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08.04.16

Links 4/8/2016: Dumping Windows, WARHAMMER Comes to GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source reshaping vendor business models – Wikibon

    A new trend among enterprises to make open source software a priority in their criteria for new infrastructure and application use will impact venture capital investments, startups, established IT vendors and cloud providers, writes Wikibon Lead Cloud Analyst Brian Gracely in “Open Source Software: Reshaping Vendor Business Models” on Wikibon.com. In this second part of Gracely’s examination of the impacts of open source, he looks at all four of these aspects of the vendor ecosystem.

    Open source companies, with the exception of Red Hat Inc., have struggled to achieve profitability, making venture capitalists less willing to invest in them. Open source-centric startups that already have achieved their initial funding now must find a way to monetize the business as they approach new funding rounds. An increasing number of established IT providers are becoming heavily involved in open source, while their proprietary solutions face increasing pricing pressure from open source competition.

  • Broadband Forum backs open source SDN

    There has been a stand-off brewing between the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) and OpenDaylight – two open source software defined networking (SDN) platforms pushing for network transformation at a massive scale – attracting membership signatures of operators hungry for next generation broadband services.

    Adding to its growing list of supporters, ON.Lab has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Broadband Forum to extend its collaborative work to the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) Project community – an open source reference implementation combining SDN and NFV to bring datacenter economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office.

  • Open Source OVN to Offer Solid Virtual Networking For OpenStack

    Open Virtual Networking (OVN) is a new open source project that brings virtual networking to the Open vSwitch user community and aims to develop a single, standard, vendor-neutral protocol for the virtualization of network switching functions. In their upcoming talk at LinuxCon North America in Toronto this month, Kyle Mestery of IBM and Justin Pettit of VMware will cover the current status of the OVN project, including the first software release planned for this fall. Here, Mestery and Pettit discuss the project and its goals and give us a preview of their talk, “OVN: Scalable Virtual Networking for Open vSwitch.”

  • Sony’s Hero Open Source Developer Title for May-June Awarded to XDA RD Bumble-Bee

    Of the many OEMs that we talk about here on XDA-Developers, only a very few actually work for and with the community. Most are all talk, but actions speak louder than words, and only a handful truly speak.

    Sony is one of those OEMs that continues to foster relationships with the developer community, with several initiatives in place that promote external developers to work on Sony devices. Heck, the Sony Xperia Z3 was the ONLY device outside of Nexus and Android One devices to have had the Android N Developer Preview released for it.

    One of Sony’s pro-Open Source initiatives is the Hero Open Source Developer Program. Under this program, Sony recognizes and rewards developers that contribute to the Open Device projects. The developer with the most accepted commits to the SonyXperiaDev github during the preceding two months stands to win a device from Sony as a reward. The winner for the period of May-June is none other than Shane Francis, aka XDA Recognized Developer Bumble-Bee. Shane has won a Sony Xperia X Performance for his efforts and contributions to the AOSP for Xperia Projects, including helping with the fingerprint scanner on the Z5 on AOSP. We congratulate Shane for his prize from Sony, and thank him for his contributions to open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Awards $585,000 to Nine Open Source Projects in Q2 2016

        Last quarter’s Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS)-awarded projects are diverse, but they have one thing in common: they believe in innovation for public benefit. Projects like Tails, PeARS and Caddy are paving the way for the next wave of openness, which is why Mozilla has allocated over $3.5 million to the MOSS initiative in support of these and other open source projects. We’re excited to share the program’s progress this quarter, which includes $585,000 in awards, nine new projects supported and two new tracks launched.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug lobby plans counterattack on prices

      Washington’s powerful drug lobby is gearing up to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a post-election ad war pushing back against politicians from both parties who have savaged its members over drug prices.

      The massive campaign by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — expected to start positive by highlighting drugs that save or prolong lives — will dwarf the $20 million that health insurers spent on the iconic “Harry and Louise” campaign credited with sinking Hillary Clinton’s health reform plan in the early 19

    • Big Pharma Plans Massive Ad Blitz to Fight Criticism of Drug Prices

      The pharmaceutical lobby is gearing up for a massive, multi-million-dollar post-election ad blitz to fight the shifting rhetoric surrounding drug prices, Politico reports.

      Skyrocketing drug prices have become a central issue in the 2016 election cycle, bolstered by recent bipartisan legislation that aims to wrangle back control of the market and outspoken criticism from Bernie Sanders and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

      Now, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to push back on politicians from both sides of the aisle—a campaign that “will dwarf the $20 million that health insurers spent on the iconic ‘Harry and Louise’ campaign credited with sinking…Clinton’s health reform plan in the early 1990s,” reports Politico’s Sarah Karlin-Smith.

    • On Eve of Olympics, Top Investigator Details Secret Efforts to Undermine Russian Doping Probe

      In a blistering public critique on the eve of the Olympics, the former chief investigator for the World Anti-Doping Agency claims his efforts to investigate Russian doping were repeatedly delayed by WADA’s president, who preferred to privately settle matters with Russian officials.

      Jack Robertson, who left the agency in January, said he was forced to leak information to the media in order to pressure WADA president Sir Craig Reedie to act and, even then, he says, the agency sat on credible allegations that suggested Russian doping extended far beyond track and field.

      Ultimately, Robertson says, the investigation delays have allowed the president of the International Olympic Committee — who has reportedly been supported by Vladimir Putin — to claim that the committee didn’t have enough time to determine whether it should ban all Russian teams. The result is that Russia may still have one of the largest delegations in Rio.

    • Law, Order and the Wall: Would Trump and Pence Fuel the Drug War?

      Writing about what drug policy might look like under a Trump administration is not easy. Donald Trump’s views on drugs have changed radically over the years, and the Republican nominee’s rambling statements on the subject suggest that they are shaped by gut reactions and political opportunism, not ideology or a deep understanding of social currents and medical science.

      Trump’s vice-presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has a clearer track record on drug policy because he has actually held political office, but some of his positions are so archaic that the Trump campaign may wish to keep them off the national stage.

      Let’s try a thought experiment to make this a bit easier. Imagine that I’m 16 years old and Trump and Pence are my parents. Let’s not worry about the circumstances by which they became my two dads; this is my imaginary scenario, and I say it doesn’t matter. All three of us are sitting in a suburban living room, with busts of Ronald Reagan and Mel Gibson peering down from the mantle overhead. Pence has just discovered a small bag of marijuana that I’ve been hiding in a drawer full of soccer socks.

    • Monsanto in India: Meet the New Boss – Same as the Old Boss?

      In capitalism, the state’s primary role is to secure the interests of private capital. The institutions of globalised capitalism – from the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO right down to the compliant bureaucracies of national states or supranational unions – facilitate private wealth accumulation that results in the forms of structural inequalities and violence (unemployment, poverty, population displacement, bad food, poor health, environmental destruction, etc) that have become ‘accepted’ as necessary (for ‘growth’) and taken for granted within mainstream media and political narratives.

    • Philip Morris gets its ash kicked in Uruguay; where will it next blow smoke?

      Philip Morris International just lost a six-year battle to block Uruguay’s strong cigarette warning labels, which cover 80 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs, including graphic photos of the damages of smoking.

      The decision was made by the World Bank’s trade tribunal, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the world’s the leading body to settle international investment disputes.

