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06.08.16

Links 8/6/2016: Linux Mint 18 Beta, Spark Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Russian Helicopters holding plans to switch to Linux OS

    Aircraft holding Russian Helicopters intends to switch to Linux operating system, Kamil Gazizov, CEO of RT-Inform, told reporters.

  • Why I built my own homebrew Linux router

    To be fair, setting up your own router from a generic server distro isn’t a project for everyone. It certainly isn’t user-friendly, both during the build process and once it’s finished. While it’s not terribly complex, it’s definitely arcane, with absolutely no hand holding along the way. If you aren’t already very experienced with Linux, you’ll likely do a lot of puzzled head scratching (and maybe a little cursing). You won’t get a super feature-rich build once you’re done, either—unless you go on to do a lot more for your build than I have with mine, you won’t have fancy quality of service features, usage graphs, or much of anything else besides a bare-bones (although extremely high performance) router that hands out IP addresses, resolves DNS records, connects to the Internet, and makes packets go where they’re supposed to.

  • What’s Our Next Fight?

    We won the battle for Linux, but we’re losing the battle for freedom.

    Linux turns 25 in August 2016. Linux Journal turned 21 in April 2016. (Issue #1 was April 1994, the month Linux hit version 1.0.) We’re a generation into the history of our cause, but the fight isn’t there anymore, because we won. Our cause has achieved its effects.

    It helps to remember that Linux was a fight, and so were free software and open source. If they weren’t fights, they wouldn’t have won what they did. They also wouldn’t have been interesting, meaning there wouldn’t have been any Linux stories, or a Linux Journal.

  • Fights

    Doc Searle is a thinker and strategist. He makes a lot of good observations in a recent writing but he’s bypassing the desktop PC strongholds when he declares victory for Open Source and Linux. The world is still in the wrong place when a legacy PC cannot be bought with FLOSS on it everywhere any time.

  • Desktop

    • Modularity and the desktop

      There has been much talk about modularity recently. Fedora even has a working group on this topic. Modularity is such a generic term that it is a bit hard to figure out what this is all about, but the wiki page gives some hints: …base module… …docker image… …reduced dependencies… …tooling…

    • Chrome OS vs. Endless OS

      Over the years, I’ve seen a number of attempts to create the first truly use anywhere, idiot-proof Linux PC. And until recently, Chromebooks (anything with ChromeOS) was easily the winner.

      Then a PC company known as Endless did something that really surprised me – they released their highly customized version of Ubuntu GNOME into something everyone could try. Will it beat out ChromeOS in terms of access, simplicity and overall value? Let’s take a gander and find out.

    • Linux features that you can’t live without?
    • Have the EFF investigate Microsoft for malicious practices regarding Windows 10
    • Petition condemns Windows 10 upgrade practices, asks EFF to investigate

      A petition launched Friday asks the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to investigate Microsoft’s aggressive moves to convince and cajole users into upgrading to Windows 10.

      The request was launched on Change.org, a popular online petition website, and by early Monday had garnered more than 470 signatures.

    • Is Windows 10 ignoring sysadmins’ network QoS settings?

      An Australian sysadmin frustrated with his business’ sudden loss of performance has sparked a conversation about whether Windows 10 is behaving badly on network connections.

      To jump well into the discussion thread that points the finger at Microsoft: “We have had reports now from several people, not all our clients, reporting that their Internet connection is brought to a standstill and the common thread is that they all have Windows 10 machines recently installed.”

    • M$ Enslaves Not Only Users But Also Their Networks

      Be Free. Use Debian GNU/Linux or other FLOSS operating system.

  • Server

    • 7 DBaaS Vendors You Should Conside

      Database-as-a-service (DBaaS) puts storage and management of structured data in the cloud, offering companies functionality similar to well-known relational database management systems like MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle, with the added flexibility and lower upfront costs of the cloud.

    • Webmin 1.801 Released – A Web Based System Administration Control Panel for Linux

      Webmin is an open source web based system configuration application for Linux system administration. With the help of this tool we can manage internal system configuration such as setting up user accounts, disk quotas, services configuration like Apache, DNS, PHP or MySQL, file sharing and much more. Webmin applications is based on Perl module and it uses TCP port 10000 with OpenSSL library for communicating via browser.

    • WTF is operations? #serverless
    • What is DevOps? Kris Buytaert Explains

      Kris Buytaert is known as one of the instigators of the current DevOps movement and organizer of several related conferences, including DevOpsDays and Config Management Camp. He is a long-time Linux and open source consultant who often claims that everything is a freaking DNS problem. You can find him speaking at events and consulting as the CTO (Chief Trolling Officer) at Inuits on everything from Infrastructure as Code to Continuous Delivery.

    • ​Puppet DevOps comes to the mainframe

      Without DevOps programs such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, the cloud wouldn’t be possible. Now Puppet Labs is trying to work in systems management magic on IBM’s z Systems and LinuxONE.

  • Kernel Space

    • Continental, Toshiba, Hyundai Mobis join open-source connected car project

      Automotive suppliers Continental and Hyundai Mobis, electronics group Toshiba and several other companies have joined Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a project that aims to develop an open-source, Linux-based platform for connected cars.

      Earlier this year, AGL announced a new set of codes designed specifically for the automotive industry. The new Linux distribution addresses automotive-specific applications such as navigation, communications, safety, security and infotainment functionality. The Linux Foundation, which promotes the general adoption of the Linux open-source operating system, hopes it will become the de facto standard for the auto industry.

    • Automotive Grade Linux Membership Growth Expands to Europe and Globally

      Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car, today announced that bright box, Continental, ForgeRock, Hyundai MOBIS, Toshiba and Ubiquitous have joined The Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux.

      “Our goal is to bring companies from diverse backgrounds and regions together to build an open platform that will drive rapid innovation across the entire automotive industry,” said Dan Cauchy, General Manager of Automotive at The Linux Foundation. “These new members join us from across Europe, Asia and the United States, and will help us continue to develop a global ecosystem for the connected car. We are excited to welcome these members into the AGL community and look forward to our joint collaboration.”

    • Linux Makes Progress On Prepping NVMe-Over-Fabrics Support

      Initial patches were published this week for adding initial NVMe-over-Fabrics support for the Linux kernel as set out by the NVMe 1.2b specification. This target implementation is the basics of making this new specification a reality and one of the first public implementations.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE neon User Edition 5.6 Available now

        KDE neon User Edition 5.6 is based on the latest version of Plasma 5.6 and intends to showcase the latest KDE technology on a stable foundation. It is a continuously updated installable image that can be used not just for exploration and testing but as the main operating system for people enthusiastic about the latest desktop software.

      • KDE Neon User Edition 5.6 Released

        The KDE project has this morning announced the release of KDE Neon User Edition 5.6, the first major version of this OS spin showcasing the latest KDE components.

        KDE Neon has been making good progress since it (re)launched earlier this year as a OS stack based upon Ubuntu but with incorporating all of the bleeding-edge KDE Plasma / Frameworks 5 components. This first major KDE Neon User Edition release incorporates Plasma 5.6.

      • KDE Plasma 5.7 To Have New Task Manager Library Supporting Wayland

        KDE Plasma 5.7 continues to look more and more like it will be running reasonably well on Wayland with close parity to the KDE stack running on X11.

      • A task manager for the Plasma Wayland session

        Plasma 5.7 will ship with a new taskmanager library. One of the reasons to implement a new taskmanager library is the port to Wayland. Our old code base was heavily relying on X11 and didn’t support the concept of multiple windowing systems. You can read more on that in Eike’s blog post about the new task manager. In this blog post I want to focus a little bit on the Wayland side of a task manager.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Clasen: Continuing To Push Modularity On The Linux Desktop

        Matthias Clasen, well known Fedora / GNOME contributor at Red Hat, has written a blog post about the ongoing modularity work in the Linux desktop realm.

        Clasen’s blog post covers the continuing modularity of the desktop and the goal to “make it easier to get desktop applications from application developers to users.”

  • Distributions

    • The Linux Rolling Release Model

      Regardless of the operating system being used, we’re used to the idea that our current OS will become obsolete every few years, and a newer version will be released to replace the current one.

      However, some Linux distributions have adopted a different release model. Instead of releasing a new version every year, they use a model called the “Rolling Release Model” to continuously update your operating system. This means that you only have to install your OS once and will always be running the latest version.

    • Reviews

      • Sabayon 16.05

        Sabayon Sabayon is a Linux distribution that is based on Gentoo. Sabayon takes on some of the characteristics of its parent, providing users with a rolling release distribution that can make use of both binary and source software packages. Recent snapshots of Sabayon offer support for computers running on 64-bit x86 processors along with Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 computers. Perhaps the biggest new feature of Sabayon though is the launch of Sabayon Community Repositories (SCR). These new repositories provide a way for community members to build and distribute software for Sabayon without the necessity of getting their software into Sabayon’s official repositories.

        There are seven editions of Sabayon, including the builds for Raspberry Pi computers. There are several desktop editions, a Server edition and a small Minimal edition. I decided to begin my trial with Sabayon’s KDE edition which is a 2.7GB download. Booting from the distribution’s media brings up a menu asking if we would like to run Sabayon’s live desktop, perform an installation, boot to a text console, check the installation media for defects or perform a memory check. Taking the live desktop option loads the KDE desktop. The wallpaper shows a gravel road passing through farmland while a moon rises with the Sabayon logo on it. Icons on the desktop invite us to donate to the distribution, get on-line help and launch the system installer. At the bottom of the display we find the application menu, a task switcher and the system tray.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 64 2016.06 Xfce Community Edition Arrives with Linux Kernel 4.4.11 LTS

        Thanks to one of our readers, we were able to report last week on the release of the PCLinuxOS 64 2016.06. MATE Edition operating system. However, today we would like to introduce our readers to the PCLinuxOS 64 2016.06 Xfce Edition OS.

        PCLinuxOS 64 2016.06 Xfce is a community edition, built around the lightweight Xfce 4.12 deskop environment and powered by a kernel package from the long-term supported (LTS) Linux 4.4 series. Linux kernel 4.4.11 LTS is used in the PCLinuxOS 64 2016.06 Xfce Live ISO images at the moment of the launch.

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R7 KDE: nothing to complain… almost

        ROSA Desktop Fresh R7 KDE left a good impression on me.

        Even though the initial boot took about 500 Mb of memory, my laptop with 4Gb of RAM was capable of dealing with all the tasks I ran on it in the Live mode of this distribution in a quick and responsive manner. I felt no lags or glitches.

        The only minor things that were worth mentioning in this review were strange design of the panel and the ROSA Menu which isn’t to my taste.

        Well done, ROSA team, I hope to see your system even more improved in the future.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux 16.06 Daniella Released

        Manjaro Linux is based onArch Linux and one of the easiest Linux distributions available. Manjaro Linux provides the distro in most major flavors including, XFCE, KDE, Gnome, LXDE, MATE, Cinnamon and more. The team has recently released its stable release Manjaro 16.06 with all the packages updated to their latest versions.

