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08.01.16

Links 1/8/2016: LXLE 16.04.1, Simplicity Linux 16.07

Posted in News Roundup at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Normal People that Uses Linux IV

      Where you guys missing those small posts from which I describe my non geeky friends that for one reason or another started to use linux?

      I think there`s quite a longe time I don’t write anything about this, but then four of my non programmers, non geecky friends asked me to help them how to linux, and what where the differences – the main ones – from the other operating systems, so this time I introduce you Loli, a.k.a Pacifica.

    • Tech Support Scammer vs Kali Linux
    • Microsoft to Cut Thousands of Jobs

      Microsoft is cutting more jobs.

      The business technology giant said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that it plans to lay off an additional 2,850 workers to the previously announced 1,850 jobs it said it would slash in May.

      In total, Microsoft will cut 4,700 jobs worldwide by the end of the company’s fiscal year 2017.

  • Kernel Space

    • NFS Client Sees Some Performance Improvements With Linux 4.8

      The NFS client updates for the Linux 4.8 kernel feature a few prominent additions.

    • Btrfs ENOSPC Rework Lands For Linux 4.8, Boosts Throughput & Lowers Latency

      The Btrfs “enospc-rework” that’s been in development for several months by Facebook’s Josef Bacik is landing with the Linux 4.8 kernel.

      The ENOSPC rework is about reworking the handling for no-space checking/handling by the file-system. The existing code would encounter issues with huge latency spikes, too much being flushed, and not all of the file-system’s flushing being asynchronous. The code by Josef Bacik is making use of tickets for reservations of space on the file-system. The new ticket-based reservation approach is explained further by this patch.

    • Linux Kernel 4.1.29 LTS Is a Small Update with ALSA Fixes, eCryptfs Improvements

      Linux kernel developer and maintainer of the Linux 4.1 and 3.18 long-term supported kernel series, Alexander Levin, announced the general availability of the Linux 4.1.29 LTS kernel update.

      Looking at the appended shortlog, we can help but notice that Linux kernel 4.1.29 LTS is a small release in the Linux 4.1 LTS series, changing a total of 20 files, with 57 insertions and 77 deletions. Among the fixes, we can mention several improvements to the ALSA sound system, a few fixes to the MIPS, PowerPC, and x86 hardware architectures, as well as some enhancements to the eCryptfs file system.

    • P-State Algorithm Change, Schedutil IOWait Boosting

      While still in early form and won’t be merged for this next kernel cycle (v4.8), a series of patches were published on Sunday to improve CPU frequency selection under Linux, including an algorithm change for the Intel P-State scaling driver.

      Rafael Wysocki posted the [RFC][PATCH 0/7] cpufreq / sched: cpufreq_update_util() flags and iowait boosting patch series looking for feedback on some CPU frequency scaling related changes. Wysocki admits he hasn’t even thoroughly tested the impact of the changes yet, but is looking to see if other developers agree it would be a step in the right direction.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Releases New FirePro Unified Driver for GNU/Linux Operating Systems

        AMD released recently a new version of its AMD FirePro Software Suite (a.k.a. AMD FirePro Unified Driver) for GNU/Linux operating systems, version 15.302.2301, bringing more improvements and bug fixes.

        According to the release notes, the AMD FirePro Unified Driver 15.302.2301 update fixes a crash and some model rendering issues with the Maya 2017 computer animation and modeling software, and addresses an invalid error reported by the Tessellation control.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kdenlive on Windows

        For the past few weeks, we have been working hard to make Kdenlive work on Windows. Cross compiling using MXE has been an awesome journey :-), requiring us to cross compile most of Kdenlive’s dependencies (KDE Frameworks, MLT etc) for Windows.

        With a lot of help from Vincent and Jean-Baptiste, we have had success in building Kdenlive, MLT and all other dependencies for Windows. All that is left is just debugging a few issues on app startup, creation of the Windows installer script and we will be good to go.

      • Almost there… – Google Summer of Code
      • Gsoc 2016 Neverland #8 #9

        I spent almost a week to refactoring the code. I’m using ES6 syntax and it is supporting class inheritance. One of my concern is Javascript is prototype-based object oriented programming. I’m still not sure about using Class or Prototype inheritance in Neverland. I havent decided yet so there are still redundant parts in the code base.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps has tiles again
      • GNOME Maps Should Now Work Again, Switches From Mapquest To Mapbox

        The GNOME Maps program has seen update in the GNOME 3.14/3.16/3.18/3.20/3.21 series with new releases to change its tiling provider so that the mapping program will work once again.

        GNOME Maps had been relying upon Mapquest for providing the maps/tiles, but they changed their service around and thus broke GNOME Maps support in the process. GNOME developers weren’t notified in advance so were left out in the cold when they lost Mapquest access.

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux explained

      Many of us know about Puppy Linux as one of the smallest Linux distributions and it is true. Back in june 2003 team behind this distribution released the first version of Puppy Linux. It is an independent Linux distribution. Let’s see some important highlights of this distribution.

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 16.4, Build 160731, with KDE 4.15 together with KDE Frameworks 5.18.0 and kernel 4.6.4

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 16.4 KDE Live DVD.

      • LXLE 16.04.1 “Eclectica” Released Based on Lubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Screenshot Tour

        After being in development for the past couple of months, the LXLE 16.04.1 “Eclectica” GNU/Linux distribution sees an official release based on the recently announced Lubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.

        Coming only a few days after the release of the RC build, the final LXLE 16.04.1 “Eclectica” build is here, available for download for 64-bit and 32-bit computers. It includes pretty much the same features that were available in the Release Candidate milestone, such as support for the Btrfs file system by default, support for multi-monitor configurations, and the implementation of an Expose-like window picker

      • Simplicity Linux 16.07 now available

        We are pleased to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 16.07. As with recent versions of Simplicity, Mini and Desktop are based on the excellent LXPup and uses LXDE as the desktop environment. However, as an experiment, X is based on Debian via the fantastic AntiX distro. It uses LXDE as the desktop environment like Mini and Desktop, but as far as features go, it is closer to Mini.

        As with our previous releases, Mini (Previously Simplicity Linux Netbook Edition) is our heavily cut down version. It comes with Flash preinstalled along with the latest version of Firefox. Desktop is our fully featured distribution, based on the same base as Mini but rather than web based applications; it comes loaded with Flash, Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Mplayer.

      • Linux Top 3: Simplicity 16.07, LXLE Eclectica and Lubuntu 16.10

        While GNOME and KDE are perhaps the two best known and most widely deployed open source desktop environments used in Linux, LXDE is an increasingly popular choice. In this week’s Linux Planet Linx Top 3 roundup we take a quick look at three LXDE distro released this past week.

      • Simplicity Linux 16.07 Has Arrived, Offers Flavors Based on LXPup and Debian

        Today, July 31, 2016, the Simplicity Linux developers proudly announced the general availability of the Simplicity Linux 16.07 GNU/Linux operating system for personal computers.

        Simplicity Linux 16.07 comes three months after the previous stable release, Simplicity Linux 16.04, to bring lots of updated components and the latest GNU/Linux technologies. As usual, the distribution ships with the Mini and Desktop editions based on the lightweight LXPup OS, a Puppy Linux derivative using the LXDE desktop environment.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Talk – Using Fedora in the classroom

          So I’m sitting here in Kraków, doing some last-minute preparation for my talk (Fedora in the Classroom) at the upcoming Flock conference next week.

        • You Can Now Run Flatpak Universal Apps Outside a Linux Desktop Environment

          The Flatpak developers, through Alex Larsson, announced on the last day of July 2016 that a new update of the Flatpak universal binary application format is available, version 0.6.8.

          According to the release notes, Flatpak 0.6.8 is here to introduce a bunch of goodies for those who want to either distribute their open source projects as universal binaries for GNU/Linux operating systems that support the Flatpak standalone format, or users who like an easy method of installing the latest software releases on their distributions.

        • Flatpak 0.6.8 Adds No-Desktop Mode

          Flatpak 0.6.8 was released this weekend as the newest feature release of this GNOME sandboxing tech formerly known as XDG-App.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” Officially Released Based on Debian 8.5 “Jessie”

          Today, July 31, 2016, the development team behind the Parsix GNU/Linux operating system have had the great pleasure of announcing the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik.”

        • Parsix 8.10 Screenshot Tour
        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Annoucing netplan — Consolidated YAML network configuration across Ubuntu

            The purpose of the new “netplan” project is to unify and clean up networking configuration in Ubuntu. Currently, Desktop/Server installers generate ifupdown /etc/network/interfaces, MaaS/curtin/cloud-init use a YAML based format that gets translated to /e/n/i, and there is currently no simple way to pre-configure NetworkManager, and no support for networkd.

          • Ubuntu Plans For Consolidated Network Configuration

            For Ubuntu 16.10, Canonical is planning to make use of a new project to unify and clean-up network configuration across Ubuntu projects from the desktop/server/cloud versions to MaaS and other forms.

          • Ubuntu Moves Closer With Session Startup On Systemd

            With Ubuntu 16.10 developers are finally finishing their migration to systemd by switching over the starting of graphical desktop sessions from Upstart to systemd.

          • Ubuntu Phone – The Meizu Pro 5

            In many ways, for me, smart phones are the realization of a childhood fantasy: computers small enough to fit in a pocket and powerful enough to perform common computing tasks. There is a certain amount of wonder I feel when I look up trivia, get directions or play chess on a device that can sit in my pocket and only needs to be recharged once every day or two. However, while I greatly admire the technology that goes into a smart phone, the experience often suffers from dozens of small issues.

            Over the years I have tried most of the major smart phone platforms. While each had their strengths, they also introduced frustrations which sent me on to another platform. Early Blackberry phones I found bulky and difficult to navigate. While I found more modern Blackberries much more comfortable and I enjoyed their physical keyboards, the Blackberry company seems to be killing off their classic phones in favour of touch screens and giant square devices that won’t fit in my pocket. I briefly tried a few generations of the iPhone, but never felt comfortable with the interface (iOS seems to interpret my touch gestures as vague suggestions) and I found it difficult to find ways to perform common tasks. The iPhone also feels uncomfortably locked into the Apple ecosystem, making it a poor fit for me. Android is the platform I have used the longest. My first Android regularly crashed and lost its wi-fi connection. My most recent Android is much more stable, but still loses its network connection and is bundled with software I cannot remove which insists on nagging me on a regular basis. I very briefly tried a Windows phone and while I found the interface sometimes had the familiar feel of a desktop computer, the illusion of familiarity did not hold up. The Windows phone felt like a Barbie doll – a recognizable imitation of a familiar concept, but warped and stiff, ultimately something I’d be embarrassed being seen with on a date.

            For the past few years I, like many other Linux enthusiasts, have been looking forward to a more pure mobile GNU/Linux experience. Ubuntu phones started appearing in Europe last year, but the models from Bq appear to work on frequencies not compatible with (or not ideal for) North American mobile networks. Meizu has launched the Meizu Pro 5 which is available in Android and Ubuntu flavours. The Meizu phone appears to offer complete compatibly with mobile networks in Canada and the United States of America and I was eager to try it. Upon request, Canonical was kind enough to send me a Pro 5 model to explore and what follows are my impressions of the device.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18 Xfce Edition Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

              We’ve been tipped by one of our regular readers that the final release of the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Edition operating system is now available for download from the official channels.

              While there’s no release announcement at the moment of writing this article, we all know already that the ISO images of new Linux Mint versions appear on the main FTP channels a few days before project leader Clement Lefebvre informs the community about the release, so that all the mirrors get in sync with the main download server.

              Therefore, the final, production-ready Linux Mint 18 Xfce Edition ISOs are now available for download, supporting 64-bit and 32-bit PCs. Based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system and powered by the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” comes with a great set of new features.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Chomsky: Friendly Cars—So What? Enough With the Worries of a Robot Takeover!

