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08.08.16

Links 8/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC1, Steam on FreeBSD

Posted in News Roundup at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death

    Leonard Cohen penned a poignant final letter to his dying muse Marianne Ihlen, a longtime friend of hers revealed on Canadian radio.

    Ihlen, whom Cohen wrote about in So Long, Marianne and Bird on a Wire, died in Norway on 29 July, aged 81.

  • Science

    • Tim LaHaye Is Gone, But His Gospel of Apocalyptic Christianity Will Plague America for Years to Come

      Tim LaHaye died last week. He was 90. He was best known for co-writing the “Left Behind” series of novels about the battle of Armageddon, which fundamentalists believe will follow the Rapture of Christian believers from earth. The books have sold over 63 million copies—the version of the series for kids has sold 11 million copies alone—and the obituaries led with that. He helped found the Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell and sat on its board, and in 1981 began the Council for National Policy, a secretive directorate for religious-right organizations that has been called “the most powerful conservative organization in America you’ve never heard of.” He was so fanatically devoted to what Christians call “the Great Commission”—Matthew 28:19–20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”—that when he once ran into the Dalai Lama in Israel he shook hands with him and asked, “Sir, has anyone ever explained to you who Jesus Christ really is?”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • HIV community condemns witch-hunt against civil society in India

      As the Government of India, along with other member states made promises at the UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS underway in New York, it intensified its persecution of civil society organisations in India. Recent instances brings the persecution to the doorstep of the HIV response in India.

      In early June, Lawyers Collective, a civil society organisation that has been at the forefront of legal activism to ensure the rights of people living with HIV, LGBTI groups, sexworkers and injecting drug users in India, received a government order suspending its right to receive funds from foreign agencies. This had the potential to hamper all of Lawyers Collectives work with HIV organisations and the central and state governments in India.

      Among other things, the organisation was accused of utilising foreign funds for raising awareness and conducting workshops/meetings/seminars on issues relating to HIV/AIDS and women’s empowerment. Further, they have been accused of spending foreign funds on advocacy with media and Members of Parliament for raising awareness on legal issues, including discrimination faced by people living with HIV and the need for legislative measures for redress. And also, they have been accused of spending foreign funds on organising protest rallies led by positive people’s networks.

    • Flint official says city lacks direction for water treatment

      Flint’s interim water plant chief said the city is being forced to apply chemicals to the city’s drinking water supply without a written comprehensive strategy, and she is concerned residents could be negatively affected.

      Interim Utilities Director JoLisa McDay wrote a letter, which was posted Thursday, Aug. 4, on the city’s website, to the Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality claiming the city lacks direction on its water treatment processes.

    • Pittsburgh Joins the List of US Cities with Lead in Drinking Water

      Lead-tainted water isn’t just a problem in Flint, Michigan.

      This week in Pittsburgh, the city’s Water and Sewer Authority reportedly sent 81,000 customers a letter informing them of elevated lead levels in their water.

    • There’s Quite Likely Something Fishy in Your Wine—Maybe Try a Vegan Vintage?

      If you’d rather not know about all the disgusting additives that may be lurking in your favorite Sauvignon blanc, read no further. Marissa A. Ross, wine editor of Bon Appétit magazine, is about to reveal some not-so-tasty secret ingredients in the third episode of her off-the-wall and eye-opening video series Drink Sustainably.

      “So you know when people are like, is this wine vegan, and that sounds crazy?” Ross asks.

      With so many dietary fads (gluten-free, low-carb and beyond) being debunked as soon as they’re popularized, it’s normal to approach vegan wine with skepticism. But Ross explains that vegan wine is “really not that crazy. What’s crazy is that there are plenty of wine companies out there that use these additives like egg whites and gelatins to make wine clearer.”

      Gelatin—a protein made by boiling the skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and bones of animals, mostly cows or pigs—has been used as a clarifying agent in the winemaking process since ancient Roman times. To this delicious list of animal-derived fining agents is also added blood, marrow, crustacean shells and fish bladders (which not too long ago underwent scrutiny for being used as an ingredient in some popular beers).

    • How One GMO Nearly Took Down the Planet

      On July 29, President Obama signed bill S.764 into law, dealing a major blow to the movement to require GMO labeling. The new law, which food safety groups call the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act, has at least three key parts that undermine Vermont’s popular GMO labeling bill and make it nearly impossible for Americans to know what’s in their food.

      The law claims to set a federal labeling standard by requiring food producers to include either a QR barcode 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.

      But according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, this bill doesn’t require most processed foods to have a label, defines genetic engineering so narrowly most GMOs on the market don’t qualify, and gives the USDA two more years to come up with “additional criteria”—also known as “loopholes.”

      This is disappointing for American consumers who honestly just want to know what their food contains, but the issue surrounding GMOs isn’t just about what these companies are putting into our food and stocking our stores with. What’s potentially more devastating for the planet is that genetically modified organisms developed by companies like Monsanto and DuPont can escape into our ecosystems and potentially wreak havoc before they are even tested or approved as safe.

      That’s not wild-eyed conspiracy theory or speculation; it’s a matter of fact.

      The same day Obama signed the DARK Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that a farmer found 22 experimental and unapproved wheat plants in one of his fields that had been genetically modified by Monsanto. The reactions to the finding have been swift, despite being ignored by the mainstream media.

  • Security

    • Surveillance video shows a case of high-tech grand theft auto, more than 100 cars stolen [Ed: proprietary software, recall this about Jeep]

      Houston, Texas police announced the arrest of two men accused of stealing about 30 Jeep and Dodge vehicles. Authorities say they did it by using a laptop computer.

      Police tell KTRK they’ve been watching these guys for a while but were never able to catch them in the act stealing Jeeps – until last Friday.

      Police say Michael Arce and Jesse Zelaya stole more than 30 Jeeps in the Houston area over the last six months.

    • Openssh backdoor used on compromised Linux servers

      Some times ago, I have installed honeypot services on one of my servers, in order to see what happens in the real outside world. I especially installed the cowrie ssh honeypot which simulate a Linux shell and gather binaries that people want to install on the server (this tool is awesome, check here to install it).

    • random failures

      Lots of examples of random numbers failing, leading to cryptographic failure.

      The always classic Debian, OpenSSL, and the year of the zero.

