writings, speeches and public persona show him as cool, intelligent and sensitive. Yet he has pursued drone warfare on a horrific scale, killing and maiming thousands of innocents. He has persecuted whistleblowers to the max, allowed unprecedented domestic spying and failed his own promise to close Guantanamo Bay. He has one small window left to placate those who voted – sometimes twice – for his promise of hope and change.

    • Why is a military coup in Saudi Arabia possible?

      Saudi Arabia is the most significant player in determining the future of the Arab revolutions. There are two ways to break this stalemate: replace Saudi regional hegemony, or change the regime controlling it.

    • Did CNN Finally Call Out Donald Trump For Lying? (They Did.)

      A CNN producer recalled that during an interview with Fox News in April, Trump said he supported Japan acquiring nuclear weapons.

    • What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?

      Have we reached the endgame of Western democracy? When we heard Chomsky, a week or two ago on Democracy Now, saying that if pushed he’d vote for Clinton, it felt like the end. So hell is this Hobbesian choice: xenophobia or genocide? And it’s seeing the best of us choose genocide.

      Which is worse: the deportation of a few million or the destruction of a few million? Both are hellish but the extermination of millions is obviously worse. So why would Chomsky choose otherwise? He’s not alone. Western wisdom is behind Clinton even though she supported the Iraqi genocide; helped to organise the Libyan and Syrian genocides; and for the heck of it primed the weapons of genocide in Eastern Europe (Victoria Nuland is her girl).

    • Turkey recalls ambassador after German MPs’ Armenian genocide vote

      Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Berlin after German MPs approved a motion describing the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide – a decision that the Turkish president said would “seriously affect” relations between the two countries.

      The five-page paper, co-written by parliamentarians from the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party, calls for a “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916”. It passed with support from all the parties in parliament. In a show of hands, there was one abstention and one vote against.

      The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had voted in favour of the resolution during a test vote at a party meeting on Tuesday, but was absent from the actual vote on Thursday, as were the deputy chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, and the minister for foreign affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Gregor Gysi of the Left party described Merkel’s absence as “not very brave”.

    • Victims of Colombian Death Squads Can Move Forward With Case Against Former Chiquita Executives
    • “I Refuse to Serve as an Empire Chaplain”: U.S. Army Minister Resigns over Drone Program

      An unlikely voice has emerged challenging the drone warfare program: former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Chris Antal, who spent time based in Afghanistan. In April, he wrote an open letter to President Obama detailing his reasons for leaving the U.S. Army Reserves, citing his opposition to the administration’s use of drone strikes, its policy on nuclear proliferation, and what he calls the executive branch’s claim of “extraconstitutional authority and impunity for international law.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Speech Against Trump Hypocritically Touts Her Foreign Policy Strength

      In a foreign policy speech widely hailed for its sharpest attacks yet against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton put forward a vision that she contended was a far, far better alternative than the vision Trump has for the United States. However, a number of statements she made hypocritically disregarded her own record as first lady, senator, and secretary of state.

      Clinton also demonstrated how Democrats plan to wield American exceptionalism to try and beat Trump in November. As a rebuttal to Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” they will insist “America Is Already Great; Oh, But Of Course, It Can Always Be Greater.”

      A months-long squabble between the leaders of two political parties over the extent of America’s greatness threatens to plunge the world into one of the most insufferable debates in modern history.

      [...]

      The United States has taken the “lead” in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria, and in all of those countries, the military action taken has fueled chaos and enabled the rise of terrorist organizations, including al Qaida affiliates.

      That is not to say that Trump has the answers, but to point out that American “leadership” does not have a stellar record of preventing chaos, particularly when mounting operations under the umbrella of the war against terrorism.

      On the nuclear agreement with Iran, Clinton said, “When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb. Some called for military action. But that could have ignited a broader war that could have mired our troops in another Middle Eastern conflict.”

      In fact, Clinton threatened to ethnically cleanse Iran if it were to attack Israel when she ran for president in 2008. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

    • Sanders to Clinton: Yes, Trump’s Foreign Policy Ideas Are Scary. But So Are Yours

      Bernie Sanders responded to Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech on Thursday with a hit at her credentials, including her involvement in the Iraq War and so-called “regime change” in Libya.

      “We need a foreign policy based on building coalitions and making certain that the brave American men and women in our military do not get bogged down in perpetual warfare in the Middle East,” he said in a statement. “That’s what I will fight for as president.”

    • Hillary Comes Out as the War Party Candidate

      Choosing to speak in San Diego, home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, on a platform draped with 19 American flags and preceded by half an hour of military marching music, Hillary Clinton was certain of finding a friendly audience for her celebration of American “strength”, “values” and “exceptionalism”. Cheered on by a military audience, Hillary was already assuming the role to which she most ardently aspires: that of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • President Obama, pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning

      As he wraps up his presidency, it’s time for Barack Obama to seriously consider pardoning whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

      Last week, Manning marked her six-year anniversary of being behind bars. She’s now served more time than anyone who has leaked information to a reporter in history – and still has almost three decades to go on her sentence.

      It should be beyond question at this point that the archive that Manning gave to WikiLeaks – and that was later published in part by the Guardian and New York Times – is one of the richest and most comprehensive databases on world affairs that has ever existed; its contribution to the public record at this point is almost incalculable. To give you an idea: in just the past month, the New York Times has cited Manning’s state department cables in at least five different stories. And that’s almost six years after they first started making headlines.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘Overwhelming’ Evidence Shows Path is Clear: It’s Time to Ditch Industrial Agriculture for Good

      If you can count as successes increased greenhouse gases, ecosystem degradation, rises in hunger and obesity, and unbalanced power in food systems, then industrial agriculture has done one heck of a job.

      That’s according to a panel of experts, whose new report, From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems (pdf), calls for breaking the chains that lock monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots to the dominant farming systems in order to unleash truly sustainable approaches—ones that use holistic strategies, eschew chemical inputs, foster biodiversity, and ensure farmer livelihoods.

    • Nigeria’s Massive Oil Cleanup Could Take Decades And A Billion Dollars

      What’s been described as the most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up plan in history was launched in Nigeria Thursday to restore hundreds of square miles of Delta swamps ravaged by nearly sixty years of oil extraction and spills.

      The move to restore Ogoniland, located in southern Nigeria and home to more than 800,000 people, comes a year and a half after Shell agreed to an $84 million settlement with residents for two massive oil spills in 2008 and 2009. By then Nigeria had asked the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to study the area. UNEP released a report in 2011 noting oil impacts on Ogoniland are ongoing, widespread, and severe. In turn, Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, started a $1 billion restoration plan this week to clean up decades of spills by Shell and other companies, including the state-owned company.

    • How Climate Change Will Destroy Our Global Heritage

      Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization issued a report called “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate.” It contains twelve case studies and eighteen snapshots of what climate change is expected to do to places that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. More than a thousand sites around the world have the UNESCO designation, which is awarded on the basis of “outstanding universal value,” or O.U.V., in U.N. bureaucratese; it’s something between a Michelin star and an Olympic medal, both a marketable touristic imprimatur and a reminder of both the aspirations and the limits of internationalism. And so the report, co-produced with the Union of Concerned Scientists, provides an eclectic set of postcards from our cataclysmic future.

    • Highlighting Contrast with Clinton, Sanders Vows Nationwide Ban on Fracking

      On the campaign trail in California, Bernie Sanders hit the White House and his presidential rival Hillary Clinton over their stances on fracking, telling reporters this week that opening up Pacific waters to oil and gas extraction would be “disastrous.”

      Sanders criticized federal regulators for clearing the way for offshore fracking to resume in California, just days after the U.S. Department of the Interior released a pair of studies that found it would have no environmental impact.