      • Manjaro Linux 16.06 ‘Daniella’ Released With New Features, Download Here

        The long-anticipated Manjaro Linux 16.06 ‘Daniella’ is now available for download. This release has arrived with the latest Linux kernel 4.4 (and 10 other kernel options) and other new features. The flagship Xfce edition of community driven Manjaro Linux comes with Xfce 4.12, bringing more polished desktop experience.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • ownCloud Summit at openSUSE Conference Cancelled

        The openSUSE project announces the immediate cancellation of the ownCloud Summit that was scheduled to take place during the openSUSE Conference in two weeks.

        The summit was scheduled for June 22 – 23.

        Given the ownCloud community has forked, openSUSE sought an amicable solution so that both communities could take part in the openSUSE conference. As this was found to not be possible, the openSUSE Board made the decision to cancel the summit.

      • Nextcloud hackweek and open BBQ!

        Yesterday we kicked off a meeting in Stuttgart to discuss Nextcloud and get work done. A first result is the establishment of the new Server repository on Github (and more repositories!) and we’ll share other things on the forums and in Github issues the coming days. The real important news however is that we decided to organize a BBQ!

      • Highlights of YaST development sprint 20

        The latest Scrum sprint of the YaST team was shorter than the average three weeks and also a little bit “under-powered” with more people on vacation or sick leave than usual. The bright side of shorter sprints is that you don’t have to wait three full weeks to get an update on the status. Here you have it!

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Nicola Sturgeon ranked second most powerful woman in UK

    Nicola Sturgeon has been ranked as the second most powerful woman in the UK, behind only the Queen.

    The first minister is one of six UK representatives in Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s most powerful and influential women.

    A Scottish government spokesman said the list underlined the importance both of the first minister’s office and the profile of Scotland as a nation.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list for the sixth year running.

    Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was placed second, with Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve, third.

  • The Leave campaign can’t keep dodging the biggest question

    For four years, as Leader of the Opposition, my job was to interrogate Tony Blair every week at Prime Minister’s Questions; a close approximation to trying to nail jelly to a wall.

    I used all the techniques ever devised of presenting him with a question demanding a “yes” or “no” answer, where both “yes” and “no” were politically impossible to say. And he employed every means known to a seasoned politician of addressing a question without ever coming down on either side of it.

    Even one day when the First Minister of Wales resigned minutes before PMQs – news of which reached me but not him – and I immediately tried to trick him into expressing confidence in that Minister, Blair sniffed the air, smelt the rat, and talked about Wales in general. When it came to obfuscation, he was a class act.

  • How Not to Interview Mitch McConnell

    On this subject, Charlie Rose fed McConnell another softball in the form of a middle-school civics query: “Is it a conservative government that the founders established, because they wanted… to make sure that this country didn’t rush into anything?”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Antibiotic Resistance “Already Here” And Pipeline Is Dry, UK Health Minister Tells UN

      An estimated one million people may already die each year because they are resistant to all known antibiotics, and the number could reach 10 million per year and devastate the world economy by 2050 unless key steps are taken, experts from the United Kingdom and South Africa told a press briefing on antimicrobial resistance at United Nations headquarters today.

      “It’s already here. This is not a problem for the future,” said Prof. Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England. “This is a real worry.”

    • American Wasteland: the Most Urgent Challenge for America is Its Poorly Hidden Mental Health Crisis

      The relentless tragedy of narcotic addiction, especially of opiates, across America has overwhelmed already depleted public resources, leaving a trail of devastated communities, families and lives – threatening a new lost generation.

    • At Least 33 US Cities May Be Hiding Lead in Drinking Water

      A troubling new investigation by the Guardian has found that at least 33 large cities in the United States may be improperly testing tap water in order to pass FDA regulations on allowable levels of lead. Reporters from the paper looked at 41 cities across 17 different states, and compared local officials’ water testing methods to those suggested by the EPA.

      Of the 41 cities studied, 33 were using testing methods that could potentially underestimate the amount of lead present in water, and 21 of those were using the same water testing methods employed by the officials who have now been formally charged in Flint. Due to the age of the infrastructure involved, the paper only looked at large cities east of the Mississippi River, so it’s still completely unknown what standards are being used in the rest of the country.

  • Security

    • WordPress plugin with 10,000+ installations being exploited in the wild

      The attacks have been under way since last Friday and are mainly being used to install porn-related spamming scripts, according to a blog post published Thursday. The underlying vulnerability in WP Mobile Detector came to light on Tuesday in this post. The plugin has since been removed from the official WordPress plugin directory. As of Wednesday, the plugin reportedly had more than 10,000 active installations, and it appears many remained active at the time this post was being prepared.

    • Bad Intel And Zero Verification Leads To LifeLock Naming Wrong Company In Suspected Security Breach

      LifeLock has never been the brightest star in the identity fraud protection constellation. Its own CEO — with his mouth writing checks others would soon be cashing with his credentials — expressed his trust in LifeLock’s service by publishing his Social Security number, leading directly to 13 separate cases of (successful) identity theft.

      Beyond that, LifeLock was barely a lock. It didn’t encrypt stored credentials and had a bad habit of ambulance-chasing reported security breaches in hopes of pressuring corporate victims into picking up a year’s worth of coverage for affected customers. This culminated in the FTC ordering it to pay a $12 million fine for its deceptive advertising, scare tactics, and inability to keep its customers’ ID info safe.

    • Samba 4.4.4 Fixes a Memory Leak in Share Mode Locking, Adds systemd 230 Support

      Samba 4.4 major branch was launched on March 22, 2016, and it brought support for asynchronous flush requests, several Active Directory (AD) enhancements, a GnuTLS-based backupkey implementation, multiple CTDB (Cluster Trivial Database) improvements, a WINS nsswitch module, as well as experimental SMB3 Multi-Channel support.

    • Printer security: Is your company’s data really safe?

      On March 24th of this year, 59 printers at Northeastern University in Boston suddenly output white supremacist hate literature, part of a wave of spammed printer incidents reported at Northeastern and on at least a half dozen other campuses.

      This should be no surprise to anyone who understands today’s printer technology. Enterprise-class printers have evolved into powerful, networked devices with the same vulnerabilities as anything else on the network. But since, unlike with personal computers, no one sits in front of them all day, the risks they introduce are too often overlooked.

      “Many printers still have default passwords, or no passwords at all, or ten are using the same password,” says Michael Howard, HP’s chief security advisor, speaking of what he’s seen in the field. “A printer without password protection is a goldmine for a hacker. One of the breaches we often see is a man-in-the-middle attack, where they take over a printer and divert [incoming documents] to a laptop before they are printed. They can see everything the CEO is printing. So you must encrypt.”

    • We Asked An Etiquette Expert About Home Security Cameras

      Roughly the size of a soda can, sitting on a bookshelf, and whirring away some 24-hours a day, a relatively innocuous gadget may be turning friends and family away from your home. The elephant in your living room is your Internet-connected security camera, a device people are increasingly using for peace of mind in their homes. But few stop to think about the effect these devices may have on house guests. Should you tell your friends, for instance, that they’re being recorded while you all watch the big game together?

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Syrian Gov’t Troops enter ISIL-held al-Raqqa Province, racing against US Allies

      Syrian troops, aided by a Homs-based pro-government militia the ‘Falcons of the Desert’ and under the cover of Russian air support, entered al-Raqqa Province from Hama for the first time in two years on Saturday. The southern half of al-Raqqa province is one of two major strongholds left to Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), the other one being Mosul in northern Iraq. Mosul is much bigger and more important, but al-Raqqa has symbolic importance to Daesh, since it is where the terrorist organization first established itself as a ‘state’ ruling territory. The territory also figures in Daesh’s weird theories about the Judgment Day.

    • France: White Terrorist not investigated for Terrorism even when he Vows attacks

      So Gregoire Moutaux, 25, was arrested last month by Ukraine. The French national had a large cache of deadly weapons.

      Ukraine Intelligence chief Vasyl Hrytsak said, “The Frenchman spoke negatively of the activities of his government on mass migration of foreigners to France, the spread of Islam and globalisation. He also said he wished to stage a number of terrorist attacks in protest.”

    • Netanyahu Must Decide if He’s the Prime Minister of the Jewish Nation or Israel

      Netanyahu is betraying his job. This man has to go, and soon. We are all tasked with that sacred mission, and especially the Arab citizens.

    • On Presidential Powers to Destabilize Entire Regions

      It’s definitely true we know who to hold responsible for Obamacare. Getting into the Iraq War, too — though there’s far less certainty among the public about who is responsible for the failure to negotiate a SOFA, which led to the withdrawal timeline, and (arguably) to the resurgence of what would become ISIS. Both Obama and Bush get blamed.

      But it’s an interesting argument particularly in light of Wittes’ prior dismissal of Conor Friedersdorf and Jennifer Granick’s concerns about drones and surveillance, because on those issues and many more, the Executive is shielded from much political and all legal accountability. Presidents have authorized a vast range of covert action over the years that have led to a great deal of blowback that they by definition cannot be held accountable for. Hell, as recently as 2013, the Executive was stone-walling SSCI member Ron Wyden about what countries we were conducting lethal counterterrorism operations in, and it took years of requests, starting before the Anwar al-Awlaki killing and continuing for some time after it, before Wyden was permitted to see the authorization for that.

      No one may doubt who is responsible for Obamacare, but even select oversight committees, and especially voters, simply don’t know all the things they might want to hold a president accountable for.

      And on the issues that (I think) Wittes would lump under “national security,” such secrecy, such unilateral power, actually may lead to rash and often stupid decisions. Setting aside what you think about the need for the President to have authority to order preemptive nuclear strikes (the “Bomb Power” that Garry Wills argues created the necessity for such secrecy), with such authority also comes the ability to create significant harms to the US by a thousand cuts of stupid covert action. We helped to create modern Sunni terrorism via such secret authority, after all.

    • UN Removes Saudi Arabia From Human Rights Blacklist After Just One Week, Faces Intense Backlash

      United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon removed Saudi Arabia from a U.N.-blacklist of violators of children’s human rights, after initially placing their Yemen coalition on the list last Thursday. The decision resulted in a massive outcry from rights groups who lambasted Ki-moon’s “flip-flopping.”

    • U.N. Quickly Removes Saudi-Led Coalition From Its List of Child Killers

      Under intense pressure from the Saudi Arabian government, the U.N. Secretary General removed the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from a blacklist of child-killers only 72 hours after the list was made public.

      The coalition had been listed in the appendix of the U.N’s annual report on children and armed conflict, under “parties that kill or maim children,” and “parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.”

      According to the report, at least 785 children were killed and 1,168 injured in Yemen last year alone, 60 percent by coalition airstrikes. The report documents dozens of coalition attacks against Yemeni schools and hospitals.

