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Links 11/8/2016: New Chromebooks, Features in Linux 4.8

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Won. So, Now What?

    The government is now a little more open. This week, the White House released its first official federal source code policy, detailing a pilot program that requires government agencies to release 20 percent of any new code they commission as open source software, meaning the code will be available for anyone to examine, modify, and reuse in their own projects. The government agencies will also share more code with each other, essentially adopting open source practices within their own governmental universe.

    It’s the latest in a long line of high-profile victories for the open source movement. As recently as a decade ago, the worlds of both government and business worried that using open source software would open them up to bugs, security holes, and countless lawsuits. But despite these early fears, open source came to dominate the digital landscape. Today, practically every major piece of technology you interact with on a day-to-day basis—from the web to your phone to your car—was built using at least some form of freely available code.

  • Professional media production with Linux and free, open source software

    Building a professional media production toolkit on Linux is a viable course of action whether you want to create digital or physical products. More importantly, there are a number of excellent project management and team collaboration tools available to keep your production organized and on track. Are you using Linux and FOSS applications for professional media production? We’d love to hear about your projects: info@dototot.com

  • Call Public Blockchain Developers What They Are: Open Source Coders Not Fiduciaries

    Angela Walch, Associate Professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law, has written a thought-provoking editorial where she argues that developers are in a position of trust, therefore, they must be burdened with responsibilities – including, perhaps, outright licensing requirements to ensure a certain standard.

    Although the professor has many good points, the open source system is designed in such a way as to adequately minimize any negligence or oversight to a point where one can say that users do not need to trust any one developer, but all developers which can include anyone who can code.

  • How open source platform Ghost solves security and productivity for bloggers

    Finding a blogging platform that suits your needs can be a difficult endeavor. The incumbent favorite, WordPress, is a frequent victim of hacks, either from the core WordPress code itself, or due to insecure plugins. Hosted options such as Blogger are problematic, due to incidents of blogs being unilaterally deleted without recourse.

    Ghost, a blog platform that leverages node.js and ember.js, is not just a more secure option, but one that eases the process of composition by offering a more tightly focused product.

  • How FOSS Influences All Aspects of Our Culture

    In this fascinating interview, UNC’s professor Paul Jones explains that the concept of “free and open source” was a part of our culture long before there were computers, or even electronic technology, and that it’s actually a rich part of our heritage. As for FOSS, he makes the case that it’s now an ingrained part of the digital infrastructure.

  • Braving the new data frontier: How to create a strategic open source contribution

    Open source has changed the way we process, stream and analyze data while helping tech giants and startups alike solve massive computing issues. However, integrating open source into a business strategy can be a challenge—both for organizations looking to contribute to the ecosystem and those hoping to reap the benefit from open source products and services. Only with the right strategies can enterprises execute a rewarding long-term open source plan.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Hortonworks DataFlow Leverages Open Apache Tools for Streaming Analytics

      Hortonworks, which focuses on the open source Big Data platform Hadoop, has steadily been shifting gears in response to the trend toward streaming data analytics. And now, the company has announced the next generation of Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) version 2.0 for enterprise productivity and streaming analytics.

      “HDF is an integrated system for dataflow management and streaming analytics to quickly collect, curate, analyze and deliver insights in real-time, on-premises or in the cloud,” the compay reports. “With HDF, customers get an easy to use and enterprise ready platform to manage data in motion anywhere and in any environment.”

      DataFlow wraps in several cutting-edge open source technologies from Apache. It has new graphical user experience and integration of Apache NiFi, Apache Kafka and Apache Storm into Apache Ambari for accelerated deployment and real-time operations.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Inside How Microsoft Views Open Source [Ed: So that how it works. Microsoft pays the Linux Foundation and now the Linux Foundation needs to print Microsoft propaganda. Sadly, Linux OEMs that Microsoft is now paying have to play along with Big Lies like “Microsoft Loves Linux”. Money talks? Screams? It’s also a well established fact that Microsoft demands speaking positions in FOSS/Linux events that it ‘sponsors’. “I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?” -Microsoft's chief evangelist]

      Editor’s Note: This article is paid for by Microsoft as a Diamond-level sponsor of LinuxCon North America, to be held Aug. 22-24, 2016, and was written by Linux.com.

  • BSD


    • GNU Tools Cauldron

      We are pleased to announce another gathering of GNU tools developers. The basic format of this meeting will be similar to the previous meetings. However this year the meeting will be immediately preceded by the first ever LLVM Cauldron.

      The purpose of this workshop is to gather all GNU tools developers, discuss current/future work, coordinate efforts, exchange reports on ongoing efforts, discuss development plans for the next 12 months, developer tutorials and any other related discussions.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • GPL enforcement action in Hellwig v. VMware dismissed, with an appeal expected

      A decision in the GPL enforcement case in Germany between Christoph Hellwig (supported by the Software Freedom Conservancy) and VMware recently became public. The court dismissed the case after concluding that Hellwig failed to identify in the VMware product the specific lines of code for which he owned copyright. The GPL interpretation question was not addressed. Hellwig has indicated that he will appeal the court’s decision.

  • Programming/Development

    • Indian Government To Launch Its Own Open Source Collaboration Platform Like GitHub

      In a step that will boost open source adoption in India in a big manner, the Indian government plans to launch its own open source collaboration platform. Just like GitHub and SourceForge, people would be able to visit this platform and share their code with others. The government also plans to use it for open sourcing the code of software used in its offices.

    • Government to launch India’s own open source collaboration platform

      Months after rolling out a policy to support open source software development, the Indian government is now all set to launch its own collaboration platform for hosting open source projects. The new move is apparently aimed to encourage software developers and various government bodies to let them start sharing codes of their major projects under one roof.

      The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) released a policy related to the adoption of open source software in April 2015. Called “Collaborative Application Development by Opening the Source Code of Government Applications”, the policy is targeted to provide a comprehensive framework for archiving government source code in repositories. The framework is primarily designed to open software repositories to enable reuse, sharing and remixing of new and existing codes.

      “While the policy is in place, it needs to be supported by appropriate technology infrastructure to create and grow a thriving open source community around Indian e-governance,” a source told Open Source For You, suggesting the launch of the open source platform.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Politics Above Science’: Obama Administration Keeps Marijuana Restrictions

      The Obama administration has rejected efforts to reschedule marijuana to a less restrictive drug category, keeping it classified as a Schedule 1 substance—illegal for any purpose.

      That means states that allow marijuana for medical or recreational use will remain in violation of federal law.

      The decision, announced by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Thursday, follows efforts by lawmakers and activists to reschedule marijuana to a category in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) that would loosen restrictions on its use. In a letter to the petitioners—Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, and New Mexico nurse practitioner Bryan Krumm—DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg wrote, “Simply put, evaluating the safety and effectiveness of drugs is a highly specialized endeavor.”

    • Why the DEA just said ‘no’ to loosening marijuana restrictions

      For the fourth consecutive time, the Drug Enforcement Administration has denied a petition to lessen federal restrictions on the use of marijuana.

      While recreational marijuana use is legal in four states and D.C., and medical applications of the drug have been approved in many more, under federal law, it remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means it’s considered to have “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.”

      The gap between permissive state laws and a restrictive federal policy has become increasingly untenable in the minds of many doctors, patients, researchers, business owners and legislators.

    • Farmer Forced By USDA Board To Dump Cherry Crop On Ground

      Uncle Sam is forcing American farmers to dump thousands of pounds of the nation’s tart cherry crop on the ground this year, and one particular farmer wants everyone to know about it.

      The Michigan farmer, Marc Santucci, posted a picture to Facebook July 26 showing thousands of cherries on the ground, hours from rotting, because of an order from a board that is overseen by the US Department of Agriculture. He said he was forced to dump 14 percent of his crop, and other farmers as much as 30 percent.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Police hunting drone operator after ‘near miss’ with plane at Newquay Airport with 62 people on board
    • Here’s why Amazon’s drone delivery idea isn’t a gimmick [Ed: creepy stuff, can hijack and fly them into planes]

      It is n0t just secretive, the way Apple is, but in a deeper sense, Jeff Bezos’ ecommerce and cloud-storage giant is opaque. Amazon rarely explains either its near-term tactical aims or its long-term strategic vision. It values surprise. To understand Amazon, then, is necessarily to engage in a kind of Kremlinology. That is especially true of the story behind one of its most important business areas: the logistics by which it ships orders to its customers.

    • Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart

      This is a story unlike any we have previously published. It is much longer than the typical New York Times Magazine feature story; in print, it occupies an entire issue. The product of some 18 months of reporting, it tells the story of the catastrophe that has fractured the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago, leading to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis. The geography of this catastrophe is broad and its causes are many, but its consequences — war and uncertainty throughout the world — are familiar to us all. Scott Anderson’s story gives the reader a visceral sense of how it all unfolded, through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Accompanying Anderson’s text are 10 portfolios by the photographer Paolo Pellegrin, drawn from his extensive travels across the region over the last 14 years, as well as a landmark virtual-reality experience that embeds the viewer with the Iraqi fighting forces during the battle to retake Falluja.

      It is unprecedented for us to focus so much energy and attention on a single story, and to ask our readers to do the same. We would not do so were we not convinced that what follows is one of the most clear-eyed, powerful and human explanations of what has gone wrong in this region that you will ever read.

    • How Media Distorted Syrian Ceasefire’s Breakdown

      Coverage of the breakdown of the partial ceasefire in Syria illustrated the main way corporate news media distort public understanding of a major foreign policy story. The problem is not that the key events in the story are entirely unreported, but that they were downplayed and quickly forgotten in the media’s embrace of themes with which they were more comfortable.

      In this case, the one key event was the major offensive launched in early April by Al Nusra Front—the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria—alongside US-backed armed opposition groups. This offensive was mentioned in at least two “quality” US newspapers. Their readers, however, would not have read that it was that offensive that broke the back of the partial ceasefire. On the contrary, they would have gotten the clear impression from following the major newspapers’ coverage that systematic violations by the Assad government doomed the ceasefire from the beginning.


      But the relationship between the CIA-backed armed opposition to Assad and the jihadist Nusra Front was an issue that major US newspapers had already found very difficult to cover (FAIR.org, 3/21/16). US Syria policy has been dependent on the military potential of the Nusra Front (and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham) for leverage on the Syrian regime, since the “moderate” opposition was unable to operate in northwest Syria without jihadist support. This central element in US Syria policy, which both the government and the media were unwilling to acknowledge, was a central obstacle to accurate coverage of what happened to the Syrian ceasefire.

      This problem began shaping the story as soon as the ceasefire agreement was announced. On February 23, New York Times correspondent Neil MacFarquhar wrote a news analysis on the wider tensions between the Obama administration and Russia that pointed to “a gaping loophole” in the Syria ceasefire agreement: the fact that “it permits attacks against the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate, to continue.”

      MacFarquhar asserted that exempting Nusra from the ceasefire “could work in Moscow’s favor, since many of the anti-Assad groups aligned with the United States fight alongside the Nusra Front.” That meant that Russia could “continue to strike United States-backed rebel groups without fear…of Washington’s doing anything to stop them,” he wrote.


      The lesson of the Syrian ceasefire episode is clear: The most influential news media have virtually complete freedom to shape the narrative surrounding a given issue simply by erasing inconvenient facts from the storyline. They can do that even when the events or facts have been reported by one or more of those very news media. In the world of personal access and power inhabited by those who determine what will be published and what won’t, even the most obviously central facts are disposable in the service of a narrative that maintains necessary relationships.

    • ‘Extremist & absurd’: Lawmakers blast ex-CIA official’s call to ‘covertly’ kill Russians

      Several Russian lawmakers have expressed extreme indignation over the statements by former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who proposed in a TV interview that US agents should “covertly” kill Russians and Iranians in Syria.

      Deputy head of the State Duma Security Committee Dmitry Gorovtsov told RIA Novosti that Morel’s words could be described as extremism. “In essence, this is akin to Nazi ideology. Retired officials who allow such statements should be brought to court,” the Russian lawmaker said.

      “Instead of trying to establish cooperation with our country and fight terrorism, Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISL] and other banned groups, the American hawks make statements that pursue only one goal – to aggravate the international situation and to worsen the mutual relations between Russia and the United States.,” Gorovtsov noted

    • ‘Sage’ Advice That’s Nuttier Than Trump

      An intelligence professional, regardless of his or her personal political views, has a responsibility to tell the truth and offer unvarnished, bias-free analysis. By this standard Morell is an utter disgrace. My wrath is not just inspired by his reckless and vapid recent comments on the Charlie Rose Show. Even before this latest debacle, Morell demonstrated in his actions to help Hillary Clinton lie about Benghazi that he would shade the truth and hide the facts in service of a politician whose ass he desperately wanted to kiss.

      During a Tuesday night appearance on Charlie Rose, Morell said the following: “What they need is to have the Russians and Iranians pay a little price. … When we were in Iraq, the Iranians were giving weapons to the Shia militia, who were killing American soldiers, right? The Iranians were making us pay a price. We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price . . . .[and] you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”

    • Donald Trump, the Nuclear Arsenal, and Insanity
    • ‘High Alert’: Ukraine and Russia Building Up Military at Crimean Border

      Both Ukraine and Russia are escalating military activity along the Crimean border, as tensions between the two nations—largely stoked by the West—mount once again.

      On Thursday, a Ukrainian spokesman said that in recent days, there has been “a strengthening of the [Russian] units that are at the border.”

      Meanwhile, in response to Russian claims that the Ukrainian government was plotting terrorist attacks inside Crimea, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday ordered “all military units near Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region to be at the highest level of combat readiness,” RT reports.

    • The Olympics Are Back and Tensions Between Russia and Ukraine Are Heating Up

      On August 8, 2008, shortly after the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Summer Olympics, Russia and Georgia kicked off a five-day war. More than five years later, following the conclusion of the Sochi Winter Olympics and ouster of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in late February 2014, soldiers without insignia — later confirmed to be Russian special forces — appeared in Crimea, sparking a chain of events that ended with Moscow annexing the peninsula from Ukraine less than a month later.

      Now, with the Rio Summer Games in full swing, tensions on Russia’s periphery are once again rising — this time with Kiev, along Crimea’s de-facto border with Ukraine.

    • Putin Accuses Ukraine of Terrorist Tactics in Crimea

      Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine was using terrorist tactics instead of trying to work towards peace in the region Wednesday following an announcement from Russia’s security agency that they had thwarted Ukrainian attacks in Crimea.

    • What Really Led to the Killing of Osama bin Laden?

      It’s been four years since a group of US Navy SEALS assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.

    • Military Dissent Is Not an Oxymoron: Freeing Democracy from Perpetual War

      The United States is now engaged in perpetual war with victory nowhere in sight. Iraq is chaotic and scarred. So, too, is Libya. Syria barely exists. After 15 years, “progress” in Afghanistan has proven eminently reversible as efforts to rollback recent Taliban gains continue to falter. The Islamic State may be fracturing, but its various franchises are finding new and horrifying ways to replicate themselves and lash out. Having spent trillions of dollars on war with such sorry results, it’s a wonder that key figures in the U.S. military or officials in any other part of America’s colossal national security state and the military-industrial complex (“the Complex” for short) haven’t spoken out forcefully and critically about the disasters on their watch.

      Yet they have remained remarkably mum when it comes to the obvious. Such a blanket silence can’t simply be attributed to the war-loving nature of the U.S. military. Sure, its warriors and warfighters always define themselves as battle-ready, but the troops themselves don’t pick the fights. Nor is it simply attributable to the Complex’s love of power and profit, though its members are hardly eager to push back against government decisions that feed the bottom line. To understand the silence of the military in particular in the face of a visible crisis of war-making, you shouldn’t assume that, from private to general, its members don’t have complicated, often highly critical feelings about what’s going on. The real question is: Why they don’t ever express them publicly?

      To understand that silence means grasping all the intertwined personal, emotional, and institutional reasons why few in the military or the rest of the national security state ever speak out critically on policies that may disturb them and with which they may privately disagree. I should know, because like so many others I learned to silence my doubts during my career in the military.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate science: revolution is here

      A host of innovations in energy technology is transforming the climate-change outlook – one of the world’s three required paradigm shifts.

    • ExxonMobil Takes The Olympic Gold In Deceitful Advertising

      ExxonMobil wants you to know that it has a long “to-do” list.

      In an ad it debuted during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday night, the world’s largest oil company presented itself as nothing more than a merry band of do-gooders who were “mapping the oceans,” “turning algae into biofuel,” and “defeating malaria.”

      “And you thought we just made the gas,” joked a woman at the end, giving us a knowing smile.

    • A 400-year-old shark? Greenland shark could be Earth’s longest-lived vertebrate

      In the frigid waters of the sub-Arctic ocean lurks a mysterious and slow-moving beast known as the Greenland shark. It’s a massive animal that can grow up to 20 feet in length. Now, new research suggests it may have a massive lifespan as well.

      According to a paper published Thursday in Science, the Greenland shark could live for well over 250 years, making it the longest-living known vertebrate on Earth.

      “I am 95% certain that the oldest of these sharks is between 272 and 512 years old,” said lead author Julius Nielsen, a marine biologist at the University of Copenhagen. “That’s a big range, but even the age estimate of at least 272 years makes it the oldest vertebrate animal in the world.”

    • 272-Year-Old Shark Is Longest-Lived Vertebrate on Earth

      It’s no fish tale: The Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate on the planet, a new study says.

      The animal, native to the cold, deep waters of the North Atlantic, can live to at least 272 years—and possibly to the ripe old age of 500. (Related: “Meet the Animal That Lives for 11,000 Years.”)

      “We had an expectation that they would be very long-lived animals, but I was surprised that they turned out to be as old as they did,” says study leader Julius Nielsen, a biologist at the University of Copenhagen.

  • Finance

    • Post-Brexit Sunderland: ‘If this money doesn’t go to the NHS, I will go mad’

      Early morning on the quay at the mouth of the Wear in Sunderland and two middle-aged men wearing flak jackets descend on a dwindling band of seafarers. Their nets lie idle, as the quotas for fish have been used up or sold off. Half the fishing boats here won’t be used to fish again. The trade has been forced into other catches. The “quota cops”, with their body-mounted cameras recording everything, oblige the men to account for the crabs and lobsters caught in pots deposited on the sea bed just outside the harbour. As the crustaceans are counted into a leather-bound register, the exasperated fishermen complain of harassment. These may be the men from the British government ministry, but in post-Brexit Britain, perception is everything. In the eyes of Arthur Mole, the inspectors are as much a product of Brussels as a fruit beer or a sprout. The EU is to blame. “We’ve been like this for 30 years now. On a downward decline. Now we can see a future,” he says.

      Taking back control can rarely appear so tangible as in the interaction between Brexit-supporting fishermen and the quota police. For Mole, it is the mere possibility of accountability from anyone on the same island.

    • Brexiting Through the Media

      In the end, Brexit has very clear winners. While David Cameron personally lost his job (a collateral damage), Theresa May – with Boris Johnson (the clown) as foreign secretary – continues to be in power which, after all, is the only game in town. But having shaped public opinion on Europe and migration for decades, David Cameron was able to claim that the British people have spoken and that we (the Torries) carry out the democratic volonté générale of the British people. For many, it was the Torries that defended Britain against the foreign take-over through migrants and European rule. Now post-Brexit British neo-liberalism is even freer from the EU’s regulatory regime. It can further de-regulate the few remnants of the once British welfare state. And it can better prevent European regulation of tax havens impacting on British capitalism – a small but not insignificant win for David Cameron’s personal monetary affairs.