      “Make no mistake: this was a very bad decision by the federal government that will not be allowed to stand if I have anything to say about it,” Sanders said during a news conference in Spreckels in Central California. “Offshore fracking has the potential to pollute the ocean with toxic fluid, hurt the environment, and harm our beautiful beaches. That risk to me is unacceptable.”

    • Governor Sends ‘Threatening’ Letter To Environmental Donors

      Gov. Paul LePage (R) stepped up his attacks on the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) in dramatic fashion this week by sending personal letters to the environmental group’s donors.

      “I would request that you carefully review NRCM’s policy positions before donating to them in the future,” the governor wrote, after directing members of his staff to find addresses of donors posted in the environmental organization’s public documents. “It is an activist group that says ‘no’ to every opportunity to allow Mainers to prosper.”

    • McCarthy of the Great Woods: Unhinged Maine Governor Targets Donors of Local Green Group

      Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage directly targeted donors to the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) with harassing letters (pdf) that accused the conservation group of advancing “job-crushing, anti-business policies,” the organization announced at a press conference on Thursday.

      It is unclear how LePage acquired the organization’s list of donors and donors’ contact information.

      “This seems like something Sen. Joseph McCarthy would have done in the 1950s, not a governor of Maine in 2016,” NRCM director Lisa Pohlmann said in a press statement.

    • NRCM Blasts Gov. LePage for Wasting Tax Funds on His Smear Campaigns
    • The Mainstream Media’s Climate Malpractice

      A state of disaster has been declared in 31 flooded Texas counties as rivers in the region are cresting at historic highs.

      Six people have died, up to four more people are missing and hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in Houston as the Brazos River reached over 54 feet in Fort Bend County.

      On the East Coast, the National Hurricane Center declared that Tropical Depression Bonnie, which caused significant flash flooding in the US Southeast over Memorial Day weekend, has “revived” off the coast of North Carolina.

    • Trump’s ‘Realty Check’ on Climate

      The presumptive GOP nominee says climate change is a hoax, except when it threatens his luxury golf course.

    • Racism Fueled Outrage Over Cincinnati Gorilla Killing

      But by Tuesday, the gorilla incident was officially the headline of the day, by far eclipsing the viral photo of a 1-year-old infant whose lifeless body had been pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea and the related story about 700 refugees drowning as they fled war and poverty.

      America is outraged—over the killing of a gorilla in a zoo. A gorilla that was, by most accounts, possibly going to kill the unfortunate little boy who fell into its enclosure. So many Americans are so upset by this incident that as of this writing, nearly half a million have signed a change.org petition entitled Justice for Harambe, addressed to Hamilton County’s child protection service, demanding “an investigation of the child’s home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence.”

    • Charles Koch’s Disturbing High School Economics Project Teaches ‘Sacrificing Lives for Profits’

      Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

    • Climate poses conflict threat in South Asia

      Senior military experts warn that the nations of South Asia must co-operate on climate change adaptation to avoid major political instability and conflict in the region.

    • Europe’s renewables spending hits 10-year low

      Much of Europe prides itself on its determination to act resolutely on climate change, but in at least one key respect it has failed to back its rhetoric with action. Its investment in renewable energy showed a significant drop in 2015, falling to its lowest level in almost a decade.

      Globally, investment in renewables reached a record $328.9 billion last year, according to a study published by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), an international coalition of governments, renewable energy trade associations, and financial institutions, including the International Energy Agency and the World Bank.

    • Is Clinton An “Environmental Champion”?

      But embracing and promoting “the agenda of big polluters” could be an accurate job description for much of what Clinton did as Secretary of State.

    • Climate Is Poised To Be A Divisive Issue For This Group Of Voters

      This may come as a shock, but not every American is concerned about preventing catastrophic climate change.

      After decades of political messaging about how clean energy would be an economic disaster, many people are skittish about changing the status quo — even if the status quo holds dire consequences for our economy, our health, and our way of life. But as the effects of climate change touch more and more people, some labor groups are making environmental issues a priority.

      “From our perspective, climate change and inequality are the two moral and existential crises of our time,” Pete Sikora, a political and legislative director for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), told ThinkProgress.

    • New York State Assembly Passes ‘Most Ambitious’ Climate Bill in the Nation

      New York’s Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would require the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from major sources to zero by 2050. But is that good enough?

    • The New York Assembly Just Passed The Nation’s Most Ambitious Climate Bill

      The New York State Assembly has passed the most ambitious climate bill in the country, one that would require the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from major sources to zero by 2050. The bill was passed Wednesday night with support from a broad coalition of organizations, including labor groups, environmental groups, and community leaders.

      The bill seeks to codify into law certain climate goals put forth by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said in the past that he wants the state to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In December, Cuomo mandated that the New York Department of Public Service begin establishing a plan to transition to at least 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Without making these goals into laws, however, Cuomo’s targets could be reversed by whoever holds the governorship next.

    • Economic Update: Pro-Environment, Anti-Capitalist

      This episode discusses fossil-fuel divestment, the economics of the Zika virus and payday loan scandals. We also interview environmental lawyer and activist Carol Dansereau.

  • Finance

    • Who is voting to leave the EU and why?

      Demographic data tell an interesting story about Britain’s EU referendum.

      Today sees the publication of the IPR’s referendum policy brief, a document that brings together contributions from a number of academics with the purpose of informing readers about the issues at stake in the EU referendum. Many of these issues are not new, but the way they are debated has changed dramatically over time.

      In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the Conservative Party that led Britain into membership of the European Economic Community. Seeking a new anchor for Britain’s geo-political interests after decolonisation and the fiasco of Suez, and despairing of the capacity of Britain’s post-war Keynesian economic settlement to solve its class conflicts, Conservative leaders orientated towards Europe’s successful social market models. The Labour Party went along with this reluctantly: for the most part, it remained Eurosceptic and wedded to the idea that the unitary British state was the vehicle for social progress. But by holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the common market in 1975, it was able to paper over its internal divisions.

    • Consumer Protection Agency Unveils New “Payday” Lending Rules
    • Grassroots Group Responds to CFPB Payday Lending Rule, Pledges to Continue Fight to Protect Families from Predatory Lenders
    • New Payday-Loan Rules Won’t Stop Predatory Lenders

      A borrower taking out a $500 loan could still pay over 300 percent in annual interest, despite new rules designed to crack down on predatory small-dollar lending out Thursday from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

      The proposed consumer protections for payday loans, auto title loans, and high-cost installment loans focus on making the lenders document borrowers’ incomes and expenses to confirm that they have the ability to make their payments and still maintain basic living expenses. Payday lenders currently do minimal financial checks before issuing loans.

    • Warren’s CFPB Cracks Down on Predatory Lenders—But Will It Be Enough?

      Newly proposed rules aimed at reining in predatory payday lending are “a good first step,” economic justice groups said on Thursday, but “worrisome loopholes” must be closed in order to fully protect low-income Americans from financial devastation wrought by the high-interest, low-dollar loans.

      The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled the new rules on Thursday, at a hearing in Kansas City, Missouri—a state, Politico notes, “where storefront lenders outnumber McDonald’s and Starbucks franchises.”

    • Washington’s Trash Is Not Minorities’ Treasure

      “Don’t be afraid to call it environmental racism.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn: I Would Kill TTIP

      Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn took aim at the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Thursday, saying he would kill the controversial U.S. and EU trade deal should he become prime minister.

      His comments came during a speech in London campaigning to remain in the EU just three weeks ahead of the Brexit referendum, which Corbyn has framed as an “era-defining moment” for workers’ rights.

