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07.12.16

Climate of Patent Maximalism (Departure From Patent Quality Control) Leads to More Litigation, Not Innovation

Posted in America, Apple, Patents at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An atmosphere that encourages paranoia and extreme caution does not offer an incentive to move forward

Climate change

Summary: A quick review or overview of today’s patent news, or supposed news as presented by patent law firms that strive to attract more demand for their services

“While the Supreme Court has not definitively ruled on it,” says this new ‘analysis’ from a patent law firm. “the majority of federal courts have found that a company’s unilateral refusal to license its patents does not violate Section 2 of the Sherman Act.” This so-called ‘analysis’, i.e. shameless self-promotion or marketing, is titled “Unilateral Refusals to License Intellectual Property”. They are actually talking about patents, not “Intellectual Property” [sic] which is a vague term that lumps together trademarks, copyrights, patents and sometimes trade secrets.

Imagine a world where there are millions of “live” (still valid, not expired) patents in many countries which enable cross-border actions through collaborations (Patent Prosecution Highway, Unitary Patent etc.), then picture some small businesses which can barely afford going to court to defend themselves from even a single infringement charge/allegation. What kind of world would that be? Certainly a good world for patent litigators. Patents would, therein, be tools of corporate destruction (small companies are extremely vulnerable) or raiding of large companies by settlement. Patent trolls face no risk (of being sued) as they have virtually no products. Large companies often use trolls as satellites for this reason. Apple, having quite recently lost to patent troll that got a lot of money from Apple (and prior to that from Microsoft), just lost another case, this time to Network-1 Technologies, not VirnetX. As MIP put today, “Apple will pay Network-1 Technologies $25 million to settle subsidiary Mirror World Technologies’ patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas” (capital of patent trolls). The patent trolls-funded IAM ‘magazine’ bemoans this verdict where a troll/parasite received ‘only’ 25 million dollars. Apparently a settlement for as much as 25 million dollars means “depressed patent licensing market,” at least if one trusts IAM, which is funded by nasty actors like MOSAID (Microsoft troll and satellite).

“There is still a major battle over patent policy and the perception of patents’ value.”On the brighter side of things, the demise of software patents means that a lot of patent trolls are not longer capable of blackmailing companies (it’s riskier against large companies which can afford going to court, whereupon the asserted patent/s would be invalidated). Some don’t even bother trying anymore. “Buyer beware,” says a new article from Forbes today (titled “Yahoo’s Patents Are a Pile of Junk, Report Says”). “Little has gone right for Yahoo, which is one reason the flailing tech giant decided this spring to sell off the bulk of its patent portfolio.” We saw similar reports last week and last month. After Alice, a landmark 2014 decision, Yahoo’s patents (a lot of business methods and software) would no longer have any value.

Also see “Companies Considering Purchase of Yahoo! Excalibur Patent Portfolio Face Major Risk, According to TurboPatent” and “Nearly Half Of Yahoo Excalibur Patent Portfolio Likely Invalid, Unenforceable, Data Suggests”. In Twitter, one person told me that “most software patents are piles of junk. Worked on decommissioning 1 Y! [Yahoo] product based on a patent.”

Speaking of buyouts, IAM, which now bemoans China's patent bias (as if the West does not have the same kind of bias), points to this press release from Thomson Reuters and says it “point[s] to Asia’s rising IP star”, whatever that means (they’re trying to encourage more patent activity in east Asia, as usual).

There is still a major battle over patent policy and the perception of patents’ value. The more patents come into existence, the lesser the value of each pertinent patent. The battle is fought between those who profit from patent maximalism and those who are victims of such maximalism. Guess whose side IAM stands for… follow the money.

Software Patents in the US and the European Loopholes Revisited

Posted in America, Europe, Patents, RAND at 4:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FRAND (in a standard) or “on a device” loophole

A device

Summary: While the United States distances itself from patent maximalism and moves further away from software patenting, the issue is still unresolved in Europe, which traditionally rejected such patent applications upfront

SOFTWARE patents are certainly a dying breed of patents in the United States, especially after Alice. Those who deny these trends are typically lobbyists of the software patents interest groups/profiteers. This report which was authored by Charles Bieneman, says that even the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), originator of software patents in the United States, walks back on the issue and “Maintains Unpredictability of the Law of Patent-Eligibility”. To quote Bieneman: “The Federal Circuit vacated a summary judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 after disagreeing with a district court that claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,604,929 were “directed to a patent-ineligible law of nature–that hepatocytes [liver cells] are capable of surviving multiple freeze-thaw cycles–and that the patented process lacks the requisite inventive concept.” Rapid Litigation Management, Ltd. V. Cellzdirect, Inc., No. 2015-1570 (Fed. Cir. July 5, 2016). Reading this case for broader lessons on Section 101 validity – as I read all cases that implement the Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test – the main lesson to be drawn here is that outcomes under Section 101 remain highly situational. Patent-eligibility determinations, even more than other questions of patent law, frustratingly depend on the context of the litigation, specific words that may or may not be included in a patent claim, and, let’s be honest, the particular judge or judges hearing the case.”

“The courts which actually count and are not known for corruption quite unequivocally reject software patents.”At the CAFC, as noted here many times before, trial misconduct is common. It’s a corrupt process. Consider the recent BASCOM case which is still mentioned in the news this week. SCOTUS, which bypasses CAFC, continues to reject challenges to Alice, e.g. the Sequenom case — a subject which was also revisited earlier this week. The courts which actually count and are not known for corruption quite unequivocally reject software patents.

Europe, on the other hand, risks going in the very opposite direction.

According to last week’s blog post from Cambridge Wireless Blog (based in the UK), “not all software is patentable, and never has been. But this is generally true: not everything is patentable. As straightforward examples, you cannot patent a piece of art, or a book, or a theme or story for a book, say. These are regarded as “non-technical”. Likewise, you cannot patent a pure business method, again in essence because they are regarded as “non-technical” and for policy reasons. You also cannot patent “scientific theories” or “mathematical methods”, again essentially for policy reasons: no-one should be allowed to patent what is already “out there”, waiting for humans to uncover it.”

“”fluffy” software is not patentable but “hard” software is,” Benjamin Henrion noted about the premise of the above. “There is no such thing as hard software,” he added. This is perhaps where the EPO loophole comes into play. If one pretends that the software is tied or combined with a device, then suddenly the software is deemed patentable. Another loophole for software patenting in Europe has been FRAND. We wrote about this for nearly a decade. FRAND has been a vector of software patents injection into standards, even where software patents are not at all valid. “FRAND And The Clash Of Industries,” an article published earlier today, says the following:

They use open source licenses to handle the copyrights and patents, community governance to handle trademarks and other patents and public benefit entities to protect everyone from everyone else. Each participant in the collaboration works at their own expense in order to achieve a shared outcome that benefits all, including themselves. When they create an enhancement, fix a defect, participate in a design, they are not “working for free” or “donating their work” so much as they are “participating in co-development”. It’s a new way to leverage IP for greater benefit than directly monetising its scarcity.

[...]

But that’s not the case in markets where collaboration happens at the level of specifications and de jure standards rather than code and de facto standards, such as the telecommunications industry. Decades of comfort with SEPs and FRAND terms have resulted in a heavy investment in patents licensed in such a way that they create mutually-assured control. Telecommunications standards are so heavily encumbered with SEPs that patent pools and cross-licensing have become the norm. That in turn has created a barrier to newcomers that has made the telecommunications industry a cartel of giants.

That cartel of giants now sees its mesh of complex physical technologies coming to a lifecycle point where software dominates. The rise of apps and smart devices for the user and of software-defined and implemented infrastructure for operators, means that there is more and more of an incentive to move in to the computer and software technology markets. This in turn has created an impetus to adopt the working practices of that industry, which notably today means collaboration over shared implementation rather than just over mutually essential specifications. As a result, they seek to introduce open source into their business.

[...]

So will we create a new opportunity with regulations like EIF, or allow an existing industry to hobble another as the two collide? That’s the real question about FRAND terms for SEPs. Trying to force-fit FRAND into open source by mistakenly asserting it’s just a matter of compliance is sure to fail. Despite the name, FRAND is always discriminatory.

It is sad that so many years down the line, nearly a decade after Microsoft lobbied via groups like the Business Software Alliance, this subject remains unaddressed and FRAND remains a big barrier, even in Europe. There is much work to be done in Europe, even if the US gradually ends the era of software patenting.

Hot Summer: EPO Management on Trial This Week

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 3:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Supreme Court will keep Battistelli at bay

Chair at beach

Summary: The cases against EPO management (collective, not just Benoît Battistelli) and against Željko Topić (as an individual) are guaranteed to make it a hot sweaty summer at the higher floors of EPO buildings

AFTER the latest big meeting at the end of June the EPO may seem to have fallen off the headlines. It’s definitely busy behind the scenes (trial this week, so preparations are made), but the media is mostly quiet, with few exceptions. We still require translations from German [1, 2] and we have some articles in the making with exclusive information in them.

Remember that EPO management will be on trial this week (for its extraordinary abuses, for which it was found guilty previously). The EPO’s Vice-President, or Battistelli’s bulldog, is personally (not collectively) in trouble as a verdict is imminent (decision should be made soon) in Croatia. If these people wonder why Brits voted in favour of leaving the EU, well… this is why. It’s mischief and criminality.

“If these people wonder why Brits voted in favour of leaving the EU, well… this is why. It’s mischief and criminality.”The EPO management isn’t quite so accustomed to fair trials and it tends to ignore these, not show up, not obey rulings etc. That’s just how bad things have become. At the “European Patent Office,” said or implied one new comment, “secret trials on bogus charges [are brought] against anyone who disagrees with the President” and here is the timely analogy: “On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague is expected to deliver its final award on the arbitration case between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China. Mmh … a country, run by a cabal of people forming a Central Committee, that considers itself above the law and has pledged to ignore any decision a Tribunal in the Hague may take … does that remind you of anyone else?”

Battistelli’s regime is somewhat like China’s or North Korea’s; state propaganda is the standard, lying to the citizens is routine, and Team Battistelli refuses to obey orders from The Hague. Battistelli goes further than China by also undermining internal ‘courts’ inside the EPO. As another comment put it: “And the result went against the cabal – who immediately declared the decision and the court wrong and insisted that they would do whatever they had to do to protect their interests while ignoring the decision?”

“…a country, run by a cabal of people forming a Central Committee, that considers itself above the law and has pledged to ignore any decision a Tribunal in the Hague may take…”
      –Anonymous
That’s just like Battistelli’s minion, Willy Minnoye (EPO), who proudly said that he would ignore the highest court in the Netherlands. These trials serve to expose the vanity or arrogance of horrible regimes. This, in turn, can lead to alienation, boycotts, etc. Battistelli’s lobbying event was promoted today by EPO in Twitter, but not the trials. They would rather totally hide all this from stakeholders and pretend that everything is going very well, based on EPO propagandists.

Meanwhile we see that SUEPO, which leads the action against EPO lawlessness, has translated into English this recent article from the Dutch media:

Trade union wants Battistelli’s immunity removed

EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE trade union SUEPO has issued a summons against the patent office. The union is calling on the member states to take action against Battistelli.

Eppo König

29 June 2016

The immunity of President Benoît Battistelli of the European Patent Office must be lifted. This call was made by trade union SUEPO on Tuesday to the 38 member states of the office, through lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld.

The call was prompted by further escalation of the industrial dispute between the union and Frenchman Battistelli. The union, which represents half the 7000 employees, has now brought the patent office to court because of sanctions against trade union officials.

The office grants European patents and has branches in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. As an international organisation, the patent office says it is not bound by national labour laws and enjoys immunity. The Court of Justice in The Hague did not agree, but Battistelli ignored the ruling. The case has now been brought before the Supreme Court.

The management crisis will be central when the Administrative Council, the highest body with representatives from the 38 member countries, meets in Munich on Wednesday and Thursday. The patent office does not wish to speculate on the agenda of the management board, says a spokesman.

In March, the council instructed Battistelli to normalise the relationship with the council. Instead of this, the secretary of SUEPO, Laurent Prunier, was recently suspended for alleged misconduct. There are ‘disciplinary investigations’ into seven union leaders, around a third of the total, says lawyer Zegveld. The procedures could result in dismissal or reduction of the salary or pension.

The union brought a preliminary injunction at the Court of Justice in The Hague, for an independent ruling on the disciplinary investigations. The patent office allowed the officer delivering the summons to leave the site with five guards. They also would not tell him where the post box was. A number of important member states, such as Germany, France and Switzerland are very critical of Battistelli. He recently increased the irritation by applying personal pressure in dismissal proceedings against an Irish patent judge. Battistelli demanded in a letter that the judge should not be given a public hearing by a board of appeal. The commission stated that its independence was being brought into question and did not accept the dismissal.