    • The Battle over Trump’s Taj Mahal Is a Battle for Us All

      In Atlantic City right now workers at the Trump Taj Mahal casino hotel, members of UNITE HERE Local 54, are waging a struggle that should make it one of those crystallizing flashpoints that garner national attention and mobilize support from the entire labor movement, progressives, and working people at large.

      Such flashpoints arise only occasionally in workers’ struggles for justice. In living memory, for example, Eastern Airlines, PATCO, Pittston, the Decatur wars, UPS, and most recently Verizon are among those that have attained that status. Those flashpoints of national concern and mobilization occur when what particular groups of workers are fighting for and against connects with broader tendencies and concerns in workplaces and the society in general. Downsizing, speedup, outsourcing, privatization, capital flight, unsafe working conditions, profitable employers’ demands for concessions that imperil workers’ standard of living are all among conditions that have triggered those moments. The striking Trump Taj Mahal workers are involved in precisely such a fundamental struggle now, one that should resonate far and wide among American workers and their unions.

    • Donald Trump Has Some Explaining to Do

      First things first, Donald Trump: Release. Your. Tax. Returns.

      No excuses.

    • Trump’s Economic Agenda: Mostly, More of the Same

      Currently, high-income taxpayers pay a 39.6% tax rate on income over $415,000 for a single individual. If a high-level executive or Wall Street trader makes $2.4 million a year (roughly the average for the richest 1%), they would save $120,000 from their tax bill just on the reduction in the top tax bracket. For the richest 0.1%, the savings would average almost $700,000 a year.

    • The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today

      If those trends persist for another 30 years, the average white family’s net worth will grow by $18,000 per year, but black and Hispanic households would only see theirs grow by $750 and $2,250 per year, respectively.

    • Donald Trump Economic Adviser John Paulson Took Billions in Auto Industry Bailout

      Hedge fund manager and Donald Trump adviser John Paulson made billions in the mortgage market collapse of 2007 and by holding the auto industry hostage for taxpayer money, investigative reporter Greg Palast told The Real News Network.

      Paulson “is the guy who made more money than anyone on the planet in a single year, $5 billion,” Palast said. “They say he got that $5 billion by betting against the mortgage market when the mortgage market collapsed. That’s really the wrong way of putting it. He kicked the mortgage market over the cliff and bet that it would crash when it hit the bottom.”

      “Most people thought he was going to end up in prison… but now I guess he’s Donald Trump’s economic advisor.”

      “And the Times of London,” Palast continued, “hardly a Marxist rag — it’s owned by Murdoch and very right-wing — the Times of London said that JP, John Paulson, should be paraded through the streets of London naked while people throw rotten fruit at him for what he’s done. Just in England. And that was nothing compared to what he’s done in the U.S.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How To Spot A Shill In Eight Easy Steps

      Julian Assange warned Jill Stein voters that Hillary’s online paid shills will be relentless in their attacks in the coming weeks…

    • Trump Revealed As Racist Bastard And Nut-case

      Yes, Trump wants to make USA Great Again just like USA was great in the 1930s when it fought trade wars that ruined the world’s economy. The very arguments Trump makes about USA versus Mexico are much more applicable to Canada. Why then does Trump not go after Canada?

    • America’s NAFTA nemesis: Canada, not Mexico
    • The Cynicism of Hillary

      Hillary Clinton’s completely unfounded claim that Russia was behind the passing to WikiLeaks of Democratic National Committee documents was breathtakingly cynical. It was a successful ploy in that it gave her supporters, particularly those dominating mainstream media, something else to focus on other than the fact that the DNC had been busily fixing the primaries for Hillary.

      It was however grossly irresponsible – an accusation that a US Secretary of State would hesitate to make in public even at the height of the Cold War. It raises further the tensions between the World’s two largest nuclear armed powers, and plays into the mood of rampant Russophobia which we are seeing whipped up daily in the press. With the Ukraine and Syria as points of major tension, to throw such an accusation wildly in defence of her own political ambitions, shows precisely why Hillary should never be US President.

    • Leftists Against Clintonism: It’s Not Just About the Lies, It’s About the Record

      Speaking at Georgetown University in October of 1991, shortly after he announced that he would be pursuing the presidency, Bill Clinton put forward what he called “A New Covenant,” an agenda that proposed an alternative to both “small government” conservatism and “big government” liberalism.

      He spoke of a “third way to approach the American family,” one that would do away, once and for all, with “the old big-government notion that there is a program for every social problem.” Most famously, Clinton promised to “end welfare as we know it.”

      While these proposals were nominally centrist, in practice they relied on insidious right-wing rhetoric that decried “dependency” and lauded “personal responsibility.”

      Indeed, years into his presidency, when Clinton finally achieved his professed goal, the legislation he signed was a major plank of the reactionary Contract with America, a platform written in part by Newt Gingrich, who became Speaker of the House in 1995.

    • Clinton Should Tell Obama To Withdraw TPP To Save Her Presidency

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but is having trouble convincing people to believe her. Imagine the trouble Hillary Clinton will have trying to build support for her effort to govern the country if TPP is ratified before her inauguration.

    • Clinton Must More Forcefully Reject TPP or Risk Losing Election: Groups

      Following in Donald Trump’s always-controversial footsteps, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will give a much-anticipated speech on her economic policy plans in Michigan Thursday—and progressives nationwide are demanding Clinton use the opportunity to roundly reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

    • Donald Trump’s Implied Assassination Threat, Fox News and the NRA

      Donald Trump is giving new meaning to “bully pulpit,” ratcheting his irrational campaign rhetoric to new and dangerous lows. In North Carolina Tuesday, he said: “Hillary wants to abolish—essentially, abolish—the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick—if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is.” Trump’s suggestion that his supporters could assassinate Hillary Clinton or the judges she might appoint provoked outrage, not only nationally, but around the globe. His virulent, demagogic language did not alienate everyone, though; as more and more Republicans denounce Trump, he still enjoys fervid support from some personalities at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel and the National Rifle Association. This unholy trinity of Trump, Fox and the NRA could easily provoke political violence during this campaign season.

      Hours after his remarks, Trump made his first news appearance on Fox’s “Hannity” show. Sean Hannity pre-empted Trump, offering his own twisted logic to help blunt the deepening catastrophe: “So, obviously you are saying that there’s a strong political movement within the Second Amendment and if people mobilize and vote they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court.” Trump obligingly concurred with that revisionist version of his call to arms. But the ploy fails on its face. Trump was not advocating for a political movement to stop Hillary Clinton from gaining office; he was suggesting that “Second Amendment people” could take action after the fact, if she wins.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Assassination Comment
    • Trump threatens Sec. Clinton with Gun Nuts, imitates Tinpot 3rd World Regimes

      Donald Trump said Tuesday there was nothing that his supporters could do if Hillary Clinton won and got “to pick her judges.” Then he “thought” a moment and amended his pessimism: “Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

      Former CIA director Michael Hayden suggested that the remark, which implied that an NRA member should assassinate Sec. Clinton, was a criminal offense and that the Department of Justice should look into it: “if anybody else had said this, they’d be out in the parking lot in a police wagon being questioned by the Secret Service.”

    • Country First: Why John McCain Must Dump Trump

      “Country first” requires McCain to repudiate Trump, tell the truth about what he represents, and accept the political consequences. By refusing to make that choice, he is betraying himself, and us. He can still repeat those two words, but their meaning is gone.

    • Donald Trump and the Plague of Atomization in a Neoliberal Age

      Under such circumstances, the foundations for stability are being destroyed, with jobs being shipped overseas, social provisions destroyed, the social state hollowed out, public servants and workers under a relentless attack, students burdened with the rise of a neoliberal debt machine, and many groups considered disposable. At the same time, these acts of permanent repression are coupled with new configurations of power and militarization normalized by a neoliberal regime in which an ideology of mercilessness has become normalized; under such conditions, one dispenses with any notion of compassion and holds others responsible for problems they face, problems over which they have no control. In this case, shared responsibilities and hopes have been replaced by the isolating logic of individual responsibility, a false notion of resiliency, and a growing resentment toward those viewed as strangers.

    • Jill Stein Accepting Green Party Presidential Nomination: ‘We Are Saying No to the Lesser Evil’

      The Green Party’s convention in Houston culminated last weekend with the official nomination of Jill Stein for president. In her acceptance speech, Stein talked about the drastic impact of climate change but also focused on giving political power back to the people.

      Notes of positivity were threaded throughout Stein’s speech. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Stein said. “This is our moment. Together, we do have the power to create an America and a world that works for all of us.”

    • Has Trump Been Reading Kissinger?

      Responsible for illegal bombing campaigns that caused millions of deaths throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, Kissinger also fomented genocide in East Timor, and Bangladesh. In addition to abetting murder in southern Africa, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Argentina, he also notoriously enabled and supported the Pinochet regime in Chile, which seized power in a military coup – a coup that led to the deaths of thousands, including the democratically-elected president Salvador Allende in the presidential palace.

    • Everything Burns: Gotham in the Age of Trump

      Consider Trump in the context of the old, terrible ’60s Batman TV series. Here’s a villain with gross orange facepaint, a truly stupid live-ocelot-on-his-head hairdo, an astonishingly outsized sense of self-importance. It would not at all surprise me if, not long from now, Trump went off on one of his blundering rants and the cartooned words BAM! PHIZ! GOMP! TWEE! started appearing after he drops his silly little verbal bricks. Trump and Adam West would have made boon foes in the age of bell bottoms and Nixon.

    • Beyond a Protest Party: What Will It Take for the Green Party to Start Winning?

      There wasn’t fancy catering, blaring music or the release of thousands of balloons at the Green Party’s presidential nominating convention in Houston, Texas. Nor was there the presence of thousands of cops from dozens of state and federal agencies, or hundreds of cameras snapping photos as mainstream television reporters prepared outside for live standups.

      Rather, one bored-looking campus security officer stood outside the University of Houston’s (UH) multipurpose room as the party’s media coordinators handwrote my press credentials and handed me the weekend’s schedule of events. One might not even know a convention for a political party was happening at the campus at all — many UH students I spoke to over the weekend didn’t.

    • Fox News Now Just Openly Mocking Donald Trump and His ‘Unfair Media’ Rants

      After weeks of controversies and tanking poll numbers, it’s no wonder Donald Trump doesn’t want to debate Hillary Clinton. But now he’s pivoting from his earlier statements regarding “a letter from the NFL” (proven false) to focus on a different excuse for failing to commit to the presidential debate schedule: the media.

      Trump has frequently blasted the media for “unfair coverage,” despite the fact that the nonstop coverage he has gotten has propelled his campaign. Now he is using the allegedly unfair media to attempt to wriggle out of debating Hillary Clinton.

    • Left’s Labour’s Lost

      Corbyn’s stewardship of Labour is of a piece with the history of the Labour party in the 20th Century. The Labour party, historically, ends up doing some right-wing things when it achieves power. This was the case with Atlee and the arguably inevitable post-war imposition of austerity, with Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle’s effort to impose draconian Union controls, with James Callaghan acknowledging the realities of global finance with the management of inflation as the new standard for managing political economy. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, prior to achieving office, signed up to Conservative spending plans. The distinguishing feature of the Corbyn leadership is that it has managed to do this in opposition. Prior to Corbyn’s ascension to leadership he ran on a moderately soft-left platform of anti-austerity, rail nationalisation, people’s quantitative easing, a National Education Service, and international anti-militarism; basically things which social democrats can set their clocks by. His current Leadership selection platform pledges £500 billion in economic investment. However, in opposition, these policies have been either shelved, watered down, forgotten or U-turned. Notwithstanding opposition to cuts in working tax credits, itself a Blair/Brown policy, there are several examples of this rightward drift in UK Labour’s policy platform under Corbyn. The immediate call to trigger Article 50 without delay after the Brexit referendum, not voting on Trident at the party conference in September 2015, and above all John McDonnell’s affirming the role of the Office of Budget Responsibility (effective acquiescence to the imposition of austerity). The Corbyn/McDonnell duopoly at the head of Labour is really nothing more than Milibandism with bells on and better spin; more Little Blue Book than The Communist Manifesto. It is in the tradition of attempting to stymie and put the brakes on capitalism in the interests of some of the working class.

    • Why the Libertarians Should Dump Bill Weld

      Libertarians support gun rights. Libertarians support due process, not presumed forfeiture of rights due to inclusion on secret enemies lists. These items are in our platform, and they’re not negotiable.

    • Naked Cynicism—Can I Be Bribed to Vote for a Phony, Hedge-Fund Loving Warmonger?

      Back in 2000, when the evangelical, chicken hawk, smirking frat boy—another rich kid, spoiled brat—grabbed the presidency, the Democrats blamed (and never forgave) Ralph Nader and the Green Party. If Trump wins, a similar scapegoating will not work, not if we remember the unequivocal realities of the polls.

      Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party establishment, and now heavy-hitter progressives—including Elizabeth Warren, Robert Reich, and Bernie Sanders himself—are begging those of us repulsed by Donald Trump but cynical of Hillary Clinton, “Please. Fear Trump so much that you can transcend your contempt for Hillary Clinton and vote for her.”

      Those of us repulsed and distrustful of both Trump and Clinton are in the overwhelming majority. Both Trump and Clinton have historic unfavorable ratings, with Trump’s July 2016 unfavorable polls average at 57% (favorable at 36%) and Clinton’s July 2016 unfavorable polls average at 56% (favorable at 38%).

    • “U.S.A.” Chant: Hegemonic Unity in Global Domination

      What have America’s major political parties become but agents of pacification, canceling out political change while the exercise of power is funneled into an elitist system of Upper Capital in which the military is welcomed with open arms. Trump vies with Clinton in extolling the virtues of strength and National Greatness, which boil down to self-accredited authority to define and regulate international politics to achieve, among other things, global ideological purification. It is as though imperialism, centered on market penetration, has given way to domination for its own sake. And complementing that, we find an arousal of anger to divert attention from the failings of capitalism, thereby disarming criticism and at the same time tightening the screws of a discrepant framework of wealth-and-income distribution.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Australia’s Census Fail Goes Into Overdrive — A Complete And Utter Debacle

      Earlier this week, we wrote about how the Australian census was looking like a complete mess, with the government deciding that it was going to retain all the personal info that it was collecting, including linkages to other data, rather than destroying it after it got the aggregate census numbers. There were lots of concerns about privacy and security — and we highlighted some ridiculous statements from people in the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) who are running the census, insisting their security was “the best security” while at the same time they were storing passwords as plaintext.

      Little did we know that the disaster that many expected was underestimating the actual disaster. You see, once the census website launched on Tuesday, the site immediately got hit by a series of denial of service attacks which took the entire system offline. In fact, it ended up remaining entirely offline for nearly 48 hours, and while the ABS says it’s back, many people are still reporting problems. Perhaps that’s because the ABS seems to be taking extreme and ridiculous measures to try to block more denial of service attacks, including blocking anyone who’s using a VPN or a third-party DNS provider such as Google’s DNS offering. For a system that talks up how secure and private it is — to then push people to drop their use of VPNs and/or more secure DNS providers raises all sorts of questions — none of them very good.

    • NSA spied on global medical non-profits, newly released documents from leaked Snowden archive reveal

      Newly released documents from the Edward Snowden archive, made public on 10 August, reveal that the NSA, in collaboration with the military-focused Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) intercepted communications from various non-profit organisations across the world, in efforts to gather “medical intelligence”. The previously unseen top-secret documents also reveal that the initiative was launched in the early 2000′s.

      According to the documents, the scope of information surveilled by the NSA included that relating to outbreak of diseases, the ability of foreign nations to respond to biological, chemical and nuclear attacks, the proficiency of pharmaceutical companies abroad, medical research and advancements in medical technology and more, the Intercept reported.

      The documents reveal that such information is gathered and used in efforts to protect US forces, identify facilities manufacturing bio-weapons, find chemical weapons programmes and study the process by which diseases spread, among others. The NSA specifically brought in an infectious disease expert from the DIA to help its NGO spying wing – the International Organisations Branch – to collect information on outbreaks. Among others, the topics looked into were “Sars in China, cholera in Liberia, and dysentery, polio, and cholera in Iraq”.

    • France says fight against messaging encryption needs worldwide initiative [Ed: but French terrorists used no encryption]

      Messaging encryption, widely used by Islamist extremists to plan attacks, needs to be fought at international level, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Thursday, and he wants Germany to help him promote a global initiative.

      He meets his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, on Aug. 23 in Paris and they will discuss a European initiative with a view to launching an international action plan, Cazeneuve said.

      French intelligence services are struggling to intercept messages from Islamist extremists who increasingly switch from mainstream social media to encrypted messaging services, with Islamic State being a big user of such apps, including Telegram.

      “Many messages relating to the execution of terror attacks are sent using encryption; it is a central issue in the fight against terrorism,” Cazeneuve told reporters after a government meeting on security.

    • 48 hours later, Adblock Plus beats Facebook’s adblocker-blocker

      On August 9, Facebook announced that it had defeated adblockers; on August 11, Adblock Plus announced that it had defeated Facebook.

      ABP’s Ben Williams explained that the countermeasure originated with the Adblock Plus community, one of whom wrote a filter extension that would disable Facebook ads without a hitch (“facebook.com##DIV[id^="substream_"] ._5jmm[data-dedupekey][data-cursor][data-xt][data-xt-vimpr="1"][data-ftr="1"][data-fte="1"]“).

      The question is, will Facebook really dedicate engineers to inserting features that its users are going to extraordinary lengths to defeat, or will they try to woo, cajole, or trick their users into disabling their adblockers?

    • Crisis Engulfs Fox News as Roger Ailes Sexual Harassment & Spying Scandal Grows

      Further revelations about former Fox News chief Roger Ailes are surfacing, raising questions about how much the company was aware of his transgressions. Ailes has now been accused of sexual harassment by more than 20 women, including Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and former anchor Gretchen Carlson. Earlier this week, another former Fox News host also accused Ailes of sexual harassment. Andrea Tantaros says she repeatedly reported Ailes’s harassment to senior Fox executives last year. She says she was demoted and then taken off air as a result. To talk more about these revelations, we’re joined by Sarah Ellison, Vanity Fair contributing editor. Her most recent piece is an exclusive headlined “Inside the Fox News Bunker.” It exposes the existence of explosive audiotapes recorded by multiple women in conversation with Ailes. Sarah Ellison is also the author of “War at The Wall Street Journal: Inside the Struggle to Control an American Business Empire.”

    • Head of UK oversight body to join GCHQ ‘tech help desk’ [Ed: revolving doors andcronyism in the UK]

      Joanna Cavan OBE, a champion for transparency as the head of the UK’s oversight body for communications interception, is set to take the top job at GCHQ’s National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC).

      After five of the “the most challenging and rewarding years with [the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office]” Cavan stated she was proud to have worked towards “building public trust through education, transparency and accountability.”

      Widely admired for her public role as the head of IOCCO, The Register understands Cavan has been encouraged to continue such work in championing transparency at NTAC.

      IOCCO stated that the office was “sad” to announce that Cavan was leaving, adding: “During her tenure Joanna has made a significant contribution to improving compliance within the intelligence agencies and law enforcement” and listing her key achievements as “building relationships with industry and NGOs, and transforming IOCCO into a dynamic public facing body.”