      “Many thousands of people have written to me, with their concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP) the deal being negotiated, largely in secret, between the U.S. and the EU,” he said in his speech in London.

    • Labour comes out against TTIP—Global Justice Now comment
    • Closing in on EU Financial Tax Victory

      The international campaign for taxes on financial speculation is on the brink of a major European milestone that could further boost momentum in the United States.

    • Money Merry-Go-Round: Emails Show How Wall Street Execs and Alums Crafted Trade Bill

      Foreign corporations could sue to undermine US protections for consumers’ health, safety and financial security under a provision added to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP) after executives of big banks pressed the nation’s chief trade negotiator, himself a former big-bank executive, to include it.

      A series of emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and released last week by Rootstrikers, an organization that opposes the trade deal now pending before Congress, confirm the push by financial service companies for the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” provision. ISDS, as it is referred to by the cognoscenti writing the emails, would, in the words of one critic, Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach, “elevate individual investors to the status of a nation-state” in trade disputes.

    • To Pay for Subsidies to Massive Corporations, States Are Waging War on Poor Families

      To witness the consequences of a political system captured by and utterly subservient to the interests of organized wealth, take a quick look at the state of Oklahoma.

      There we see the embodiment of the economic trends that have, over the past several decades, harmed working families and lifted the wealthiest: While providing a windfall of cash to special interests, particularly big oil, the state is cutting education and slashing funds allocated for the earned income tax credit, widely recognized as one of the more effective anti-poverty programs.

      As the state cuts benefits for the poor, “Oklahoma’s tax breaks for the oil and gas companies — among the most generous in the nation — gave the industry $470 million in tax relief last year,” a recent New York Times editorial observes.

      “It’s despicable to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable population” while refusing to push any of the burden onto the wealthiest, lamented State Representative Emily Virgin.

    • Colluding in Lies: the Brexit Debate

      Times in Britain are viciously partisan. No one wants to see their dog left out of this particular fight. The result is a vicious mauling being handed out by all sides on whether the leavers or stayers have the upper hand.

      The Institute for Fiscal Studies, one of Britain’s more prominent tax think tanks, went in against the Vote Leave campaign, suggesting that the austerity regime would be prolonged by a departure from the EU. That would be the only way to plug consequential multi-billion pound holes in the budget arising from lower foreign investment and poorer trade returns.

      The IFS also took issue with various figures being used by the Leave campaign, most notably the suggestion that Brussels receives £350 million every week from the sceptred isle. That particular figure has become the holy marker for former London mayor Boris Johnson. According to the body, that assessment conveniently ignored the role of the rebate and a range of other subsidies for business and research. Taken together, the amount ending in EU coffers was more likely £150 million.

    • These 7 States Still Operate Debtors’ Prisons

      They’re supposed to be illegal, but across the United States, debtor’s prisons are alive and well.

      The ACLU, among many other organizations, is hard at work trying to abolish the practice, which amounts to imprisoning people for unpaid debt, like court fees.

      In multiple states, including those with extremely high prison populations, this practice is still routine. Debtors’ prisons unfairly target low-income populations, particularly communities of color, thanks to racial profiling.

      Here’s how it works: When people make contact with the criminal justice system, they may face an array of court fees, but these fines are imposed regardless of ability to pay.

    • Despite Economic Growth, Middle-Income Americans Have Less Than They Did 40 Years Ago

      Over the past 40 years, the US economy has boomed. But what does that mean for the “American dream”? While the top 1% has had enormous gains, average US households aren’t any better off today. In fact, they’re falling further behind.

    • Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada: an oligarchs’ club or a real parliament?

      A year ago, Ukraine’s president promised to break the oligarchs’ stronghold on power. While this is yet to happen, a new generation of deputies is changing the political atmosphere.

    • Letting ‘Wall Street’ Walk

      Legal double standards are the norm in the U.S. – no jail for law-flouting Wall Street bankers but mass incarceration for average citizens, especially minorities, who get caught up in the prison-industrial-complex, as Michael Brenner describes.

    • Job Growth Plunges in May

      The Labor Department reported that the economy created just 38,000 new jobs in May, the weakest job growth since September of 2010, when it lost 52,000 jobs. In addition, the jobs numbers for the prior two months were revised down by 59,000, bringing the average for the last three months to just 116,000.

      The household survey showed a drop of 0.3 percentage points in the unemployment rate, but this is not especially good news. The decline was almost entirely due to people leaving the labor force. The employment-to-population ratio [EPOP] was unchanged at 59.7 percent, 0.2 percentage points below the the peak for the recovery. In addition, the number of people involuntarily working part-time jumped by 468,000.

    • What If Trade Agreements Helped People, Not Corporations

      Current trade agreements have been of, by, and for transnational corporations. Growing opposition gives us the opportunity to change that in our next-generation agreements.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • EU referendum: Boris Johnson is like Donald Trump ‘with a thesaurus’, claims Nick Clegg

      Boris Johnson is like Donald Trump “with a thesaurus”, Nick Clegg will claim, “ignoring the facts” and saying “whatever he wants” in an attempt to pull Britain out of the European Union.

      In his first major speech of the campaign the former Liberal Democrat leader will claim that Mr Johnson is using the referendum campaign to burnish his chances of becoming Tory leader with scant regard for the economic impact on ordinary people of a ‘leave’ vote.

    • The ‘Major Problem,’ According to Bernie Sanders: ‘An Establishment…Led by Corporate Media’
    • Press Can’t Get Enough of Trump Dumping on Them

      “He’s Not Gonna Take it,” CNN blared on its homepage yesterday, above a large close-up photo of Donald Trump. Beneath the picture, CNN placed a headline with a link to the article, “When Donald Trump hits back, he hits back hard.”

      CNN, in essence, was pumping up the indomitable image that Donald Trump wants the media to portray of him. He and his campaign flacks consistently account for any of Trump’s reprehensible and coarse portrayals of individuals and groups by asserting that he is a “counterpuncher.” How that excuses racism, misogyny, bigoted pronouncements and childish name-calling is what the mass corporate media should be examining in their own reporting.

      However, such reporting is the exception rather than the rule. This was exemplified in the coverage of Donald Trump’s Tuesday news conference, in which he lacerated the press for questioning the sincerity of his commitment to raising money for veterans’ charities—including a personal million-dollar contribution he pledged in January.

    • Why Bernie Must (and Can) Win

      On Tuesday June 7, voters in California, New Jersey, and four other states can sway the Democratic nomination toward Bernie Sanders – the candidate who all polls show gives Democrats the greatest chance of defeating Donald Trump.

      Ignoring this factual reality, mainstream media and pundits, even California’s own Gov. Jerry Brown and Senator Dianne Feinstein, have decided for voters that the Democratic race is over – mirroring a Clinton inevitability narrative launched the day the campaign began. Party and Clinton campaign officials (close relatives to say the least) are simultaneously irate and nervous as heck that Sen. Sanders keeps winning, and has the audacity to run to the end. But if the goal is getting a Democrat in the White House, they ought to reconsider.

    • Clinton’s Vice President: A Match Made on Wall Street

      Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders warned that Hillary Clinton’s eventual vice presidential pick must not be someone from the milieu of Wall Street and Corporate America. And while Sanders is still fighting to win the Democratic Party nomination in what many have argued is a rigged system with a foregone conclusion, it appears that Sanders is also intent on influencing the course of the Clinton campaign and the party itself.

      In a thinly veiled demand that Clinton embrace the core principles of the Sanders campaign in order to secure the support of Sanders’s political base, the insurgent Democratic candidate hoped aloud “that the vice-presidential candidate will not be from Wall Street, will be somebody who has a history of standing up and fighting for working families, taking on the drug companies…taking on Wall Street, taking on corporate America, and fighting for a government that works for all of us, not just the 1%.”