      The time Sony signed Playstation code with the same nonce and leaked the keys.

      Samy phpwned session IDS.

      The Bitcoin app Blockchain used random.org for entropy. Bonus giggles for not following the HTTP redirect, but actually using “301 Moved Permanently” as a random number.

      The paper Mining Your Ps and Qs has pretty extensive investigation into weak keys on network devices, many of which result from poor entropy.

      Now here’s a question. How many of these vulnerabilities could have been prevented by plugging in some sort of “true random” USB gizmo of the sort that regularly appears on kickstarter? I’m going to go with not many. USB gizmos don’t prevent inopportune calls to memset. USB gizmos don’t prevent nonce reuse. USB gizmos don’t block utterly retarded HTTP requests.

    • PLC-Blaster Worm Targets Industrial Control Systems [Ed: Remember Stuxnet?]

      PLC-Blaster was designed to target Siemens SIMATIC S7-1200 PLCs. Siemens is Europe’s biggest engineering company and a PLC market share leader. Siemens said in March shortly after the worm was unveiled at Black Hat Asia that the malware was not exploiting a vulnerability in Siemens gear. Maik Brüggemann, software developer and security engineer at OpenSource Security, said that worms like this one are a threat to any industrial network.

      [...]

      When OpenSource Security took its findings to Siemens, the researchers were told there were no flaws in its PLC platforms using its SIMATIC S7-1200 PLC. “We were told these were not vulnerabilities and that everything worked as expected,” Brüggemann said.

    • Security Reseacher explains security issues related to Windows 10 Linux subsystem at Blackhat
    • Def Con: Do smart devices mean dumb security?

      From net-connected sex toys to smart light bulbs you can control via your phone, there’s no doubt that the internet of things is here to stay.

      More and more people are finding that the devices forming this network of smart stuff can make their lives easier.

    • 1 billion computer monitors vulnerable to undetectable firmware attacks

      A team led by Ang Cui (previously) — the guy who showed how he could take over your LAN by sending a print-job to your printer — have presented research at Defcon, showing that malware on your computer can poison your monitor’s firmware, creating nearly undetectable malware implants that can trick users by displaying fake information, and spy on the information being sent to the screen.

      It’s a scarier, networked, pluripotent version of Van Eck phreaking that uses an incredibly sly backchannel to communicate with the in-device malware: attackers can blink a single pixel in a website to activate and send instructions to the screen’s malware.

      What’s more, there’s no existing countermeasure for it, and most monitors appear to be vulnerable.

    • Hackers Could Break Into Your Monitor To Spy on You and Manipulate Your Pixels

      We think of our monitors as passive entities. The computer sends them data, and they somehow—magically?—turn it into pixels which make words and pictures.

      But what if that wasn’t the case? What if hackers could hijack our monitors and turn them against us?

      As it turns out, that’s possible. A group of researchers has found a way to hack directly into the tiny computer that controls your monitor without getting into your actual computer, and both see the pixels displayed on the monitor—effectively spying on you—and also manipulate the pixels to display different images.

    • Computer Expert Hacks Into Common Voting Machine in Minutes to Reveal Shocking 2016 Election Threat

      It took Princeton computer science professor Andrew Appel and one of his graduate students just minutes to hack into a voting machine still used in Louisiana, New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Politico reports.

      Professor Andrew Appel purchased for $82 a Sequoia AVC Advantage, one of the oldest machines still in use. Within 7 seconds, he and his student, Alex Halderman, had picked the lock open. Within minutes, the duo had removed the device’s unsecured ROM chips with their own hardware that makes it easy to alter the machine’s results.

    • Researchers Bypass Chip-and-Pin Protections at Black Hat

      Credit card companies for the most part have moved away from “swipe and signature” credit cards to chip and pin cards by this point; the technology known as EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) which is supposed to provide consumers with an added layer of security is beginning to see some wear, according to researchers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Obama not only did not pay Iran Ransom, he denied Iran Billions it had Coming to It

      Zack Beauchamp at Vox has a very clear explanation of why the $400 million the US paid to Iran in January was not a ransom for hostages.

      The fact is that the Obama administration dodged a likely ruling by an arbitration court against the United States that could have awarded Iran as much as $10 billion.

      The Iranian government of the Shah had paid the US $400 million for fighter jets before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After the revolution, the US froze Iranian assets, and after the hostage crisis had no representation in Iran. But by international law the US still owed Iran $400 mn because it never delivered the promised planes. Ultimately a special court was set up to arbitrate the dispute. Iran was asking for $10 billion because of inflation and because of aggravation. It began to look as though Iran might win the $10 bn.

    • Syria: Key ISIL Smuggling city, Manbij, falls to Kurd-Arab Force

      The Syrian War is nowhere near over, but the Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) episode may be drawing to an end. Alarabiya reports that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which is largely leftist Kurds of the YPG but includes a small Arab auxiliary faction, has taken almost all of the former Daesh stronghold of Manbij. The north Syrian city not so far from the Turkish border had been used by Daesh as a key logistics point in smuggling arms, men and supplies from Turkey down to its capital of al-Raqqa. Only a small number of fighters remain in the city, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

      The fall of Manbij signals a new phase in the struggle against Daesh, as SDF positions itself to blockade al-Raqqa.

      Unfortunately for regional stability, that the Kurds of Syria’s northeast are extending their sway westward will make it look to Turkey as though the Syrian Kurds are consolidating a mini-state. Turkey’s elites are paranoid about secessionist tendencies among Turkey’s own Kurds, about 20% of its population and concentrated in the southwest near Syria.

    • Puerto Rico is a Colony, No Matter How Else You Dress it Up

      The island called Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. This fact means that the rights US citizens assume to be theirs do not necessarily apply to Puerto Ricans living on the island. The history of Puerto Rico since the United States military invaded it in 1898 makes this very clear. Whether one is taking a look at the economic relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, the political relationship, or the military relationship, the blatant nature of the colonial relationship is foremost.

      This becomes very clear in Nelson A. Denis’ 2015 history War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony. Partially a biography of the Nationalist leader and hero Pedro Albizu Campos and partially a history of the Puerto Rican nationalist movement in the early and mid-twentieth century, this text tells a story more people in the United States should know. The racism and just plain disregard for human lives described in Denis’ narrative is a match for the very worst of humanity’s inhumanity to other humans. The fact that it continues in Washington’s current dealings with Puerto Rico is testament to the arrogance intrinsic to colonialism, no matter how it is dressed up.