      Philip Morris became the first tobacco company to take on a country in an international court, and it took on one of the smallest. The company argued that Uruguay had violated terms of an investment treaty with Switzerland by enforcing anti-smoking laws. The operational headquarters for Philip Morris International is in Lausanne.

    • Kazakhstan Suspends Cattle Imports From Russia Over Anthrax Outbreak

      Kazakhstan has suspended cattle imports from Russia amid concerns over an anthrax outbreak in northwestern Siberia.

      The Kazakh Agriculture Ministry says the imports have been suspended as of August 3.

      Russian officials say the anthrax outbreak in Yamalo-Nenets region has killed a 12-year-old boy, and more than 20 local residents have been diagnosed with the bacterial disease.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Donald “Dr. Strangelove” Trump and some of the Times We almost had a Nuclear War

      I have long wondered why no one in Hollywood has remade Stanley Kubricks’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop worrying and Love the Bomb.” They’ve remade almost everything else from the 1960s, but that classic Peter Sellers film languishes in black and white and I’m not sure most Millennials have seen it.

    • [Older] UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria: ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis

      The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is committing genocide against Yazidis, according to a report, “They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”, issued today by the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. The report by the Commission of Inquiry also determined that ISIS’s abuse of Yazidis amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    • Czech president warns of migrants’ ‘barbaric acts’

      Czech President Milos Zeman has said migrants pose a security threat to his country. He also criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policies.

    • One Beheaded Child Here and There…

      One incident here and there — up to and including beheading a child — will not make you a terrorist group, but buying $245 of gift cards for an FBI actor will make you a terrorist.

      That’s not to say Young isn’t a dangerous man or that he should work as a policeman in any organization. But even there, it’s not clear what kind of dangerous person he is. He likes military weapons, Nazis, Islamic terrorists, and may beat his spouse. The FBI, of course, chose to focus on the Islamic terrorism rather than the domestic abuse or Nazism. Even then, by far the most frequent “incriminating” details cited in the affidavit against Young describe his unhappiness about FBI surveillance (including that they spoke to his family in 2010 before they interviewed him when the FBI first had concerns about his associations) and his efforts to thwart it. The FBI presented this operational security as incriminating even though they deemed him not to have violated the law in several earlier reviews, the presumption being that every person who has been investigated should therefore be willing to undergo persistent surveillance for the foreseeable future.

      The closest Young actually came to joining a terrorist group was in 2011 when he “had been” with rebels working to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi (the FBI improbably creates the impression that they somehow didn’t monitor his two trips to Libya after investigating him for months leading up to these trips, not even after he was stopped by Egyptian authorities). A description later in the affidavit explains he must have been hanging out with the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, a group that arose out of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which the US has variously considered a terrorist group or not as its global interests dictated, though which they treated like rebel partners in 2011. Just as the US now considers Harakat Nour al-Zenki worthy of its financial support, in sums delivered in far greater increments than $245 gift cards.

    • French MPs Visit Crimea: Suggesting Early End to Sanctions

      A delegation of 11 French lawmakers and senators arrived in Crimea on July 28 to take part in celebrating Russian Navy Day in Sevastopol.

      There are no grounds to keep anti-Russian sanctions in place, said the head of the delegation Thierry Mariani, addressing the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol. Republican MP Jacques Myard also emphasized the importance of lifting the sanctions.

      In July 2015, a group of 10 French deputies visited Crimea for the first time despite domestic and European criticism. Back then the lawmakers said that what they saw was completely different from the picture painted by Western media. They say the same thing now after having seen the situation with their own eyes.

    • Fissures in the Empire

      Washington has raised the cost of being a member of its Empire too high. Vassals such as France and Germany are beginning to exercise independent policies toward Russia. Observing the cracks in its Empire, Washington has decided to bind its vassals to Washington with terror. Most liikely what we are witnessing in the French and German attacks is Operation Gladio.

    • Terrorism as a Word and Epithet

      The word “terrorism” – classically defined as violence against civilians for political effect – has become an epithet hurled at despised groups while not against favored ones, a challenge of hypocrisy and propaganda, explains Michael Brenner.

    • Reaching Beyond the Candidates

      What would it take to cause Hillary Clinton to distance herself from the newly launched bombing campaign in Libya? Or call for a congressional debate on it? Or suggest the obvious: that the war on terror isn’t working?

      Of course it won’t happen. But the fact that it sounds so absurd — almost as fanciful as the notion of movie characters stepping off the screen into real life — indicates how illusory, how unglued from reality, American democracy is at the presidential level. It’s a spectator sport — mud wrestling, say — doled out to us as entertainment by the media in sound bites and poll numbers.

    • After the Coup, Turkey is Being Torn Apart

      Coup attempt and purge are tearing Turkey apart. The Turkish armed forces, for long the backbone of the state, are in a state of turmoil. Some 40 per cent of its generals and admirals have been detained or dismissed, including senior army commanders.

      They are suspected of launching the abortive military takeover on 15-16 July, which left at least 246 people dead, saw parliament and various security headquarters bombed and a near successful bid to kill or capture President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

      In response, Erdogan and his government are carrying out a purge of everybody from soldiers to teachers connected in any way to the movement of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen accused of organising the coup attempt.

    • Brazil Committee Votes for Rousseff Final Impeachment Trial [Ed: completing the coup]

      Brazil’s Senate impeachment committee recommended putting suspended President Dilma Rousseff on trial for illegal financial transactions, paving the way for her permanent ouster within a month.

      A report by Senator Antonio Anastasia accused Rousseff of taking credits without congressional authorization and through state banks, violating the Constitution. The report was approved by 14 senators in favor and 5 against. It now goes to the floor of the Senate for an Aug. 9 vote.

      Acting president Michel Temer has fanned investor confidence with pledges to rein in a near-record budget deficit and adopt more market-friendly policies to pull Latin America’s largest economy out of its deepest recession in decades. Yet he requires Rousseff’s permanent ouster to gain more legitimacy for controversial measures that include cutting pension pay and deregulating labor laws.

    • FBI Had Undercover Agent at Scene of “Draw Muhammad” Shooting in Texas

      When two men opened fire at the “Draw Muhammad” contest in a Dallas suburb in 2015, the FBI had an undercover agent on the scene, newly filed court documents reveal.

      On May 3, 2015, two men from Arizona armed with assault rifles — Elton Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi — attacked a convention center in Garland, Texas, where Pamela Geller had organized the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest.” The two attackers shot a guard outside the convention center and were then killed in the parking lot by Texas police.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Irish agriculture faces emissions dilemma

      Ireland is facing a classic conflict, pitching economic growth targets against the need for action on climate change.

      On one hand, Ireland’s planners want to see significant growth in its food and agriculture industry – a sector that is one of the main pillars of the country’s economy, accounting for about 8% of gross domestic product.

      On the other hand, the country − along with other members of the European Union (EU) − is committed to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by “at least” 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

    • The Frackopoly Comes to Power

      In 1964, a group of wealthy funders instigated a radical insurgency that reshaped the political landscape and weakened democracy. Although their ultraconservative presidential candidate in 1964, Senator Barry Goldwater, was defeated in a historic landslide victory by Lyndon B. Johnson, the election spurred the development of a long-term strategy to take back control of the nation.

    • Break the silence on Azerbaijan oil workers’ deaths

      Nine months after 31 workers drowned in Azerbaijan’s worst-ever oil industry disaster, the country’s authorities have still not said a word about how it happened or what mistakes could be avoided in future.

