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08.03.16

Links 3/8/2016: Fedora Flock Starts, ownCloud Hiring, LibreOffice 5.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Is Windows 10 Anniversary Update Deleting Linux Partitions? [Ed: Microsoft Loves [to Sabotage] Linux]

      Yikes — if you plan on installing the Windows 10 Anniversary update on your PC you may want to be extra careful.

      It seems that the latest version of Microsoft’s OS has attention issues. Not content with forcing itself on users who didn’t want it, it may be taking even more drastic steps of hosing other operating systems entirely!

      A handful of reports surfacing on social media suggest, anecdotally, that the Windows 10 anniversary may interfere with, affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk.

    • Linux desktop marketshare has grown for three consecutive months [Ed: Net Applications, for the uninitiated, is Microsoft-connected, so expect real numbers to be a lot higher]

      Not strictly gaming related, but we do cover other important or interesting things here and there. According to netmarketshare [Net Applications] for three months straight Linux marketshare has gone up.

      2016
      April: 1.65%
      May : 1.79%
      June : 2.02%
      July : 2.33%

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Docker 1.12 Advances Mac and Windows Desktop Editions

      Lots of container technology news is rolling in this week. Mesosphere announced support for the Confluent Platform for data streaming management, and heralded that “the time is now for Container 2.0.”

      Meanwhile, many more users are taking to Docker’s recently unveiled version 1.12 of its core software-containerization system today, accompanied by the first full desktop editions of the software for development on Mac and Windows machines.

      Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows have graduated from beta and are now stable and ready for production.

    • ALSA 1.1.2 Released

      The alsa-lib 1.1.2 release adds some improvements to the control API, thread safety to the PCM API, mixer and PCM API changes, topology API improvements, and a range of other changes. Alsa-utils 1.1.2 was also released and it mostly contains changes to its Basic Audio Tester (BAT).

    • Encrypted File Sharing Service Tresorit Offers Linux Desktop Client, But…

      On Thursday I received an email from Eszter Szilva, a PR manager at Tresorit, which is an “end-to-end encrypted file sharing service.” She was offering an invitation to take a peek at the company’s just released client for GNU/Linux. I must admit I was a little excited by this, despite the fact that I already figured the service was also end-to-end proprietary. I was willing to ignore that, thinking it’s about time for companies to start treating Linux users with the same respect given to users of other operating systems.

      A quick gander at the company website told me the service encrypts files client-side before uploading using AES, the Advanced Encryption Standard established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. The company uses servers located in Ireland and the Netherlands, which is an important plus for those trying to stay out of the long reach of the US government. The company is headquartered in Switzerland and user data is protected under Swiss privacy laws, which offer more protection than in the US or even the EU.

    • syslog-ng 3.8 – what changed?

      Almost a year has passed since the last major syslog-ng release. The first beta of the upcoming 3.8 release was published last week. This brought many changes both in terms of new features and in packaging. To encourage testing I would like to highlight some of the most important new features. Most people prefer using packages, so I also collected what changed in packaging.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ZeMarmot at GUADEC 2016

        We are all happy users of GNOME here, and this is the first time we will be in GUADEC, so this is pretty exciting. Both Aryeom, the film director, and myself, Jehan, are sponsored by the GNOME Foundation to present our film, produced with FLOSS, in room 1, on Sunday, August 14. We will talk about the movie, its current status, about our work on GIMP too, how GNOME and Free Software works in a media creation workflow, and so on. So we hope you will be many to check this out if you are around!

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 Essential Open Source DevOps Projects

    This is very short list of projects in the DevOps space; many other projects are available, with each one catering to a certain use case. What’s most impressive is that all of these projects are fully open sourced. It’s more or less become a phenomenon. The success of the Linux development model has made even hard-core proprietary companies comfortable with the idea of open sourcing such projects.

    When you talk about the DevOps movement, open source is the de facto development model. It has become so commonplace that no one even really mentions it. We have started to take it for granted that “it has to be open source.”

  • Why open sourcing your software is a smart business decision

    Proprietary software developers beware: open source has become mainstream with non-tech brands like Nike rushing to prove their open source credentials by publishing open source projects and sharing code on GitHub.

    Meanwhile, Facebook has just open sourced the spec for Surround 360, its 3D-360 hardware and software video capture system. It is therefore a small surprise that the 2016 annual ‘Future of Open Source‘ survey revealed that 65% of respondents have increased their use of open source software compared with 60% in 2015.

  • How-to Video Training: Open Source Component Management and Intelligence

    As a developer I am constantly chasing new tools and enjoy learning new things. I read a lot of blog posts, tutorials, and documentation. And, I listen to podcasts and attend webinars as well. More and more I find that watching videos of conference and webinar presentations is great. But even better are shorter, focused videos that give you a chance to quickly learn something new.

  • ownCloud is hiring!

    After the recent news, we are now back on stage and with this blog we want to point you to our open positions. Yes, we are hiring people to work on ownCloud. ownCloud is an open source project, yes, but ownCloud GmbH, the company behind the project, provides significant people’s power to expand the project to serve the needs for both the community and ownCloud GmbH’s customers. So if you ever dreamed of getting paid for work on open source, read on.

  • Enterprises increasingly joining open source ecosystem – Wikibon

    A new wave of open source participation is growing among large traditional enterprises not normally considered technology developers, writes Wikibon Lead Cloud Analyst Brian Gracely. Companies like Capital One Financial Corp., Nike Inc., Deere & Co. and General Electric Co. are joining open source consortia both as users of and contributors to major initiatives.

    They are doing this for the same basic reason that IT vendors such as IBM, Google and Intel have become major drivers of Apache open source projects – it allows them to participate with outside teams on developing software they need, creating better solutions to their needs faster and at less cost.

  • Comma.ai open-sources the data it used for its first successful driverless trips

    Comma.ai, the startup that George Hotz (aka Geohotz) founded to show that making driverless vehicles could done relatively cheaply using off-the-shelf components and existing vehicles, has open-sourced a dataset of 7.25 hours of highway driving.

    It might not seem like a lot, but in terms of comparative datasets for highway driving out there, it is. And it’s what Hotz used to build the initial successful self-driving demo used to ferry Bloomberg around for comma.ai’s big public debut.

    “When I started this project, I didn’t want to have to put things in cars – I just wanted to play with the machine learning,” explained Hotz in an interview. “But I looked around and there was no good source of data to do that.”

  • comma.ai releases 7 hours of self-driving car data, calls for Tesla, Google and others to do the same

    comma.ai CEO George Hotz recently praised Tesla, Google and Otto for being fairly opened about their self-driving car programs, but he is taking his own company a step further in openness with the release of a dataset of 7.25 hours of comma.ai’s prototype at work.

    We’ve often discussed at Electrek how data will be extremely important in the race to create a fully self-driving car, and also in the race to get such a system approved by regulators, which is why comma.ai’s move here is particularly interesting.

    Back in May, we talked about Tesla adding an impressive ~1 million miles of data every 10 hours due to its important fleet of about 100,000 cars equipped with Autopilot sensors. On the other hand, Google has just over 1 million miles of data since launching its program in 2009 due to its smaller fleet, but it’s arguably collecting more data per mile due to using more sensors than Tesla.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released with Interface Refinements, New Features

      Today, August 3, 2016, The Document Foundation non-profit organization has had the great pleasure of announcing the general availability of the LibreOffice 5.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite software.

    • LibreOffice 5.2 Released, This Is What’s New
    • LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released
    • LibreOffice 5.2 released

      LibreOffice 5.1.5 “still” announced, for enterprise class deployments

      Berlin, August 3, 2016 – The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.2, a feature-rich major release of the best free office suite ever created – targeted to early adopters and power users – with several user interface improvements and enterprise grade features.

      At the same time, LibreOffice 5.1.5 has been released, for enterprise class deployments and more conservative office suite users.

    • LibreOffice under the hood: a year of progress from 5.0 to 5.2

      Today we release LibreOffice 5.2.0, the next step in our journey, and what will become the base of the increasingly stable 5.2.x series. There is a fine suite of new features for people to enjoy – you can read and enjoy all the great news about the user visible features from many great hackers, but there are, as always, many contributors whose work is primarily behind the scenes, and a lot of work that is more technical than user-facing.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Brendan Eich’s Innovative Brave Browser Gets Funding

      Brendan Eich, formerly CEO of Mozilla, has been busy with Brave Software and the new Brave browser, which is getting a lot of notice as an open source browser that blocks online ads and other trackers. As TechCrunch noted: “Unlike traditional web browsers where ad-blocking takes place via a third-party add-on or extension, Brave’s browser has this technology built in, claiming not only to offer users more privacy, but also increased speed and performance – especially when surfing the mobile web.”

      It’s also significant that the Brave browser is a blockchain-enabled browser with hardened security, enhanced speed and micropayment capabilities. Now, Brave Software has announced that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Investors in the round include Founders Fund’s FF Angel, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and Digital Currency Group.

    • Patreon

      I’ve been funded for two years by the DataLad project to work on git-annex. This has been a super excellent gig; they provided funding and feedback on ways git-annex could be improved, and I had a large amount of flexability to decide what to work on in git-annex. Also plenty of spare time to work on new projects like propellor, concurrent-output, and scroll. It was an awesome way to spend the last two years of my twenty years of free software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Poland to boost sharing and reuse of software

      Poland’s Ministry of Digital Affairs is nudging the country’s public administrations to share and reuse ICT solutions. In July the ministry published draft clauses for contracts and procurement, asking citizens to comment. The clauses do not explicitly stipulate the use of free and open source software licences. However, the ministry emphasises that when developing software, public administrations should own the code and have the right to share and redistribute it.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Is Erdogan really stronger after failed coup?

      The prevailing view among punditry and the media, both Turkish and international, is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged much stronger from the July 15 coup attempt and is now empowered to steer the country as he likes.

    • Why Do Liberals Keep Calling Donald Trump a Dove?

      While the Democrat made the case for liberal militarism, the Republican attacked the interventionist status quo. “Yeah, I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s gotta be,’” he said, as if he’d read his Chomsky. “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called ‘nation-building,’” he continued, lashing out at occupations that had killed U.S. troops and civilians alike. “I think what we need to do is convince the people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here.”

      That was in 2000 and that Republican, George W. Bush, put America’s perceived interests first after winning the race for the White House—by ignoring effete international prohibitions against aggressive war, bypassing the United Nations, and unilaterally invading Iraq. Now, 13 years later, there is another Republican, Donald Trump, railing against the “arrogance” of U.S foreign policy in a race against a Democrat whose record is marked by support for war, including the one launched by the last conservative critic of liberals with bombs.

    • Donald Trump asked 3 times in 1 hour why U.S. doesn’t use its nuclear weapons
    • This ‘Morning Joe’ Discussion About Trump And Nuclear Weapons Is Terrifying
    • Trump’s ‘erratic’ behavior could test nuclear protocols, former head of CIA and NSA says
    • The Mystery of Turkey’s Failed Coup

      The failed Turkish coup and President Erdogan’s harsh reprisals have left more questions than answers, including who was really behind the botched putsch and why, reports Joe Lauria.

    • The War That Won’t Go Away

      “Amid ‘Sacrifice’ Debate, a Look at How Trump Avoided War” (New York Times, August 1, 2016), attempts to cast doubt and suspicion on Trump’s motives as a student and young man when he successfully got out of military service during the Vietnam War. The article takes Trump’s statements about his health and deferments during that period and shows the inconsistencies in how Trump describes his history vis-a-vis the draft. But the problems here are twofold. Mr. Trump seems to have a problem in general with inconsistencies and outrageous statements in almost every policy pronouncement he makes on the campaign trail. In the case of Vietnam and the draft, however, he was doing what hundreds of thousands of other young men did during that unpopular war to get out of serving in the military. To judge Trump by the standards of 1968 or 1969 is to take the current views about war and apply them retroactively to that era.

    • As US Attacks Libya Again, Peace Group Tells Obama: ‘Stop the Bombing’

      Citing the disastrous bombing campaign in 2011 that pushed the nation into political chaos and bloody violence, anti-war groups are calling for an immediate end to a new wave of airstrikes on Libya approved by U.S. President Barack Obama.

    • We Refuse To Be Targets in This Nuclear World

      Despite our unsuccessful local efforts, we do not wish be targets any more. We believe the millions of human beings who are tired of dreaming the nuclear nightmare need to be brought into the process. We are not alone in this goal. Mayors of 5300 cities across the world have asked that their cities not be targets any more—targets of national military decisions in which their communities have no voice or role. We are proposing the creation of an international campaign that stands up to say “We refuse to be targets”—to ask governments in the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and other countries having, or contemplating having nuclear weapons across the world, to cease and desist.

      We need a new Nuclear Freeze and then systematic reductions with a protocol for controlling fissionable materials. Our suggestion would be that the campaign advocate for gradual reductions: first of 25% or more (which has at least been proposed for US/Russian bilateral reductions to follow-up the New START agreement), then of 50%, then of 75%, and finally of 95% both in nuclear warheads and in fissionable materials. This would require the creation of infrastructure for monitoring and verifying compliance with agreed reductions.

    • What Khizr Khan Said That Wasn’t About Trump and You Probably Won’t Hear

      On Monday, the same day the U.S. started its new campaign in Libya—a move one antiwar group said will only further “entrench divisions and intensify violence” in the region—the Khans gave an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

      Asked by host Chris Matthews, “What do you think when you, or feel, when you see us attack Iraq or go into Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden, or we go attack with bombs Libya? We’re bombing Syria now—all Islamic countries. What do you feel as an Islamic man?”

      Khizr Khan replied, “As a Muslim-American, not just as Islamic man—as a Muslim American, I feel that these policies are not in the interest of United States of America, and we see the result of it. We are more vulnerable now. We have created a chaos and—for ourselves.”

      “Well, you know you’re speaking to the choir,” Matthews responded. (In fact, “Matthews’ record isn’t entirely consistent” on being against either the war in Iraq or on avoiding a military approach to confronting ISIS, Norton notes.)

      “I wish this country would have listened to Chris Matthews when he was talking, when he was preaching,” Khan said, “we could have saved ourselves from this quagmire.”

      This section of the interview, Norton points out, “is not included in the isolated clips for the episode on MSNBC’s website. One has to watch the full episode to see it.”