    • The Rising Death Toll in Indian Kashmir

      Three people were killed and more than 100 injured Friday after security forces opened fire on protesters in Indian Kashmir, bringing the death toll since clashes began in July to 55, Reuters reports.

      Two protesters were killed in western Srinagar, the capital of India’s Jammu and Kashmir States, and one was killed in the north. The protests, which took place amid region-wide curfews, began after Friday prayers.

      Violence first erupted last month following the death of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a 22-year-old separatist militant credited with reviving militancy in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state. He used his active following on social media to encourage youth to join the Hizbul Muhahideen.

    • A Veteran Novel That Finds No Redemption in War

      If your anger about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has lost its edge, Roy Scranton’s debut novel, War Porn, will help you recommit. It takes a while to appreciate the disjointed quality of the plot, which hopscotches back and forth through the lives of two U.S. soldiers, Specialist Wilson (identified only by his rank and last name), whose deployment to Iraq transforms him from a poet nice-guy into something else, and a National Guard military police officer, Aaron Stojanowski, who returns stateside jagged and dangerous. In writing War Porn, Scranton has produced a literary work that doesn’t just describe the outrages of the war, but punches them into the American gut.

      We first meet Stojanowski at a Columbus Day barbecue in the fall of 2004, and watch as detached millennials ask questions about his service in Iraq. “That must have been intense,” one says. Eventually Stojanowski explodes, kicking a pet and harshing the party vibe. The novel then jumps through a set of disjointed scenes from Specialist Wilson’s time in Iraq, which illustrate in alternating fashion: the casual racism of military occupation; the boredom and routine of everyday violence; the sudden fragility of life; the unexpected, fleeting pleasures of the forward operating base.

    • It’s Bombs Away for the USA in Libya

      The United States returned to aerial bomb Libya. The target is Islamic State (IS) positions in the north-central city of Sirte. IS has held Sirte and its surrounding areas since last year. Sirte is the birthplace of Muammar Qaddafi, who was also killed there. After the fall of the Qaddafi government, this central Libyan town languished. It had become the playground of the Libyan Dawn – the militia of the town of Misrata, led by Salah Badi – and later the Libya Shield Force of Benghazi. The latter had close ties to al-Qaeda and is now part of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. When the Islamic State attacked Sirte last year, the various militias had little incentive to stay. They delivered the city to the Islamic State and withdrew to their own hometowns. Attempts to erode the Islamic State by other militias and armies have thus far failed.

    • Why Neocons Can’t Stomach Trump

      Bill Kristol is downright despondent after his failed search for an alternative to Donald Trump. Max Boot is indignant about his “stupid” party’s willingness to ride a bragging bull into a delicate China policy shop. And the leading light of the first family of military interventionism — Robert Kagan — is actually lining up neoconservatives behind the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

    • What’s Best for Children?

      The provocative notion of a “madman” somehow getting into the system and starting a war oversimplifies the reality of our situation, which is that any human being, not just a knowledge-averse demagogue like Mr. Trump, may have the capacity to go “mad” in the tensions leading up to the decision to launch. The historical record shows that past presidents of the U.S. had seriously considered using nuclear weapons, most distressingly Mr. Nixon when he realized we were losing in Vietnam. Even a “no-drama” Obama could be rendered almost psychotic with dread by evidence that missiles were apparently headed for our major cities. This is a situation that is far beyond the psychological endurance of even the sanest and most well-trained leader. Madness is relative in the nuclear world. We would certainly label mad an extremist who set off a nuclear weapon in a city. We do not apply the same label to the whole field of leaders and diplomats who seem to be more or less satisfied, or pretend they are, with a status quo that is patently insane.

    • The Sham Rebrand of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front

      The Nusra Front’s adoption of the new name Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and claim that it has separated itself from al-Qaeda was designed to influence US policy, not to make the group any more independent of al-Qaeda.

      [...]

      Charles Lister, the British expert on Syrian jihadism who is now a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, observed in May that al-Qaeda’s senior leadership has acquired a huge political stake in Nusra Front’s success in dominating the war against the Assad regime, which it views as the jewel in the crown of its global operation, along with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group’s Yemeni franchise.

      This was not the first time that the issue of possible independence from al-Qaeda had come up in the context of the international politics of the Syrian conflict. A year ago last spring, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the external sponsors of the Nusra Front-dominated military command that had taken over Idlib in April, were concerned about the possibility that the Obama administration would come down hard against their Nusra-based strategy.

    • From World War II to Iraq: Captain Khan and the Citizen Soldier

      One thing Trump tweeted actually spoke to this point: he noted that it was actually Hillary Clinton who had voted for war, not him. That Senator Clinton voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq was obscured in the flag-waving theatrics, but it’s a crucial fact that the politician who has positioned herself as the Khans’ champion also helped send their son into battle. Clinton has since expressed regret over her vote, but she’s gained dubious redemption by embracing a young man’s “sacrifice” despite having played an indirect role in his avoidable death.

    • America’s Top Spies and Analysts Warn of Real Threat of a Trump Presidency: 5 Leaders Who Have Spoken out

      Starting next week, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump, the two major-party candidates for the presidency of the United States, will begin receiving national security briefings from intelligence officials.

      One senior intelligence official, speaking to the Washington Post on August 3 on the condition of anonymity, contended “he would decline to participate in any session with Trump…citing not only concern with Trump’s expressions of admiration for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin but seeming uninterest in acquiring a deeper or more nuanced understanding of world events.”

    • Lessons from the UK’s Chilcot Report for Turkey’s post-coup response

      On September 24, 2002, the UK government published a fifty page dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction which was discussed in Parliament on the same day. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair stood before a cramped House of Commons and claimed that the ‘…intelligence picture that [the dossier paints] is one accumulated over the last four years. It is extensive, detailed and authoritative. It concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes…’ Tony Blair had penned a foreword to that dossier in which he claimed that he believed the intelligence had ‘established beyond doubt’ that Saddam had continued to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Facing a disbelieving public, the PM went on a public charm offensive by doing a series of TV interviews and shows speaking directly to members of the audience.