    • Israel Covets Golan’s Water and Now Oil

      Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is defiantly asserting permanent control over the occupied Golan Heights, a determination strengthened by Israel’s extraction of water and now possibly oil from the land, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Crimes of the War on Terror

      Should George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Others Be Jailed?

    • Report Details How US-Backed Coup Unleashed Wave of Abuses in Honduras

      The U.S.-backed Honduran coup ushered in a wave of neoliberal policies that have systematically violated the economic, cultural, and social rights of the nation’s Indigenous people, women, and farmers, while leaving activists and rights defenders—such as the late Berta Cáceres—vulnerable to criminalization and violence.

      Such were the findings of a new report, prepared by a coalition of 54 Honduran social movements and rights organizations and presented as an alternative to the official government report submitted to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which began its 58th session in Geneva on Monday.

      “The coup d’etat in 2009 meant an imminent reversal of human rights and a serious blow to the country’s institutions,” states the report (pdf), which is available in Spanish.

      While the study does not single out international governments that supported the ouster of the country’s democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, it comes as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to assume the role of Democratic nominee for president. Clinton’s role in the coup has come under increased scrutiny since the assassination of Cáceres, a Honduran Indigenous rights and environmental activist, in March.

    • Syria: The U.S. Is Unwilling To Settle – Russia Returns For Another Round

      The Obama administration does not want peace in Syria. The Russians finally have to admit to themselves that the U.S. is no partner for a continuation of a cease fire, a coordinated attack against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and for peace in Syria. Indeed, as Lavrov explains, the U.S. has again asked to spare al-Qaeda from Russian air strikes even as two UN Security Council resolutions demand its eradication. Huge supply convoys (vid) from Turkey are again going to the “rebels” who will, as always, share them with al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

      The current renewed Syrian Arab Army attack towards Raqqa is being obstructed not only by sandstorms but also by a timely attack of al-Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and Turkestan Islamist Party forces against government positions in the south Aleppo countryside.

    • Rehearsing for World War III

      This is Operation “Anakonda 16.” Thirty-one thousand troops, 14,000 of them American, are conducting war games designed to secure an Allied victory in World War III. The exercises involve “100 aircraft, 12 vessels and 3,000 vehicles,” and precede the upcoming NATO summit, which is expected to approve the stationing of yet more troops – mostly Americans – in eastern Europe.

    • Israel Wants a Peace Process, But Only If It’s Doomed to Fail

      In a familiar muddying of the waters, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spent the past week talking up peace while fiercely criticising Friday’s summit in France – the only diplomatic initiative on the horizon.

      As foreign ministers from 29 nations arrived for a one-day meeting in Paris, Netanyahu dusted off the tired argument that any sign of diplomatic support for Palestinians would encourage from them “extreme demands”.

      France hopes the meeting will serve as a prelude to launching a peace process later in the year. French president Francois Hollande said he hoped to achieve a “peace [that] will be solid, sustainable and under international supervision”.

    • HRC’s War-Driven Foreign Policy

      In the last days before the California primary, where Democratic primary polls showed her neck-and-neck with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton delivered a campaign speech in San Diego. Though her campaign billed it as a “major foreign policy address,” it looked more like a last-ditch attempt to position herself as the Democratic nominee ahead of a potentially embarrassing loss or close finish with Sanders in the nation’s most populous state.

      Indeed, most of the address was directed squarely at Donald Trump. It wasn’t a speech on Clinton’s own foreign policy so much as a takedown of the presumptive GOP nominee’s.

      Throughout, Clinton contrasted Trump’s often wild and crazy (and not to mention wildly inconsistent) positions with her own claims of having an experienced hand on the tiller (and not to mention on the button). Clinton’s overall point was that Trump is “temperamentally unfit to be president,” and that he’d be incompetent and dangerous as commander in chief.

      Much of the critique was a rehash of the GOP candidate’s bizarre and often contradictory statements on the subject. After all, Clinton found, it’s easy to critique Trump’s calls for providing nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and other countries. It’s a sure laugh-line to mention Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, and a guaranteed applause line (especially in a military town like the carefully chosen San Diego) to remind the audience that Trump said that POWs were not necessarily heroes.

    • Caving to Saudis, UN Takes Coalition Off Blacklist in ‘Shocking Flip-Flop’

      Just a few days after blacklisting the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for killing children in Yemen, the United Nations on Monday removed the group from its tally of armed states that violate children’s rights during conflict.

      Amnesty International blasted the UN for “shamefully” caving to pressure to scrub the coalition from the so-called “list of shame” after an annual report found that the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed group was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015.

      “It is unprecedented for the UN to bow to pressure to alter its own published report on children in armed conflict. It is unconscionable that this pressure was brought to bear by one of the very states listed in the report,” said Richard Bennett, representative and head of Amnesty International’s UN Office.

    • The Most Important Election Ever!

      However, even this belief in a “presidential difference” ignores that a President Gore would not have been the bearded, environmental “warrior” he has presented himself as since forfeiting the election. Gore (an opportunistic, protean, and militaristic politician flanked by a frothing hawk for his VP) would have been “commander in chief” and steward of the state and would have therefore wreaked havoc on the world as surely as Clinton did in Yugoslavia, Bush did in Iraq, and Obama did in Libya. As Obama’s drone program indicates, presidential differences here are matters of technique, but because liberals are frequently more concerned with presidential management’s form than content, they do not seem to notice that being a good manager is wholly compatible with being a mass murderer.

    • GOP Congress Plays Pentagon Budget Games

      Despite a nearly $600 billion military budget, congressional Republicans are demanding even more money for the Pentagon, while rejecting cuts in spending for military bands and resisting emergency funds to fight the Zika virus, notes Mike Lofgren.

    • 50,000 flee Boko Haram attacks in Niger: UN

      Tens of thousands of people have fled southeastern Niger following deadly attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on the town of Bosso in recent days, the United Nations said Tuesday.

    • Hindu priest murdered in Bangladesh in suspected militant attack

      The priest Anando Gopal Ganguly was attacked on Tuesday morning by three men, who came on a motorcycle, said Assistant Superintendent of Police Gopinath Kanjilal.

      Armed with sharp weapons, the assailants slit 69-year-old Ganguly’s throat around 9:30am while he was on his way to the temple he served.

      Kanjilal said that the Ganguly was on his bicycle, when the assailants first hit him on his head with a stick before slaughtering him.

      “It seems that militants might be responsible for the killing,” said Kanjilal.

      Monitoring group SITE Intelligence reported that Middle East-based Islamic State claimed the murder.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Voters: 50 Percent Say Clinton Should Keep Running Even If Indicted

      In a statement I never expected to see in print, half of voters said in a survey a presidential candidate should continue to run for America’s highest office even if she is indicted for national security crimes.

      For those who want historical markers to look back on, charting decline in civilization and deviations from reality, well, there’s a good one.

      The latest Rasmussen Reports survey, taken in late May, finds most voters (65%) believe Hillary Clinton is a lawbreaker, but half of all voters also say a felony indictment shouldn’t stop her campaign for the presidency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesia’s forest fires threaten Sumatra’s few remaining Orang Rimba

      Indonesian land policies have turned rainforest into monoculture plantations. All photographs by Angel L Martínez Cantera

      “Our main goal is to preserve the forest according to the customary traditions of our people. If there’s no forest, there’s no Orang Rimba and the other way round,” says Bepak Pengusai, head of customs in arombong, or group area, belonging to the Orang Rimba, an aboriginal people in Sumatra.

      Indonesia’s devastating forest fires pose a serious threat to the Orang Rimba habitat. From July to late last year, the fires killed a dozen people and caused respiratory tract infections in half a million more.

    • Energy independence won’t cure climate ills

      For many governments aiming to reduce their import bills and avoid being reliant for fuel on potentially hostile or unstable foreign powers, energy independence is the ultimate goal.

      But international economists have published a report warning that it is false to believe the policy will also help to stave off climate change.

    • In Powerful Action, Anti-Pipeline Activists Sow Sacred ‘Seeds of Resistance’

      In a powerful display of opposition to the fossil fuel economy, activists in Virginia this week are planting traditional “seeds of resistance” along Dominion’s proposed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline route.

      The action began Monday in Stuarts Draft, when residents met with anti-pipeline activists and members of national environmental groups to sow the sacred blue corn seeds, which were brought by a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.

      “We stand on this common ground that we care about and love,” said Mekasi Horinek Camp, Ponca Nation member and coordinator with Bold Oklahoma, which is part of the anti-pipeline Bold Alliance campaign.

    • For-Profit Pipelines Are Growing And So Are Eminent Domain Battles

      When an oil pipeline now poised to cut through four Midwestern states was first proposed in 2014, the project quickly got pushback from environmentalists and some landowners on the pipeline’s route.

      For one group, this piece of fossil fuel infrastructure was a poor investment in a time of human-caused climate change and increasing pollution. For the other, it was a threat to their land and their property rights. Residents thought it was clear from the beginning that Dakota Access, the developer, intended to claim land by condemning it via eminent domain if allowed to, and build a line intended to transport oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Formation to a market hub near Patoka, Illinois.

    • I Wrote a Book the Fracking Industry Doesn’t Want You to Read

      In the meantime, frontline communities are becoming sacrifice zones where people are sick from toxic water and poisoned air from fracking. Life on Earth is threatened if we don’t take dramatic action to save our global climate from chaos. Yet, even though we must take action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, billions of dollars are being sunk into another 40 years of fossil fuel infrastructure.

    • A Renewable Revolution Challenges Destructive Energy Paradigm

      Wind and solar power are on an exciting ride. Last year, new renewables for the first time made up more than half of the power capacity that was added around the world. New wind and solar plants, in other words, outstripped all new fossil fuel, hydropower and nuclear power plants. “Renewables are now established around the world as mainstream sources of energy,” states the Renewables 2016 Global Status Report. This is great news for the climate and for the world’s rivers.

    • Fukushima: Worse Than a Disaster

      Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO Chief of Decommissioning at Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power Plant, finally publicly “officially” announced that 600 tons of hot molten core, or corium, is missing (Fukushima Nuclear Plant Operator Says 600 Tons of Melted Fuels is Missing, Epoch Times, May 24, 2016).

    • EU laws protecting climate, health, considered “barriers to trade” according to US Department report

      A report published by the US Trade Representative at the end of March has indicated that a series of EU regulations that protect people and the environment act as “barriers” to US trade, and questions the need for such provisions.

      US based NGO Sierra Club has distilled the “lowlights” from the 2016 report (below) showcasing how the US is targeting climate-friendly laws, as well as regulations banning pesticides, chemicals and GM crops.

  • Finance

    • With the Trans-Pacific Partnership, It’s Obama and the GOP vs. the Democrats

      As it stands right now, the TPP’s best chance of passing is in the slim window of time between Election Day and Inauguration Day — the so-called lame duck session of Congress. This is really the easiest time for President Obama to push through a massively unpopular trade deal like the TPP without anybody noticing.