      By the time Chomsky began teaching at MIT, the Turing Test, a test for evaluating a machine’s ability to think, was already in existence.

      “You can win $100,000 if you develop a machine that’s a program that can pass the so-called Turing Test—fool a human, fool a jury of humans, into thinking it’s a person, not a machine,” said Chomsky, referencing the average salary of humans working in the field of artificial intelligence.

      However, as Chomsky points out, “All of this work overlooks the brief sentence in Turing’s paper: The question of whether machines think is too meaningless to deserve discussion,” he paraphrased.

      On July 21, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of the Japanese technology company SoftBank, announced a partnership with Honda to develop a car that detects the driver’s emotions and can talk. According to Son, “the number of transistors on a chip is projected to exceed the number of cells in a human brain,” Bloomberg reported.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug Industry Will Make Hospitals Obsolete, Biotech CEO Says on DNC Panel

      The CEO of the world’s largest biotechnology trade group said at a panel discussion at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday that Americans need to take more drugs “instead of going to the hospital.”

      Jim Greenwood is the head of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents companies involved with such things as genetically engineered crops and prescription drugs.

      Speaking at an event put on by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — a think tank funded by Google, IBM, Cisco, eBay, and other corporate underwriters — Greenwood argued that high prescription-drug prices are a boon to the economy and public health.

      The U.S. already has the highest prices for drugs in the industrialized world, but Greenwood argued that prescription drugs, regardless of their price, lower overall health care costs.

    • Six More Charged in Flint Water Crisis, but Still No Accountability for Snyder

      Six additional state employees now face criminal charges for hiding unsafe lead levels leading up to the Flint water crisis—but Gov. Rick Snyder and his top officials continue to evade accountability.

      Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the charges in a press conference on Friday, in which he vowed that “the families of Flint will not be forgotten; we will provide the justice they deserve.”

      Of those charged, Schuette said: “Their offenses vary but there is an overall theme and repeated pattern. Each of these individuals attempted to bury, or cover up, to downplay or hide information that contradicted their own narrative, their story. Their story was there was nothing wrong with Flint water and it was perfectly safe to use.”

      “These individuals concealed the truth,” he said. “They were criminally wrong to do so.”

      According to news reports, those charged are Michigan Department of Health and Human Services workers Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller, and Robert Scott and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Leanne Smith, Adam Rosenthal, and Patrick Cook.

    • New charges announced in Flint water crisis

      Peeler, Miller and Scott were charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

      Shekter Smith was charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

      Cook is accused of misconduct in office, conspiracy to engage in misconduct in office and neglect of duty.

      Rosenthal was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence and neglect.

    • Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU

      Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese.

      [...]

      The report argues that more people than ever before are eating processed foods as a large part of their diet. Bad for health, but good for the industry because sugar-rich processed foods have the highest profit margins (unlike fruit and vegetables), and the easiest way to make industrial, processed food cheap, long-lasting and enhance the taste is to add extra sugar as well as salt and fat to products.

  • Security

    • Endian Firewall Community 3.2.1 Adds Extended 3G Modem Support, Linux Kernel 4.1

      Today, July 31, 2016, the Endian Team proudly announced that the Endian Firewall Community 3.2 GNU/Linux distribution is out of Beta and ready to be deployed in stable, production environments.

      Endian Firewall Community 3.2.1 is now the latest stable and most advanced version of the CentOS-based GNU/Linux operating system that has been designed to be used in routers and network firewall devices. And it looks like it’s also a pretty major update that introduces lots of enhancements, many new features, as well as the usual under-the-hood improvements.

    • HTTPS Bypassed On Windows, Mac, And Linux

      HTTPS encryption assured users that the addresses of the websites they visit could not be monitored or viewed by data snoopers and other such malicious users. However, a new hack has broken this encryption. This hack can be carried out on any network, most notably in Wi-Fi hotspots, where this encryption is most required.

    • Intel’s Crosswalk open source dev library has serious SSL bug

      Developers using Intel’s Crosswalk SSL library: it’s time to patch and push out an upgrade.

      Crosswalk is a cross-platform library that supports deployment to Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but the bug is Android-specific.

      The library has a bug in how it handles SSL errors, and as a result, end users on Android could be tricked into accepting MITM certificates.

      As consultancy Nightwatch Cyber Security explains, if a user accepts one invalid or self-signed SSL certificate, Crosswalk remembers that choice and applies it to all future certificates.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

      If you engage with peace organizations, you will very quickly be told repeatedly that nobody gives a damn about distant mass murder, and that consequently a smart organizer will talk to them about something local, such as the local impact of the financial burden of war, or perhaps the militarization of the police, or local recruitment, or local environmental damage from military bases, etc., but mostly the financial cost.

    • Migration – follow the money

      The EU must acknowledge its part in fuelling the drivers of migration and work to stop them, including the establishment of an embargo on arms sales to the Middle East and North Africa.

    • America uses stealthy submarines to hack other countries’ systems

      When Donald Trump effectively called for Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails Wednesday, the GOP nominee’s remarks touched off a (predictable) media firestorm. Here was a presidential candidate from a major U.S. party encouraging a foreign government to target American interests with cyberspying — an act that could not only expose national security information but also potentially undermine the actual security infrastructure of the United States.

      [...]

      It’s unclear how far behind — or ahead — other navies may be when it comes to submarine-based cyber offense. Many of the cybersecurity and military experts we interviewed for this story had hardly heard of the Defense Department’s own undersea cyber capabilities.

      But, Baker said, “espionage is a game where there’s a lot of following the leader — so it’s perfectly possible it’s happening in this field as well.”

    • Brennan Calls Out the Press for Giving ISIS More Credit Than They Deserve

      Both James Clapper and John Brennan appeared at the Aspen Security Forum this week (it was Brennan’s first appearance, apparently). As I may lay out, Clapper was by far the more measured of the two. But this exchange, between Brennan and Dina Temple-Raston, deserves more attention. She notes that ISIS gets credit for attacks (she doesn’t name any, but I’d point to the San Bernardino killing and the Orlando massacre) that seem incidentally motivated at the last minute by ISIS, but generally are motivated by other issues.

    • ‘US foreign policy is a marketing strategy for selling weapon’ – Jill Stein

      Democrats and Republicans are controlled by banks, oil giants, insurance companies and war profiteers, says Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. Her party, she claims, gets no money from corporations and has liberty to really address problems.

      [...]

      The US spends a trillion dollars a year on its military, says Jill Stein. If that budget is cut it in half, the American economy will have the money it needs at home to provide for free public higher education, insure any health costs that aren’t covered already and work with other countries to address the problem of climate change – which remains one of the crucial problems globally, she believes.

      “Few people know what we pay for this catastrophic military which shoots first and asks questions later. In fact, what we have is a foreign policy which is essentially a marketing strategy for selling weapon,” she said. “We’ve had these wars for oil – which are opportunities to sell weapons and to come and dear other people’s fossil fuel resources, which is basically what our military is doing. Why do we have a thousand bases for a hundred countries around the world? This isn’t something that other countries do.”

      The reason why the US keeps doing so is to safeguard its energy supplies and their routes of transportation, Stein says.

      “This can no longer be justified – it’s all obsolete when we have a Green New Deal, which will reach 100 percent wind, water and sun clean renewable energy entirely by 2030. So, we can begin phasing down this network and stop stealing other people’s oil right now,” she said.

      The US spent six trillion dollars on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – both of which failed, the presidential candidate said.

      The US killed a million people in Iraq alone, “not winning the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East to say the least. And what do we have for it? Failed states, mass refuge migrations that are tearing apart Europe as well as the Middle East, and creating worse terrorist threats,” she added.

    • My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools

      I am half Canadian, I was brought up there, with very different values than you Americans hold, and tonight — after the endless spit ups and boasts and rants about the greatness of American militarism, and praise for American military strength, and boasts about wiping out ISIS, and America being the strongest country on earth, and an utterly inane story from a woman whose son died in Obama’s war, about how she got to cry in gratitude on Obama’s shoulder — tonight I feel deeply Canadian. Every subtle lesson I was ever subliminally given about the bullies across the border and their rudeness and their lack of education and their self-given right to bomb whoever they wanted in the world for no reason other than that they wanted something the people in the other country had, and their greed, came oozing to the surface of my psyche.

    • As Israel Prospers, Obama Set to Give Billions More in Aid While Netanyahu Demands Even More

      For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.

    • Lurching Toward World War III

      Anti-Russian hysteria has reached extraordinary levels in Official Washington with heated allegations about Russia hacking Democratic Party emails, but this over-the-top “group think” threatens the world’s future, explains John Chuckman.

    • Who the Muslim Father’s DNC Speech Really Pandered To

      Last Thursday night, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan paid tribute to his son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq on June 8, 2004, after he tried to stop a suicide bomber.

      As for every parent, husband, wife, brother, sister and friend who lost someone any war, I grieve with them. I am sorry for the Khan’s loss. I am a parent and can all too easily be sent to thinking about the loss of a child.

      So go ahead and hate on me. But of the almost 7,000 American families who lost sons and daughters in the last 15 years of American war of terror, why did the Democrats choose a single Muslim family to highlight?

      No one knows how many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of non-American Muslims were killed as collateral damage along the way in those wars. Who spoke for them at the Convention?

    • Turkey: US Air Base, Nuclear Bombs Surrounded By Citizens, Troops & Trucks

      Thousands of Turkish troops, citizens and police ‘surrounded’ the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States Saturday night — blocking all entrances to the air base with heavy vehicles and security forces sent to secure its perimeter.

      Turkish authorities restored access to and from the key US air base early Sunday, local media reported, the day the U.S. top military official is scheduled to visit the country and tour the base.

      The Incirlik air base, located in an urban neighborhood in the southern Turkey city of Adana, reopened following a meeting with “security officials.” Incirlik air base is used by US and NATO forces to launch air strikes and drone attacks on Syria and Iraq. The US stores an estimated 50 hydrogen nuclear bombs at the air base.

      7,000 troops and police used armored cars and large trucks to block the gates earlier Sunday following intelligence that raised suspicion another coup was being plotted following the failed July 15th coup, Ihlas News Agency reported. The blockade lasted four hours, the agency said.

    • The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations

      The abortive coup in Turkey on July 15, coming at a moment of Turkish-Russian rapprochement and mounting friction with the U.S. over the Kurdish independence movement in Syria, threatens to seriously damage U.S.-Turkey relations.

      Whether or not the U.S. had anything to do with the coup, or is “harboring” its alleged mastermind, Fethullah Gulen, in Pennsylvania since 1999; and whether or not it winds up extraditing the reclusive imam to stand trial in a Mickey Mouse court, the very fact that the Turkish foreign minister warns that a U.S. failure to turn Gulen over will impact relations tells us this is serious.

      And now I notice a Turkish newspaper aligned with the Erdogan regime is implicating retired U.S. Gen. John F. Campbell in the coup.

      When the EU warns that Turkey if it re-establishes the death penalty (as Erdogan threatens to do, for people like coup plotters), it will never be accepted into the union; and when John Kerry warns that Turkey could be kicked out of NATO if it departs from “democracy”—yes, this is serious.

      And so, some background.

    • AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR GETS LONGER

      Anti-Russian hysteria in America reached its apogee this week as Democrats tried to divert attention from embarrassing revelations about how the Democratic Party apparatus had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders by claiming Vlad Putin and his KGB had hacked and exposed the Dem’s emails.

      This was rich coming from the US that snoops into everyone’s emails and phones across the globe. Remember German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone being bugged by the US National Security Agency?

      Unnamed US ‘intelligence officials’ claimed they had ‘high confidence’ that the Russian KGB or GRU (military intelligence) had hacked the Dem’s emails. These were likely the same officials who had ‘high confidence’ that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

      Blaming Putin was a master-stroke of deflection. No more talk of Hillary’s slush fund foundation or her status as a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street. All attention was focused on President Putin who has been outrageously demonized by the US media and politicians.