      The situation may remind some of how the corporate media chose to portray Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel laureate and children’s education advocate who was attacked by the Taliban. She met with President Barack Obama at the White House and told him that “drone attacks are fueling terrorism.” Yet, as Peter Hart wrote at FAIR in 2013, that “didn’t register in a corporate media that followed Malala’s visit, and her story, very closely.”

    • Dear Trumpists: Khizr Khan is not ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ and it wouldn’t matter if he Were

      A Trump adviser is trying to smear Khizr Khan, the Pakistani-American legal consultant who spoke at the DNC, as a “Muslim Brotherhood agent.”

      This ignorant discourse is only possible because people just have no idea what they are talking about. It wouldn’t fly if done about Western Christians. So for instance we would know that most Swedes are fairly liberal Lutherans and most Spanish are Catholic. Among far right wing Catholics in Spain you have the secretive cult, the Opus Dei. What the Trump people are doing is he equivalent of charging that a liberal Swedish Lutheran is an Opus Dei agent. That charge wouldn’t make any sense to anyone who knew about ethnicity and Christianity in the West. A liberal Swedish Lutheran couldn’t be Opus Dei.

      I’m not sure it will do much good, but let me try to explain why a liberal Pakistani wouldn’t be Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood as a movement began in Egypt in 1928. It began as a reassertion of Arab Muslim values in the wake of the 1880-1922 direct British occupation of Egypt, and the subsequent British hidden hand in Egyptian affairs through 1956. The Brotherhood is vague about the kind of government they want, but when they had a chance in 2011-13, they supported democratic elections.

    • My Response to Bill Clinton: On (My) Liberty and (Your) America

      According to the results of a recent Economist/YouGov poll, a majority of Americans believe that Islam, more than any other religion, encourages violence. Republicans are particularity anti-Muslim (74 percent shared these views) but a sizable number of Democrats (41 percent) hold such toxic ideas about Islam and its followers, as well.

    • Justice Department Officials Raised Objections on U.S. Cash Payment to Iran

      Senior Justice Department officials objected to sending a plane loaded with cash to Tehran at the same time that Iran released four imprisoned Americans, but their objections were overruled by the State Department, according to people familiar with the discussions.

      After announcing the release of the Americans in January, President Barack Obama also said the U.S. would pay $1.7 billion to Iran to settle a failed arms deal dating back to 1979. What wasn’t disclosed at the time was that the first payment would be $400 million in cash, flown in as the prisoners were released, as The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • After Louisiana Flooding, the Red Cross Draws a Deluge of Complaints

      Three months after record floods swept through Louisiana in March, the government officials in charge of disaster response set up a post-mortem with area Red Cross staffers.

      The meeting’s purpose: Airing officials’ many complaints with the charity’s performance.

      “Basically, during the Miss. River flooding and the recent severe weather events, most of the Parishes who reached out to the American Red Cross were not happy with the assistance they received or did not get some or any assistance that was requested from them,” a parish emergency manager wrote in an email eliciting the specifics of local officials’ experiences.

      He compiled their responses into a page of talking points for the June 28 meeting. Among the most common gripes: That there had been so much turnover at the Red Cross that government emergency managers didn’t know who to call for assistance; that Red Cross staffers didn’t call emergency managers back; and that the Red Cross didn’t provide enough shelter support.

    • Fracking For President WTF?

      Like your choices weren’t pitiable enough before, now some gas and oil industry pimps in Texas have launched a mock independent bid for the presidency on behalf of – wait for it – fracking. The stunt is part of FrackFeed.com, a new website by the “grassroots” (read astro-turf industry front) group North Texans for Natural Gas (NTNG), which with the support of four energy companies seeks to “give a voice to those who support natural gas.” Aimed at millennials and dedicated to the gonzo proposition that fracking brings you everything good in life – gas, A.C., housing, health care, vacations, burgers, Christmas, celebrity life styles and don’t forget clean water – the site uses laughable memes, quizzes, listicles and other fun stuff to “explain the benefits of fracking to a new generation of Americans.” “Energy is everywhere,” it exclaims, and if you look around you’ll find life itself on God’s green earth, including the toxic water, is “Brought To You By Fracking.”

    • Mega-Utility Dodges $500M ‘Bullet’ as Feds Slash Potential Fine for Pipeline Explosion

      A federal judge on Tuesday night quietly slashed a potential $562 million fine against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) for the privately owned, publicly regulated utility’s role in a 2010 deadly natural gas pipeline explosion near San Francisco.

      The incident six years ago “sent a giant plume of fire into the air, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno,” the Associated Press recalls.

      As Common Dreams noted at the time, “In the weeks before the catastrophe, residents had been reporting gas odors and had voiced fears about a leak. But this brought no action from the company. A state assemblyman from the San Bruno area noted that the torn pipeline was over 60 years old, having been installed in 1948. He criticized PG&E for its poor maintenance and lax response. After the explosion, it took the company almost three hours to shut off the gas supply.”

    • Prosecutors in PG&E case abruptly reduce potential fines

      Abruptly and without explanation, federal prosecutors slashed potential criminal penalties for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. from $562 million to $6 million Tuesday while a jury was considering whether the company violated safety laws both before and after the lethal 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

      The decision was made public in a court filing as both sides awaited the jury’s verdict in federal court in San Francisco.

      Prosecutors had maintained, in filings before and during the trial, that California’s largest utility could be punished for any convictions with penalties equal to twice the amount it saved by shortcutting safety laws. They said those savings could be measured by the $281 million that PG&E estimated it would cost to comply with safety standards after the San Bruno explosion — leading to a potential fine of $562 million if the federal jury in San Francisco returned guilty verdicts.

    • Missoula Wins Right to Control Its Own Water in Victory Against Privatization

      Missoula, Montana scored a major victory for community ownership of public resources when the state’s supreme court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that the city’s use of its water system was “more necessary” than its use by a private company.

      The city has been embroiled in a costly, years-long legal battle over control of its water supply. Missoula previously argued it has the right to use its powers of eminent domain to purchase Mountain Water Co. from then-owner the Carlyle Group—which has since sold the water company to Canada-based Liberty Utility—an argument which the Missoula County District Court agreed with last June.

      Now, their argument has been vindicated, as the Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday found the lower court’s “detailed factual findings” supported the eminent domain decision.

    • Montana Supreme Court clears way for city’s Mountain Water purchase

      The city of Missoula won its eminent domain case to buy Mountain Water Co. in a 5-2 decision Tuesday from the Montana Supreme Court.

      In the majority’s opinion, Justice Patricia Cotter said the state high court gave the record an “exhaustive review” and found the lower court’s “detailed factual findings” supported public ownership.

    • Is Solar Energy Really Too Expensive?

      Utilities are lobbying against the expansion of rooftop solar, and that’s no good for anyone.

    • Energy-wise buildings can cut gas imports

      A renovation programme to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings in Europe could create a million jobs, provide warmer homes, more comfortable factories and offices, reduce fuel bills across 28 countries, and cut imports of Russian gas, researchers say.

      This is because buildings are currently the biggest single emitter of GHGs in Europe. Many have inefficient heating and cooling, combined with poor insulation.

      But with existing technology and political will, they could be transformed into energy producers and become carbon-neutral, says a report produced by OpenEXP, an international group of experts helping policymakers to reach sustainable development goals.

    • 6 Signs the Big Global Switch to Solar has already Begun

      China has installed 20 gigawatts of new solar power just in the first half of this year. This achievement beats analysts’ expectations by a wide margin. China wants to add 20 GW of new solar every year for the next four, but apparently could do twice that. At the end of 2015, China had about 40 gigawatts of installed solar power, so in just six months it has added half again as much. It already surpasses the previous solar champ, Germany.

      The Crescent Dunes “concentrating solar power” plant in Nevada, operated by a Santa Monica firm, is using molten salt as a battery so that it can generate electricity 24/7. It is the first such plant to use solar energy to melt the salt directly instead of via oil, e.g,, which is a huge advance in efficiency. All electricity plants are just a way to turn turbines using boiling water. If you can turn the turbines with molten salt heated hours ago by the sun, then you can make electricity all day and all night. The Crescent Dunes plant can power 75,000 homes. All those critics of solar power who maintain that it needs gas or nuclear for baseload generation when it is dark or very overcast can now find some other talking point. Solar can do it all. Concentrating solar power costs as little as 10 cents a kilowatt hour, making it competitive with nuclear both in cost and in non-intermittency. Photovoltaic cells plus battery storage may ultimately be cheaper but this means that at the very least we have a relatively inexpensive solar technology that isn’t intermittent.

  • Finance

    • Let’s Understand Why We’re So Finished Economically

      The myth of the American Dream is the dominating factor in keeping people mostly complacent in the United States. You know it — work hard, and your life will improve. Well, maybe not your life, but your kids’, or at least your grandkids’. If that doesn’t work, it is the fault of the Irish immigrants, or the darn Chinese, or those welfare freeloaders. Ask Donald Trump how it all works.

      The thing that makes the myth so powerful is that the tiny percent that is true sounds better than the 99 percent which is a lie. As long as near-constant growth could be assured, enough pieces would fall to the the lower and middle classes to make the Dream seem real. It helped that a kindly media would promote the heck out of every exception, whether it was the shoeshine boy in the late 19th century who went to college, or the plucky guys who invented some new tech in their garage and became billionaires. See, you can do it too, just like if we run hard enough, everyone can be in the Olympics. It’s just a matter of wanting it, believing in yourself, having passion and grit, right?

    • Our Revolution Marches On as Washington’s Jayapal Nabs Primary Win

      Pramila Jayapal, one of the standard-bearers for Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution movement, won a decisive victory in the primary race for Washington’s 7th Congressional District Tuesday night and will advance to the November general election.

      Jayapal, an Indian-born state senator who was endorsed by Sanders in April, won 38 percent of the vote. The Seattle Times reported late Tuesday that rivals Joe McDermott and Brady Walkinshaw were “neck and neck,” taking—by the latest count—21.5 percent and 20.9 percent respectively. The top two will advance to the fall election.

    • There’s a Hunger Problem in Every County in America—and It’s Solvable

      Loudoun County is a suburban area with colonial roots, nestled about 45 miles northwest of the District of Columbia. It boasts the nation’s highest median household income at nearly $124,000 per year. It also has 14,000 residents who struggle with food insecurity, or a lack of reliable access to affordable and nutritious food.

      Elizabeth and her daughter, Jennifer, are Loudon County residents that struggle with hunger. Both women once had full-time jobs, but Elizabeth was let go from her job as a car mechanic when she injured her wrist. Then, Jennifer had to quit her job to help care for Elizabeth’s four-year-old daughter.

    • In Wealthy Vancouver, Mayor Promises to Turn Tent City into Subsidized Housing

      The mayor of Vancouver, B.C., announced late Tuesday that an empty lot, the site of a tent city of homeless residents and affordable housing activists, will be transformed into subsidized housing for seniors and people on welfare.

      The announcement marked a rare progressive victory in a city marred by rapid gentrification, a years-long housing crunch, and an influx of foreign money that has transformed the coastal community into a “playground for the rich.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Cornel West: Trump Will Be a Neofascist Catastrophe and Clinton a Neoliberal Disaster

      Polls indicate that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a four-point bounce from the heavily scripted Democratic Party Convention. But it is hard to know the depth and intensity of support from Sanders activists passionate enough to earn themselves a place at the convention. Those are the kinds of activists that could help Clinton the most come November. Yet, an informal survey of dozens of Bernie delegates indicates a lack on enthusiasm for the Clinton cause. No doubt, the decision by prominent Bernie booster Cornel West to go for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein won’t help.

    • Can Jill Carry Bernie’s Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution

      Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.

      Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.

    • Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Anti-Sanders Conspiracy

      The release by Wikileaks of a trove of emails from high-ranking Democratic Party officials has confirmed what many Americans – both progressive and conservative – have suspected throughout this election cycle: that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) actively conspired against Bernie Sanders in an attempt to ensure the nomination for Hillary Clinton.

      But it wasn’t simply party apparatchiks like the disgraced Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the recently resigned Chair of the DNC and close ally of Clinton, but also their trusted cronies in the corporate media who actively collaborated with DNC officials to ensure that nothing too critical of Hillary would make it into the Mighty Wurlitzer of contemptibly ‘respectable’ journalism. Indeed, what the Wikileaks revelations expose to the world is the fact that there’s nothing democratic about the Democratic Party, or America’s alleged democracy in general.

    • China and Africa: handling ‘otherness’

      Take one example. For years, the complaint by many outside China during the era of great enclosure under Mao Zedong was that the place was written about as though it were on another planet. People who managed to enter went to observe, maintaining an outsider’s distance as they gazed in at lives they perceived to be either suffering or deluded. In recent years, however, this example of outsider’s language has undergone a metamorphosis from pity to criticism. Martin Jacques, Frank Dikötter and others have examined how Chinese writings themselves contain deep strains of racial and cultural superiority vis-à-vis ‘the other’. But whilst Chinese mainstream discourse does convey a sense of superiority, that isn’t by any means the full story. Countering the notion of a proud, ancient continuous civilisation is an opposing sense of resentment and victimhood, born in the modern era and currently expressed in narratives of colonial oppression promoted by the Chinese government.

    • The Citizens United Playbook

      How a Top GOP Lawyer Guided a Chinese-Owned Company Into U.S. Presidential Politics

    • Power Couple

      Meet the Chinese Husband-and-Wife Team Whose Company Spent $1.3 Million Trying to Make Jeb Bush President

    • Cracks in the Dam

      Three Paths Citizens United Created for Foreign Money to Pour Into U.S. Elections

    • A “Desperate” Seller

      Gary Locke, While Obama’s Ambassador to China, Got a Chinese Tycoon to Buy His House

    • Trumped

      Well, you can’t, in fact. Claiming that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 primary is like claiming Bush won the 2000 election. It’s one of those things that everyone will say, using it as shorthand, and repeating it until everyone forgets that the thing was stolen. So, let me rephrase: How can you get people to pretend en masse that you won the 2016 Democratic presidential primary despite lugging around the same baggage as 8 years before only now stuffed with putrid rotting flesh?

    • Green Alert: Presidential Hopeful Dr. Jill Stein Taps Human Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Her VP Pick

      Green Party presidential hopeful Dr. Jill Stein has tapped Ajamu Baraka as her vice presidential pick for the upcoming 2016 election.