    • CETA: Luxembourg parliament resolution demands legal clarification, not ready to vote on deal

      The Luxembourg parliament voted in support of a resolution on the EU-Canada deal CETA on Tuesday (June 8), that calls upon the government to seek legal clarification on the investor rights provisions in the agreement. It also demands that CETA is a “mixed deal” requiring ratification in Member State parliaments once these legal irregularities have been addressed.

      The vote was overwhelmingly supported by all political parties, with 58 votes in favour and only 2 abstentions from the far left. The resolution refers to the legal opinions of the European Judges Association and the German Association of Judges (Deutscher Richterbund DRB) who have both heavily criticised the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and the EU Commission’s reform proposal or Investment Court System (ICS). The DRB said in a February statement that an Investment Court System, as proposed by the Commission, had “no legal basis” and was not needed as EU and US states guarantee access to justice and grant effective protection to foreign investors.

    • Austria’s crackdown on immigration is denting its economy

      Faced with a record-breaking refugee crisis over the past year, some European countries have resorted to strict measures to stem the flow of migrants and asylum seekers arriving at their borders.

      Austria, in particular, has made it difficult for refugees to enter the country. In February 2016, for example, the country imposed a daily cap on the number of asylum seekers that could enter from its southern border—limiting it to just 80 a day. (In 2015 the country received 90,000 asylum claims, equivalent to 1% of its population.)

    • The Guardian view on the EU referendum debate: register to vote now

      Opinion polls show the leave campaign is gaining, but remain can still win. First things first, however – make sure you are registered before midnight on Tuesday

    • India Seeks To Renegotiate 47 Investment Treaties Because Of Their Corporate Sovereignty Clauses

      Corporate sovereignty has become a big issue as a result of its inclusion in TPP and TAFTA/TTIP, but it’s present in hundreds of other trade and investment treaties.The heated discussion of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) chapters in those negotiations has led some countries to realize that corporate sovereignty could prove very costly to them one day.

    • Uber and Deregulated Hypercapitalism Increasingly Leave Americans Unprotected

      Last week in San Diego, Calif., an Uber driver was charged with 20 counts of sexual assault-related charges stretching back several years, only months after he allegedly raped an intoxicated young woman who sought a ride home. (Uber immediately fired the driver after that incident last winter.) The attack, which was rare but not unprecedented, prompted Uber’s competition, the traditional taxi industry, to demand the Golden State require ride-share drivers undergo police-conducted fingerprinting and criminal background checks—which Uber has fervently opposed.

    • Three guys and a paper

      A new paper on “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri (pdf), is attracting a great deal of publicity these days.

      It’s not really because of the arguments in the paper, which are basically some pretty mild criticisms of some aspects of neoliberalism. It’s only because of where the paper appeared— in Finance and Development, a quarterly magazine published by the International Monetary Fund.

      But it’s a mistake to assume the IMF has rejected neoliberalism.

    • Accreditor of For-profit Colleges Agrees It Needs a Makeover

      A much-criticized group that accredits for-profit colleges announced Monday that it would temporarily stop taking new applications from campuses.

      The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools described the move as an effort to restore “trust and confidence.”

      ProPublica and others have detailed serious problems at the organization. As ProPublica reported, students at ACICS-accredited schools graduate at particularly low rates and often can’t pay off their debt.

      “Every aspect of the agency must be re-evaluated, fortified and enhanced,” said ACICS’ top executive Anthony Bieda in a press release.

    • Paul Ryan’s Radical Anti-Poverty Plan Would Make Poverty Worse

      Three months after apologizing for calling poor people “takers,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his plan to make life harder for them.

      Ryan delivered remarks about the plan, entitled A Better Way, at a drug rehab center in Anacostia, an impoverished and heavily black neighborhood of Washington, D.C., as part of a broader rollout of House Republican priorities this week.

      Ryan has become the leading voice in Republican lawmakers’ crusade against welfare programs. In the past, he’s blamed poverty on a “culture problem” in “inner cities,” where he says black men are “not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” He has also argued that marriage is the cure for poverty, not government programs, and refused to allow any actual poor people testify at his hearings on poverty. He seemed to back away from some of the more racially loaded rhetoric in March, saying he was wrong to refer to people stuck in poverty as “takers.”

    • Ryan’s GOP Regurgitates “Anti-Poverty” Policies that Amount to War on Poor

      Continuing the GOP’s war on the poor, Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans unveiled an ostensibly new “anti-poverty” plan on Tuesday, marked by cuts to critical safety-net programs and further austerity.

      According to Politico, “much of this latest initiative is repackaged GOP proposals”—and the last time around, those ideas weren’t very popular.

    • Social Security’s Enemies Are Down – But They’re Not Out

      Not so long ago, Social Security was endangered by a “bipartisan” consensus that sought to cut its benefits – already lower than those of comparable countries – as part of a “grand bargain.” President Obama even put a slow-motion benefit cut into one of his proposed budgets, in the form of a reduction in cost-of-living increases.

      And nobody talked much about raising taxes on the rich. That, they said, was “politically impossible.”

    • Singapore weighs international court system in EU trade agreement
    • ‘Wet Kiss for Wall Street’: Warren Shreds GOP Attempt to Gut Dodd-Frank

      A Republican plan to dismantle key banking reforms passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis has been dubbed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) the “Wet Kiss for Wall Street Act.”

      Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Texas, outlined his proposal—the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act—in a speech at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday. The legislation contains “sweeping provisions that effectively constitute a wish list for Republicans,” according to American Banker.

    • Despite ‘Moral Angst’ About Inequality, World’s Richest Just Keep Getting Richer

      At a moment when the wealthiest one percent own more money than the rest of the world combined, a new report finds that in 2015 the world’s richest people were able to sit back and watch their assets grow by 5.2 percent to a stunning $168 trillion.

    • Abolish All Work Immediately

      Naturally, they fail to mention that not all ‘work’ pays, whereas jobs generally guarantee an income. The problem with jobs is that they sound a lot less glamorous than the more aspirational model of ‘work’, which supposedly makes you frei, and not just in the nazi sense of the word. Thus you’ll be hard pressed to meet anyone who isn’t a filmmaker, IT consultant, or “poet”. Tell people what you actually do for money and they’ll react as if you said “I kill surplus baby animals at a petting zoo with my own bare hands” or “I shoot ping pong balls out of my hoohoo in exchange for tequila shots” – as if that’s somehow worse than “leading a global team of market analysts for a European bank”. People who have jobs can fight for improved working conditions. People who ‘work’ at non-jobs as freelancers, interns or just aspirants in the field are unlikely to challenge the status quo. Thus ‘work’ is heralded as value producing, worthwhile and fulfilling, whereas jobs are for shmucks who can’t compete in the “real world”.

    • All about the money

      A commonly overlooked but very simple mechanism for promoting decent work in global supply chains is to improve the recovery of unpaid wages.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Hillary Clinton “Clinched “The Nomination On A Day Nobody Voted

      Yet the AP and other media continued to do so. Why? It’s just blatant bias from the ostensibly neutral mainstream media for the status quo candidate Hillary Clinton.

      That should be enough to turn the U.S. population away from these organizations forever. Yet there’s more. In calling the nomination for Hillary, the Associated Press had to get commitments from a few more super delegates. They achieved that feat yesterday evening (mind you, they still haven’t actually voted), and they kept the names anonymous. Yes, you read that right.

    • Quick: How Many Delegates Does Hillary Clinton Have?

      As of May 31, Hillary Clinton has 13,221,091 votes to Bernie Sanders’ 10,340,549. Those numbers include the raw vote counts from the caucus states with the exception of Wyoming and several territories which have not released raw vote counts. They do include Washington caucus numbers but not its primary vote counts. Washington’s delegate allocation process is druidic, with candidate preferences calculated to the third decimal point.

    • Glenn Greenwald Is Spot-On About AP’s Premature Declaration of Hillary Clinton as the Dem Nominee
    • Is This Evidence of Collusion Between Hillary Clinton and the AP Over Clinton’s ‘Secret Win’?
    • Big Money’s Conquest of Democratic Party

      As Hillary Clinton finally clinches the Democratic nomination, the big question facing Democrats is: are they now the party of big money and elite special interests or will the Sanders’ revolt live on and grow, write Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

    • Los Angeles Election Chief Dismissive of Ballot Shortage Concerns for Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders California Election Contest

      Poll workers in Los Angeles County are reporting that they are short, in some cases well-short, of the number of Democratic and No Party Preference cross-over Democratic ballots required for their precincts tomorrow under California Elections Code Section 14102 (a)1, (a)2, and (b). Dean C. Logan, L.A. County’s Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, is dismissive of these claims, however, suggesting that precinct inspectors should be speaking to his office instead of the media and offering a definition of “registered voters” that flies in the face of Federal law and California’s Secretary of State guidance in accordance with Federal law.

    • Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders: Tom Hayden vs. Norman Solomon

      So we’re looking at a quandary here where Bernie’s the winner on a moral and even a political basis. He’s made history, and she’s the winner on the mathematical basis. And then you have Trump. So it could be the tightest, most hazardous race in political history and we can’t afford to allow Trump to slither through. So that’s where I’m at.

    • ‘The Struggle Continues’: Sanders Refuses to Bend the Knee to Establishment

      Bernie Sanders refused to concede the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination on Tuesday night even as he congratulated his rival Hillary Clinton on her primary wins and thanked his supporters for their determined commitment to the ‘political revolution’ he has championed throughout the hotly contested primary season.

      “If this campaign has taught us anything,” he told an enthusiastic and cheering crowd in Santa Monica, California just after 10:30 pm local time, “it has proven that millions of Americans who love this country are prepared to stand up and fight to make this country a much better place.”

      When Sanders took the stage, and as of this writing, major news outlets had awarded three of the day’s six contests–New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota–to Clinton, while Sanders was able to claim victories in both Montana and North Dakota.

    • Failure of America’s Two Parties

      The U.S. political process, which fancies itself the world’s “gold standard,” is ready to foist on the American people two disdained candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, raising profound doubts about the two-party system, writes Nat Parry.

    • Trump Doubles Down On Racist Attack Against Federal Judge

      In a lengthy statement released on his website, Donald Trump defended his racist attacks on the federal district court judge overseeing the fraud case against Trump University. Trump has said the judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, was not capable of fairly adjudicating the case because of his “Mexican heritage.” Paul Ryan today described Trump’s comments as “textbook racism.”

    • California Senate President: Trump’s Attack on Federal Judge is Racist, Anti-Immigrant

      Leading Republicans have continued to criticize presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for attacking a Mexican-American judge. Trump has said the judge should recuse himself from a lawsuit against the defunct for-profit Trump University, because his Mexican heritage represents a conflict of interest, since Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. We get a response from Kevin de León, president pro-tem of the California Senate, and Los Angeles city councilmember and former California state legislator Gil Cedillo.