      Except for a small faux pas – a montage of warships shown at the end of the Democratic Convention is a blaze of jingoistic effusion embarrassingly turned out to be Russian warships!

      Probably another trick by the awful Putin who has come to replace Satan in the minds of many Americans.

    • Up to 28 Civilians Reportedly Killed in US-Led Strike in Syria

      The U.S.-led coalition has been accused of killing as many as 28 civilians, including a woman and seven children, near the northern Syrian city of Manbij on Thursday—the same area where U.S.-led airstrikes last week may have killed scores of civilians.

      “The Manbij area,” as the Associated Press describes, “has seen extensive battles between IS [Islamic State or ISIS] extremists and U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters.” It is also where UNICEF estimated last week that there are 35,000 children trapped “with nowhere safe to go.”

      According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the latest casualties came after international coalition “warplanes targeted areas in the town of al-Ghandour, which is more than 23 kilometers [14 miles] away from Manbij city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation.”

    • The number of casualties of al-Ghandour massacre at the countryside of Manbij rises; it was carried out by the international coalition’s warplanes

      it rose to 28, including a citizen woman and seven children at least, the number of people who the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights managed to documented, they were killed when the warplanes of the international coalition committed a massacre in the town of al-Ghandour in the northwestern countryside of Manbij city east of Aleppo province, where the warplanes targeted areas in the town of al-Ghandour, which is more than 23 kilometers away from Manbij city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, also SOHR received information that 13 other people were killed in the same bombing, but they were not identified yet, and it is unknown whether they were civilian citizens or members from the “Islamic state”.

    • Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?

      Donald Trump lashed out on Saturday against Ghazala and Khizr Khan over their speech Thursday night in which they criticized the casino and hotel moghul for his unconstitutional tirades.

      The Khans said at the Democratic National Convention in a speech they crafted, that Trump had ‘sacrificed nothing’ for America. It was read by Khizr because his wife said she would break down if she had to talk about her son Capt. Humayun Saqi Muazzam Khan’s death in action in Iraq. The Khans are originally from Pakistan but came to the US in 1980 from the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistanis make up about 12% of the population. Khizr Khan did a masters in law at Harvard University and works as a legal consultant in Charlottesville, Va. 

    • Isis is escalating its violence against Iraqi civilians. Why doesn’t the world care?

      US and coalition military forces continue to attack Isis territories in Iraq, while Iraqi ground troops prepare to retake the city of Mosul from the grip of the terrorist group. As Isis loses ground in Iraq, it escalates its violent campaign against civilians.

      On Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a security checkpoint in my home city, Baghdad, killing at least 14 people. It followed the attacks on 3 July in the same city – the city I fled to become an asylum seeker in America after losing multiple family members and friends. That attack was in the Karada district, where I spent most weekends. Within minutes, my social media accounts flooded with posts from family and friends with photos of their loved ones who were out in Karada, asking for any information on their whereabouts.

      Soon after, I learned that my friend, Adel Al-Jaf, a lawyer and professional dancer who was shopping for his upcoming wedding in Karada, was one of the nearly 300 people killed in that attack. I felt overwhelmed by the news, heartbroken for Adel’s fiancée, parents and brothers, and the families of the other victims. I also felt angry for being unable to grieve and mourn death the way I could before such senseless loss became all too frequent.

    • Possible War Crime: Syrian Maternity Hospital Bombed

      A maternity hospital in Syria’s northwestern, rebel-held province of Idlib was bombed on Friday, the U.K.-based charity Save the Children said. The number of casualties is unclear at this point.

      According to human rights organization Amnesty International, it “appears to be part of a despicable pattern of unlawful attacks deliberately targeting medical facilities.”

    • Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?

      A program called Pacific Vision, funded by the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessments, eventually came up with the Air-Sea Battle concept. Virtually everything about Air-Sea Battle is classified. As the concept was being elaborated, China has mastered the art of very long range ballistic missiles – a lethal threat to the Empire of Bases, fixed and/or floating.

      What is known is that the core Air-Sea Battle concept, known in Orwellian Pentagonese as “NIA/D3”,“networked, integrated forces capable of attack-in-depth to disrupt, destroy and defeat adversary forces”. To break through the fog, this is how the Pentagon would trample over Chinese A2/AD. The Pentagon wants to be able to attack all sorts of Chinese command and control centers in a swarm of “surgical operations”. And all this without ever mentioning the word “China”.

    • Can You Confront the Death Toll in Syria?

      Wars are ugly. They destroy countries. No one comes off as angelic. The Syrian government advances toward Aleppo, bombing from the sky to open a path into the city. A car bomb goes off in Damascus, just after a mortar attack hit a restaurant in the district of Bab Touma. U.S. fighter planes hit civilians in Manjib, killing as many as 125 civilians. An Islamic State bombing in Qamishli kills 14 people as it battles Kurdish forces near the Turkish border. The map of the war is as complex as it was a year ago. The violence has not clarified anything. Gains are being made here and there for this side and that, but there is no significant path to an easy victory.

    • Mumia Abu-Jamal Calls from Prison to Comment on DNC, Black Lives Matter and Mass Incarceration

      As the Democratic National Convention enters its third day here in Philadelphia, one of the city’s most famous native sons is observing and covering the proceedings from inside a state prison facility. Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal is a well-known prisoner and also an award-winning journalist whose writing from his prison cell has reached a worldwide audience through his Prison Radio commentaries and many books. Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, but has always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International has found he was deprived of a fair trial. Mumia Abu-Jamal joins us on the phone from the SCI Mahanoy state prison in Frackville, Pennsylvania, along with two of his supporters, actor Danny Glover and Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress.

    • “Most Progressive Dem Platform in History” Hawkish on Foreign Policy

      The Democratic Party platform may indeed be, as some have proclaimed, the “most progressive” in the history of the party—at least on various important domestic issues. But some of its foreign policy planks reflect a disturbingly hawkish worldview consistent with those of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

      Declaring that “we must defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates,” the platform calls for the United States and its allies to “destroy ISIS” strongholds in Iraq and Syria. There is no acknowledgement that these strongholds are in heavily populated urban areas, thereby risking large-scale civilian casualties, and no mention that the rise of these extremist organizations are a direct consequence of previous U.S. military interventions in the region.

      Regarding Iran, while there are many legitimate criticisms of that country’s reactionary regime, the platform appears to go overboard with its accusations, such as the claim that “Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism.” Many analysts would give that designation to Saudi Arabia, with whom the platform says the U.S. should “strengthen its security cooperation.”

      It also says the party will “push back” against Iran’s “support for terrorist groups like Hamas.” While there was a brief period of some limited past Iranian support of that Palestinian Islamist organization, there is no apparent evidence that it continues. Indeed, there are major tensions between Hamas and Iran, including support for opposite sides in the Syrian civil war. (By contrast, there is fair amount of evidence that Qatar—a U.S. ally—does provide support for Hamas, but there is no mention of that.)

    • Provoking Russia

      Are the leaders of European member states of NATO planning to follow the example of José Manuel Barroso, who became a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs after his term as president of the European Commission? Were they using the NATO summit to prepare for a career switch as consultants to General Dynamics or some other US arms manufacturer? The suggestion is of course absurd — but hardly less so than their announcement at the July summit in Warsaw that NATO will deploy a new mobile unit of 4,000 troops in Poland or one of the Baltic states — within artillery range of the home base of the Russian fleet in the Baltic, and of St Petersburg.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Did Wikileaks Do US Intelligence Bidding in Publishing the Syria Files?

      Consider this nutty data point: between CNN’s Reliable Sources and NBC’s Meet the Press, Julian Assange was on more Sunday shows today than John McCain, with two TV appearances earlier this week.

      Sadly, even in discussions of the potential that the DNC hack-plus-publication amounts to tampering with US elections, few seem to understand that evidence at least suggests that Wikileaks — not its allegedly Russian source — determined the timing of the release to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Guccifer 2, at least, was aiming to get files out earlier than Wikileaks dumped them. So if someone is tampering, it is Julian Assange who, I’ve noted, has his own long-standing gripes with Hillary Clinton (though he disclaims any interest in doing her harm). If his source is Russia, that may just mean they had mutual interest in the publication of the files; but Assange claims to have determined the timing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This year’s wildfires are bad. Climate change will make future ones worse

      Once again, it is fire season in the western United States.

      This month, the extreme fire that seems to test the bounds of our recent, place-based memory of how fires behave is the Sand Fire burning north of Los Angeles.

      Last year, there was the Butte fire in northern California and the Okanogan complex in Washington. In 2014 and 2013, the King and Rim fires in Sierra Nevada forests. The Black Forest fire in 2013 in Colorado. In 2012, the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires among others in Colorado, the Long Draw and Miller Homestead fires in Oregon and the Whitewater-Baldy complex in New Mexico. In 2011, the Wallow and Horseshoe fires in Arizona and the Los Conchas in New Mexico. The list goes on.

    • Activists say regulators going too easy on Chicago-area BP refinery

      In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed fines to be levied against BP in the wake of a March 24, 2014 oil spill into Lake Michigan from its refinery in Whiting, Indiana that sparked a larger investigation by federal regulators.

      But in public comments filed July 12, local residents and environmental activists are saying the fines BP and the EPA agreed upon are not enough; “less than a drop in the bucket for BP,” as activist Patricia Walter put it.

      The EPA investigation after the 2014 spill found past pollution and violations, leading to the fines and other requirements currently being finalized. For the 2014 spill, BP has agreed to pay $151,899 and remedy the violations of its spill prevention and containment procedures.

    • Climate Victims – Every Second, One Person Is Displaced by Disaster

      Climate change and related extreme weather events have devastated the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of most vulnerable people worldwide– by far exceeding the total of all the unfortunate and unjustifiable victims of all terrorist attacks combined. However, the unstoppable climate crisis receives just a tiny fraction of mainstream media attention. See these dramatic facts.

      “Every second, one person is displaced by disaster,” the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reports. “In 2015 only, more than 19.2 million people fled disasters in 113 countries. “Disasters displace three to ten times more people than conflict and war worldwide.”

      As climate change continues, it will likely lead to more frequent and severe natural hazards; the impact will be heavy, warns this independent humanitarian organisation providing aid and assistance to people forced to flee.

      “On average, 26 million people are displaced by disasters such as floods and storms every year. That’s one person forced to flee every second.”

      “Climate change is our generation’s greatest challenge,” says Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which counts with over 5,000 humanitarian workers across more than 25 countries.

    • Concerns raised over Paris climate goals

      New analysis shows that the science underpinning the global treaty aiming to stop average temperatures rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels urgently needs more research.

    • Fight Over Fracking Heats Up at the Democratic Convention

      On Wednesday, POLITICO hosted a panel on energy at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association of the oil and gas industry. The group, whose members include EXXONMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell, lobbies against federal regulation of greenhouse gases and has tried to cast doubt on climate science.

      American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard, who welcomed everyone to the panel.

      “From the oil and gas perspective we see this as a unique historic time in our nation’s history, now that we’re not the world’s number-one oil and natural gas producer,” he said.

      [...]

      Panelists included Trevor Houser, Hillary Clinton’s top energy advisor; Heather Zichal, Former Deputy Assistant to President Obama on energy and climate; Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, who is seen as a friend of the environmental movement; and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who has fought anti-fracking activists in his state.

      Environmentalists worry that fracking, a process for extracting natural gas using drilling, high pressure water, and chemicals, can poison groundwater and cause tremors in the Earth. Hickenlooper explained why he opposed a law that would have kept fracking away from people’s homes.

      “My job is to make sure that fracking is done absolutely safely,” Hickenlooper said.

    • Mike Pence Is a Loyal Friend to Polluters

      In Mike Pence, Donald Trump has picked a running mate who could be relied on to take a chainsaw to President Obama’s signature environmental policy.