    • Bernie, The Donald, and the Sins of Liberalism

      The Sanders campaign had made its stand against the liberalism of the Clinton elite. It has resonated so deeply because the candidate, with all his grandfatherly charisma and integrity, repeatedly insists that Americans should look beneath the surface of a liberal capitalism that is economically and ethically bankrupt and running a political confidence game, even as it condescends to “the forgotten man.”

    • Cheating Donald

      There are exceptions – two of the leading ones being Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker who has handed Trump a record 28 Four-Pinocchio awards and David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who has written, “Twenty One Questions for Donald Trump.”

    • Why New Jersey Needs Bernie Sanders

      Our country has fallen into a tailspin of poverty and inequality. In my home state of New Jersey our poverty rate is the highest it’s been in 50 years. Since 1980, only New York and Connecticut have outpaced the growth of New Jersey’s income inequality. Almost one-third of New Jerseyans are struggling to afford basic necessities. Like many Americans they juggle which bills to pay and which to skip: rent, utilities, food, medication. More than one million people in our state don’t have enough food.

      Finding affordable housing is the Achilles heel for many New Jersey residents in a state that has the sixth-highest housing costs in the nation. A New Jersey minimum wage worker would have to work 18 hours a day to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The average renter in Cumberland County earns about $10.50 an hour in an area where a fair market two-bedroom rents for $1129 a month; this means that an average renter who is working full-time is putting more than half their income towards rent.

    • Norman Solomon vs. Tom Hayden on Sanders vs. Clinton

      I mean, we started out by talking about RootsAction’s critical support for Bernie Sanders last summer, because he was talking about Martin Luther King Jr. but never mentioning the need to challenge what King called “the madness of militarism.” And so it goes to: we need to get rid of this idea that because you support a candidate, or were responsible for helping a candidate come into office, then you’ve got to lie about that person and lie about the positions or distort or soft-peddle or euphemize what they’re doing. So I think that is a challenge that we have going forward.

    • ‘This Campaign Is Not Over’: Polls Show Dead Heat in California

      Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in California among registered Democrats, two new polls show.

      Sanders even beats Clinton by one point when potential Democratic primary voters are surveyed.

      California’s June 7 primary is semi-open, meaning Californians registered as Democrats or “No Party Preference” are able to vote in the Democratic primary. In previous primaries, Sanders has proved “far, far more popular with independents” than Clinton, as Kevin Gosztola recently noted.

    • Paul Ryan at Last Says Donald Trump Has His Support

      House Speaker Paul Ryan apparently felt he had drawn out his highly public waiting game long enough, surprising precisely no one with his announcement on Thursday that he was throwing his support behind presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • Paul Ryan Endorses Trump Hours After Hosting An Anti-Islamophobia Meeting

      On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) hosted a meeting with the nation’s oldest interfaith peace organization, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who pleaded with him to publicly stand up to the Islamophobia in his party and promote tolerance of refugees. A few hours later, he announced he’d be voting for the person who has been the loudest voice stoking fear of Muslims and refugees: Donald Trump.

    • Wasserman Schultz’s Challenger, Tim Canova, is Even More “Pro-Israel” Than She Is

      Congressional candidate Tim Canova, a professor of law and public finance, is widely depicted as being a progressive challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz, of course, chairs the Democratic National Committee and has rightly come in for lots of criticism on a host of issues.

      Canova was recently endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Sanders, at the New York debate with Hillary Clinton in April had showed some minimal concern for rights of Palestinians, rare in U.S. politics, saying that Israel’s attack on Gaza was “disproportionate.”

      Recently however, on MSNBC, Canova criticized Wasserman Schultz for being unreliable on a host of issues, then added: “even support for Israel, people don’t know where she stands.”

    • Feeling Seen, Feeling Heard: Bernie At the Local Taco Joint

      In California – where Clinton once led Sanders by over 40 points – the two candidates are now statistically, improbably tied, with news outlets reporting ever-shifting slim leads. Bernie’s encounters in what he calls “the big enchilada” have run the by-now fondly familiar gamut, from impassioned crowds of up to 60,000 in Oakland – where an exceedingly chill Bernie barely reacted to rowdy animal-rights protesters before blithely going on his raspy-voiced, finger-pointing way – to a glad chance meet-up at a local taco joint in Fresno. After coming upon “the Bern himself,” one fervent fan reports, “I can 100% attest to the fact that Bernie is a man of his words.” Overall, the odds are still against Sanders, for all the wrong reasons. But let us not forget: Oh what a galvanizing, heart-stirring ride – and, hopefully, legacy.

    • Rick Perry Has The Creepiest Response To Hillary Clinton’s Speech

      “Donald Trump will peel her skin off in a debate setting,” Perry said. “Donald Trump will peel her skin off in a debate setting and actually he’ll peel it off this evening [during a campaign event] out in San Jose as well.”

    • Bill Kristol’s Candidate, David French, is Even Further to the Right Than Trump

      David French’s rebuttal to my claim was that only one abortion provider had been murdered, so Christian terrorism wasn’t that bad. He then went on to praise the police for their hard work.

    • Bernie Sanders Urges “Revolutionaries” to Join Him as California Democratic Primary Vote Nears

      Bernie Sanders and his California supporters not only expect to win big in next Tuesday’s primary, but say Democrats will not pick their nominee until July’s national convention.

      “It’s a floor fight in Philly,” said Galen Swain, a semi-retired engineer standing at street corner Santa Cruz on Tuesday hoisting a “Honk for Bernie” sign near a big hall where Sanders was to speak. “I’m absolutely certain we will close the gap on her [in Tuesday's primary]… This is a gut check for Democrats. Do they want to run a candidate who has the FBI for a running mate?”

      The feistiness of Swain’s comments were commonplace at Sanders’ rally in this mid-California coastal city with a large state university. While Swain’s swipe at Hillary Clinton was referring to her use of a personal server for e-mails while Secretary of State — which has led to an ongoing FBI investigation — his larger point was about the Democratic Party’s superdelegates, the office-holders and allies who account for 15 percent of the national convention delegates.

    • Mainstream Media Bias Is Nothing New, but What Can We Do About It?

      Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer discusses mainstream media bias in the 2016 presidential coverage.

    • The Frustrated Public: Views of the 2016 Campaign, the Parties, and the Electoral Process

      Seventy percent of Americans say they feel frustrated about this year’s presidential election, including roughly equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans, according to a recent national poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. More than half feel helpless and a similar percent are angry.

      Nine in 10 Americans lack confidence in the country’s political system, and among a normally polarized electorate, there are few partisan differences in the public’s lack of faith in the political parties, the nominating process, and the branches of government.

      Americans do not see either the Republicans or the Democrats as particularly receptive to new ideas or the views of the rank-and-file membership. However, the candidacy of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination is more likely to be viewed as good for his party than Donald Trump’s bid for the Republican Party.

    • It’s You, Isn’t It Hillary?

      She is now struggling to just stay above water, hoping to limp to the nomination based on some funny delegate math and a few earlier victories in the South. If she is the nominee, she’ll be the least popular and least trusted nominee from her party in its history, with a negative campaign based nearly 100% on hoping people dislike Trump just a bit more than they dislike her.

    • Americans Go Through ‘Rapid Cycles of Extreme Cynicism and Idealism,’ NPR Interviews Find

      In a valuable example of human interest journalism, NPR host Robert Siegel spoke with a diverse group of Americans assembled from three generations—25-, 45- and 65-year-olds—about how their experience of national events shaped their political views.