    • Here’s Paul Ryan Calling Out Donald Trump for Racism But Urging People to Vote for Him Anyway

      House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to withdraw his endorsement of Donald Trump on Tuesday even as he acknowledged that Trump made “racist” and “indefensible” comments about the Mexican heritage of Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge overseeing a suit against the defunct Trump University.

      In a remarkable 45 seconds captured on video by CNN, Ryan, who is currently the highest-ranking elected official in the Republican party first called Trump’s comments obviously racist and then immediately urged Americans to vote for him anyway.

    • Republicans Show Just How Much of Trump’s “Textbook Racism” They Will Tolerate

      Testing the endurance of the proverbial ‘camel’s back’ on Tuesday, many mainstream Republicans claimed to have reached their threshold of blatantly discriminatory remarks made by the anointed party nominee, Donald Trump.

      Throughout his campaign, the New York billionaire has insulted entire sectors of people, from Mexicans and Muslims to women and people with disabilities. Despite this, the party has widely gotten behind his candidacy.

      But the conservative world appears to be in free-fall after Trump defiantly stood by his assertion that the U.S. district court judge presiding over the Trump University case would not give a fair hearing because of his Mexican heritage.

      As evidenced by the mid-Tuesday press conference by House Speaker Paul Ryan, many in the party appeared conflicted. While Ryan acknowledged that the remarks were indeed “the textbook definition of racist comments,” he said that he will continue to support Trump for president.

    • California’s primary has oily fingers all over it

      In the months leading up the California primary, all eyes have been focused on the Hillary vs. Bernie cage match. That’s too bad, because there’s another Democrat-on-Democrat struggle going on in the race for the California Assembly that’s full of suspense. It’s another episode in Big Oil’s ongoing fight to roll back the state’s ambitious climate laws.

    • Bernie Sanders’s big crowds in California, by the numbers

      During the month leading up to Tuesday’s primary, Bernie Sanders essentially turned California into a second home. The senator from Vermont campaigned the same way in the Golden State that he has since the outset of his White House bid: by staging rallies that draw eye-popping crowds.

      In California, the feat has been particularly impressive because of the Democratic hopeful’s ability to attract supporters in such big numbers day after day, up and down the state.

    • 4 Reasons Bernie Sanders Could Fight On

      Why Clinton’s call for Sanders to fall in line misreads the 2016 race

    • Sanders Supporters Cry Foul over Clinton’s Suspicious “Secret Win” Email

      Twitter blew up on Tuesday after it was revealed that an email sent to Hillary Clinton supporters—one celebrating Monday’s premature and controversial nomination call—contained an image labeled “secret win” which gave many the impression that the campaign was ready to pounce even before the Associated Press and other outlets made their surprise announcements on the eve of Tuesday’s primaries.

    • Truthdig Sits Down With Green Party’s Jill Stein

      Watch the entire discussion below, although the first video is cut off early because of Facebook’s time limit. The second segment, while much shorter, is a sign-off from Stein and the Truthdig staff.

    • First GOP Rats Are Starting To Jump Sinking Toxic Trump Ship

      With the Drumpf reality show getting ever more deranged, moronic and in-your-face racist – moving from trashing a judge whose parents happen to be Mexican to a possibly Muslim or female one – the GOP is tap-dancing as fast as it can to simultaneously deplore and support their candidate, haplessly arguing that while their candidate may be a racist dick, he’s their racist dick. As Republicans realize their guy is going to stay the same thin-skinned, babbling, narcissistic, vindictive jerk with the impulse control of a four-year-old, it’s surreal to hear them trying to toe the impossible line between ditching their party and selling their soul. Hence, their blizzard of double-speak: His attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel are “textbook racism,” “offensive and wrong,” “un-American”; then again, “I don’t know all the facts,” “I think we’re all sort of used to remarks being made that we don’t expect,” it’s “a more dimensional issue,” “I’m not going to comment about everything he says and doesn’t say (or) we’d never get anything done,” and from Maine’s own Susan Collins, “I continue to hope that Mr. Trump will rethink his position…I continue to believe in redemption.” Yeah, good luck with that.

    • Kirk: ‘I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee’

      I have spent my life building bridges and tearing down barriers — not building walls. That’s why I find Donald Trump’s belief that an American-born judge of Mexican descent is incapable of fairly presiding over his case is not only dead wrong, it is un-American.

      As the Presidential campaign progressed, I was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and reflect a campaign that was inclusive, thoughtful and principled. While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump’s latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for President regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party.

    • Supreme Court To Consider What Happens When Race Discrimination Hides In Plain Sight

      Racial gerrymandering cases are rarely easy for courts to decide. On the one hand, the Constitution requires courts to treat racial classifications in the law with extraordinary skepticism. On the other, laws such as the Voting Rights Act require states to pay attention to race when they draw legislative maps, and the Constitution gives them some leeway to do so. The Supreme Court’s opinions explaining how to walk the line between these two conflicting concerns are not a model of clarity.

    • Nina Turner: ‘We’re Going All the Way to the Convention’ (Video)

      “We are being tested in this moment because there will never another candidate like Bernie Sanders.”

    • Sanders and Clinton Vying for More than California on Final Big Tuesday

      It might be hard to believe, but California is not the only state voting in the presidential primaries on Tuesday.

      Contests will also take place in New Jersey, North and South Dakota, New Mexico, and Montana—and could have some impact as Bernie Sanders supporters hold their ground against corporate media claims that Hillary Clinton has already clinched the nomination.

      In New Jersey, which has 126 delegates available, polls open at 6am and close at 8pm. It is a closed primary, which means that voters must be registered for the political party holding the contest in order to cast a ballot. However, the state does allow same-day registration. Live results will be available here.

      Moving further west, North Dakota will hold an open caucus at 7pm local time, and voters are encouraged to arrive at least an hour early. Those in line by the deadline will still be allowed to caucus. As the NWI Times noted, 2016 marks the first year that both Democratic presidential candidates took the trouble of opening up offices in a state that has not voted blue since 1964, although there are only 23 delegates up for grabs. According to FiveThirtyEight, Sanders is expected to sweep the state by 38 percentage points. Track live results here.

    • Clinton may take the nomination, but Sanders has won the debate

      Clinton may take the nomination, but Sanders surely has won the political debate. He started at single digits in the polls and was widely dismissed as a “fringe” candidate. He has astounded even his supporters, winning more than 20 contests, 10 million votes and 1,500 pledged delegates, the most of any true insurgent in modern history. He has captured the support of young voters by record margins. And he did so less with personal charisma than with the power of his ideas and the force of the integrity demonstrated by spurning traditional deep-pocketed donors in favor of grass-roots fundraising. Harvard researchers found that Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have actually become more progressive over the course of the campaign. Sanders hasn’t merely won a seat at the table, he’s started a sea change in Democratic politics that the party will have to adjust to.

    • Action Alert: AP’s Premature Call for Clinton Does Disservice to Democracy

      AP Count: Clinton Has Delegates to Win Democratic NominationThe Associated Press (6/6/16) has unilaterally declared Hillary Clinton to be “the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president,” based on the news agency’s own polling of unelected superdelegates.

      Superdelegates—who have a role in the Democratic nominating process based on their institutional positions rather than being chosen by voters—do not vote until the Democratic National Convention, to be held on July 25. They can declare their intention to vote for one candidate or another, just as voters can tell pollsters who they intend to vote for before Election Day, but like voters they can (and do) change their mind at any time before the actual voting. Media do not generally call elections weeks before the actual voting based on voters’ intentions.

      The timing of AP’s announcement–on the eve of primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana and South Dakota, and caucuses in North Dakota—raises concerns of voter suppression, intentional or not. The six states choose a total of 806 delegates on June 7, making it the second-biggest day in the Democratic primary calendar (after “Super Tuesday,” March 1, when 865 delegates were at stake).

      News outlets generally withhold the results of exit polling until voters have finished voting, regardless of how far ahead the leading candidate is, because they don’t want to confuse poll-based speculation with the actual electoral results. AP, it seems, has no such qualms.

    • Sanders camp blasts media for ‘suppressing voter turnout’

      Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager laid into the media on Tuesday for allegedly suppressing voter turnout, ripping into news outlets’ calls projecting Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee while reiterating that his candidate would pursue the nomination all the way until next month’s convention.

      “Let those people vote and decide before the media tells them that the race is over,” Jeff Weaver told CNN. “What’s the point of suppressing voter turnout in six states across the country to have a quick news hit that could easily have been done tonight?”

      Sanders has said that he would do well in California and five other states voting Tuesday if there is a large turnout. Discussing Sanders’ next moves, Weaver noted that the District of Columbia still has its primary next Tuesday.

    • North Carolina superdelegate endorses Sanders

      The Associated Press may have declared Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee, but Bernie Sanders is still picking up superdelegates.

      Democratic National Committeewoman Pat Cotham, a North Carolina superdelegate, said Monday evening she would support Sanders. The endorsement came on the eve of contests in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.

    • Trump University Documents Reveal Trump’s Scary Approach To Schooling

      Newly released documents from Trump University have inspired another round of questions about the company’s dubious business practices. But the documents also shed light on how presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump views education — and what education policies he might roll out if he wins the election.

    • Perfect End to Democratic Primary: Anonymous Superdelegates Declare Winner Through Media

      Last night, Associated Press – on a day when nobody voted – surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates. AP claims that superdelegates who had not previously announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is concealing the identity of the decisive superdelegates who said this.

      Although the Sanders campaign rejected the validity of AP’s declaration – on the ground that the superdelegates do not vote until the convention and he intends to try to persuade them to vote for him – most major media outlets followed the projection and declared Clinton the winner.

    • Does Sanders Have a Plan B?

      The Democrats introduced the super delegate system back in 1982, in order to prevent another populist upsurge in the early 1970s with the grassroots George McGovern campaign; and as a response to another outsider, Jimmy Carter, who turned out to be a disaster for the party in the 1980 election.

    • Declaring Clinton’s Premature Victory

      The mainstream media has run out screaming headlines and saturation TV coverage on AP’s tally that Hillary Clinton has nailed down the Democratic nomination, but the claims are misleading, reports Joe Lauria.

    • Rome, Brexit, Trump and Greens – so many forms of establishment meltdown: revolution in the making?

      Rome, London, Washington, Wien: these are different and distant places. Yet it is rather obvious nowadays to connect the dots and read them as just nation-specific symptoms of a worldwide phenomenon. We are witnessing what is increasingly looking like the meltdown of an entire political and economic system which has governed the developed world for at least three decades.

      In Italy, the results of yesterday’s election of local city councils surpassed even the expectations of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. In Rome, the city which has lived for decades almost exclusively off salaries paid by a heavily indebted and inefficient central administration, only one out of ten electors voted for the Democratic Party of the PM, Matteo Renzi.

    • In California and Beyond, Sanders Democrats and Independents Needed to Stop Trump

      Despite the acrimony and​ deep​ ideological debate raging within the Democratic Party, the vast majority of both Clinton and Sanders​ supporters​ know America must defeat Donald Trump. ​They​ ​just vehemently disagree about how to​ best​ ​ ensure his loss.