      In 2015 the Indiana governor told Obama in no uncertain terms that his state would not be complying with the Clean Power Plan, which sets targets for reducing power plant emissions in each state. Pence joined a lawsuit that has succeeded in tying up the plan in court.

      He and other climate crisis-denying policymakers have benefited from a well-coordinated network of industry front groups, conservative think tanks and law firms bent on blocking the Clean Power Plan. A good chunk of the funding for this cabal comes from some of the country’s largest electrical utilities companies.

    • Landmark Human Rights Complaint Lodged Against World’s Worst Polluters

      The world’s 47 largest producers of greenhouse gases must respond within 45 days to an unprecedented legal complaint filed Wednesday by the Philippines, which alleges the fossil fuel behemoths have deprived millions of residents of the island nation of their human rights through catastrophic global warming.

    • Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists

      As wildfire rages in California, flooding affects millions in India and China, and eggs are fried on sidewalks in Iraq, scientists say global climate catastrophe is surpassing predictions

    • Worse Than Keystone XL? TransCanada’s Terrifying “Plan B”

      The pipeline giant TransCanada, stymied in its attempt to drive Keystone XL through America’s heartland, is facing renewed opposition to its “new and equally misguided proposal” to build the Energy East pipeline across Canada and ship tar sands oil via tankers along the U.S. East Coast to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

      In partnership with a number of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—a major player in the fight to defeat Keystone XL—on Tuesday released a new report outlining how Energy East would “effectively create a waterborne tar sands pipeline with hundreds of new oil tankers traversing the Atlantic coastline, making vast areas of the Eastern Seaboard vulnerable to a dangerous tar sands spill.”

    • NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change

      The New York Times published an astonishing article last week that blames green power for difficulties countries are facing to mitigate climate change.

      The article by Eduardo Porter, How Renewable Energy is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course, serves as a flagship for an on-going attack on the growth of renewables. It is so convoluted and inaccurate that it requires a detailed response.

  • Finance

    • Building a Progressive International

      Financialization of the economy was the goal, neoliberalism was its ideological cloak, the Paul Volcker-era Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes were its trigger, and President Bill Clinton was the ultimate closer of the Faustian bargain. And the timing couldn’t have been more congenial: the Soviet empire’s collapse and China’s opening generated a surge of labor supply for global capitalism – a billion additional workers – that boosted profits and stifled wage growth throughout the West.

    • Trump’s Trickle-Down Ticket

      Donald Trump’s VP pick signals a commitment to slashing taxes for millionaires and cutting services for everyone else.

    • Don’t forget the role of the press in Brexit

      The lies of Britain’s papers have been key to shaping the country’s current predicament

    • Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?

      As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, the vast majority of the money supply is now created by banks when they make loans. Money is created when loans are made, and it is extinguished when they are paid off. When loan repayment exceeds borrowing, the money supply “deflates” or shrinks. New money then needs to be injected to fill the breach. Currently, the only way to get new money into the economy is for someone to borrow it into existence; and since the private sector is not borrowing, the public sector must, just to replace what has been lost in debt repayment. But government borrowing from the private sector means running up interest charges and hitting deficit limits.

    • TPP Opposition: Make Them Do It And Hold Them To It

      Elites take “globalization” as a given because “trade” deals have pushed sovereignty off the table and locked governments out of decision-making over things like stopping offshoring of jobs and protecting domestic industries. They smirk knowingly and wink and nod when politicians respond to citizen complaints about the disastrous effect this is having on populations, regions and economies. They assume the politicians are just saying what they need to say to get votes and will rejoin them after they get that pesky election out of the way.

    • Poverty costs UK £78bn a year, Joseph Rowntree Foundation says

      The effects of poverty in the UK cost the average taxpayer £1,200 a year, and the UK £78bn in total, a report says.

      The Joseph Rowntree Foundation looked at how poverty – living on incomes below 60% of the median – affected different government services.

      The NHS bore the brunt of the costs, it said, as those in poverty were “more likely” to suffer ill health.

      The government said employment was key to beating poverty, adding that “we’ve made good progress”.

    • Impact of poverty costs the UK £78bn a year, says report

      Dealing with the effects of poverty costs the public purse £78bn a year, or £1,200 for every person in the UK, according to the first wide-ranging report into the impact of deprivation on Britain’s finances.

    • Poverty costs UK £78bn a year in pressure on hospitals and social services, research finds

      Poverty inadvertently costs the UK £78bn per year, due to lost taxes and use of public services, research has suggested. This amounts to 4 per cent of GDP or £1,200 for every person in the country.

      The study Counting the cost of UK poverty has been undertaken by researchers at Heriot Watt and Loughborough Universities along with poverty action charity Joseph Rowntree.

      It suggests public service cuts to those in poverty may be a false economy, as people struggling with lower-incomes are forced to rely on public services more.

    • Hillary’s Choice: Why Tim Kaine Isn’t a ‘Safe’ Pick

      Not so Clinton’s choice of Kaine. It indicates a degree of tone-deafness to not just the progressives that supported the presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), but to the problems lurking at the core of the current banking system. Worse, it is a wink to JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to continue with business as usual.

    • Chris Hedges and Jill Stein Speak at Socialist Convergence During Democratic Convention (Video)

      What should progressive-minded citizens do after the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia ends? Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein shared her thoughts with other speakers at the Socialist Convergence in Philadelphia. Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges read his column “The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots.”

    • The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots

      The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.

      No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

      Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.

    • Voices from the supply chain: an interview with the Self Employed Women’s Association of India

      JM: In India, 94% of the labour force works in the informal economy and more than 60% of women workers work in the informal economy. That is huge – it’s almost everyone! This is why it has been so important for us at SEWA to try to represent these workers, to fight for them to get recognition as workers. Women are major contributors to the national economy, yet they are legally invisible. The biggest challenge for us is therefore how to get recognition for these workers: we need voice, we need visibility and we need validity for these workers.

    • Why a second independence referendum is not inevitable in Scotland

      The consensus is that a second independence referendum is now inevitable. The SNP assertion in its 2016 manifesto of the Scottish parliament’s right to hold a referendum “if there is a significant and material change” has taken on renewed relevance, especially since the only quoted example was “being taken out of the EU against our will”.

      After the 62-38 vote to Remain in the EU in Scotland, Brexit has highlighted the democratic deficit once more. This is in addition to Trident renewal and the proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act. Post-Brexit polling has shown a 10 point bounce for independence. In this context, Alex Salmond has said that Indyref2 is ‘inevitable’ if Scotland can’t stay in the EU and that this will have to take place within the Brexit timetable.

      Unfortunately, there are a number of factors which could prevent a new referendum from taking place. These include: debates over the timing for Indyref2; the tactics currently being adopted in lieu of a new referendum and finally the drawn out negotiations over Brexit between Sturgeon, May and the EU.

    • Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake

      The referendum has done something more than what the UK’s right-wing media would have you believe. Yes, the result has divided opinion, but it has simultaneously engaged all kinds of people who were politically indifferent 6 months ago.

      In many small towns and cities, mainly places that have been persistently overlooked by Westminster and its neoliberal decision makers, there is a growing sense of civic awakening.

      For decades UK activists have been urging the masses to engage in the political processes: to respond to the deterioration of citizen’s rights and services; to fight the replacement of secure jobs with zero-hour contracts; to resist the shrinking state which impacts the poorest citizens most of all; to demand that affordable housing for all be more than an aspiration. At the very least, vote.

      Last month, the two-headed monster of the official campaigns of Leave (lies and fear) and Remain (fear and lies), both manufactured by the same duplicitous elites, faced off at the ballot. It was generally believed that the Leave camp would be defeated, that by controlling both campaigns the establishment could ensure the outcome and simultaneously provide undeniable proof that the UK is democratically run. Their certainty proved false.

      From a leftist perspective, the media coverage leading up to the 23rd June could at best be described as suffocatingly narrow. The limited width of debate wasn’t only exclusive to the mainstream; you really had to dig for arguments borne of the ‘real’ left online too. The lack of a genuine socialist voice (that could see beyond its own party politics) was suppressed cleverly by exploiting the shallow fear within the ‘soft’ left of denting its politically correct image. To vote Leave was instantly seized upon by the establishment as a vote for legitimising fascism and racism; Britain would become and “inward looking” and “regressive” nation once again. With no strong left mainstream voice to argue otherwise, that’s the way it has stayed.

      And the masses voted. The result sent tracers into the highest pantheons of world governance, exposing briefly, like in the flash of lightening, the vulnerable face of globalisation. Real democracy alone has this power, so there’s little wonder it is rarely seen – especially in countries where it is promoted it zealously.

    • Did Longtime Ally Just Blow Major Hole in Clinton’s TPP Credibility?

      Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of the Clinton family, said this week that Hillary Clinton would support the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) if elected president, despite claiming to oppose it—before walking the comments back and then doubling down on them again.

    • Unions and Trump Face Off in Vegas, and the Unions Are Winning

      The New York-based conglomerate has the smallest heart when it comes to its employees and contractors.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s REAL point about Russian hackers: We are nearly defenseless in the cyber sphere
    • The Russians are coming

      US Democrats said they had been targeted by yet another cyber attack, while Hillary Clinton’s campaign confirmed that an analytics programme it used was breached in an earlier intrusion.

    • DNC hack part of a cyber war that’s just begun

      A relatively short drive from Sea World, roughly 6,500 military and civilian workers are engaged in a largely unseen though increasingly critical war for secret information stored in government computers.

    • Clinton’s Campaign Computer System Hacked by Alleged Russian Intelligence

      Computer system used for the Hillary Clinton campaign was subjected to a hacker attack by Russian intelligence services, media reported Saturday.

      [...]

      The Clinton campaign has blamed the hack on Russia, but Moscow refutes the allegation, naming them “absurd.”

    • Trump’s apparent call for foreign cyber hack of Clinton sparks security concerns
    • Israeli Intelligence Debunks Notion of Russia Hacking DNC Emails

      Blaming Russia is a convenient way to shift attention from a legally challenged, illegitimately anointed Democrat party nominee – the greatest threat to world peace in modern memory.

    • Why Russia keeps getting away with hacking the US

      Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is curious that Russian hacking has not been cracked down on as much as other nations.

    • NSA Hackers Believed to Be Attacking Russian Computer Networks

      Hackers working for the NSA are believed to be attacking Russian government computer networks as part of the government’s “hack back” policy, which allows for retaliation in the event that a foreign nation is implicated in an attack on “US interests,” in this case centering on claims of Russia being behind hacking of DNC computers.

    • Ghazala Khan says Trump ignorant of Islam and doesn’t know sacrifice
    • Bernie Sanders Delegates Complain of “Disrespect” on Democratic Convention Floor

      On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders reiterated his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee. On Tuesday, it was made official during the roll call vote, when Sanders himself stood among his Vermont delegation and moved that Clinton be nominated by acclamation.

      But on Wednesday, some delegates in the Sanders camp complained that Democratic Party officials who manage the convention had treated them as something less than their Clinton-pledged counterparts.

      Michael Wilson, a Sanders-pledged delegate from California, told me that floor officials attempted to confiscate his delegation’s anti-TPP signs, and that he returned from a walkout by Sanders supporters on Tuesday evening to find that his seat had been taken by a nondelegate who refused to give it up.

      “It’s a disrespect not to us, but to the people who voted for us, and that we’re representing. They want to have their voices heard. But apparently there are certain subjects that are not palatable to the party authorities.”

      “I have no knowledge of those specific situations,” Lee Whack, the press secretary for the Democratic National Convention, told me on Wednesday evening, in response to complaints of disrespect from Sanders delegates. He declined to comment further. Repeated phone calls and emails to the Clinton and Sanders campaigns were not returned.

      The Sanders campaign brought many newcomers into the political process and onto the convention floor. Some amount of controlling signs and chants is a normal part of the convention process, as the party attempts to unify behind one candidate and pivot to the general election.