      Tony Blair eventually secured the votes to take the UK to war alongside the US and other coalition partners. Hundreds of thousands of lives and many more displaced families later, no WMD were found. The obvious failure of the intelligenc

    • Drone Rule Book, Working Thread

      What ever happened to the inclusions of headers and footers in documents? It used to be, documents would ID what document you were reading on every page, which is really useful if one page walks or gets replaced with a new one. Now even life-and-death documents like the Drone Rule Book liberated by the ACLU lack real headers.

    • 20 Photos That Take You Behind the Miskitu Curtain

      Contrasting the congenial moment on the porch, the outside of the house is covered in bullet holes perpetrated by armed attackers known as ‘colonos’ (settlers). Miskitu communities on the frontier are living in constant fear of these recurring attacks on their villages, and are growing desperate watching their family and friends die or be ‘disappeared’, while many others feel forced to flee the region entirely. The illegal settler attacks are part of a strategic and organized attempt to violently seize control of resource rich, traditional Miskitu territory.

      A popular consensus among some Miskitus is that the Ortega government is tempting the settlers with lucrative loans, enabling them to illegally purchase the land for raising cattle. Beyond all spiraling suspicion and blame, the stark reality remains: the Miskitu are currently victims of an ongoing, large-scale land grab of Nicaragua’s most resource rich, biodiverse – and disappearing – rainforest. The ongoing criminal activity is sure to be a harbinger of devastating, unfolding, environmental impacts to boot.

    • Execution of Iranian Scientist Uncovers Sad, Strange Tale of CIA Spy Games

      Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who claimed to have been tortured and imprisoned by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was executed by the Iranian government for alleged espionage on behalf of the U.S..

      State-controlled Iranian media confirmed the death on Sunday. “Shahram Amiri was hanged for revealing the country’s top secrets to the enemy (US),” spokesperson Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie was quoted as saying by Mizan Online.

      However, details of the allegations are murky as the scientist disappeared during a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in spring of 2009 and claimed to have been subject to CIA extradition and torture.

    • Another Ordinary Day in the Empire

      As of yet today, I haven’t seen any articles about children bombed in bits in pieces in the Middle East or elsewhere, but I’m sure there have been devastated parents somewhere, asking why.

    • Still the Political Project Calls to Us

      Not long ago, Obama openly leveled criticism against the political establishment in Cuba. He righteously decried a lack of democracy and political freedom there, indicting the Cuban government for its role in continuing an antidemocratic politics for far too long after the Cold War. Now, however, in the wake of the recent turmoil surrounding the fixed Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which can be described as anything but democratic or transparent, Obama’s shameless denunciations of Cuba have lost whatever paltry significance they maybe had. And thanks to despotic blemish that stains the Democrats in their march to the White House, the US edges closer to consummate totalitarianism under Obama’s chosen pawn, Hillary.

    • Liberal Antiwar Activism is the Problem

      Every election season, veterans and their families are used as political pawns. During the Democratic National Convention in Philly, the Khans, the mother and father of a Marine Captain who was killed in Iraq, conveniently filled the role for Hillary Clinton and the Neoliberals. At the Republican National Convention, Patricia Smith gladly took the stage for the Neofascists and talked about the death of her son and the non-scandal that is, Benghazi.

      In the meantime, anyone who opposes U.S. Empire is shit-out-of-luck when it comes to presidential elections and the two major parties. Here, we should commend Gary Johnson and Jill Stein for remaining principled in their views surrounding foreign policy, militarism, torture and surveillance. They’re the last of a dying breed.

    • A decade of the Gülen Movement on WikiLeaks: More than meets the eye

      The Gülen Movement, which has been labeled a shadowy organization for constructing parallel societies in various countries, was increasingly a topic in WikiLeaks documents. Diplomatic cables regarding the movement soared in the years between 2003 and 2013 as well as questions and concerns about the movement due to its ambiguous intentions

    • Meaningless Words: Terrorism, Mental Health and the London Knife Attack

      The dosage of such reassurance has been increased by feeding the public the knowledge that a special team will operating to combat the next ISIS-inspired rampage. The Daily Mail does its bit to fan the enthusiasm about the Hollywood styled “C-Men”, those “600 awesomely armed (and masked) Counter-Terrorism firearms officers who hit the streets today in vans, boats and motorbikes.”

      None of this is reassuring on two grounds, the first being the forecast by Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe that an attack was not a question of if but when. Having given ballast to the prospect of a decent protective barrier, he had to also express a view that it might not work. Expertise can always be found wanting.

      The second relates to the frequency of knife attacks as a general point, which has been somehow muddled in the poorly made pie of confusion. Knifing incidents in London remain a serious and growing problem. Epidemic it may well be, but terrorism?

      The less than rosy statistics suggest that knife attacks in England and Wales over 2015 increased by nine per cent, much of it assisted by an increase of dark web sales and types of weapons awash in youth circles. In September 2015, the Met Police claimed that knife crime in London had risen by 18 percent, with 10 youngsters being stabbed to death in the nine months prior.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change Could Release Cold War-Era Radioactive Waste In Greenland

      Global warming could release radioactive waste stored in an abandoned Cold War-era U.S. military camp deep under Greenland’s ice caps if a thaw continues to spread in coming decades, scientists said on Friday.

      Camp Century was built in northwest Greenland in 1959 as part of U.S. research into the feasibility of nuclear missile launch sites in the Arctic, the University of Zurich said in a statement.

      Staff left gallons of fuel and an unknown amount of low-level radioactive coolant there when the base shut down in 1967 on the assumption it would be entombed forever, according to the university.

      It is all currently about 35 meters (114.83 ft) down. But the part of the ice sheet covering the camp could start to melt by the end of the century on current trends, the scientists added.

      “Climate change could remobilize the abandoned hazardous waste believed to be buried forever beneath the Greenland ice sheet,” the university said of findings published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

    • Households could get fracking payments under government plans

      Residents affected by fracking could be paid some of the proceeds of shale gas projects, the government has suggested.

      A shale wealth fund was unveiled in 2014 to set aside up to 10% of the tax proceeds from fracking to benefit communities in the UK hosting wells.

      The PM is now considering paying the money directly to individual households instead of councils and local trusts.