      “We’re really going to miss her, but wish her the very best with her move,” the office continued, adding that “there will be a recruitment campaign in due course.”

      Speaking to The Register, Javier Ruiz of the Open Rights Group added the NGO’s positive impression of Cavan, stating “She has been a very welcome presence at IOCCO and we hope her advocacy for transparency will continue.”

    • Two ViaSat network encryptors now NSA-certified[Ed: ViaSat is working with the enemy (of democracy)]

      Two ViaSat network encryptors recently received U.S. National Security Agency certification, the company announced Wednesday.

    • ViaSat Pushes the Boundaries of Secure Networking at the Battlespace Edge with Two New NSA-Certified Network Encryptors
    • ViaSat’s New Network Encryptors to Boost Secure Networking
    • NSA Awards Students at Science Fair [Ed: because “think about the children!”]
    • Cybersecurity paper on government backdoors earns 2016 EFF award

      A team from CSAIL has been awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 2016 Pioneer Award for their paper “Keys Under Doormats” on government backdoors and data security. EFF instituted the award in 1992 to spotlight those dedicated to expanding freedom and creativity in the technology sector.

      The CSAIL team’s report argues that allowing law-enforcement agencies to be able to access encrypted data to help them solve crimes poses major security risks to people’s information.

      The authors of the report were noted for bringing technical and scientific clarity to the encryption debate as a part of the global narrative on security.

      “[The report] both reviews the underlying technical considerations of the earlier encryption debate of the 1990s and examines the modern systems realities in the 21st century, creating a
compelling, comprehensive, and scientifically grounded argument to protect and extend the availability of encrypted digital information and communications,” the EFF announced in a related news story. “The authors of the report are all security experts, building the case that no
knowledgeable encryption researchers believe that weakening encryption for surveillance purposes could allow for any truly secure digital transactions.”

      The award is chosen by EFF staff and focuses on innovative contributions in accessibility, health, growth, or freedom of computer-based communications in ways that are technical, academic, legal, social, economic, or cultural. The team is joining a list of inventive individuals and groups including Representative Zoe Lofgren, Senator Ron Wyden, activist Aaron Swartz, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, the Tor Project, Citizen Lab, and many more.

    • Until at Least 2014, NSA Was Having Troubles Preventing Back Door Searches of Upstream Searches

      That explicit violation of the rules set by Bates in 2011 was part of a larger trend of back door search violations, including analysts not obtaining approval to query Americans’ identifiers.

    • [Joke] CIA still laughing at Zuckerberg for thinking he came up with Facebook [Remark: “I was stood next to Zuckerberg when the CIA were showing him how to write Facebook. @schestowitz Don’t know how he forgot that.”]

      CIA AGENTS are still chuckling to themselves about how Mark Zuckerberg actually thinks he created Facebook.

      Zuckerberg is credited as devising the social media site, and believes he did it without being covertly manipulated by the secret services, who would obviously have no interest in such a mass communication tool.

      CIA Agent Tom Booker said: “I mean come on, I’ve got shoes older than him and he thinks he invented this incredibly huge communication system and spying tool.

      “This all began when he ‘accidentally’ overhead some sexy girls talking about it at college, then was introduced to some computer experts at a frat party who just happened to be 10 years older than everyone else and wearing suits.

      “We only chose him because he seemed astonishingly gullible.”

      He added: “He thinks because he wears the same clothes every day that makes him a genius. I’ve got an uncle who wears the same clothes everyday and believe me, he’s no genius.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Daniel Ellsberg: Manning should not face charges related to suicide attempt

      Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has joined calls for Chelsea Manning to face no charges or punishment related to her suicide attempt in jail last month.

      Army employees told Manning – who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks – she was being investigated on multiple charges stemming from her 5 July suicide attempt, according to her lawyers. If convicted, the US army soldier could be placed in solitary confinement or be subjected to other punishment.

      “These new charges … seem designed to cause her to break down, basically to break her down as a human being,” said Ellsberg, a former US military analyst whose Pentagon Papers leak in 1971 revealed the full scope of the US government’s action during the Vietnam war.

      Ellsberg and other supporters spoke to reporters after a group of organizations delivered a petition demanding that Manning not be punished. The petition, which organizers said had more than 115,000 signatures, was submitted Wednesday morning to the secretary of the army, according to multiple activist groups supporting Manning. The petition also demanded that Manning receive adequate treatment for “both her gender dysphoria and her suicide attempt”.

    • If Police Officials Won’t Hold Officers Accountable, More Cameras Will Never Mean More Recordings

      Cameras have been referred to as “unblinking eyes.” When operated by law enforcement, however, they’re eyes that never open.

      Dash cams were supposed to provide better documentation of traffic stops and other interactions. So were lapel microphones, which gave the images a soundtrack. Officers who weren’t interested in having stops documented switched off cameras, “forgot” to turn them back on, or flat out sabotaged the equipment.

      Body cameras were the next step in documentation, ensuring that footage wasn’t limited solely to what was in front of a police cruiser. Cautiously heralded as a step forward in accountability, body cameras have proven to be just as “unreliable” as dash cams. While some footage is being obtained that previously wouldn’t have been available, the fact that officers still control the on/off switch means footage routinely goes missing during controversial interactions with the public.

      The on/off switch problem could be tempered with strict disciplinary policies for officers who fail to record critical footage. Or any disciplinary procedures, actually.

    • Judge Who Signed ‘Criminal Defamation’ Warrant For Sheriff’s Raid Of Blogger’s House Says Warrant Perfectly Fine

      Nothing’s going to stop Louisiana sheriff Jerry Larpenter from defending his good name. If you “print lies” about the sheriff, he’ll “come after you.” He’ll have to use a criminal complaint filed by someone else (insurance agent Tony Alford) and an unconstitutional law to do it… but he’s still coming after you.

      The “you” in this case is a local police officer who allegedly runs a blog that allegedly made defamatory comments with claims of corruption involving the sheriff, his wife, and the insurance agency she works for.

      Defamation isn’t normally a criminal offense. Louisiana, for some reason, still has a criminal defamation statute on the books, but it only applies to non-public figures, which the sheriff — and the parish’s insurance agent, Tony Alford — are not. Alford, who filed the complaint, not only holds two government positions but his agency also secured a no-bid contract to provide insurance services to the parish.

      Never mind all that, though. Sheriff Larpenter found an off-duty judge to sign a search warrant and raided Officer Wayne Anderson’s home, seeking evidence that he was the author of the posts. Anderson denies having anything to do with the blog posts, not that it matters. Larpenter’s deputies have already made off with five electronic devices, including a laptop belonging to the officer’s kids.

    • Will Jeffrey Sterling’s Trumped-Up Espionage Conviction Be a Death Sentence?

      CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling is in trouble. He’s not in trouble with prison authorities or with the government, at least not any new trouble. His health is failing, and prison officials are doing nothing about it. Jeffrey has collapsed twice in the past few weeks. He has a history of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, and is a candidate for a pacemaker. He has repeatedly sought medical attention in the prison’s medical unit. And each time he’s been brushed off.

    • President Macri’s perilous gambit

      It is time not to open the Pandora Box of the “war on drugs” in Argentina. It is crucial that the United States avoid any signal in favor of such a strategy.

    • New NYPD Commissioner’s Focus on Community Policing Is a Distraction, Not a Solution

      When New York Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced incoming Police Commissioner James O’Neill last week, he praised him as the “architect” of neighborhood policing — the city’s version of the “community policing” approach being implemented across the country as a solution to the increasingly contentious relationship between law enforcement and people of color.

      “When New Yorkers know their local officers and trust their local officers, we are all safe as a city,” the mayor said following the announcement that Commissioner William Bratton would be resigning. “In times like these, we have a responsibility to provide our nation with a model for respectful and compassionate neighborhood policing. … If we want to keep all New Yorkers safe, policing must be of, and for, and by the people.”

      But members of these communities say that knowing their local cops won’t stop them from getting killed by the police. Trust must be earned through accountability, they say, not optics. Advocates for radical change to the country’s policing culture have become increasingly critical of community policing as a meaningless, politically expedient catchphrase that is used to deflect attention from deeper problems within police departments.

      The New York Police Department first introduced its Neighborhood Coordination Program in May 2015 — and it’s now expanding the initiative to about half the city’s precincts. O’Neill, who spearheaded the effort, said last week that it aims to establish “closer relationships and mutual understanding.”

      “It’s all about our communities personally knowing their local cops, and trusting those cops to help them and their neighbors lead better lives,” O’Neill said.

    • U.S. Government Using Gang Databases to Deport Undocumented Immigrants

      The “M” and the “S” Carlos had etched in his arms with a homemade tattoo gun when he was a teenager in Guatemala City were part of a different life. During his adolescence in the mid-1990s, Carlos, who asked that his real name not be used, hung out with deportees from Los Angeles who had been subsumed into Southern California’s gang culture and brought 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha from Los Angeles to Central America. Carlos and his brother joined the Normandie Locos clique of Mara Salvatrucha, also known in the United States as MS-13, and got tattoos marking their membership in the gang. They joined because it made them popular with girls, Carlos said, and most of his childhood friends were part of the clique as well.

      Guatemalan law enforcement took a hard-edged approach in the late 1990s, and Carlos was shot in three separate incidents by police officers in Guatemala City. His brother was killed by police in September 2000, according to a sworn declaration Carlos later submitted to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

    • At Swanky Federal Reserve Retreat, “Computer Glitch” Cancels Minority Protesters’ Hotel Reservations

      The Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, attracts central bankers, economists and the global elite. The past two years, some new faces came to Jackson Hole: low-wage workers who object to the Fed raising interest rates when too many at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder still struggle.

      This year, somebody appears to be ensuring that ordinary people won’t disrupt the party.

      The Fed Up campaign, a coalition that brought the workers to Jackson Hole in 2014 and 2015, has filed a formal complaint with the departments of Justice and the Interior, along with the National Park Service, because their hotel reservations for this year’s conference were mysteriously canceled.

    • A South Carolina Student Was Arrested for ‘Disturbing a School’ When She Challenged Police Abuse, So We Sued

      One day last fall, Niya Kenny was sitting in her math class at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina, when a police officer came into the classroom. A girl in her class had refused to put away her cell phone, and the teacher had summoned an administrator, who called on the officer assigned to the school.

      Niya thought the officer’s appearance was bad news — his name was Ben Fields, but he was so aggressive that students knew him as Officer Slam. As soon as he entered the room, she called out for other students to record him.

      Three different students made cell phone videos of what happened next. Fields picked the girl up, flipped her in her desk, and then grabbed an arm and a leg to throw her across the room. Niya stood up and called out, she recalled later. “Isn’t anyone going to help her?” she asked. “Ya’ll cannot do this!”

    • How the Pentagon Became Walmart

      Our armed services have become the one-stop shop for America’s policymakers. But asking warriors to do everything poses great dangers for our country — and the military.


      Today, American military personnel operate in nearly every country on Earth — and do nearly every job on the planet. They launch raids and agricultural reform projects, plan airstrikes and small-business development initiatives, train parliamentarians and produce TV soap operas. They patrol for pirates, vaccinate cows, monitor global email communications, and design programs to prevent human trafficking.

      Many years ago, when I was in law school, I applied for a management consulting job at McKinsey & Co. During one of the interviews, I was given a hypothetical business scenario: “Imagine you run a small family-owned general store. Business is good, but one day you learn that Walmart is about to open a store a block away. What do you do?”


      Like Walmart, today’s military can marshal vast resources and exploit economies of scale in ways impossible for small mom-and-pop operations. And like Walmart, the tempting one-stop-shopping convenience it offers has a devastating effect on smaller, more traditional enterprises — in this case, the State Department and other U.S. civilian foreign-policy agencies, which are steadily shrinking into irrelevance in our ever-more militarized world. The Pentagon isn’t as good at promoting agricultural or economic reform as the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development — but unlike our civilian government agencies, the Pentagon has millions of employees willing to work insane hours in terrible conditions, and it’s open 24/7.

    • Federal Investigation Lays Bare How Baltimore Police Systematically Abuse the Civil Rights of the City’s Mostly Black Residents

      Yet, as in Ferguson, Missouri, it was the sustained mobilization to Baltimore’s streets that forced the world to see the systemic racism of the city’s police department, and forced Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to ask the Department of Justice to launch an investigation. Poor black residents of the deeply segregated city described a police department that behaved like an occupying force, brutalizing and disproportionately targeting them with unnecessary stops and deadly force.

    • We Will Create Our Freedom: The Importance of the Movement for Black Lives Platform

      There is a movement rumbling through the streets of this country. There is sustained organizing, national and local collaborations that are enduring the grueling work of refusing to allow extrajudicial Black death to continue to be hushed up, accepted as normal.

    • Why Did a University Quarter Police and Soldiers in Its Dorms?

      Black lives matter at Case Western Reserve University. That’s why several Black Case Western students, including myself, drafted an online petition demanding answers for Case Western President Barbara R. Snyder’s quartering of 1,700 out-of-state police officers and 200 members of the National Guard in the university’s dormitories during the Republican National Convention (RNC). A whistleblower had alerted us to her unilateral agreement with Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson to house hundreds of police officers, which she had made without students’ knowledge or consent. Within a week of posting our petition on Change.org, we had more than 330 signatures.

    • Yes, Black Lives Matter in the UK too

      Last Friday, traffic on main roads across England was disrupted by activists calling for an end to global structural racism. Motorways leading to Birmingham, London’s Heathrow airports, and tram tracks in Nottingham were blocked as part of a ‘day of rage’ organised by Black Lives Matter UK.

      The actions got a lot of media attention and the general opinion voiced by mainstream media was that the deliberate targeting of ‘innocent people’ was wrong and that while the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to the USA, British campaigners were just jumping on a bandwagon. Both of these responses show a lack of understanding (or a deliberate ignorance) of the state of racism in the today’s Britain.

    • Judge On Whether Twitter Is Legally Liable For ISIS Attacks: Hahahahahaha, Nope.

      This is not a surprise, but the judge overseeing the case where Twitter was sued by a woman because her husband was killed in an ISIS attack has tossed out the case. We fully expected this when the lawsuit was first filed, and the judge was clearly skeptical of the case during a hearing on it back in June. The order dismissing the case comes in at slightly longer than 140 characters, but you get the feeling that was really about all that was needed to point out how ridiculous this case was. As we expected,

    • NY Daily News Admits It Got It All Wrong When Declaring Crime Increases Would Follow Stop-And-Frisk Decision

      When federal judge Shira Scheindlin ordered a number of stop-and-frisk reforms three years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Chief Ray Kelly both predicted a drop in unconstitutional stops would result in a dramatic rise in criminal activity.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Speed Up Your Access or Optimize Your WAN?

      Early this year, researchers from the University College London Optical Networks Group set a record for the fastest-ever data rate for digital information — 1.125 Tb/s. That’s terabits. With that data rate, you could download the entire Games of Thrones series, in HD, within one second!

      To achieve their record-breaking date rate, researchers built an optical communications system with multiple transmitting channels and a single receiver using techniques from information theory and digital signal processing. They then applied coding techniques commonly used in wireless communications, but not yet widely used in optical communications, to ensure the transmitted signals adapt to distortions in the system electronics.

    • How To Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots Anywhere In The World — 6 Ways

      If you are looking for ways to find free Wi-Fi hotspots, then you are at the right place…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • No Inspiration Without Payment: Ed Sheeran Sued For Two Songs Sounding Too Similar To Old Songs

        There’s a fairly long history of lawsuits over songs sounding too “similar” — from the lawsuit over George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” sounding too much like “He’s So Fine” to the Verve getting sued by The Rolling Stones for the hit “Bittersweet Symphony” sounding similar to the Stones’ “The Last Time.” But after last year’s verdict in favor of Marvin Gaye’s estate in the “Blurred Lines” case, the floodgates seem to have opened, with a bunch of similar lawsuits over songs that sound vaguely similar, but not much more. A couple of months ago, in a bit of a surprise, Led Zeppelin actually won its case over whether or not it had infringed on someone’s copyright in “Stairway to Heaven,” so there’s at least some hope that not every “similar sounding” song will face a copyright lawsuit — but even then the arbitrariness of these decisions seems problematic.

‘Constitutional Crisis’ at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Declaring de facto Martial Law in defiance of the spirit of the Office, in order to seize additional powers

Rodrigo Duterte
Photo credit: Edwin Espejo

Summary: The Benoît Battistelli-run EPO is not run like a professional institution anymore and it does not even obey the rules of the founding fathers of the EPO

Several years ago we took note of a steep decline in patent quality at the EPO, whereupon we started writing not only about software patents at the Office but also its general policy. Some signs of wear could first be seen towards the end of Brimelow’s term (see our articles from around 2008). A lot of patent examiners knew about it, but with hypothetical stuff like the Community Patent over the horizon at the time (just another name like EU Patent, EPLA or UPC) there was probably hope that there was some “greater good” somewhere along the way. Well, now we know better that compromising patent quality and inviting malicious actors like trolls (entities which are creating nothing, effectively predators that prey/run over others for quick gains through racketeering) would be an inevitable side effect of such a patent regime. Not only would that hurt European businesses; it would also harm patent examiners and their families, pensions, sense of pride etc. Like ISDS inside treaties such as TPP, the goal is not to promote some public interests but to advance corporate interests through their lobbyists, lawyers, etc. Don’t we already know how it typically works after defunct efforts like ACTA? Don’t we have a collective responsibility to put an end to that? For me, as a software developer and researcher (medical biophysics is my specialty), the EPO looks increasingly daunting especially because of the phasing in of software patents inside Europe. I wish to develop software and deploy software in peace, without having to fear threatening letters from patent trolls, not to mention threatening letters from the EPO. A lot of people feel the same way. They share the concerns that I do; that is why many software developers are in general strongly against software patenting, not just in Europe but everywhere in the world. For those who wonder about my motivations (sometimes because they try to malign and discredit me), there are no personal grudges against EPO managers (they are not my employers and I have nothing to fear from them personally), it’s just that the EPO is heading down a really bad path and everyone — including EPO insiders — are assured to suffer from this. My goal is to help redeem/save the EPO, not to destroy it. When a lot of people try to fix the EPO it’s likely that this fix will be an inevitability. One tyrant cannot defy the motivations of the majority of his staff. It’s as simple as that. These are highly-skilled workers that aren’t disposable and not easily replaceable (for recruitment of docile/loyal ‘drones’ such as scabs).

“These are highly-skilled workers that aren’t disposable and not easily replaceable (for recruitment of docile/loyal ‘drones’ such as scabs).”The more we learn about the EPO and the deeper we delve into its top-level operations (Team Battistelli and their corporate masters), the uglier things look. How did it get this bad? Maybe this has been brewing for a number of years, but mostly behind closed doors. Now that doors are opening a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ comes out and the stench is overwhelming. FIFA was nothing compared to this.

“Discuss the importance of EP protection for US industry here,” the EPO wrote yesterday. Yes, it seems like the EPO is prioritising US conglomerates now, even at the expense of European businesses. It’s easy to see that the EPO does not give a damn about SMEs, no matter what it said this week about them. It’s all hogwash. Under Battistelli, those who bring more income receive better treatment and that’s just morally and professionally wrong. It’s unprofessional.