    • Libertarian Gary Johnson Keeps Fighting to Join the Presidential Debates (Video)

      Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, has made no secret of his desire to be onstage with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential debates.

      Our America Initiative, an arm of the Libertarian Party, filed a lawsuit in September against the Commission on Presidential Debates, challenging its “15 percent threshold.” This threshold is reached when a candidate has the “support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.” Third parties have been included in national presidential debates only twice.

      The legal action, which includes the Green Party in its plea, appears to be stalled. Instead of the 15 percent threshold, the lawsuit reportedly “seeks to establish as the qualifying standard for debate inclusion getting on enough state ballots to have a mathematical possibility of winning the election.” Johnson supporters worry that if the issue is not settled by August, the Libertarian Party will have run out of time. s

    • DNC Ignores Muslims’ Objections, Gives Michael Bloomberg Starring Role at Convention

      Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be a primetime speaker at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, despite his support and defense of a discredited New York Police Department program that systematically spied on American Muslims in their neighborhoods and places of worship during his tenure.

      In interviews with The Intercept, Muslim attendees decried Bloomberg’s starring role at the convention, but numerous Democratic officials and lawmakers refused to condemn Bloomberg’s policies towards Muslims and expressed their delight at his appearance.

      The Clinton campaign reached out to Bloomberg about a speaking role several weeks ago but the announcement didn’t become public until late last week, after the former mayor and billionaire businessman publicly endorsed the Democratic nominee.

    • Will Bernie’s Supporters Stay Home on Election Day? We Asked Them.

      After several large street protests in the afternoon, the convention floor was mostly orderly last night, though a few delegates wore blue tape over their mouths. The pro-Bernie booing and chanting that provoked some awkward onstage ad-libbing from Sen. Al Franken and comedian Sarah Silverman midway through the program had mostly settled down by the time Sanders himself took the stage. There was a 60-person Occupy-style “mic check” after the convention adjourned. After midnight, on Packer Avenue, there were shouts of “Never Hillary!” as two Sanders supporters made their way back toward the city on foot.

    • Could Trump be Good for Peace?

      There’s no answer to that, but the Obama-Pentagon administration is not going to relax its anti-China and anti-Russia attitude, and if Hillary Clinton becomes president — she of the infamous “We came; We saw; He died” giggling interview in which she rejoiced in the savage murder of President Gaddafi of Libya — there will be more of the same. In fact, probably a lot more of the same, only harder, faster and of more financial benefit to US manufacturers of weapons systems who are doing very well, with record sales totaling 10.5 billion dollars last year, and lots more to come.

    • Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”

      Possibly I have spent too many years ‘abroad’, outside of North America and Europe. Perhaps I don’t feel ‘white’, or ‘Western’ anymore. Or who knows, maybe I never really felt too ‘Western’ anyway, thanks to my Russian and Chinese blood.

      That could help to explain why, when I listened to the acceptance speech delivered by Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, I felt detached. In fact I felt great emptiness. I understood the words and their meaning, and I was even able to analyze what these words would mean to the world, were this forceful man to be elected to the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth. But for a while, inside, I felt nothing; absolutely nothing, except, perhaps, exhaustion.

      Outside my window was a great mass of water, separating the historic Penang Island from the rest of Malaysia. Cargo ships were majestically sailing to and from the nearby port, and it was raining heavily.

      I was watching Donald Trump’s speech live on Al-Jazeera. There was hardly any choice available, as in this suddenly pro-Western country, there were no international alternative channels, for which I work for, available – no RT, no Press TV, and no Telesur.

      Trump spoke and spoke, much longer than was expected. Whenever cameras showed people listening to his speech, I felt a sense of déjà vu, that I had witnessed all this on many other occasions. Like when Obama was speaking and thousands of people were, religiously, as if in a trance, moving their lips, whispering ‘yes we can’… like when George W. Bush was being sworn in. Like…

      The Messiah has arrived! Oh, that need for a religious experience, which is so omnipotent in the United States. The evangelical, religious Trump, defending ‘little people’! How lovely, honest and unexpected. Bravo!

      [...]

      The West’s ‘small people’ only want to hear about their own misfortunes and ordeals. They want to be pitied. They want a much better deal than the one they are getting these days. If they go to the barricades, it is not to protest against the holocausts which their countries are committing all over the world. It is only to get more, more and more, for themselves, by any means available, and no matter who is really paying the bill.

    • Vote Fear and Fear Wins

      Fear is a tactic used by the despotic or the power-lusting to manipulate and control us. It is the responsibility of all citizens, left and right, to challenge it vigorously. We must question those who tell us to fear. We must confront it within our own hearts. Otherwise, on Election Day, we will find that only our fears will win.

    • Before Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm

      Decades before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman to run for president for a major political party she was years ahead of her time. So why don’t more people know about her?

      Forty-four years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm made history as she announced her candidacy for the White House. Her bid for the top job was short lived, but the symbolism is as powerful today as it was then.

      She was a pioneer for her generation, a woman of many firsts – the first African American congresswoman. The first African American to run for president. The first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

      “She paved the way for me to be able to set foot on Capitol Hill,” says 22 year-old Kimaya Davis, who works for a congressional committee.

      Davis is black and secured her job after an internship with the Congressional Black Caucus. Founded by Shirley Chisholm, the Caucus represents black members of Congress.

    • Third-party support surging

      Voters now confronted with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are making something abundantly clear: they want another option.

      Surveys over the last six weeks have found a steady but noticeable jump in support for third-party candidates. The biggest beneficiary has been Libertarian Gary Johnson, who has shot up from 4.5 percent to 7.2 percent in RealClearPolitics polling averages. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has also seen an uptick since June — from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

      The surge in support for a third-party candidate is adding a new element of unpredictability into the presidential race. Should voters opt for a third-party candidate in large numbers, it could potentially tip the scales in crucial battleground states.

      Pollsters and political scientists say the deep malcontent with Clinton and Trump should give both candidates pause.

    • Judge orders Trump to pay nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees for stiffing painting contractor

      Instead of Donald Trump honoring the painting contract he signed and paying this local Miami business the remaining $34,863 balance he owed them, his company just took it upon itself to say that they had been “paid enough”.

      The company slapped a lien on his Doral resort and that woke the old Trumpster up. Judge awards attorney’s fees totaling nearly $300,000. Trump still hasn’t paid the local painting business the remaining balance.

      This is Trump’s track record in business and Hillary’s ad about Trump stiffing small businesses proves this guy loves stiffing the little guy.

    • Debate commission to Trump: The dates are set

      The Commission on Presidential Debates responded to Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee’s complaints about the debate schedule with a message on Sunday: The schedule is set.

      “The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) started working more than 18 months ago to identify religious and federal holidays, baseball league playoff games, NFL games, and other events in order to select the best nights for the 2016 debates,” the commission said in a statement. “It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles. A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.”

    • Influence at the DNC: More than 60 superdelegates are registered lobbyists

      Lobbyists wield enormous influence and, depending on your point of view, can bring positive or negative changes to our government. From reptile keepers to balloon enthusiasts, everyone has a constitutional right to petition government. The power some lobbyists hold over both parties in Congress and the White House is well documented. But what’s not well documented is how lobbyists play a role in the Democratic party’s nominating process.

      As Libby Watson noted earlier this year, most delegates to the Democratic National Convention, held this year in Philadelphia, are allocated based on the vote share from primaries and caucuses held in individual states, territories and the District of Columbia. But there are also 712 so-called voting superdelegates. These individuals include former and current elected officials as well as members of the Democratic National Committee. Superdelegates can support whomever they choose and are not bound by any primary or caucus result.

      And, as we found, some of the superdelegates also happen to be lobbyists for interests like big banks, payday lenders, health care insurers and unions.

    • Clinton’s claim that the FBI director said her email answers were ‘truthful’

      Clinton is cherry-picking statements by Comey to preserve her narrative about the unusual setup of a private email server. This allows her to skate past the more disturbing findings of the FBI investigation

      For instance, when Clinton asserts “my answers were truthful,” a campaign aide said she is referring to this statement by Comey to Congress: “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”

      But that’s not the whole story. When House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked whether Clinton had lied to the American public, Comey dodged: “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI.”

    • Did The DNC Hire Actors (At Below Minimum Wage) To Work At The Convention?

      Whether the ad is real or fake is unclear, but the text suggests below minimum wage compensation (7-plus hours work for $50) and the number of walkouts from the Convention indicates perhaps a need for cheering happy seat-fillers…

    • Democrat Convention in Trouble? Claim of Actors Hired to Fill Empty Seats And Clap

      Remember the children’s story about the Emperor who wore such fine clothes that no one could see them until, finally, one little kid had the integrity to say the Emperor was “balls naked”?

      Well, now interpolate that story into an analogy for the Democratic National Convention that’s been playing to a half-empty audience. The Democrats and the media are acting like the confused or demented Emperor who thought he was wearing such fine clothing that he didn’t realize his butt was bare!

      If the Democrats have to advertise and are willing to pay $50 per person to sit in empty seats to cheer for Hillary, what does that tell you? They have lost a lot of their party base! It would appear that those who walked the political plank and left experienced a reality check on what’s really going on in party politics in the USA, however a little too late, it would seem to me.

    • WOW! DNC Fills Empty Bernie Seats at Convention with PAID ACTORS!
    • Busted! “Actors Needed” to Fill Democratic National Convention Posted on Craigslist

      The final two days of the Democratic National Convention might be filled with actors hired via a Craigslist listing to give viewers the appearance of party unity. Upwards of 700 paid actors could be replacing a significant number of Bernie Sanders supporters who had their convention credentials revoked after they staged a walk out as former President Bill Clinton took the stage to speak on behalf of his wife.

      The pressing question: Was this posted by the DNC? We can’t say for sure.

      The ad, which offers to pay “$50.00 each night” per actor for “the remainder of the convention” on Wednesday and Thursday night, was quickly taken down when People’s Pundit Daily requested a comment. However, we were still able to grab a screenshot from the web archive (H/T Google Wayback). The DNC apparently hasn’t yet learned that what goes out on the Internet (emails included) are never truly “gone” when deleted.

    • Was “Computer Network” “Analytics Data Program” Hacked at Hillary HQ VAN or Something Else?

      Several outlets have reported that Hillary’s campaign — or rather, a network the Hillary campaign uses — got hacked along with the DNC and DCCC, presumably by the same APT 28 group presumed to be Russia’s military intelligence GRU. But reports on this, coming after a day of equivocation about whether Hillary’s campaign had been hacked at all, are unclear.

      Reuters explains hackers accessed an “analytics program server” for five days (though doesn’t provide a date for that access).

    • Video Shows Arkansas Democrats Barring Bernie Sanders Delegate From Convention Floor

      Last week’s Democratic convention was expertly choreographed for television. For the most part, the party exercised tight control over signage, especially as the week went on. There was MICHELLE on Monday, AMERICA on Tuesday, OBAMA on Wednesday and HILLARY on Thursday, accompanied by a sea of flags, indoor fireworks, and a pre-rehearsed card stunt finale.

      Those watching from home had to look hard to notice that some delegates—most of them supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders—had brought in their own signs, many of them expressing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a broad and controversial trade agreement. They did so against the wishes of Sanders himself, who urged his followers by email not to protest or demonstrate at the convention “as a personal courtesy to me.”

      Most Sanders-pledged delegates obeyed, but not all. A significant minority participated in a walkout, chanted their own slogans, and battled with party loyalists to make their anti-TPP signs visible. Sanders opposed the TPP vehemently, saying that it was “designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations.” Clinton, who praised the potential benefits of the TPP as Secretary of State, has publicly expressed qualms about it as well. John Podesta, who chairs Clinton’s campaign, has said that she opposes a vote on the deal before the election and would seek “a new approach” as president.