    • Baseless “Anti-Vax” Attacks Against Dr. Jill Stein Distract from Her Call to End the Corrupting Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry Within the FDA

      Dr. Jill Stein has repeatedly articulated her support for vaccinations in interviews and online. The online fact-checking website Snopes.com has debunked accusations claiming Dr. Stein opposes the use of vaccines. The conspiracy theory that Dr. Stein is “anti-science” is becoming a bizarre new counterpart of the “birther”controversy that hounded President Obama’s candidacy in 2008.

      Stein noted, “Anyone who supports vaccinations and wishes to prevent dropping vaccination rates should be concerned about the erosion of public trust caused by the corrupting influence of the pharmaceutical industry in regulatory agencies and government in general.”

      Dr. Stein voices widely-shared concerns that the pharmaceutical industry exerts undue influence in our regulatory institutions – as well as on the politicians to whom they donate.

    • Hillary Clinton’s campaign: ‘We’ll have a press conference when we want to have a press conference’

      When is Hillary Clinton going to hold that long-awaited news conference — the first of 2016? Whenever she feels like it.

      This has always been true, of course. The media can’t force her into one. But the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign hasn’t been quite so blunt about it.

      Until now.

      “We’ll have a press conference when we want to have a press conference,” Clinton pollster Joel Benenson said on ABC News on Thursday evening.

      Okay then. This is the Clinton campaign flaunting its control, reminding the media who calls the shots.

    • Green Party candidate Jill Stein names running mate

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has named Ajamu Baraka, an international human rights scholar and activist, as her running mate.
      “Ajamu Baraka is a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come — an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice,” Stein said in a statement Tuesday. “Ajamu’s life’s work has embodied the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

      Stein, a doctor, is expected to be formally nominated as the Green Party’s presidential candidate Saturday at its national convention in Houston.

    • Mark Crispin Miller

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour in discussion with Mark Crispin Miller, NYU professor, author, and media critic. Their conversation included both critiques of corporate media’s recent performance (such as coverage of the presidential campaign), and ongoing developments that threaten freedom of the press and of thought.

    • What Price Victory?

      Virtually the entire political class has now united to defeat Donald Trump, with Morning Joe today staging a Michael Hayden appearance that served largely to allow Scarborough to tell the story of Trump asking three times in a foreign policy briefing why the US couldn’t use its nukes. As Dan Drezner pointed out on Twitter, Scarborough says the event happened months ago — when the primary was still going on — but has just now staged its telling.

      Beating Donald Trump is important. He’s a racist who aims to win by promising white working class people they can resume persecuting people of color again, and he is dangerously inconsistent. That said, he does want to spend lots on infrastructure and protect workers from the ravages of globalization, something often forgotten in depictions of him as entirely policy free.

      But the transpartisan obsession with beating Trump has largely applauded two developments that, for liberals, for democrats, for those who believe in peace, for progressives, should be a worry.

      First, the Neocon establishment has come out in enthusiastic support for Clinton, with ideologue Eliot Cohen orchestrating serial efforts (one that even includes John Yoo!!) to oppose Trump. They point to Trump’s erratic nature and more recently the theories of Putin’s influence. They do so even in the face of a report that Paul Manafort, through whom any Putin influence would be managed, is checking out.

      [...]

      And even while the focus has been on Russia’s alleged influence with Trump, there has been no focus on Hillary’s unquestioning support of Saudi Arabia (the country that had ties to 9/11) and Israel. Or on Hillary’s equally troubling policy proposals, such as starting a No Fly Zone over Russian planes. As Will Bunch noted in a great column, Democrats have become the party that shuns people who chant No More War.

    • The Populist Insurgency is Ratcheting Up

      “We” being the millions of young people, mad-as-hell working stiffs, independents, deep-rooted progressives, and other “outsiders” who felt The Bern and forged a new, game-changing, populist force of, by, and for grassroots Americans. True, this progressive-populist coalition did not win the White House on its first go ’round behind the feisty Sanders insurgency (which the the smug political establishment had literally laughed at when he began his run). But they are not laughing now, for even they can see the outsider revolt against the power elites won something even more momentous than the 2016 election: The future.

    • Why the Shake-up at the Democratic National Committee Is Doomed

      The shake-up at the Democratic National Committee after an embarrassing breach of its email system continued Tuesday with the departure of three senior officials.

      But purging the DNC of top officials won’t remedy the DNC’s problems. Those problems aren’t attributable to individuals who didn’t do their jobs. To the contrary, those individuals probably fulfilled their responsibilities exactly as those jobs were intended to be done.

      The DNC’s problems are structural.

      The Democratic National Committee – like the Republican National Committee – has become little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money from wealthy individuals, lobbyists bundlers, and corporate and Wall Street PACs.

    • With Clinton at Helm, Democratic Party Again a ‘Plaything of the Super-Rich’

      It appears that nothing is holding her back now that Hillary Clinton has officially become the Democratic nominee for president. With “cash machine” Tim Kaine by her side, the Democratic ticket’s fundraising operation is in full swing, and the money—Big Money—is pouring in.

      On Tuesday, the campaign announced a record take of $90 million last month for the candidate and the Democratic Party, not including that brought in by the Super PACs supporting her bid. Republican nominee Donald Trump raised a reported $80 million last month.

      According to CNN, “Clinton will look to match her July haul with a series of August fundraisers, including star studded late-August events hosted by Oscar-winning actors and tech billionaires like Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.”

    • Tim Kaine’s other role: Cash machine

      When newly minted vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine first showed his face in Philadelphia at the Democrats’ convention last week, it wasn’t on stage at the Wells Fargo Center. It was in the tony private suites high above the festivities, where he dropped in on a handful of the campaign’s highest-flying fundraisers.

      That was no coincidence. Much has been made of the Virginia senator’s suburban dad-like mien and his Spanish-speaking skills as he’s started to attack Donald Trump, but Kaine also brings to Hillary Clinton’s ticket an under-appreciated resume point: his stealth status as one of the Democratic Party’s most powerful fundraisers.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Study: Trolls Are Even Worse When Using Real Names

      Now, this is just one report on one dataset, and there may be a variety of other factors at play. But it certainly matches with our own experience here as well. The idea that people only act like jackasses because they’re anonymous just doesn’t fit with the pattern we’ve seen in the over 1 million comments we have on this site. Yes, sometimes there are anonymous jerks, just like there are sometimes named jerks. But on the whole, anonymity doesn’t seem to magically lead to worse comments.

    • Censor Boards in India, Pakistan Very Myopic: John Abraham

      Actor John Abraham, whose latest release Dishoom could not release in Pakistan as the country’s censor board members failed to reach a unanimous decision on it, says he is neither disappointed nor surprised as he feels that the censor boards across both the countries have been “very myopic”.

      Asked his opinion on the fate of Dishoom in Pakistan, John told IANS over phone from Mumbai: “Well, I think censorship generally across the board in both countries has been very myopic and consistently myopic. So, I am not disappointed, but I am also not surprised.”

      John, who plays a police officer in the film, shared that Dishoom is neither biased nor an anti-country movie. It is all about entertainment.

    • Anurag Kashyap to conduct masterclass on censorship in Melbourne

      After locking horns with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) recently over ‘Udta Punjab’, Anurag Kashyap’s stock continues to rise. His take-no-prisoners stance on the ‘Udta Punjab’ issue has endeared him to young filmmakers and moviegoers alike. Known for making the right noise at crucial moments, the filmmaker has now been invited to conduct a masterclass on censorship and its impact on Indian cinema in Melbourne as he will be attending the Indian Film Festival there from August 11 to 21.

    • Turkey’s media crackdown has reached the Netherlands

      Following last month’s failed coup, journalists in Turkey are facing the largest clampdown in its modern history. Journalists covering the events from abroad have not escaped unscathed, including a number in the Netherlands who have faced threats and attacks.

      Unusually, the journalists of the Rotterdam-based Turkish newspaper Zaman Today welcomed the increased police presence. Long before the military coup that failed to remove Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power, the government had been targeting journalists. But today a Dutch police officer drops by frequently to check if Zaman’s journalists are alright. It makes journalist Huseyin Atasever, who has been working for the Dutch Zaman since 2014, feel safe. Or at least safer than he has felt in a while.

      On the morning of Tuesday 19 July Atasever was on his way to Amsterdam when he received a phone call. A Turkish-Dutch individual had been abused by Erdogan supporters at a mosque in the city of Haarlem. Atasever decided to go there immediately.

    • Canadian Comedian Plans To Appeal $42k For A Joke That Insulted Someone

      Okay, okay, I know that Canada doesn’t have a First Amendment like we do down here — even if people like to joke about it being the 51st state — but it still seems quite bizarre that comedian Mike Ward has been told to pay $42,000 for making an offensive joke about a singer named Jeremy Gabriel. Ward is planning to appeal, but the fact that he’s been found guilty of a “human rights” violation seems ridiculous enough.

    • Comedian Mike Ward ordered to pay $35K to Jérémy Gabriel

      Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that comedian Mike Ward must pay Jérémy Gabriel $35,000 for making jokes that violated his rights.

      Ward has been ordered to pay the former child singer with disabilities $25,000 in moral damages and $10,000 in punitive damages.

      He will also need to pay Sylvie Gabriel, Jérémy’s mother, a total of $5,000 for moral damages and $2,000 for punitive damages.

    • The Summer Blockbuster That’s More About Politics Than You Think

      Meanwhile, the trolls went after not only the movie, but its stars as well. Leslie Jones, a strong black actress and comedian from Saturday Night Live, complained to Twitter that she was being targeted by racist tweets that compared her to an ape and worse. It got so bad that Twitter finally rescinded the accounts of some of the trolls, including that of Milo Yiannopoulos, a writer for the extremist, right wing, Trump-supporting Breitbart site.

      Of course, Yiannopoulos complained that he was a victim of political correctness and left-wing censorship. Finally, Jones herself had enough and quit Twitter, saying, “I feel like I’m in a personal hell.” Leaping to her defense, original Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd called the trolls “losers” and “insignificant gnats,” adding: “I would say that you’re looking at obese white men between 50 and 60 who are active Klan members or members of the Aryan Nation, and there are millions of them.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New Jersey Man Files Lawsuit Over Pokemon Go After A Few Players Politely Knocked On His Door

      Since Pokemon Go launched last month, we’ve seen an endless stream of players oddly forget that “augmented reality” doesn’t mean the rules of traditional reality no longer apply. Players have spent the last month playing the game in some admittedly “inappropriate” places, while wandering in and out of private property or unsafe areas in a quest to capture virtual monsters.

      [...]

      Apparently fed up with the phenomenon (or just looking for a payday), a New Jersey man last Friday filed a lawsuit in California federal court against Niantic Labs and Nintendo. The 16-page complaint is quick to play up complaints about Pokemon Go players catching monsters in places like the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and says the game makers actively invited “unwanted incursions” on to private property when they populated reality with augmented reality monsters…

    • Massive new study lifts the lid on top websites’ tracking secrets

      So, just how tracked are you? Plenty, according to the largest, most detailed measurement of online tracking ever performed: Princeton University’s automated review of the world’s top 1,000,000 sites, as listed by Alexa.

      But you probably knew there’s a whole lotta trackin’ goin’ on. What’s interesting (and sometimes surprising) are the details. Princeton’s Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan have captured the clearest picture of third-party web tracking that we’ve ever seen.

      To begin, huge numbers of folks are trying to track you: 81,000+ third-party trackers appeared on at least two of the top million sites.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Old but relevant today] For CIA, Truth About Torture Was an Existential Threat

      For the CIA officials involved in torture, one thing was clear from the very beginning: The only way they would be forgiven for what they did was if they could show it had saved lives.

      It was the heart of their rationale. It was vital to public acceptance. It was how they would avoid prosecution.

      The executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s grindingly exhaustive torture report released Tuesday indelibly captures CIA officials turning their back on human decency, and it all starts with a “novel” legal defense floated in November 2001 by CIA lawyers – and arguably prompted by their White House masters, lurking offstage – that the “CIA could argue that the torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm.”

      Specifically, they pointed out: “states may be very unwilling to call the U.S. to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”

    • Obama’s CIA Director Wants to Stick Around for Clinton

      If Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidential election in November, John Brennan would like to continue his post as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Current and former U.S. intelligence officials tell me Brennan has signaled in private conversations that he loves the job and would like to keep it if she’s elected. Plus, Brennan does not want to be perceived as a lame-duck director, particularly as he leads an ambitious plan to restructure the agency.

      At the same time, Brennan has all but taken himself out of consideration to serve in a Trump administration. Speaking last month at the Brookings Institution, he said he would not execute an order to torture captured terrorists or target the families of terrorists, as Trump has promised he would authorize if elected president.

    • Eli Lake’s Portrayal of the CIA Director Campaign: Drones, Benghazi, and … ?

      I thought maybe Brennan wanted to stick around to make sure he gets credit for bettering Allen Dulles’ record for regime change (after all, it’s not clear how the regime change conducted while Brennan was at the White House gets counted in these things).

    • Arizona Law Enforcement Charging Innocent Car Owners $2,000 To Reclaim Their Wrongfully-Seized Vehicles

      If you’d like some more evidence on how civil asset forfeiture has become legalized theft, you need only look at this investigative report by Curt Prendergast for Tuscon.com. Not only is it extremely easy for the government to claim assets are tied to criminal activity, but the obstacles placed in front of individuals to reclaim seized assets are numerous and expensive to navigate — sometimes outweighing the value of the items seized.

      On top of that, even when the state loses, it still wins. Arizona residents who have seen their vehicles seized for extremely tenuous connections to criminal activity are still forced to pay an incredible amount of money to reclaim items the state has agreed to return to their owners.

    • Tucson-area seized vehicles are returned — for a price

      The fortunes of a local woman took a disastrous turn when she loaned her car to her son so he could take her granddaughter to school.

      Her son was arrested on suspicion of credit-card fraud in Oro Valley and police seized the woman’s orange 2005 Mini Cooper, which she said in court documents she needed to drive to her $14-an-hour job at Red Lobster.

      She hired a lawyer — the court does not provide lawyers in civil matters — to challenge the seizure and subsequent forfeiture proceedings. Authorities agreed on July 7 to return her car, but first she had to pay $2,000 into the Pima County Anti-Racketeering Fund, with $1,500 going to Oro Valley police and $500 to the County Attorney’s Office.