The office does not comment on individual cases, according to the spokesperson.

In the coming days or weeks we might know not just the outcome of this trial but also the trial/s against the EPO Vice-President, whose abuses are so unspeakable that one gets sued for the offense (of merely speaking about them).

Links 12/7/2016: Libinput 1.4, LLVM 3.8.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.6.4 Released with Networking Improvements and Updated Drivers

      Today, July 11, 2016, renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the fourth maintenance update for the Linux 4.6 kernel series.

    • Linux 4.6.4
    • Linux 4.4.15
    • Linux Kernel 4.4.15 LTS Adds Many Updated USB Drivers, It’s Already in Solus

      After announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.6.4, which is now the most advanced stable kernel branch available, Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the release of Linux kernel 4.4.15 LTS.

      The Linux 4.4 kernel series is an LTS (Long Term Support) one, which means that it will be supported with security patches and bug fixes for a few more years than the normal Linux kernel branches. Because of this, many popular GNU/Linux operating systems prefer to use it, no matter if they are following a static or rolling release model. Among these, we can mention Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Arch Linux, and Solus.

    • Linux Kernel 4.7 got a delay in release
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Provides A Surprise For Pascal GPU Owners Wanting Open-Source

        After it took NVIDIA until earlier this year to release the signed firmware for the GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell” GPUs, I expected — and based upon what I heard — that it could be months before seeing the firmware for GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” GPUs in order to enable hardware acceleration with these latest-generation GPUs. Thus it’s a huge surprise today to see NVIDIA already making public their Pascal GP100 firmware images!

        Hitting this afternoon in linux-firmware Git are the GP100 firmware files! There are 15 binary-only firmware blobs now part of the linux-firmware tree needed for initializing GP100 hardware. The GP100 blobs are named (for providing some reference) bl, ucode_load, ucode_unload, fecs_bl, fecs_data, fecs_inst, fecs_sig, gpccs_bl, gpccs_data, gpccs_inst, gpccs_sig, sw_bundle_init, sw_ctx, sw_method_init, and sw_nonctx. The largest of these blobs are 20955 bytes.

      • Just About 20 Lines Of Code Got Open-Source 3D Running On NVIDIA Pascal For Mesa

        Just a few hours ago I was writing about NVIDIA making public the GP100 “Pascal” GPU firmware binaries needed for as a requirement for bringing up GeForce GTX 1000 series hardware acceleration on the open-source driver stack. Now the initial support has landed in Nouveau’s NVC0 Gallium3D driver within Mesa for allowing 3D support.

        Ben Skeggs of Red Hat landed an initial support patch that has 16 lines of new code and five lines of deletions that bring this initial GP100 series GPU support. The support mostly comes down to just adding the “0×130″ case and various other relatively simple changes to allow this code to work. The bring-up for Pascal in the Nouveau stack is much more complicated within the Nouveau DRM kernel driver than what was needed for the Gallium3D user-space code. The GP100 Pascal Nouveau kernel changes so far were outlined in Initial Open-Source GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” Nouveau Driver Support — that work is starting to land in Linux 4.8.

      • libinput 1.3.901

        The first RC for libinput 1.4 is now available.

      • Libinput 1.4 Release Candidate

        Peter Hutterer has announced the first release candidate of the upcoming libinput 1.4 release for this input handling library used by X.Org, Wayland, and Mir systems.

    • Benchmarks

      • Blender Cycles Render Engine Benchmarks With NVIDIA CUDA On Linux

        Here is a look at the performance of the Blender 3D modeling/creation software with its Cycles Engine when making use of NVIDIA’s CUDA API for GPU acceleration. Tests for this initial comparison include NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” and GTX 900 “Maxwell” graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.7 Desktop Users Complain About Multi-Screen Support, Fixes Incoming

        The KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment arrived last week, on July 5, and it already landed in the main software repositories of various GNU/Linux operating systems, including Arch Linux, Gentoo, and KDE Neon.

        KDE Plasma 5.7 brought numerous new features and improvements, along with the usual bug fixes, and it also promised improved multi-screen support. However, it appears that for many users who have already tried the new KDE Plasma desktop on their distributions, multi-screen support fails to work as expected.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi 4.0.0 Time Lines and June 2016 Donation Totals

      Last month I hinted at the first Bodhi 4.0.0 pre-release happening soon, but then June came and went with no more news. One of my goals for the 4.0.0 release is to realign our core Enlightenment Foundation Libraries with the latest upstream release. Their 1.18 release has been pushed back for several weeks due to the number of things it is integrating (namely the Elementary widgets are part of the core toolkit now) and ideally I would like to include this release by default in Bodhi 4.0.0.

    • New Releases

      • Budgie Desktop 10.2.6 Comes with Redesigned Budgie Menu, Spotify Compatibility

        Today, July 12, 2016, Softpedia was informed by Solus project leader Ikey Doherty about the general availability of the Budgie 10.2.6 desktop environment, a major release that introduces lots of new features and improvements.

        Coming three and a half months after the release of Budgie 10.2.5, which most of the Solus users are using on their computers, the Budgie 10.2.6 update promises many goodies. But first, the biggest change is the implementation of a stable, performant API/ABI, which will force those who maintain Budgie extensions to rebuild them based on the new API/ABI.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Steps the Python community and Dropbox are taking to increase diversity

        At the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco last month, DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer at Red Hat, announced the winners of the company’s second annual Women in Open Source Award. Jessica McKellar, director of engineering and chief of staff to the vice president of engineering at Dropbox, and Preeti Murthy, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, won the 2016 Women in Open Source Award.

      • 7 characteristics of open leaders
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Event report: Fedora 24 release party Pune

          Last Saturday we had the Fedora 24 release party in Pune. This was actually done along with our regular Fedora meetup, and in the same location. We had a few new faces this time. But most of the regular attendees attended the meetup.

        • Hosting your own Fedora Test Day

          Many important packages and software are developed for Fedora every day. One of the most important parts of software development is quality assurance, or testing. For important software collections in Fedora, there are sometimes concentrated testing efforts for pulling large groups of people in who might not always help test. Organizing a Fedora Test Day is a great way to help expose your project and bring more testers to trialing a new update before it goes live.

        • Farewell Pharlap

          Korora “was born out of a desire to make Linux easier for new users” and one way of achieving that aim was the development of Pharlap, a tool for the simple installation of third party drivers. However times change and sadly it is time to say goodbye to Pharlap which will not be included in Korora 24.

          This decision was not taken lightly and there are many reasons behind the move.

        • Creating a reproducible build system for Docker images

          As the population of DevOps practitioners grows greater in size, so does the Linux container userbase, as these often go hand in hand. In the world of Linux container implementations, Docker is certainly the most popular for server-side application deployments as of this writing. Docker is a powerful tool that provides a standard build workflow, an imaging format, a distribution mechanism, and a runtime. These attributes have made it a very attractive for developer and operations teams alike as it helps lower the barrier between these groups and establishes common ground.

    • Debian Family

      • Bodhi 4.0.0 Time Line, First Woman Debian TC

        The top story today in Linux news is the controversy following the removal of Nano from the GNU umbrella. Original maintainer Christian Allegretta had to address the resulting rumors that threaten the community. Elsewhere, Jeff Hoogland posted an updated time line for Bodhi 4.0 and the Debian project welcomes its first woman Technical Committee member. Linus is on the hot seat again after losing his patience over commenting style and the Korora project is dropping their driver manager Pharlap.

      • twenty years of free software — part 13 past and future
      • mips64el added to Debian testing
      • DebConf16 closes in Cape Town and DebConf17 dates announced

        Today, Saturday 9 July 2016, the annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference came to a close. With over 280 people attending from all over the world, and 113 hours of talks in 114 events, DebConf16 has been hailed as a success.

        Highlights included the Open Festival, where events of interest to a broader audience were offered (ranging from topics specific to Debian to a wider appreciation of the open and maker movements), the traditional Bits from the DPL, lightning talks and live demos and the announcement of next year’s DebConf (DebConf17 in Montreal).

      • Technical committee appointment
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mini-PC runs Ubuntu on quad-core Bay Trail Atom

            Mele has launched a “Star Cloud PCG03” mini-PC that runs Ubuntu on a quad-core Atom Z3735F with 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, three USB ports, Ethernet, and WiFi.

            Shenzhen Mele Digital Technology Ltd. has released an Ubuntu 14.04 equipped Star Cloud PCG03 mini-PC based on its earlier Windows-based Mini PC PCG09 and Mini PC PCG03. Like these models, as well as Mele’s first Ubuntu-based device, the Star Cloud PCG02 stick PC, the new Star Cloud PCG03 mini-PC runs on a quad-core, 1.33GHz (1.83GHz turbo) Atom Z3735F, a tablet-focused SoC from Intel’s 22nm Bay Trail generation.

          • Star Cloud PCG03U Ubuntu Mini PC Unveiled For $90
          • 32-Bit Ubuntu Alternatives

            Some folks may find the idea of using a 32-bit distribution of Linux to be downright silly. After all, we live in a 64-bit world these days, right? Well, that depends on who you ask. The fact of the matter is there are still a lot of fully functional PCs out there that run 32-bit Linux. Up until recently, this was all well and good. Then the news came down that Ubuntu would no longer be supporting 32-bit systems come the next Ubuntu release. Clearly not everyone is thrilled about his news.

            Rather than throw in the towel and recycle these PCs, I think it’s important to realize there is a world beyond Ubuntu. Yes, many other distros have also stopped support 32-bit distros. However for the time being, there are still options to choose from. In this article, I’m going to share some great non-Ubuntu based 32-bit friendly Linux distros you should check out.

            The first set of distributions I want to share with you are best for those who are already comfortable with Linux.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 to Land Next Wednesday, OTA-13 Brings Libertine Improvements

            The Ubuntu Touch saga continues, and today we would like to inform our readers about some of the latest changes coming in the next major update, the OTA-13, as well as about some good news for the soon-to-be-released OTA-12.

            According to Canonical’s Łukasz Zemczak, the testing of the upcoming Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 software update is almost over and things are looks great. No blockers, and everything works as expected for almost all devices, with a small exception for Meizu PRO 5 and BQ Aquaris M10, which need custom tarball re-spins.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18: The best desktop — period

              You could keep worrying about being forced to upgrade to Windows 10, or you could try the best of all Linux desktops: Mint 18.

            • Linux Mint 18

              During my trial, Mint 18 provided me with a stable, friendly and problem-free experience. The distribution has a installer which is simple to use, a good collection of documentation and an excellent selection of default software. The configuration tools are straight forward to use, the software manager is easy to use and everything generally just worked the way I wanted it to. The one problem I ran into during my whole trial was the video display issue when running from the live disc, and that was quickly solved by switching to the fail-safe graphics mode from the live disc’s boot menu.

              I was curious to try X-Apps and I generally found these to be an improvement. I dislike the mobile-style interfaces GNOME applications tend to use and how they break consistency with other applications. X-Apps provide the same functionality as their GNOME counterparts, but improve the interface to work the same as all the other desktop applications. Most of the changes are small, but make working with the text editor or video player a much less frustrating experience.

            • Linux Mint 18 ” Sarah “
            • Linux Mint 18 reviews roundup

              Hectic Geek’s review is quite thorough and includes some interesting performance comparisons between Ubuntu 16.04 and Linux Mint 18. The site was impressed with Linux Mint 18’s performance.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SiFive brings open-source SoCs
    • Startup SiFive Aims for Open-Source Chips
    • First SoCs based on open source RISC-V run Linux

      SiFive unveiled the first embedded SoCs based on the open source RISC-V platform: A Linux-ready octa-core Freedom U500 and a FreeRTOS-based Freedom E300.

      A VC-backed startup closely associated with the RISC-V project announced the first system-on-chip implementations of the open source RISC-V processor platform. At the RISC-V 4thWorkshop at MIT this week, SiFive announced two embedded SoC families. The Freedom Unleashed family debuts with a 28nm fabricated, Freedom U500 SoC with up to eight 1.6GHz cores that runs Linux, aimed at machine learning, storage, and networking applications. The MCU-like Freedom Everywhere family for Internet of Things starts with a 180nm Freedom E300 model that runs FreeRTOS.

    • Server class COM supports 16-core Xeons, packs dual 10GbE

      Advantech’s server-class SOM-5991 COM Express module runs Linux on up to 16-core Xeon D-1500 processors, and offers dual 10GBase-KR ports and PCIe with NTB.