      On Thursday morning, the Arkansas Democratic Party refused to issue a daily floor credential to Frank Klein, an elected delegate from Arkansas. Klein had held up an anti-TPP sign during Obama’s speech the night before, as had delegates from Illinois, Florida, and elsewhere. But delegates from Arkansas, Bill Clinton’s home state, were seated in the front and near the center of the convention hall, making them especially visible to news photographers and T.V. cameras.

    • The Psychopathology of Donald Trump

      Does Donald Trump only say crazy things, or does he say crazy things because he actually is crazy? In a speech delivered on the third day of the Democratic National Convention, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg openly questioned the GOP candidate’s sanity on prime-time television.

      More importantly, if less sensationally, the issue of Trump’s emotional stability has also been raised by a growing number of influential and highly respected mental-health practitioners. They have done so out of a sense of urgency, even in the face of a code of conduct promulgated by the American Psychiatric Association that cautions psychiatrists against making public statements about public figures whom they have not formally evaluated.

      Ordinarily, as someone licensed to practice law rather than psychology, I’d stay out of the debate and remain in my comfort zone of traditional legal and political commentary, committed to exposing the policy shortcomings of both major-party candidates and their surrogates. But Donald Trump has secured the GOP nod for president. He’s one election away from being the commander in chief of the most powerful nation the planet has ever seen. As such, he, like Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, deserves heightened scrutiny, both as to policy and personality.

    • The Agony of Being a First Time Undecided Voter

      My biggest problem with Dr. Stein is that there just doesn’t seem to be a clear path to victory. No one other than George Washington has ever won a third party bid for President. Even Ralph Nader who got millions of votes ended up not winning a single district or a single electoral vote.

      I’m also disturbed by talk among Green Party members, even Stein herself, saying it doesn’t matter if they win. They just want to have a good showing. They just want to increase the power of the Green Party for the next election cycle and show the establishment that they aren’t to be taken lightly.

      I’m all for that, but a Trump Presidency is too high a price to pay for it.

      If Jill Stein could provide a clear and believable path to victory, I would vote for her in a second. I would campaign. I would do everything I could to help her win. But as it stands this isn’t even a Hail Mary. It’s not like throwing the ball from one end of the field to the other hoping for a touchdown. It’s like throwing the ball from the parking lot, from the highway, from a neighboring state!

      However, voting for Clinton is repugnant.

      She represents everything I want to change about American politics. She is the establishment, the status quo.

    • The party platform they won’t stand on

      But a closer look reveals that the 2016 platform is far less progressive than Sanders delegates argued for.

      For example, the platform calls climate change an “urgent threat” and proposes that the U.S. should be powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2050. But every one of Sanders delegate Bill McKibben’s proposals on how to get there were voted down: no carbon tax, no ban on fracking, no to keeping fossil fuels in the ground. In short, nothing tangible to back up the rhetoric.

      On the Middle East, the platform declares, “We will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel.” Proposed language from Cornel West and Maya Berry calling for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements” was blocked.

      Even the much heralded and certainly welcome inclusion of support for a $15-an-hour minimum wage was more vague than it needed to be about tying the minimum wage to the inflation rate.

      Not exactly a smashing victory for progressive politics. But even if Sanders supporters had managed to win more concessions from the party establishment, would it matter? Would a President Hillary Clinton be bound in any way by the platform that delegates passed this week in Philadelphia?

    • While Publicly Seeking Unity, the DNC is Censoring a Convention and Silencing Dissent

      The Democratic National Committee professes publicly that it longs for peace and unity between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The DNC’s actions as organizers of the convention, however, have repeatedly had the opposite effect.

      To begin, no one who wanted Bernie Sanders as the nominee was ever allowed near the microphone on stage. It is an open convention, regardless of the way it’s been covered in the corporate media; Hillary Clinton did not get the required 2,383 delegates required to win outright from pledged delegates. The superdelegates are casting the deciding votes this week. Bernie Sanders, although issuing an endorsement of Clinton earlier this month, hasn’t conceded the race nor released his delegates and so he could become the nominee.

      Nevertheless, the entire first day of the convention — ostensibly the “Bernie Day” — featured no speakers who favored a Sanders nomination. Several one-time Sanders supporters who now favor Clinton were allowed to speak.

      “Instead of having both candidates’ surrogates make their case, even if the outcome seemed obvious, Monday only featured speakers who advocated voting for Hillary,” said Justin Baird, from the convention floor, a Sanders delegate and whip from Washington state. “It was painfully obvious that if that was Bernie Day, it was really just another Hillary Day, and it riled nearly half the delegates.”

      Simply allowing a few Sanders supporters — Nina Turner, for instance, or Tulsi Gabbard, or even Jane Sanders — to speak Monday would have immediately increased feelings of unity. Instead, the convention got off on the wrong foot, fomenting feelings of suppression right away, even before Bernie gave his heart-rending “three minute ovation” speech later that night.

    • Fact Check: Trump’s Fiction, Clinton’s Spin

      As the Democratic National Convention wrapped up its final day with Hillary Clinton’s history-making acceptance speech, Donald Trump also took the spotlight by giving a controversial speech on the Iran nuclear deal. Eyes around the nation were on both candidates, but which one gave a more authentic speech?

      Luckily, the AP has some answers. Christopher S. Rugaber and Bradley Klapper broke down the inaccuracies and twists in both speeches. The result? Although Clinton “brings plenty of policy detail when stacked against the broad-brush ideas of her Republican rival, in some cases there’s less than meets the eye to what she says she will do.”

    • Riding Trump’s Wave, Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke Runs for Senate

      Immediately after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and an early Trump supporter, tweeted: “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders! Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!”

      On the heels of the Republican Party’s Convention, Duke, promising to be a voice for “European Americans,” threw his hat into the ring to run for the Louisiana Senate seat vacated by the retiring scandal-plagued David Vitter.

      “Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Jewish-Americans, etc. etc.,” he said in a video announcement. “The fact is that European-Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate, one man in the Congress, who will represent their rights and heritage.”

    • Fundraising Arm for House Dems Hacked, Resembling DNC Attack

      Attack comes just after release of DNC emails showing officials sabotaged Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign

    • Millennial Sanders Activists Give New Energy to Southern Organizing

      Khristy Wilkinson, a 36-year-old, tattoo-adorned, stay-at-home mom, doesn’t look like your typical Eastern Tennessee politician. Before this year, she had never even considered running for public office, but says that she was inspired to run by the success of Bernie Sanders.

      Until recently, Wilkinson was an adjunct philosophy professor teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has been active in her community, Highland Park, for years, and has been disturbed by the changes gentrification has brought to her neighborhood.

      “I would invite some of my African American friends over and when they would leave, my neighbors would call the cops on them,” says Wilkinson. “It’s just outrageous what is happening to this neighborhood.”

    • Our DNC ‘Hunger Games’ Moments Must Not Derail the Hard Work Ahead

      There were despicable efforts by the DNC to silence dissent this week in Philadelphia, and there were moments of soaring courage, compassion and camaraderie too. For me the absolute highlight of the DNC speeches was Rev. William Barber calling us all to rise to this moment. In case no one noticed, his message could easily have been delivered if Bernie had been our nominee. It was a powerful message that created some of the few precious moments of unity during a week when the DNC remained largely tone deaf to Bernie supporters and prepared to battle us rather than working to embrace us.

    • Code Pink Activist Kicked Out of Democratic Convention (Video)

      On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, the mainstream media repeatedly focused on the convention hall full of compliant Hillary Clinton supporters. What they didn’t show was the peaceful protesters dragged out by security. Although a Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin made headlines by interrupting proceedings at last week’s Republican convention, such protests at the Democratic convention did not garner the same attention.

      Truthdig’s Sonali Kolhatkar caught one such moment on film when Ariel Gold, a Code Pink activist, was forcibly ejected from the convention hall by Secret Service. Kolhatkar spoke with Benjamin to learn the details of Gold’s ejection.

    • On Top of Emails, Leaked DNC Voicemails Show Money Buying Access

      Just before President Barack Obama delivered his speech to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, new reporting on the so-called “DNC Leak” by WikiLeaks unearthed a large batch of voicemails contained in the files which give additional texture to a scandal that has loomed large at this week’s event in Philadelphia.

      Though many of the voicemails (see the complete list of audio files here) are rather innocuous in their content, CNN reports how other “messages highlight the relationships between donors looking for favors and goodies, and the party officials trying to bring in money to their coffers.”

    • Slavery, Endless War, and Presidential Politics

      Over the past quarter century, neocons and military-industrialists have vanquished Vietnam Syndrome and the public opposition to war, achieving the solidification of endless war.

      “There was significant opposition to the First Gulf War — 22 senators and 183 reps voted against it, including Sanders — but not enough to stop the march to war,” Nicolas J.S. Davies wrote last October on Huffington Post. “The war became a model for future U.S.-led wars and served as a marketing display for a new generation of U.S. weapons. After treating the public to endless bombsight videos of ‘smart bombs’ making ‘surgical strikes,’ U.S. officials eventually admitted that such ‘precision’ weapons were only 7 percent of the bombs and missiles raining down on Iraq. The rest were good old-fashioned carpet-bombing, but the mass slaughter of Iraqis was not part of the marketing campaign. When the bombing stopped, U.S. pilots were ordered to fly straight from Kuwait to the Paris Air Show, and the next three years set new records for U.S. weapons exports. . . .

      “Meanwhile, U.S. officials crafted new rationalizations for the use of U.S. military force to lay the ideological groundwork for future wars.”

      And Barack Obama’s military budget is the largest ever. When you factor in all military-related spending, Davies points out, the annual cost of U.S. militarism is over a trillion dollars.

      Before the value of this spending is addressed, the fact of it has to be acknowledged. And no presidential candidate without the courage to do at least this — open a discussion about the costs and consequences of war — deserves my vote, or yours.

    • Hillary donors to Bernie supporters: Shut up

      Bernie Sanders and his supporters during the Democratic primary railed against Hillary Clinton’s big donors, but now those big donors are pushing back.

      There is a widespread sense among major donors who gathered here that supporters of her vanquished rival Sanders have overstepped their bounds with their protests and heckling of speakers, according to interviews with about a dozen donors and fundraisers.

      “They carried it too far,” said Michael Clark, a Washington lobbyist and donor, after a reception at the Academy of Music for the pro-Clinton big-money groups Media Matters, Correct the Record and American Bridge 21st Century. “They embarrassed Bernie at one point. They certainly embarrassed Hillary.”

    • After Lying Low, Deep-Pocketed Clinton Donors Return to the Fore

      …Democratic donors congregated in a few reserved hotels and shuttled between private receptions with A-list elected officials.

    • From Inside Ritz-Carlton, Clinton Donors Tell Sanders Backers to Give Up

      Hillary Clinton’s big-money donors have something to say to Bernie Sanders’ supporters: Go away.

      Although Clinton accepted her nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday with a speech that echoed Sanders’ populist rhetoric, her message was undercut by moments that struck a conservative chord, angering those who fear she will abandon what some saw as a leftward shift if elected president. Throughout the convention this week, Sanders delegates and allies have protested the power of money in politics—among other key progressive issues—both outside and inside the venue.

    • Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance

      Goldman got its money’s worth at the Convention, $700k for two speeches, more a promissory note on behalf of the entire Wall Street community for continued support when and if she is elected president. Clinton, an engine of self-promotion that never turns off, makes Trump’s self-promotion infantile, tiresome, and dyspeptic by comparison. A coinciding of personas, public and private, is difficult to hide, ambition-driven translating into hawkish militarism, the mutilation of national healthcare, friend to corporate and financial vested interests, outclassing Trump in service to monopoly capital.

      Was the Democratic party hypocritical in nominating Clinton for the presidency? Hardly. Its own record on war, health insurance, corporatism stands out, with the exception of the New Deal, since Kennedy’s time with comparable stands going back to Wilson, and before that, Grover Cleveland—a sordid promotion of anticommunism and red-baiting to cover its sins of omission and commission in opposing a society of authentic human welfare. Now, somehow, a woman crashing the glass ceiling—never mind her reactionary bent and danger to world peace—fits perfectly the the scenario of constant obfuscation, as the concentration of wealth-and-power as a unified structural syndrome continues apace.