    • Court Throws Out Terrorism Conviction in Canada, Citing Police Entrapment

      Sting operations — in which an undercover agent or informant provides the means and opportunity to lure otherwise incapable people into committing a crime — have represented the default tactic for counterterrorism prosecutions since the 9/11 attacks.

      Critics believe these stings amount to entrapment. Human Rights Watch, for instance, argues that law enforcement authorities in the U.S. have overstepped their role by “effectively participating in developing terrorism plots.” Nonetheless, U.S. courts have rejected entrapment defenses, no matter how hapless the defendants.

      In Canada, however, the legal standing of counterterrorism stings has suddenly shifted. Last week, a high-ranking judge in British Columbia stayed the convictions of two alleged terrorists, ruling that they had been “skillfully manipulated” and entrapped by an elaborate sting operation organized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

      “The specter of the defendants serving a life sentence for a crime that the police manufactured by exploiting their vulnerabilities, by instilling fear that they would be killed if they backed out, and by quashing all doubts they had in the religious justifications for the crime, is offensive to our concept of fundamental justice,” the judge wrote. “Simply put, the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.”

      This is the first time that a counterterrorism sting — whose tactics were developed by the FBI through modifying those of undercover drug stings — has been thrown out of court whole cloth in Canada or the U.S.

      Supreme Court Justice Catherine J. Bruce was ruling in the case of John Nuttall and his common-law wife, Amanda Korody, two drug addicts who lived on the streets in British Columbia. As part of sting operation in which the RCMP paid at least 200 officers a total of more than $900,000 Canadian in overtime, law-enforcement agents encouraged the couple to place pressure-cooker bombs at the British Columbia parliament building on Canada Day 2013.

    • 18-Year-Old Arrested on Terrorism Charges Is Mentally “Like a Child”

      An 18-year-old recently arrested on terrorism charges in Arizona has the mental capacity of a child and had been in regular contact with the FBI for years before his arrest, according to family members, former teachers, and medical documents reviewed by The Intercept. Mahin Khan was arrested July 1 on charges of plotting to support the Taliban as well as the militant group the Islamic State and commit acts of terrorism in the local community.

      People close to Khan say that he suffered from serious mental and emotional illnesses and that the FBI was aware of this, having met with him regularly since he was a young teenager. According to medical records and statements from family members, he was first referred to the FBI after sending a threatening email to one of his teachers at the age of 15. After an initial meeting with the FBI, he spent 45 days at an inpatient psychiatric facility for evaluation. His family says this stay at the facility was coordinated with FBI officials. Agents reportedly continued to meet with Khan regularly after he returned home and continued to do so up until the time of his arrest.

    • Black Lives Movement Answers the Question: What Are Your Demands?

      In the midst of an election year in which issues of race and policing have often taken center stage, the most comprehensive and detailed policy platform on how to tackle them has come not from candidates or elected officials, but from a movement that found its voice on the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, and dozens of other cities.

      The Black Lives Matter movement erupted spontaneously in nationwide protests following the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In its early days, it was propelled by pain and rage, with little organization, but in the weeks and months that followed it grew coordinated and strategic, while never losing the horizontal, inclusive quality that allowed it to scale up so rapidly.

      As community organizations and individuals operating under the Black Lives Matter principle denounced police violence, racism, and lack of accountability, they also took on broader issues affecting black communities: mass incarceration, access to clean water, economic justice. While the number of mostly black and brown people killed by police continued to grow, street protests have been sporadic. But away from the spotlight, a movement that made its name by way of protest continued to organize, and this week released a comprehensive policy platform, “A Vision for Black Lives,” that is at once an exhaustive indictment of the nation’s systemic racism and a clear-eyed presentation of concrete solutions to the problem.

    • Outcry Swells After Military Threatens to Punish Chelsea Manning ‘Essentially for Living’

      Since news emerged last week that imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning is facing new criminal charges and further punishment from the U.S. Army for attempting suicide, public outcry has been swift.

      Civil liberties group Fight for the Future has received over 30,000 signatures on a petition that demands the new charges be dropped and that Manning be provided with adequate healthcare.

      A separate petition demanding that Manning be spared solitary confinement garnered over 2,000 signatures in a matter of hours.

    • Chelsea Manning Faces Indefinite Solitary Confinement & Extra Prison Time After Suicide Attempt
    • Tell the Army Not to Put Chelsea Manning into Solitary Confinement for Attempting Suicide
    • Petition Demands Army Not Put Chelsea Manning in Indefinite Solitary Confinement for Attempting Suicide
    • From Rio, Olympic Refugee Team Urges Compassion for Displaced People

      It’s hard to imagine good news emerging from environmental chaos in Brazil and warfare around the globe, but a team of refugees competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this month stood in the spotlight on Tuesday, and took the opportunity to urge compassion for displaced people worldwide.

      The 10 athletes on the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) were given a standing ovation as they joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

      “We are ambassadors for the other refugees. We cannot forget this chance that you gave us,” said Yiech Pur Biel, a track and field athlete originally from South Sudan. “We are not bad people. It’s only a name to be a refugee.”

      Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer, said this year’s games make clear that people displaced from their home countries can still contribute to society—countering an argument that has been waged by rightwing opponents of open borders.

    • Amid City Hall Protests, NYPD Chief Bill Bratton Resigns, But “Broken Windows” Continues Nationwide

      New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has announced he is resigning next month. Bratton was a lead advocate of the so-called broken windows theory that called for officers to crack down on minor infractions in an attempt to decrease more violent crime. Over the past four decades, Bratton has served as New York police commissioner twice as well as the head of the Boston and Los Angeles police departments. Supporters of Bratton credit him with lowering crimes rates, but critics say broken windows policing unfairly targets communities of color. In a statement, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi told Democracy Now!, “William Bratton is the key architect of programs that have terrorized our communities for decades. His implementation of broken windows theory has wreaked havoc on communities from Los Angeles to New York City and beyond.” Bratton resigned just one day after hundreds of activists gathered outside New York City Hall demanding the defunding of the New York Police Department and his firing. Protests against William Bratton have been escalating ever since the police killing of Eric Garner two years ago. We speak to Trinity College professor Christina Heatherton, Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Nabil Hassein of Millions March NYC.

    • NYPD Chief Bill Bratton’s Next Stop: Private Consulting Firm Tied to the Clintons

      On Tuesday, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced he is resigning next month. Bratton has served as the NYPD commissioner twice. He’s also served as head of the Boston and Los Angeles police departments. But Bratton’s resignation doesn’t mean he’s retiring. His next job will be at Teneo Holdings, a global private consulting firm with controversial ties to Hillary Clinton. Bratton will be the chairperson of a new branch of the company called Teneo Risk. For more, we speak with Christina Heatherton, assistant professor of American studies at Trinity College. She’s co-editor of “Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter.”

    • Stop living in denial, Israel is an evil state

      Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. Just consider these acts of evil perpetrated by the state…

      After we’ve cited nationalism and racism, hatred and contempt for Arab life, the security cult and resistance to the occupation, victimhood and messianism, one more element must be added without which the behavior of the Israeli occupation regime cannot be explained: Evil. Pure evil. Sadistic evil. Evil for its own sake. Sometimes, it’s the only explanation.

      Eva Illouz described its signs (“Evil now,” Haaretz Hebrew edition, July 30). Her essay, which challenges the idea of the banality of evil, considers the national group as the source of the evil. Using philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept, she finds a “family resemblance” between the Israeli occupation and history’s evil regimes. This similarity does not mean that Israel is Nazi, nor even fascist. And yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. It’s a depressing and brilliant analysis.

      The evil that Illouz attributes to Israel is not banal, it cannot happen anywhere, and it has political and social roots that are deeply embedded in Israeli society. Thus, Illouz joins Zeev Sternhell, who warned in his impressive and resounding essay about the cultural soil out of which fascism is now growing in Israel (“The birth of fascism,” Haaretz Hebrew edition, July 7).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Simply not credible: The extraordinary verdict against the body that hopes to run the internet

      In an extraordinary judgment, the organization that hopes to take over running the top level of the internet later this year has been slammed by an independent review as at best incompetent and at worst deliberately mendacious.

      The decision [PDF] by ICANN’s Independent Review Panel (IRP) over the organization’s decision to refuse “community” status for three applications covering business suffixes has exposed a level of double-dealing that many suspected occurred in the non-profit organization but has been difficult to prove.

      The ICANN Board Governance Committee (BGC) in particular comes under fire for having repeatedly failed to carry out its duties.

      Despite serious allegations being made against ICANN’s staff and the “independent” evaluator it had selected – the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – the panel found that the BGC did not carry out any investigation. Instead it had relied solely on material supplied by ICANN’s legal team – the very people at the center of the complaints.

Links 3/8/2016: KDE Plasma 5.7.3, DragonFly 4.6 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Thoughts on iPad-only the new desktop Linux

    Martin says people who use only iPads for their computing do it because it’s a challenge. He says: “Figuring things out is part of the allure”. This, he says, is just like things were — maybe they still are — with desktop Linux.

    [...]

    So while Martin is right about iPad-only pioneers doing it for the challenge, their curiosity and exploration isn’t a waste of time. iPads and other tablets are the future of personal computing, it may take years until they are the mainstream, but the pioneers will help us get there sooner.

  • Desktop

    • The revenge of Linux

      I have been seeing Linux get space in data centers. Some adventurous sysadmins start boxes to help in everyday tasks for monitoring and managing the infrastructure, and then Linux gets more space as DNS and DHCP servers, printer management, and file servers. There used to be lots of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and criticism about Linux for the enterprise: Who is the owner of it? Who supports it? Are there applications for it?

      But nowadays it seems the revenge of Linux is everywhere! From developer’s PCs to huge enterprise servers; we can find it in smart phones, watches, and in the Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Raspberry Pi. Even Mac OS X has a kind of prompt with commands we are used to. Microsoft is making its own distribution, runs it at Azure, and then… Windows 10 is going to get Bash on it.

    • GNU/Linux Climbing In Germany

      It’s been a while since I cranked out a nice SVG… so I looked at GNU/Linux desktop OS usage according to StatCounter and found Uruguay is doing as usual but I zeroed in on Germany which has broken out above 3% share of page-views. That’s serious.

  • Server

    • With Linux for Ladies, Rackspace Aims to Bring More Women to IT

      The tech industry is notorious for its boys’ club history, problems with misogyny, and gaps in pay equality between men and women.

      In San Antonio, cloud computing giant Rackspace is leading one effort to help turn around the persistent gender problem in tech. Three years ago, Rackspace opened a technical career school called Rackspace Open Cloud Academy, which offers a nine-week training program that is open to the public and meant to help people learn how to become computer system administrators or to work in network operations.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GUADEC schedule is up!

        If you want to blog about GUADEC and tell everyone that you’re going or speaking there, you can find the badges (and the slide templates) on the website.

  • Distributions

    • Korora vs GeckoLinux

      With all the debate going on regarding the benefits of using Ubuntu vs Linux Mint, it’s easy to forget that there are other great distributions for newer users. In this article, I’ll be comparing two distros based on Fedora and OpenSUSE. The two distros I’ll be comparing today are known as GeckoLinux (I selected the OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 version built from Suse Studio) and Korora (based on Fedora 24).

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Linux Ships with KDE 4, Plasma 5, GNOME and MATE Flavors

        On August 2, 2016, the ROSA Labs was more than happy to inform us about the availability of the ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 GNU/Linux operating system designed especially for Russian-speaking users.

        Based on the latest ROSA 2014.1 platform, the ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Linux distribution ships with no less than flavors featuring the KDE 4, KDE Plasma 5, GNOME, and MATE desktop environments, and two years of extended support, which means that you’ll receive software updates and security patches until Fall 2018.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo-Based Pentoo 2015.0 Linux Distro for Ethical Hackers Gets New RC Release

        The Pentoo Linux development team proudly announces today, August 2, 2016, the availability for download of the fifth Release Candidate (RC) build towards the Pentoo 2015.0 GNU/Linux operating system.

        We don’t write so often about the Pentoo GNU/Linux operating system because new releases are being made available to the public online when a new DEF CON event (the world’s largest annual hacker convention) is taking place. So yes, it’s now a tradition to see a new Pentoo release around a DEF CON conference.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project Enhances the Anonymity and Security of Debian Linux Users via Tor

        The Debian Project, through Peter Palfrader, announced recently that its services and repositories for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system would be accessible through the Tor network.

        To further enhance the anonymity and security of users when either accessing any of the Debian online services, such as the Debian website or Wiki, as well as when using the Debian GNU/Linux operating system, the Debian Project partnership with the Tor Project to enable Tor onion services for many of their services.

      • digest 0.6.10

        A new release, now at version number 0.6.10, of the digest package is now on CRAN. I also just prepared the Debian upload.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source & Cloud Native: Why should Your Business Care?

    Open source software (OSS) and the pace of change that it allows a developer to innovate and optimize their capabilities more than ever before. In addition, the move to mobile first and platform independent development practices cause businesses to rethink their development frameworks. I’m convinced that this, more than anything else has lead Cloud Native architectures to the forefront. Cloud Native is defined as the software architecture framework that consist of containers, Distributed Orchestration and Management, Micro-services Architecture.

  • UK Government Recruits Chief Open Source Penguin
  • How to fix a bug in open source software

    We’re all on the same team, and all working towards the same goal of making our open source software better. Your small contributions make a big impact.

    How open source software is supported is just as important as how well it works. Given the choice between building awesome new features or carefully reading and responding to 10 bug reports, which would you choose? Which is more important? When you think of open source maintainers what do you see? I see issues. I see dozens of open bug reports that haven’t been responded to in days. I see a pile of feature requests waiting to be worked on. Now when I open those issues, I see maintainers spending most of their time trying to get the information they need. “What version are you using? Was it working before? Can you give me an example app?”

  • Using strategic design to improve user and developer experiences

    Your organization probably relies on multiple open source projects. Using strategic design to understand the big picture problems your organization faces may allow you to improve the user experience and design of your IT systems.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 48 ships, bringing Rust mainstream and multiprocess for some

        Firefox 48 shipped today with two long-awaited new features designed to improve the stability and security of the browser.

        After seven years of development, version 48 is at last enabling a multiprocess feature comparable to what Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have offered as stable features since 2009. By running their rendering engines in a separate process from the browser shell, IE and Chrome are more stable (a Web page crash does not take down the entire browser) and more secure (those separate processes can run with limited user privileges). In order to bring the same multiprocess capability to Firefox, Mozilla started the Electrolysis project in 2009. But the organization has taken substantially longer than Microsoft, Google, and Apple to ship this feature.