      We’ve seen a number of embedded boards supporting server-class Xeon E3-1200 SoCs from Intel’s Skylake architecture, such as Seco’s COMe-B09-BT6 COM Express Basic Type 6 module. Yet, Advantech’s SOM-5991, which uses the same 125 x 95mm Basic Type 6 form factor, is the first we’ve seen to run the similarly 14nm “Broadwell” based Xeon D-1500 SoCs, which are available with up to 16-core Xeons. Advantech claims it’s the first COM Express to use the Xeon D-1500, which debuted over a year ago, with more models arriving last fall and earlier this year.

    • Open-source Linux a step closer to automotive use

      Although it may seem like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all the rage for dashboard infotainment systems, open-source Linux proponents haven’t conceded the battle yet. The Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project announced the release of its Unified Code Base 2.0, implementing new in-vehicle entertainment support desired by automakers and drivers.

      The new code base adds support for audio routing, rear-seat entertainment systems and apps. It follows the version 1.0 release at CES earlier this year.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung Z2 Documentation Image Leak, The Next Tizen Smartphone

          Samsung Z2 Documentation Leak

          We have been talking about the upcoming Samsung Z2 smartphone for a while now and today we have seen some leaked documentation surface that looks like it is part of the official user manual of Samsung’s next Tizen based Smartphone. As we exclusively reported earlier this year the device will carry the model number SM-Z200F.

      • Android

        • Net users duke it out over whether Jia Jia, China’s beautiful android, is the fairest of them all

          Remember Asuna and Junco Chihara, two entries in Japan’s race to create the most hyperreal android ever? Despite their lifelike appearances compared to many other robots out there, some people still aren’t able to get past the “uncanny valley” phenomenon as a result of their unnatural facial movements.

        • The Superbook is a $99 laptop shell for your Android phone

          The dream of turning your smartphone into a laptop will never die. From Motorola’s Atrix to this crazy HP Windows Phone, there have been a number of companies that have tried (and largely failed) to build a smartphone that can be attached to a dock and turned into a laptop.

          In a somewhat new twist, a company wants to sell you just the laptop shell, while letting you use your current Android phone and an app to power it. The Superbook is a 11.6-inch laptop shell built by the team behind Andromium OS, the app that allows your Android smartphone to run a desktop-like operating system.

        • LeapDroid claims to be the fastest Android emulator for your PC

          When it comes to running Android on your PC, short of installing the Android x86 project, you can get by with an emulator. With that, this program called Bluestacks is probably the most popular. Enter LeapDroid, a new emulator which claims to be the “world’s fastest” Android emulator on PC. I guess we have to try it to believe it.

        • Exclusive: These could be Google’s upcoming Android Wear smartwatches

          As we reported last week, Google is in the process of building two Android Wear smartwatches. At the time, we were unable to show you the watches themselves. Today, that changes – what you see in the image above could be codename “Angelfish” and “Swordfish,” Google’s two Assistant-enabled wearables that we believe will be released after the new Nexus phones.

        • Google’s Android Wear ‘Angelfish’, ‘Swordfish’ Smartwatches Leaked in Images
        • Alphabet (GOOGL) Announces Free Android Training In India As It Retakes Smartphone Lead

          Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced that it would begin training 2 million developers in India on Android as the company tries to take market share from the iOS ecosystem. The free Android Skilling program will be introduced across public and private universities, training schools and the government’s National Skills Development Corporation of India. India is expected to have the largest developer population with 4 million people by 2018, overtaking the U.S.

        • Google aims to train two million Indian Android devs by 2018

          Google will train two million Android developers across India over the next three years.

          Mountain View will provide complete training in its Android operating system under a new program that is paired with the Modi Government’s “Skill India” program.

          The course kicks off with Android Developer Fundamentals available in universities and the National Skills Development Corporation of India.

        • Google to train 2 million Indian Android developers

          Google has announced its new “Android Fundamentals” training program, which aims to train and certify up to two million Android developers in India. An Android Fundamentals training course, soon to be available online and at schools country-wide, is focused on training, testing and certifying Android developers to prepare students for careers using Android technology.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaks in three new pics

          Earlier today, it was reported that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 might be the most expensive product in the productivity-purposed phablet line so far, starting at roughly $910 in Europe. It seems that was not to be the only leak of the day however, as three images have surfaced via Steve Hemmerstoffer of nowhereelse.fr who has Tweeted no less than three different images of Samsung’s up and coming creation. Here is the first:

        • Android Nougat may contain traces of NOT for users of custom CAs

          Google will sweeten the forthcoming Nougat release of Android by changing the way apps work with certificate authorities (CAs) and simplifying APIs.

          The changes will affect only some apps and users, Android security team software engineer Chad Brubaker says .

          The changes mean Google will not automatically trust user-selected CAs. Instead, all Android devices running Nougat and later versions of Android will run a standard set of Google-trusted AOSP certificate authorities, forcing some developers to change their apps if non-trusted certificate authorities are needed.

        • First Nokia Android Device, P1 Rumoured To Have 3GB RAM, HD Display

          If you have used Nokia, you will remember the rugged Nokia 3310 and other smartphones that could break a wall and still survive. Nokia is back to making smartphones but Android operating system.

        • How to live stream Android games to YouTube and Twitch

          Watching people play live video games from anywhere in the world has become a surprisingly huge phenomenon in recent years. Twitch is now a game-streaming juggernaut while YouTube has embraced gaming and live streaming in a big way, and seemingly everyday people have become well-paid Internet personalities because they play video games and chat.

        • Six Points on The Samsung Galaxy Note 7: AKA The Best Android Phone of 2016

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Two in Three Apple Watch Owners Won’t Buy Next Version (Told You So)

    Here we are, those who bought Apple Watches have been playing with their iToys. Some utterly love their iGadgets. But most who were duped into buying the expensive tech jewelry were disappointed or don’t find any reason to upgrade. A fresh survey of Apple Watch owners by Quartz finds that two thirds won’t be buying the new edition. And this turns out pretty much exactly as I predicted. The gadget does not have the appeal of the mobile phone/smartwatch (an Apple Watch is not even technically ‘mobile’ because you have to tether it to an iPhone for its functionality meaning it is ‘only’ an accessory, differing from those smart watches that do their own connectivity like say Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watches). And I said the life of the Apple Watch will be two genations, the second generation will not sell as well as the first, and then Apple will quietly shut down this silly cul-de-sac of tech innovation. We are nearing the half-point of that prediction and the signs say.. those who buy Apple Watches do not on the whole fall in love with the idea of the metal on the wrist. It is a poor technology solution and will not replace the smartphone. Hence, it will fail as a business idea. Apple is on that path now, to ending the Apple Watch after the second edition.

  • Hardware

    • Seagate Fires 6,500, Or 14% Of Workforce, Stock Soars

      Moments ago computer-memory specialist Seagate, in a preliminary financial report, announced that its Q4 revenue would be $2.65 billion, beating expectations of $2.34 billion, and up from the $2.3 billion guidance given previously. The company also reported gross margin of 25% and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 25.8% for the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, up from the previous 23% forecast.

      Good news, and the stock is up 12% after hours as a result.

      The only problem is that when companies preannounce good news up front, there is usually some not so good news hidden toward the back. And sure enough, for a company which is guiding higher, the narrative promptly fell apart when we read that for STX management the future is so bright that it just had to lay off 14% of it workforce, or some 6,500 people. This too was a “beat” to expectations: in late June, the company announced it planned to cut “only” 1,600 jobs as a cost-saving measure.

    • Testing the 8-bit computer Puldin

      Puldin is 100% pure Bulgarian development, while the “Pravetz” brand was copy of Apple ][ (Pravetz 8A, 8C, 8M), Oric (Pravets 8D) and IBM-PC (Pravetz 16). The Puldin computers were build from scratch both hardware and software and were produced in Plovdiv in the late 80s and early 90s. 50000 pieces were made, at least 35000 of them have been exported to Russia and paid for. A typical configuration in a Russian class room consisted of several Puldin computers and a single Pravetz 16. According to Russian sources the last usage of these computers was in 2003 serving as Linux terminals and being maintained without any support from the vendor (b/c it ceased to exist).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What happens when Pokémon Go turns your home into a gym

      In the virtual world of Pokémon Go, a gym is where players (in game parlance, “trainers”) gather to battle against each other. Trainers join one of three teams at an early stage of the game, and those teams fight for control of the gyms. If your team controls a gym, you get perks and bragging rights at that location. In the physical world, battling trainers look a lot like those three strangers standing outside of Sheridan’s home. Soon, a car pulled up and parked in front of the house, too. Another trainer.

  • Security

    • Report: Enterprises more reliant on open source and third-party software components
    • 1 in 16 Java Components Have Security Defects

      A new report from Sonatype analyzes the volume and variety of Java components in the ecosystems of over 25,000 developers and 3,000 organizations.

    • Enterprise software developers continue to use flawed code in apps

      Companies that develop enterprise applications download over 200,000 open-source components on average every year — and one in 16 of those components has security vulnerabilities.

    • Sonatype Releases 2016 State of the Software Supply Chain Report
    • Pokemon Go Is A “Malware” And “Hackers’ Dream”, Security Experts Say
    • New EU directive requires critical infrastructure to improve cyber-security

      Companies which supply essential services – such as energy, transport, banking, health or digital services such as cloud services and search engines – will be required to achieve minimum standards of cyber-security under new EU-wide rules adopted by the EU Parliament today.

    • CISSP certification: Are multiple choice tests the best way to hire infosec pros?

      Want a job in infosec? Your first task: hacking your way through what many call the “HR firewall” by adding a CISSP certification to your resume.

      Job listings for security roles often list the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) or other cybersecurity certifications, such as those offered by SANS, CompTIA, and Cisco, as a requirement. This is especially true in the enterprise space, including banks, insurance companies, and FTSE 100 corporations. But at a time when the demand for good infosec people sees companies outbidding each other to hire top talent, and ominous studies warn of a looming cybersecurity skills shortage, experts are questioning whether certifications based on multiple choice tests are really the best way to recruit the right people.

    • Pokémon Go on iOS gives full access to Google accounts

      Signing into Pokémon Go on iOS with a Google account gives the game full access to that account, according to a systems architect, Adam Reeve.

      The Android version of the game apparently does not have these issues.

      Reeve said that the security situation was not the same for all iOS users.

      Pokémon Go was released last week and has been a huge hit. It is the latest in a series of games from Nintendo but is made by a developer named Niantic, which is part owned by Google.

    • Pokémon Go shouldn’t have full access to your Gmail, Docs and Google account — but it does

      When you use Google to sign into Pokémon Go, as so many of you have already, the popular game for some reason grants itself (for some iOS users, anyway) the highest possible level of access to your Google account, meaning it can read your email, location history… pretty much everything. Why does it need this, and why aren’t users told?

    • Have you given Pokémon Go full access to everything in your Google account?

      Gamers who have downloaded the Pokémon Go augmented reality game were given a scare on Monday, after noticing that the app had apparently been granted “full access” to their Google accounts.

      Taken at face value, the permissions would have represented a major security vulnerability, albeit one that only appeared to affect players who signed up to play the game using their Google account on Apple devices.

    • Pokémon Go Was Never Able To Read Your Email [Updated]

      Here’s even more confirmation that Pokémon Go never had the ability to access your Gmail or Calendar. A product security developer at Slack tested the token provided by Pokémon Go and found that it was never able to get data from services like Gmail or Calendar.

    • HTTPS is not a magic bullet for Web security

      We’re in the midst of a major change sweeping the Web: the familiar HTTP prefix is rapidly being replaced by HTTPS. That extra “S” in an HTTPS URL means your connection is secure and that it’s much harder for anyone else to see what you’re doing. And on today’s Web, everyone wants to see what you’re doing.

      HTTPS has been around nearly as long as the Web, but it has been primarily used by sites that handle money—your bank’s website, shopping carts, social networks, and webmail services like Gmail. But these days Google, Mozilla, the EFF, and others want every website to adopt HTTPS. The push for HTTPS everywhere is about to get a big boost from Mozilla and Google when both companies’ Web browsers begin to actively call out sites that still use HTTP.

    • Now it’s easy to see if leaked passwords work on other sites

      Over the past few months, a cluster of megabreaches has dumped account credentials for a mind-boggling 642 million accounts into the public domain, where they can then be used to compromise other accounts that are protected by the same password. Now, there’s software that can streamline this vicious cycle by testing for reused passcodes on Facebook and other popular sites.

    • What serverless computing really means [iophk: "securityless"]

      Arimura even goes as far as to use the controversial “no-ops,” coined by former Netflix cloud architect Adrain Cockcroft. Again, just as there will always be servers, there will always be ops to run them. Again, no-ops and serverless computing take the developer’s point of view: Someone else has to worry about that stuff, but not me while I create software.

