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Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux rules the world. Where to next?

    From Android phones to supercomputers to clouds to car, it’s all Linux all the time. Linux is the poster child for the open-source revolution.

    The latest Linux kernel report, Linux kernel development – How fast it is going, who is doing it, what they are doing, and who is sponsoring it, details just how quickly Linux changes. In the last 15 months, more than 3 million lines of code have been added to the Linux kernel. For those of you coding at home, that’s 7.8 changes per hour.

  • Almost open: BIOS and firmware update tips for Linux users

    I suppose I’m lucky in that for more than 10 years my primary work environment has been Linux-based, yet all to often I’ve been forced to dig out a DOS or Windows image because I need to patch some BIOS device firmware. These days I don’t own anything than has a valid Windows license, and even my 2008 white MacBook has spent most of its life running either Ubuntu or Fedora. Luckily most hardware manufacturers have started to provide bootable images for patching system firmware, and for enterprise-grade hardware they even provide Linux-ready tools. In this article, I’ll walk through my recent firmware update on Linux, and I’ll share a few recommendations based on that experience.

    In the consumer/prosumer landscape there has been a shift toward UEFI-based systems for desktops and laptops, and along the way many manufacturers appear to have removed the option for the BIOS to update from a USB Stick. Historically we’d only see firmware updates for enterprise-class spinning rust (hard drives), but many SSD manufacturers are also providing regular firmware updates for consumer-class devices. Whilst we often should stand by the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I’m a strong believer when standing up a new environment to make sure all my firmware is current. So begins my journey…

  • THE BIG LIE About Operating Systems

    The desktop also is not locked in. Despite slow progress at times, GNU/Linux is gradually gnawing away at Microsoft’s lock on the desktop. It happened in my schools, in my home, in governments in Europe and a few places around the world. It’s obvious the world can make its own software and does have a complete stack with GNU/Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux Absent from Zemlin’s LinuxCon Pep Rally

      “As all of you may know, Thursday, August 25 is the 25th anniversary of Linux,” he said during the opening portion of the address. “It’s the day when Linus Torvalds, 25 years ago, sent out his note introducing this funny little operating system that wouldn’t amount to much of anything.”

      “Linux at 25 is a big thing,” he added. “Most things in life just don’t last as long and are as enduring as Linux. And Linux has gone so far beyond what anyone who has participated in this community could have ever expected. Linux today really is…the most successful software project in history.”

      After this opening, he pointed to the enormity of the Linux project by citing numbers, like its 53,000 source files and 21 million lines of code, and the fact that each day 10,800 lines of code are added to Linux, 5,300 lines of code removed and 1,800 lines of code modified.

      “This pace is only accelerating,” he said. “Linux now changes seven [or] eight times an hour. There is no single software project by any single person or organization that rivals the breadth, pace, depth and adoption of Linux. What an incredible run.”

      As with any good pep rally, Zemlin gave the fans plenty of reason to be happy to support the home team by pointing to Linux’s wins. Trouble is, all of those wins had to do with making “billions of dollars” — a phrase he used often — for the enterprise.

      “Linux has become the world’s most widely adopted software,” he said and rattled off a list of uses that included high performance computing, weather forecasting, climate modeling, economic modeling, mobile devices and embedded systems. “It runs the global economy. Quite literally, it runs the vast majority of stock exchanges. It runs the vast majority of the Internet and powers things like Google, Facebook, Amazon and much, much more.”

    • Why Google plans to stop supporting your Chromebook after five years

      It’s worth noting that end-of-life doesn’t have to mean the end of useful hardware. If you have the know-how, you can install Linux on your Chromebook to extend its lifespan. Otherwise, users whose Chromebooks are still in fine working order just have to hope that end-of-life notification never comes.

    • EFF slams Microsoft’s ‘blatant disregard’ for user privacy with Windows 10 [Ed: It’s textbook definition of malware]

      THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has lashed out at Microsoft over the company’s “blatant disregard” for user privacy with the pushy, data-slurping Windows 10 operating system.

      Following the launch of a petition in June, EFF has heard from thousands of pissed off people who are asked it to take action against Microsoft, and the privacy campaigners are doing just that. EFF is calling on Microsoft to listen to its users, of which more than 6,000 have signed the online petition, and incorporate their complaints into its operating system.

      “Otherwise, Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution,” EFF’s Amul Kalia said in a blog post.

      First on EFF’s radar is Microsoft’s backhanded tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, which we here at the INQUIRER know about all too well.