      Among them are a 25-year-old who joined the military during the economic recession, a 45-year-old who became a U.S. citizen under President Reagan’s immigration reform, and a 65-year-old who was one of the first black female firefighters in New York City.

      The media’s influence on politics emerged as a consistent theme across the groups. This included “the reporting of Walter Cronkite, coverage of the Bill Clinton impeachment and O.J. Simpson trials, which often blurred the line between tabloid sensationalism and news, [and] the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle,” NPR reported.

    • Bernie Sanders and the Fundamental Crisis of U.S. Democracy

      There is no chance for sensible laws ending the genocide without first reducing the NRA’s influence on elections. None. Clinton and her supporters say only a “realistic” approach involving negotiations with right wing lunatics like Mc Connell will work. Really? Oh, we might get a ban on the civilian use of bazookas or tanks or some such meaningless measure with that approach. Remember, after Sandy Hook, over 90% of the public favored background checks but Congress wouldn’t even pass that.

      The only way we solve the national slaughter-for-profit policy of the NRA and the gun manufacturers is to get their money out of campaigns, their lobbyists out of our legislatures and their political ads off of our airwaves and out of our media. Period.

      [...]

      It gets worse. Today, the US has troops in over 150 nations; it has over 70 bases overseas; and its defense budget exceeds half a trillion dollars. There is no clear articulation of how—or whether—any of this makes us safer, and a great deal of evidence suggesting it makes us less safe.

    • Is the Media Recalculating How It Covers Trump?

      After months of no follow ups and an estimated $2 billion in free coverage, the Times reports TV news execs may finally be ready to ask Donald Trump some tough questions.

    • Bipartisan Closets

      The two leading candidates have nothing to hide, not that it’s any of your business.

    • David Cameron Says Trump Cancelled His Call For Muslim Ban
    • Is the Contemptible Trump In Contempt of Court?

      Then, within minutes after the rabid crowd had been chanting “build that wall,” Trump said that Curiel “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” This comment was clearly meant to further inflame Trump’s fans and suggest that the judge was not an American, was biased against him, or both.

    • Trump University: A Scam, But a Familiar One

      Four hundred pages of documents released on Tuesday by a federal judge in San Diego add detail to the tawdry story of Donald Trump’s unaccredited Trump University. The operation appears to have relied on high-pressure recruiting pitches, buoyed by deceptive claims, and it had an extensive playbook focused not on teaching students the art of the real estate deal but instead on teaching company recruiters how to separate enrollees from more and more of their money.

      The playbook directed Trump University recruiters to push students into paying higher prices for escalating levels of involvement, with the most expensive “Gold Elite” package, priced at $34,995, the ultimate target: “If they can afford the gold elite don’t allow them to think about doing anything besides the gold elite.”

      Trump University told its recruiters to play on shame, exploit aspirations, and overcome customer objections, by telling prospective students: “do you like living paycheck to paycheck? … Do you enjoy seeing everyone else but yourself in their dream houses and driving their dreams cars with huge checking accounts? Those people saw an opportunity, and didn’t make excuses, like what you’re doing now.”

    • Clinton’s Speech: A Lost Opportunity

      Clinton’s overall approach is grounded in that central tenet of Washington conventional wisdom that, as she put it in the speech, “America is an exceptional country,” that “we lead with purpose, and we prevail,” and that “if America doesn’t lead, we leave a vacuum – and that will either cause chaos, or other countries will rush in to fill the void.”

    • Anti-Intellectualism, Terrorism, and Elections in Contemporary Education: a Discussion with Noam Chomsky

      Washington DC based History Teacher Dan Falcone and New York City English Teacher Saul Isaacson sat down with Professor Noam Chomsky to discuss current issues in education and American domestic and foreign policy issues. They also discussed the place of the humanities in education and how it relates to activism, definitions of terrorism, and how education impacts the perceptions of the political process in the US.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Liberal Faux-Outrage on Freedom of Speech

      One cannot but be awestruck by the hypocrisy of intellectuals who pretend to adhere to points of principle–for transparently partisan ends.

      A recent manifestation of the distinguished tradition of elite hypocrisy is Nicholas Kristof’s two-columns-long exhortation to liberals and leftists (whom he characteristically conflates) that they be more tolerant of conservatives. Thus he joins a growing army of fellow intellectual luminaries–including Jonathan Chait, Catherine Rampell, Edward Luce, Damon Linker, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, and many others (Jerry Seinfeld, Donald Trump, etc.)–who bemoan the rise of an intolerant political correctness on social media and university campuses.

    • Censorship and Freedom of Expression
    • Did Facebook Censor the Trump San Jose Rally?

      The Trump San Jose rally on June 2 was overcome with violence as protesters threw eggs and bottles at supporters, destroyed barricades in the nearby parking garage, and tore up the American flag. But something else strange was happening at the same time. Facebook users reported that they couldn’t search for the rally on Facebook.

    • 8-9 July: The power of hip hop

      Since its birth in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop has made its mark. Today, graffiti artists, MCs, breakdancers and DJs across the world are still using the medium to empower themselves, from women in Columbia and political movements in Burkina Faso, to aiding the fight for free speech in Zimbabwe and challenging religious stereotypes in the UK.

      Index on Censorship has teamed up with In Place of War to create two unique full-day events that provide an opportunity to listen to, learn from and collaborate with 14 world-changing hip hop artists from eight different countries.

    • European Commission’s Hate Speech Deal With Companies Will Chill Speech

      A new agreement between the European Commission and four major U.S. companies—Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft—went into effect yesterday. The agreement will require companies to “review the majority of valid notifications for removal of hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content,” as well as “educate and raise awareness” with their users about the companies’ guidelines.

      The deal was made under the Commission’s “EU Internet Forum,” launched last year as a means to counter what EDRi calls “vaguely-defined ‘terrorist activity and hate speech online.’” While some members of civil society were able to participate in discussions, they were excluded from the negotiations that led to the agreement, says EDRi.

    • Techdirt Reading List: Free Speech: Ten Principles For A Connected World

      Obviously a recurring theme here on Techdirt is the issue of free speech, and I’m frequently interested in discussions on the topic. Just a few weeks ago, for example, we wrote about the book No Law: Intellectual Property in the Image of an Absolute First Amendment. So I was intrigued this week when I ran across a thoughtful review of a new book by Timothy Garton Ash, entitled Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World. And when I saw the book mentioned again almost immediately, I figured I ought to pick up a copy.

      I haven’t read it yet, but based on what I’ve skimmed and the various reviews I’ve read (including a good one in the NY Times), it definitely seems like a worthwhile read. It pushes back on some of the current trend of people (and, all too frequently, students) trying to silence speech they don’t want to hear in various places, while noting the awkwardness of how folks for whom freedom of speech was seen as so important in past decades are turning around and seeking to block people they disagree with from speaking now. Free speech has never really been a “partisan” kind of thing, and it seems to go in waves over who is really in favor of it and who’s willing to give it up over speech they dislike.

    • Twitter unblocks spoof Putin account after widespread criticism
    • Guess who’s back? Putin parody account back on Twitter after suspension
    • Putin, Lavrov parody accounts unfrozen after sudden Twitter suspension
    • Twitter Restores Parody Account of Russian President Vladimir Putin
    • Twitter suspends popular anti-Putin parody accounts
    • Putin Parody Censorship Irks Twitter Fans, Jokes Quickly Reinstated
    • Google Removes Anti-Semitic Chrome Extension
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The BBC is failing the public in its coverage of government surveillance

      In 1952, Conservative MP Waldron Smithers sent Prime Minister Winston Churchill a list of potentially “subversive” BBC employees. Among them was Anatol Goldberg, head of the BBC Russian service: a “Jew… who controls the selection of programmes and is a communist.” Encouraging Churchill to create a “committee presided over by an English judge or QC… who could make an extensive enquiry into communist activities”, the MP added: “we have traitors in our midst… and although I should deplore suppression of free speech they should be treated as traitors.” Churchill passed Smithers’ concerns on to MI5, whose staff concluded: “In the considered view of the Security Service, communist influence in the BBC is very slight and does not constitute a serious security danger.”