      Most of the victims were thrown into the water when a lifeboat smashed against the side of production platform no. 10 at the Guneshli oil field in the Caspian sea, as they tried to escape a fire during a force 10 gale on 4 December last year.

      The Oil Workers Rights Protection Organisation (OWRPO), a campaign group, says state oil company managers broke safety laws for the sake of keeping production going, and that workers did not even have life jackets on during the attempt to evacuate the platform.

  • Finance

    • Mark Carney: ‘Timely’ measures should stop UK sliding into recession

      Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said today’s (4 August) historic package of measures was put together because the outlook for UK growth has “weakened markedly” since the Brexit vote.

      The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to cut interest rates to 0.25% from 0.5%, where they have been for seven years. It will also boost its quantitative easing by another £60bn ($70bn), bringing the programme up to £435bn.

      It also announced a new Term Funding Scheme (TFS) to reinforce the pass-through of the cut in interest rates and the purchase of up to £10bn in UK corporate bonds.

      He said: “The banks have no excuse not to pass this cut onto their customers.”

      The Bank did not rule out a further cut if deemed necessary.

    • Carney Quantifies Gloom With BOE Stimulus Debate at Crunch Point

      Mark Carney is about to put numbers on the gloom.

      Six weeks after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union sent shock waves across the nation, on Thursday the Bank of England governor will present a detailed assessment of what it means for the economy as well as his plan of action. With initial reports showing the U.K. may be headed for recession, he’ll need to balance a realistic picture of what’s in store against the prospect of being labeled a doom-monger.

      The Monetary Policy Committee’s first post-Brexit analysis is set to drive its debate over how to tackle weaker growth and faster inflation. With business and consumer sentiment faltering, the pound slumping and industries from airlines to manufacturers warning of a negative fallout, economists expect Carney to unveil a suite of stimulus.

    • Peter Allard vs. Barbados: Investor argues breach of environmental laws

      Peter Allard vs. Barbados: Investor argues breach of environmental laws

      Peter Allard, a Canadian investor who owns a nature sanctuary in Barbados, has brought an ISDS claim against Barbados. In a nutshell, he grounds his claim on the failure of the government of Barbados to enforce its own environmental law which, as a result, has polluted his sanctuary. He is also accusing Barbados of refusing to abide by its international obligations under the Convention on Wetlands and Convention on Biological Diversity.

      The actions and inactions by Barbados, according to the investor, have destroyed the value of his investment in the sanctuary. The claim is brought under Canada – Barbados Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

      The sanctuary, which is an eco-tourism facility, consists of almost 35 acres of natural wetlands situated on the Graeme Hall wetlands, a site protected under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance in the south coast of Barbados. Mr Allard, as written in his notice of dispute, made investment in this sanctuary with the purpose to conserve the environmental heritage of Barbados.

    • Universal Basic Income Will Likely Increase Social Cohesion

      I think we should avoid letting our ideologies inform our opinions on matters of social and economic policy. What matters is scientifically observed evidence. I support the idea of providing everyone with an unconditional basic income not because I just think it’s the right thing to do, and the best way to make ongoing technological unemployment work for us instead of against us, but because such an overwhelming amount of human behavioral evidence points in the direction of basic income.

      In their opinion pieces for the week-long series about universal basic income published in September by the Washington Post, I was struck by how both Oren Cass and Jonathan Coppage expressed a distinct lack of knowledge of the evidence we have available to inform our opinions on giving people money without strings attached, by citing none of it. Science involves testing our hypotheses. They both expressed the shared hypothesis that giving people additional income in the form of a basic income would somehow reduce social cohesion, and that it is growing social inequality that’s leading to economic problems and not the other way around. We can test such a hypothesis by simply looking at what actually happens when people are provided unconditional cash, and comparing it to a control group of those who aren’t.

    • No Walls in the Global Village

      Besides the fact that the misguided working class will not find their salvation in isolationism, the “leave us alone” tendency of the British blue collar populace is ironic, to say the least. Beyond ironic, this sentiment is nothing short of hypocrisy and utter disrespect to millions of people that have been exploited for centuries. A nation that for centuries knew no walls and respected no borders — back when it pillaged four continents, from the riches of Africa to the treasures of Indochina and the entire Indian subcontinent, is now crying foul, demanding a wall and asking to be left alone.

    • Oligarchs Are Feeling Right at Home in the Democratic Party

      In April of 1999, the new leaders of the Democratic Party — or, as the Wall Street Journal called them, the “chief theorists of the Third Way” — came together for a major conference in Virginia.

      The goal of the conference, attended by such prominent figures as President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was to set forth a new agenda for Democratic politics, one that would eschew traditional notions of “tax and spend” liberalism and articulate a way forward, one that held appeal beyond the constituencies fostered by the New Deal coalition and its successors.

      In an introductory speech, Al From, founder of the then-surging Democratic Leadership Council, succinctly worded the fundamental values of the so-called New Democrats.

      “Its first principle and enduring purpose is equal opportunity for all, special privilege for none,” From proclaimed. “Its public ethic is mutual responsibility. Its core value is community. Its outlook is global, and its modern means are fostering private-sector economic growth — today’s prerequisite for opportunity for all — and promoting and empowering government that equips citizens with the tools they need to get ahead.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn Launches Bold Progressive Vision to Transform UK

      Leader of the British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn announced a 10-point plan on Thursday designed to “rebuild and transform” the U.K. while undoing the damage wrought by privatization schemes and concerted attacks on the public good.

      Corbyn launched his plan with a series of social media messages, including this short YouTube video explaining the need for a national transition:

      The ten pledges include: An economy that works for all; Secure homes for all; Security at work; Secure our National Health Service and social care; A free national education service; Action to secure the environment; Democracy in our economy; Cut income and wealth inequality; Act to end prejudice and injustice; and Peace and justice abroad

      Corbyn’s announcement comes as he battles to retain his leadership position in the Labour Party, fighting off a challenge from Owen Smith, a more centrist Labour MP and former lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. The two will square off in a debate Thursday night.

      Read the full set of policy pledges here.

      Like Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in the U.S., Corbyn has been seen as a progressive champion fomenting a populist insurgency against entrenched interests of powerful elites represented by the Tories, other right-wing parties like UKIP, and factions of Labour’s own liberal center-left.

    • After Cambridgeshire’s NHS deal collapses, the future of Staffordshire’s similar £1.2billion sell-off is mired in confusion

      Cambridge’s ‘UnitingCare’ deal and its advisors have been discredited, and NHS England promises to investigate a similar planned huge NHS sell-off in Staffordshire – but local bosses seem to have their heads in the sand.

    • The Decline in Homeownership

      The homeownership rate fell again in the second quarter of 2016, hitting the lowest rate in more than 50 years, more than 6 full percentage points below the peak bubble years. This is both good news and bad news.

      It is good news because homeownership is not always good for everyone at all points in their lives. The building, banking and real estate industry have worked hard to make renting seem un-American. While homeownership can be a useful way for families to accumulate wealth, it’s not generally advisable for people not in a stable employment and family situation.

      The transaction costs associated with buying and selling a home are roughly 10 percent of the sales price, which comes to almost $25,000 for a typical home. This is a lot of money to throw away for someone who has to move after a year or two because of losing a job or a family break-up. Of course the lost money to the homeowner is income for bankers and realtors.