Watch the EPO linking to a “Boards of appeal” page which says “Discussion of mock trial” as if they are talking about the Judge Battistelli attacks and defames. More “mock trials” were mentioned yesterday by a Bristows blogger. It’s basically promotion of EPLAW (guess who’s behind EPLAW).

In this other new article from her IP Kat ‘colleague’, Mark Schweizer, some are still floating the UPC, saying that a CJEU “case is interesting because the Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court has suggested the adoption of ceilings on recoverable costs [...] whether and when the UPC will ever become a reality is anybody’s guess” (probably never).

Another rename/rebrand for the UPC is likely, especially if the UK remains a major barrier. Watch this new IAM “REPORT” (i.e. advert) titled “Impact of Brexit on US IP owners”. Surely they know that as long as Brexit stands, there is virtually no way for Lucy to ratify the UPC (even for a friend like Benoît Battistelli).

Expect the Battistelli-led EPO to continue its race to the bottom. It’s pushing for the bottom low of patent quality for the sake of so-called ‘production’ and earlier this week we mentioned the effect on the EPC with the relevant document added later [1, 2]. Quite a few comments came up about it, even some which cite Techrights. One person wrote in IP Kat:

A leaked copy of that presentation would be much appreciated. If the EPO is planning to change such a fundamental as the law / standard that it applies during examination, then this issue really needs to be debated in public.

Of course, given what has happened at WIPO (where the Member States are being denied access to a report: that they commissioned; which concludes that WIPO’s director knowingly flouted UN sanctions; and which has been passed to the direction in question despite containing sensitive details of whistle-blowers who testified against him), it is an open question as to whether there is any measure that could be taken to force the EPO to follow the EPC.

“A leaked copy of that presentation would be much appreciated,” the above says and if anyone who reads this saw the presentation and has a copy of the slides, please consider transmitting these to us.

The following IP Kat comment is responding to someone who (as quoted above) said “it is an open question as to whether there is any measure that could be taken to force the EPO to follow the EPC.”

Check the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities:

Article 23 (1)
Any Contracting State may submit to an international arbitration tribunal any dispute concerning the Organisation or an employee of the European Patent Office or an expert performing functions for or on its behalf, in so far as the Organisation or the employees and experts have claimed a privilege or an immunity under this Protocol in circumstances where that immunity has not been waived.

“As I have said before,” added another person, “crap patents are fine, as long as everyone understands they’re crap.”

The principal danger is that, over time, more people will realise that EPO patents are of low quality and won’t be willing to: 1) pay for claims without challenging them in courts; 2) take an EP at face value and haul companies into court; 3) pay a high fee for application/renewal/appeal.

Here is the comment in full:

From the SUEPO document posted on Techrights, it seems that the EPO strategy is not sinister. The aim is merely to reduce the quality of examination, and thereby increase the throughput, or possibly the other way round. Nothing wrong with that. As I have said before, crap patents are fine, as long as everyone understands they’re crap. Whether applicants will still be interested in paying top dollar, and whether the EPO will find intelligent engineers willing to churn out crap day after day, is another question. OK, two questions. And questions which must presumably have been considered at length by the EPO’s indisputably enlightened management.

Another person wrote:

So it looks like the answer to the open question is “no”. There would have to be a “dispute” in the first instance (question: how could a such a dispute come about?), and then there would need to be an arbitration tribunal willing and able to take this on (question: would ILOAT have the competence, or even the inclination, to take on a dispute concerning compliance of EPO examination policy with the EPC? And if not the ILOAT, then who else?).

In relation to Brexit one person wrote this morning about the EPC/EPO/UPC that “[i]t’s like BREXIT. The procedure exists (on paper). Somebody just needs to start the ball rolling. It’s all in the PPI. The founding fathers foresaw that there could be disputes and accordingly they made arrangements for arbitration.”

That’s like people in the US justifying the abolishment of the Constitution or Amendments “because of terrorism” or something to that effect. The only emergency at the EPO right now may be fiscal/financial — a subject we shall cover another day.

The EPO’s Twitter Account is Drunk (on Battistelli’s Kool-Aid)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unprofessional PR:

Summary: The EPO’s PR people are getting desperate for attention and resorting to borderline spam (as before, e.g. [1, 2])

THE EPO’s Twitter account, presumably run by the PR team, is rather comical at times. These people are warning the public about scams while Kongstad's people fall for it themselves and there are strong rumours of financial scam/fraud inside the EPO.

“When the EPO is getting this desperate, pathetic and even shameless it’s hard to deny that something is profoundly wrong.”What’s more comical however is the pathetic effort to appease Battistelli. “You can even nominate yourself!” they say. Nominate oneself for Battistelli’s very expensive lobbying event? What’s the use? It’s a low point for the EPO (even the USPTO does not have such a charade which elevates one patent over another and carries liability/risk).

With a deadline apparently approaching they have gotten pretty desperate for attention — to the point where they have begun ‘spamming’ lots of people and institutions (like the USPTO) with a request to submit nominations for the lobbying and PR campaign [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. When the EPO is getting this desperate, pathetic and even shameless it’s hard to deny that something is profoundly wrong.

Links 11/8/2016: Linux 4.6.6, KDE Kirigami UI Framework

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Be Cautious With Containers Says FutureAdvisor’s DevOps Director

      Docker is a fantastic technology, but it’s not one that’s well understood. If we take a look at the lessons of the past, there was more hype than understanding around cloud as well — and before that, around virtualization. I’m seeing the same patterns repeat themselves here, and in some circles this is a far from popular viewpoint.

    • A brief introduction to Linux containers and image signing

      Putting software inside of containers is basically a platform migration. I’d like to highlight what makes this difficult to migrate some applications into containers.

    • How the CORD Project Will Change the Economics of Broadband

      On July 29 at the Sunnyvale Tech Corner Campus in Calif., Google hosted the open source community for the inaugural CORD Summit. CORD, or Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter, launched last week as an independently funded On.Lab software project hosted by The Linux Foundation. The sold-out event featured interactive talks from partners and leading stakeholders of the newly formed CORD Project, including AT&T, China Unicom, Ciena, Google, NEC, ON.Lab, ONF, The Linux Foundation, University of Arizona, and Verizon.

      CORD is the biggest innovation in the access market since ADSL and the cable modem. Considering the broad scope of the access network, and the technical roadmap the growing open source CORD community laid out at the Summit, CORD has the potential to redefine the economics of access.

    • Midokura Embraces Kubernetes Container Networking

      Midokura CTO Pino de Candia explained that the new Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) 6.2 update is based on Open Source MidoNet 5.0. Midokura first open-sourced its MidoNet platform in November 2014 at the OpenStack Summit in Paris.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE’s Kirigami UI Framework Gets its First Public Release

        Kirigami, KDE’s lightweight user interface framework for mobile and convergent applications, which was first announced in March, is now publicly released! This framework allows Qt developers to easily create applications that run on most major mobile and desktop platforms without modification (though adapted user interfaces for different form-factors are supported and recommended for optimal user experience). It extends the touch-friendly Qt Quick Controls with larger application building blocks, following the design philosophy laid out in the Kirigami Human Interface Guidelines.

      • KDE Kirigami UI Framework Makes First Debut
      • KDE Announces the First Public Release of Their Kirigami UI Framework for Mobile

        Today, August 10, 2016, KDE’s Thomas Pfeiffer has had the great honor of announcing the availability of the first public release of the Kirigami UI (User Interface) framework for building mobile and convergent applications.

        Work on the Kirigami user interface framework started back in March 2016, when the KDE development team announced their plans for creating one of the most powerful and sophisticated tool that would allow application developers to build cross-platform Qt-based apps for mobile platforms.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Getting ready for GUADEC!

        I have already attended at GUADEC 2015 and it was a great, motivating experience with nice people having the same interest as mine.

      • GUADEC

        I’m going to talk about the evolution of GTK+ rendering, from its humble origins of X11 graphics contexts, to Cairo, to GSK. If you are interested in this kind of stuff, you can either attend my presentation on Saturday at 11 in the Grace Room, or you can just find me and have a chat.

        I’m also going to stick around during the BoF days — especially for the usual GTK+ team meeting, which will be on the 15th.

      • See you in GUADEC!
      • Going to GUADEC 2016
      • GUADEC in Karlsruhe Awaits

        On Thursday I’m taking a plane to Germany. I’m also accompanied by a friend who’d like to know more about GNOME and get involved in GNOME. Again this year I’m also volunteering – so far I have worked on t-shirts and streaming artwork for GUADEC.

      • The much awaited GUADEC, 2016

        Well the time has come to catch up with the smart peeps behind IRC nicks. \o/ This time GUADEC is organized in Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany and I am all set for it. Oops forgot to mention about GUADEC. So GUADEC is annual conference of GNOME (FOSS) Organization where all users, contributors and developers meet together and have an amazing time discussing about future prospects of building the community stronger and better. Also there is good discussion on various projects and applications. Besides that, there are many interesting workshops and talks scheduled.

      • gnome-boxes: Coder’s log 2
      • gnome-boxes: Coder’s log 3
      • GSK Demystified (II) — Rendering
      • Debugging GNOME Online Accounts

        I spent some time today documenting how to debug various problems with online account integration in GNOME. It is also linked from the main GNOME Online Accounts wiki page. So, you can find it via the usual click-stream and don’t need to rely on this blog.

      • GSoC progress part #5
  • Distributions

    • Bedrock Linux Is Working To Combine Different Linux Distributions Into One

      Bedrock Linux is a unique Linux distribution that offers the best elements of different distros. The users are allowed to build a rock-solid base derived from Debian, RHEL etc. After that, one has the choice to add different packages from multiple Linux distributions according to the need. Bedrock Linux is able to perform this trick by manipulating the virtual file systems.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux: Should You Trust Love at First Sight?

        My first impression of Manjaro is just the opposite. The power and performance are obvious, but it feels as if it’ll run with the dependability of a well oiled sewing machine. I think that if I were a gamer, which I’m not, I would try this one on for size. Out of the box, it comes Steam ready, and gaming would offer an ultimate test on how it performs under pressure.

        The trouble with impressions is that they come from a place that’s devoid of any experiences other than the educated guess, a lesson I learned back in the ’70s when I blew every dime I had on a cute little underpowered Opel Kadett. Because I knew the Germans’ reputation for building fine automobiles, I had the impression that this would be a car that would keep me going for a while. The day after I bought it, I ran across a friend — a mechanic friend, I might add — who’d once owned the very same make and model. “Get rid of it,” he said. “Now, while you can. They’re junk.” I didn’t listen; I’d already fallen in love with the car. A week later I was walking.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Porting APT to CMake

        I have not yet tested building on exotic platforms like macOS, or even a BSD. Please do and report back. In Debian, CMake is not up-to.date enough on the non-Linux platforms to build APT due to test suite failures, I hope those can be fixed/disabled soon (it appears to be a timing issue AFAICT).

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tough, expandable Bay Trail SBC measures just 95 x 55mm

      Versalogic’s sandwich-style “Osprey” SBC offers Atom E3800 SoCs, dual GbE ports, dual mini-PCIe slots, MIL-STD-202G ruggedization, and -40 to 85°C support.

      Like Versalogic’s recent BayCat and earlier Bengal single-board computers, the Osprey is based on Intel’s “Bay Trail” Atom E38xx family of SoCs. Unlike those boards, which conform to 4.2 x 3.8-inch (107 x 97mm) PC/104 family specs, the Osprey has a considerably smaller, 95 x 55mm footprint and omits stackable PC/104-style expansion.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Kyocera ‘DuraForce PRO’ rugged Android smartphone has integrated HD action camera

          Today, Kyocera announces an interesting smartphone that stands out among the others. The ‘DuraForce PRO’ is super-rugged, and has both an octacore processor and large 3,240mAh battery. The stand-out feature, however, is the integrated wide-angle HD action camera.

          “DuraForce PRO was designed by Kyocera to be rugged for a reason — to provide businesses and consumers with a dependable smartphone that can withstand the harshest environments and mishaps, all with the peace of mind of a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. For an industrious worker, an adventurous thrill-seeker or a parent on the go, DuraForce PRO incorporates cutting-edge technology and features designed to function in life’s most demanding moments. It is equipped with a large 5-inch Full HD display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor (1.5GHz x 4/1.2GHz x 4) with X8 LTE and multi-mode to ensure fast connections on diverse global networks”, says Kyocera.

        • Bang & Olufsen’s new 4K TV runs on Android TV

          Bang & Olufsen is known for making some beautifully designed TVs, and its latest creation, the BeoVision 14, is no exception. The newest addition to the BeoVision lineup features aluminum piping and oak wood lamellas, making it feel like a piece of furniture versus the minimalistic displays we’ve grown accustomed to.

        • Survey: Android’s Lead is Consolidated

          According to the latest Developer Nation Q3 2016 survey from VisionMobile, Android’s lead over iOS as primary platform and developer mindshare has been consolidated. Also, Windows developers prefer C# in the cloud while Linux ones stay with Java.

        • Hyundai’s DIY Android Auto update system expanded to four new cars, including the Sonata Hybrid and Veloster

          It must be nice to have a car with a media system that can be updated – some of us are lucky just to get Bluetooth. Some Hyundai owners can actually upgrade their in-car entertainment systems to give them Android Auto support, and today that list expands by four according to Cnet. Owners of the 2016 Sonata Hybrid (standard and plug-in), 2016 Veloster, and 2015/2016 Azera can now get some sweet, sweet Android Auto action with a download and a bit of legwork.

          To get started, head over to MyHyundai.com and put in your car’s Vehicle Identification Number. You’ll need a standard-sized SD card and a few hours of time, first to download the package via a standard PC, then to transfer it to the card, then to run the update program on your car. It’s not exactly a streamlined process, but anyone who’s ever rooted an Android phone and installed a custom ROM can probably handle it. And the end result – shiny new Android Auto goodness for your vehicle – is certainly worth it.

        • How to test drive the Andromium OS with your Android device
        • $99 Superbook Turns Android Phone Into Laptop — Sort Of

          If you’re looking to converge your laptop and smartphone experience, at a fair price, you might only have to wait for the release of the Andromium Superbook in early 2017.

          The Superbook is basically a laptop shell that uses your smartphone’s brains to operate. It looks more or less like a laptop, but instead of having the usual software that laptops use, the Superbook allows you to connect your Android smartphone for a full laptop experience. Essentially, the Superbook turns your phone into a computer.

        • 15 Android Apps Actually Worth Paying For

          Android’s poly-manufacturer ecosystem has long since eclipsed iOS as the world’s most popular mobile operating system. However, app developers still tend to fare better in the Applesphere—financially speaking. Even though Google Play regularly outshines the App Store in total number of downloads, Apple users are far more willing than their Android counterparts to actually plunk down cash for their apps.

          This is not surprising, given what we know about users of each ecosystem. Speaking very broadly, Apple is a premium brand that appeals to users who will spend extra for what they believe (rightly or wrongly) to be a superior experience, while Android is the mass appeal brand for those who are fine with the basics.

        • Vulnerability Exposes 900M Android Devices—and Fixing Them Won’t Be Easy
        • Netflix publishes a dedicated Android app for its FAST Speed Test
        • Google Nexus Sailfish goes through AnTuTu and Geekbench with Android 7.0 Nougat, Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM
        • 4 essential Android add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets
        • How to create more powerful Android notifications

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mattermost — The Open Source Slack Alternative You’ll Love

    Slack has exploded in popularity among a wide variety of teams for coordination and planning. It has especially become notable in infrastructure and information technology on both the development and operations sides. One of the biggest and most crucial aspects of working in a team is communication, and this is where Slack, and now Mattermost, shine.

  • If you build it, they won’t come: Why your project needs better marketing

    FOSS (free and open source software) conferences are full of talks about how to improve your code, or how you manage your code, or what the latest and greatest languages and tools are. But a successful open source project is about more than good code. First, let’s talk about what success is, because success isn’t a guarantee.

    University of Massachusetts faculty members Charles Schweik and Robert English have studied open source projects and their success extensively. In a study of 174,333 projects through 2009, they were able to declare success or abandonment for only 145,475. (Although this specific data is aging, I believe it is still accurate to prove the point.) Almost half of those were abandoned before a first release. Another third were left behind after that first release. Success also doesn’t have to mean becoming a household name or having thousands of contributors. It’s your project, which means you get to define what success means. But that also means that for your first step, you need to establish what your goals are.

  • Development Democracy: How IoT Innovation Grows from Open Source

    The history of the Internet is a story of innovative development coming from the bottom and working its way into the commercial and then consumer spaces along a pretty clear upward trajectory. Not so, it seems with the IoT. It seems like all the development news we hear these days comes from the enterprise players and the vendors that service them.

  • XtraLife unveiled as a rebranded Gaming Back End, now gives Devs Open Source access
  • Clan of the Cloud rebrands as XtraLife, goes open source

    Formerly known as Back End as a Service (BaaS) Clan of the Cloud, XtraLife gives developers access to an Open Source Back End in response to developer frustration over insufficient transparency and sustainable back end technology in the market.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome to make Flash mostly-dead in early December [Ed: but do we replace one blob with another? (Chrome is proprietary)]

        Google yesterday set an early December deadline for purging most Flash content from its Chrome browser, adding that it will take an interim step next month when it stops rendering Flash-based page analytics.

        In a post to a company blog, Anthony LaForge, a technical program manager on the Chrome team, said the browser would refuse to display virtually all Flash content starting with version 55, which is scheduled for release the week of Dec. 5.

        Previously, Google had used a broader deadline of this year’s fourth quarter for quashing all Flash content except for that produced by a select list of 10 sites, including Amazon, Facebook and YouTube.

      • Google Chrome’s plan to kill Flash kicks into high gear

        Google is getting serious about ending the reign of Adobe Flash on the web.

        The company recently detailed a timeline for bringing Flash on Chrome to an end—kind of. Even in these late stages of Flash’s life on the web you still can’t kill it off entirely. Instead, Google says it will “de-emphasize” Flash to the point where it’s almost never used except when absolutely necessary.

      • HTML5 Wins: Google Chrome Is Officially Killing Flash Next Month

        With an aim to bring security, better battery life, and faster load times, Google is de-emphasizing Flash next month. After this change in Chrome 53, the behind-the-scenes Flash will be blocked in favor of HTML5. Later, with Chrome 55, HTML5 will be made the default choice while loading a web page.

    • Mozilla

      • Help Mozilla build out their Location Service while walking about with your phone

        You can help build a free geolocation service while you’re out wandering around your neighborhood with your Android device. Install the Mozilla Stumbler app and let it run continuously in the background to help improve the Mozilla Location Service. The app registers the Wi-Fi signals around you and their estimated GPS coordinates, and then sends this off to Mozilla.

        Psst: There is also an optional competitive element to the app for those who’ve gotten hooked on augmented reality games like Pokémon GO and Ingress.

  • Databases

    • Open Source Tool ‘Rethinks’ Databases

      An open source tool for writing queries and modeling data designed for use with the RethinkDB query language is being positioned as an alternative to developing applications using the ReQL query language.

      Compose, a provider of hosted databases founded in 2010, acquired by IBM (NYSE: IBM) last year and incorporated into its Cloud Data Services unit, is pitching the ReQL alternative dubbed “Thinky.” The tool is described as an open source object relational mapper (ORM) designed for RethinkDB. IBM is offering RethinkDB and a batch of other hosted database services through its Compose Enterprise platform.