      • Firefox 48 Finally Available For Download, Comes With Electrolysis And Rust

        Mozilla has finally debuted the long-awaited Firefox 48 web browser.

      • Good News From Mozilla
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFly 4.6 released

      DragonFly version 4.6 brings brings more updates to accelerated video for both i915 and radeon users, home-grown support for NVMe controllers, preliminary EFI support, improvements in SMP and networking performance under heavy load, and a full range of binary packages.

    • DragonFly BSD 4.6.0 Launches with Home-Grown Support for NVMe Controllers

      Today, August 2, 2016, the development team behind the BSD kernel-based DragonFly BSD operating system proudly announced the official availability of the DragonFly BSD 4.6.0 update.

      DragonFly BSD 4.6.0 appears to be a major release that ends the development of the 4.4 series of the acclaimed BSD distribution and promises to introduce lots of goodies to users of this computer OS. Prominent features include initial UEFI support, in-house built support for NVMe SSD devices, as well as SMP and networking improvements.

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.6 Rolls Out NVMe Support, Better SMP Performance
  • Public Services/Government

    • Spain’s Valencia reuses Greek PC-lab software

      It’s a textbook example of public administration software reuse. The city of Valencia (Spain) is one of the many users of Epoptes, software for managing school PC-labs, developed as open source in Greece since 2008. The software is improved by staff members of the city’s IT department, sharing their code publicly. Meanwhile in Greece, the future development of Epoptes is in limbo.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ArmSwinger is an Open Source VR Locomotion System Releasing This Week

        Virtual reality has many strengths. It’s immersive, powerful, engaging, and a seriously fun experience. However, as the industry continues to grow its weaknesses are also beginning to come to light as well. One of the most significant of these is the concept of locomotion mechanics, or physical navigation inside of a VR experience.

        Recently, we featured some groups that have tried to bridge this gap by building systems that translate running in place into forward momentum in VR. There are also treadmills like the Virtuix Omni that provide a hardware solution to the issue. However, Electric Night Owl, LLC is working on their own solution as well.

Leftovers

  • Steven Woolfe expelled from Ukip leadership race

    “We also implore members of Ukip and the electorate to request the publication of the NEC’s communications in order to determine whether the committee is guilty of conflicts of interest or even corruption.

  • Science

    • Why Gamma Ray Bursts Are the Most Epic of All Apocalyptic Scenarios

      Asteroid impacts. Nuclear war. Unhinged climate change. These are all respectable, solid entries into the great pantheon of doomsday scenarios that could wipe out life on Earth.

      But when it comes to sheer destructive flair, gamma ray bursts (GRBs) take the apocalyptic cake. Forged in catastrophic cosmic disruptions like supernovae and neutron star mergers, GRBs are the brightest phenomena in the universe. Capable of releasing more energy in a single second than the Sun will in its entire lifetime of ten billion years, these bursts are essentially the universe’s unique riff on projectile barfing.

    • ‘Finks’ Explores the Blurred Line Between Propaganda and Literature

      Arguing that an association with secret institutions like the C.I.A. would inevitably lead to “rot,” Humes advised Plimpton that, for the integrity of the magazine, he should make Matthiessen’s ties during the magazine’s founding public. Citing Edmund Burke’s line “that it is enough for evil to triumph that good men do nothing,” Humes wrote, “I have deeply believed in the Review and all that we hoped it stood for, but until this matter is righted I feel I have no honorable choice but to resolutely resign. Even if I have to split an infinitive to do it.” He went on to suggest that Matthiessen might ”laugh the matter off in print in a manner calculated to restore our tarnished escutcheon…” Under these circumstances, he would stay. Barring that, however, “I should like my name removed from the masthead. I’m sure it will not be missed.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Depressing Reason Bottled Water Is About to Outsell Soda for the First Time

      The recent crisis in Flint, Michigan that left children and parents without safe tap water due to dangerous levels of lead from old pipes highlighted the significant lapses in basic U.S. infrastructure.

    • 6 Dark Secrets Of Being An Olympic Athlete Nobody Tells You

      It’s the Olympics: that time of year when we sit back and watch our finest, most glistening athletes run, jump, and throw their hearts out trying to convince the world that we don’t deserve to be the international shorthand for “childhood obesity.” However, while you might think that the worst thing that can happen to an Olympic athlete is having to raise the Kardashian kids, it turns out that the job comes with so much depressing baggage that Foxcatcher seems like a slapstick buddy comedy by comparison. What sort of baggage? Well …

    • How One GMO Nearly Took Down the Planet

      On Friday, President Obama signed bill S.764 into law, dealing a major blow to the movement to require GMO labeling. The new law, called the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act by food safety groups, has at least three key parts in it that undermine Vermont’s popular GMO labeling bill and make it nearly impossible for you and me to know what’s in our food.

      The law claims to set a federal labeling standard by requiring food producers to include either a QR bar code that can be scanned with a phone, or a 1-800 number that consumers can call to find out whether a product contains genetically modified ingredients.

  • Security

    • Security Issue in Windows leaks Login Data [Ed: designed for back door access]

      An issue in all Windows systems might leak the user’s Windows login and password information. This is especially critical if the user is using a Microsoft account because this is linked to a number of other services the user may be using.

    • Get ready for an Internet of Things disaster, warns security guru Bruce Schneier

      Security guru Bruce Schneier, the author of multiple encryption algorithms, founder of security company Counterpane, and former chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions, has warned that the ‘craze’ for connecting devices to the internet with little thought about security will result in a major disaster.

      Schneier warned that “integrity and availability threats” are much worse than “confidentiality threats” with devices connected to the internet.

      “It’s one thing if your smart door lock can be eavesdropped upon to know who is home. It’s another thing entirely if it can be hacked to allow a burglar to open the door – or prevent you from opening your door. A hacker who can deny you control of your car, or take over control, is much more dangerous than one who can eavesdrop on your conversations or track your car’s location,” Schneier wrote.

      He continued: “With the advent of the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems in general, we’ve given the internet hands and feet: the ability to directly affect the physical world. What used to be attacks against data and information have become attacks against flesh, steel, and concrete.”

    • New Presidential Directive on Incident Response

      Last week, President Obama issued a policy directive (PPD-41) on cyber-incident response coordination. The FBI is in charge, which is no surprise. Actually, there’s not much surprising in the document. I suppose it’s important to formalize this stuff, but I think it’s what happens now.

    • Kazakh dissidents and lawyers hit by cyber attacks: researchers

      Hackers believed to be working on behalf of Kazakhstan government officials tried to infect lawyers and other associates of exiled dissidents and publishers with spyware, according to a report to be presented at this week’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

      The hacking campaign was part of a complicated tale that also involved physical surveillance and threats of violence – a rare instance of cyber attacks coming alongside real-world crimes.

      It is also unusual in that the campaign involved an Indian company that was apparently hired by the hackers, and it targeted Western lawyers along with alleged opponents of the Kazakh government.

      A spokesman at the Kazakhstan embassy in Washington did not respond to emailed questions.

    • Bruce Schneier: major IoT disaster could happen at any time

      THE CRAZE for connecting anything and everything and controlling it over the internet will result in a major disaster without better built-in security, according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

      Furthermore, if secret services really are trying to influence elections by hacking the systems of political parties and releasing embarrassing emails, they will almost certainly attempt to hack into the increasing number of internet-connected voting machines for the same ends.

      Schneier is the author of multiple encryption algorithms, founder of security company Counterpane, and former chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions.

      “It’s one thing if your smart door lock can be eavesdropped on to know who is home. It’s another thing entirely if it can be hacked to allow a burglar to open the door or prevent you opening your door,” Schneier wrote in an article published by Motherboard.

    • Linux botnets on the rise, says Kaspersky DDoS report [Ed: Kaspersky marketing with dramatic and misleading headlines]
    • Hackers break into Telegram, revealing 15 million users’ phone numbers

      Iranian hackers have compromised more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service and identified the phone numbers of 15 million Iranian users, the largest known breach of the encrypted communications system, cyber researchers told Reuters.

      The attacks, which took place this year and have not been previously reported, jeopardized the communications of activists, journalists and other people in sensitive positions in Iran, where Telegram is used by some 20 million people, said independent cyber researcher Collin Anderson and Amnesty International technologist Claudio Guarnieri, who have been studying Iranian hacking groups for three years.

      Telegram promotes itself as an ultra secure instant messaging system because all data is encrypted from start to finish, known in the industry as end-to-end encryption. A number of other messaging services, including Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp, say they have similar capabilities.

    • Best Password Manager — For Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS and Enterprise

      Security researchers have always advised online users to create long, complex and different passwords for their various online accounts. So, if one site is breached, your other accounts on other websites are secure enough from being hacked.

      Ideally, your strong password should be at least 16 characters long, should contain a combination of digits, symbols, uppercase letters and lowercase letters and most importantly the most secure password is one you don’t even know.

    • Microsoft takes five months to replace broken patch

      Microsoft has issued a replacement for a buggy release of Windows Server Operating System MP, code that underpins efforts to proactively monitor Windows Server.

      The last version – 6.0.7303.0 – should have been innocuous. But users quickly noticed lots of problems, especially regarding recognition of disk clusters, leading Microsoft itself to issue a recommendation that you not install the software.

      That was back in late February 2016. On July 27th, Microsoft quietly released it’s completed version version 6.0.7316.0 and on August 2nd announced its existence to the wider world.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sunni radicals blow up 16th century Sufi mosque in Yemen

      Sunni Islamist radicals in Yemen have blown up a 16th century mosque housing the shrine of a revered Sufi scholar in the city of Taez, a local official said on Monday.

      Gunmen led by a Salafist local chief known as Abu al-Abbas blew up the mosque of Sheikh Abdulhadi al-Sudi on Friday night, the official said, confirming media reports of the attack.

      Yemen’s commission for antiquities and museums condemned the destruction of the site that is considered the most famous in Taez.

      It said the mosque’s white dome was “one of the biggest domes in Yemen and one of the most beautiful religious sites in old Taez”.

      Images of the site before destruction showed a white square-shaped, single-storey structure topped by a large central dome circled by smaller ones.

    • Saudi Arabia yet to sway U.N. over Yemen coalition blacklisting

      Two months after the United Nations blacklisted a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for killing children in Yemen, Riyadh has not provided enough proof that it should be permanently removed from the register, U.N. diplomatic sources said on Monday.

      U.N. officials plan to travel to Riyadh to obtain more details on various issues, such as rules of engagement, one of the sources said.

      A U.N. annual report on children and armed conflict said the coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year, killing 510 and wounding 667. The Saudi-led coalition includes United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.

    • U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed

      The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

    • How the Saudis turned Kosovo into fertile ground for ISIS

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

      The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi funds and blamed for spreading Wahhabism, the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia, in the 17 years since a United States-led intervention wrested Kosovo from Serbian oppression. Since then – much of that time under the watch of US officials – Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a fount of Islamic extremism.

      Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. In the past two years, police have identified 314 Kosovars – including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children – who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That is the highest number per capita in Europe. They were radicalised and recruited, investigators said, by extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab Gulf states using an obscure network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

    • Vihara, pagodas burned down, plundered in N. Sumatra

      Hundreds of people plundered and burned down several Buddhist temples or vihara in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, on Friday evening. No fatalities or injuries occurred in the anarchic acts, which took place until early Saturday.

      It is estimated that the attacks have caused billions of rupiah in losses.

      North Sumatra Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Rina Sari Ginting said the riots began when a 41-year-old of Chinese descent, only identified as Meliana, reprimanded an administrator of the Al Maksum Mosque to lower its microphone volume.

      Rina further said Meliana had previously conveyed similar warnings to the administrator, hence, the mosque’s congregation members visited her house following her complaint for the umpteenth time on Friday evening.

      The meeting between Al Maksum congregation members and Meliana heated up, forcing Tanjung Balai Police officers to safeguard Meliana and her husband at the police station. Angry mobs continued to flock to Meliana’s house, however. Some had even attempted to burn down the house but it was prevented by people living in the neighbourhood.

    • The U.S. Military Pivots to Africa and That Continent Goes Down the Drain

      Someday, someone will write a history of the U.S. national security state in the twenty-first century and, if the first decade and a half are any yardstick, it will be called something like State of Failure. After all, almost 15 years after the U.S. invaded the Taliban’s Afghanistan, launching the second American Afghan War of the past half-century, U.S. troops are still there, their “withdrawal” halted, their rules of engagement once again widened to allow American troops and air power to accompany allied Afghan forces into battle, and the Taliban on the rise, having taken more territory (and briefly one northern provincial capital) than at any time since that movement was crushed in the invasion of 2001.

      Thirteen years after George W. Bush and his top officials, dreaming of controlling the oil heartlands, launched the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (the second Iraq War of our era), Washington is now in the third iteration of the same, with 6,000 troops (and thousands of private contractors) back in that country and a vast air campaign underway to destroy the Islamic State. With modest numbers of special operations troops on the ground and another major air campaign, Washington is also now enmeshed in a complex and so far disastrous war in Syria. And if you haven’t been counting, that’s three wars gone wrong.

      Then, of course, there was the American (and NATO) intervention in Libya in 2011, which cracked that autocratic country open and made way for the rise of Islamic extremist movements there, as well as the most powerful Islamic State franchise outside Syria and Iraq. Today, plans are evidently being drawn up for yet more air strikes, special operations raids, and the like there. Toss in as well Washington’s never-ending drone war in Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, its disastrous attempt to corral al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen (leading to a grim and horrifying Saudi-led, American-supported internecine conflict in that country), and the unending attempt to destroy al-Shabaab in Somalia, and you have at least seven wars and conflicts in the Greater Middle East, all about to be handed on by President Obama to the next president with no end in sight, no real successes, nothing. In these same years Islamic terror movements have only spread and grown stronger under the pressure of the American war machine.

    • Khizr Khan and The Triumph of Democratic Militarism

      Against the wishes of her New York Democratic constituents, Hillary Clinton voted with Senate Republicans to invade Iraq. (It was a pivotal vote. Without Democratic support, George W. Bush’s request for this war of aggression would have failed.)

      Humayun Khan, 27, was an army captain who got killed during that invasion.