      The other reason it might be a good thing to see a declining homeownership rate is that it seems some markets are again rising into bubble territory. The bottom third by sales price of homes in Miami saw a 55.6 percent price increase over the last three years. By contrast, rents have risen just 10.4 percent. In Chicago the price of the bottom third of homes increased by 40.7 percent in the last three years, while rents rose by 6.9 percent.

      There are several other cities in which prices in the less expensive segment of the market are rising precipitously. It would be a good thing if moderate income families didn’t buy into bubble inflated markets yet again.

    • London Falls Behind New York and Hong Kong in Most Expensive City Rankings

      London has been knocked from its perch as the world’s most expensive city to live and work in after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

      The U.K. capital is now third behind New York and Hong Kong, according to research on global cities from property broker Savills. The research examines the costs for an employee to live in rented housing and work in an office for a year.

      London had spent the last 2½ years at the top. But it fell in July because of the drop in sterling against the dollar and cooling U.K. real-estate markets, both of which accelerated after the EU referendum in June.

    • World Bank’s New Rules Condemned for Disregarding People and Planet

      Lending further support to the United Nation’s characterization of the World Bank as a “human rights-free zone,” the notorious lender is expected to approve new policies Thursday that have been widely condemned by rights advocates for endangering human rights and the environment.

    • New World Bank Policies Imperil Environment and Land Defenders

      Just 5 months since the murder of Honduran environmental defender Berta Caceres, the Bank is passing new safeguards that do more harm than good.

    • Why Say No to the TPP? Corporations Already Have Too Much Power

      It took two days for 60 members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance to plant the heirloom seeds by hand. It was the spring of 2014, and there were prayers, burning of sage and sweetgrass, and, one by one, volunteers pressed the red corn seeds into the earth of Art and Helen Tanderup’s farm in Neligh, Nebraska. There, along the Ponca Trail of Tears, the Ponca people in 1877 were forced to leave their homeland after planting their corn seeds, many dying along the way or starving when they arrived in Oklahoma. But the sacred red seeds were being planted again in Nebraska for the first time in more than 100 years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • [Older] Top spy: Despite intelligence ‘war’ with Russians, it’s too soon to blame them for DNC hack

      Spy chief James Clapper said Thursday that U.S. intelligence services are facing a “version of war” with Russia — but it’s too soon to blame the old Cold War rival for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

      He said it’s also too early to say whether the people who leaked those emails are trying to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has charged.

      “I don’t think we’re quite ready yet to make a call on attribution,” Clapper said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “There are just a few usual suspects out there.” Additionally, he said, “We don’t know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been.”

    • Donald Trump’s Tiff With Paul Ryan Symbolizes Growing Divisions in the GOP Over Corporate Power

      Donald Trump refused to endorse Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary election on Tuesday, drawing attention to Paul Nehlen, Ryan’s insurgent challenger, who has adopted many of the same themes as the real estate mogul.

      While stopping short of endorsing Nehlen, Trump credited him with running a “very good campaign.” The primary is on August 9. The two recently had a warm exchange on Twitter:

      In many ways, Nehlen is evidence that Trump’s messaging has found its footing in down-ticket Republican races.

    • Why Hope Has Power in This Gut-Wrenching Election Year

      No wonder thousands of Americans are supporting third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein and protesting both conventions. In such a challenging time, how do we keep our eyes and energies fixed on our goal of real democracy? Hope is key. It is an essential ingredient for change.

    • Trump’s Ultimate Sacrifice (Video)

      Award-winning animator Mark Fiore is having a tough time following all of the Republican presidential candidates antics, so he condensed a few into his latest animation. Watch the clip and read Fiore’s thoughts on Trump below.

    • The Danger of Excessive Trump Bashing

      The prospect of Donald Trump in the White House alarms many people but bashing him over his contrarian views on NATO and U.S.-Russian relations could set the stage for disasters under President Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry.

    • Khizr Khan’s Son Sacrificed His Life for a War That Never Should’ve Happened

      Clinton’s rhetoric on the Muslim world might be friendlier than Trump’s, but her record is much bloodier.

    • Promises of Peace, Realities of War

      With Donald Trump, and with the political habits that engendered his gaining the Republican nomination, these reasons for discrepancy between campaign hopes and in-office performance are present in abundance. Trump illustrates splendidly the clinical definition of the personality disorder known as narcissism.

    • How the GOP’s Cynical Election Strategy Is Imploding

      As Donald Trump enmeshed himself in a bitter fight with the parents of an American Muslim military hero — and Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain looked to put distance between themselves and their party’s presidential nominee — there’s actually worse news for Republicans.

      Several important court victories for voting rights since Friday could dramatically remake the campaign for Congress and the White House, and this time, GOP leadership may have a harder time distancing themselves from un-American tactics.

    • State of Fear: Trump v. Clinton

      Shudders of fear emanate from the institutions of the United States establishment as Donald Trump claims the leadership of the Republican Party. The Washington Post, one of the leading national newspapers, ran an editorial with a clear headline: “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy” (July 22). The Post is owned by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, who had previously run afoul of Trump. The Republican leader had accused Bezos of anti-trust violations; the allegation was that he had used his paper to push for a corporate tax policy that would benefit his retail company. Such behaviour has become normal in U.S. society, where large firms see it as their right to influence state policy. Trump’s unpredictable stances have meant that on occasion he goes after his fellow billionaires for the way they have crafted the system (he has admitted that his real estate deals have also been advantaged by such coziness with elected officials). A characteristic Trump conspiracy theory might now assume that Bezos’ paper is going after Trump only because of this dust-up earlier in the year. Trump, his supporters say, is a “blue-collar billionaire”, a rich man with a poor man’s sensibility. The billionaires do not like him because he is willing to criticise them.

      That unpredictable part of Trump has meant that he has seized upon several criticisms of U.S. policy that have become standard in the U.S. Left. First among these is his position against the kind of free trade agreements—such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—that allow U.S. firms to move to parts of the world where labour costs are lower than in the U.S. Even The Post had to acknowledge that this part of Trump’s appeal “has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated”. This is also why the Democratic Socialist candidate, Bernie Sanders, was able to appeal to so many Americans who had seen their aspirations reduced to dust. This large segment of American —from West Virginia coal miners to Michigan factory workers—“deserve a serious champion”, says The Post, “and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories.”

    • Messages for the Future From the Margins of the DNC

      While covering the Democratic National Convention (DNC) last week, I found myself seeking a community context for the events in Philadelphia — what does this convention mean to the local voters, particularly those not connected to one party or another? Moreover, what does the historic nomination of Hillary Clinton mean for different groups of women around the country — Latina women, working-class women, queer women, single mothers? And of course, what does the convention mean to those who left disappointed, who stood in silent protest and marched outside the DNC gates to protest political elitism, reeling from the knowledge of party bias?

      [...]

      The real power at the DNC was not the spectacle unfolding onstage. It was the messages of these local leaders and activists — messages for the future, messages of continued efforts, relentless energy and a healthy sense of possibility. What follows is the transcript of our interviews with these inspiring messengers of change.

    • Here’s a Terrifying Truth: Trump Could Win

      The strongest single predictor of Trump support is a trait called “authoritarianism.” It’s a mindset that political scientists have only recently found a way to identify and measure, but it will be the key to this election — because the army of Trump authoritarians is large — and it is growing.