      But green campaigners say fracking carries environmental risks and people would not accept “bribes”.

      The government’s plan is one option due to be outlined in a consultation on Monday.

    • Wyoming’s ‘Clean Coal’ Plans Stir False Hopes

      It’s no secret that the U.S. coal industry’s hopes of revival by exporting its product to Asia via West Coast ports—what Platts has called an “export or die” strategy—have been dashed by the structural decline in global coal markets.

    • Kochs’ Ground Game in Election Will Support Trump No Matter What

      Every time Charles Koch indicates his distaste for Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, media types run with a story that says Trump will receive no help from the vast network of non-profits and political donors overseen by Koch and his brother, David.

  • Finance

    • Fighting the politics of confusion

      The lead up to and aftermath of the Brexit vote was and is extremely concerning for multiple reasons, but one in particular has gone unnoticed. When Michael Gove, being interviewed by Faisal Islam, said that “people in this country have had enough of experts”, the first response was to laugh. It turns out, however, that he was right. And that’s terrifying.

      While it’s easy to argue that the IMF, World Bank, Bank of England, ECB, industry leaders and corporate heads who pleaded for a Remain vote merely represent an array of vested interests, that academics, charities, social activists, artists, and independent economists who were also overwhelmingly lined up against Leave shows that the weight of the ‘objective’ Brexit debate fell on the side of the Remain camp. That voters rejected these opinions signals more than a protesting frustration at political elitism or a so-called cosmopolitan condescension: it signals the first major British legitimisation of a dangerous anti-intellectualism.

    • The Critical Link Between Poverty and Health

      Concern for the health of the poor is one of the critical issues in development. Poverty cannot be defined solely in terms of low or no income. Lack of access to health services, safe water, adequate nutrition, and education are also essential components of poverty. Poverty and health are closely linked. Poverty is one of the most influential factors in ill health, and ill health can lead to poverty.

      Poverty drains family savings. In addition, poor people are more exposed to several risks (poor sanitation, unhealthy food, violence, drug abuse and natural disasters) and less prepared to cope with them.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Will the ‘Berniecrats’ Help Progressives Take Power in November?

      At the Green Party national convention in Houston, Green Party candidate for senate Arn Menconi says he choose not to work within the Democratic party because of its record in enabling corporate power and disastrous foreign policy

    • Injecting Radical Politics into the Machinery: Ajamu Baraka

      “It’s imperative that we understand the protracted nature of radical change in the most complex, bourgeois society on this planet,” Ajamu Baraka told teleSUR.

      Joining presidential nominee Jill Stein’s at the top of the Green Party’s ticket, the revolutionary activist, organizer and writer Ajamu Baraka has far larger ambitions that merely winning the White House. What Baraka wants, he says, is nothing less than a reimagining of US democracy.

      “People are beginning to understand they have been trapped in the dead-end politics of this fear-mongering,” Baraka said in an interview with teleSUR, “which every four years reduces the political choice to the lesser of two evils.”

    • Intellectualism Stymies Debate and Objective Ideation

      After the mis-prioritization of values and poor argumentation comes the dreaded observer effect where intellectuals worry how they will be perceived and liked as a result of their findings. They are acutely aware that the messenger is often shot and so begins the even-handed attempt to feign pragmatic conclusions to appear reasonable and avoid being pegged a radical, doom and gloomer, or utopian – What is left is milquetoast conclusions that talk big ideas on the outset and deliver the same results. And it is the capitulation towards desired popular acceptance that is the most damning part of intellectual commentary. The inauthenticity of it all leads to conclusions that are band aids while the populace fails to understand the systemic problems enough to reach the right conclusions on their own.

      All this work done by the tenured and the credentialed to give that glossy polished feel to intellectual work telling us what we already know – We are broken. It’s no surprise we have cultivated a society that when presented with a new thought will quickly run to safety picking up their armaments labeled credentials, stats, and tradition so that they may light the sky ablaze in hellfire to down any foreign aircraft in their conformist skies. We have learned what real intellectual helplessness feels like, and we have accepted its confines.

    • Report: Shawn Lucas, Man Who Served DNC with Lawsuit, Found Dead

      This week, rumors that Shawn Lucas, a Bernie Sanders supporter shown in a viral YouTube video serving the Democratic National Committee (DNC) with a lawsuit over the organization’s favoring of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, has died, according to a report.

      According to Snopes, who spoke to the Washington D.C. Metro Police, Lucas died earlier in August of unknown causes.

      Lucas’ death was “classified as a Death Report, pending the results of an autopsy,” police told the hoax-debunking website. Meanwhile, GoFundMe page was set up for Lucas’ funeral expenses.

      On Reddit and elsewhere, there were rumors he died. Since then, there has been rampant speculation on Twitter about his cause of death, including murder.

    • The New Arrangement on the Game Board of U.S. Politics
    • Trump, the Bad, Bad Businessman

      The greatest scoop of my journalism career started at a poker table with a tip from an agitated banker.

      It was a Thursday night in late May 1990. I was a 32-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter who had written dozens of articles about Donald J. Trump’s business affairs. I was closing in on the biggest one of all — Mr. Trump was on the brink of financial ruin. He was quietly trying to unload his assets. His Atlantic City casinos were underperforming, and prices for his casino bonds were plummeting, suggesting that he would have trouble making interest payments.

      “Donald Trump is driving 100 miles per hour toward a brick wall, and he has no brakes,” the banker told me. “He is meeting with all the banks right now.”

      The next day, I called sources at the four banks I knew had large Trump exposures. The first three calls yielded “no comment,” but the fourth hit pay dirt, and I was invited to visit the bank late that afternoon.

      Behind a large mahogany desk sat the bank’s chief lending officer. He explained that all of the banks would have to agree to a huge restructuring of Mr. Trump’s loans or Mr. Trump would have to declare personal bankruptcy. Unknown to the banks when each had lent him money, Mr. Trump ended up personally guaranteeing a staggering $830 million of loans, which was reckless of him, but even more so for the banks.

      In a front-page Wall Street Journal article on June 4, 1990, I wrote: “Donald J. Trump’s cash shortage has become critical. The developer is now in intense negotiations with his main bank creditors that could force him to give up big chunks of his empire.” One banker said, “He will have to trim the fat; get rid of the boat, the mansions, the helicopter.”