      Californi​a primary voters can ​force Democrats to engage​ productively​ across the divide​​ ​ if they mak​e​ the unconventional​ political​ move​ to register the big picture, not simply the dynamics within the Democratic National Committee confines.

    • The Racial Divide Between Sanders and Trump

      As I sat in the San Diego sunshine yesterday listening to Bernie Sanders outside of Qualcomm Stadium, I was struck by the stunning contrast between the senator and Donald Trump, particularly on the issue of race.

      Sanders emphasized racial justice, citing the courage of African Americans and their allies who fought against racism and bigotry during Jim Crow. He talked of the thousands of undocumented workers who are ruthlessly exploited, overworked and underpaid, vowing to end the current deportation policies. Sanders seeks to “unite, not divide families.” And he wants to “fundamentally change” the federal government’s oppressive relationship with the Native American community.

      There are more people in U.S. prisons than in any other country in the world, Sanders noted. Those imprisoned, he said, are disproportionately African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans. The senator wants to invest in “jobs and education, not jails and incarceration.”

    • Most Dems Want Open Primaries: Poll

      Amid new charges of an “undemocratic” presidential primary, over 60 percent of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning voters assert that they want the party to hold open nominating contests, an NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday found.

      A majority of Republicans and voters leaning toward the Republican Party also prefer open primaries and caucuses.

      As the number of independent voters has risen in recent years, many voters have argued that closed primaries are disenfranchising a large portion of the population.

    • If Sanders Has Lost, What Have the Democrats Won?

      In the midst of an intensifying primary, the mainstream media joined as one to announce Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. While she lacks a clear majority of pledged delegates, the expected support of as yet to vote superdelegates has apparently handed her a hard won victory against an impassioned Bernie Sanders and the growing progressive movement propelling him forward.

      Indeed, this announced “triumph” comes on the eve of a California primary where Sanders is surging in popularity and attracting hundred of thousands of new registered voters with his calls for no less than a “political revolution.” Rather than racing confidently toward the finish, Clinton is limping with desperate vigor to hold on tightly to her once inevitable coronation as the nominee. Far from celebration, her success is tinged with establishment concerns over how much she has been damaged as a candidate and broader worries over whether this will be ultimately a pyrrhic victory.

    • Establishment Media Commit Massive Act of Malpractice And Claim Clinton ‘Clinched’

      The Associated Press and NBC News inappropriately reported Hillary Clinton made history and “clinched” the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. It spurred other media organizations, such as CNN and the New York Times, to follow suit and splash their home pages with big headlines indicating Clinton was the nominee.

      In engaging in this act, establishment media improperly influenced five primaries scheduled for June 7, including the California primary, one of the biggest contests in the presidential race thus far. They collectively stooped to a new sycophantic low.

      The reports of “clinching” are entirely based on an unofficial survey of superdelegates, which the AP and NBC News has conducted throughout the 2016 election. They both determined Clinton reached the “magic number” needed to clinch, which is 2383 delegates.

      But if it is true that history happened, why didn’t Clinton’s own party congratulating her? How come there was no statement from the Democratic National Committee?

      As of 12 am ET on June 7, the DNC had released no statement. There was no status update on the DNC’s Facebook page. There was no message sent or retweeted about Clinton making history.

      Is that not a bit odd to journalists in the media or do journalists and pundits covering this election have their heads so deep in the Clinton campaign that they do not care to even fake objectivity and fairness anymore?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Go Home, State Council Information Office Of The People’s Republic Of China, You’re Drunk

      Techdirt has written plenty of stories about the Chinese government’s attempts to stifle dissent online using a variety of heavy-handed approaches.

    • Ukraine struggles to balance censorship and security as war in east wears on

      But the message came at a time when Western journalists and human rights groups have been speaking out over mounting censorship in the country. Just two weeks ago, Poroshenko banned 17 Russian media executives and journalists from entering Ukraine as part of the fight against Kremlin propaganda or Russia’s “information war.”

      The ban issued on May 27 has been widely condemned by Western organizations, even though Ukraine lifted sanctions on 29 foreign journalists in a second decree issued on the same day.

    • State Department Tries to Send Embarrassing Press Video Down the Memory Hole

      Last week the State Department revealed that an unknown official within its public affairs office ordered the scrubbing of roughly eight minutes from a video of a State press briefing, which included a discussion about negotiations related to the Iran nuclear deal.

      In the deleted portion, then-spokesperson Jen Psaki (above) was asked whether her predecessor lied when she said secret bilateral talks with Iran had not yet begun, when later U.S. officials said they were already ongoing at that point.

      A few days later, after the news broke of the deletion, Secretary of State John Kerry said that whoever called for deleting the several minutes of video was being “stupid, clumsy and inappropriate.” Kerry emphasized that he intends to find out who was responsible, adding that he didn’t want someone like that working for him.

    • The War on Syria and the Refugee Crisis: Censorship and “Humanitarian Propaganda”, NGOs Support America’s “Moderate Terrorists”

      The genuine and positive forces seeking change in Syria disappeared long ago. James Foley documented the reality in Syria after his illusions were dispelled in Fall 2012. So did the native Aleppan known as Edward Dark. Initially he and his friends supported the uprising but then realized what it meant. While there is an array of jihadi factions, the conflict has crystallized into its essence: a brutal war of aggression with foreign funded mercenaries and international jihadis on one side, and a struggling multi-ethnic, multi-religious Syrian army and allies on the other.

    • Web Sheriff Accuses Us Of Breaking Basically Every Possible Law For Pointing Out That It’s Abusing DMCA Takedowns

      Remember Web Sheriff? That’s the wacky firm that claims it will send DMCA takedowns on your behalf or protect your online reputation by taking down stuff you don’t like. The company is somewhat infamous for being a joke and not doing its job particularly well. A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the company abusing the DMCA to try to get Google to delist stories relating to that “celebrity threesome” media injunction in the UK that has been making news for a few months. We highlighted just how ridiculous this was on many accounts, including using a copyright takedown notice on an issue that wasn’t about copyright at all. And they even tried to take down the company’s own Zendesk request to remove content from Reddit.

    • Japanese Media Subject to Self-, Not Gov’t Censorship – NHK Journalist

      Japanese journalists do not face political censorship problems, but are subjected to self-censorship, executive commentator of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) Ichiyo Ishikawa told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    • Tanjug director: Internet censorship very present

      Internet censorship is possible, and it is very present, Tanjug Director Branka Djukic said in Moscow Tuesday at an international forum titled “The New Era of Journalism: A Farewell to the Mainstream.”

      The forum, organised by the Rossiya Segodnya agency, brought together media experts from over 30 countries of the world – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, India, China, Armenia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates and others.

    • Kelly McParland: China’s microphone diplomacy flops in Ottawa

      In strict diplomatic terms, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Canada could not be termed a success.

      It was the first visit by a Chinese foreign minister in seven years. It was also the first opportunity for the new Liberal government to demonstrate its eagerness to patch up relationships it claims were strained under the Conservatives. Luo Zhaohui, China’s ambassador to Canada, says a lot of important work got done: the launch of a mechanism to improve dialogue; talks on trade and business relations; plans to increase student mobility, fight corruption and “hunt-down and surrender … fugitive offenders.” And, of course, the usual “candid and in-depth exchange of views on sensitive issues…of mutual concern.”

    • China should be pressed on human rights at every opportunity

      Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s scolding of a Canadian reporter for daring to ask a question about human rights in China has made headlines around the world. The unexpected rant reflects China’s attempt to export its own values, especially censorship, to the West.

    • China attempts to export censorship

      Minister Wang Yi’s scolding of a Canadian reporter for daring to ask a question about human rights in China has made headlines around the world. The unexpected rant reflects China’s attempt to export its own values, especially censorship, to the West.

      Instead of a spontaneous display of anger, the performance was clearly staged. Chinese officials are asked about human rights everywhere they go, and so the question itself should not have been surprising. What was odd was that while the question was directed at Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Stephane Dion, the Chinese minister stepped in to respond.

    • Gov. Cuomo’s Anti-BDS Bill is a First Amendment Nightmare

      On June 5 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law an executive order aimed at the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. BDS is a non-violent economic and political protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

    • The current aggressive campaign against anybody who speaks out for Palestine is gathering force

      The current aggressive campaign against anybody who speaks out for Palestine is gathering force. It’s most obvious manifestation lies in the ridiculous claims of “anti-semitism” against many left wing or radical campaigners who have worked against all racism their entire lives. As the establishment becomes more desperate to portray any thought or expression outside their neo-con orthodoxy as illegitimate, the related attack on supporters of Palestine becomes increasingly shrill.

    • Postal censorship is a cure worse than the disease

      Canadians who value free speech – and let’s hope that is all of us – should be deeply troubled by Ottawa’s decision to tell Canada Post to stop carrying a fringe Toronto newspaper. Public Services Minister Judy Foote ordered the postal service to cease delivering Your Ward News, which has been accused of being anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi. Her “interim prohibitory order” gives its editor 10 days to appeal.

      Those who have campaigned against the free paper are “ecstatic.” But consider the awful precedent this act of postal censorship sets.

    • Media Censorship Becomes Global Phenomenon – Press Agency Head

      Censorship of media has become a global phenomenon, Michalis Psilos, president and general director of the Athens-Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA), said Tuesday.

    • DA: Parliament must call SABC to account over ‘rampant censorship’ after SAfm show axed
    • SABC calls silencing editors a ‘revamp’
    • Parliamentary briefing on SABC’s censorship needed – Phumzile Van Damme
    • Canning SAFM current affairs show ‘another form of censorship’
    • Cancelling of The Editors on SAfm is more SABC censorship, the DA says
    • B-Town stands united against censorship of ‘Udta Punjab’
    • ‘Udta Nowhere’: Why Udta Punjab kind of censorship will spell doom for Indian cinema
    • Anurag Kashyap on Udta Punjab censorship row: Anyone opposing the film is guilty of promoting drugs
    • With Udta Punjab, it’s Now Time for Censorship to be Re-Redefined
    • Politics of censorship
    • Why We Must Thank Censor Chief Pahlaj Nihalani

      Pahlaj Nihalani, the current chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) deserves our collective thanks for exposing just how absurd, arbitrary and abused our film screening regulations are. After a string of decisions that imposed his own dogmatic view of decency, propriety and culture on an unsuspecting public, the CBFC’s decision on Balaji Motion Pictures’ Udta Punjab has shown everyone just how much the board constituted for film certification has operated as a vehicle for film censorship.

    • Bollywood filmmaker challenges censoring of drug-abuse film
    • Film censorship continues and spreads in India

      Reports that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has asked for many cuts in Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab as well as sought the removal of “Punjab” from its title give a complete lie to the government’s pronouncements that it would like to usher in an era of reduced control on films.