    • Where the Database Market Goes From Here

      It’s hard to remember now, but a decade ago the idea of non-relational databases was a foreign one. Outside of successful and widely adopted alternatives such as Berkley DB, generally the word database could reasonably be assumed to mean relational database. When we wrote about the possibility of non-relational alternatives then eleven years ago last March, the general reaction was a shrug, consternation or both.

      As developers increasingly took control of the decision making processes around technology selection, however, they looked outside the enterprise to the likes of Google for architectural inspiration, and non-relational databases first emerged and then exploded. From a consolidated handful of enterprise-oriented relational databases which are still the backbone for millions of existing applications, the database market added a wide variety of new specialized database types: columnar, distributed storage and process, document, graph, in-memory, key-value and more.

      Each of these categories began with the creation of specialized engines that excelled at a particular task, but that also involved tradeoffs traditional database buyers were unfamiliar with. Hadoop’s Map Reduce, for example, was less accessible to traditional DBAs (at least until companies such as Facebook wrote SQL-like interfaces such as Hive), but it could attack larger scale datasets than was practical with traditional relational databases, and it could do so far more efficiently.

      The database market today, then, looks very different than the database market of a decade ago. The traditional relational databases are all still around, but they are increasingly one of many databases employed in a given business rather than the database employed.

    • Couchbase: data shapes in the new digital economy [Ed: is it a paid-for marketing piece?]

      This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog written by Luke Whitehead in his capacity as head of EMEA marketing for Couchbase — the firm is am an open source, distributed (shared-nothing architecture) multi-model NoSQL document-oriented database specialist.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Reactive? Serverless? Put to bed? What’s next for Java. Speak up, Oracle

      The future of Java Enterprise Edition is on many developers’ minds. After the community came to the conclusion that the platform’s progress has come to a standstill, a plethora of initiatives has arisen with the goal of encouraging Oracle to pick up the work on Java EE 8 again.

      It’s time to take inventory.

      The bone of contention was Josh Juneau’s unsparing analysis of concrete activities in the Java EE specifications since 2015 in April this year. As an Expert Group Member of JSRs 372 (JavaServer Faces 2.3) and 368 (Java Message Service 2.1), he took a close look at Oracle’s participation in the development by examining mailing lists and GitHub activities.

    • Oracle Java patch problem? Browsium rolls management fix

      Released in 1995, Java went from a language running in a browser to the ubiquitous platform of today, one which underpins the entire industry and with deep tentacles in enterprise IT.

      After more than 20 years, Java remains one of the world’s most popular programming languages and employed by nine million devs.

      Java runs on 97 per cent of PCs in the enterprise and 89 per cent of US desktops and, somehow, three billion mobile phones. There’s no count on servers but it is huge thanks to the tireless work over the years in tools and middleware of IBM, Oracle and the deceased BEA Systems and Sun Microsystems.

      Yet with ubiquity and history has come risk, and Java now dances with Adobe’s Flash to get ahead in terms of number of vulnerability warnings and fixes.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Here’s why Andreessen Horowitz is looking to invest in open source

      If you look strictly at declining information technology budgets, it might look like tech’s traditional mainstay “infrastructure” market — computing hardware, software and networking gear — is spiraling into insignificance.

      Indeed, it even looked that way to Martin Casado (pictured above), who cofounded the networking software startup Nicira Networks in 2009 before selling to VMware in 2012 for $1.3 billion and becoming general manager of its networking and security portfolio. “I was caught in this malaise for awhile,” said Casado, now a general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

      No more. Speaking at the OpenStack Days conference today in Mountain View, CA, Casado declared, “We’re at the cusp of one of the biggest renaissances in infrastructure.”

  • BSD

    • Lumina Desktop Environment Hits 1.0 Milestone After Four Years of Development

      PC-BSD developer, Ken Moore, is extremely happy to announce that after being in development for more than four years, his unique Lumina desktop environment has hit the 1.0 stable milestone.

    • GhostBSD 10.3 RC1 is ready for testing

      This first RC release is ready for testing new feature in GhostBSD 10.3, MATE and XFCE is available on SourceForge for the i386, amd64, and amd64-uefi architectures.

    • GhostBSD 10.3 RC1 Is Out, but ZFS Disk Encryption Was Pushed Back to GhostBSD 11

      The GhostBSD developers are announcing on August 10, 2016, the general availability of the first RC (Release Candidate) development milestone towards the upcoming GhostBSD 10.3 operating system.

      GhostBSD 10.3 has been in development for quite some time now, since Spring 2016, and it looks like the final release gets closer and closer now that the Release Candidate 1 build is available for public testing. This time, both the MATE and Xfce editions have been made available for download to early adopters.


  • Public Services/Government

  • Programming/Development

    • App dev silos are DevOps killers: Start by tearing them down

      The road to DevOps can be rocky. Larger enterprises often cite cultural barriers such as the “developers vs. operations” mentality as the biggest obstacles to achieving DevOps, and much has been written about how to break down those barriers.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • After debate, ABA House calls for publication of privately drafted standards used in legislation

      A resolution calling on Congress to make privately drafted parts of the law freely available attracted accusations in the House of Delegates that the ABA was trying to give away other people’s intellectual property.

      When federal agencies incorporate privately drafted standards into their rules by reference, Resolution 112, passed by the ABA House on Tuesday, asks Congress to make the relevant portion of those privately drafted standards available to the public online. The measure, sponsored by the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, was intended to advance the idea that the American public should have access to laws that regulate things like food additives, windshield safety standards and toy safety. (This was the subject of an ABA Journal feature in 2014.)


  • State of the Art: Think Amazon’s Drone Delivery Idea Is a Gimmick? Think Again

    Amazon is the most obscure large company in the tech industry.

    It isn’t just secretive, the way Apple is, but in a deeper sense, Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce and cloud-storage giant is opaque. Amazon rarely explains either its near-term tactical aims or its long-term strategic vision. It values surprise.

    To understand Amazon, then, is necessarily to engage in a kind of Kremlinology. That’s especially true of the story behind one of its most important business areas: the logistics by which it ships orders to its customers.

  • Looks Can Kill: The Deadly Results of Flawed Design

    Earlier this summer, 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin was crushed to death when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled downhill, pinning him against the security gate in front of his Los Angeles home. No one will ever know exactly what happened in the moments before the accident. But we know that his car is one of more than 1.1 million Jeep and Dodge vehicles that are part of a recall by Fiat Chrysler. The problem? Flawed design.

    Specifically, it’s the unintuitive automatic shifter, which can make drivers think they’ve put the car in park when they haven’t. If a driver were to exit the car with the engine not in park, all 5,000 pounds of the vehicle could roll away, crashing into any objects (or people) in its path.

  • Bipartisan Panel of State Lawmakers Agree: NCLB Has Failed US Kids

    Confirming what many public education advocates have been saying for years, a new report from a bipartisan panel of state lawmakers declares that the United States has little to show for more than a decade of reform efforts inspired by the controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

    The report released Tuesday from the National Conference of State Legislatures, No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State (pdf), charges that “[s]tates have found little success” in developing an effective education system. Indeed, the executive summary reads, “Recent reforms have underperformed because of silver bullet strategies and piecemeal approaches.”

  • Italian administrations rapidly embrace ePayment

    The number of Italian public administrations and public organisations offering online payment is increasing rapidly, according to the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID), the country’s Agency for the Digitalisation of the Public Sector. Just over 60% of all public administrations and organisations have implemented PagoPA, the electronic payment system developed by AGID.

  • Science

    • Online gaming may boost school scores but social media is wasted time, study suggests

      In what could be music to the ears of many parents, teenagers who regularly play online games are more likely to get better school scores, an Australian study suggests.

    • Millions of people might be ingesting a potentially harmful toxin in drinking water

      A new study out Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters looked at a national database that monitors chemical levels in drinking water and found that 6 million people were being exposed to levels of a certain chemical that exceed what the Environmental Protection Agency considers healthy.

      The chemicals, known as poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, are synthetic and resistant to water and oil, which is why they’re used in things like pizza boxes and firefighting foam. They’re built to withstand the environment.

      But PFASs also accumulate in people and animals and have been observationally linked to an increased risk of health problems including cancer. And they can’t be easily avoided, like with a water filter, for example.

      The kind of PFASs that are considered the most harmful are rarely used in the US, but other countries like China still use them, and that could have effects elsewhere, experts say.

    • High school price tag: 2,000 euros

      The Union of Upper Secondary School Students calculates the average cost to a student of three years of high school education at around 2,000 euros.

      The organisation’s chair, Elli Luukkainen, says the estimate includes equipment costs. As matriculation examinations will be completely electronic by 2019, each high school student must have the use of an up-to-date laptop that meets certain specifications.

      “The overall cost has specifically been raised by the need to buy a computer. The total cost of books may be 1,700-1,800 euros, depending on which titles are required by the curriculum,” says Luukkainen, 19-year-old Helsinki art student. Secondary schooling in Finland usually lasts three years, although some students graduate in two or four years depending on their field of study.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • DEA Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position With Regard To Marijuana Scheduling

      Although the DEA’s ruling continues to classify marijuana in the same category as heroin, the agency is also anticipated to advocate for regulatory changes that could expand the production of research-grade cannabis for FDA-approved clinical studies. Presently, any clinical trial involving cannabis must access source material cultivated at the University of Mississippi — a prohibition that is not in place for other controlled substances. Tomorrow, the agency is expected to take steps to permit, for the first time, multiple parties to apply for federal licenses to grow marijuana for FDA-approved trials — thus ending the U-Miss/NIDA monopoly on the production of material. This change was initially recommended by the DEA’s own administrative law judge in 2007, but her decision was ultimately rejected by the agency in 2011.

    • Filleting the Lion

      Fortunately for our coral reefs, the flashy lionfish has caught the attention of the hungriest predators of all: people! Once stripped of its venomous spines, cleaned, and filleted like any other fish, the lionfish becomes delectable seafood fare. NOAA scientists researching the lionfish’s spread and impact are now encouraging a seafood market as one way to mitigate the species’ impacts on reef communities.

    • Healthy Snack Invented on Indian Reservation Now Faces Stiff Corporate Competition

      The Pine Ridge Indian reservation is not the first place you’d look for good news about creating a new kind of economy that works for everyone.

      This corner of South Dakota includes several of the poorest counties in America, according to census figures. Ninety-seven percent of Pine Ridge’s Lakota Indian population lives below the federal poverty line, reports the American Indian Humanitarian Foundation. The unemployment rate is well over 50 percent.

      Yet these dire conditions—compounded by public health problems like diabetes and addiction—have not snuffed hope. Growing numbers of Pine Ridge residents are embracing their own traditions as a path toward healing and economic self-sufficiency.

      The Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, for instance, is moving forward on an ambitious set of projects, including a worker-owned construction company, a worker-owned IT firm and a farm to combat lack of access to nutritious food.

    • At Least Six Million Americans Are Drinking Toxic ‘Teflon Chemicals’ With Their Water

      PFOA and PFOS chemical compounds—including C8, popularly known as the Teflon chemical—are extremely dangerous to human health, and despite an EPA advisory released earlier this year and increasing calls for action, research shows they are near-ubiquitous in the United States.

      “Virtually all Americans are exposed to these compounds,” said Xindi Hu, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Harvard’s Department of Environmental Health, to the Post. “They never break down. Once they are released into the environment, they are there.”

      Moreover, the study also notes that research suggests “that exposure to these chemicals can make people sick, even at or below the concentration recommended as acceptable under the EPA health advisory,” according to the Gazette-Mail.

    • Researchers find unsafe levels of industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6 million Americans

      Drinking water supplies serving more than six million Americans contain unsafe levels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals linked to potentially serious health problems, according to a new study from Harvard University researchers.

      The chemicals — known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs — have been used for decades in a range of industrial and commercial products, including non-stick coatings on pans, food wrappers, water-repellent clothing and firefighting foam. Long-term exposure has been linked to increased risks of kidney cancer, thyroid problems, high cholesterol and hormone disruption, among other issues.

    • Experiments Involving GMO Animals Are Skyrocketing, Study Finds [Ed: In practice, as Monsanto makes abundantly evident, GMO is like a ploy for 'privatising' life (fauna after the flora experiment) for profit; a passageway to monopoly on life with patents]

      Experiments involving genetically engineered animals have nearly tripled in Germany in the past 10 years, driven by a burgeoning global industry that involves inventing and patenting genetically altered species for scientific research, says a new study commissioned by Germany’s Green Party and conducted by the research group Testbiotech.


      Ebner also told Süddeutsche Zeitung that he fears so-called “free trade” deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will lead to the worldwide dispersal of products from genetically modified animals.

      The newspaper observes that “meat and other products from genetically modified animals cannot be sold in Germany. [...] In other countries, however, among other things scientists are experimenting with altering the ingredients of milk by changing the genes of cows. For such experiments, embryos must be genetically altered and then implanted in a surrogate. The Testbiotech study notes that these experiments often involve pain and suffering, as such laboratory animals are frequently killed in order to remove cells or the genetically modified embryo.”

      It seems other countries have reason to worry, as the U.S. government continues to fight for pro-GMO legislation. Indeed, when President Obama last week signed into law a corporate-friendly GMO labeling bill, he “scratched out the laws of Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine that required the labeling of genetically engineered foods,” reports AlterNet.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Sultan and the Tsar: Erdogan Travels to Russia

      So the Sultan travels to see the Tsar at the royal seat of St Petersburg. And the Caliph of Damascus will watch from Syria with the conviction that Ba’ath Party policy has once again proved its worth. The policy? Wait. And wait. And wait.

      For just as Turkey’s power over Syria – its Pakistan-like role of conduit for Arab Gulf money and arms to the civil war, its smuggling routes to Isis, al-Qaeda (or Jabhat al-Nusra or Fatah el-Sham or whatever) – seemed an overwhelming threat to Damascus, along comes Turkey’s mysterious coup, its army neutered, and Sultan Erdogan scurrying off to St Petersburg to move his country from Nato to Mother Russia.

    • Will Nagasaki be the last use of nuclear weapons?

      Today is the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. Last week I was in Nagasaki, participating in a symposium on nuclear issues organised by Asahi Shinbun, Japan’s second largest national newspaper. I met several survivors of the Nagasaki bombing (known as Hibakusha), including Michiko Kano, whose son has just published a book about her experiences “15 year old Hibakusha: So as not to erase history”.

    • 71 Years Ago: When Truman Failed To Pause — And The Nagasaki War Crime Followed

      Seventy-one years after the twin atomic attacks on Japan, historians continue to debate whether the first bombing, over Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945, was justified, and whether it was even the most important factor in the country’s swift surrender. Many of those who still defend President Truman’s decision on that assault, however, consider the bombing of Nagasaki three days later completely avoidable, even a crime of war.

    • Planes land at Brussels, Toulouse after reported bomb alerts – Belgian media

      Two airplanes which were heading to Zaventem Airport in the Belgian capital, Brussels, had reported bomb alerts on Wednesday, according to national broadcaster VRT.

      Emergency services had been deployed at the airport, VRT reported.

      According to VRT, which cites the Belgian federal prosecutor, the threat was “serious enough to take action.”

    • ‘Kill Russians and Iranians, threaten Assad,’ says ex-CIA chief backing Clinton

      Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, who supports Hillary Clinton and insists that Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to “pay the price.”

    • The Stench of Raw Propaganda

      Washington was caught in a bind. In Iraq Washington was fighting ISIS, because ISIS was overthrowing Washington’s puppet in Iraq. However, in Syria Washington was supporting ISIS, often characterizing ISIS as “moderates” fighting to bring democracy to Syria. Now that ISIS is on the verge of total defeat in Syria, Washington’s whores among the “experts” want Russia punished for blocking Washington’s overthrow of Syria.

    • Shocking audio surfaces: Khomeini’s ex-heir acknowledges massacre of PMOI by Iran regime

      A shocking audio recording has been published for the first time of Khomeini’s former heir-apparent, Hossein-Ali Montazeri, acknowledging the brutal nationwide massacre in Iran in 1988 of activists of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK).

      Montazeri, who was subsequently dismissed as the heir by then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, is heard addressing a meeting with the “death committee,” comprised of Hossein-Ali Nayeri, the regime’s sharia judge; Morteza Eshraqi, the regime’s prosecutor; Ebrahim Raeesi, deputy prosecutor; and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, representative of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). He tells the death committee members: “The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you. Your (names) will in the future be etched in the annals of history as criminals.” He also added, “Executing these people while there have been no new activities (by the prisoners) means that … the entire judicial system has been at fault.”

      In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra-judicially executed 30,000 political prisoners held in jails across Iran. This massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by Khomeini. The Iranian regime has never acknowledged these executions or provided any information as to how many prisoners were killed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Eight Years After a Mercaptan Spill, Residents of Eight Mile, Alabama, Call For Evacuation

      Eight years after a mercaptan spill at a Mobile Gas facility in Eight Mile, Alabama, residents still affected by the spill are fighting back. “For years we have been told there is not a problem anymore, though the smell of gas never really goes away,” Eight Mile resident Geraldine Harper told DeSmog, “and I’m sure breathing that stuff is making my health worse.”

    • To Stop Climate Change, Don’t Just Cut Carbon. Redistribute Wealth.

      This year’s Democratic platform has the fingerprints of progressive movements all over it. A $15 minimum wage, a pathway to cannabis legalization, improvements to Social Security, police accountability, and financial reforms — including a tax on speculation — all make an appearance.

      The platform also highlights the critical link between climate and the economy. In particular, it argues that “carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities.”

      That’s a complicated way of saying that the cost of the harm done to people and the planet should be calculated into the price of energy generated by burning coal, oil, and gas. If these costs were factored into the price consumers pay at the pump or in their utility bills, it could make dirty energy expensive enough to change both consumer and industry behavior. And that, in turn, would make renewable energy much more cost-competitive.

    • Warren and Whitehouse: Exxon Climate Scandal a ‘Master Class’ in Corporate Rigging

      Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) have a thing or two to say to about efforts by Exxon, and their Republican henchmen, to shut down state probes into whether the oil giant deliberately misled the public about the connection between fossil fuels and climate change.

      “Let’s call this what it is: a master class in how big corporations rig the system,” the pair wrote in a searing op-ed published in the Washington Post late Tuesday.

      The senators lay out how the ongoing investigation by Massachusetts and New York attorneys general (AG) into potential crimes committed by ExxonMobil is “something state AGs do every day. Sometimes AGs uncover fraud and sometimes they don’t, but if the evidence warrants it, the question of fraud will be resolved in open court, with all the evidence on public display.”

      “But instead of applauding the AGs for doing their jobs,” Warren and Whitehouse continue, “this particular investigation against this particular oil company has brought down the wrath of congressional Republicans—and a swift effort to shut down the investigation before any evidence becomes public.”

    • Grounded 17,000-Ton Oil Rig Leaking Diesel Near Rare North Sea Habitat

      A 17,000-ton drilling rig had broken lose and was blown ashore on Scotland’s Isle of Lewis and officials warned on Wednesday that it is now leaking oil.

      According to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), two of the four holding tanks aboard the Transocean Winner have been damaged and are releasing an unknown amount of diesel oil. The rig was reportedly carrying 280 metric tonnes of oil.

      Environmentalists say that the accident, which occurred in the North Sea off Scotland’s outer Hebrides, highlights why offshore oil drilling is so risky and controversial, as it poses a grave threat to local ecosystems and economies.