    • An open letter to security researchers and practitioners

      Earlier this month, the World Wide Web Consortium’s Encrypted Media
      Extensions (EME) spec progressed to Draft Recommendation phase. This is
      a controversial standard for transmitting DRM-encumbered videos, and it
      marks the very first time that the W3C has attempted to standardize a
      DRM system.

      This means that for the first time, W3C standards for browsers will fall
      under laws like the DMCA (and its international equivalents, which the
      US Trade Representative has spread all over the world). These laws allow
      companies to threaten security researchers who disclose vulnerabilities
      in DRM systems, on the grounds that these disclosures make it easier to
      figure out how to bypass the DRM.

      Last summer, the Copyright Office heard from security researchers about
      the effect that DRM has on their work; those filings detail showstopper
      bugs in consumer devices, cars, agricultural equipment, medical
      implants, and voting machines that researchers felt they couldn’t
      readily publish about, lest they face punitive lawsuits from the
      companies they embarrassed.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • In Africa, the U.S. Military Sees Enemies Everywhere

      From east to west across Africa, 1,700 Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other military personnel are carrying out 78 distinct “mission sets” in more than 20 nations, according to documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act.

      “The SOCAFRICA operational environment is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,” says Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, using the acronym of the secretive organization he presides over, Special Operations Command Africa. “It’s a wickedly complex environment tailor-made for the type of nuanced and professional cooperation SOF [special operations forces] is able to provide.”

      Equally complex is figuring out just what America’s most elite troops on the continent are actually doing, and who they are targeting.

      In documents from a closed-door presentation delivered by Bolduc late last year and a recent, little-noticed question and answer with a military publication, the SOCAFRICA commander offered new clues about the shadow war currently being waged by American troops all across the continent.

    • Navy Corrects “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s Military Record, Lowers Medal Count

      The Navy has officially corrected Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s service record, lowering the medal count that he had claimed in his bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, according to a military spokesperson.

      The Navy issued the corrected DD214 form, his official discharge record, on June 14, two weeks after a report by The Intercept found Kyle embellished his military record, despite at least one warning from SEAL commanders that his claims were inaccurate.

      In his autobiography, Kyle claimed he received two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with a “V” device for valor. After investigating the discrepancy, the Navy now says Kyle earned one Silver Star and four Bronze Stars with a “V” device for valor during his 10-year career as a Navy SEAL.

    • Security, Territory and Population Part 1: Introduction

      Security, Territory and Population is a collection of lectures given by the French thinker Michel Foucault at the College of France in 1977-8. Foucault describes the lectures as a work of philosophy, defined as “the politics of truth” (p. 3), a term which itself seems to require a definition. This creates two difficult problems for the reader. First, philosophy is hard. It involves carefully picking things apart, examining each element, putting the pieces back together, and then picking them apart from some other perspective, examining the new set of pieces and reassembling. It’s hard work, and it makes for difficult reading.

      Second, these are lectures, not a polished work prepared for publication with the aid of editors and the time it takes to smooth out analysis. Foucault says that these lectures are part of a long program of study, of which other books and sets of lectures are parts. The earlier books include Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality for certain, and others as well. These are polished works, and they give an idea of the general program.

    • ‘War on Terror’ Blowback Hits Dallas

      The blowback from America’s “war on terror” swept into Dallas last Friday when an Afghan War veteran allegedly killed five police officers and was killed in turn by a remote-controlled robot deploying a bomb, writes retired Col. Ann Wright.

    • NATO Has a Very Peculiar Way of Showing It Doesn’t Want New Cold War

      On first day of NATO summit, critics condemn “new and dangerous plan” to provoke Russia with heightened military presence on its borders

    • NATO Reaffirms Its Bogus Russia Narrative

      President Obama and NATO leaders signed on to the false narrative of a minding-its-own-business West getting sucker-punched by a bunch of Russian meanies, a storyline that suggests insanity or lies, reports Robert Parry.

    • Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has

      Emmott and Siebold report that “Russian aggression” is the reason NATO is deploying 3,000 to 4,000 troops in the Baltic states and Poland. In other words, something that does not exist–Russian aggression toward the Baltics and Poland–is assumed to be a fact that must be countered with military deployments.

    • NATO as an ‘Entangling Alliance’
    • Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: Who Said What When
    • The Real Lesson of Iraq: Nothing Was Learned, No Good Was Done

      Denunciations of Tony Blair as the evil architect of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War often dominate discussions of what happened there and many will look to the Chilcot inquiry to provide further evidence of his guilt. But the demonisation of Mr Blair is excessive and simple-minded and diverts attention from what really happened in Iraq and how such mistakes can be avoided in future.

      He may have unwisely followed the US into the quagmire of Iraq, but British government policy since 1941 has been to position itself as America’s most loyal and effective ally in peace and war.

      There have been significant exceptions to this rule, such as the Suez Crisis and the Vietnam War, but during the last 70 years the UK has generally sought to influence US policy in its formulation and then support it unequivocally once adopted.

      This may on occasions be humiliating and out of keeping with the British self-image of robust independence, but it is not as stupid from the point of view of the British state.

      In going to war in alliance with the US in Iraq, Mr Blair was not doing anything very different from his predecessors or successors, except that he was more successful than them in establishing close relations with the White House.

      Many British politicians, diplomats, academics and journalists have subsequently claimed they were convinced at the time that the invasion would end badly, but they were notably quiet about their forebodings at the time and for most part their wisdom is retrospective. Nor that British opposition to the US venture in Iraq could have done much to stop it happening.

    • Yup, More Mission Creep: US Defense Announces 500 More for Endless War

      Further escalating the United States’ involvement in the campaign against the Islamic State (or ISIS), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced Monday the deployment of 560 additional American forces to Iraq.

      The announcement was made two days after the Iraqi military reportedly seized the Qayyarrah Air Base, which lies 40 miles south of Mosul, and the troop deployment was billed as a way to support local forces in retaking that ISIS-held city.

      The airfield is “one of the hubs from which … Iraqi security forces, accompanied and advised by us as needed, will complete the southern-most envelopment of Mosul,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters before arriving in Baghdad on Monday. The U.S. troops will reportedly bolster Iraqi forces, particularly with “infrastructure and logistical capabilities,” according to the Washington Post.

    • Pentagon will send hundreds more troops to Iraq following seizure of key airfield
    • Islamic State Defectors Hold Key to Countering Group’s Recruitment

      While the Islamic State continues to lose territory on the ground in Iraq and Syria, the appeal of its apocalyptic ideas has proven more enduring. Since 2014, the group, also known as ISIS, has managed to attract as many as 30,000 recruits from around the world, including several thousand men and women from Europe and North America.

      A significant number of these individuals are believed to have been recruited online using social media.

      A new project focused on interviews with individuals who joined and later defected from ISIS might offer a way of stifling the appeal of the group. The ISIS Defectors Interview Project, conducted by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, compiles video and written testimony from former members of the group. Between September 2015 and May 2016, Anne Speckhard, a research psychologist at Georgetown University, and Ahmet Yayla, a former counterterrorism head of the Turkish National Police, met with 32 former ISIS members who escaped the group and have since fled to Turkey.

      The reality described by these defectors bears little resemblance to the utopian conditions described by the Islamic State in its propaganda. While their paths to joining the group may have been different, they ultimately rejected the militant organization after seeing firsthand what its practices were like. Instead of finding defenders of besieged Sunni Muslim communities, defectors often found the Islamic State to be merciless with anyone who opposed its rule. Appalled by the cruelty, injustice, and oppression they witnessed, they fled ISIS in disillusionment.

    • Clintonites in Democratic Party Back Settler Colonialism (Not a 1905 Headline)

      The Clinton loyalists debating the Democratic Party platform have defeated an amendment that would have called for an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and condemned Israeli squatter settlements illegal.

      The Democratic Party, in other words, backs the principle of colonialism no less than if it declared that the British should take back over India, that French commandos should storm the presidential palace in Algiers, or that the US army should march through the streets of Manila and reoccupy the Philippines. Maybe, in fact, the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party would like to rescind the Declaration of Independence and accede to the United Kingdom? With Scotland talking about leaving, there might be a place opening up, and we could get the redcoats back to harass us.

    • As US Controlled NATO Meets: U.S. War on Russia and China Will Mean Ruin for the Whole of Europe and Asia

      Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s cry of distress is that of a man watching a tidal wave of destruction gathering force, similar to ones that have engulfed his country twice in the 20th Century. His dread is not to be dismissed since it comes from a man who is in a position to know what the U.S. is up to. His words reflect the fears of ever more people across all of Eurasia from France in the West to Japan in the East.

      Under the euphemism of “containment,” the U.S. is relentlessly advancing its new Cold War on Russia and China. Its instrument in the West is NATO and in the East, Japan and whatever other worthies can be sharked up.

      It is a Cold War that grows increasingly hotter, with proxy wars now raging in Eastern Ukraine and Syria and with confrontations in the South China Sea. There is an ever growing likelihood that these points of tension will flare up into an all out military conflict.

      In the West this conflict will begin in Eastern Europe and Russia, but it will not stop there. All the European NATO countries would be on the front lines. In the East the conflict will take place in the Western Pacific in the region of China’s coast and in the peninsulas and island countries in the region, including Japan, the Philippines and Indochina.

    • Hague Tribunal Rejects Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea

      An international tribunal in The Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke on Tuesday of China’s behavior in the South China Sea, from the construction of artificial islands to interference with fishing, and ruled that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis.

      The tribunal also said that Beijing had violated international law by causing “severe harm to the coral reef environment” and by failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from harvesting endangered sea turtles and other species “on a substantial scale.”

      The landmark case, brought by the Philippines, was seen as an important crossroads in China’s rise as a global power. It is the first time the Chinese government has been summoned before the international justice system, and neighboring countries have hoped that the outcome will provide a model for negotiating with Beijing or for challenging its assertive tactics in the region.

    • The No-State Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict

      Needless to say, this is not balanced journalism, but extremely prejudicial to the rights of the Palestinians living under foreign military occupation. When the illegality of the settlements is alluded to by the mainstream media (all too infrequently), they typically obscure it by saying something like: “Most countries do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s settlements.” This leaves readers with the impression that the matter is controversial, that there is debate about it within the international community, that there are two legitimate points of view. It affords validity to Israel’s position when it has none. Translated from newspeak, what that means is that every single government on planet Earth other than Israel itself recognizes the settlements as a violation of international law.

    • The Jordanian Arms Theft Story

      I’m still trying to figure out what to make of this story, so for the moment, I just want to unpack it.

      First, consider the players. The story is sourced to US and Jordanian “officials,” (a term which can sometimes mean contractors or Members of Congress). The CIA and FBI both refused to comment for the story; the State Department and Jordan’s press people both gave fluff statements.

      The story is a joint project — between Qatar’s media outlet, Al-Jazeera (here’s their link to the story), and the “official press” of the US, the NYT. So Americans, Jordanians, and Qataris were involved in this story.

      But no Saudis, in spite of the fact that the story reports that Saudis apparently complained some months ago.

    • Fool’s Errand: NATO Pledges Four More Years of War in Afghanistan

      The longest war in US history just got even longer. As NATO wrapped up its 2016 Warsaw Summit, the organization agreed to continue funding Afghan security forces through the year 2020. Of course with all that funding comes US and NATO troops, and thousands of contractors, trainers, and more.

      President Obama said last week that the US must keep 3,000 more troops than planned in Afghanistan. The real reason is obvious: the mission has failed and Washington cannot bear to admit it. But Obama didn’t put it that way. He said:

      “It is in our national security interest, especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested over the years, that we give our partners in Afghanistan the best chance to succeed.”

      This is how irrational Washington’s logic is. Where else but in government would you see it argued that you cannot stop spending on a project because you have already spent so much to no avail? In the real world, people who invest their own hard-earned money in a failed scheme do something called “cut your losses.” Government never does that.

    • Hatred Just Grows and Grows

      A Palestinian youngster breaks into a settlement, enters the nearest house, stabs a 13-year old girl in her sleep and is killed.

      Three Israeli men kidnap a 12-year old Palestinian boy at random, take him to an open field and burn him alive.

      Two Palestinians from a small town near Hebron enter Israel illegally, have coffee in a Tel Aviv amusement quarter and then shoot up everybody around before they are captured. They become national heroes.

      An Israeli soldier sees a severely wounded Palestinian attacker lying on the ground, approaches him and shoots him in the head at point blank range. He is applauded by most Israelis.