      Amid all the self-made myths about Donald Trump, none is more fantastic than Trump the moneymaker, the New York tycoon who has enjoyed a remarkably successful business career. In reality, Mr. Trump was a walking disaster as a businessman for much of his life. This is not just my opinion. Warren Buffett said as much this past week.

    • The NYT’s Out-of-Control Bias

      The New York Times has shown a blatant bias against Russia and Vladimir Putin for years but it is now merging that animus with its contempt for Donald Trump, a stunningly unprofessional performance, notes John V. Walsh.

    • Platform and Politics: The Change We Made

      As a reflection of the state of play of American politics, we should see this platform not a defeat but an acknowledgment that there has been a change. Change we made possible. We were able to impact the debate. In some instances, we were able to win changes in the platform and, even when we were not, we were able to force debate on critical issues of concern. That is why I was proud to be a part to be a part of the Sanders campaign and why I endorse his call to continue our forward march. We must remain a part of the progressive coalition working with our allies to elect Hillary Clinton, defeat Donald Trump, continue to transform the Democratic Party, and keep progressive ideas in the mainstream, and not on the fringes of American politics. Within this coalition we can continue to fight for progress. Outside of it, we run the risk of marginalizing ourselves and our issues.

    • Revoke Jewish National Fund of Canada’s Charitable Status

      Imagine during Jim Crow a Canadian political party polled its members about pressing Ottawa to stop subsidizing US racism only to be smeared by an organization driving the discrimination. But, instead of relishing the attacks, party leaders sought to placate the racist group by inviting them to address their convention, which the said organization refused, claiming… discrimination.

      This hard to fathom scenario mirrors the Jewish National Fund of Canada/Green Party scrimmage since members put forward a resolution calling for the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the JNF’s charitable status because it practices “institutional discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.” In the first round of a multipronged voting process, 62% of party members green lighted the JNF resolution, 24% yellow lighted it and 15% red lighted it. (A similar number green lighted a concurrent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution.)

    • Responding To Post Truth Politics
    • Jill Stein Wins Green Party Nomination, Courting Disaffected Sanders Supporters

      The Green Party officially nominated Jill Stein for president and human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate on Saturday, at a convention in Houston that attracted many disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters.

      Much of the three-day gathering was an explicit appeal to former backers of the Vermont senator to join their fold, and several speakers argued that Sanders had been treated unfairly by the Democratic Party.

      “I want to thank Bernie Sanders supporters who refused to let the political revolution die,” Stein said in her acceptance speech. “We have a tremendous opportunity before us. The American people are longing for a change. They are ready to do something different, and we have to be the vehicle for that difference.”

    • Jill Stein’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.

    • As Nominee, Stein Says She Wants to Assume Mantle of Sanders’ Revolution

      The Green Party convention in Houston, Texas reached its climax late Saturday with presidential nominee Jill Stein calling on the American left to turn its back on the “two corporate parties” and “vote for our deeply held beliefs.”

      Vying for the support of those who previously backed former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, Stein championed her vision of “an America and a world…that puts people, planet, and peace over profit.”

      During her acceptance speech, Stein said she was excited “to be running in alliance with the Bernie Sanders movement that lives on outside the Democratic Party.”

      “We owe you such a debt of gratitude, for getting the revolution going. And then for refusing to be shut down,” she said, prompting chants of “Jill not Hill!” from the crowd.

    • The history of the voting rights struggle is still being written

      For African Americans, the struggle to be recognized as human and to assert their rights as such has been a long-fought battle. When the Reconstruction Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were adopted between 1865 and 1870, freeing enslaved Blacks and making them citizens, Blacks were officially humanized in a way that they had not been for hundreds of years in America.

      Indeed, while other amendments would effectively grant groups the right to vote — women by the 19th Amendment, and 18- to 20-year-olds by the 26th — no other amendment enfranchised citizens quite like the 14th Amendment granting citizenship rights to former slaves, or the 15th Amendment giving Black men the right to vote. That’s because no other amendment covered a people who had previously been deemed subhuman and enslaved.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • My 10 Years of Trouble With Tayyip Erdoğan

      It’s amazing to think that it’s ten years since I was arrested and charged with ‘insulting the dignity’ of the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was a mere Prime Minister back then in 2006, and I an English teacher at a private university in Istanbul, where I had been living for 20 years. Despite my antipathy to the state religion, nationalism, censorship, miltary conscription, insult laws, and the headscarf, I kept quiet and got along fine.

    • When censorship goes mad – 16 amazing TV edits of movie obscenities

      Hundreds of people have been shot and that little girl is doing something with the crucifix that she’ll definitely regret, but God forbid that someone should utter a rude word.

      Television has been “thinking of the children” for decades and sanitising – or Bowdlerising – movies for decades, but we’ve got to take our hats off to them and admit that they can get impressively creative at times. Here are our favourite dementedly weird edits.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Department of Justice Official Tells Hundred Federal Judges to Use Tor

      The US government has a complicated relationship with Tor. While the US is the biggest funder of the non-profit that maintains the software, law enforcement bodies such as the FBI are exploiting Tor browser vulnerabilities on a huge scale to identify criminal suspects.

      To add to that messy, nuanced mix, one Department of Justice official recently personally recommended Tor to a room of over a hundred federal judges.

      Ovie Carroll, director for the Cybercrime Lab at the Department of Justice, urged the judges to “use the TOR [sic] network to protect their personal information on their computers, like work or home computers, against data breaches, and the like,” Judge Robert J. Bryan said in July, according to a hearing transcript released on Friday.

      “I was surprised to hear him urge the federal judges present,” Bryan said. Bryan was talking during a hearing on two motions to withdraw guilty pleas in the FBI’s recent mass hacking campaign. In February 2015, the FBI took over a dark web child pornography site called Playpen, and deployed malware in an attempt to identify the site’s visitors. Bryan has resided over several resulting cases from that investigation.

    • How America Rising Ties the GOP Establishment to the Stalkers Harassing Bill McKibben and Tom Steyer

      For the past few months, when they dare venture out to the supermarket, to church, or to a climate rally, Bill McKibben, Tom Steyer, and other climate activists are being stalked by a team of GOP-trained camera operators. The so-called “trackers” with the cameras are working for a group called America Rising Squared (aka America Rising Advanced Research or AR2), and publishing the occasional “embarrassing” display of alleged hypocrisy on a website called CoreNews.org.