      “Leaking diesel oil could create a serious problem for wildlife in such a sensitive area, which is often home to whales, dolphins and important seabirds,” said Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr. Richard Dixon. “The local community is dependent on tourism and fishing, both of which would be badly impacted by a serious spill.

    • Diesel oil leak from grounded rig Transocean Winner

      Two fuel tanks on the grounded drilling rig Transocean Winner have been breached, releasing an unknown amount of diesel oil.

      The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the rig at Dalmore beach, a beauty spot on the Isle of Lewis, was carrying 280 metric tonnes of the oil.

      It said two out of four tanks holding the oil appeared to have been damaged.

    • Humans Have Used All the Earth’s Resources for the Year

      As of yesterday, we’ve officially overspent nature’s resource budget, according to the Global Footprint Network, an international climate research organization. Metaphorically speaking, if Earth were a bank, we’d be in over our heads with overdraft fees.

      This year, “Earth Overshoot Day” fell on August 8, based on measurements of each nation’s withdrawal of natural capital. From carbon sinks to fisheries, humanity has taken more from nature than it’s been able to reproduce. Quite simply, we’re in environmental debt.

  • Finance

    • Little Britain, After Brexit: UK Plunges into the Deep End of the International Market

      There are many problems with this story, not the least being the very meaning of the word sovereignty. Indeed, in many senses, Brexit substantially reduces the sovereignty of the UK. Not only will the new everyday situation be a more costly version of business-as-usual, but Britain itself will also exist in a more dangerous environment of risk.

      Contrary to the tale of an independent, prosperous Britain is that of an isolated and exposed Britain – a vulnerable Britain, awash amid the harsh reality of the international market. This avoidable self-exposure gives the UK very little moreover as much of the regulatory regime, for instance, will continue as is or slightly rebranded since it is underwritten by WTO trade rules and EU market entry requirements (55% of UK exports).

      The challenges of globalism have been met by nations through regional and inter-regional associations, from Asia, the Americas, Africa and, of course, Europe.

      Russia and China continue to integrate their economies and have developed a cooperative network of nations in Asia and around the globe through groupings such as BRICS and its fledgling New Development Bank. This network was meant to include cooperation between China and the UK, viewed as the gateway to Europe, especially in financial services. Yet, with Brexit, China is re-assessing its investment strategy and commitments in the UK.

      With strength in numbers, nations have achieved a more tangible sovereignty, an existential security, if you will, through peaceful cooperation and sustainable development. Stronger and better trade deals have been negotiated, by the EU, for example, providing members with greater discretion for democratic self-governance.

      Of course, the UK could attempt to strengthen its own global network of nations, as with the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere. Yet, such fantastic hopes fly in the face of the reality of the current international order.

    • While in the White House, Economist Received Personal Loans From Top Washington Lawyer

      In 2011, Gene Sperling had a problem. He was working as President Obama’s chief economic advisor but his government salary did not cover his expenses. He and his wife lived in a Georgetown townhouse valued today at around $2 million, but did not have enough equity to qualify for a second mortgage or credit line. He didn’t want to sell the house and he wanted to keep working at a prestigious but relatively low-paid public service job.

      And so Sperling turned to a close friend from law school: Howard Shapiro. A top partner at the Washington powerhouse law firm WilmerHale, Shapiro had loaned Sperling money before and was willing to do so again. Sperling asked the White House Counsel’s office and the Office of Government Ethics for permission to borrow from Shapiro, whose firm frequently negotiates with the government on behalf of some of the nation’s leading corporations. Officials approved the transactions.

      So in 2011, Sperling borrowed between $100,000 and $250,000 from Shapiro at 5 percent, a rate that appears to be well below the interest banks charged at the time for comparable loans. Sperling listed his borrowing on his financial disclosure forms.

      In each of the next two years, Sperling went to Shapiro again, taking out two more loans that brought his debt to a total of between $300,000 and $600,000. (The forms require disclosure of a range, not specific figures.) The loans are unsecured. Sperling consolidated earlier loans from Shapiro, one made in 2006 and the 2011 loan, into the later ones.

    • Russia’s Weakness Is Its Economic Policy

      According to various reports, the Russian government is reconsidering the neoliberal policy that has served Russia so badly since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If Russia had adopted an intelligent economic policy, Russia’s economy would be far ahead of where it stands today. It would have avoided most of the capital flight to the West by relying on self-finance.

    • The State of Missouri Was Right to Say No Church Playground Renovations on the Taxpayers’ Dime

      In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, the Supreme Court will consider whether the state of Missouri violated the U.S. Constitution when it denied the church’s application for a cash grant to subsidize the cost of resurfacing its playground with recycled scrap-tire material. While, at first blush, this may appear to be a simple dispute about payments for playground improvements, it implicates one of our most essential, enduring constitutional commitments: the ban on direct government funding of houses of worship.

    • How Long Can Economic Reality Be Ignored?

      Yesterday I listened to the NPR presstitutes say how Trump pretends to be in favor of free trade but really is against it, because he is against all the free trade agreements such as NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic partnerships. The presstitutes don’t know that these are not trade agreements. NAFTA is a “give away American jobs” agreement, and the so-called partnerships give away the sovereignty of countries in order to award global corporations immunity from laws.

      As I have reported on many occasions, the Oligarchs’ government lies to us about everything, including economic statistics. For example, we are told that we have been enjoying an economic recovery since June, 2009, that we are more or less at full emploment with an unemployment rate of 5% or less, and that there is no inflation. We are told this despite the facts that the “recovery” is based on the under-reporting of the inflation rate, the unemployment rate is 23%, and inflation is high.

    • Rampaging Debt Collectors are Committing Highway Robbery

      Some corporations engage in such abusive consumer rip-offs that they’re just plain evil. But then there are some profiteers that dig even deeper into the dark void of their corporate souls to achieve the ultimate status: TRULY EVIL.

      Consider the gang of debt collection firms that are thugglishly and lawlessly rampaging across the country ruthlessly abusing consumer rights and common decency. Susan Macharia, a California administrative employee, is one of thousands of middle-income and low-wage workers each year who get robbed by these relentless money grabbers. Out of the blue, she got a rude call in January from a collector demanding she pay $10,000 for a credit card debt she ran up in 2003.

      Only, Ms. Macharia had no such debt. In fact, as she told the New York Times, she didn’t even have a credit card until 2013. Yet, the collection agency declared that it had a copy of a 2006 court judgement for non-payment filed against her, addressed to her California residence — so, pay up, or else! But wait, she lived in Atlanta in 2006, not California. Nonetheless, ignoring facts, the callous collection outfit got a court to rubber stamp an order to let the creditor garnish Macharia’s paycheck, effectively stealing $800 a month from her.

    • Free people from ‘dictatorship’ of 0.01%

      The only way to counter globalisation just a plot of land in some central place, keep it covered in grass, let there be a single tree, even a wild tree.” This is how dear friend and eminent writer Mahasweta Devi, who passed away on July 28, at the age of 90, quietly laid out her imagination for freedom in our times of corporate globalisation in one of her last talks.

      Our freedoms, she reminds us, are with grass and trees, with wildness and self-organisation (swaraj), when the dominant economic systems would tear down every tree and round up the last blade of grass.

      From the days we jointly wrote about the madness of covering our beautiful biodiverse Hindustan with monocultures of eucalyptus plantations, which were creating green deserts, to the work we did together on the impact of globalisation on women, Mahaswetadi remained the voice of the earth, of the marginalised and criminalised communities.

      She could see with her poetic imagination how globalisation, based on free trade agreements (FTAs), written by and for corporations, was taking away the freedoms of people and all beings. “Free trade” is not just about how we trade. It is about how we live and whether we live. It is about how we think and whether we think. In the last two decades, our economies, our production and consumption patterns, our chances of survival and the emergence of a very small group of parasitic billionaires, have all been shaped by the rules of deregulation in the WTO agreements.


      The TPP requires all its signatories to join UPOV 91. It allows patents on “inventions derived from plants” which would open the floodgates of bio-piracy, as in the case of neem, basmati and wheat. The TPP has sections on “biologicals” which covers biological processes and products, thus undoing the exclusions in the WTO TRIPS agreement. Given how there is a rush to patent and impose untested and hazardous vaccines, and new GMO technologies like gene editing and gene drives, it is clear that the TPP is the instrument for the next stage of bio-imperialism.

    • Trump Taj Mahal workers continue strike despite impending closure

      On a recent scorching Sunday afternoon in Atlantic City, New Jersey, more than two dozen striking workers from UNITE HERE Local 54 walked in a tight circle on the boardwalk in front of the Trump Taj Mahal chanting “Taj Mahal, on strike! If we don’t win, shut it down!”

      Casino workers walked off the job early on the morning of July 1 after contract negotiations between Local 54 and owner and multi-billionaire Carl Icahn failed.

      Last week, the strike, which is now the longest in Atlantic City since the first casino opened almost 40 years ago, was dealt a fatal blow. Taj Mahal Entertainment, the company that runs the casino, announced that it will close this fall due to lackluster profits and the negative impact of the strike on the casino’s bottom line.

      The struggle between Local 54 and Icahn over a number of worker concerns — including the lack of health care and pension benefits, along with mostly stagnant hourly wages — has been ongoing since Icahn assumed ownership of the casino this past March.

      Employees lost their health care and pension benefits 23 months ago when the casino’s previous owner, Avenue Capital Group, filed for bankruptcy in 2014, making workers at the Taj Mahal the first casino employees to go without heath care since the industry opened shop in Atlantic City in 1978.

    • America’s Racial Wealth Divide Is Nothing Short of Shocking

      The average wealth for white households is $656,000. For Latinos it’s $98,000, and for black households it’s just $85,000. The average wealth of black and Latinos combined still doesn’t come close to half of white wealth.

      And while white wealth continues to grow substantially, any gains in black and Latino wealth pale in comparison. Current estimates show that if nothing changes, the racial wealth divide will grow to $1 million by 2043.

    • ‘Personnel is Policy’: Progressives Urge Clinton to Avoid Wall Street Cabinet

      A coalition of progressive organizations published an open letter to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, urging her to keep Wall Street veterans out of her administration if she wins the presidency.

      The 15 signatories, which include advocacy groups, a labor union, a political party, and other organizations, wrote the letter to “reaffirm the importance of selecting executive branch appointees with a documented record of fighting for the public interest.”

      “Historically, too many Wall Street executives and corporate insiders have traveled through the revolving door between private industry and government,” the letter states. “The result of this practice is that the interests of elites are over-represented in Washington.”

      Earlier this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a report which found that Washington’s revolving-door system is part of what allows corporate crime to run rampant.

    • Trump Trade Position Is Opposite Of What People Think It Is

      But Trump is, after all, the Republican candidate. He is, after all, a businessman. He has, after all, openly expressed his wish to bring American wages down in the past and even voiced his plan to pit states against each other to accomplish that.

      So we should, after all, understand that a Republican businessman who has made it clear that he thinks wages need to go down does not suddenly have the best interests of American workers at heart. He is also a politician, and in this one instance he has learned to keep his mouth shut, at least when it comes to his argument that wages are too high. That doesn’t mean his argument has changed.

    • Groundbreaking Lawsuit Targets ‘Extortionist’ Cities Near Ferguson That Lock Poor People In Cages

      Civil rights lawyers sued 13 St. Louis-area cities in federal court on Tuesday, alleging they violated the constitutional rights of poor people by locking them in squalid jail cells in connection with minor traffic infractions ― a practice that contributed to the tension that boiled over in Ferguson two years ago after a police officer shot an 18-year-old to death.

      The lawsuit, filed on the two-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, targets the city of St. Ann and 12 smaller municipalities ― some with just a few hundred residents ― that use St. Ann’s jail to hold municipal debtors under what the lawsuit calls “inhumane” conditions.

    • Ferguson-Area Cities “Terrorizing” Poor Through Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons: Federal Lawsuit

      A new federal class-action lawsuit accuses 13 St. Louis-area municipalities of “terrorizing” poor, primarily African-American people through a “deliberate and coordinated conspiracy” by “creating a modern-day police state and debtors’ prison scheme that has no place in American society.”

      The non-profit ArchCity Defenders and the law firm Arnold & Porter filed the suit Tuesday, the same day as demonstrators were marking the two-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer.

      The U.S. Department of Justice released a report last year into Ferguson’s police practices, concluding that the department engaged in systematic targeting of African-American citizens, and “consistently set maximizing revenue as the priority for Ferguson’s law enforcement activity.”

      As the Guardian reports, “Tuesday’s suit describes how this revenue-focused policing model has continued apace in St. Louis County’s neighboring municipalities.”

    • Right-to-buy reform urged as council leaders fear for social housing

      Council leaders in England have called on the government to make urgent reforms to the right-to-buy scheme, after figures showed that the number of sold-off homes replaced by local authorities fell by more than a quarter last year.

      Analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) showed that 12,246 council homes were sold to tenants under right to buy in England in 2015-16, but just 2,055 replacements were started by councils – a drop of 27% on the previous year.

      The right-to-buy scheme allows low-income tenants to buy their council-owned home at a sizeable discount to market value. Since it was launched by Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s, almost 2m properties have been sold by councils across England and the proportion of homes that are social housing has fallen from 31% to 17%. Use of the scheme was slowing until the Conservative government relaunched the scheme in 2012 and quadrupled the discounts available to London tenants.

      Right to buy has been scrapped in Scotland and the Welsh assembly last week confirmed that it planned to do the same. The LGA said the scheme could become a thing of the past in England, too, if councils were not helped to fund replacement homes.

    • Everyone is quitting

      As an Amazon recruiter, I ask you to please believe everything you see on this site about how awful Amazon is as an employer. I read the online reviews before joining here, but I thought that I can overcome any of these situations and work anywhere for 4 years to maximize my stock payout. I was WRONG.

      For a company that prides itself on having smart employees, I reported to some of the worst managers in my entire career. All I learned from them was how to suck-up, lie, blame others, and cheat the performance numbers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Could crowdfunding – yes, crowdfunding – save journalism in partly free societies?

      For decades, journalists and activists have tried to break the stranglehold that repressive governments or plutocrats hold on media around the globe.

      During the Cold War, outlets such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Marti and Voice of America elbowed their way into the airless media environments of the Eastern bloc, Cuba and elsewhere to report on events censored in those countries and to offer an alternative view of the west.

      With the end (mostly) of the Cold War-era practices of signal-jamming and the expulsion of foreign journalists, free press groups changed their approach. They started training reporters in countries where newly free people and markets, and a newly accountable political class, were expected to lead to a robust, independent media scene.

    • CNN’s Brian Stelter Recalls Dating a Fox News Staffer Who Spied on Him for Roger Ailes

      The avalanche of news regarding Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment of female employees during his reign as chairman and CEO of Fox News includes shocking revelations of corporate coverup and retaliation against the women who reported the abuse. Over the weekend, a report by New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman exposed a Nixon-esque operation headed by Ailes that used Fox News funds to finance public relations and surveillance programs against reporters who threatened the embattled former CEO. And on Monday, CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter admitted when he was a young reporter fresh on the media beat, he dated a Fox News employee until he realized she was actually spying on him.

    • Former Cult Member Explains How Donald Trump and His Followers Are Just Like a Cult

      Kendal Unruh — a Republican delegate and high school teacher from Colorado — grew up in a religious cult, and that’s why she’s determined to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

      The 51-year-old Unruh, who was raised among members of The Move cult established by Sam Fife, said she knows what a cult leader looks like, and she said that perfectly describes the Republican presidential nominee.

    • Hillary Emails: Message in Private Server Betrayed Name of NSA Agent

      An email sent through Hillary Clinton’s private sever betrayed the name of the National Security Agency’s representative to the State Department.

    • Green Party candidate Jill Stein says we need a jobs program like the ‘New Deal’

      Green Party candidate Jill Stein told CNBC on Wednesday she is the only 2016 presidential nominee who is free to provide the medicine the economy needs.

      “As the only candidate that is not poisoned by corporate money lobbyists or super PACs, I can actually stand up for what it is we need,” she said in an interview on “Squawk Box.”

      She said the United States needs an emergency jobs program like the New Deal — “a green New Deal” to solve “the emergency of climate change,” and a cancellation of student debt to “liberate a generation to lead us forward to the economy of the future.”

      She said she would also make higher education free and make health care universal through a Medicare for all system.

    • A Conversation With Green Party Nominee Dr. Jill Stein

      As Bernie Sanders was at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia beseeching his backers to throw their support to Hillary Clinton or risk a Donald Trump presidency, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was outside with another message. Don’t compromise, she said. Vote for me. Vote for a green New Deal. Stein wants college debt forgiveness, free tuition, Medicare for all and an emergency transition to green energy, food, transportation. This hour On Point, the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

    • Donald Trump Suggests ‘Second Amendment People’ Could Act Against Hillary Clinton

      Donald J. Trump on Tuesday appeared to raise the possibility that gun rights supporters could take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton is elected president and appoints judges who favor stricter gun control measures.

      Repeating his contention that Mrs. Clinton wanted to abolish the right to bear arms, Mr. Trump warned at a rally here that it would be “a horrible day” if Mrs. Clinton were elected and got to appoint a tiebreaking Supreme Court justice.

      “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

    • State Dept. discussed favor for Clinton foundation donor

      CNN’s Drew Griffin explains the connections between Clinton family and aides, donors named in new emails sent during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State.

    • Debunking the media’s smear campaign against Green presidential candidate Jill Stein

      The surging fundraising and poll numbers for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein since the end of the Bernie Sanders campaign must be hitting a nerve, because Democratic insiders and the mainstream media are resorting to smear tactics.

    • The Great White Hype: No One Is Energizing the White Working Class, Not Even Donald Trump

      It has become an article of faith among political pundits that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is energizing the white working class.

      Trump is “rallying white working class voters,” Bill Schneider wrote for Reuters in December.

      The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote last year of Trump’s “popularity among working-class voters,” which has allowed him to appeal to voters former 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt “Romney couldn’t reach.”

      Political scientist Justin Gest wrote for Reuters that Trump “bluntly acknowledges an acute sense of loss that has been uniquely felt by the white working class.”

      This week alone, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said Trump could compete in Pennsylvania because of the “sort of white working class bastions that would provide him opportunities to win”; CNN political commentator Matt Lewis declared that Trump’s “populist, protectionist, anti-globalist trade politics … I think plays well with a lot of working class Americans out there”; and conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “The white poor, the white working class in America feels very cut out by elites like you and me,” but “Trump is tapping into them in a big way.”

    • The Fragility of American Democracy

      A top neocon excuse for invading other countries is to spread American-style “democracy,” but – amid all that carnage – there has been a steady erosion of U.S. democratic values, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Donald Trump Under Fire After Hinting Gun Owners Could Assassinate Hillary Clinton
    • Donald Trump and the ‘Banality of Evil’
    • Donald Trump’s Incendiary Language [Video: “Clinton in 2008 saying she won’t drop out of the primaries because if someone assassinates Obama she can still win”]

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is taking a P.R. pounding for a sloppy Second Amendment reference interpreted as calling for Hillary Clinton’s assassination, but what was his intent, asks Robert Parry.

    • Hillary Clinton and the Big (Neoliberal) Lie

      Today Hillary Clinton shamelessly presents herself as a friend of working people. She trots out the elites of organized labor, concerned primarily with their own positions atop demoralized and fragmented unions, and trumpets their endorsements of her. And even these working class backstabbers have to grit their teeth and smile as they kneel before the high priestess herself in hopes of eight more years of privileged relations and fine dining.