    • 20 of Trump’s Blunders that Would Lose the Election for Clinton (If Clinton Had Done Them)

      Trump gets away with a lot. I mean, a lot. He’s made so many mind-blowingly idiotic missteps that it’s hard to remember them all. Some of these missteps are so egregious that I suspect they would completely ruin Clinton’s chances of getting elected if she had made them. Yet Trump’s followers don’t seem to care how much he lies, breaks the rules, and makes a fool out of himself. Perhaps this has to do with Trump’s support base consisting primarily of uneducated white people. Or perhaps it has to do with the zeitgeist of anti-intellectualism that imbues contemporary American conservatism.

    • First Evidence Surfaces of Foreign Money Pouring into U.S. Elections After Citizens United

      Six years ago, President Obama warned the nation that foreign corporations could soon pour money into the U.S. election system thanks to the Supreme Court Citizens United decision. Now, direct evidence has emerged for the first time showing a foreign company has indeed donated money to a federal campaign. Documentation obtained by The Intercept shows a company owned by Chinese nationals donated $1.3 million to Jeb Bush’s super PAC after receiving advice from a prominent Republican lawyer. To talk more about the exposé, we are joined by The Intercept’s Lee Fong, who co-wrote the multi-part series “Foreign Influence.”

    • The Decay of American Politics

      To contrast the virtues and shortcomings of Stevenson and Eisenhower with those of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump is both instructive and profoundly depressing. Comparing the adversaries of 1956 with their 2016 counterparts reveals with startling clarity what the decades-long decay of American politics has wrought.

      [...]

      But let’s not just blame the candidates. Trump and Clinton are also the product of circumstances that neither created. As candidates, they are merely exploiting a situation — one relying on intuition and vast stores of brashness, the other putting to work skills gained during a life spent studying how to acquire and employ power. The success both have achieved in securing the nominations of their parties is evidence of far more fundamental forces at work.

    • My View: Both Trump, Rio Olympics earn gold in hyperbolic hurdles

      Both Trump and the Olympics position themselves as philanthropic, donating to both charities and fulfilling grandiose promises to the host city. But as with Trump, whose donations have proved to be more phantom than opera, the great benefits that the Games supposedly bestow on everyday people in the host city have turned out to be more aspirational than inspirational. Look no further than Rio de Janeiro. Hosting the Olympic Games was supposed to jumpstart the cleanup of the city’s waterways. But today Guanabara Bay and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which will soon host Olympic water-events, look more like scenes from the Old Testament, plagued by massive fish die-offs and sludgy carpets of trash clogging the shoreline.

    • The D.N.C. and the Summer of Discontent

      The scheme succeeded only modestly. The D.N.C. chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned, but she was already in trouble: Bernie Sanders supporters believed that her bias toward Clinton had cost their candidate the nomination, even though Clinton won nearly four million more primary and caucus votes. In any event, Bernie-or-Bust delegates streaming into Philadelphia did not require foreign inspiration to agitate against Clinton. Sanders, for his part, made clear that he was over the imbroglio and was committed to unity in order to defeat Trump. “It is easy to boo,” he scolded a catcalling delegation from California on the second day. “It is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump Presidency.”

    • New York Times Relentlessly Biased Against Trump, Reports New York Times

      An astonishing piece appeared in the New York Times (NYT) recently. It reported a fierce bias in the Times’s coverage of politics and current affairs, most notably when it comes to Donald Trump. The bias turns up not just in the opinion pages but in the News, reports Liz Spayd, the new “public editor,” a position once called the ombudsman.

      But the surprise does not end there. Spayd’s report is based on letters from liberal readers, which are filling her inbox to overflowing. Here are some examples that she cites:

      “You’ve lost a subscriber because of your relentless bias against Trump — and I’m not even a Republican,” writes an Arizonan.

      “I never thought I’d see the day when I, as a liberal, would start getting so frustrated with the one-sided reporting that I would start hopping over to the Fox News webpage to read an article and get the rest of the story that the NYT refused to publish,” writes a woman from California.

    • Watch a Year’s Worth of Trump Supporters Spouting Vitriol, Racism, Fascist Rhetoric

      It’s no secret that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fills his speeches with nationalism and xenophobia.

      And in a three-minute video published by the New York Times late Wednesday, a collection of clips from the divisive nominee’s rallies throughout the past year reveals how Trump’s chilling rhetoric is being channeled by his followers.

    • The Kremlin may savor Trump – but still might prefer Clinton

      Is Donald Trump “our man?”

      That’s the question that Komsomolskaya Pravda, a leading Russian tabloid, asked its readers on Wednesday, summing up a debate that has intrigued and exasperated readers from the Capitol Beltway to the Moscow Ring Road.

      In the United States, Trump’s professed affinity for Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, and his offbeat statements, including a call on Russia to release the rest of Hillary Clinton’s emails after a hacking attack on the Democratic National Committee, prompted surprise and some breathless derision of him as the “Siberian candidate.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Police Get Facebook To Kill Livestream Of Standoff Which Ended With Suspect Being Shot To Death

      A 23-year-old woman, and mother of a 5-year-old child, is dead. She was killed by police officers who came to serve a warrant for failure to appear charges stemming from a March 11th traffic stop. That this ever escalated to the point where bullets started flying is incomprehensible. Then again, much of what the woman, Korryn Gaines, did was incomprehensible.

      Gaines apparently considered herself a “sovereign citizen,” which meant she chose not to recognize whatever laws she felt weren’t worth following — like registering her vehicle, insuring it, and equipping it with valid plates. Instead, she chose to make plates of her own out of cardboard that made some sort of statement about her sovereign citizen status. The traffic stop on March 11th escalated into an altercation with officers, resulting in more charges being added to the traffic violations.

      [...]

      While the assertions made here may be true, the fact that law enforcement can make third-party recordings disappear is highly problematic. While the full statement shows the Baltimore County PD has asked Facebook to retain the video as evidence and will be seeking a search warrant to access the recording, the fact is that the recording will now be in the hands of law enforcement, rather than the public.

      If any video of the standoff was captured with body cameras, it will be a long time before it’s made public — if it ever is. While very few recordings are truly objective, the one recording of the standoff whose existence can be confirmed is now (mostly) gone. And the unanswered question is whether or not the situation would have been handled differently if the officers knew the public was watching.

    • Woman Fatally Shot By Police Had Facebook Account Deactivated During Standoff

      Some viewers told Gaines, who had her 5-year-old son nearby, not to listen to negotiators, said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson. Authorities filed an emergency request to Facebook, successfully petitioning the company to suspend Gaines’ account. About an hour later Gaines’ social media accounts were taken offline.

      “Gaines was posting video of the operation, and followers were encouraging her not to comply with negotiators’ requests that she surrender peacefully,” a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department said. “This was a serious concern; successful negotiations often depend on the negotiators’ ability to converse directly with the subject, without interference or distraction during extremely volatile conditions.”

      By the time the standoff was over Gaines would be fatally shot by police and her son injured by a bullet. The incident highlights the relationship authorities have with social media platforms like Facebook at a time when people are increasingly filming and broadcasting their interactions with police.

    • Rose Must Fall: censorship at UCT

      Rose is foreign affairs editor of Jyllands Posten, the magazine which, in 2005, published a set of cartoons titled ‘The Face of Muhammad’. One of them was a drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. The cartoons, which many Muslims considered blasphemous, sparked international furore as other newspapers around the world reprinted the images. Mobs set fire to the Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon, protesters clashed with police, and would-be assassins attempted to murder Rose and the illustrator, Kurt Westergaard. Altogether, 139 people were killed in the protests.