    • Chorus in Bollywood: ‘Fraternity has to stand by what’s right’
    • B-Town slams censorship on ‘Udta Punjab’

      Filmmakers including Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt, Ram Gopal Varma among others today criticised Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for censoring the content of upcoming film “Udta Punjab”.

    • Axl Rose DMCAs Unflattering Photo For Which He Doesn’t Hold The Copyright

      Show of hands: who remembers Axl Rose? Last we here at Techdirt checked in on him, Rose was busy suing video games and hassling music bloggers over album leaks. The younger among you may chiefly be familiar with his Axl-ness via a somewhat popular string of internet memes centered on some rather unflattering pictures of the musician taken from a concert in 2010.

      [...]

      Now, TorrentFreak reached out to Minkevich, who had no idea this takedown blitz was underway. He confirmed that some concerts do indeed make photographers sign these types of agreements, but couldn’t recall if this concert included one or not. Web Sherrif, who certainly should be able to produce the agreement, having taken the lead on the copyright claims, isn’t doing so. When asked, Web Sherrif’s response was instead to insist that even if the photographer had not signed an agreement — leading me to believe he probably didn’t –, that Rose would still be able to claim ownership over the photo.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI Sends Computer Information Collected By Its Hacking Tools In Unencrypted Form Over The Open Internet

      The FBI doesn’t want to talk about its secret malware, but with over 100 child porn prosecutions tied to it, it’s had to discuss at least a few aspects of its Network Investigative Technique (NIT).

      In yet another prosecution — this one actually taking place in Virginia for a change — the FBI is once again struggling to withhold details of its NIT from the defense. Suppression of the evidence likely isn’t an option, as the warrant it obtained in Virginia was actually deployed in Virginia. I’m sure the FBI is as surprised as anybody by this fortuitous coincidence. But the defendant still wants access to more information, as he is looking to challenge the evidence the FBI collected with its Tor-defeating exploit.

      The defendant, Edward Matish, has questions about the chain of custody. FBI Special agent Daniel Alfin, who has testified in other Playpen/NIT cases inadvertently admits there could be problems here, considering the FBI does nothing to protect the information it collects from suspect’s computers from being intercepted or altered.

    • EFF Urges Senate Not to Expand FBI’s Controversial National Security Letter Authority

      The controversial National Security Letter (NSL) statute could be significantly expanded under two separate bills currently being debated by the Senate. Every year, the FBI issues thousands of NSLs to telephone and Internet companies, demanding records about their customers and gagging the companies from informing the public about these requests. NSLs are inherently dangerous to civil liberties because their use is rarely subject to judicial review. But NSLs are not magic, and they don’t require recipients to do whatever the FBI says. Above all, the type of information available to the FBI with an NSL is quite limited, reflecting the need to tightly control the extrajudicial nature of this controversial power.

    • New Intelligence Bill Gives FBI More Secret Surveillance Power

      A Senate bill published late Monday night includes a new provision that would give the FBI more power to issue secret demands, known as national security letters, to technology, internet, communications, and banking companies for their customers’ information.

      The provision, tucked into the Senate Intelligence Authorization Act, would explicitly authorize the FBI to obtain “electronic communication transactional records” for individuals or entities — though it doesn’t define what that means. The bill was passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.

    • Why Is the Government Poison-Pilling ECPA Reform?

      At each stage of this gutting process, Feingold’s effort to end bulk collection got watered down until, with Sessons’ amendments, the Internet dragnet was permitted to operate as it had been. Almost the very same time this happened, NSA’s General Counsel finally admitted that every single record the agency had collected under the dragnet program had violated the category restrictions set back in 2004. Probably 20 days later, Reggie Walton would shut down the dragnet until at least July 2010.

      But before that happened, the Administration made what appears to be — now knowing all that we know now — an effort to legalize the illegal Internet dragnet that had replaced the prior illegal Internet dragnet.

    • The Danger of Corporate Facial Recognition Tech

      Supporters of unregulated corporate facial recognition systems are waging a sneak attack against our nation’s strongest protection of biometric privacy. On one side are business interests seeking to profit by using invasive facial recognition technologies to identify and track vast numbers of people without their consent. On the other side are EFF and many other digital privacy and consumer rights organizations. Our side won the latest round. But the future of biometric privacy will require all of our constant vigilance.

      The latest example of successfully working together: privacy advocates sprung into action last month and defeated a bill that would have repealed most of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, a groundbreaking law protecting your biometric data. The bill would have deregulated scans of faces, irises, retinas, and hands, and left in place regulation only of fingerprints and voiceprints. In addition to gutting people’s privacy, it would also have undercut lawsuits pending against Facebook and other companies for violating the original strong law. The bill, filed just before the Memorial Day weekend, appeared set for quick passage before the end of the regular legislative session.

    • Vulnerabilities in Facebook Chat and Messenger exploitable with basic HTML knowledge

      Check Point’s security research team has discovered vulnerabilities in Facebook’s standard online Chat function, and its separately downloaded Messenger app.

      The vulnerabilities, if exploited, would allow anyone to essentially take control of any message sent by Chat or Messenger, modify its contents, distribute malware and even insert automation techniques to outsmart security defences.

    • Secret GCHQ spy programme ‘Milkwhite’ collected UK civilian social media data to share with MI5

      Since at least 2009, a number of law enforcement agencies in the UK have had access to troves of metadata collected by British signals intelligence outfit GCHQ with the use of a highly secretive spy programme called ‘Milkwhite’.

      The previously undisclosed programme was described in documents leaked by former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept. It reportedly involves the collection of records belonging to domestic UK citizens – including metadata from social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and chat services such as WhatsApp.

    • Assange: 80 percent of NSA budget privatized

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a televised address to an international media forum that 80 percent of the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) budget has been privatized as part of the merger between power and big business.

      “There is a merger between the corporate organizations and state… 80 percent of the National Security Agency budget is privatized,” Assange said, stressing that the NSA “is the core of the US deep state… There has been a smoothing out between the government and the corporations,” the whistleblower said.

    • Nest May Be The First Major Casualty Of Hollow ‘Internet Of Things’ Hype

      When the Nest smart thermostat was launched back in 2011, you may recall that it was met with an absolute torrent of gushing media adoration, most of it heralding the real arrival of the smart home. That was in part thanks to the fact the company was founded by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both ex-Apple engineers with some expertise in getting the media to fawn robotically over shiny kit. But a parade of high-profile PR failures have plagued the effort since, including several instances where botched firmware updates briefly bricked the device, leaving even the media’s resident internet of things evangelists annoyed.

      [...]

      There’s also the recent kerfuffle involving Nest acquiring smart home hub manufacturer Revolv in 2014, then effectively bricking a $300 device as of last month (again, without really providing anything to replace it with). Over the last year Nest also started leaking many top employees and there was a notably ugly and public feud with Dropcam co-founder and departing Nest employee Greg Duffy, who blamed Nest’s dysfunction on Fadell’s “tyrant bureaucrat” management style.

    • NSA, Trump and Clinton vs Snowden Facts
    • Snowden Claims ‘Deceptive’ NSA Still Has Proof He Tried to Raise Surveillance Concerns

      On June 4, VICE News published more than 800 pages of declassified NSA documents that shed new light on the contentious issue of whether Edward Snowden raised concerns about the agency’s surveillance programs while he still worked there. Since then, Snowden has alleged there’s additional evidence that has not yet been made public.

      The former NSA contractor has long maintained that his 2013 leak of a trove of highly classified documents was a last resort after his efforts to sound the alarm about the agency’s secret spy programs went largely ignored.

      The NSA, meanwhile, has rejected Snowden’s narrative, insisting that the closest he got to raising concerns was sending a single email asking a question about the interpretation of legal authorities.

    • After Snowden, there is clear evidence of a paradigmatic shift in journalist-source relations

      On the first day of this month (June 2016), The Guardian revealed a rift caused in the mid-2000s between MI5 and MI6, Britain’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies, by MI6′s involvement in the rendition and torture of people suspected of Islamist terrorism. It was good journalism, but it still took ten years for the public to be told of this rift.

      I have been an investigative journalist for over three decades. In that time, just about every case of illegality, immorality or incompetence demonstrated by an intelligence agency I can think of has been revealed by investigative journalists working with their inside sources.

    • Work of GCHQ leads to the arrest of one of world’s most wanted people smugglers who faces multiple charges [Ed: GCHQ recently found to have done copyright policing (Harry Potter) and now this]
    • A peek behind the curtain at GCHQ [Ed: the latest puff pieces about our spies]

      Mind you, this was friendly territory – the Cheltenham Science Festival in GCHQ’s home town.

    • Record breaking number of schoolchildren attending Cheltenham Science Festival
    • 17 things we learned from GCHQ director at Cheltenham Science Festival
    • MI5 collecting “significantly more” data than it can use, new Snowden docs reveal
    • MI5 warning: we’re gathering more than we can analyse, and will miss terrorist attacks
    • New Snowden document reveals UK spy agency warned of ‘too much data’ risk in 2010
    • ‘Leaked report’ reveals mass data fears
    • Newspapers’ Complaint to Consumer Agency Shouldn’t Lead to Bans on Privacy Software

      In an attack on ad-blocking software, the Newspaper Association of America filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week, asking the agency to ban a variety of functions, including “evading metered subscription systems and paywalls,” and ad substitution. NAA also called into question new business models that aim to replace online advertising. Newspapers are concerned about the effects that ad-blockers may have on their revenues and their ability to understand and market to their readership. But some of what NAA is asking for would threaten important and widely used privacy software, like Tor and EFF’s own Privacy Badger, and chip away at Internet users’ ability to control their own browsing experience.

    • A Few Easy Steps Everyone Should Take to Protect Their Digital Privacy

      Much of the privacy protection we need in today’s world can’t happen without technological and legislative solutions, and the ACLU will continue leading the fight for digital security and privacy through our litigation and advocacy efforts. But there are simple steps that everyone can take to improve their digital privacy. While there are many advanced techniques that expert technologists can deploy for much greater security, below are some relatively basic and straightforward steps that will significantly increase your protection against privacy invasions and hacks.

    • Facing Data Deluge, Secret U.K. Spying Report Warned of Intelligence Failure

      A secret report warned that British spies may have put lives at risk because their surveillance systems were sweeping up more data than could be analyzed, leading them to miss clues to possible security threats.

      The concern was sent to top British government officials in an explosive classified document, which outlined methods being developed by the United Kingdom’s domestic intelligence agency to covertly monitor internet communications.

    • FBI Wants To Have An Unrestricted Look At Your Web Browser’s History And Email

      The FBI is expecting a new change in the law that would grant it powers to get a complete picture of a person’s online life. The new change will allow the FBI to access a person’s browsing history and other “electronic communications” data without a warrant in any spy cases or terrorism.

    • How the government tried to use Snowden’s own emails to discredit his claims that he raised his concerns with his NSA superiors before mass leak of documents

      Newly declassified documents show that Edward Snowden was a CIA asset and shine a light on the steps made by the government to discredit his claims that he had raised concerns with the NSA, prior to his leak.