      These are not “normal” actions even in a guerrilla war. They are the manifestations of bottomless hatred, a hatred so terrible that it overcomes all norms of humanity.

    • Courthouse Shooting Leaves 3 People Dead, Injures Law Enforcement Officer

      At least two courthouse bailiffs and a jail inmate are dead after a shooting took place at a courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan, according to eyewitness accounts and a local CBS news affiliate WWMT reporter. A law enforcement sheriff’s deputy was also likely injured. The shooting, which took place at the Berrien County Courthouse was brought under control in roughly 30 minutes.

    • The reasons for invading Iraq were more ideological than scientific, more evangelical than rational.

      Britain is in political turmoil, but even prior to that, there was that old problem of why Her Majesty’s government went to war in a disastrous conflict that had no immediate, security related grounds. The reasons for invading Iraq were more ideological than scientific, more evangelical than rational.

  • E-mailgate

    • The Eel of History: Hillary Clinton, Emailgate and the FBI

      Tactics of minimisation have been central to Hillary Clinton’s political career. When stumbling takes place, go for the established book of deflective rules. When violations of the law take place, explain that it was normal at the time. Suggest that others had engaged in a form of conduct only subsequently frowned upon.

      Such tactics should be kept in the dustbin of history. For the Clintons, they have consistently worked, giving that particular not so holy family a particularly nasty sense of political entitlement. They remain the ghouls of the US political establishment, paying (or rather withholding) tribute to the dead ideas of liberalism.

      Evidently, the inappropriate use of a private server to conduct what were classified communications and potentially accessible to third-parties, did not seem grave enough a breach to warrant criminal charges.

      That was the preliminary finding by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is concluding its investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State. The Bureau had received the referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General seeking answers on whether classified information had been transmitted on that personal system during her time in office.

    • Poll finds majority of Americans disagree with FBI in Clinton e-mail flap

      A poll out Monday concludes that a majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presumptive nominee for president who has been embroiled in a scandal involving her treatment of classified e-mail when she was Secretary of State.

      The ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted by Langer Research Associates found that 56 percent of those surveyed said they “disapprove” of FBI Director James Comey’s decision last week. Attorney General Loretta Lynch backed the recommendation. Thirty five percent answered that they “approve” of the decision. About 9 percent of respondents said they had “no opinion” on the issue.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • #WebOfDenial: Senators to Call Out Big Oil’s Blockade of Climate Action

      Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.), Al Franken (D-N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) on Monday introduced a resolution (pdf) condemning “efforts of corporations and groups to mislead the public about the harmful effects of tobacco, lead, and climate” and urging “fossil fuel corporations and their allies to cooperate with investigations into their climate-related activities.”

      The senators will take to the Senate floor on Monday and Tuesday to call out the influential groups and individuals like the right-wing Koch brothers, ExxonMobil, and Donors Trust, among other entities, for creating what they describe as “a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

    • Latest Leak Shows How TTIP Puts US-EU Clean Energy Goals in ‘Mortal Danger’

      A new leak provides further confirmation that the pro-corporate TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and European Union would result in “a giant leap backward in our fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

    • If Chávez Were Alive Today, Would the Situation in Venezuela be Different?

      US policy since Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998 has been regime change to return the oil-rich South American nation to the neo-liberal fold. After 17 years of Chávista polices, the US wants nothing more than for poor Venezuelans to suffer as much as possible – to make their economy scream – so that the popular movement will grow dissatisfied with the socialist inclined leadership.

    • Three Ideas for a Fairer and Cleaner Asia

      Community Forest Management Indonesia’s deforestation is chronic.15.8million hectares of forest were lost between 2000 and 2012. The devastation ruins local livelihoods and increases global warming. Big businesses are often responsible, implementing large-scale projects characterized by land grabs, disrespect for farmers, and a lack of understanding of traditional forest management methods.

    • Exxon Is Still Helping Fund The Spread Of Climate Denial

      ExxonMobil — the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company — has had an interesting year. In September, two investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times revealed that the company’s own scientists had recognized the dangers posed by climate change as far back as 1977, and yet did nothing about it. Those revelations sparked a cascade of calls from politicians demanding an investigation into whether or not Exxon knowingly mislead shareholders, and the public, about climate change. Currently, 17 attorneys general have subpoenaed Exxon for internal documents.

      The increased public scrutiny, however, does not seem to be stopping Exxon from giving money to groups that actively fund climate misinformation and oppose climate legislation.

    • Disturbing forests damages natural diversity

      Then, having made their counts of specified plants, birds and dung beetles, they made their extrapolations. And their calculation of equivalent biodiversity loss – that is, the area of forest that would have protected the lost creatures – was at least 92,000 sq km, and possibly an area bigger than Greece.

      “Even this lowest estimate is greater than the area deforested across the entire Brazilian Amazon between 2006 and 2015,” they write. “These results demonstrate an urgent need for policy interventions that go beyond the maintenance of forest cover to safeguard the hyper-diversity of tropical forest ecosystems.”

    • Duke Energy ups bond demand from nonprofits challenging fracked gas plant to $240M

      But now Duke Energy is asking for a $240 million bond, arguing that the groups’ appeal of the fast-tracked project would delay construction. The company and NCUC are citing a never-before-used provision of a 1963 state law to justify the bond demand.

      The nonprofits would have to pay the bond only if they lose their case against the plant in court. NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren told The News & Observer that he would “find it hard to believe we’d gamble money in that saloon.”

    • How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change

      The “solution” offered by many experts is to double down on industrial agriculture and genetic modification. But doing so ignores how natural systems function and interact and assumes we can do better. History shows such hubris often leads to unexpected negative results. Others are attempting to understand how to work within nature’s systems, using agroecological methods.

    • TTIP leak rebuts EU pledge to tackle climate change, say green activists

      The European Union’s proposal for a chapter on energy and raw materials in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement was leaked on Monday, just as the fourteenth round of talks between the EU and US got underway in Brussels.

      However, the EU’s plans have been criticised by the European wing of Friends of the Earth. Its economic justice programme coordinator Paul de Clerck said: “The EU’s leaked proposal on TTIP and energy is in complete contradiction with Europe’s commitments to tackle climate change, and the Paris agreement. It will flood the EU market with inefficient appliances, and consumers and the climate will foot the bill. The proposal will also hinder measures to promote renewable electricity production from wind and solar.”

      Green MEP Claude Turmes told the Guardian: “These proposals are completely unacceptable. They would sabotage EU legislators’ ability to privilege renewables and energy efficiency over unsustainable fossil fuels. This is an attempt to undermine democracy in Europe.”

    • Britain must urgently prepare for flooding, heatwaves and food shortages, says Government report

      Urgent action must be taken to protect Britain from flooding, deadly heatwaves, water shortages and an international food crisis that will all become increasing risks as the Earth warms, according to a Government report.

      Writing in the Climate Change Risk Assessment report, leading scientist Lord Krebs stressed there was “no question” that the primary response to climate change should be to reduce greenhouse gases.

      But he added that it was still “crucial to prepare for the inevitable changes” that will occur because of the emissions that have already been pumped into the atmosphere.

  • Finance

    • Seven ways to future-proof your IT contracts post-Brexit

      The UK’s Brexit vote has created a profound level of uncertainty – and IT firms in particular will be worried about how the legal and regulatory environment will change when the government formally gives notice to leave the EU.

      EU laws come in different varieties. There are directives that have been implemented into UK law by the UK Parliament, and the implementing legislation will continue to apply unless and until the laws are amended or replaced. There are also regulations that have direct application on the UK as a member state. These laws will not apply to the UK when it is no longer part of the EU, and so the UK will have to decide how to replace such laws, if it decides to at all.

    • A Tough Time for Conventional Wisdom

      The recent vote in favor of Brexit is only the latest case of failed conventional wisdom.

    • Cavaliers and Roundheads: four thoughts about the Article 50 litigation

      There are three potential cases against the government on Article 50, demanding that the ultimate decision on Brexit be made by parliament and not the prime minister under the royal prerogative.

    • Rethinking recovery: poverty chains and global capitalism

      Global inequality has never been greater. For example, the wealth of the world’s richest 62 people, who between them have more wealth than half of the world’s population, rose by 44% between 2010 and 2015. Over the same period the wealth of the bottom 50% of humanity fell by approximately 38%.

    • How New Jersey Has Embraced ‘State-Sanctioned Loan-Sharking’ to Students

      New Jersey has the country’s largest state-based student loan program. It’s also incredibly unforgiving. For this ProPublica Podcast, I talked with our own Annie Waldman about her story on what one bankruptcy attorney described at New Jersey’s “state-sanctioned loan sharking.” Waldman found one mother who has been required to keep paying off her son’s loans even after he was murdered.

    • EFF Joins Stars to Rock Against the TPP and Finally Defeat It

      One of the hardest pills to swallow about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is that our opinion about it (and yours) really isn’t worth much. When we look at the only three industries that have reportedly been holding up passage of the deal through Congress—big pharma, big tobacco and big finance—we can reach no other conclusion. That’s not the way it should be, but after five years of us constantly battling this undemocratic agreement with very little to show for it, that seems to be the way it is.

      This makes us angry. And when we get angry, we like to rock.

      That’s why we’re supporting Rock Against the TPP, an ambitious free music festival and rally around the country, principally organized by our friends at Fight for the Future, in collaboration with guitarist Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage, and Audioslave) and his new label Firebrand Records. Joining Morello to headline the tour will be hip hop star Talib Kweli, actress Evangeline Lilly (star of Lost and the Hobbit), and a diverse line-up of other big-name acts (check out the full line-up in each city below).

      But Rock Against the TPP is more than just an opportunity for us to rock out and vent our frustrations about this toxic deal—it could also be the key to finally sinking it once and for all. How? Because although big money unfortunately holds great power over our representatives in Congress, there’s one thing that means even more to them—the voice of the people. But only when it’s loud enough—and that’s where the idea of a music festival comes in. If we can get thousands of ordinary music lovers to rise up against the TPP, this may be just the kind of groundswell of public sentiment that politicians can no longer ignore.

    • How the Super-Rich Will Destroy Themselves

      Perhaps they believe that their underground survival bunkers with bullet-resistant doors and geothermal power and anti-chemical air filters and infrared surveillance devices and pepper spray detonators will sustain them for two or three generations.

      Perhaps they feel immune from the killings in the streets, for they rarely venture into the streets anymore. They don’t care about the great masses of ordinary people, nor do they think they need us.

      Or do they? There are a number of ways that the super-rich, because of their greed and lack of empathy for others, may be hastening their own demise, while taking the rest of us with them.

    • Why the Opt Out Movement is Crucial for the Future of Public Education

      Save your child. Save your schools. Stop the corporate takeover of public education. You have the power. Say no. Opt out.

    • Vanishing the People’s Wealth to Make the Bosses Richer

      magine you are a shareholder in a big company and the top executives are sitting on huge amounts of cash and are not interested in putting it to work through productive capital investments, research and development, reducing company debt or paying employees a higher wage. What would you want done about it? Since you and other shareholders are the owners of the company, you’d likely say “give us back our money in cash dividends.”

      “No way,” say your hired hands, the company managers, who have spent a staggering $2.1 trillion of your money in the last five years on stock buybacks allegedly to increase the company’s earnings per share ratio, instead of increasing shareholder dividends. Overall this tactic has not been working over time except to make the corporate bosses richer, which is the real reason for many buybacks.

      What is the incentive for this cash burning frenzy? According to University of Massachusetts scholar, William Lazonick, in 2012 the 500 highest-paid executives received 52% of their remuneration from stock options and another 26% from stock awards.

    • Justice Department Overruled Recommendation to Pursue Charges Against HSBC, Report Says

      U.S. Justice Department officials overruled their prosecutors’ recommendation to pursue criminal charges against HSBC Holdings PLC over money-laundering failings, according to a House committee report prepared by Republicans that sheds new light on the bank’s 2012 settlement.

    • As Part of Confirmation Process, Loretta Lynch Suggested DOJ Didn’t Have Enough Evidence to Prosecute HSBC

      The report blames Eric Holder for the decision, not Loretta Lynch, who oversaw the case as US Attorney. Indeed, her name doesn’t appear in the WSJ story at all.

    • Why TTIP will live on – but not for the EU

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – also known as TTIP – could be the next casualty in the Brexit fallout. But not in the way you might expect. The controversial trade agreement between the EU and United States could well fall apart, only for the UK to pick up the pieces for its own trade deal.