    • Independence Day for the BBC?

      In an uncertain ‘Brexit Britain’, we must ensure that the BBC remains a public broadcaster, as free as possible from state interference.

    • How the Democratic Party Befriended Megacorporation Uber for Its Convention

      The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has been a logistical nightmare. The Pennsylvania Convention Center and most major hotels are located in the busy city center just steps from City Hall. But the actual convention is happening miles away at the Wells Fargo Center, surrounded by metal barricades and with most driving and walking routes choked by Secret Service mandates.

      One clear winner in the challenge of transportation for the tens of thousands of delegates, party staffers, journalists, volunteers and workers to and from the convention has been the ride-sharing company Uber. Barred from operating in Philadelphia until just two weeks before the convention, the story of how Uber wound its way into a cozy spot at the Democratic convention is illustrative of the Democratic Party’s contempt for labor and the economic interests of working-class people.

      Rather than just being a backdrop for the convention, it is worth examining how the city has struggled with poverty, low wages and gentrification and how the story of Uber plays into it. The Philadelphia Inquirer examined the extent of “deep poverty” in the city—which it defines as an “income of 50 percent or less of the poverty rate”—and found that Philadelphia had “the highest rate of deep poverty among America’s 10 biggest cities.” The reason for this depressing statistic, the paper said, might be that “the city has a greater fraction of its population detached from the labor market than do many other cities.”

    • Uber Gets Special Treatment in Philadelphia, Thanks to the Democratic Party (Video)

      What would a political convention be without a little greasing of the wheels to boost local business?

      Until two weeks prior to the Democratic National Convention, Uber was illegal in Philadelphia, but the ride-sharing company cut a special deal with the city and Democratic National Committee. Activists were not happy with the move and protested on the first night of the convention.

      Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar caught up with Rebecca Hammell of the Fair Ride Philly Coalition to discuss how Uber became legal in Philadelphia and why.

      “The Philadelphia Parking Authority went behind closed doors with Uber and made a backroom deal, a secret backroom deal,” explained Hammell. “The deal itself wasn’t secret. The contents of the deal are secret. They basically agreed to not take any enforcement steps against Uber from now until Sept. 30.”

    • A Working-Class Fisherman Travels to Philly, Rooting For Bernie (Video)

      Even though Hillary Clinton is the official nominee, Ainsworth doesn’t feel she represents his interests.

    • The Time for Third Parties is Now!

      The coronation of Hillary Clinton has now been completed. The farce of the primaries, in which millions of people voted for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, only to be told that they don’t know what’s best, and that the super-delegates would select the nominee, is behind us, and even Mr. Sanders has gotten into line like the good little corporate soldier that he is. On opening night of the Democratic convention, he gave a shining endorsement of Mrs. Clinton, who stands for all the things that his ‘revolution’ seeks to destroy. But, what is any of that, when the need to keep a Democrat in the White House is so important, despite the fact that, in substance, there is little difference between the major policies of the two parties?

      We keep hearing about the most ‘progressive’ Democratic platform in history, without any mention that it is completely non-binding, and is basically just the recycled blathering we’ve been hearing for months: more money for the military; more oppression of the Palestinians; less concern about the environment, etc. Oh yes, progressive indeed!

      It is long past time for the United States to join the rest of the nations that purport to have some semblance of democracy (the fact that the U.S. simply doesn’t is a topic for another essay), and expand to more than two parties. The Libertarian Party traditionally wins the most votes, after the Republicans and Democrats. But with dozens of third parties fielding candidates for president, why on earth would any thinking person vote for either Mrs. Clinton, the epitome of elitism, corruption, arrogance and entitlement, or the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, a loud-mouthed windbag who appeals to the basest instincts of the most ignorant citizens? Why would anyone in the 99% vote for either of these charter members of the 1%?

    • Hillary Clinton needs to wake up. Trump is stealing the voters she takes for granted

      For the first time in living memory, the Republicans are outflanking the Democrats on the left. If they don’t rise to the challenge, they’ll be trounced

    • Why is the DNC Trying to Silence Nina Turner?

      An all-star list of performers, including Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, Shailene Woodley, and Kendrick Sampson, will headline a media availability today to respond to efforts by the Democratic National Committee to silence former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, a leading and prominent African American surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • Disruptions by Angry Bernie Sanders Delegates Were the Best Part of the Democratic Convention

      The most important task of Democrats at this convention was to respond to the contingent of highly vocal Sanders delegates present, who composed 46 percent of the total number of delegates in attendance and whose main issue was—and is—economic justice for ordinary Americans. Still, one speaker after another attempted to convince the disunited gathering that the Democratic Party is not in fact beholden to big business. To that end, former President Clinton, who gutted crucial welfare programs during his tenure at the White House, said, “We believe that ‘we’re all in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own.’ ” Michelle Obama, who hit two key party themes—family values and economic equity—in a single sentence, said, “I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves; we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.” Even Sanders made the claim that Clinton, and by extension, the party, “understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn, impartiality and media misrepresentation

      Another academic study has found systemic bias against Jeremy Corbyn in the British media.

    • DNC betrayed Bernie Sanders and the rest of America

      In other words, the Democrats created a mess. And they are turning to Sanders — the very one they betrayed — to come in and clean it up.

      Sanders dutifully took the stage on opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday in Philadelphia and, in effect, told his supporters not to harbor any ill feelings over being stabbed in the back. He warned them against getting sidetracked and urged them to keep their eyes on the bigger issue — defeating Republican challenger Donald Trump in November.

    • The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World

      Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated on Tuesday night by the Democratic Party as its candidate for the U.S. Presidency. She may well win on November 8.

      What a tragedy for Western democracy that the leader of what is still called the free, democratic world cannot produce better candidates than Trump and Clinton through a disgustingly commercialized and corrupt political process where candidates like Jill Stein – did you ever hear of that candidate? – doesn’t have a chance because she cannot mobilize the funds.

      As a European intellectual with a life-long commitment to peace and democracy, I find little reason to celebrate.

    • Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?

      The folks supporting Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, are fairly easy to grasp. Many of them share the same racist proclivities of the voters that have turned out for GOP candidates in elections past. And many of them have the same ultranationalist affinities for authoritarian troglodyte candidates, a problem that has become a trademark of the Republican political agenda. But, oddly enough, these are not the real pariahs this election cycle. In truth, it is the leftists in this country – people who have either passed as liberals, or been tolerated by the liberal camp for the last eight years – that have been fated to be the political black sheep of 2016.

      As Hillary & Co. struggles to win the hearts and minds of millions of disenchanted Americans, her cult of curiously ignorant followers continues to bemoan the left, which will not support #her. In fact, they are so vociferous that one might think the left had actively begun stumping for Trump! Any disdain for the anti-Hillary left notwithstanding, the truth remains that HRC is the one who deserves the lion’s share of the blame for such a mediocre march towards the White House.

    • A Party of Lemmings Led by a Zombie: Why We Need to Keep Bernie Sanders’ Vision Alive

      I ran into Truthdig Editor in Chief Bob Scheer at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week. I asked about his take on the Clinton delegates. I explained that I wanted to engage them on matters of policy, but I could hardly get an honest peep out of them. Bob looked at me, shrugged off my question as if to suggest that they’re not interested in that stuff, and quipped, “This is a job fair to them.”

      Indeed, just as Thomas Frank portrays in his magisterial new book “Listen, Liberal,” the core of the Clintonite Democratic Party is the American aspirational class, and they’ve transformed the Democratic National Convention into their natural habitat, the job market.

      Somehow, I missed the memo. Look, I have no illusions. I’m from the same social strata as many of the Clinton delegates—middle- and upper-middle class, well-educated, soccer over NASCAR. Almost all of my longtime friends dutifully support the Democratic Party, and while my pals went for Bernie Sanders in the spring, they will probably fall back in line for “Her” in November.

    • ‘On Contact With Chris Hedges’: Jill Stein on How, and Where, Revolution Can Actually Happen

      Stein sizes up the newly minted pair of nominees, quickly summing up the reasons why they can’t effectively lead the country out of economic or social crisis. “Putting another Clinton in the White House—that’s not the solution, that was the problem, and it’s only going to fan the flames of right-wing extremism,” Stein tells Hedges. “As Bernie Sanders himself said many times, the solution to this kind of crisis—and it’s real pain that the Trump supporters are responding to—the solution is truly progressive and transformative, just, economic revolutionary policies, and that’s what my campaign brings to the table.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Poland welcomes internet filtering

      Until June 23 Poland was a green island on the European black sea of internet filtering. Once, back in 2010, the Polish government considered this popular yet ineffective form of preventing cybercrime. But as a result of eager public debate the then Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, was advised against introducing a list of ‘forbidden websites and services’. The usual arguments used by freedom of expression advocates in other countries proved successful in Poland: Tusk decided against the costly operation, having been persuaded that even with internet filtering in place, undesirable content would still be accessible. The infrastructure and manpower costs would surmount the limited benefits of the few lay internet users actually believing the misleading 404 error message or complying with the automated ban.

      Yet only six years later that debate and all relevant arguments seem to have been forgotten. As the Warsaw NATO summit dawns, and in the face of the growing threat of terrorism in other European countries, the Polish law on ‘anti-terrorist’ measures, authored by the right wing Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc; PiS) government, has introduced the first ever Polish procedure on internet filtering, raising serious concerns about privacy, freedom of expression and other human rights.

    • Censorship of terrorist names, photos a step in wrong direction
    • Should Media Follow Self-Censorship In Not Publishing Photos Of Terrorists In Attacks
    • French media stops publishing photos of terrorists: Could US media follow?
    • French Media Censor Identities Of Terrorists – ‘To Avoid Glorification’
    • Yavuz Baydar: Silence is the enemy of democracy

      “Freedoms suspended” was the headline of Friday’s Cumhuriyet daily. It is one of the very few newspapers left in Turkey which dares to continue with critical reporting and analysis.

      Cumhuriyet explained that the emergency rule decrees give the government the ability to arbitrarily shut down media outlets suspected of “having links to structures and groups that pose a threat to national security.” Ministers are now empowered to close TV, radio, websites and, even, book publishers. Prosecutors are required to follow those orders. This means a total end of media freedom in Turkey.

      Academics, who had launched a petition calling for an end to the violence in south-eastern Turkey and advocated a return to peace negotiations, have found themselves targets of the wider with hunt, Cumhuriyet reported. Under government decrees, prosecutors are now able to issue search warrants and even seize the properties of suspects being arrested or sought for detention — without the need to have a judge approve the order.

    • Journalists Flee Turkey as Government Purge Targets Media

      The latest crackdown is “on media outlets and journalists [the government] accuses of being linked to the Fethullah Gülen movement, which it blames for the foiled military coup,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director at Human Rights Watch. “In the absence of any evidence of their role or participation in the violent attempt to overthrow the government, we strongly condemn this accelerated assault on the media, which further undermines Turkey’s democratic credentials.”

    • EU Calls Turkey’s Crackdown on Media ‘Worrying’

      “The situation came to a point where local media’s fear of being arrested is leading to an increasing muzzlement of the press, thus infringing fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and the public’s right to know,” the International Federation of Journalists said.

      The IFJ said it and the European Federation of Journalists were calling on the EU “to take additional steps to hold Turkish President Erdoğan accountable for press freedom breaches.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EXCLUSIVE – NSA Whistleblower: Agency Has All of Clinton’s Deleted Emails

      The National Security Agency (NSA) has “all” of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and the FBI could gain access to them if they so desired, William Binney, a former highly placed NSA official, declared in a radio interview broadcast on Sunday.