      Eight years later, the dead soldier’s parents appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention — not to protest, but in order to endorse one of the politicians responsible for his death: Hillary Clinton.

    • “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”

      At this point most people appear to know that something is terribly, terribly wrong in the United States of America. But like the proverbial blind man describing the elephant, Americans tend to characterize the problem according to their economic status, their education and interests, and the way that the problem is impacting their peer group. So we hear that the biggest crisis facing America today is:

      Corruption
      Immigration
      Economic inequality
      Climate change
      Lack of respect for law enforcement
      Institutionalized racism
      Islamic terrorism
      The greed and recklessness of Wall Street banks
      Those damned far-right Republicans
      Those damned liberal Democrats
      Political polarization

    • Coup talk in Ukraine

      The war in the east, the rise of paramilitaries and polarised public opinion are feeding fears of a violent seizure of power in Kyiv. Could Ukraine follow in Turkey’s footsteps?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change is Here and Now, Dire NOAA Report Warns

      Environmental records of all kinds are being shattered as climate change takes effect in real time, scientists warned on Tuesday.

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) released its annual State of the Climate report with the dire warning that 2015 was the hottest year on record since at least the mid-to-late 19th century, confirming the “toppling of several symbolic milestones” in global temperature, sea level rise, and extreme weather.

      “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist at Penn State, told the Guardian. “They are playing out before us, in real time. The 2015 numbers drive that home.”

      Last year’s record heat was fueled by a combination of the effects of global warming and one of the strongest El Niño events on record since at least 1950, NOAA said.

      “When we think about being climate resilient, both of these time scales are important to consider,” said Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “Last year’s El Niño was a clear reminder of how short-term events can amplify the relative influence and impacts stemming from longer-term global warming trends.”

    • A Single Bad Fire Season Sent Smoke Halfway Around the Planet

      For several months last fall, Indonesia choked under a blanket of smog fueled by one of the worst fire seasons in its history. But smoldering peatlands didn’t limit their pollution to the island nation: they sent smoke halfway across the world.

      “I’d never seen anything quite like this before,” Robert Field of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies told Gizmodo. Field is lead author on a new analysis of Indonesia’s 2015 fire season, which used data from five Earth-observing satellites to evaluate the total pollution from a spate of peat fires that were at one point emitting more carbon each day than the entire US economy.

    • The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us

      The media largely relegate the greatest challenge facing humanity to footnotes as industry and politicians hurtle us towards systemic collapse of the planet

    • New York’s “Clean” Energy Plan Props Up Dirty, Dangerous Nuclear Power

      New York state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES), approved Monday, is being hailed as a “monumental step forward” toward a renewable energy future.

      But it’s also generating controversy, as it props up the state’s faltering nuclear industry to the tune of about $500 million a year in subsidies—and potentially lays out a blueprint for other states to do the same.

    • NY OKs energy plan with nuclear bailout

      A state board unanimously approved a clean-energy plan Monday that will boost renewable energy use while rescuing upstate nuclear power plants with a multi-billion-dollar subsidy.

      The state Public Service Commission voted 4-0 Monday to adopt the Clean Energy Standard, a three-tiered plan mandating the state’s long-held goal of getting 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and implementing a 40-percent cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030.

      Ratepayers will see their bills increase to cover the cost of the 12-year plan, which will require utilities to purchase electricity at an elevated rate from three upstate nuclear facilities, including the R.E. Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County.

    • Updated: New York PSC approves 50% clean energy standard, nuclear subsidies

      The New York Public Service Commission voted today on a 50% renewable standard that officials say will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, ensure the state’s power mix is diverse, and attract billions in clean energy investment.

    • New York’s Woeful $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bailout Package

      The New York State Public Service Commission—in the face of strong opposition—this week approved a $7.6 billion bail-out of aging nuclear power plants in upstate New York which their owners have said are uneconomic to run without government support.

      New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—who appoints the members of the PSC—has called for the continued operation of the nuclear plants in order to, he says, save jobs at them. The bail-out would be part of a “Clean Energy Standard” advanced by Cuomo. Under it, 50 percent of electricity used in New York by 2030 would come from “clean and renewable energy sources”­with nuclear power considered clean and renewable.

      “Nuclear energy is neither clean nor renewable,” testified Pauline Salotti, vice chair of the Green Party of Suffolk County, Long Island at a recent hearing on the plan.

      “Without these subsidies, nuclear plants cannot compete with renewable energy and will close. But under the guise of ‘clean energy,’ the nuclear industry is about to get its hands on our money in order to save its own profits, at the expense of public health and safety,” declared a statement by Jessica Azulay, program director of Alliance for a Green Economy, based in upstate Syracuse with a chapter in New York City. Moreover, she emphasized, “Every dollar spent on nuclear subsidies is a dollar out of the pocket of New York’s electricity consumers­residents, businesses and municipalities” that should “instead” go towards backing “energy efficiency, renewable energy and a transition to a clean energy economy.”

  • Finance

    • Amid Fierce Opposition, Obama and Big Biz Still Resolute in Pushing TPP

      While critics have begun to sound the death knell for the contentious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), U.S. President Barack Obama doubled down his support for the corporate-backed trade agreement.

      During a Tuesday press conference after meeting with the Prime Minister of Singapore—one of the 12 nations involved in the pact—Obama said that he is “reaffirming” his commitment to the TPP, declaring himself a “strong supporter” of the deal.

      Eschewing criticisms that it would “leave many people behind,” Obama said the TPP provides an “opportunity to grow our economies and write the rules for trade in the 21st century in a way that is equitable. It gives us a chance to advance American leadership, reduce economic inequality, and support good paying jobs, all while strengthening critical strategic relationships in a vital region.”

    • Obama: I’m a strong supporter of the TPP trade deal
    • Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact is unique opportunity for US: PM Lee
    • Obama: I’m still president and I support TPP trade deal
    • Brexiteers and the story of the would-be time-traveller

      There are some Brixiteers who think Brexit is easy.

      [...]

      My view, for what it is worth, is that Brexit will not be easy.

      But if the proponents of an easy Brexit are right, then the view that Brexit is hard will be disproved soon enough.

      So there is no point arguing about it.

      Like the wise adult of the story, perhaps one should just say to the proponents of an easy Brexit: have a go, and see what happens.

    • Lawmakers to Question Executive of New Jersey’s Controversial Student Loan Agency

      The New Jersey State Senate has announced it will hold a hearing to examine the state’s student loan agency, which administers the largest state-based loan program in the country and one that employs aggressive and unforgiving collection practices.

      A ProPublica and New York Times investigation has shown that New Jersey’s loan program charges higher interest rates than similar federal programs, and that its officials, armed with the power of the state, have garnished wages, rescinded tax refunds, and even sought repayment from families whose children have died. The state’s student loans now total $1.9 billion.

      The hearing, set for Aug. 8, will be led by New Jersey state Sen. Robert Gordon, chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee, and New Jersey state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee.

      “We need to be sure we are properly advising prospective borrowers and not aggressively targeting students and families that are having financial difficulties,” Gordon said in an emailed release. “The state should be supporting students and young workers in particular, not putting up additional barriers to their future success.”

    • Sovereignty? This government will sell us to the highest bidder

      What does it mean to love your country? What does it mean to defend its sovereignty? For some of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, it means reducing the United Kingdom to a franchise of corporate capital, governed from head offices overseas. They will take us out of Europe to deliver us into the arms of other powers.

      [...]

      Fox looks to me like a corporate sleeper cell implanted in government. In 2011, he resigned his post as defence secretary in disgrace after his extracurricular interests were exposed. He had set up an organisation called Atlantic Bridge, financed in large part by a hedge fund owner. It formed a partnership with a corporate lobbying group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is funded by tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies. Before it was struck off by the Charity Commission, it began assembling a transatlantic conclave of people who wished to see public services privatised and corporations released from regulation.

      He allowed a lobbyist to attend his official meetings, without government clearance. He made misleading statements about these meetings, which were later disproved. It seems extraordinary to me that a man with such a past could have been brought back into government, let alone given such a crucial and sensitive role. Most newspapers have brushed his inconvenient history under the political carpet. He is, after all, their man.

    • Pope Francis: Capitalism is ‘Terrorism Against All of Humanity’

      Pope Francis surprised reporters on a flight from Krakow to the Vatican late Sunday when he blamed the “god of money” for extremist violence in Europe and the Middle East, saying that a ruthless global economy leads disenfranchised people to violence.

      “Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person,” the pope told reporters, according to the Wall Street Journal. “This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity.”

      The pope was responding to a journalist’s question about whether there is a link between Islam and terrorism, particularly focusing on the fatal attack on a priest by Muslim extremists in France last week.

      “I ask myself how many young people that we Europeans have left devoid of ideals, who do not have work. Then they turn to drugs and alcohol or enlist in [the Islamic State, or ISIS],” he said, Reuters reports.

    • Leftwing insurgencies led by Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders won’t melt away

      Just one subject was on most people’s lips – the Sanders delegates and how they could be controlled. Many of the people I met were interested in Jeremy Corbyn, who they saw as Britain’s answer to Sanders.

      There are many similarities between Corbyn and Sanders. Both, having ploughed their own furrow in progressive politics for over 30 years, have suddenly found themselves at the centre of events. Sanders came within touching distance of getting his party’s nomination and defeating the mighty Clinton machine. Corbyn actually leads his party. But he is embroiled in open warfare with the Westminster elites – political, journalistic and those in the rarefied world of thinktanks.

      Both are happy to call themselves socialist. Under New Labour that was the kiss of death for a political career. In the US, it is more dangerous still: in living memory, being accused of being a socialist was enough to get you witch-hunted out of public life.

      Both have similar political programmes. Defending or arguing for a health service free at the point of use is vital for both – although Sanders can only dream of a US version of the NHS. Both believe in social justice. They campaign ferociously for the 99% versus the 1%. They battle the power of the big banks and financial institutions. Both believe in a higher minimum wage and investment in infrastructure. Both were early advocates of action on climate change. And it is also worth pointing out that both seem most comfortable when not wearing a tie.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • There Are No Democratic or Green Saviors: Get in the Streets!

      Regardless of the outcome of November’s U.S. elections, what will count most is what happens in the streets. As Frederick Douglass put it plainly a century and a half ago, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will.”

      All the advances of the 20th century (most of which are being steadily eroded in these early years of the 21st century) came about through organized movements, forcing elected officials to react.

    • DNC Achieved Unity Through Forced Conformity And Manufactured Consent

      After returning home from the Democratic convention, I was shocked to learn that friends and family who followed the extravaganza had no idea that there were protests on the inside.

      How was this possible? I was there. I witnessed the tension. Each day of the convention was marred by protests, with hundreds of Sanders delegates chanting, booing, walking out, and waving signs in defiance of Hillary Clinton’s coronation.

      I reviewed the media coverage I missed while I was in the convention bubble.

      After “a bruising primary season,” the Clinton and Sanders camps “pulled together and orchestrated a week relatively free of public controversy,” reported the Washington Post.

      “It looks like a mess, but the Democratic Party is more unified than it seems,” blared Vox.

      “[W]hat had been a raging boil on Monday was by Thursday morning just a simmer,” observed Politico, marveling at the DNC for “creating opportunities to publicly make peace between the party’s rival factions.”

    • Wasserman Schultz Faces FEC Complaint from Progressive Challenger

      With less than a month before the Florida congressional primary on August 30, incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing a potential Federal Elections Committee (FEC) complaint from progressive challenger and law professor Tim Canova.

      Canova alleges that evidence in WikiLeaks’ release of internal emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) show Wasserman Schultz using DNC resources to strategize against his congressional campaign. Wasserman Shultz resigned as party chair last month after the emails showed the DNC favoring Hillary Clinton’s campaign over Bernie Sanders’. The congresswoman now works for Clinton’s campaign.

      “It’s very clear that Wasserman Schultz was using the DNC resources to monitor my campaign and to strategize on how to crush the campaign,” Canova said on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” Monday.

      “That’s a violation of federal law,” Canova added. He said he plans to file the FEC complaint soon.

    • Wasserman Schultz’s primary challenger to file FEC complaint

      Outgoing Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s primary challenger is planning to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), alleging that she used DNC resources to target his campaign.

      Tim Canova, a law professor, said his campaign’s lawyers have found evidence of this as they sift through the tens of thousands of stolen DNC emails that were published by Wikileaks, which showed top aides undercutting Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign in the Democratic presidential primary.

    • DNC CEO resigns in wake of email controversy

      The CEO of the Democratic National Committee and two other high-level staffers left the organization on Tuesday in the wake of the committee’s hacked email controversy.

      Amy Dacey is the highest-ranking official at the DNC to step aside due to the matter, a senior Democratic official said. The DNC also announced the departure of CFO Brad Marshall and and Communications Director Luis Miranda in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

      Dacey is well-respected by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC circle, a source familiar with the resignation said. But the committee is looking to clean house in the wake of leaked emails that appeared to show the committee favoring Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary.

    • Top DNC staffers out following email scandal

      Amy Dacey, the chief executive officer of the Democratic National Committee, and two other top officials are leaving their positions, the party announced Tuesday. Their departures follow the uproar over hacked party emails that came to light ahead of last week’s Democratic convention

      Luis Miranda, the party’s communications director, and Brad Marshall, chief financial officer, are also exiting the DNC.

      The statement announcing the staff changes praises the outgoing aides and makes no mention of the email issue.

    • Three More DNC Officials Out Amid Email Scandal

      Three top Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials have stepped down in the wake of the email scandal that has already forced the ouster of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      CEO Amy Dacey, communications director Luis Miranda, and chief financial officer (CFO) Brad Marshall all resigned on Tuesday after facing scrutiny for emails that critics say showed favoritism toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the presidential primaries. Marshall was particularly criticized for suggesting questioning Sanders’ religion to sow dislike of him among the public.

      Interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile apologized on Tuesday for what she called “insensitive and inappropriate emails.”

    • Heads roll at the DNC

      With just three months until Election Day and the Democrats’ official party apparatus struggling to right itself from months of dysfunction and the scandal caused by the WikiLeaks email hack, interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile cleaned house Tuesday with the ouster of three top officials.

      CEO Amy Dacey, communications director Luis Miranda and chief financial officer Brad Marshall are all leaving the organization, the DNC announced Tuesday afternoon, shortly after staffers were informed of the changes in a meeting. The announcement praised all three outgoing officials, but people familiar say the departures were heavily encouraged.