      The TB Davie Memorial Lecture celebrates ‘the freedom to explore ideas, to express these and to assemble peacefully’. Previous speakers in the series, which began in 1959, include Howard Zinn (1982), Noam Chomsky (1997), Alan Kors (2006), and Nadine Strossen (2011).

    • Erdogan’s Coup Survival: Don’t Call It Democracy

      Nihad Awad, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) executive director, is in Turkey this week. It isn’t clear why, but Awad is taking advantage of his travels to post upbeat photographs celebrating that country’s recent failed military coup.

      Last month, a faction of Turkey’s military tried to oust Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has consolidated power and steered his country away from the secular ambitions laid out by modern founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and toward a decidedly Islamist state.

    • Turkey’s president ramps up censorship amid post-coup purge

      Since the coup attempt on July 15, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been giving many interviews to international media, trying to defend what the observers named the #TurkeyPurge—the unprecedented scale of mass dismissals and detentions of state employees from all branches of the government.

    • Anurag Kashyap to take a masterclass on movie censorship
    • Anurag Kashyap to Give Master Class on Censorship in Australia
    • Anurag Kashyap to talk censorship in Australia
    • After multiple face-offs with censor board, Anurag Kashyap to give a masterclass on censorship
    • How to access Tor, even when your country says you can’t
    • Pluggable Transports Help Tor Users Go Around State-Level Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Australians threaten to take leave of their census

      2016 Australian census stores names and addresses, prompting privacy, security outrage.

    • UAE recruiting ‘elite task force’ for secret surveillance state

      Italian security expert Simone Margaritelli divulged details of the project after recently travelling to Dubai for a job interview that turned out to be for what he described as an “extremely shady” surveillance system.

      Margaritelli is a mobile security researcher who lives in Rome and works in the research and development team at the San Francisco-based mobile security company Zimperium.

      He was targeted for recruitment by the UAE partly because of his work on BetterCap, an open source tool that eavesdrops on online communications.

    • Microsoft Pitches Technology That Can Read Facial Expressions at Political Rallies

      On the 21st floor of a high-rise hotel in Cleveland, in a room full of political operatives, Microsoft’s Research Division was advertising a technology that could read each facial expression in a massive crowd, analyze their emotions, and report back in real time. “You could use this at a Trump rally,” a sales representative told me.

      At both the Republican and Democratic conventions, Microsoft sponsored event spaces for the news outlet Politico. Politico, in turn, hosted a series of Microsoft-sponsored discussions about the use of data technology in political campaigns. And throughout Politico’s spaces in both Philadelphia and Cleveland, Microsoft advertised an array of products from “Microsoft Cognitive Services,” its artificial intelligence and cloud computing division.

      At one exhibit, titled “Realtime Crowd Insights” a small camera scanned the room, while a monitor displayed the captured image. Every five seconds, a new image would appear with data annotated for each face – an assigned serial number, gender, estimated age, and any emotions detected in the facial expression. When I approached, the machine labeled me “b2ff,” and correctly identified me as a 23-year-old male.

    • Comcast Tells The FCC It Should Be Able To Charge Broadband Users A Premium For Privacy

      A few years back, we noted how AT&T had begun charging broadband users a significant premium if they wanted to opt out of the company’s Internet Essentials advertising program. Under that program, AT&T uses deep packet inspection to track consumer browsing behavior around the Internet — down to the second. By default, AT&T users are opted in to the program. If they want to opt out of this data collection, consumers need to not only navigate a confusing array of options, but they also need to pay $44 to $62 more per month. AT&T, in typical fashion, has actually claimed this is a “discount.”

      With the FCC’s Title II and net neutrality rules upheld, the agency is now considering new basic broadband privacy protections primarily focused on two things: ensuring ISPs properly disclose what’s being collected and sold, and ensuring that ISPs provide customers with clear, working opt-out tools. But the agency is also considering banning ISPs from turning your privacy into an expensive luxury option.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Australia: Appalling Abuse, Neglect of Refugees on Nauru

      About 1,200 men, women, and children who sought refuge in Australia and were forcibly transferred to the remote Pacific island nation of Nauru suffer severe abuse, inhumane treatment, and neglect, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. The Australian government’s failure to address serious abuses appears to be a deliberate policy to deter further asylum seekers from arriving in the country by boat.

      Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. They endure unnecessary delays and at times denial of medical care, even for life-threatening conditions. Many have dire mental health problems and suffer overwhelming despair – self-harm and suicide attempts are frequent. All face prolonged uncertainty about their future.

    • My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

      When the police pulled their guns on my mother, I reached for my phone and told her to be calm and do as they say.

      My parents and I had just been swarmed by police cars, sirens blaring, as we drove on I-64 through Virginia. Shock and fear consumed my family as we came to a stop and were ordered out of the vehicle at gun point. A third car even showed up to stop traffic.

      The officers then arrested my mother without any explanation. I felt helpless.

      As I questioned the police about why they stopped us, a family of three just driving along and minding our own business, a passing white motorist stopped his car. He gave the police officers a thumbs-up and told them, “We support the great job you’re doing.”

      I was stunned.

      My parents sought asylum in the United States from Eritrea many years ago. We work hard and obey the rules. But that’s not enough. In a sad twist of fate, our family has stumbled into institutional injustice in a new form.

    • Is democracy incoherent?

      Is democracy illusory and troublingly incoherent? Or is an ideal democracy yet to be fully realised?

    • Woman Livestreams Her Supervisor Asking for Sexual Favors

      Makana Milho, 21, is a transgender woman who was in the process of completing six days of community service on account of a theft charge. During that time, Milho was allegedly assaulted by the city worker who was supervising her community service. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Harold Villanueva Jr., 47, pinched Milho’s buttocks and said he would send her home early in exchange for sex acts. Villanueva also bragged about preying upon other community workers for sex.

      Milho recalled that Philando Castile’s girlfriend had recorded his shooting by a police officer. “I do watch the news,” said Milho, “I saw one lady who Facebook-lived her boyfriend’s death. I just did it.”

      Milho uploaded the video to Facebook and received nearly 200,000 views, before taking it down after she received a flurry of hateful backlash. Before taking it down, she tagged the police department. The video led to an investigation of Villanueva and he was arrested on sexual assault charges.

    • New York Makes Playing Pokemon Go, Other Online Games A Sex Offender Parole Violation

      While I don’t play Pokemon Go, I’ve still found the public hysteria surrounding the game to be endlessly entertaining. I’ve laughed as “get off my lawn” types bitch and moan simply because people are having harmless fun in ways they don’t understand. I’ve chuckled as Pokemon Go players forget that the rules of reality still apply while in augmented reality. And I’ve laughed at the absurd new lawsuits popping up to try and cash in on the phenomenon.

    • Will Bill Bratton’s Resignation Slow Down the Militarization of the NYPD? Not Likely

      NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, a key architect of “broken windows” policing who hyped so-called terror threats to wrangle big buys of military-style gear, announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from his position as the most powerful law enforcement figure in the country.