      Documents obtained by VICE via an Freedom of Information Act request, although inconclusive, reveal that the extent of internal process that led to the eventual release of an April 2013 email that asked whether an Obama executive order allowing the snooping program could supersede federal statute.

      Before he leaked the documents, Snowden said he had repeatedly attempted to raise his concerns inside the NSA about its surveillance of US citizens but claimed the agency had done nothing.

    • Clinton and Obama are wrong about Snowden — he was ignored after sounding alarm directly to the NSA

      An explosive exposé shows that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden repeatedly tried to raise concerns about illegal mass surveillance, but was ignored.

      Hundreds of internal NSA documents declassified and released by journalists prove that claims made by senior officials in the Obama administration and prominent politicians like Hillary Clinton, who accused Snowden of failing to use available whisteblower protections, are false.

      VICE News obtained more than 800 pages of documents, including emails, talking points and other records, in response to its long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. These “call into question aspects of the U.S. government’s long-running narrative about Snowden’s time at the NSA.”

    • Three Years On, It Appears Snowden’s Leaks Have Damaged The NSA So Badly It’s Healthier Than Ever

      Every time the anniversary of the first Snowden leak rolls around, everyone reassesses the damage… or lack thereof. Did Snowden actually make a dent in the surveillance apparatus or did he do little more than hand out cheat sheets to terrorists?

      As more time passes, even Snowden’s harshest critics are warming up to the idea that his leaks did more good than harm. Former attorney general Eric Holder, to name one such critic, believes Snowden “performed a public service” by leaking surveillance documents. Of course, this is the sort of thing one can safely say when no longer in the position of having to choose between prosecuting Snowden or dropping the bogus espionage charges.

      Over at Lawfare — a site whose writers are almost universally critical of Snowden — one contributor (a former DoD lawyer) sees Snowden’s leaks as beneficial. Jack Goldsmith’s take on the NSA leak fallout finds that Snowden’s actions actually made the NSA a better agency — not just in terms of transparency but in terms of capabilities.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Tased in the Chest for 23 Seconds, Dead for 8 Minutes, Now Facing a Lifetime of Recovery

      As the video opens we see a gray Pontiac enter the frame, and Bryce’s dad, Matt, put his hand on his son’s knee. His mom, Stacy, folded her arms, clutching a tissue. Tears began to form in both his parents’ eyes, anticipating what everyone else in the room was about to see. Unfazed, Bryce leaned his 6-foot-1-inch frame forward, his eyes focused on the makeshift projector. He knew this piece of evidence absolved him of any wrongdoing.

      In the video, Runnels pulls Bryce over and approaches the car. He tells Bryce to get out but doesn’t give a reason. Bryce repeatedly asks if he is under arrest. Runnels says, “You’re under arrest. Get your ass out of the car,” and attempts to pull him out by force. He then tases Bryce for 23 seconds, handcuffs him, drags the boy’s body behind the car, and deliberately drops him face first onto the asphalt road. Runnels may not have known it at the time, but Bryce was going into cardiac arrest. When the loud thud of the drop boomed throughout the courtroom, gasps echoed out. One woman looked down and covered her eyes with her hand. A man said, “Oh, my god.” A police officer with the Kansas City Police Department quickly brought his fist to his mouth, turned to the man next to him, and whispered, “Jesus.” Even those sitting behind the defendant — a few friends, his wife, his family — gasped, as if the recording revealed a truth about Runnels they had never considered.

    • FBI Pushing For Legislation That Will Legalize Its National Security Letter Abuses

      One of the more interesting things to sneak out around the edges of the FBI’s redaction bars in Yahoo’s document dump of National Security Letters was the sheer amount of information the agency was demanding. The FBI — using letters it writes and approves with no outside oversight — wants all of the following in exchange for a piece of paper backed by nothing but the FBI’s “national security” claims.

    • Anti-Politics and the Plague of Disorientation: Welcome to the Age of Trump
    • Baseball Without the Umpire: The Republicans’ War on Regulations
    • Fighting to Live Free of Police Violence While Black

      Black people are fighting for our right to live while Black.

      2010 marked the beginning of a historic period of Black resistance to police terrorism and state-sanctioned violence. Beginning with the murder of Oscar Grant in January 2010 by then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, and continuing with the high-profile cases of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice and too many others, police violence, particularly in poor and Black communities, has taken center stage nationwide.

    • Do South Africans really have the right to protest?

      At the end of 2015, university students across South Africa embarked upon protests, brought campuses to a standstill, interrupted exams, and marched to the seats of government in Cape Town and Pretoria. During these encounters, authorities repeatedly assaulted, tear-gassed and detained students. Throughout, these students appealed to the idea that the post-apartheid order is a rights-based order, and repeatedly insisted that they possessed a “right to protest”. In the face of repressive policing, they condemned the state and university administrators for not recognising this right.

      [...]

      Students are thus not wrong to state that the “right to protest” is refused recognition in practice—whether by the state, by university leaders, or other authorities. This right has been frustrated by the refusal to countenance disruptive dissent, and by the violent policing of public gatherings. These experiences are also not new or unique to students. Over many years, communities of the poor and dispossessed have taken to the streets in protest, facing increasingly violent practices of policing and political exclusion. They too have been assaulted and arrested, imprisoned and harassed. Some have been murdered, their voices permanently silenced—whether in groups by the state, as at Marikana, or assassinated by shadowy forces, as has happened in Durban and most recently in Bizana. The effect has been to suppress dissent by rendering it dangerous.

    • Welcome to the Party, America! 11 Muslim women who have been PM or President

      Hillary Clinton gave a victory speech Tuesday night positioning herself as the logical conclusion of first women’s rights meeting at Seneca Falls in 1848. Along the way, other milestones have included women gaining the right to vote, in 1919 and the first woman elected to the Senate, in 1932.

      But the US was late. Australia, Denmark and Iceland preceded us in granting the vote to women in national, parliamentary elections. The republic of Azerbaijan, a Muslim-majority country, granted the franchise to women in 1918.

    • Too Human (Not) to Fail

      Many consumer coffee grinders are another example of a design that physically prevents you from messing up. Even if you wanted to, you could NOT chop your fingers on the blade, because the “on” switch for the grinder is triggered by closing the lid (as opposed to a blender, which leaves its blades easily accessible to stray fingers).

    • Black Lives Matter Organizer Sentenced To 90 Days In Prison

      Jasmine Richards, the first black person to ever be convicted for “felony lynching,” will spend the next three months in a California prison, with 18 days already served. During a hearing on Wednesday, Judge Elaine Lu also sentenced Richards to three years of probation.

    • F.B.I. Steps Up Use of Stings in ISIS Cases

      The F.B.I. has significantly increased its use of stings in terrorism cases, employing agents and informants to pose as jihadists, bomb makers, gun dealers or online “friends” in hundreds of investigations into Americans suspected of supporting the Islamic State, records and interviews show.

      Undercover operations, once seen as a last resort, are now used in about two of every three prosecutions involving people suspected of supporting the Islamic State, a sharp rise in the span of just two years, according to a New York Times analysis. Charges have been brought against nearly 90 Americans believed to be linked to the group.

      The increase in the number of these secret operations, which put operatives in the middle of purported plots, has come with little public or congressional scrutiny, and the stings rely on F.B.I. guidelines that predate the rise of the Islamic State.

    • Dashcam footage of cop tasing, dragging, and dropping teen is unsealed

      A federal judge on Monday unsealed disturbing dashcam footage of a suburban Kansas City, Missouri, police officer tasering a 17-year-old motorist who became brain damaged after what was billed as a routine traffic stop. That stop subsequently turned into an event of excessive force—resulting in a four-year prison sentence for Officer Timothy Runnels of the Independence Police Department.

      The video shows Runnels tase and yank Bryce Masters out of the car and down on the street as Masters howls. The boy was filming the officer with his mobile phone, which the officer flings to the street. “Am I under arrest? Am I under arrest?” the teen is overheard saying before he is stunned and grabbed from the vehicle.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Patent scandal: US outmaneuvered on UN agency investigation

      In a bid to recover ground, U.S. diplomats, along with those from other nations that ostensibly oversee the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an obscure but important U.N. agency in Geneva, were negotiating furiously to see if they will ever get to read a report on alleged wrongdoing by the agency’s autocratic director general, Francis Gurry, accused among other things of ordering illegal break-ins of his own staffers’ offices.

      Gurry himself already has a copy of the full and unredacted report on his own misdeeds– including the names of witnesses who testified against him—in violation not only of whistleblower protection rules but of standard U.N. investigative practices used to ensure witness cooperation.

      According to a State Department spokesman, U.S. diplomats in Geneva were still demanding “immediate release” of the report—which WIPO’s 188 member states had ordered up themselves from the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services, and which was delivered to the chair of WIPO’s General Assembly in February.

    • Trademarks

      • Digital Trademark and Design Patent Infringement

        Digital technology continues its collision with intellectual property law, this time in BMW’s lawsuit against the online virtual modeling company TurboSquid. TurboSquid sells digital 3D models of various items for use by game developers, architects, visual effects studios, etc.

        This case is paradigmatic of a project Mark McKenna and I are working on, which analyzes trademarks in the context of digital goods. BMW complains that TurboSquid’s “marketing of 3-D virtual models” of BMW vehicles infringes BMW’s trademarks, trade dress, and design patents. Specifically, it complains that TurboSquid “markets and tags BMW-trademarked 3-D virtual models of BMW vehicles as suitable for games.”

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Fails to Take Down Pirate Bay Domain, For Now

        The RIAA has sent a formal letter to the Public Interest Registry, asking it to suspend Pirate Bay’s .ORG domain. The registry hasn’t complied with the request but has forwarded it to Pirate Bay’s registrar EasyDNS who insist the domain will stay up. So the question now is will the RIAA take the matter to court?

      • Google’s fair use defence succeeds against Oracle’s copyright infringement claim

        After a 6 year legal battle, Google has emerged victorious against a claim of copyright infringement. Oracle argued that Google had infringed copyright in 37 of their Java application programming interfaces (APIs), by using them in their Android platform. Java is a type of computing language, used to create code. Everyone is free to use the language itself, but the combination of code can be subject to copyright.

        Google successfully relied on the fair use defence to refute the claim.

      • KickassTorrents Enters The Dark Web, Adds Official Tor Address

        KickassTorrents, the world’s most popular torrent index, is pushing back against the increasing number of ISP blockades. To make it easier for its users to bypass local censorship efforts, KAT’s operators have added a dark web address, hiding the site in the Tor network.

      • KickassTorrents Enters The Dark Web, Gets TOR’s Official .Onion URL

        The operators of popular torrent index KickassTorrents have announced the launch of website’s .onion URL. Now, apart from the main service, KAT can also be accessed on the dark web via this address: lsuzvpko6w6hzpnn.onion

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