    • Meet the Press Grills WikiLeaks on Source, Ignores Substance of DNC Emails

      On Sunday morning, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd (7/31/16) had on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to discuss his recent leaking of 20,000 emails from within the Democratic National Committee showing an institutional preference in favor of Hillary Clinton. Todd asked Assange a total of eight questions, all of which were about alleged foreign hacking of the DNC, never asking about the substance of the leaks.

      Here are the questions in order:

      “Are you concerned that if foreign government uses your entity that you have now seen WikiLeaks get weaponized?”
      “The easiest way to clear this up, Mr. Assange, would you be able to say categorically that a foreign government did not hand you this material?”
      “But it is helpful to know if a foreign government is involved, isn’t that crucial information to civilians?”
      “Mr. Assange, you say you can’t go around speculating. Do you not know [if Russia leaked the documents to you]?”
      “Let me ask you this. Do you, without revealing your source on this, do you accept information and leaked documents from foreign governments?”
      “But isn’t the right of the public to know the motive also, to know the motive of the maker?”
      “Does that not trouble you at all, if a foreign government is trying to meddle in the affairs of another foreign government?”
      “That doesn’t bother you [foreign governments meddling in US elections]? That is not part of the WikiLeaks credo?”

      [...]

      Although it was clear Assange wouldn’t answer Todd’s question about WikiLeaks’ source—”We don’t give any material away as to who our sources are,” he repeatedly pointed out—Todd persisted again and again. Which would have been fine if he had followed up with the questions about the DNC leak itself and what other leaks Assange might have in store—but instead it was 100 percent Russia, 100 percent Cold War plot, 100 percent anything other than the substance of the leaks themselves.

    • Who Leaked the Damning DNC Emails? What Difference Does It Make?

      The Democratic National Committee under Debbie Wasserman Schultz in fact served as the Hillary Clinton Coronation Organizing Committee, operating, step by step, to ensure that the front-runner would become the party’s nominee.

      [...]

      Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who finally—after months of protests against her due to her (obvious) partiality while she insisted (looking guilty) that she was “neutral”—resigned as DNC chair in the wake of the email scandal, rewarded immediately (as though to deliberately further enrage the Sanderistas) with a post in her campaign, could perhaps now be tasked with building the case that Donald Trump is a Russian agent.

      And the content of the emails? The suggestion that Sanders’ lack of religious belief could be used by the DNC to help Hillary? What difference does it make? Isn’t it obvious that the bigger question is Putin, and Russian expansionism, and the need to elect a woman strong enough to risk World War III?

      The howls of indignation at Russian hacking of U.S. citizens” communications! Have whistle-blowers not made it known to us that the NSA maintains records on the phone calls and internet activity of virtually everybody, everywhere? That they have capacities unknown to the bad old KGB and Stasi? That they routinely monitor the communications of Angela Merkel, the pope, the UN Secretary General etc. without any sense of shame?

      The rational person’s response has to be: What difference does it make who hacked those emails and made them public? What’s true is true. The whole U.S. political process is rigged. We need to grasp that.

      The youth who drove the Sanders campaign have every reason to reject the rigged system itself. Millennials were just reaching adulthood when, in 2000, George W. Bush became president with a minority of the popular vote, when the Supreme Court intervened to prevent a vote recount in Florida. The unelected president went on to invade two countries and left office deeply unpopular, exposed as a liar and mass-murderer. Youth helped bring Obama into power as the progressive, peace candidate. But he turned out to be the Drone President, the president who incomprehensibly made the incomparably hawkish Hillary Clinton his Secretary of State.

    • For Corporate Media, Bloomberg Is the Better Billionaire

      On the third night of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the stage to tout his non-partisanship and call for a “sane, competent person” for president. It was a celebration of conservative centrism, and so was the establishment media’s reaction—to a politician who is also one of the nation’s most powerful media moguls.

    • Donald Trump and Islamic State Agree: No Room for People Like Khizr Khan

      When Khizr Khan stood up to speak at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, his family story was not widely known. Neither he nor his wife was a figure of public prominence, nor had he spoken at any major political events in the past. But, waving a copy of the United States constitution, Khan addressed Trump in evocative terms that resonated across the country, asking the GOP candidate if he had “ever even read the U.S. constitution” and telling Trump that he had “sacrificed nothing, and no one.”

      The sacrifice that Khan was referring to was that of his son, Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed while stationed in Iraq in 2004. In the days since the DNC ended, Khan’s speech has dominated public discussion about the election campaign. He has promised to continue speaking out until the Republican Party leadership repudiates Trump for his proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.

    • Weekend of our Discontent: Trump, Clinton Spar Over Dueling Controversies

      On the campaign trail Donald Trump insulted the family of a dead US soldier and Hillary Clinton repeated claims that were debunked weeks ago by none other than the Director of the FBI.

      The events capped off a weekend in an election characterized by sweeping discontent with the nominees of both major parties. Recent polls show growing numbers of Americans considering third party options.

      First it was Trump’s turn to horrify the nation, with numerous attacks, in press interviews and tweets, against the parents of Humayan Khan, a US soldier and Muslim who died fighting in Iraq in 2004, and was posthumously decorated for valor.

      Khan’s parents Khizr and Ghazala, were featured during last week’s Democratic National Convention. Khizr criticized Trump for not having made any sacrifices to the country, and questioned whether or not the GOP nominee had ever read the Constitution.

      Trump responded by insinuating that Ghazala Khan, who stood by her husband as he addressed the convention, was prohibited from speaking.

    • The un-Democratic National Committee

      WIKILEAKS’ RELEASE of nearly 20,000 e-mails and more than 8,000 attachments from seven officials on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) just before the party’s convention meant a quick end for Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s position as DNC chair, after the e-mails revealed favoritism toward the Clinton campaign and organized hostility to rival Bernie Sanders.

      But if the e-mails–and the convention itself–show anything, it’s the undemocratic nature of the whole Democratic Party, and firing one official won’t come close to fixing that.

      The e-mails paint a picture of a party infrastructure that was not only rigged for the establishment choice in the presidential nomination race, but that trades lucrative donations for access on a daily basis.

    • What Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Convention

      A report of how Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign gave wealthy donors privileged seating and other special access at the Democratic National Convention can’t be dismissed by retorting that men have always done such things, too.

      Of course, they have. When President Obama campaigned to become the nation’s first black president in 2008, many of us silently excused his decision to forgo public campaign financing and rely on wealthy donors. After all, white male presidential candidates had always done that, too.

      Sure enough, upon being elected, Obama chose financial and economic advisors, such as Laurence Summers and Timothy Geithner, who helped him to rescue the wealthy more than to change the financial and economic system that favors them beyond all reason or justice.

    • Isn’t It Ironic?: Koch-Backed Group Rails Against Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics

      After spending countless millions fighting to protect unlimited secret money in elections, the Koch political network has adopted a surprising new approach: railing against the corrupting influence of money in politics.

      New ads from the Koch-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund attack Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in Nevada and Virginia for allegedly supporting policies that benefited their campaign supporters, even as the Koch network fights to keep campaign spending secret.

      “After taking $70,000 from taxi companies, [U.S. Senate candidate] Catherine Cortez Masto drove Uber out of Nevada,” says one ad, which reportedly cost $1.2 million to air. It comes on the heels of another $1.2 million ad buy in the race making similar claims and asserting that Cortez Masto “put campaign donors ahead of Nevadans and protected special interests instead of us.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Exclusive: Survivors of Islamic Sexual Abuse Support Group Founder Banned From Facebook For ‘Islamophobia’

      The founder of a support group for victims of Islamic sexual grooming gangs has been banned from Facebook for 30 days after she posted a video calling out the media for focusing on Islamophobia in the wake of a wave of Islamic terrorist attacks.

      Toni Bugle, founder of Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia (MARIAS) has spent the last few years supporting the victims of Islamic persecution including gay apostates, women fleeing Islamic marriages, and girls dealing with years of abuse by sexual exploitation gangs.

      Many of those she talks to have been turned away by social services and local authorities who don’t want to deal with the fall-out from Islamic persecution.

      But after she posted a twenty-minute live video to her personal Facebook page last Wednesday she was banned from Facebook for 30 days, she believes following an accusation of Islamophobia.

    • Houston Law Firm Sues Student With Severe Back Injuries For $200k After She Posts Negative Reviews To Yelp, Facebook

      A Houston law firm has decided to make its mark on the world much in the same way a rogue house pet makes its mark on an expensive Oriental rug. The Tuan A. Khuu law firm has decided it has “no choice” but to sue a 20-year-old student suffering from two broken bones in her back following a collision with two vehicles — one of them being the drunk driver who started the chain reaction.

      [...]

      In addition to the inevitable Streisanding, the Khuu law firm has also jabbed a stick into a hornet’s nest of lawyers with low tolerance for bullying bullshit. So far, the law office’s decision to sue a student for $200,000 has already attracted offers of assistance from Popehat’s Ken White, First Amendment Badass (Texas Div.) Mark W. Bennett, and Scott Greenfield, whose undying curmudgeonliness (and undying AOL email address) are perfectly complemented by the number of fucks he gives about jabbing back at stupid attorneys. If this is just the initial response to the Khuu office legal threats, it’s time to invest heavily in popcorn futures.

      The immediate good news is that Lan Cai is now represented, pro bono, by Houston attorney Michael Fleming. Fleming hopes to flip this bogus lawsuit back on the Khuu law firm by using Texas’ anti-SLAPP law — the Texas Citizens Participation Act — and extract $50,000 from the firm for the trouble it’s caused. He also points out that the firm’s reputation was pretty much an open sewage line well before Cai expressed her opinion, so it’s unlikely the office can prove yet another negative review caused any actual damage to the firm itself.

    • NightSide – Censorship On Campus

      The University of Houston Student Vice President is facing sanctions over a Facebook post in the immediate aftermath of the Dallas attack that read in part, “all lives matter”. As a result of this “controversy” she was temporarily suspended and must attend cultural sensitivity training. Harvey Silverglate, an expert on free speech issues, joins NightSide to give his take.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Global Surveillance Industry Database Helps Track Big Brother Worldwide

      Offering a groundbreaking glimpse of the global surveillance industry—the tools it employs, the extent of its reach, and the accountability it largely evades—human rights watchdog organization Privacy International on Tuesday released a searchable database and accompanying report that track Big Brother worldwide.

      The initiative “provides much needed information about a secretive industry which has grown to meet government demand for more surveillance power,” said Edin Omanovic, research officer at the U.K.-based Privacy International. “State surveillance is one of the most important and polarizing issues of our time, yet the secrecy around it means it’s a debate lacking reliable facts.”

      The Surveillance Industry Index (SII), based on data collected by journalists, activists, and researchers across the world and co-developed with the pro-transparency software group Transparency Toolkit, aims to change that.

    • Surveillance of Everyone: Europe’s “Smart Borders” Would Automatically Monitor Individuals

      Walls and wire fences are not all that’s being built at Europe’s borders. The European Commission and Security Companies dream of “smart borders”: a multitude of automated and interconnected files and control apparatuses able to follow each individual. The program’s objective? Counter-terrorism and keeping migrants out. But these structures — the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated — risk straining public finances, while threatening civil liberties and private life, should some states decide to pass from border control of each person to surveillance of everybody.

      With respect to security policy, the least one may say is that the European Union and its member states do not lack for ideas. The European Union’s borders are governed by a plethora of measures and apparatuses with an equal number of obscure acronyms: SIS, the Schengen Information System, assembles data on wanted or disappeared persons; VIS is the information system concerning visa applications; EURODAC is a fingerprint database for the administrative management of asylum applications.

    • O2 customer data sold on dark net

      The data was almost certainly obtained by using usernames and passwords first stolen from gaming website XSplit three years ago to log onto O2 accounts.

      When the login details matched, the hackers could access O2 customer data in a process known as “credential stuffing”.

      O2 says it has reported the case to police, and is helping the inquiry.

      It is highly likely that this technique will have been used to log onto other companies’ accounts too.

    • FBI Official Compares Encryption Guru Moxie Marlinspike To The KKK, Refuses To Discuss Him

      By now, hopefully, you already know about Moxie Marlinspike, the security researcher/encryption guru/creator of the important open source encrypted messaging protocol Signal. However, it’s still worth reading Andy Greenberg’s big profile on Moxie over at Wired (and, no, he still will not reveal his original name or much more about his history). The whole thing is a good read, but there’s one crazy part, where Greenberg asks an FBI official for their thoughts on the guy who is making encryption that he deliberately says he hopes will be used to keep the FBI from spying on certain conversations. The FBI, not surprisingly, is not a fan. But, still, it seems like quite a leap to then make an analogy with the KKK…

    • Documents Show FISA Court Refusing To Grant FBI’s Requests To Scoop Up Communications Along With Phone Metadata

      A handful of FOIA documents [PDF] obtained by EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) are shedding some new light on the FISA court and its relationship with the FBI. The good news is that the court is not quite the rubber stamp it’s often been portrayed as. Even though a vast majority of requests are improved, there appears to be a significant amount of modification happening behind the scenes.

    • Tor 0.2.8.6 is released

      Hi, all! After months of work, a new Tor release series is finally stable.

    • Tor browser a bit too unique?

      Ok, this is scary: tor browser on https://browserprint.info/test — “Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 8,440 tested so far. Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 13.04 bits of identifying information.”

    • Your battery status is being used to track you online

      A little-known web standard that lets site owners tell how much battery life a mobile device has left has been found to enable tracking online, a year after privacy researchers warned that it had the potential to do just that.

      The battery status API was introduced in HTML5, the fifth version of the code used to lay out the majority of the web, and had already shipped in Firefox, Opera and Chrome by August 2015. It allows site owners to see the percentage of battery life left in a device, as well as the time it will take to discharge or the time it will take to charge, if connected to a power source.

    • This Popular Ad Blocker Now Works With Microsoft’s Edge Browser
    • FBI Director Lauds Whistleblowers’ Role in Culture of ‘Humility’

      Asked about resistance to whistleblowers, Horowitz said, “A lot of the perception is that you keep your dirty laundry within the organization, which is why being a whistleblower takes courage.”

    • New online tool reveals how the global surveillance industry is watching you

      Repressive regimes are now routinely acquiring powerful surveillance technology from private firms in democratic nations. In the United States, police bypass the security of private citizens’ cellphones using a handheld device produced more than 5,000 miles away in Israel.