      But behind closed doors, everyone in America who even casually follows politics knows the truth: Hillary Clinton is a crusader for free trade and neoliberalism.

      And that’s precisely why Hillary’s anti-free trade posture at election time is so deeply cynical, to say nothing of the insult to working people. In 2007-2008, in the midst of a hotly contested primary campaign against then Senator Barack Obama, Clinton repeatedly claimed that she was anti-free trade, and critical of NAFTA. In a debate in late 2007, Clinton admitted that NAFTA had been a mistake “to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would.”

      Of course, these were just the populist sentiments that Clinton knew she needed to utilize in order to deceive organized labor, and the working class in general, that she was an ally, rather than a devout worshiper at the altar of the god of neoliberalism.

      After Obama became president and appointed Clinton Secretary of State she immediately reverted to being the great champion of free trade. Indeed, in her position as America’s top diplomat Clinton traveled the world preaching the gospel of free trade. And by this point she had a new holy scripture to tout: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      Clinton unabashedly lied during Democratic national debates on the issue of the TPP, saying that she now opposes it, despite having been in favor of it as late as 2012 when she said the TPP “sets the gold standard in trade agreements.” While she now masquerades as a protectionist opposing a deal that would be bad for working people, she has demonstrated her unflagging support for this type of so called free trade in the past.

    • Paul Ryan Won His Primary, but He’s Still the GOP’s Fading Star

      The only time we hear from Ryan anymore is when Donald Trump talks about him.

    • Behind the Booing: A Sanders Delegate Reflects on the DNC Protests

      It all started three weeks before the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which I was attending as a Bernie Sanders delegate from California. I started Los Angeles for Bernie in June of 2015, so going to the convention was the culmination of my year-long journey for Bernie. Little did I know that Sanders’ actions would leave a vacuum for me and my fellow delegates to fill.

      Like most supporters, I was disappointed to see Sanders endorse Hillary Clinton two weeks before the convention. When rumors started flying about this possibility, I lent my voice to try to stop it with an open letter to him. I knew it was in vain. It became clear that he had stopped fighting for the nomination after the primary in Washington, DC, when it was reported that he was not going to send a planned letter to the superdelegates, making the case that he was more likely to beat Donald Trump. Plus, when he decided to run as a Democrat, he had said he would support the eventual nominee. I just wasn’t expecting it to happen before the actual nomination. How many times had he said that it would be a contested convention?

    • From Resentment to Possibility: How Enjoyment Shapes the Political Imagination in Election 2016

      Since the nomination of both Trump and Hillary Clinton, another mode of enjoyment has emerged. With an apocalyptic narrative of a potential Trump presidency in place, some liberals and progressives are expressing outrage and condescension toward presumed allies who dare to support third-party candidates, or who are choosing to abstain from presidential election voting, or who, in some cases, are simply critiquing Clinton’s policies and practices. How can anyone in this moment not do the pragmatic and responsible thing and fully support the only candidate that can defeat pure evil?! How can they risk a Trump presidency?!

    • Russ Feingold Wins Wisconsin Primary to Take Back Senate Seat in November

      Russ Feingold won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat for Wisconsin on Tuesday, setting up a long-awaited face-off with incumbent Republican Ron Johnson in November.

      The Associated Press called the open primary just after 8pm on Tuesday. Feingold defeated businessman Scott Harbach of Kenosha to make it onto the ticket.

      “I’m incredibly grateful for the thousands of Wisconsinites who voted in today’s primary, and I’m proud to accept the Democratic nomination to serve the people of this state in the U.S. Senate,” Feingold said in a statement following the vote.

      Feingold represented Wisconsin in the Senate for 18 years before being ousted during a 2010 Tea Party wave that elected Johnson to his seat. In 2015, however, Politico described Johnson as “one of the most vulnerable incumbents on the 2016 Senate map.”

    • Heated Presidential Primary Lives on as Clinton Stumps for Wasserman Schultz

      “The Democratic presidential primary lives on in Florida’s 23rd congressional district,” the Miami Herald reported Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton paused her campaigning to endorse former party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is in the midst of a close primary fight with the Bernie Sanders-backed Tim Canova.

      Clinton appeared beside the embattled incumbent at her strip-mall campaign headquarters in Davie, Florida, telling supporters: “I have to have her in Congress, by my side, working day after day…And I am committed to doing whatever I can to support her as she returns to the Congress with your support.”

      “I really respect Debbie’s fighting spirit,” Clinton added.

      Indeed, Wasserman Schultz has quite a bit to contend with these days. Not only is her progressive challenger (her first primary opponent in 24 years) gaining traction, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair was forced to resign from her post last month after leaked emails showed the party improperly favoring Clinton over Sanders during the presidential primary.

      The emails validated accusations Sanders and his supporters made throughout his campaign. Following her resignation from the DNC, Clinton announced that Wasserman Schultz would now serve as her presidential campaign’s honorary chair.

      Those very same emails also prompted Canova’s campaign to file an official FEC complaint (pdf) against Wasserman Schultz on Monday, accusing her of using DNC resources to strategize against his congressional campaign.

      As the Sun Sentinel put it on Tuesday, “The Canova vs. Wasserman Schultz primary is a microcosm of the Sanders vs. Clinton presidential primaries.”

    • The Trump Cult Is One Without A Leader. Trump is Only Its Willing Figurehead

      The Trump phenomenon will be studied for decades. How could someone come out of nowhere, destroy a powerful field of veterans in politics, take the party’s nomination with ease, then go down to lose in one of the biggest election landslides (my current forecast says 18% loss in November, that is based on the situation August 1, before the latest week of more Trumpian madness). But yes, WHY is Trump behaving this way. What is going on. Why is he so bizarre and why are his supporters like they are, etc. Its baffling. So I have a fresh theory. Trump is in front of a cult which he did not create, and he does not lead: he is only their figurehead.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook Deletes ExtraTorrent Official Page And Disables User Accounts

      Facebook has removed the official page of ExtraTorrent. The social network has taken this step against ExtraTorrent after repeated complaints from copyright holders. Facebook has also disabled the accounts of users who were moderating the Facebook page.

    • Censor board ‘cuts’ that made headlines

      Reportedly, two mild cusswords have been deleted from ‘Rustom’ which has been conferred with a UA certificate.

    • Belarus: Government uses accreditation to silence independent press

      Despite repeated calls by international organisations for reform, Belarus’ regime for press accreditation continues to help the government maintain its monopoly on information in one of the world’s most restrictive environments for media freedom.

      The government of president Aleksandr Lukashenko uses the Law on Mass Media to control who reports and on what in an arbitrary procedure that is open to manipulation. While Article 35 sets out journalists’ rights to accreditation, Article 1 of the law defines the process as: “The confirmation of the right of a mass medium’s journalists to cover events organised by state bodies, political parties, other public associations, other legal persons as well as other events taking place in the territory of the Republic of Belarus and outside it.”

      By outlining credentialing as a system providing privileges for journalists, Belarus’ accreditation structure is contrary to international standards. The law allows public authorities to choose who covers them by approving or refusing accreditation. It also denies accreditation to journalists who do not work for recognised media outlets. Even journalists who report for foreign outlets must be full-time employees to be able to be accredited by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

      In practice, the law blocks freelance journalists or independent media outlets from covering the activities of the government and makes accreditation a requisite for a career in journalism. Only journalists who work for state-run outlets are accredited to report on state ministries, parliament or local governments.

    • NFL Cuts Out Shout-Out To St. Louis In HoF Speech YouTube Upload, Streisand Effect Takes Over

      The NFL is almost a perfect study in how the combination of an attempt at strict control of its content and a complete lack of understanding of the Streisand Effect will produce the opposite of the intended result. Past versions of this have included the NFL’s insane claim of copyright on the only footage that exists of the original Super Bowl, meaning nobody actually gets to see the footage, as well as the league’s attempt to bury an ESPN documentary about head trauma as it relates to football. In both cases, the NFL comes out looking petty at best, and much worse in the case of trying to hide the negative health effects of the game from the parents of children who might otherwise play it.

      But even that kind of evil and petty takes a back seat to the NFL deciding to cut out a portion of Orlando Pace’s Hall of Fame induction speech in which he gives a shout-out to the city of St. Louis, former host of the Rams.

    • Apple Patents Remote ‘Kill Switch’ for iPhone Cameras

      What to do about all those darn videos showing cops murdering people?

      They make it much harder for law enforcement to lie about their own actions, and just get everyone all fired up. Why not ask Apple (for starters) to build in a “feature” on a future generation of iPhones that will allow cameras to be disabled remotely?

      A patent granted to Apple this month details technology that remotely disables iPhone cameras using infrared sensors. Someone you do not know and cannot see will be able, without your permission, to disable the camera on a phone you own and are legally using, perhaps to take video of your son’s Little League game, perhaps to take video of a police officer choking to death an innocent man.

    • Russia Plans Social Media Piracy Crackdown

      Authorities in Russia are planning new legislation that could see a crackdown on users uploading pirated content to social networks. Also under consideration are measures to ban advertising from infringing sites and block subscription-based platforms from processing user payments.

    • Lubdhak Chatterjee: Censorship is supremely regressive which can only take the society backwards

      Hailing from Delhi, engineering student Lubdhak Chatterjee had never dreamt that his first short film ‘In A Free State’ will be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and will be received so well. In an exclusive interview with the TimesofIndia.com, the aspiring bundle of talent spoke about how he made the cut, censorship issues and much more.

    • Sarah Snook speaks out against censor

      ACTOR Sarah Snook has spoken about her involvement in a controversial documentary that was heavily censored after a politician took court action against the film.

    • Anurag Kashyap Excited to Deliver Master Class on Censorship at Melbourne Film Fest
    • Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s ‘Raman Raghav 2.0′ to be screened at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne
    • Localist Edward Leung gets 24-hour Facebook ban after posting video of men following him
    • Hong Kong Leading Writer’s Dismissal Draws Comments About Censorship
    • Nathan Law: Officials adopting double standards on poll leaflets
    • Why more Hong Kong people are supporting Taiwan independence
    • Why Olympics will no longer serve to promote patriotism in HK
    • Legco elections: Another de facto referendum
    • Spotlight on Hong Kong Independence
    • Hong Kong’s independence movement is also a rebellion against the “old seafood” generation

      Ho concluded that Lu Ting was the perfect symbol for the cultural identity of Hong Kong because of its ability to navigate two different worlds: Hong Kong, as a British colony, was somewhere in between China and Britain. So culturally speaking, the city did not belong to either of them.

      When Hong Kong was ceded to the British after the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, China was an economically backward place, closed off from the rest of the world. Hong Kong successfully harnessed the role of an in-betweener, thriving on the great discrepancies between China and the rest of the world.

      As China plunged into a long period of chaos and darkness, Hong Kong acted as a safe haven for those fleeing the Chinese civil war, and later Mao’s Cultural Revolution—just like the story of Lu Tings. Those who arrived before 1949 brought their capital, talent, and even treasures such as antiques to the city, providing the resources that helped Hong Kong’s entertainment and manufacturing industries take off.

    • Twitter user’s account shut down after posting Olympic videos
    • Twitter user’s account taken out after posting Olympic videos
    • Here Is The End Result Of The USOC And NBC’s Over-Protectionist Olympic Nonsense

      When it comes to intellectual property bullying, the unholy alliance between the USOC and NBC seems to be trying to see exactly how far it can push things. Between NBC’s “most live ever” broadcast of the games that still has unnecessary delays in both its television and streaming product and the USOC’s strange belief that companies that sponsor athletes year-round somehow can’t tweet out factual results or news images of those athletes as it relates the games due to trademark law, it’s enough to make you laugh.

      But it’s not only the antics of the USOC and NBC that is chuckle-worthy. Local sports coverage of the Olympics is too, thanks to the laughable restrictions NBC has put in place. Here’s my hometown sports anchor, for instance, who came up with a creative way to cover the Olympics by not covering them at all in protest.

    • Photographer explores emoji censorship and the artistic nude
    • Donald Trump gets a harsh lesson on self-censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • You don’t have Freedom of Speech without Privacy

      Freedom of Speech is the idea that you can discuss ideas without fear of harassment. But the judicial protection is actually quite weak; it only protects you from repercussions from your government. In order to allow society to discuss forbidden ideas, ideas that may turn out to be in the right, a much wider Freedom of Speech is needed: one that requires Privacy.

      Freedom of Speech comes in two flavors: the strict, judicial definition, and the other definition that actually matters to the development of society.

      The judicial, lexical definition says Freedom of Speech is a right against your government, and not against your peers. It says that your government may not punish you for any opinion you express. It usually comes with a very large list of exceptions, which makes the first statement kind of false: in Germany, you may not express a long list of hate speech, in Turkey, you may not say that the genocide of Armenians was a genocide (or pretend it happened at all), and so on. This definition of Freedom of Speech is the right usually enshrined in constitutions and bills of rights around the world, like the First Amendment in the United States (which has a very strong Freedom of Speech against the government in an international comparison).

    • How did Facebook get my number? And why is it giving my name out to strangers?

      Facebook thrives on data, prodding users to provide it with their memories, cherished moments and relationships. And for years, it has badgered users into handing out their phone numbers.

      More recently, however, it has taken a different tack – taking mobile numbers from other, less direct, sources and adding them to profiles. Users who don’t willingly give the company their mobile number are now asked to verify one that Facebook “thinks” is yours.

      This has shocked some users who, having not given the app permission to see their contacts, wondered how it had got hold of their numbers.

    • Oh well, looks like Facebook just got all anti-user

      Earlier today Facebook announced that it would start trying to circumvent users with ad-blocking software and show them ads. This is an unfortunate move, because it takes a dark path against user choice. But it’s also no reason to overreact: cat-and-mouse games in tech have been around as long as spammers have tried to circumvent spam filters.

      But you kind of have to wonder about the thinking that went into this decision. I mean, let’s also not forget something their blog post said: “When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads.” So if that’s true, Facebook apparently agrees that users have a good reason for using ad-blocking software … but yet those users shouldn’t be given the power to decide what they want to block themselves?

      In any case, it’s hard to imagine Facebook or the brands that are being advertised on its site getting any sort of value for their ad dollar here: publishers (like Facebook) alienate their audience and advertisers (the brands) allow their cherished brand name to be shoved down people’s throats. Yikes.

    • Botnet Bill Could Give FBI Permission To Take Warrantless Peeks At The Contents Of People’s Computers

      What would normally be awarded an expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment becomes subject to the “plain view” warrant exception. If a passerby could see into the house via the broken blinds, there’s nothing to prevent law enforcement from enjoying the same view — and acting on it with a warrantless search.

      Of course, in this analogy, the NIT — sent from an FBI-controlled server to unsuspecting users’ computers — is the equivalent of a law enforcement officer first entering the house to break the blinds and then claiming he saw something through the busted slats.

      The DOJ may be headed into the business of breaking blinds in bulk. Innocuous-sounding legislation that would allow the FBI to shut down botnets contains some serious privacy implications.

    • New Cache of 2003 NSA Internal Communications Published in Snowden Archive

      The second batch of articles leaked from the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Signals Intelligence Directorate internal newsletter, SIDtoday, was published by The Intercept.

    • NSA leaks show worries over intelligence gaps, training tips for media leaks

      Among the latest batch of internal NSA documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden are tips for analysts on what to notice about media leaks, playing catch-up over intelligence, and medical surveillance. TrendsNSA leaks.

    • Iraqi Insurgents Stymied the NSA and Other Highlights from 263 Internal Agency Reports
    • How the U.S. Spies on Medical Nonprofits and Health Defenses Worldwide

      As part of an ongoing effort to “exploit medical intelligence,” the National Security Agency teamed up with the military-focused Defense Intelligence Agency to extract “medical SIGINT” from the intercepted communications of nonprofit groups starting in the early 2000s, a top-secret document shows.

    • 263 Internal NSA Documents Published From Snowden Archive

      Two hundred sixty-three internal National Security Agency documents were made public on Wednesday with the publication of articles from the agency’s Signals Intelligence Directorate newsletter leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    • 4-Star General, Former Director of CIA and NSA on Donald Trump: ‘He has a sense of autocrat envy’

      Four Star General and the only man to hold both the position of Director of the NSA and Director of the CIA, Michael Hayden joins Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes to talk about why he doesn’t believe Donald Trump is right for America.

    • Ex-CIA/NSA Chief Questions Clinton, Trump Fitness to Work With US Intelligence

      The US intelligence community will face challenges working with the next president, whether it is Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael Hayden said on Wednesday.

    • Tor can be cracked “like eggshells”, warns US judge

      A US judge has put into the public record, during a hearing in Tacoma, Washington, an interesting pair of comments about Tor.

      Tor, of course, is the so-called onion router network, originally designed by the US Navy as a technique for using the public internet in an anonymous way.

      End-to-end encryption, such as you get when you point your browser at an HTTPS site like Naked Security, is good for confidentiality: eavesdroppers can’t keep track of which pages you’re most interested in, or sneakily sniff out your email address when you publish a comment.

      HTTPS is also important for authenticity, so that when you visit Naked Security, you know that you really are reading our site, rather than content provided by a bunch of imposters.

      But anonymity depends on more than that: you might not want an eavesdropper to know that you visited Naked Security at all.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Murdered by a SWAT Team for Traffic Tickets: Inside the Police Killing of Black Mother Korryn Gaines

      In New York City on Monday, more than 100 people marched to protest the recent police killing of 23-year-old African-American mother Korryn Gaines in Maryland after what Balitmore police say was an armed standoff. Police were at Gaines’s apartment to execute an arrest warrant related to a traffic violation. They initially said they entered Korryn Gaines’s apartment with a key obtained from her landlord. But court documents say police kicked down the door. Once the police entered the apartment, Korryn Gaines was live-streaming the standoff via Facebook before her account was shut down. Police say they killed Gaines after she pointed a shotgun at them. Police also say they shot her 5-year-old son, Kodi Gaines, who suffered an injury to his cheek but survived. We speak to protesters in New York and to Charlene Carruthers, the national director of the Black Youth Project 100.

    • Does poverty cause crime?

      Socio-economic determinism is inadequate as an explanation of criminality.

      I was 12 years old when I got a letter from my father saying that he was due to serve a three month prison sentence for getting caught for drunk driving, having already lost his licence for the same thing the previous month. He had done stints of a year or two before, and although I haven’t seen him since, when I try to imagine him today I think of him in jail. Fraud and violence were characteristic of his behavior—whereas my criminal record consists of the £20 fine I got for running a red light on my bicycle.

      Objectively I’m innocent compared to my father, but subjectively it feels like I’m serving a suspended sentence for crimes myself. Like many other people, I need to know that I’m not like my dad, but it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen him. His photographs are bleached, and I don’t know enough about him to know why we are different. So I tell myself that I didn’t have to endure the degree of hardship that he did growing up in Liverpool 65 years ago. Perhaps the scarcity of his early life made transgression seem necessary, whereas living within the law hasn’t caused me any real disadvantage.

      Holding fast to this sort of socio-economic determinism makes me feel a little more immune from inheriting the sins of my father, since if his crimes were borne of a poverty that I haven’t shared then I won’t be part of his sin either, or so goes my own personal lore. Not wanting to be like him has shaped my politics: I believe that if government supported people in poverty more effectively then there would be less people in his situation, and less crime.