    • How MBA Programs Drive Inequality

      Over the last several decades, American business executives have made decisions that have exacerbated the inequality that chokes prosperity for the country. They have misallocated resources and they have awarded themselves mind-boggling compensation packages while workers have suffered stagnant wages and increasing job insecurity. The stats are shocking: In 1965, a typical CEO took in about 20 times what an average employee earned, while the latest figures from the AFL-CIO put current CEO pay at 373 times what the average worker makes. (Amazingly, according to a forthcoming paper for the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) by Matt Hopkins and William Lazonick, even that ratio is grossly underestimated because it is based on grant-date fair value estimates of what stock options and stock awards might be worth, rather than how much CEOs actually take home when they exercise stock options and when stock awards vest).

    • Right-Sizing the Financial Sector in Post-Brexit Europe

      The vote in the UK to leave the European Union (EU) has set off a race among major European financial centers like Paris, Frankfurt and Milan to capture much of the financial industry that is now located in London. As a result of EU rules, it will be difficult to conduct many of the transactions which now take place in London if the UK is no longer part of the EU. This means that a large part of London’s financial industry will soon be looking for a new home.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Democrats Should Be Cheering For Bernie Sanders

      There’s been truly horrible news the past couple of days: Google Alton Sterling or Philando Castille if you somehow missed it. And there’s been nasty political news: Donald Trump and his ‘sheriff’s star.’ Those events are, sadly, predictable, and all the more troubling because of that predictability.

      Buried in the newsfeed, however, is one event that seems weird — and troubling too, though in a different way. That’s the story that members of the House Democratic caucus booed Bernie Sanders in a meeting on Wednesday.

      Really? Booed the guy that 45 percent of Democrats supported in the primary? Booed the guy that all year long has been the most favorably viewed politician in America? Booed the guy that got more votes from young people in the primaries than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined?

    • Why Black Lives Don’t Matter To The NRA

      Two men were brutally killed by police this week for carrying guns. One told the officer he had a legal license to carry, and the other allegedly had a concealed gun in a state where carrying without a license is legal. But don’t expect outrage from the National Rifle Association.

      The country’s largest gun lobby has fought tirelessly in recent years to expand gun ownership to all Americans, successfully securing the right for people to legally carry both open and concealed firearms virtually anywhere they want. In Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was shot Tuesday night at a convenience store, a license is not required to openly carry a firearm. And in Minnesota, where Philando Castile was shot on Wednesday during a traffic stop, people with permits can carry weapons, openly or concealed.

    • Despicable Bedfellows: NRA Endorses Trump with $2 Million National Ad Campaign

      Here’s a match made in the fire-pits of hell: Donald Trump just received an endorsement in the form of a $2 million national ad campaign sponsored by the NRA Political Victory Fund.

    • Don’t Stop the Revolution: The Sanders Movement After Orlando

      Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution” scored some impressive wins this weekend at the Democratic Party Platform Committee meeting in Orlando, adding to its victories last month in St. Louis. ABC News called the resulting document “exceptionally progressive.”

      Apparently Sanders had more leverage after the California primary than his critics were willing to admit.

      To be sure, there were also some losses – most notably on getting the party on record opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But this new movement has already had a major impact on American politics. It’s likely to have even more in the months and years to come.

    • Don’t Endorse Hillary Before the Convention: An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders

      As such, I am alarmed by what I have been reading about your possible endorsement of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire tomorrow. I am asking that you hold off on an endorsement until after the vote, that you not place her name into nomination using a vote by acclamation and that you exercise your option afforded you by the minority report signed at the platform committee meeting to force a vote on the Hightower amendment opposing the TPP in Philadelphia.

    • Sanders May Endorse Clinton as Dems Adopt ‘Most Progressive Platform’

      Bernie Sanders is reportedly poised to endorse Hillary Clinton for president at their first joint campaign appearance on Tuesday.

      Both teams confirmed Monday that the Vermont senator would join the former secretary of state during a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they would “discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

      Many saw that as an indication he would endorse Clinton. As NPR explains, “The phrasing is significant, in that it references both Clinton’s general-election campaign slogan, ‘Stronger Together,’ and the animating issue and the heart of Sanders primary bid—income inequality.”

    • Theresa May to become new PM after Tory rival Leadsom withdraws

      Theresa May will enter Downing street as Britain’s second female prime minister, a rapid ascent to the premiership that came after her sole remaining challenger withdrew from the leadership race.

      The home secretary’s coronation cuts short what was expected to be a bruising nine-week contest with Andrea Leadsom, and will bring an end to David Cameron’s six-year tenure in No 10, when he will offer his resignation to the Queen after this week’s prime minister’s questions.

      May has just two days to prepare herself for the premiership and address the pressing questions about who will be in her cabinet, how she will unite the party after the battle over Brexit and her preparations for the negotiations to leave the European Union.

      On Monday, May, who had campaigned for remain in the EU referendum, said she was “honoured and humbled” to have been chosen by her party, before offering an olive branch to colleagues who backing leaving the EU by declaring that she would “make a success” of Brexit.

    • ‘Divisive, Illiberal and Calculating’ Theresa May to be Crowned UK Prime Minister

      Conservative Party candidate Theresa May is set to be the new UK prime minister as her intra-party opponent, Andrea Leadsom, dropped out of the race on Monday in another post-Brexit political upheaval.

      May received 199 votes from other Members of Parliament versus Leadsom’s 84 votes. The home office secretary is now expected to be formally confirmed by the Conservative Party board and the chairman of the Tory 1922 committee, clearing the way for her to be appointed prime minister by Tory MPs, who also have a majority in the House of Commons.

    • Theresa May: What the MP set to become Prime Minister believes on human rights

      Theresa May is about to become Prime Minister after a career of opposing legislation that guarantees equality and human rights.

      The MP and home secretary has repeatedly indicated that she would look to repeal laws that guarantee human rights in Britain. She also has a record of voting against equality legislation and measures that prevent climate change.

      Most recently, at the end of May, Theresa May voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act. She has repeatedly criticised human rights legislation for limiting the powers of government – a position that has led to criticism even from fellow cabinet members.

    • Britain: Shakespeare in Action

      It’s a bit like a Shakespeare play – specifically the final scene of Hamlet, when almost all the play’s major characters die violently. And now we’re down to one. Her name is Theresa May.

      It has been barely three weeks since the United Kingdom (or at least, 52 percent of those who voted) chose to leave the European Union, but all the main Brexit leaders have already left the stage. The Conservative Party has always been notable for its ruthlessness, and leaders who threaten to split the party get short shrift.

      The first to go was Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum expecting that a pro-EU outcome would finally make the anti-EU obsessives on the right of his own Conservative Party shut up. It was a needless, fatal blunder.

      Cameron allowed some of his own cabinet members to campaign for “Brexit”, in the belief that they would return to the fold, chastened by defeat, when the country voted for “Remain”. Instead, the “Leave” campaign won, and Cameron announced his resignation the morning after the referendum.

    • Fear Factor: Trump the Boogeyman

      Little did he anticipate that his appeal to white nationalism would mean more to the Republican rank and file than proposals to cut taxes for rich people or defund Planned Parenthood.

    • Labour, Jeremy Corbyn and the search for the party’s Henry VII
    • The Alternative to Fervent Nationalism Isn’t Corporate Liberalism—It’s Social Democracy

      In his 1946 essay reviewing former Trotskyist-turned-reactionary James Burnham’s book The Managerial Revolution, George Orwell made several observations that resonate just as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.

      “The real question,” he wrote, “is not whether the people who wipe their boots on us during the next fifty years are to be called managers, bureaucrats, or politicians: the question is whether capitalism, now obviously doomed, is to give way to oligarchy or to true democracy.”

      Orwell recognized what many today fail to perceive: That free market capitalism is, in the words of Karl Polanyi, a “stark Utopia,” a system that does not exist, and one that would not survive for long if it ever came into existence.

      But for Orwell, the question was not how (or whether) the crises of capitalism that rocked both Europe and the United States in the 20th century would be solved — the question was: what would take the place of an economic order that was clearly on its way out?

    • Donald Trump’s Anti-Establishment Scam

      Early on in his presidential bid, Donald Trump began touting his anti-establishment credentials. When it worked, he ran with it. It was a posture that proved pure gold in the Republican primaries, and was even, in one sense, true. After all, he’d never been part of the political establishment nor held public office, nor had any of his family members or wives.

      His actual relationship to the establishment is, however, complex in an opportunistic way. He’s regularly tweeted his disdain for it. (“I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?”) And yet, he clearly considered himself part of it and has, at times, yearned for it. As he said early on in his run for the presidency, “I want the establishment—look, I was part of the establishment. Let me explain. I was the establishment two months ago. I was like the fair-haired boy. I was a giver, a big giver. Once I decided to run, all of a sudden I’m sort of semi-anti-establishment.”

      An outsider looking to shake up the government status quo? An insider looking to leverage that establishment for his own benefit? What was he? He may not himself have known.

      He once rejected the idea of taking establishment (or Super PAC) money, only—more recently—to seek it; he rebuffed certain prominent establishment players, only to hire others to help him (and fire yet more of them). He’s railed against the establishment, then tried to rally it to his side (even as he denounced it yet again). Now, with the general election only four months away, it turns out that he’s going to need that establishment if he is to have a hope in hell of raising the money and organizing the troops effectively enough to be elected. There, however, is the rub: power brokers don’t suffer the slings and arrows of “outsider” scorn lightly.

    • The Huckster Populist

      The tectonic plates of American politics are no longer moving along the old fault lines of “left” versus “right” or even Democrat versus Republican.

      As we’ve seen this bizarre political year, the biggest force welling up is rage against insider elites in both parties, and against the American establishment as a whole – including the denizens of Wall Street, large corporations, and the mainstream media.

      Now, with Bernie Sanders essentially out of the race, Donald Trump wants Americans to believe he’s the remaining anti-establishment candidate.

      It’s smart politics but it’s a hoax.

    • TPP and Democratic Self-Delusion

      There were three issues, however, where Sanders’ delegates lost: opposition to Israeli settlements, a ban on fracking, and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

      The first two make sense: after all, those policy positions match Hillary’s stated position (though the US is supposed to be opposed to illegal settlements), so rejecting Sanders’ amendments equated to backing the nominee instead. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

      But Hillary, of course, claimed to oppose the TPP during the primary, even if that claim was always sketchy coming as it did as she worked so hard to negotiate the crappy deal as Secretary of State. So the mealy-mouthed language in the platform about protecting workers — akin to the same language in the Colombia Trade Deal that did squat to protect workers — is more notable.

      As is the idiotic opinion expressed by this person, described by Robert Reich as an acquaintance from the Clinton White House.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Pablo Escobar’s Brother Demands One Billion Dollars From Netflix Over Narcos

      What is it with South American historical figures suddenly thinking they can control everything to do with their family names? You’ll hopefully recall the brief existence of a case of publicity rights violation brought against Activision by Manuel Noriega over the depiction of him in the gamemaker’s Call of Duty series. That case was quickly tossed out by the court because the First Amendment has just an tiny bit more weight when it comes to artistic expression than does any publicity rights for public historical figures from other countries that might, maybe, kinda-sorta exist, possibly. We might have struggled at the time to find a complainant less likely than Noriega to win this sort of long-shot in the American court system, but we need struggle no longer.

      Roberto Escobar, brother and former accountant to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, has sent a letter to Netflix demanding a billion dollars (not a joke) and the right to review all future episodes of the streaming company’s hit show Narcos, to make sure that he and his family are portrayed accurately. The letter, first published by TMZ (which explains the massive TMZ watermark on it) is quite a read.

    • Sony Pictures Legal Affairs VP Files Bogus DMCA Notice Because His Salary Is Listed On Wikileaks

      Yeah, so the Sony Pictures hack is basically old news at this point. People have gone through it for all the juicy details and it’s been out of the news for quite some time. So, apparently, one Sony “legal affairs” exec decided that perhaps he could engage in a little copyfraud to try to hide some info without anyone noticing. As TorrentFreak first noticed, however, Sony Pictures Legal Affairs VP Daniel Yankelevits wasn’t particularly subtle in sending a DMCA notice to Google, asking it to delist the Wikileaks page with a search engine for all of the Sony Hack emails.

    • Standing in solidarity with Turkey’s journalists

      We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Turkey who fiercely continue their job despite facing relentless attacks and attempts to silence them. We also express our support to the 44 journalists and distributors in jail and to those facing arrest as retaliation for their exercise of their right to freedom of expression and freedom to inform.

      I am a journalist!

      Journalism is not a crime.