      It’s a tangled web—one that few truly have the bandwidth to explore.

      That’s why this week, Privacy International (PI), alongside Transparency Toolkit, launched the Surveillance Industry Index (SII), a searchable database containing records on over 520 surveillance companies. Relying on various technical, governmental, and investigative reports, the database reportedly includes “over 600 reported individual exports of specific surveillance technologies.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Clerk printed lottery tickets she didn’t pay for but didn’t break hacking law

      The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that while a convenience store clerk was guilty of stealing lottery tickets through the store’s computer system, she did not violate the state’s anti-hacking law while doing so.

      In the case, known as State v. Nascimento, Oregon’s highest court ruled late last month that a hacking conviction against the defendant should be overturned, and the court sent the case back down to the lower court for reconsideration. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which appeared on Caryn Nascimento’s behalf during the case as an amicus curae (friend of the court), announced the narrow victory on Tuesday.

      According to the Supreme Court’s decision, the case dates back to 2007, when Nascimento began working at Tiger Mart, a small convenience store in Madras, Oregon, about 120 miles southeast of Portland. In late 2008 and early 2009, a company vice president began investigating what appeared to be cash shortages at that store, sometimes about $1,000 per day. After reviewing video recordings that correlated with Nascimento’s work schedule, this executive began to suspect that she was buying lottery tickets but not paying for them.

      Eventually, Nascimento was charged not only with aggravated first-degree theft but also of violating the state’s computer crime law, which includes language that “any person who knowingly and without authorization uses, accesses or attempts to access any computer, computer system, computer network, or any computer software, program, documentation or data contained in such computer, computer system or computer network, commits computer crime.”

    • State-funded Muslim school which ‘segregates’ genders in legal bid to block Ofsted report

      An Ofsted inspection judged the unnamed school to be “inadequate” – the lowest rank available – and criticised it for segregating boys and girls.

      Referred to as ‘school X’, inspectors from the Government body found the school stocked books containing negative views about women.

      A judge revealed the school library had literature which “contained derogatory views about, and incited violence towards, women”.

      The education establishment has now taken its battle to the High Court to stop the report being published.

    • Turkey, the EU and the death penalty: a chequered history

      The abolition of the death penalty has been arguably the most symbolic result of Turkey’s EU accession process. To see it revoked would be a sad, backwards step for Turkey and for the EU.

    • Delaware Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional

      In a landmark decision (pdf), the Delaware Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional.

      The majority found that the state’s death penalty violated the Sixth Amendment, as it allowed a judge to override a jury’s recommendation of a life sentence and impose a death sentence instead.

      The ruling followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision in January that overturned portions of Florida’s death penalty statute for the same reason. That decision, Hurst v. Florida, found that “[t]he Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death.”

      In Tuesday’s ruling, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. wrote: “I am unable to discern in the Sixth Amendment any dividing line between the decision that someone is eligible for death and the decision that he should in fact die.”

    • Jeff Wood Didn’t Kill Anyone, but Texas Is About to Execute Him Anyway

      Texas is among five states that approve “actively” pursuing the death penalty for an accomplice who lacked intent to kill; the vast majority require intent as a prerequisite to seeking the death penalty against a party to a crime.

      Put simply, Texas’s law is unjust, Been told supporters outside the governor’s mansion, because it “punishes affiliations” and not actions. “How does it get more unfair than that?” he asked the crowd, tearing up as he spoke. “My uncle is a victim of the Texas system. He is sentenced to be executed for a crime he did not — did not — commit.”

    • Victory! Oregon Supreme Court Agrees that Violating a Company Rule is Not a Computer Crime

      Can you imagine being prosecuted for checking personal email while at work because your employer says you can only use your computer for “company business”? Of course not. Violating a company rule is not—and should not be—a computer crime. Prosecutors have tried to use the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and parallel state criminal laws to target violations of company rules, but courts are increasingly calling foul on the misuse of statutes intended to criminalize computer break-ins.

      The Oregon Supreme Court is one of them, saying “no” to prosecutors who tried to hold Caryn Nascimento liable under Oregon’s computer crime law for a violation of her employer’s computer use policy. EFF filed an amicus brief in the case, State v. Nascimento, and the court specifically cited our argument that “the state’s reading of the statute—which arguably criminalizes any computer use in violation of an employer’s personnel or computer use policies—is unworkably broad because it gives private entities the power to decide what conduct in the workplace is criminal and what is not.”

      Nascimento worked as a cashier at the deli counter of a convenience store. As part of her job, she was authorized to access a lottery terminal in the store to sell and validate lottery tickets for paying customers. Store policy prohibited employees from purchasing lottery tickets for themselves or validating their own lottery tickets while on duty. A store manager noticed a discrepancy in the receipts from the lottery terminal and discovered that Nascimento had printed lottery tickets for herself without paying for them. She was charged and convicted with not only first-degree theft, but also computer crime on the ground that she accessed the lottery terminal “without authorization.”

    • “Stop the Cops & Fund Black Futures”: Voices from First Day of New York City Hall Park Occupation

      On Monday, hundreds of activists gathered at New York City Hall demanding the defunding of the New York Police Department, the firing of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and reparations for victims of police brutality. Democracy Now!’s Charina Nadura and Andre Lewis were at the park speaking to protesters.

    • Movement for Black Lives Calls for Reparations & “End to War Against Black People”

      While all eyes have been on the Republican and Democratic platforms decided at the national conventions earlier this month, a broad coalition associated with the Black Lives Matter movement has released a platform of its own, demanding reparations and an “end to the wars against Black people.” The list of demands from the Movement for Black Lives platform also includes the abolition of the death penalty, legislation to recognize the impacts of slavery, as well as investments in education initiatives, mental health services and employment programs. The publication comes just a week before the second anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked months of protests and catalyzed a national conversation about police killings of unarmed African-American men. For more, we speak with Ash-Lee Henderson, regional organizer for Project South and a member of the policy table leadership team of the Movement for Black Lives.

    • Dozens of Syrians forced into sexual slavery in derelict Lebanese house

      Rama said she learned from the other women at the shelter that that was how many of them were brought to the house, some living there for four years. Their torture often consisted of being tied to a table that was set up like a crucifix, and beaten with a cable. If they fainted, they were shocked into consciousness with an electric prod.

      The women, 29 of whom lived in Chez Maurice with the others in a nearby house, were forced to have sex as many as 10 times a day on weekdays. Rama said the number of customers often doubled on weekends.

      She said women who had not yet lost their virginity when they arrived at the shelter had their hymens broken with a bottle.

      Those who said no to customer requests, including for unprotected sex, had marks registered under their names by the female guards in the house, and would be punished with beatings. They had to collect at least $50 in tips from customers a day, and that money – as well as the hourly rate the brothel charged—was all confiscated from the women.

      Rama said the women told each other in hushed tones the story of two other women who died in the house, and were buried in unmarked graves before she arrived. When [Imad al-] Rihawi, the network’s alleged enforcer [and a former interrogator in Syria’s feared air force intelligence service], heard them discussing the tale, he beat one of the women 95 times on her legs with a cable, she said.

      She said the women who got pregnant after having unprotected sex with customers were taken to have abortions, which are illegal in Lebanon, often months into the actual pregnancy. Police officials have arrested the doctor responsible, who operated a clinic in the northern Beirut suburb of Dekwaneh, where investigators say he performed as many as 200 abortions on women enslaved in the network.

      The women worked in two shifts between 9am and 6am the following day. Many had lost family members in war, or otherwise had nobody to look after them, Rama said. Some of the girls were as young as 18 and the oldest were in their mid-30s.

    • Yes, You Read That Correctly: China Says It’s OK For Members Of The Public To Record The Police

      Although this move might be seen as the Chinese authorities giving new powers to the people against the police, it’s probably better thought of as using the people to root out the bad apples of the kind mentioned in the SCMP piece. As such it’s of a piece with President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corrupt officials who abuse their power, seen most recently in the sentence of the top Chinese general Guo Boxiong, who was jailed for life for taking bribes.

      In other words, while citizens use this new permission to aid Xi in his purge of unwanted elements in the system, they will be welcome to record the police as much as they like. However, if they start making life awkward for the authorities by passing around the “wrong” kind of recordings, we can probably expect this newfound power to be rescinded quite quickly.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Washington State Sues Comcast For Routinely Ripping Off Its Customers

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Lucy in the Sky With Battistelli’s Diamonds (EU Budget) But No UPC in Sight

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like the classic

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Summary: Despite her dubious public appearances with Benoît Battistelli, Lucy Neville-Rolfe is still unable to just simply ignore Brexit and rush the UPC through

THE UPC (Unitary Patent) has a lot to do with the unprecedented chaos at the EPO (see background to this), by the EPO’s very own admission. The UPC, created and pushed by Team UPC (not representatives of public interests at all, just a group of circling vultures), is just about as bad as those notorious ‘free’ ‘trade’ ‘deals’ (none of those things), such as TPP and TTIP. Secrecy was all along needed in order to keep everyone but the self-serving conspiracy in the dark, unable to weigh in, antagonise, and report wrongdoing.

Lucy Neville-Rolfe is being approached by Team UPC and organisations (or lobbies) whose memberships intersect/overlap Team UPC. UK IPO has just published a public statement (Tuesday) and MIP has a new article about it. “It remains unknown if the UK will ratify the UPC Agreement,” says the summary and here is the relevant part from the article’s body: “It seems we will have to wait until next year to know the UK government’s decision on UPC Agreement ratification. The IPO did not say anything on this, but it noted: “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes.””

The UPC boosters from Bristows (part of Team UPC) pretend that it’s business as usual after Brexit, but it’s not. To quote this new blog post:

Unlike many of the UK law firms [like Bristows] who quickly climbed on board the Brexit bandwagon, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office has been understandably and notably silent. For the past several weeks they have been in listening mode as they hear from stakeholders about their post-referendum concerns. Today, they have published a short guide called “IP and Brexit: The Facts” to dispel the speculation on the future of IP law following the referendum result. The main message is “The UK is still part of the EU so your EU-derived protections continue and we are considering various post-Brexit options”. Unsurprisingly, the brief is short given that the fate of EU-made rights will be determined by the ultimate relationship between the UK and EU.

On patents, the UK IPO confirmed that it was business as usual for UK businesses applying for patents at the EPO and that the referendum result will not impact the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Here is the direct statement from UK IPO: “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes.”

Well, UK IPO is sort of contradicting itself on UPC as noted in this comment which says:

One comment in IPO’s post Brexit communication says “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present”.

According to the same statement: “There will be no immediate changes” does not give the impression that a quick ratification is on the tablets, as this would be an immediate change.

When considering the overall tone of the the statement, IPO’s first preoccupation seems to lie more in seeing how to leave the existing system of EU laws and regulations on IP matters so that the rights of UK IP owners are protected, rather than trying to add a further problem, UPC, on all the issues which will have to be settled. As far as patents are concerned, the way to the EPO is not changed by the Brexit. A strong enthusiasm for the UPC sounds differently.

When looking at the long list of duties of Baroness Neville-Rolfe, IP does not look as it will be at the top of her priorities.

May be something to reflect upon?

Someone is poking fun at Battistelli with an ode that spells out “BREXIT”. Surely they know that nothing would displease Battistelli more than the demise and possibly death of the UPC — a project he spent over half a decade promoting. Here is the ode/poem:

B eing as UPC stands for UP the creek without a Canoe
R eally not much else we can do
E PO Sun King and Grand Master
X claims it is an almighty disaster
I t is the one good thing to come out of the vote
T hat Batters now has a huge hole in his boat

As another person notes, echoing what we said several times last month, UPC is very low down in the list of British priorities right now:

I agree that the fact that the Baroness has been assigned more responsibilities does not suggest that a great deal of time and effort will be expended by the government upon IP issues (be they Brexit-related or otherwise).

This perhaps indicates that we can expect some delays in decision-making, including on the UPC. This may be compounded by the fact that there will be more pressing matters for the UK to resolve in connection with trade marks, designs and copyright.

These issues aside, I doubt that the IPO’s statement could be said to provide any hints one way or the other with regard to the UPC, which is likely to remain somewhat of a “complicated” issue in the coming months. So I guess that we will all just have to wait and see.

The following comment goes along the same lines:

I think some of these people need to remember that ministers have tended not to stay with IP for any period of time. The Baroness keeping the IP mandate is to be welcomed, even if she has further responsibilities. She knows the stakeholders and the issues, and can be a good ear even if she leaves some aspects to others.

Of course, the shape of the outcome is not really dependent upon IP – it will be shaped by other concerns, and IP will find a way. I guess if you are looking at unusual infringements of trade marks, start the action now whilst judges have to apply EU principles!

Well, as noted by the Bristows Kat: “In the meantime, Baroness Neville-Rolfe will continue as the minister for IP, but her full title is now Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property.”

It means more responsibilities. Well, Lucy is being asked to leap/jump through hoops after sucking up to the thug, Battistelli (more than once in recent months), but there would be a huge backlash if she attempted to do so.

This Kat’s colleague wrote: “Forget Brexit and Article 50, forget the Chilcot enquiry, forget whatever sports competition is concerning you at the moment, worry not about the UPC.”

Well, forgetting that isn’t an option, as the conspiracy of patent lawyers actively works behind the scenes lobbying Lucy to sneak the Trojan horse through the back door. We wrote about this before and presented evidence.

Another colleague, Merpel, is quoted in relation to the news about Lucy. Can Lucy be trusted? We doubt it, but she hasn’t much capacity right now to arrogantly ignore Brexit and do the unthinkable. It would be political suicide for her. As a comment put it this morning: “Has she [Lucy] actually stated, in the past, a long-term IP strategy beyond ‘we’re going to join the EU patent system’? That’s a measure rather than a policy so can be dropped as if it didn’t matter. By this I mean, does there exist an imperative to somehow achieve EU patent membership despite all other factors such as preparing for Brexit? If not, then surely this gets referred to the new Minister for Brexit? Alternatively, which vested interest can get to her first/more effectively??”

The Minister for Brexit is David Davis, who is a reasonably OK politician, based on his policies and stances in the areas of technology. He does listen to technology activists and sometimes sides with them, based on his long track record (covered here in passing). He ought to be wise enough to know that the UPC would be a disaster for technology companies in the UK, unlike perhaps patent lawyers from London.

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