      DeSmog first covered this new “creepy” campaign back in May, and since then, the harrassment has only gotten worse, as Bill McKibben writes in Sunday’s New York Times. In his op-ed, “My Right Wing Stalkers” (the web headline is: “Embarrassing Photos of Me, Thanks to My Right-Wing Stalkers”), McKibben describes what it’s like to live under surveillance, and the psychological toll that it takes on him and his family. (One particularly infuriating detail: McKibben’s daughter believes that she, too, is being filmed in public.)

    • FBI Chief Calls for National Talk Over Encryption vs. Safety [Ed: It should be not “Encryption vs. Safety” but “Encryption FOR Safety”. Good luck doing any financial transactions without encryption…]

      The FBI’s director says the agency is collecting data that he will present next year in hopes of sparking a national conversation about law enforcement’s increasing inability to access encrypted electronic devices.

      Speaking on Friday at the American Bar Association conference in San Francisco, James Comey says the agency was unable to access 650 of 5,000 electronic devices investigators attempted to search over the last 10 months.

    • The Internet of Dildos Is Watching You

      As increasingly banal devices come online as the latest additions to the internet of things, it was inevitable that sex toys would get added into the mix. Known as teledildonics, the realm of internet connected sex toys has been heralded as the future of sex for years now, and as with all internet connected devices, these toys are liable to get hacked.

      The legal and ethical risks posed by the internet of dildos was the subject of a presentation by two hackers from New Zealand at DEF CON on Friday, but they were less concerned with third party dildo exploits than the manufacturer settings that come built into the devices.

      “When we started out with this research, we were wondering about the potential exploits and vulnerabilities that a third party hacker could take advantage of,” said one of the presenters, who goes by the name of follower. “But when we looked more closely, it actually turns out that you might be more concerned about what the manufacturer is doing [with your dildo data].”

      Along with his colleague goldfisk, follower reversed engineered the We-Vibe 4 Plus, one of the most popular internet connected dildos on the market. What the duo found was surprising: not only was the device streaming temperature data back to the manufacturer once a minute, but it was also streaming the intensity settings of the device in real time.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Americans Don’t Care About Prison Phone Exploitation, Says FCC Official

      Most Americans don’t care about the exorbitant phone charges that the nation’s 2.2 million prison inmates and their families are forced to endure just to stay in touch, a top federal communications regulator said Thursday.

      Inmates in federal and state prisons across the country are forced to pay outrageously high costs for simply making phone calls to their loved ones, which is why the Federal Communications Commission has been trying to ease their financial burden.

      Criminal justice reform advocates have been working to convince the federal government to crack down on exploitative prison phone practices for years, but the issue still receives too little notice on the national stage, according to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who issued a scathing call to conscience during the agency’s monthly meeting on Thursday.

    • The Xbox One S Still Uses Microsoft’s Illegal Warranty-Void-if-Removed Sticker

      The Xbox One S, Microsoft’s new, sleeker version of the Xbox One has one of the same problems as the original version: It has a tamper-resistant sticker on it designed to alert Microsoft if an owner has opened up the console. And just like with the original Xbox One, Microsoft uses this sticker to void warranties, a practice that is against federal law.

      As I reported in June, electronics manufacturers who void warranties for the mere act of opening a machine are violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which forbids manufacturers from forcing consumers to use certain parts or authorized repair professionals in order to maintain the warranty.

      Microsoft’s Xbox One warranty states that it “does not apply” if the Xbox is “opened, modified, or tampered with,” or is “repaired by anyone other than Microsoft.” As seen in an iFixit teardown of the Xbox One S, Microsoft placed a sticker on the back of the console above a clip that holds two pieces of the machine together. The sticker must be removed to open the console.

    • How Mosques in J&K are used to spread hatred against India

      The public address systems of Mosques have been used time and again to raise anti India slogans in Jammu and Kashmir. Poems eulogizing, slain terrorist, Burhan Wani are also played out on several public address systems of Mosques. Going by the response filed by the Union Government in the Supreme Court, it becomes clear that the Mosques are clearly used in the state of J&K to spew venom and chant anti India slogans.

      In the Supreme Court of India, the union government had filed a detailed response to the existing situation in J&K. In its reply filed through solicitor general, Ranjit Kumar, it is stated, ” inimical and anti social elements exploited the news of Wani’s death on the social media to inflame passions. Public address systems of some local Mosques were used to raise pro-freedom slogans and incite the youth to indulge in stone pelting,” the reply also read.

    • If You Don’t Feel “Safe” Studying In A University Library Because There Are Men In It…

      So, feminists are aghast at male-only golf clubs — discrimination! — but see no problem with women-only study lounges.

      So, feminism isn’t about equal treatment for all, but special treatment for women, under the guise of wanting equal treatment.

      Got it.

      Does anyone think this constant demand for women to be treated as fragile flowers might make people think they should hire a man, rather than one of these wilting lilies who surely can’t manage to be around male co-workers without suffering a mental health crisis?

    • Watchdog: Dallas woman discovers new Secret Service sex scandals through public information requests

      “A lot of people think I’m nuts to pursue this.”

      The speaker is a self-described Dallas stay-at-home mom who spent $100,000 in legal fees to expose a culture of corruption in the U.S. Secret Service.

      She filed 89 Freedom of Information Acts (89!) and discovered enough Secret Service scandals and cover-ups that even Bob Woodward would be impressed.

      For this, she got very little public attention. Until now.

      Meet Malia Litman. A retired lawyer and wife of noted Internet entrepreneur David Litman, founder of hotels.com and now CEO of getaroom.com.

      She sits at her table in her North Dallas mansion during The Watchdog team visit.

      Hors d’oeuvres were set out before we arrive — something my colleague Marina Trahan Martinez and I are not used to — cucumber slices, cookies, carrots, celery, hummus and pita bread. Her story is so riveting, we don’t touch the food.

      When the first Secret Service sex scandals broke a few years ago, she grew curious. A former senior partner at Thompson & Knight law firm in Dallas, she knew that federal law allows us to see government documents.