    • Facebook Sued for $1 Billion for Alleged Use of Medium for Terror

      Lawyers filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook Inc., alleging it allowed the Palestinian militant Hamas group to use the platform to plot attacks that killed four Americans and wounded one in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

      “Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social network platform and communication services,” making it liable for the violence against the five Americans, according to the lawsuit sent to Bloomberg by the office of the Israeli lawyer on the case, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

    • Twitter Now Flipflopping On The Issue Of Archiving Deleted Tweets By Public Verified Figures

      Politwoops, meanwhile, remains up and active. So, it seems that notoriety and status as a public figure are not the standard by which Twitter applies its tweet archiving rules. Instead, the space carved out for politicians and public servants appears to be a special one where the likes of celebrities and professional athletes do not operate. But if that is the line Twitter wishes to draw in its cyber-sand, it’s a strange one.

      In areas of law, the status of public figure-hood, as opposed to public servant, is typically the standard by which all kinds of laws are applied (such as the availability to parody, applicability of defamation laws, etc.). And there’s good reason for this: the goal is to foster conversation and knowledge that is in the public interest. The public’s interest need not be confined to politics, thankfully, yet Twitter’s choices appear to reserve separate rules for the political class. I can understand why Twitter might think this makes sense. After all, I find the drunken midnight thoughts of senators far more compelling than those of a UFC fighter. But my interest isn’t the same as the public interest.

      Twitter can engage in this flipflopping, of course. It’s their platform, after all, and they can keep it as arbitrarily closed as they like. The question becomes whether that makes the service more or less useful for the everyday Twitter user. And that’s a question that I think has an obvious answer.

    • Questionable DMCA Takedown Notice Filed Over Post Calling Lawyer Out For Copyright Infringement

      Today’s the day for bogus DMCA takedowns by clueless lawyers trying to hide embarrassing information, I guess. Earlier today we had a story about a legal exec at Sony Pictures issuing a completely bogus DMCA takedown over his salary info being included in the Sony Hacks email dump. And now we turn to Carl David Ceder, a young criminal defense lawyer in Texas. If you recognize that name, it might be because a much more well-known and established criminal defense lawyer, Scott Greenfield, wrote a few blog posts about young Carl a few years ago, when he discovered that Carl had been beefing up the content on his professional website by simply plagiarizing the content of other, more established legal bloggers, and posting it as if it were his own thoughts. To put it mildly, Carl did not respond well to this and sent a few barely comprehensible rants blaming everyone but himself, and never actually apologizing for copying someone else’s content wholesale.

      Now, there are lots of ways to deal with this kind of thing. One could admit it was a mistake, but that doesn’t seem to be in Carl David Ceder’s nature. And, of course, around here, we’re certainly willing to consider fair use arguments for copying material, though Carl presents none, and, indeed, it appears there’s little fair use claim he could make for what he did. There’s a pretty strong argument that he engaged in both plagiarism (claiming someone else’s work as your own) and copyright infringement, and from his response, didn’t appear to understand either issue, or why some people were concerned about it.

    • CUNY Responds To BDS Activism On Campuses With Move To Control Free Expression

      The City University of New York (CUNY), one of the nation’s largest public college systems, has proposed a policy to regulate freedom of expression. A graduate of CUNY’s School of Law and co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild, Suzanne Adely, says Palestinian solidarity activism was partly responsible for the proposal.

      “It’s our belief that the reason why this policy was drafted in 2013 and again reintroduced in 2016 has a lot to do with pressure that has been coming from institutions and politicians that seek to silence any criticism of Israel on campus,” Adely contended.

      This example is one of many—including disinviting commencement speakers and demonstrating against screenings—seen nationwide as college administrators have struggled to find a suitable response to student demonstrations. Even some faculty are worried. For them, it is attack on free speech and expression.

    • NYT’s James Risen & Abby Martin on Fighting Censorship, Endless War
    • Online surveillance: we all have something to hide

      We’ve all got secrets. We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of. We’ve all done things we’re worried about. We’ve all done things we’re embarrassed of.

      Yes, we’ve all got something to hide.

      Despite Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of a secret US/UK mass electronic surveillance program worldwide, it’s almost every other day that I still come across otherwise intelligent minds who insist that they do not fear online privacy invasions because they’ve either ‘done nothing wrong’ or have ‘nothing to hide’.

      In order to try and bring closure to these long-iterated arguments, a string of organisations from the likes of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to journalists such as Glenn Greenwald have long made the case as to why, in an era when we’re increasingly connected by machines to a worldwide network, bulk online surveillance is a danger to us all.

    • Reporters Without Borders says Marie Colvin murdered by Assad regime
    • Family of U.S. Journalist Killed in Syria Sues Assad Regime
    • War reporter Marie Colvin’s family sues Syria
    • Family Of Slain US Journalist Wants The Syrian Regime Brought To Justice
    • Slain journalist Marie Colvin’s family files lawsuit alleging she was targeted and killed by the Syrian government
    • ANC reiterates opposition to SABC censorship
    • Mantashe: The ANC stands firmly against censorship at the SABC
    • ‘Censorship has no place in a democracy’ – Sanef on Icasa’s SABC ruling
    • Hlaudi accuses other media organisations of also censoring news
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • House uprising thwarts change to Patriot Act

      The House failed to pass legislation on Monday to enhance a provision of the Patriot Act that encourages banks to tip off federal authorities to suspected cases of terrorist financing.

      Many libertarians warned of potential privacy violations if the measure went into effect, which helped prevent it from reaching the necessary two-thirds majority to pass through the fast-track process under which it was considered.

      While the bill won a simple majority of 229-177, it didn’t clear the supermajority bar needed for passage. The procedure is typically used for noncontroversial bills that pass easily.

      Section 314 of the Patriot Act, which Congress enacted in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, encourages financial institutions and the federal government to share information with each other about transactions connected to terrorism.

      Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.), who authored the bill with Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said it would help clarify the intent of the law so that financial institutions can file reports of suspicious activity without fear of civil litigation.

    • How to stay anonymous online

      Anonymity networks protect people living under repressive regimes from surveillance of their Internet use. But the recent discovery of vulnerabilities in the most popular of these networks — Tor — has prompted computer scientists to try to come up with more secure anonymity schemes.

      At the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in July, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne will present a new anonymity scheme that provides strong security guarantees but uses bandwidth much more efficiently than its predecessors. In experiments, the researchers’ system required only one-tenth as much time as existing systems to transfer a large file between anonymous users.

    • Riffle: MIT Creates New Anonymity Network Which Is More Secure Than TOR

      Researchers at MIT and EPFL have come up with a new anonymity network that is said to be more secure than Tor. It’s a mix network which implements methods like verifiable shuffle and Authentication Encryption. The researchers will showcase it at a tech symposium later this month.

    • ISIS via WhatsApp: ‘Blow Yourself Up, O Lion’ [Ed: not end-to-end encryption]

      Executives at WhatsApp and Telegram defend encryption as a vital shield to privacy. Reached for comment last week, a spokesperson at WhatsApp said the company complies with U.S. laws requiring cooperation with law enforcement agencies. The spokesperson cited a statement by executives in April when WhatsApp implemented “end-to-end” encryption that will conceal the content of users’ communications even from the company itself.

    • Sweden Considers Making DNA Donated Purely For Medical Research Available To Police And Insurance Companies

      When it comes to biometrics, you really can’t beat DNA. You can always erase your fingerprints, or wear contact lenses to fool iris scanners, but there’s no way of changing all your DNA enough to make it unrecognizable (even with the new CRISPR technique). Couple that with the fact that we are shedding DNA everywhere we go — leaving tell-tale markers on everything we touch — and you have the perfect surveillance mechanism. That’s why earlier UK plans to give police access to medical databases are problematic, to say nothing of Kuwait’s mandatory DNA database for all citizens, residents and visitors.

    • Privacy Shield May Not Be “Schrems-Proof”, But Passage Expected

      The European Commission is expected to pass a controversial declaration on the “adequacy of US data protection standards” on 12 July, making transfers of personal data from the European Union to the United States legal once more.

    • Polish Authorities Demand British Law Enforcement Interrogate Tor Exit Node Operator About Information He Doesn’t Have

      Of course, the great thing about Tor is that White couldn’t help the Polish authorities even he wanted to, since he was just operating the exit node, and knows nothing about the origin of the Tor traffic he facilitates. The sooner governments learn this basic fact, the sooner they can stop wasting time and resources trying to extract information from people that don’t have it.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Clintonites in Democratic Party Back Settler Colonialism (Not a 1905 Headline)

      The Clinton loyalists debating the Democratic Party platform have defeated an amendment that would have called for an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and condemned Israeli squatter settlements illegal.

      The Democratic Party, in other words, backs the principle of colonialism no less than if it declared that the British should take back over India, that French commandos should storm the presidential palace in Algiers, or that the US army should march through the streets of Manila and reoccupy the Philippines. Maybe, in fact, the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party would like to rescind the Declaration of Independence and accede to the United Kingdom? With Scotland talking about leaving, there might be a place opening up, and we could get the redcoats back to harass us.

    • New York Times Public Editor Scolded For Suggesting Websites Should Treat News Commenters Like Actual Human Beings

      For some time now, the opinion du jour in “enlightened” media circles has been to treat the news comment section (aka the customers who visit your website daily and directly) as some kind of irredeemable leper colony. One that should be nuked from orbit before the infection spreads. As such, we’ve seen website after website proudly crow about how they’ve given up on allowing site comments because a handful of posters are obnoxious, hateful little shits and the social media age means more direct community interaction is passe.

      These announcements usually come hand in hand with all manner of disingenuous platitudes from the editorial staff, like we killed comments because we wanted to “build relationships,” or we muzzled our entire user base because we just “really value conversation.” Usually, this is just code for websites that are too lazy and cheap to moderate, weed and cultivate their community garden, and find it convenient to argue that outsourcing discourse to the homogenized blather realm of Facebook is an improvement.

    • Theresa May, UK’s Next Prime Minister, Has A Human Rights Record That May Raise Some Eyebrows

      Theresa May, 59, will take over the United Kingdom’s role of Prime Minister from David Cameron by Wednesday, British media reported Monday.

      May, who will be the first woman to lead the U.K. since Margaret Thatcher, is a Conservative MP and has been Home Secretary since 2010. Her main challenger, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out after realizing support for her competitor was much stronger. May received 60 percent of the vote from Conservative MPs. Despite her anti-Brexit position, she’s said that the U.K. will continue its split from the E.U. under her leadership.

      “First, the need for strong, proven leadership to steer us through what will be difficult and uncertain economic and political times, the need, of course, to negotiate the best deal for Britain in leaving the EU, and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world,” she said in a statement on Monday. “Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a success of it.”

    • Copspeak: 7 Ways Journalists Use Police Jargon to Obscure the Truth

      The close relationship between reporters and police is often marked by diffusion of language from the police PR team to the front page. In the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, here are some examples of how “copspeak” — or jargon used by police departments — is internalized by journalists covering police violence, and how it affects the public’s perception of crime and police brutality.

    • Controversies at Berkeley, and Long Le Describes New Types of High-Technology “less-lethal” Weapons

      In the second half-hour: U-S police forces will soon be adding new types of high-technology “less-lethal” weapons, but these devices are likely to pose greater complications for officer accountability and civilian oversight; researcher Long Le explains some of the issues.

    • Images of Militarized Police in Baton Rouge Draw Global Attention

      Photographs and video of heavily armed police officers wearing body armor and helmets arresting protesters in Baton Rouge over the weekend reverberated on social networks and in the world’s media, focusing new attention on the militarization of police forces across the United States.

      The image that drew the most comment, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, showed a young woman in a dress standing serenely on a road outside the Baton Rouge Police headquarters as two Louisiana State Police officers dressed for battle rushed to arrest her.

    • Police Murder Because They Are Trained To Murder

      First, we know that the police have been, or are being, militarized. They are armed with weapons of war that hitherto have been used only on battlefields. We don’t know why police are armed in this way, as such weapons are not necessary for policing the American public and are not used in police work anywhere except in Israeli-occupied Palestine.

      There is an undeclared agenda behind these weapons, and neither Congress nor the presstitute media have any apparent interest in discovering the hidden agenda.

    • What to Do If You Get Pulled Over by a Cop and You’re Legally Armed

      Last summer, in the wake of the arrest and tragic death of Sandra Bland, following what should have been a routine traffic stop in Prairie View, Texas, I encouraged readers to understand their legal rights, but cautioned them not to “give the police an excuse to mistreat [them] or pile on additional charges.”

      Among my suggestions were the reminders that you have the right to remain silent, you don’t have to consent to have your car searched, you have the right to ask the police whether you’re free to go if you haven’t been arrested, and if you are arrested, you have the right to ask for an attorney—which you should do immediately. I also stressed the importance of staying calm.