    • Judge Says Stash House Sting Operations Allow Prosecutors To Be Judge, Jury, And Executioner

      The question the government doesn’t want to answer is whether we’re better off pursuing fake criminals or capturing the real ones. Law enforcement does both, but sting operations — both of the terrorist and the drug variety — have been increasing over the years, turning officers and agents into actors and stage directors.

      The FBI has been crafting “terrorists” from a collection of outcasts, retirees, and the developmentally disabled for years. Canada’s law enforcement is just as willing to score on unguarded nets, traipsing happily over the line between “highly questionable” and “actual entrapment” in its own terrorist “investigations.”

      The ATF and DEA have combined forces to drag weapons into drug dealing using elaborate sting operations to entice no small number of people to get prepped to rob a nonexistent stash house of imaginary drugs. This would be bad enough, as it often appears the ATF is willing to bust anyone that engages in speculation about stash house robberies. Adding insult to injury, the federal government recommends sentences based on the fake amount of fake drugs not actually found in the fake stash house suspects talked about robbing.

    • Woman accidentally killed during ‘shoot, don’t shoot’ training exercise at police department

      A woman was shot to death during a “shoot or don’t shoot” training exercise Tuesday at the Punta Gorda Police Academy, according to police.

      Punta Gorda police Chief Tom Lewis said the woman was “mistakenly struck with a live round” during a Citizens Academy scenario designed to simulate the use of lethal force. It’s not clear how the apparent fatal ammunition mix-up occurred.

      The woman, identified as Mary Knowlton, was randomly selected to participate in the exercise as roughly 35 people watched.

    • DOJ Report on Baltimore Police Is ‘Stunning Catalog of Discrimination’

      The relationship between Baltimore residents and their police force is “broken,” according to a new U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report that details a pattern and practice of racial discrimination in the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

      The DOJ civil rights probe, launched in the wake of Freddie Gray’s 2015 killing, found that Baltimore police routinely violated residents’ constitutional rights by using excessive force, making unlawful stops and arrests, and “using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches, and arrests of African Americans.”

      The document—which will be officially released Wednesday and was leaked to news outlets Tuesday night—pinned the blame on “systemic deficiencies at BPD,” including failure to provide officers with sufficient training and to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

    • Justice Department report: Baltimore police routinely violated civil rights

      Baltimore police routinely violated the constitutional rights of residents by conducting unlawful stops and using excessive force, according to the findings of a long-anticipated Justice Department probe to be released Wednesday.

      The practices overwhelmingly affected the city’s black residents in low-income neighborhoods, according to the 163-page report. In often scathing language, the report identified systemic problems and cited detailed examples.

      The investigators found that “supervisors have issued explicitly discriminatory orders, such as directing a shift to arrest ‘all the black hoodies’ in a neighborhood.”

    • DOJ Finally Going To Force Law Enforcement Agencies To Hand Over Info On People Killed By Police Officers

      At long last, the federal government is getting serious about tracking the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.

      For most of the last two decades, the DOJ has been collecting this information from local law enforcement agencies, but only on a voluntary basis. As a result, the federal numbers have nearly no relation to the real numbers — which have been compiled by a handful of private actors, including The Guardian, a UK-based journalistic entity.

      Last June, legislators introduced a bill (that promptly went nowhere) which would replace voluntary reporting with mandatory reporting. The FBI expressed its concern about the government’s inability to collect accurate information on citizens killed by police officers, offering on multiple occasions to replace its voluntary system with a better voluntary system.

    • 4 Years Later, Sweden Accepts Ecuador’s Offer to Hear Assange

      Sweden made a formal request to interview Assange in Ecuador’s London Embassy in June, a shift in policy that could mark an end to the stalemate.

      More than four years after Ecuador offered Swedish authorities the opportunity to interview Julian Assange in the nation’s London Embassy, a deal appears to have been struck Wednesday after Ecuador’s attorney general responded positively to a request from the Swedish government to interview the WikiLeaks founder in the building.

    • Marvelous City, Militarized City

      Roughly 85,000 personnel, including Army and National Force troops, have been deployed in Rio de Janeiro to maintain — or at least maintain the illusion of — security for the Olympic Games. Assault rifles and armored vehicles, that have long been part of the daily routine in most marginalized and repressed areas, now also occupy the elite, picturesque slivers of the “Marvelous City” frequented by tourists. For foreign visitors, at times, it can be difficult to determine if Rio is currently the host of a massive celebration or a war zone.

    • Vindication for Baltimore Police Critics — But No Action

      There is the woman being publicly strip-searched after being stopped for a missing headlight. There are the officers coercing sex from prostitutes in exchange for avoiding arrest, planting drugs on people they stopped, cursing “shut the fuck up bitch” because they are “the fucking law.” There is the supervisor telling officers “to arrest ‘all the black hoodies’ in a neighborhood.” There are officers using templates for arrests where they only had to fill in dates and names — the words “black male” were already inked in.

      Running to 163 pages, the Department of Justice report on the ongoing abuse inflicted upon African Americans by the Baltimore police is full of stories like these.

      The investigation was started shortly after Freddie Gray died of a severed spine after officers tossed him into a police van following a possibly illegal stop. Just last month, prosecutors dropped all charges against the remaining officers facing trial for Gray’s death after the first cases ended in acquittals.

    • Canadian police “manufactured” terror plot to ensnare couple

      In a damning judgment, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce ruled Friday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) broke the law and “manufactured” a terrorism plot as part of a months-long entrapment operation that ended in a Vancouver-area couple being arrested and ultimately sentenced to life in prison.

      John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested July 1, 2013 and accused of planting bombs on the grounds of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria.

      But Justice Bruce found that the couple would never have taken any action had it not been for the active encouragement and coercion of undercover RCMP officers. “This was not a situation in which the police were attempting to disrupt an ongoing criminal enterprise,” declared Bruce in her 210-page judgment. “Rather, the offences committed by the defendants were brought about by the police and would not have occurred without their involvement. By any measure, this was a clear case of police-manufactured crime.”

      Undercover officers posing as Islamist extremists, befriended the isolated couple, who were recent converts to Islam, and encouraged them to act on statements they had made decrying the killing of Muslims in US-led wars and threatening to wage jihad and die as martyrs for Islam. Subsequently, the police suggested and facilitated the legislature bomb plot, removing obstacles that the police themselves acknowledged Nuttall and Korody would not have been able to overcome alone, and going so far as threaten them when they appeared reluctant to proceed.

    • These States Wanted to Keep Communities of Color From Voting, but the Courts Said No, That’s Discriminatory

      We assume every American adult has a basic right: to vote. But state legislators in recent years have created barriers that limit that right. They have restricted the forms of ID voters must provide, eliminated same-day registration, and narrowed time periods for voting — mainly affecting people of color.

      Now the tide is changing for voting rights, as judges in cases in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, and North Dakota have ruled that the states’ restrictions discriminate on the basis of race. In Kansas, courts ruled that voters need not provide citizenship documentation.

    • The Government’s Own Rules Show Why Watchlists Make Bad Policy

      Politicians of all stripes have been embracing watchlists lately.

      Legislators in both parties have proposed using the watchlisting system to regulate gun purchases — an approach that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support. Others have been even less burdened by legal or constitutional concerns. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), for instance, proposed immediately deporting all immigrants who are on watchlists, and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani called for forcing Muslims who are on watchlists to wear electronic location monitoring tags.

    • Killer Instincts: When Police Become Judge, Jury and Executioner

      Any police officer who shoots to kill is playing with fire.

      In that split second of deciding whether to shoot and where to aim, that officer has appointed himself judge, jury and executioner over a fellow citizen. And when an officer fires a killing shot at a fellow citizen not once or twice but three and four and five times, he is no longer a guardian of the people but is acting as a paid assassin. In so doing, he has short-circuited a legal system that was long ago established to protect against such abuses by government agents.

      These are hard words, I know, but hard times call for straight talking.

      We’ve been dancing around the issue of police shootings for too long now, but we’re about to crash headlong into some harsh realities if we don’t do something to ward off disaster.

    • World Social Forum in Montreal: “Another world is once again being constructed without Africa”

      After having carefully prepared their applications over the past year, travelled to sometimes distant Canadian embassies and consulates and paid fees to Canada, to the WSF organization (entry fees, site rental fees for their conferences or workshops, equipment charges, interpretation fees, and various other charges), as well as thousands in flight, hotel and other transport and accommodation costs, at least 234 community organization leaders and representatives were denied visitor visas to attend and give presentations at the international conference, including persons who were invited and had Canadian sponsors.

    • Olympics spat as Lebanese stop Israelis joining them on bus

      The Israeli and Lebanese Olympics teams became involved in a heated argument about access to a bus to the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Games.

      Both sides acknowledged Saturday that Israeli athletes were blocked from boarding a bus packed with the Lebanon team on Friday but they are at odds over the reasons for the actions of the head of the Lebanese delegation.

    • Olympic Tensions Offer a Window Into Lebanese History

      The beginning of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was marked by a now widely publicized situation in which Lebanese athletes refused to share the same bus with their Israeli counterparts before the opening ceremony. While there are different accounts of how the incident developed, it appears that the Lebanese delegation prevented the Israeli athletes from entering the bus. Competing explanations suggest that the reason for this was that the bus was specifically designated for the Lebanese team, or that there were many other buses, or that the Israeli team was trying to cause trouble, or that the nine Lebanese athletes did not want to share a bus with the 47 Israelis.

    • ‘Not a Good Day for Democracy’: Senate Approves Impeachment Trial for Brazil’s Rousseff

      Brazil’s Senate on Wednesday voted to hold an impeachment trial for suspended President Dilma Rousseff, an effort that could mark the end of 13 years of rule by her leftist Workers’ Party.

      “Today is not a good day for our democracy,” said Senator Paulo Rocha, an ally of the nation’s first female president. He added that “there is a political alliance that smells of a coup” working against her.

      Rouseff is accused of breaking budget laws, though the federal prosecutor last month found that she did not commit a crime.

      The 59-21 vote marks “the final step before a trial and vote on whether to remove her from office,” the Associated Press reports.

      “A verdict is expected at the end of the month and will need the votes of two-thirds of the Senate to convict Rousseff, five votes less than her opponents mustered on Wednesday,” Reuters reports.

      Rousseff has been suspended since May when the senate voted to start an impeachment trial against her. That meant then-Vice President Michel Temer became interim president. If Rousseff is removed, the unelected, right-of-center Temer would serve until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.

    • Brazil Senate sends suspended president Dilma Rousseff to trial

      Brazil’s Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to put suspended President Dilma Rousseff on trial, bringing the nation’s first female president a step closer to being permanently removed and underscoring her failure to change lawmakers’ minds the last several months.

      After some 15 hours of debate, senators voted 59-21 to put her on trial for breaking fiscal rules in her managing of the federal budget. It was final step before a trial and vote on whether to definitively remove her from office, expected later this month. The political drama is playing out while Rio de Janeiro is hosting the Olympic Games, which run through Aug. 21.

    • Each Other’s Keepers: The Right to Record

      With the ongoing police killings of unarmed African-Americans – and the little-reported, all-too-common police targeting, harassment and arrest of those who record them – dozens of high-profile documentary filmmakers have published an open letter calling on their community to defend those citizen journalists who have “shattered America’s myth of racial equality (and) moved white Americans closer to conscience and consciousness.” Signatories to the letter, organized by “(T)ERROR” director David Felix Sutcliffe and published at The Talkhouse, include Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney and many other prize-winning filmmakers, some of whom have won Courage Under Fire awards for making politically explosive works. All stand behind what Sutcliffe calls their “core belief that images have insurmountable power” to create change, and demand accountability.

    • More Than 115,000 Decry ‘Egregious Miscarriage of Justice’ in Manning Case

      Decrying new charges faced by Chelsea Manning related to her July suicide attempt as “sadistic and outrageous,” supporters delivered more than 115,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning on Wednesday calling for any additional punishment to be dropped.

      As Common Dreams reported, army officials recently informed the imprisoned whistleblower that she is being investigated for new charges related to her July 5th attempt to take her own life. If convicted of these “administrative offenses”—which include “resisting the force cell move team,” “conduct which threatens,” and “prohibited property”—she could be placed in indefinite solitary confinement for the remainder of her decades-long sentence or lose access to the phone and the law library at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas military prison.

      This comes on top of existing allegations that Manning, a transgender woman, has been denied healthcare and other rights while serving out her sentence in a male prison.

    • Chelsea Manning Supporters Demand Army End Punishment For Surviving Suicide Attempt

      Supporters of United States military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and one of her defense attorneys demanded the Secretary of Army drop administrative charges brought against her. The charges stem from a suicide attempt while in prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

      Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, RootsAction, and Care2 circulated a petition and obtained over 115,000 signatures, which were delivered to the Secretary of Army this morning. They contend the Army is essentially punishing her for surviving her suicide attempt.

    • Qatar wanted a team for the Rio Olympics, so it headhunted one

      Marko Bagaric, a 204 centimetres, shiny-headed barrel of an athlete, stood alongside his teammates before the start of their Olympic opener. The Croatian-born handball player remained silent during the playing of his country’s national anthem.

      That was probably the toughest part, as Bagaric was wearing the uniform of a different country at the time.

    • Twitter is not legally responsible for the rise of ISIS, rules California district court

      A lawsuit accusing Twitter of providing material support to ISIS has been dismissed by a California District Court. First filed in January, the lawsuit argued ISIS’s persistent presence on Twitter constituted material support for the terror group, and sought to hold Twitter responsible for an ISIS-linked attack on that basis.

      Filed by the family of an American contractor named Lloyd Fields, the lawsuit sought damages from an ISIS-linked attack in Jordan that claimed Fields’ life. The plaintiff’s initial complaint alleged widespread fundraising and recruitment through the platform, attributing 30,000 foreign actors recruited through ISIS Twitter accounts in 2015 alone.

      The judge assigned to the case was ultimately not swayed by that reasoning, finding that the plaintiffs had not offered a convincing argument for holding Twitter liable. The plaintiff will have the chance to submit a modified version of the complaint within 20 days of the order, the second such modification ordered by the judge.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Internet access is now a human right: part 3 – Chips with Everything tech podcast

      On 1 July the United Nations resolved that access to the internet is to be considered a basic human right. While this decision may seem straightforward, with the complex nature of human rights law considered, the resolution is far from simple.

      In the face of the UN’s resolution, in part three of our series, we flip the coin and look at the the threats to net neutrality and unrestricted internet access. For this deep dive, we consult with the CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, Anne Jellema and director of strategy for Free Press, Tim Karr.

    • Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC Attempt To Eliminate Protectionist State Broadband Laws

      For years we’ve discussed how incumbent broadband providers protect their duopoly by writing and lobbying for awful protectionist state laws. These laws, passed in nineteen different states, either significantly hamstring or outright ban towns and cities looking to build their own networks, or strike public/private partnerships with companies like Google Fiber. In most instances, these towns and cities only jumped into the broadband business after being under-served for a decade — if they were able to get broadband in the first place.

      While it was overshadowed by the net neutrality vote at the time, back in February the FCC voted 3-2 to try and take aim at the most restrictive parts of these laws. The FCC argued that it could use its authority under Section 706 of the Communications act — which requires the FCC to ensure “reasonable and timely” deployment of broadband access — to pre-empt these restrictions working in contrast to that goal. But North Carolina and Tennessee quickly sued, arguing that preventing them from letting AT&T and Comcast write awful state laws violated their state rights.

    • U.S. court blocks FCC bid to expand public broadband

      A federal appeals court said on Wednesday the U.S. Federal Communications Commission could not block two states from setting limits on municipal broadband expansion, a decision seen as a win for private-sector providers of broadband internet and a setback for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

      Cities in Tennessee and North Carolina had sought to expand municipal broadband networks beyond current boundaries, but faced laws forbidding or placing onerous restrictions on the expansions.

    • Win for Telecom Giants as Court Puts Dagger in Municipal Broadband
    • States win the right to limit municipal broadband, beating FCC in court

      The FCC in February 2015 voted to block laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. The FCC, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, claimed it could preempt the laws because Congress authorizes the commission to promote telecom competition by removing barriers to investment.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Norwegian Supreme Court: no “retransmission” without “transmission”

      This judgment has the apparent potential to undermine the position of collecting societies and umbrella groups such as Norwaco. If transmissions of the same intellectual content sent to distributors via fibre optic encryption and then broadcast publicly on usual cable connections are not characterised as retransmissions, revenue could be channelled away from collecting societies, with a shift towards the rightholders negotiating content distribution for themselves.

      There are additional possible considerations of compliance with international obligations including Berne and TRIPS which may arise in a future dispute which speaks to the fundamental aspects of the author’s exclusive rights, but were not examined in detail in this case. What do Kat readers think – will transmission/retransmission disputes rear up in the era of simultaneous internet television transmission?

    • Copyrights

      • As Expected Judge Upholds His Own Problematic Ruling Concerning Cox’s Repeat Infringer Policy & The DMCA

        For nearly two years now, we’ve been following an important DMCA-related case between music publisher BMG and the ISP Cox Communications. While the issues are a bit down in the weeds, what it really comes down to is a question of whether or not internet access providers are required to have a “repeat infringer” policy that removes customers who are seen to have been engaged in too much copyright infringement. Most people had assumed that the DMCA’s requirements for a repeat infringer policy only applied to hosting providers — i.e., those who help people host content — as opposed to transit providers, who are merely providing the connectivity. In this case, though, that important nuance seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle, mainly because of some stupid behavior on the part of Cox. Amazingly, Cox is basically the only major ISP out there that has a history of actually kicking people off its service for infringement. Most others have historically refused to do so. But Cox’s policy is ridiculously complex, and involves something around 13 steps… and, on top of that, Cox admitted that once it’s kicked people off they can just sign up for new service. Seeing all that, the court basically decided that Cox was acting in bad faith, and thus jumped right over the question of whether or not the repeat infringer policy even applied to Cox.

      • Publishers Association Sends Whiny Complaint Letter To Dean After Academic Librarian Discusses Sci-Hub

        It’s no secret that big publishing companies (especially academic publishing companies) really really dislike Sci-Hub. Sci-Hub, of course, is the quite interesting site that enables academics to access and share PDFs of published scientific research. We’ve written about it a bunch, including Elsevier’s ridiculous legal crusade against the site, which has only served to act as a huge advertisement for the site. As we noted, using copyright to shut down Sci-Hub seemed to go entirely against the purpose of copyright, which was officially designed to promote “learning” and scientific knowledge.

        Nonetheless, the publishers really, really hate it. But even so, it seems pretty ridiculous for the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to freak out so much about an academic librarian just mentioning Sci-Hub while on a panel discussion, that it would send an angry letter to that librarian’s dean. But, that’s exactly what AAP did, in complaining about comments by librarian Gabriel Gardner to his dean, Roman Kochan, at the University Library for California State University.

      • Hulu Ditches ‘Free’ Model Without Giving It A Chance To Succeed

        For years we’ve noted how as a product of the cable and broadcast industry, Hulu has often gone out of its way to avoid being truly disruptive. Owners 21st Century Fox, Disney and Comcast/NBC have worked hard to ensure the service is never too interesting — lest it cannibalize the company’s legacy cable TV cash cow. So Hulu has been doomed to walk the halls of almost but not quite compelling purgatory, a rotating crop of execs for years trying to skirt the line between giving consumers what they actually want — and being a glorified ad for traditional cable television.

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