    • Is privacy dead? Not even MPs are safe from spies

      Not even MPs are safe from the security service’s snooping anymore.

      While the emails and browsing history of ordinary folk like you and I have been fair game for intelligence agencies like GCHQ for a while, it was thought that MPs were safe from spies due to a quirk of law.

    • Snowden leak: GCHQ & America’s NSA regularly intercept British MPs emails

      American spies and the UK’s listening post GCHQ regularly intercept the emails of British MPs and peers, including privileged correspondence between parliamentarians and their constituents.

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly has access to intercepted emails sent and received by all MPs and peers through Parliament’s Microsoft computer system, Office 365.

      Intelligence agency GCHQ on the other hand, allegedly accesses the data when it leaves UK’s borders on its way to Microsoft’s data centers in Dublin and the Netherlands.

      The revelations have been made public through an investigation by Computer Weekly, based on leaked documents by the now-exiled former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    • Read the NSA’s Exceedingly Weird Guide to the Internet
    • Former NSA and CIA director recommends managing consequences instead of vulnerabilities

      Michael Hayden believes managing vulnerabilities is untenable and consequence management using the Risk Equation is preferable. Read about the equation’s components.

    • The Government Is Building A Database To Predict Who Will Be The Next Edward Snowden

      While police departments flock to use technology that predicts crime, the U.S. military is building a database that goes a step further — predicting who is most likely to reveal state secrets.

      The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is developing a data system that collects information on government employees and contractors with security clearances in hopes of being able to pinpoint those with the potential to become whistleblowers, Defense One reported.

    • Tattoo Recognition Research Threatens Free Speech and Privacy

      Tattoos are inked on our skin, but they often hold much deeper meaning. They may reveal who we are, our passions, ideologies, religious beliefs, and even our social relationships.

      That’s exactly why law enforcement wants to crack the symbolism of our tattoos using automated computer algorithms, an effort that threatens our civil liberties.

      Right now, government scientists are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. But an EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit inmates, with little regard for the research’s implications for privacy, free expression, religious freedom, and the right to associate. And so far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight while doing it.

    • 5 Ways Law Enforcement Will Use Tattoo Recognition Technology

      There’s an action movie cliché in which a cop inspects the body of a felled assassin or foot soldier and discovers a curious tattoo that ultimately leads to a rogue black-ops squadron, a secret religious sect, or an underground drug trafficking ring.

      The trope isn’t entirely Hollywood fantasy, but the reality of emerging tattoo recognition technology is closer to a dystopian tech thriller. Soon, we may see police departments using algorithms to scrape tattoos from surveillance video or cops in the field using mobile apps to analyze tattoos during stops. Depending on the tattoo, such technology could be used to instantly reveal personal information, such as your religious beliefs or political affiliations.

    • FBI Kept Demanding Email Records Despite DOJ Saying It Needed a Warrant

      The secret government requests for customer information Yahoo made public Wednesday reveal that the FBI is still demanding email records from companies without a warrant, despite being told by Justice Department lawyers in 2008 that it doesn’t have the lawful authority to do so.

      That comes as a particular surprise given that FBI Director James Comey has said that one of his top legislative priorities this year is to get the right to acquire precisely such records with those warrantless secret requests, called national security letters, or NSLs. “We need it very much,” Comey told Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, during a congressional hearing in February.

      At issue is whether the national security letters empower the FBI to demand what are called “electronic communication transactions records,” or ECTRs. Such records can include email header information – not their content – and browsing histories.

      In 2008, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded that the FBI was only entitled to get the name, address, length of service, and toll billing records from companies without a warrant. Opinions issued by the OLC are generally treated as binding and final within the executive branch.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Stranger assaults Amos Yee in shopping centre

      The suspect is seen grabbing Yee from behind as the latter struggles to escape from the bear-hug and repeatedly shouts for help.

    • Video: Singaporean blogger activist Amos Yee attacked in mall as passersby look on

      Singaporean activist Amos Yee was attacked at the Jurong Point mall in Singapore on Monday. A man physically manhandled Yee as passersby appeared to look on.

      Yee approached a man and asked if he had taken a picture of him, according to a video he shot himself. The man then gave chase as Yee repeatedly called out for help.

    • Police report made against alleged assault involving Amos Yee

      A police report has been filed by a member of public against an alleged assault that involved the teenager, Amos Yee during the last weekend. The incident was documented on video and had been reported online.

      29-year-old, Brendan Chong shared that he decided to make a police report on Wednesday as the authorities have not commented on the case till date.

      He hopes that the case is promptly investigated because, not only for Yee’s own personal safety, but for the safety and well-being of the general public as the incident happened in a crowded shopping centre.

    • EFF Joins Coalition Opposing Dangerous CFAA Bill

      EFF and over a dozen other organizations are urging U.S. lawmakers to oppose a dangerous bill proposed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham that would make the already-flawed Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) worse. The joint letter sent Wednesday explains that the legislation fails to address any of the CFAA’s problems while simply creating more confusion. Although the proposal is ostensibly directed at stopping botnets, it includes various provisions that go far beyond protecting against such attacks.

      The senators proposed an almost identical bill last year. And just like last year, they may try to sneak their proposal through as an amendment to the Email Privacy Act. Last year, the tried this tactic with the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, but they ultimately failed due to widespread opposition.

    • “Guantánamo Diary” Detainee Makes the Case for His Release

      In a hearing this morning, advocates for Mohamedou Ould Slahi made the case that the high-profile U.S. detainee should be released from Guantánamo, where he has been held for 14 years without being charged with a crime.

      If freed, Slahi plans to return to life with his family and pursue a career as a writer, following on the success of his bestselling memoir, Guantánamo Diary, which tells of Slahi’s imprisonment and torture by the United States and its counterterrorism allies. Held secretly in Jordan and Afghanistan before being brought to Guantánamo, Slahi recounts in his book beatings, sexual abuse, sleep deprivation, and a catalogue of other horrors, along with the close relationships he developed with various guards.

      Slahi was not allowed to speak during the open portion of today’s hearing. Instead, statements were made on his behalf by his attorney and by military representatives. Slahi, a slender, clean-shaven 45-year-old Mauritanian, sat quietly behind a sign identifying him as “detainee,” dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt and glasses, his arms folded on the table. A live video feed of the proceeding was shown at the Pentagon and watched by reporters, lawyers, and other members of the public.

    • Islamophobia: Why Are So Many, So Frightened

      Islamophobia has become a significant factor driving politics in many western countries.

      Islamophobia – fear of Muslims – is now highly visible among European populations concerned about terrorist responses from Islamic groups claiming Jihadi links. However, it is also evident among those same populations in relation to the refugee flow from the Middle East. In addition, Islamophobia is highly evident among sectors of the US population during the presidential race. It is a significant issue in Australia. Outside the West, even the (Muslim) Rohingya in Burma are feared by Buddhist monks and others.

      Given that this widespread western fear of Muslims was not the case prior to the US-instigated ‘War on Terror’, do Muslims around the world now pose a greater threat to western interests than previously? Or is something else going on here?

    • These Four People Were Sued for $30 Million for Trying to Stop a Toxic Landfill

      After being sued for $30 million by a corporate landfill owner for “speaking their truth in order to protect their community,” four residents of Uniontown, Alabama—a poor, predominantly Black town with a median per capita income of around $8,000—are fighting back.