    • Ever Use Someone Else’s Password? Go to Jail, says the Ninth Circuit

      This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case called United States v. Nosal, held 2-1 that using someone else’s password, even with their knowledge and permission, is a federal criminal offense. This dangerous ruling threatens to upend a good decision that the Ninth Circuit sitting en banc—i.e., with 11 judges, not just 3—made in 2012 in the same case. EFF filed an amicus brief in the case and our arguments were echoed by the strong dissent, authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt. We’re pleased that a further appeal is planned and will be supporting it as well.

      This decision turns on the notorious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and supports one of the most troubling applications of the law—prosecutions based on password sharing. As EFF has long warned, read broadly, the CFAA can be used to turn millions of ordinary computer users into criminals. This leaves innocent people to only hope that a prosecutor will not decide to throw a book at them, as they’ve been know to do in CFAA cases. Carmen Ortiz, a federal prosecutor, did exactly that to our friend Aaron Swartz. This threat underscores both the need for courts to course correct—to narrowly interpret the statute’s overbroad language—or, alternatively, for Congress to step in and clarify the vague terms. For instance, what does “authority” mean in the context of our increasingly interconnected world, where we use someone else’s computer every single day for our email, our entertainment, our social networks, our banking, our health care, and more?

      This appeal involves whether David Nosal, a former employee of executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry, violated the CFAA when other Korn/Ferry ex-employees, on Nosal’s behalf, used the password of a current employee, with her permission, to access an internal company database. This occurred after the company had expressly revoked Nosal’s own login credentials to prevent him from accessing the database.

    • The Next Step for Organized Labor? People in Prison.

      400,000 Americans are employed as prison labor across the United States.

      [...]

      In the early 2000s, the small but militant Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) launched union drives at Starbucks and Jimmy John’s. At the time, many in the mainstream labor movement scratched their heads. Traditionally, labor groups believed that the high turnover of fast food workers would make them impossible to organize.

      Nearly a decade later, fast food workers and the Fight for $15 are a central focus of the mainstream labor movement. And, given IWW’s ability to unionize workers who once seemed out of reach, many labor organizers now look to them as an incubator of new organizing strategies.

      Now IWW faces one of the biggest challenges in its history: convincing the broader labor movement to embrace the approximately 400,000 Americans employed as prison labor across the U.S.

    • Ending the Violence with Meaningful Solutions

      The justice, legal and prison systems rose to the top because the U.S. currently incarcerates 25% of the world’s prison population, even though we have only 5% of the world’s population, and our lower levels of social services and mental healthcare for those living in poverty mean that prisons become the places we often institutionalize the mentally ill.

    • Policing isn’t working for cops either

      Those were the words of four-year-old Dae’Anna, consoling her mother Lavish Reynolds after she witnessed the police shoot and kill her boyfriend Philando Castile.

      Those words are now scarred into the psyche of America, much like words that came before it: “Hands up, don’t shoot.” “I can’t breath.” “It’s not real.”

      If you haven’t realized that the system of policing isn’t working for the black community, you haven’t been paying attention. Just hours after the killing of Alton Sterling, a four-year-old child witnessed someone getting shot and bleeding out while she sat in the backseat. The system didn’t work for her, her mother or for Philando Castile. The system didn’t work for Alton Sterling, or for Mike Brown, or for Freddie Gray or for countless others.

      But here’s something we miss in this climate of police violence: the system of policing isn’t working for those working in law enforcement either. It doesn’t serve anyone.

    • Why Liberal New York City’s Schools Are Among the Nation’s Most Segregated

      New York City’s public schools are among the most segregated in the country – a fact that flies in the face of the city’s history as a bastion of progressivism. For this podcast, I spoke with former ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, now a New York Times Magazine staff writer, about her decision to delve deeply and personally into that paradox.

      Hannah-Jones wrote about the public school her daughter attends in New York City, PS 307. The school is populated by poor children of color from nearby housing projects. It also became the site of community tension when predominantly white and well-off parents living nearby were pushed into its school zone to ease crowding at another school.

    • Traffic Stop That Led To Philando Castile’s Death Illustrates Danger Of Driving While Black

      An Associated Press analysis found that Castile, 32, was pulled over an astonishing 52 times between 2002 and his death. About half of the 86 violations assessed against him were ultimately dismissed, and he was never convicted of anything more serious than a misdemeanor.

      Research indicates that Castile’s experience in that regard probably isn’t unique. Published in 2003, the most recent statewide study of the role race plays in traffic stops in Minnesota found that blacks were significantly more likely to be pulled over and searched than whites. The problem was particularly acute in suburbs like the one Castile was stopped in on July 6, where in some jurisdictions blacks were more than three times more likely to be stopped.

    • Dallas Police Shooting: Blowback from Impunity and Structural Racism

      Like the blowback against American superpower, which brought about the September 11th attacks, there will continue to be blowback against police so long as officers in departments throughout the country keep engaging in horrific acts of violence and oppression against minority communities.

    • Tensions High as Combat-Ready Police Confront National Black Lives Matter Protests

      After a weekend of protests and arrests across the U.S., demonstrations against police violence continued on Sunday in cities nationwide.

      As Common Dreams reported, marches and rallies responding to the recent fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile took place Saturday in Phoenix, New York City, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, San Francisco, Nashville, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Rochester, New York. In St. Paul, an overnight face-off on Interstate-94 resulted in more than 100 arrests, while in Baton Rouge, nearly 200 people have been arrested since Friday.

    • As Protests Sweep Country, New Video Shows Off-Duty NY Cop Fatally Shooting Black Man Delrawn Small

      Protests against police brutality erupted across the United States over the weekend, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets and blocking roads, bridges and highways in more than a dozen U.S. cities. Hundreds of people were arrested nationwide. The protests were sparked by the police killing of two African American men last week — Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. But another recent police shooting has gone largely unnoticed by national media. On July 4, off-duty New York police officer Wayne Isaacs shot and killed Delrawn Small, an unarmed African American man. Police officers initially claimed Small punched officer Isaacs in the face following a driving confrontation. But surveillance video that has just been released counters that claim, and instead shows the off-duty officer shooting Small within one second of Small approaching the vehicle. For more we speak with Roger Wareham, the attorney representing Delrawn Small’s family.

    • Following Horrific Violence, Something More Is Required of Us

      Alton Sterling was arrested because he was hustling, selling CDs to get by.

    • Before Alton Sterling, Louisiana Police Had Killed 38 Mentally Ill People Since 2015

      Videos of the brutal police killing of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have flooded the Internet.

      Sterling was selling CDs outside of a convenience store when he was detained by two white police officers. The officers were allegedly responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun.

    • What the NRA Doesn’t Want You to Know

      As expected, this study found that police officers are more likely to use force when dealing with Black people than they are when dealing with white people.

    • Man Who Posted Video of Police Killing Alton Sterling Says He Was Arrested a Day Later on Bogus Charges

      Chris LeDay, the Georgia man who first posted a video of Alton Sterling being shot to death by police, says he was detained by police the next day.

      “I just made it to my job on base and I’m being detained,” he wrote on Facebook on July 6. “They said I fit the description of someone and won’t tell me anything else. If anything happens I did not resist! Please be aware!”

      According to Carlos Miller, writing for Photography Is Not a Crime, LeDay works as an aerospace ground equipment technician at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. While attempting to walk through a checkpoint to get to work, he was stopped and detained by “at least ten military police officers with guns, including a few with M-16s, all of them surrounding him in case he tried to make a run for it,” Miller reports.

      [...]

      LeDay’s suspicion that his detention constituted retaliation is understandable. The only person who has been criminally charged for the NYPD police killing of Eric Garner is Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the fatal chokehold. Orta, who was recently sentenced to four years in jail for drug and weapons charges, says he has been repeatedly harassed by police since the filming.

    • Racism and xenophobia are resurgent in the UK, and the centre-left is partly to blame

      “I’m not a racist, but…..”; “I haven’t got a racist bone in my body”; “it’s not racist to have concerns about immigration”. We’re all familiar with Britain’s broad repertoire of phrases for denying or downplaying prejudice. But with a fivefold increase in reported hate crimes since the Brexit vote, it is no longer tenable to sweep this issue under the carpet. We have to be honest. This country has a problem.

    • The Cake That This Country Baked

      A year after Sandra Bland’s arrest and death, America’s streets are filled with righteous rage. Surfacing on social media are surreal videos of mass arrests – including the live-streamed one of Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, now out on bond – and hordes of jumpy, chanting, goose-stepping, assault-rifle-wielding robocop stormtroopers in seemingly unlikely places like Rochester N.Y. facing off against stately, placid protesters demanding only what this country blithely continues to insist it believes in: equality before the law, and not being shot down for breathing while black.

    • Female Muslim workers in Kelantan must cover ‘aurat’

      IT is now compulsory for Muslim women working at fast-food outlets and hypermarkets in Kelantan to cover their aurat (parts of the body that must be covered in Islam), including wearing long-sleeved uniforms, by next year.

      Most female workers on such premises currently don short-sleeved T-shirts, although Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) had recently introduced a long-sleeved uniform for its staff.

    • Leaked document says 2,000 men allegedly assaulted 1,200 German women on New Year’s Eve

      At first, there was complete silence from officials. As rumors spread on social media, police had nothing to say about allegations of mass sexual assaults and other crimes carried out on New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne.

      It was only days later that officials reported that hundreds of women were victims of assault in Cologne, Hamburg and other German cities.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality advocates make final push as EU consultation enters last week

      The activists at SaveTheInternet.eu, an international coalition of NGOs campaigning for net neutrality, have one more week to make their voice heard: the EU must protect net neutrality. Their message is targeted at BEREC, the Body of Regulators for Electronic Communications, which is drafting new guidelines on net neutrality. With the 18/07 deadline approaching rapidly, the Telecom industry has also joined the fray by unveiling their own plans for a restricted internet.

      SaveTheInternet.eu’s fight for net neutrality has been fought on many fronts, and with many different allies. Their actions have included a public street demonstration with hundreds of participants, and the ‘EU slowdown’ protest with over 7000 websites joining the ‘EU Slowdown’, over 40.000 faxes sent to the European Parliament and hundreds of phone calls by citizens to their representatives. Academics and tech companies have also supported the cause with open letters and public statements.

      This broad coalition is facing off against one main adversary: big Telecom providers. Last week, an association of the 17 biggest EU ISPs unveiled their “5G manifesto”, in which they called net neutrality rules to be watered down. On the basis of dubious arguments and analysis, they claim that a free and open internet threatens investment in new 5G networks. In reality, all available evidence points to the fact that net neutrality, by preventing anti-competitive behaviour, actually encourages infrastructure investment.

    • European 5G manifesto warns of danger with ‘net neutrality’ rules

      The EU has released its thoughts on 5G networks and how European players can become 5G leaders, in the “5G Manifesto presented by key players in the telco industry”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Checking In: Blizzard Still Suing Hack/Cheat Makers For Copyright Infringement? Yup!

        For some reason, gamemaker Blizzard has been totally smitten with the idea of twisting copyright law into an ugly pretzel to sue anyone who makes a hack or cheat for one of its games for some time now. They did this concerning Starcraft, then World of Warcraft, and then Starcraft 2. This lawsuit tactic is starting to become something of a right of passage for Blizzard’s games, but the tactic in question makes little sense. Blizzard’s argument can be roughly translated as: cheats and hacks break the EULA for the game, the game is licensed by the EULA instead of being owned by anyone paying for it, the game does regular copying of code and files while in use, therefore a hack or cheat that breaks the EULA renders all of that routine copying as copyright infringement. While this wrenching of copyright into these kinds of lawsuits has nothing to do with the actual purpose or general application of copyright law, many cheer these moves on, because cheaters within the communal games we play are annoying.

        But the ends don’t justify the means, and this kind of twisting of copyright law is dangerous, as we’ve pointed out in the past. Not that that’s stopped Blizzard from utilizing this tactic, of course. In fact, recent Blizzard success Overwatch has become the latest to achieve this right of passage.

      • LBRY’s Blockchain-Based Netflix-Killer Is Now in Beta

        LBRY, a new protocol and service for sharing media online, is looking to give the power of sharing and consuming digital media back to the public. It allows media creators and consumers to interact directly – without any middlemen governing who’s allowed to share what with whom and for how much.

        The self-funded organization, which launched its closed beta last week, is using blockchain to protect and support LBC, LBRY’s online currency, in addition its decentralized metadata storage system. And although these technical intricacies may cause some people’s eyes to glaze over, they do empower LBRY to offer a number of benefits to the public, as with other open-source networks. So here’s what you really need to know about LBRY and the services it intends on providing.

      • Pirate swarms at risk from new patent

        Users of torrenting who are downloading pirated material may be caught out by NBC Universal’s new invention.

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