      The revelation came as protesters staged an occupation of City Hall Park demanding that Bratton step down. Meanwhile, the FBI is launching an investigation into police corruption in the top ranks of the NYPD and federal prosecutors are considering charges for the police killing of Eric Garner. Grassroots organizations immediately celebrated the ouster

    • New York’s newest protesters are right: it’s time to defund police

      My professor friend AJ and I led a walking tour of college students earlier this week about protest and policing in New York City. Between our stop at One Police Plaza, where “broken windows” policing was unleashed on our city, and the site of Eric Garner’s death on Staten Island, we stopped at the newest occupation in town at City Hall Park.

      Mayor Bill de Blasio had just announced police commissioner Bill Bratton’s resignation as we walked through the park, quickly achieving one of the occupying group’s three ambitious goals when they appeared on Monday. The other two call for defunding the NYPD and using some of that money for reparations for survivors of “police terrorism”.

      The group, Millions March NYC, makes a solid point: it is imperative to defund police departments across the country immediately, redirecting that money instead to black futures and the marginalized. Because while reparations paid to next of kin for police abuse is already a billion-dollar business, there is no need for anyone to be executed in the first place.

    • Wrongfully Convicted Louisiana Man Asks Justice Department to Investigate New Orleans Prosecutors

      Throughout the 1990s, senior New Orleans prosecutor Jim Williams kept a model electric chair on his desk. The chair held photographs of five African-American men his office had helped place on death row. He considered it a major achievement and was pictured with the chair in a 1995 issue of Esquire magazine.

      Years later he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article, saying of his career as a prosecutor: “It got to the point where there was no thrill for me unless there was a chance for the death penalty.”

      Of the men photographed, two have since had their sentences commuted to life, one won at a retrial, and two have been exonerated.

      On Tuesday, John Thompson, one of the exonerated men, filed a 29-page complaint with the Justice Department. Thompson, 54, petitioned for a federal investigation of what he and his lawyers call “a pervasive and unapologetic pattern of unethical improper conduct” perpetrated by Williams and his colleagues at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office.

    • Canada Finally Launches Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

      Rights groups have long called for such an inquiry, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to establish one.

    • Canada unveils inquiry into murdered indigenous women

      For over a decade, indigenous community leaders and human rights advocates across Canada have urged Ottawa to formulate a national strategy to address high rates of violence against indigenous women and girls.

    • In Historic Move, Obama Grants Clemency to 214 Prisoners

      President Barack Obama on Wednesday issued a record-breaking 214 commutations for people serving drug-related sentences in federal prison—the largest single-day granting of clemency in U.S. history.

      The commutations bring the total of people granted early release under Obama’s administration to 562, more than the past nine presidents combined, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It is Obama’s third use of his clemency powers this year.

      “The president made history today. President Obama granted more commutations today alone than any president has granted during their entire time in office since the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson,” said Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014, a working group of lawyers and advocates that provides free legal assistance to people who meet the criteria for early release.

    • 11-year-old Boy Forces Pence to Explain Allegiance to Trump

      Which is why at a political rally featuring Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence in North Carolina on Thursday, it was an 11-year-old boy named Matthew who forced the adult on the stage into an awkward situation by asking him to explain exactly where he stands when it comes to his running mate Donald Trump.

      “I noticed that you’ve been softening up some of Mr. Trump’s policies and words, is this going to be your role in the administration?” asked the young boy when called upon – a question that despite its apparent earnestness drew immediate laughter from the crowd.

    • “Beef with Byron”: the restaurant on the frontlines of the immigration debate

      In comparison with recent actions where cockroaches, locusts and crickets were released into central London restaurants, Monday’s demonstration at the Holborn Byron Burger restaurant was of a more orderly nature. Beneath the front window of the establishment, closed for the day by the impending picket, a crowd gathered to demand justice for those members of Byron staff recently deported to Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and elsewhere. The staff had been summoned to early morning training sessions that transpired to be a Home Office immigration raid. Byron have claimed the training session was not collusion, despite many consistent testimonials to the contrary by deported staff. This seems to be a lie that evidences the wrongdoing the company sense it has committed.

    • Castles in the Sky

      Elena of Avalor is Disney’s new princess. She has been branded as the “First Latina Princess,” and hailed as a milestone for diversifying the Disney brand, and also reaching out to one of the fastest-growing consumer markets (and youngest demographics) in the country. She’s basically a brown-tinted version of the generic template: sparkly dress with baroque-slash-victorian aesthetics, the hint of an hourglass shape without distracting cleavage, wavy brunette hair betraying no ethnic peculiarities, and of course, a tiara. There’s something comforting about seeing an underrepresented group grafted so seamlessly onto the quintessential icon of femininity. But as always, the pages of this fairy tale are slightly frayed around the edges.

      We’re moving past the days when all fairy tales were festooned with lily-white virgins and virile patrarchs, and the oddball side characters aren’t encoded with vile ethnic caricatures masquerading as off-color animals—the cackling crow, the conniving Siamese cats. Now the heroine is a lady of color and in this royal family at least, there’s the lilt of a creole.

    • The Voting Rights Acts in the Era of Jim Crow 2.0

      The appeals court wrote, “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The judges found that the North Carolina Legislature and governor, under Republican control since early 2011, offered no proof of voter fraud—the primary Republican justification for enacting restrictive voting laws. Or as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned with no evidence, “We may have people vote 10 times.”

    • Malware Linked to Government of Kazakhstan Targets Journalists, Political Activists, Lawyers: EFF Report

      Editors Who Exposed Corruption, Political Opponents of Authoritarian Government’s President, and Their Legal Teams Were Sent Malware

      San Francisco—Journalists and political activists critical of Kazakhstan’s authoritarian government, along with their family members, lawyers, and associates, have been targets of an online phishing and malware campaign believed to be carried out on behalf of the government of Kazakhstan, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

      Malware was sent to Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, publishers of the independent newspaper Respublika, which was forced by the government of Kazakhstan to stop printing after years of exposing corruption but has continued to operate online. Also targeted are family members and attorneys of Mukhtar Ablyazov, co-founder and leader of opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, as well as other prominent dissidents.

      The campaign—which EFF has called “Operation Manul,” after endangered wild cats found in the grasslands of Kazakhstan—involved sending victims spearphishing emails that tried to trick them into opening documents which would covertly install surveillance software capable of recording keystrokes, recording through the webcam, and more. Some of the software used in the campaign is commercially available to anyone and sells for as little as $40 online.

    • The Propaganda War With Putin
    • ‘We Have to Have Disability as Part of Our Discussion’ – CounterSpin interview with David Perry on disability and police violence

      When behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey asked the Florida police officer why he had shot him, given that he was lying on his back with his hands in the air, the officer’s answer was, “I don’t know.” Later this was amended for what was apparently deemed an acceptable alternative: He’d meant to shoot Arnoldo Soto, the 23-year-old man with autism holding the toy truck, whom Kinsey was trying to help.

      The spotlight that Black Lives Matter and other activists have forced onto police brutality and overpolicing of African-Americans can’t help but shed light on other aspects of the problem as well, including the frequency with which those killed by police are people with disabilities.

      Our next guest’s work, however, suggests that being at risk is not, so far, enough to get them an appropriate role in media’s coverage of the story. David Perry is a disability rights journalist and associate professor of history at Dominican University. He’s co-author, with Lawrence Carter- Long, of a new white paper for the Ruderman Family Foundation on media coverage of law enforcement use of force and disability. He joins us now by phone from Illinois. Welcome to CounterSpin, David Perry.