    • We must stop suicide attempts among young Latinas

      A youth survey recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that when it comes to rates of teenage suicide attempts, young Latinas continue to outpace girls and boys of other ethnic or racial groups in the U.S.

      Nearly 10 years ago, news stories told of this mostly overlooked national phenomenon among a misunderstood and endangered group but one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population.

      Major city newspaper editorials called for more than research. They called for action.

      We need action now more than ever. But more than that, we need sustained action.

    • The exclusion games: Rio’s human rights deficit on the eve of the Olympics

      I arrived in Rio de Janeiro from my hometown in northern Brazil exactly one month before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, to help film a campaign about human rights defenders (HRDs) for Front Line Defenders. As I left the airport, welcome signs to the Olympics on a solid plastic wall effectively hid the poverty at the entrance to the city. This was my introduction to the efforts of the government to hide Rio’s problems from international tourists, athletes, and journalists visiting us this month.

    • At Freedom Square, the Revolution Lives in Brave Relationships

      Chicago — Today is Day 17 of occupying Freedom Square, a block party protest in opposition to Homan Square, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) “black site” that is internationally infamous for illegal detention and torture. Set up in a lot adjacent to the Homan Square facility in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, the encampment includes an outdoor kitchen, tents to sleep in, a library, play areas, political education and organizing spaces and more.

      On Day 9 of the occupation, the campsite — supplied and staffed entirely by donations and volunteers — experienced its first violent conflict. After a beautiful day including free bike repair workshops and craft projects, free food for the community, and ongoing political engagement, the occupation site devolved into chaos when adults intervened in a disagreement between kids about sharing bikes. Folks felt disrespected, and misunderstandings and continued transgressions raised tensions, even as Freedom Square organizers made their best efforts to de-escalate the situation. One woman emerged from the fight with a black eye, and several others nursed scrapes and bruises once the scuffle was finally calmed. Freedom Square’s medic bandaged folks up in the First Aid tent as I began to gather the 30 or so people at the camp into a circle to debrief about the conflict. We shared collective space with each other, discussing the harms that had occurred within our community. We talked through accountability steps (steps that could be taken to address those harms). Nobody called the police.

    • Black millennials are challenging everyone to “miss them”

      “Miss Me With Your Equality” titles Arielle Newton’s striking response to the US Supreme Court’s landmark 2013 decision in Shelby County v Holder. Justices in the case split 5-4 to strike down core provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required certain states to obtain advance federal approval for any changes to their election laws. At the time many, including president Obama, expressed disappointment that this effectively opened the door for states to enact laws that could indirectly disenfranchise black voters. But Newton’s was a different voice with a stronger message.

    • The rise of American fascism — and what humour can do to stop it

      In a short satirical essay ‘A Presidential Candidate’ published in 1879, Mark Twain concludes his litany of transgressions in a pitch for votes by stating, “but I recommend myself as a safe man — a man who starts from the basis of total depravity and proposes to be fiendish to the last.”

      Reading Twain’s essay while immersed in the current political climate in the US, two things leap out. First, the national obsession with personal scandal makes Twain’s essay all the more comic from start to finish. Second, it practically yanks the reader into nostalgic reflection for a time when satire was, well, satire.

      The bright side of the modern political circumstance is the funny part – for the past two decades the cultural landscape has experienced a comedic infusion into public discourse on a scale quite possibly unmatched in US history. We may in fact be living in a golden age of American humour. Like it or not the engagement of contemporary humourists in political and social dialogue has become central to the national conversation on essentially every policy matter of import.

    • Jill Stein: ‘No question’ Julian Assange is a hero

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein hailed Julian Assange as a hero Saturday, saying the WikiLeaks founder’s disclosure of Democratic National Committee emails exposed the American electorate to important information.

      Stein’s comments to CNN were made shortly before she was named the progressive party’s official 2016 presidential nominee, with human rights activist Ajamu Baraka tapped as her running mate.

      “Any time that we have efforts to bring information to the American people, to the world, is something worth supporting,” Baraka said in a separate interview with CNN.

      Last month, WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 emails that appeared to show the committee favoring presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over progressive challenger Bernie Sanders — an admired figure among many Green Party supporters — during the primary season. The disclosure led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the ouster of several top DNC officials.

    • Why allies are welcome to criticise social movements

      Some months later I’m attending a book launch about Jeremy Corbyn and leftist politics in Britain. The panel this time consists of two men—the author of the book and a journalist. The author presents a brilliant and insightful analysis, but when the journalist asks him a difficult question about whether urban graduate leftist activists can know what the working class of Britain wants or thinks, he does something that really makes me cringe: he pulls class on the journalist.

      Instead of acknowledging the difficulty of the question he replies something to the effect of ‘oh yeah, but I’m from a really working class background so who are you, as a toff who went to private school, to question me about the working class?’

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Tired of Waiting for Corporate High-Speed Internet, Minnesota Farm Towns Build Their Own

      Seven years ago, Winthrop, Minnesota, population 1,400, decided it needed an internet upgrade.

      Most local residents were served by companies like Mediacom, which Consumer Reports consistently ranked among the country’s worst internet providers. Slow connection speeds made work difficult in local schools and businesses, but farmers outside of town, who increasingly rely on connectivity to do business, experienced the worst of it.

      Fourteen miles from Winthrop, in Moltke Township, population 330, one soybean- and wheat-farming family reported its sluggish DSL connection often made it impossible to upload reports to business partners.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • As 3D printers break through, EU expands copyright to furniture and extends term by a century

        The UK has just changed its copyright-and-patent monopoly law to extend copyright to furniture and to extend the term of that copyright on furniture with about a century. This follows a decision in the European Union, where member states are required to adhere to such an order. This change means that people will be prohibited from using 3D printing and other maker technologies to manufacture such objects, and that for a full century.

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    Access to justice is severely compromised at the EPO as staff is led to rely on deficient tools for determining novelty while judges are kept out of the way or ill-chosen for an agenda other than justice



  29. Links 14/11/2017: GNU/Linux at Samsung, Firefox 57 Quantum

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft: Sheltering Oneself From Patent Litigation While Passing Patents for Trolls to Attack GNU/Linux

    Another closer look at Provenance Asset Holdings and what exactly it is (connection to AST, part of the cartel Microsoft subsidises to shield itself)


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