      On Thursday, the ACLU asked a federal court to dismiss the defamation lawsuit against Esther Calhoun, Benjamin Eaton, Ellis B. Long, and Mary B. Schaeffer—all members of the community group Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice.

    • Alabama Mom’s Charges Are Dropped, But Only After an Arduous Battle

      Sixteen months after her arrest, Katie Darovitz — one of at least 500 women prosecuted under Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation chemical endangerment law — has had her case dismissed.

      Darovitz’s story, first chronicled by ProPublica last year, was especially wrenching: She has severe epilepsy, and doctors told her that the medications she was using to treat her condition carry a risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

      When she got pregnant in 2014, she discovered marijuana could control her seizures and had not been associated with birth defects. But when she gave birth, hospital staffers turned over her positive marijuana screen to a social worker who turned it over to law enforcement officials. Two police officers showed up at the house Darovitz shared with her common-law husband and their two-week-old son, handcuffed her, and hauled her off to jail. Though her son, Will, was in good health, Darovitz was charged with a Class C felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

    • Environmental Protesters Fight Defamation Lawsuit Filed by Coal Ash Landfill
    • In This Poor, Black, Polluted Alabama Town, Speaking Up Gets You Sued

      Would you agree with that sentence? Would you say it yourself? It seems uncontroversial — something kids might be taught in school. Something any of us might say without blinking an eye. Unless, that is, you happened to say it in Uniontown, Alabama — an overwhelmingly Black and poor rural town in the heart of the South’s Black Belt. In Uniontown, it turns out that having the audacity to fight for your fundamental human rights — for instance, by saying the exact sentence above — can get you sued for $30 million in federal court by companies seeking to silence their critics.

    • Trump’s Immigration Raids: How Would They Work?

      As nearly as I can determine, nobody has drawn a plan for Donald Trump’ s promise to deport the more than 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. But some of its requirements are obvious, at least to residents of Dallas like me.

      Hispanics, about 50 million of whom live in the United States, are the most suspect population. Interning all of them, as the U.S. did with the Japanese population during World War II, is impossible because that would confine a sixth of the people who live within the nation’s borders. The only means by which undocumented immigrants can be deported is to catch them before they reach cities like Dallas—which lies 400 miles from the border– and to sort through the whole of the Hispanic population already residing here.

    • Black Lives Matter Activist Convicted of “Felony Lynching”: “It’s More Than Ironic, It’s Disgusting”

      In Pasadena, California, Black Lives Matter organizer Jasmine Richards is facing four years in state prison after she was convicted of a rarely used statute in California law originally known as “felony lynching.” Under California’s penal code, “felony lynching” was defined as attempting to take a person out of police custody. Jasmine was arrested and charged with felony lynching last September, after police accused her of trying to de-arrest someone during a peace march at La Pintoresca Park in Pasadena on August 29, 2015. The arrest and jailing of a young black female activist on charges of felony lynching sparked a firestorm of controversy. Historically, the crime of lynching refers to when a white lynch mob takes a black person out of the custody of the police for the purpose of extrajudicially hanging them. In fact, the law’s name was so controversial that less than two months before Jasmine was arrested, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation removing the word “lynching” from the penal code. We speak with Richards’ lawyer, Nana Gyamfi, and Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah. “Her conviction is not only about punishing Jasmine Richards, but also is the lynching,” Abdullah says. “So it’s really disgusting and ironic that she’s charged and convicted with felony lynching, when the real lynching that’s carried out is done in the same way it was carried out in the late 19th, early 20th century, where it’s supposed to punish those who dare to rise up against a system.”

    • Jules Boykoff on Rio Games

      A coup and a corruption scandal that have government in disarray, an economic crisis, and an outbreak of a dangerous mosquito-borne virus have not a few people asking how Brazil can possibly host a successful and safe Olympic Games in just…one month from now? Our guest has a different take, suggesting that Brazil’s unrest might actually be a kind of boon to Olympic officials—in that it serves to distract from the myriad problems associated with hosting the Games even when they go “smoothly.”

    • A Very Brazilian Coup

      Brazil’s elites can’t win an election, but they can engineer an impeachment.

    • Credibility of Brazil’s Interim President Collapses: Receives 8-Year Ban on Running

      But the oozing corruption of Temer’s ministers has sometimes served to obscure his own. He, too, is implicated in several corruption investigations. And now, he has been formally convicted of violating election laws and, as punishment, is banned from running for any political office for 8 years. Yesterday, a regional election court in São Paulo, where he’s from, issued a formal decree finding him guilty and declaring him “ineligible” to run for any political office as a result of now having a “dirty record” in elections. Temer was was found guilty of spending his own funds on his campaign in excess of what the law permits.

      In the scope of the scheming, corruption and illegality from this “interim” government, Temer’s law-breaking is not the most severe offense. But it potently symbolizes the anti-democratic scam that Brazilian elites have attempted to perpetrate. In the name of corruption, they have removed the country’s democratically elected leader and replaced her with someone who – though not legally barred from being installed – is now barred for 8 years from running for the office he wants to occupy.

    • Temer Convicted of Breaking Election Laws As Thousands March for Democracy in Brazil

      Upheaval in Brazil continued this week as a court handed down a conviction against right-wing president Michel Temer, who took over after the ouster of leftist president Dilma Rousseff, and banned him from running in elections for the next eight years.

      A regional elections court in Temer’s hometown of São Paulo on Thursday “issued a formal decree finding him guilty and declaring him ‘ineligible’ to run for any political office as a result of now having a ‘dirty record’ in elections,” Glenn Greenwald reported in The Intercept.

      The decision came less than three weeks after Temer oversaw what has widely been described as a “coup” to overthrow Rouseff, the recently re-elected Workers’ Party president.

    • Police Brutality Has Surged In Brazil. It’s About To Get Even Worse.

      Back in April, human rights organization Amnesty International reported that the number of people killed by police Rio de Janeiro jumped 54 percent between 2013 and 2015. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country ramped up its law enforcement by stationing police and members of the military in the country’s slums, or favelas, under the guise of protecting the poorest communities. But violence in the favelas actually surged with the presence of more officers — as did the number of people killed by them.

      This year alone, police in Rio have killed 100 people, most of whom identified as black. As the city gears up for the Olympics in August, and the country scrambles to fix a crumbling political system, Amnesty International projects that the brutality will get much worse.

      According to a new report from the international organization, 65,000 police officers and 20,000 soldiers have been tapped for security during the upcoming sporting event in Rio. Once again, many of them will be stationed in favelas, where the vast majority of the country’s black population lives. And there’s no telling how long they’ll stay.

    • I Had to Leave the U.S. to Stop Pretending to Be an Extrovert

      America values the bold and gregarious, but when I moved to Switzerland, I found my people—no fake smiles required.

    • Whistleblowers and the protection of sources

      At the time of Edward Snowden’s revelations of extensive surveillance by the NSA and its international partners, like the French DGSE, a law protecting whistleblowers needs to be more than ever at the center of political and legal thinking. A lot remains to be done to ensure the public’s right to information without which there is no true democracy.

      The whistleblower status must benefit anyone that reports, discloses or condemns past, present or future acts that violate citizens’ rights or conflict with the common interest. With regard to surveillance, this status must include an exemption for state agents and contractors from the silence imposed by their employer. This would protect persons whose actions, such as those of Snowden and numerous other anonymous sources, enable an essential public debate on the drifts of security policies and resorts to the reason of state as a justification for intelligence-led policies.