    • The Left’s Abandonment of Females

      In her first PMQ (Prime Minister’s Questions) last week, Theresa May took aim at Jeremy Corbyn, ironising his welcome to her: “You refer to me as the second woman Prime Minister, in my years here in this House I’ve long heard the Labour Party asking what the Conservative Party does for women—well, just keep making us Prime Minister.” And while May’s comments drew laughter in Parliament, she has put her finger on an issue plaguing the left in the UK and beyond. And the left has a woman problem which extends far beyond the lack of a party leader uniquely, but also involves the elision of women’s voices, especially on issues concerning, paradoxically, women. And this sort of problem within the left runs from the political theatre all the way through academia and publishing. What a woman on the left is allowed to say is still largely administered out by males who either applaud or cast her out of the party. And this elision of women is taking place within government and publishing, both in the UK and the USA.

      There is a pattern among many leftist publications which consider themselves to be “anti-sexist” to engage in patently sexist practices by shifting away from from issues that specifically affect women or by taking sides in debates where women’s bodies and lives are suddenly rendered commodity. Suddenly the tone of what is acceptable historical materialism shifts radically when women are pointing out issues that pertain to their reality. Quite suddenly there is no room for debate and where there is a need for discussion about issues that directly effect women, the left is largely abandoning the voices of women as both political constituents and political thinkers.

    • The Dangerous Fantasies of Jeffrey Goldberg

      In Goldberg’s fantasy, Israel is as enlightened as he is: liberal, democratic and just. Don’t you dare try casting doubt on that – Goldberg’s liberalism won’t tolerate it. He will praise freedom of expression in Israel, as he did at a Haaretz conference in Palo Alto last November, and will say that Israelis’ freedom of the press and lively public debate is what makes Israel so popular in America. But from now on, it will have to be without Haaretz and the lively public debate it fosters about Zionism among Jewish Americans.

      According to Goldberg, Haaretz is doing something unforgiveable: it’s shattering his fantasy. Because of an op-ed piece in which two American-Jewish historians explain why they’ve abandoned Zionism, as well as a piece of my own (“Yes, Israel is an evil state,” July 31), the liberal Goldberg has decided he’s had enough of Haaretz. He tweeted to his 107,000 Twitter followers that these sort of pieces make him sick. Neo-Nazis, he said, have been distributing my op-ed, so he was going to have to “take a break” from Haaretz.

      I would love to know who those neo-Nazis are. After all, neo-Nazis and the radical right are now some of Israel’s best friends. Did Goldberg mean to say that BDS advocates are neo-Nazis? And besides, I’m not sure I understand. What, the pieces are true, but it’s only the way they’re used that angers Goldberg? Should they not be published because neo-Nazis disseminate them? Or are the articles not actually true?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Techdirt Reading List: The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries Of Trans-Atlantic Battle

        Baldwin’s book goes into even more detail on centuries upon centuries of battles around copyright law — what it’s for, what it’s designed to do and the inevitable tensions it runs into as modern technology changes. It also highlights how some of the battles are really cultural and national battles — with ideas around openness and sharing stemming more from the American side, while the stronger focus on making copyright solely about protecting creators coming from a more European tradition. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise — things like the Berne Convention which massively expanded copyrights came from a European push and the US was very late in adopting it. But sometimes people get so focused on the expansion of copyright driven by the US film and recording industries that we forget that they were simply co-opting ideas from Europe. Either way, it’s an excellent read to put more of our copyright wars into context.

      • Even The Usual Defenders Of The RIAA Are Pointing Out They’re Simply Lying About YouTube

        To be clear, looking at the details from Midia itself, it’s not saying that only 2% of the videos are unauthorized, but 2% of music video views on YouTube are of unauthorized videos. And that’s still an important point. It suggests that, contrary to what the industry likes to claim, the kids these days aren’t spending very much time at all using YouTube to watch unauthorized streams. It’s almost non-existent. The same report also found that music represents just 12% of all YouTube viewing time. That kinda shows how the claims of the industry about how YouTube is supposedly only successful because of music uploads is complete hogwash.

      • Copyright Office to FCC: Hollywood should be able to killswitch your TV

        20 years ago, Congress ordered the FCC to begin the process of allowing Americans to buy their pay TV boxes on the open market (rather than every American household spending hundreds of dollars a year renting a trailing-edge, ugly, energy-inefficient, badly designed box that is increasingly the locus of networked attacks that expose both the home LAN and the cameras and mics that are more and more likely to be integrated into TVs and decoder boxes) — now, at last, the FCC is doing something about it.

      • Why Is The Copyright Office Lying To Protect The Cable Industry’s Monopoly Stranglehold Over The Cable Box?

        The FCC’s attempt to bring some much needed competition to the cable box has birthed an absolute torrent of lobbying shenanigans by the cable and entertainment industries. They’ve pushed a flood of misleading editorials in major papers and websites claiming the plan is somehow racist and will unveil a piracy apocalypse. They’ve nudged Congressional campaign contribution recipients to bash the plan as an extreme case of government over-reach. They’ve also managed to convince the press and some FCC staffers the idea is an attack on copyright, when copyright has absolutely nothing to do with it.

        Quick background: under the FCC’s original proposal (pdf), the FCC wants cable companies to provide programming access to third-party hardware vendors without the need for a CableCARD, the goal being to generate competition in the space resulting in better, cheaper and more open cable boxes. Under the proposal cable operators would be able to use any copyright protection or DRM standard they choose to deliver this content to companies like Google, Amazon or TiVO — and the FCC has repeatedly stated any final rules would respect existing copyright and financial arrangements between cable and the customer.

        But because the plan would cost cable providers $21 billion annually in rental fee revenue and result in more open cable boxes (more likely to direct viewers to third party streaming competitors), they’ve been trying to use a false definition of “copyright” to protect its monopoly stranglehold over cable hardware. And now, the cable industry has another ally in their attempt to mislead the press and public on this subject: The United States Copyright Office.

      • Copyright Office Jumps Into Set-Top Box Debate, Says Hollywood Should Control Your TV

        The Federal Communications Commission has a plan to bring much-needed competition and consumer choice to the market for set-top boxes and television-viewing apps. Under the FCC’s proposed rule change, pay-TV customers would be able to choose devices and apps from anywhere rather than being forced to use the box and associated software provided by the cable company, ending cable companies’ and major TV studios’ monopoly in the field.

        But major entertainment companies are trying to derail this effort and keep control over TV technology. Central to their argument is a set of misleading claims about copyright law. Hollywood thinks that copyright holders should be able to use licensing agreements to place whatever restrictions they like on how people can access their content.

        Unfortunately, the Copyright Office has sent a letter to Congress supporting those claims. The letter is wrong as a matter of law, and it’s also bad policy. Rather than promote innovation, the Copyright Office offers ideas that would be hostile to choice and innovation in all kinds of information technology, not just pay TV.

      • China’s Home-Grown Version Of Spotify Shows How To Make Money In A World Of Digital Abundance

        The fact that the best-known music streaming service, Spotify, is still struggling to turn a profit despite its huge popularity, is often held up as proof that making money in a world of digital abundance is almost impossible. Of course, here on Techdirt, we’ve published many posts about people and companies that have adopted various innovative strategies to get around the problem. But what about music streaming as a mass medium: will it ever be possible to make money in this sector?

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