      Speaking as an analyst, Binney raised the possibility that the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s server was done not by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clinton’s compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.

    • Landmark changes to EU surveillance tech export policy proposed, leaked document shows

      This is an initial reaction by Privacy International to a leaked proposal by the European Commission specifically as it relates to surveillance technologies. A full analysis, including wider implications of the proposed changes, is forthcoming.

      The European Commission is proposing to amend the Dual Use regulation to control the export of surveillance technology on human rights grounds, a leaked copy of the proposal obtained by Euractiv shows.

      The landmark move comes after years of campaigning by European Parliamentarians, some EU member states, and human rights organisations, including Privacy International. It will set a global precedent on the need to reconcile trade and human rights. However, it comes years after EU companies were revealed during the Arab Awakening to have supplied various security services known to be involved in human rights abuses with sweeping and sophisticated surveillance technology.

      As a Commission proposal, it is yet to be reviewed by the European Parliament and Member State governments representatives in the Council. In those reviews, amendments will be made by both institutions until they are voted on and agreed.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling

      Economic conditions loom large and play a significant role in North Baton Rouge. One of the reasons for the boycott was to keep North Baton Rouge dollars in North Baton Rouge. But the problem was and is, there aren’t that many places to spend those dollars north of Florida Boulevard—the great dividing line between the city’s more affluent, predominantly white area and its mostly black neighborhoods. My daily drive down the highway to Southern University reveals a landscape littered with abandoned buildings, a few struggling small businesses, and a number of large and foreboding industrial sites—lately featuring buffer strips in an attempt to address public health concerns. One of the local councilwomen lamented back in March that a dollar store chain had declined to open in the area due to worries about crime. Indeed, new businesses in the area are a rarity, as many residents complain of being forced to travel to the other side of the city for entertainment, amenities, and healthcare.

    • Out of the Blue: Loved Ones Search for Answers in Shaylene Graves’ Prison Death

      Wednesday, July 27, should have been the day that 27-year-old Shaylene Graves walked out of prison a free woman. After eight years in prison, Graves, known as Light Blue or simply Blue to her friends, was looking forward to her first meal out of prison and the welcome-home party her family was planning.

      Her family never got to throw that party. At 6:30 am on June 1, Graves’ mom Sheri was sitting in her car waiting for her oldest son Michael. As they did every weekday morning, the two were planning to drive from their home in Corona to Irvine where Sheri worked as a nurse and Michael as a barber. As she was backing the car out of the driveway, Sheri’s cell phone rang. On the other line was an officer at the California Institution for Women (CIW), the prison where Shaylene was finishing her sentence. He told Sheri that her daughter was dead.

    • Comics Teach Union History and Importance of Solidarity

      Howard Zinn once wrote that “to be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness.” It’s also more than this. As the Graphic History Collective, editors of Drawn to Change – a graphic depiction of numerous Canadian labor battles waged since the 1880s — note, “hope is critical to struggles for social change.”

      Indeed it is, and the nine full-length, if short, comic books that comprise this anthology are exuberantly optimistic — even though many of the campaigns described in the collection actually sputtered or failed. Nonetheless, the intrepid spirit of those who imagined a more humane world is inspiring and offers a cogent push to the world’s workers, urging us to follow their bold example and take risks to improve our lot.

    • One Mother’s Story: How Overemphasis on Standardized Tests Caused Her 9-Year-Old to Try to Hang Himself

      For years, this story was a family secret. A mutual acquaintance, knowing from my Knight-Ridder/Tribune columns that I had repeatedly attacked the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test not just as a waste of time, money and human potential, but as child abuse, gave this mother my email address and suggested she write me. I met with the mother and child personally and can vouch for the fact that they do indeed exist.

      If failing to reach the pass-fail cut score by just one point wasn’t within every standardized test’s margin of error; if research hadn’t established that for the young, retention in grade is as traumatic as fear of going blind or of a parent dying; if standardized tests provided timely, useful feedback that helped teachers decide what to do next; if billions of dollars that America’s chronically underfunded public schools need weren’t being diverted to the standardized testing industry and charter promotion; if a generation of test-and-punish schooling had moved the performance needle even a little; if today’s sneaky, corporately driven education “reform” effort wasn’t driven by blind faith in market ideology and an attempt to privatize public schooling; if test manufacturers didn’t publish guidelines for dealing with vomiting, pants-wetting and other evidences of test-taker trauma; if the Finns hadn’t demonstrated conclusively that fear-free schools, cooperation rather than competition, free play, a recess every hour in elementary school, and that letting educators alone could produce world-class test-takers—if, if, if—then I might cut business leaders and politicians responsible for the America’s current education train wreck a little slack.

    • What’s to be done with Oxfam?

      Too small to influence economics, too bureaucratic to be social movements, banned from politics and removed from the societies they’re trying to change, where do NGOs go next?

    • How One Connecticut City’s Reform Plan Reduced Race-Based Police Stops

      The Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice, as well as the Blue Lives Matter movement in support of police officers, have brought to light persistent and widespread tensions regarding American police forces’ treatment of minorities. But improvements are possible, and small changes can make a positive difference, judging by one Connecticut community that might be viewed as a test case for how to resolve some of these conflicts.

      After the Hamden, Conn, police department was singled out in a 2015 state-sponsored study for conducting disproportionate stops of African-American motorists, Chief Thomas Wydra acted to improve relations between police officers and the minorities in the zone his department serves. Following a year of Wydra’s reform efforts, stops of African American drivers were reduced by a quarter, helping close racial gaps in traffic stops in the area.

      Before that reform was enacted, though, the police chief had qualms about defective equipment laws, which allow officers to stop motorists on minor violations ranging from dangling ornamentation on rear-view mirrors to the degree of tint on car windows. Those rather subjective guidelines often compel police officers to rely on their own discretion while conducting traffic stops.

    • To Reduce Bias, Some Police Departments Are Rethinking Traffic Stops

      Though it’s his job to enforce the law, Thomas Wydra — police chief of Hamden, Conn. — is not so sure about the laws on defective equipment.

      “You may have something hanging from your rearview mirror. That’s technically a violation,” Wydra says. “You have an attachment on your license plate. That’s technically a violation.”

    • Top 7 firsts in Women in US Politics

      As I pointed out, it is all very nice that Hillary Clinton is the first American woman to be nominated as the standard-bearer for her party’s presidential bid, but 11 Muslim women have already served.

    • Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas

      Race and racism stalk gun violence and the legislation to control guns in the history of the United States. Texas is no exception to this rule. In the 1960s the civil rights and radical struggles for racial justice at colleges provoked liberals and conservatives in the Texas Legislature to ban guns on campuses. In Texas, that consensus against civilians carrying guns on campus evaporated in 2015.

    • Danny Glover & Bernie Delegate Larry Hamm: The Sanders Movement Must Stay Mobilized to Push Change

      The address at the DNC from mothers whose unarmed African-American children were killed by law enforcement, or due to gun violence, marked an “extraordinary moment,” says New Jersey delegate Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress. But he adds, “I wish someone would have said police brutality must stop. … In the two years since the death of Michael Brown, 2,500 people have been killed by police in the United States.” We are also joined by actor and activist Danny Glover. Both men say they formerly supported Bernie Sanders and now plan to vote for Hillary Clinton. Glover notes, “What we do beyond the 9th of November is the most important thing.”

    • White Supremacy and Sanctioned Violence in the Age of Donald Trump

      Peter Thiel, the silicon billionaire and one of the six ultra-rich financial elite to speak at the Republican National Convention once wrote that he did not “believe that freedom and democracy were compatible.” This blatant anti-democratic mindset has emerged once again, without apology, as a major organizing principle of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. In addition to expressing a hatred of Muslims, Mexicans, women, journalists, dissidents, and others whom he views as outside the pale of what constitutes a true American, Trump appears to harbor a core disdain for democracy, bringing back Theodor Adorno’s warning that “the true danger [of fascism] lay in the traces of the fascist mentality within the democratic political system” (a warning quoted in Prismatic Thought). What has become clear is that the current political crisis represents a return to ideologies, values and policies based upon a poisonous mix of white supremacy and ultra-nationalism, opening up a politics that “could lead back to political totalitarianism.”

    • Slow death: Is the trauma of police violence killing black women?

      It is difficult to imagine the pain of witnessing and archiving the death of a loved one. It is even more difficult to imagine what this must be like when a police officer is pointing a gun at you in front of your four-year-old child. The only word that comes to mind for me is terror, although I am sure that is inadequate. One thing I am sure of: When Philando Castile was killed on July 6, he was not the only victim of police violence in that car. The trauma that Diamond Reynolds and her young daughter experienced marks them as victims as well.

      If we as a nation want to truly address the problem of anti-black police violence, then we must shift our national discussions from simply tallying the body count of the immediate dead to assessing the traumatic and long-term deadly effects on the living.

    • Bill Clinton Draws Flak for ‘Trumpish’ Comments on American Muslims

      Beinart continued, “Whether Clinton meant to or not, he lapsed into Trumpism: the implication that Muslims are a class apart, deserving of special scrutiny and surveillance, guilty of terrorist sympathies until proven innocent.”

    • “Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most

      Safety in American is about protecting white police officers — not black persons, or Mexican immigrants, or Muslims, or refugees, or women’s reproductive rights and health, or the safety of LGBTQ persons whom Donald Trump promised to protect from “a hateful foreign ideology.” Trump’s words resonated with knowing white Convention delegates. “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country. Believe me. Believe me.” (“Donald Trump’s dark speech to the Republican National Convention, annotated, Ibid) The delegates believed Trump, and cheered him on.

    • Australia’s “Abu Ghraib”-Like Torture of Jailed Children Captured in “Chilling” TV Footage

      Footage from an ABC investigation revealed juvenile detention center guards in Australia’s Northern Territory shackling, hooding, taunting, and teargassing detained children—as well as leaving them in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.

    • Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan started to use his powers under the newly-declared state of emergency today to close 15 universities and over one thousand schools alleged to have links to the Gulen movement, which is accused of having staged the failed military coup on 15 July.

      The extent of the closures underlines the sizable nature of the network of influential educational establishments, charitable institutions and other associations built up by followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen in the last thirty years. Those now being shut include 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions.

    • David Cameron ‘list’ sparks call for honours overhaul

      Opposition MPs have called for a complete overhaul of the honours system after a newspaper published what it said were leaked details of David Cameron’s resignation honours list.

      The Sunday Times said the ex-PM had chosen to reward cabinet colleagues who backed the losing EU Remain campaign, as well as No 10 staff and donors.

      But a one-time parliamentary aide to Mr Cameron, Sir Desmond Swayne, has dismissed claims of “cronyism”.

      Downing Street has declined to comment.

    • Making Algorithms Accountable

      There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks. Read the story.

      Some have argued that these failure rates are still better than the human biases of individual judges, although there is no data on judges with which to compare. But even if that were the case, are we willing to accept an algorithm with such a high failure rate for black defendants?

      Warning labels are not a bad start toward answering that question. Judges may be cautious of risk scores that are accompanied by a statement that the score has been found to overpredict recidivism among black defendants. Yet as we rapidly enter the era of automated decision making, we should demand more than warning labels.

      A better goal would be to try to at least meet, if not exceed, the accountability standard set by a president not otherwise known for his commitment to transparency, Richard Nixon: the right to examine and challenge the data used to make algorithmic decisions about us.

    • Confessions of a Kremlin conspiracy theorist

      On 19 July, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the Moscow division of the Investigative Committee and arrested three of its senior officers over suitcase-loads of bribe money. On 25 July, the US Democratic National Committee brought Kremlin politics into the US elections after alleging that Russian intelligence are behind the hack and subsequent leak of embarrassing emails. Then, on 28 July, the Kremlin reshuffled a series of administrative positions that usually no one cares about (the governor of Yaroslavl oblast? Really?), which is now being taken as an omen of major changes ahead for Russia.

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