    • The U.S. Is the Only Country That Routinely Sentences Children to Life in Prison Without Parole

      It was a late summer morning when Robert “Fat Daddy” Taylor woke up, smoked two blunts, and decided to turn himself in. He’d been on the run for four days, and it seemed that everywhere he went in and around the 7 Mile neighborhood on the east side of Detroit, there were photos of him in stores, and people quick to call the police, to claim the $1,000 reward for finding him.

    • What the War on Reproductive Rights Has to do With Poverty and Race

      When Justice Harry A. Blackmun authored the decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, he wrote that “[t]he right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.” Although this was a win for those seeking to both legalize abortion and prevent harm inflicted on people seeking illegal and unsafe abortions, it also opened the door to restrictions on abortion.

    • UCLA Engineering Student Killed His Professor For Stealing Programming Code: Report

      A recent murder-suicide shooting at UCLA campus resulted in the death of a student and his professor. As the recent findings suggest, the PhD scholar accused his professor of code theft and had his name written on a “kill list”. His wife’s name, who is now dead, was also on the list.

    • FBI Internal Report Says FBI’s 2007 Impersonation Of An AP Journalist Not Exactly By The Book

      US law enforcement agencies engage in some pretty shifty behavior while pursuing criminals. The DEA and ATF love pushing randos into planning fake raids on fake drug houses containing zero weapons, cash, or drugs. (Better yet, made-up quantities of theoretical contraband are used to determine sentence length during prosecution!)

      There’s more than a coin flip’s chance that a teen in chatroom is actually a law enforcement officer between the age of 25 and 50 — and quite possibly operating extra-jurisdictionally as one of Florida sheriff Grady Judd’s child porn warriors.

      Speaking of child porn, the FBI is not above seizing kiddie porn sites and letting them run as honeypots. And that’s when it’s not doing worse things — like shoving a mixture of the mentally challenged and the easily-persuaded towards terrorism… or impersonating journalists to serve up malware to investigation targets.

      The FBI pretended to be the Associated Press in order to send malware to a 15-year-old bomb threat suspect. The payload was delivered via a “draft” version of an “article” by an “AP writer,” sent to the suspect for his “review.” The FBI defended its unorthodox investigative technique by saying it was something it “rarely” did and that it only did so in the interest of public safety.

    • White Youths Yelling Racial Slurs Chase Black Teenager To His Death

      “They were calling us n—-rs,” Smith said of the chase. “I just heard a lot of racial slurs. They were mixed — some white, some of them were Hispanic. But nobody was black.” At least one of the assailants had a gun.

    • Blacklash: Missouri State Legislature Responds to Ferguson Uprising

      Your lives don’t matter. This was the implicit anthem of conservative lawmakers in the Missouri state house throughout this year’s legislative session. Through attempts to limit Black women’s ability to decide how, if and when to conceive; by advancing the same dangerous policy that claimed the lives of Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride; and by attacking the vote and the voice of Black Missourians, legislators pioneered an agenda aimed to codify a status quo of racial hierarchy — white property and political power reigning supreme.

    • The limits of white compassion: Imagine if Black lives mattered as much as one gorilla’s

      Harambe’s death is a tragedy—as are the deaths of Black people killed by police. They deserve your outrage, too.

    • Peru 2016: Democracy under authoritarian charge?

      But as the passing of time shows, the country did not carry out the necessary debate about what it meant to build an inclusive, demanding and open society. Doing this properly would have involved laying the foundations of basic democratic procedures so that just and fair competition in elections was possible. It meant, also, facing the fundamental challenge of strengthening the rule of law. On the contrary, given the weakness of inherited constitutional legality and systematic abuse, institutional passivity and arbitrariness of public/private powers persisted openly. What’s more, the country was governed under a constitution in place since fujimorismo, bringing about manoeuvrings both socio-political– the instrumentalisation of democracy to entrench authoritarian ends in the long-term– and economic– neoliberalism, with a vocation contrary to all social agenda, without its premises and implications being called into question.

      [...]

      However, there is something that, during the second round of the presidential elections of 2016, can be assumed realistically: it is that we must try to slow or stop a project that threatens to subvert the democratic institutions that required so much to recover (as precarious as they may be). It is about reversing the trend towards a freedom-destroying and obscurantist scenario – like that that is today creeping towards us – and opening one where democratic conversation is based on a terrain that is pluralist, open and promising.

    • What’s the ‘Goodest’ Country? Hint: It’s Not the US

      A ‘good country,’ according to the index, is one ‘that contributes to the greater good of humanity.’

    • First Director Inside Violent Juvenile Detention Facility Exposes Horrific Ways America Punishes Adolescents

      Juveniles can be tried as adults in criminal court in all states.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Dissecting the Defend Trade Secrets Act [Ed: Anti-whistleblowers law “hailed by IP practitioners as a long-overdue reform.”]

      The new law provides a civil cause of action in federal courts for companies claiming that their trade secrets have been misappropriated. This has been hailed by IP practitioners as a long-overdue reform.

    • Trademarks

      • Chanel tops US trade mark damages list since 2009 – report [Ed: Perfume conglomerates make a lot of money from brands and litigation, not sales]

        A Lex Machina report on trade mark litigation reveals the entities receiving the most damages, the most common plaintiffs and defendants, and the busiest districts

        Lex Machina has released its second annual comprehensive report on trade mark litigation over the past seven years. The report sheds light on some of the biggest decisions and judgments, as well as breaking down larger trends in trade mark litigation.

      • The Avengers, Diana Rigg and Marvel Comics: When confusion is not confusion [Ed: Trademark on single English dictionary words]]

        Why is confusion sometimes tolerated? Case in point— “The Avengers”. What comes to mind, it seems, depends upon your generation.

      • The Perversion Of Trademarks: Jose Mourinho Can’t Coach Man-U Yet Because Former Club Trademarked His Name

        Usually when we talk about professional or college sports participants running into trademark issues, it has to do with the nicknames they have taken on and either attempted to trademark for themselves, or prohibit others from using. But the case of soccer coach Jose Mourinho is different in that respect: at issue is his own, natural name. And, to truly see how trademark has been perverted from its original purpose, one can simply watch Mourinho, who was supposed to take the helm of Manchester United, have his hiring delayed because another team he formerly coached holds the trademark for his name.

    • Copyrights

      • NYT Calls for Stronger Copyright Protection Without Calculating the Costs

        All New York Times readers know that protectionism is stupid and self-defeating. It hurts everyone involved. So where were all the economic experts to give the usual lines on protectionism in response to efforts to change the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

        The Times reported on these efforts without ever once mentioning the economic costs that would be implied by making listeners pay more money for music and the cost that intermediaries like YouTube would have to incur to comply with stronger copyright protection. The failure to mention these costs is remarkable, given how much space the Times and other media outlets have devoted to denouncing proposals from Donald Trump to impose higher tariffs and plans by Bernie Sanders to chart a different course for trade policy.

        Economics works the same, regardless of whether the item in question is a car, a ton of steel or a song. Barriers that raise the price impose costs on consumers and the economy. The biggest difference is that in proportionate terms, the barriers involved with copyright protection are likely to be far larger than any trade barriers that Trump or anyone else might impose on imported manufactured goods. While the latter are unlikely to exceed 50 percent of the sale price, and would almost certainly be far less, copyright protection can make music that would otherwise be available for free very costly.

        To get an idea of how costly such protections can be, New Zealand’s government estimated that increasing the length of copyright protection from 50 to 75 years, as required by the Trans-Pacific Partnership, would cost it 0.24 percent of annual GDP, the equivalent of $4.3 billion in the US economy in 2016. It would have been helpful to include some estimates of the costs associated with the stronger protections being discussed in this piece.

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