  • Server

    • How IBM’s LinuxONE Has Evolved For the New Open Source Cloud

      LinuxONE is IBM’s Linux Server. The LinuxONE server runs the major distributions of Linux; SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical’s Ubuntu. The server also runs open source databases like Mongo DB , PostgreSQL and MariaDB allowing for both horizontal growth and vertical scale, as demonstrated by running a 2TB Mongo database without sharding. Several of the features built into this system support the constant innovation inherent in the open source movement while maintaining the performance and reliability required by Enterprise clients; for example, Logical Partitions (LPARs) allow clients to host a development environment on the same system as production with zero risk.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux Mint Rounds Out 18 ‘Sarah’ Releases With Beta KDE Edition

        Earlier this month, the Linux Mint developer team released the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 18 ‘Sarah’, which followed the main release at the end of June. But now it’s time for some Plasma action, with a beta release of the upcoming Linux Mint 18 KDE edition.

        It’s worth noting that all three Linux Mint 18 editions are LTS releases (long-term support), with a promise to be supported until 2021. For that reason, these releases don’t include bleeding-edge software, but instead software that can be assured to be stable right-out-of-the-box.

      • KDevelop 5.0 Appears Ready For Release

        We haven’t yet seen any official release announcement, but since yesterday a source package and AppImage binary have been out in the wild for KDE’s KDevelop 5.0 integrated development environment…

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps is fast again!

        Once your distro of choice picks up one of these stable releases you should be back to at least the old Mapquest speed of Maps. And if your distro upgrades to latest libchamplain when it arrives you will see even greater speeds.

      • GTK Scene Kit Isn’t Happening In Time For GNOME 3.22

        With GNOME 3.19 there were plans for a GTK scenegraph and this GTK Scene Kit (GSK) was then planned for 3.20 and then most recently hoped for 3.22. But it’s not happening.

        One of the big user benefits to the GTK Scene Kit will be offloading more work to the GPU and while it looked like GSK may finally be a reality for GNOME 3.22, this morning we found out it’s not going to be merged in time.

      • GSoC: final evaluation

        This blog-post contains the final evaluation of my Google summer of Code 2016 project for the GNOME organization. More precisely, I’ve been working in the Games application under the mentorship of Adrien Plazas implementing multi-source/multi-disc games and offer support to the PlayStation platform.

      • GUADEC

        I arrived at GUADEC a few days early to participate in the Board and AdBoard meetings.

      • GSoC Summary

        The goal to be achieved was to be able to play both single player and multiplayer emulated games using a gamepad in GNOME Games

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Its First Public Beta Release

        GNOME Project’s Frederic Peters informs us a few minutes ago about the availability of the first Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.

      • GNOME 3.22 Beta Released

        The first beta of GNOME 3.22 beta is now available for testing ahead of the planned official desktop release around this time next month.

        Some of the recent package changes for the GNOME 3.22 Beta include sharing support for GNOME Photos, various Mutter and GNOME Shell improvements (including Wayland improvements!), and GTK improvements.

      • GUADEC Experience

        In this blog post, I will be sharing my GUADEC experience which recently held from 11-Aug-2015 to 17-Aug-2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany. I actually got to see the faces behind IRC nicks, met most of developers and people from GNOME community and also most importantly, GUADEC helped me to meet my Google Summer of Code mentor Debarshi Ray in person which was just great.

      • GNOME Usability Test Results (Part 1)

        This is the first part of analysis for the usability test I recently conducted, with the purpose to uncover usability flaws of two GNOME applications: Photos and Calendar.
        For this part I am focusing on visualizing the results, demographics and talk more about the methodology I used for testing. We will take a closer look on how testers performed on every task given, using a heat map. Hopefully this will create a clear picture of the testing process and help to “get to know” the participants and understand them better!

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Linux live DVD “Choice Edition

        Gentoo One of the wonderful things about Linux is the diversity of the distributions available. Some distributions are very beginner friendly with installers that offer only a few basic options. Others are more complex, requiring knowledge of Linux and skills with the command line to install. Gentoo falls into the more complex category. There is no installer per se, the user just needs to follow instructions to perform several steps leading to a fully installed and configured system. This process is certainly harder than using Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer, but it is not that hard. The instructions are clear and do require previous experience with Linux, or the tenacity to keep going (or start over) when things go wrong when Gentoo is used in a “dive in head first” learning experience. Below, I take a look at the latest Gentoo Linux live DVD, the “Choice Edition,” and briefly explore how Gentoo gets installed on a system by using a step by step set of instructions instead of an installer that takes care of most of the steps automatically.

      • Why did Gentoo Linux fade into obscurity?

        Gentoo Linux was fairly well known at one point, with many tech-savvy Linux users opting to run it on their computers. But Gentoo Linux slowly lost popularity over time and is now a pale shadow of its former self in terms of usage and mind-share among Linux users (though there are still some die-hard Gentoo users left on Reddit).

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • Latest Slackware Version Doesn’t Cut Newbies any Slack

        Slackware is a throwback to the early days of the Linux OS, and it may not have much relevance to anyone but diehard Slackware fans. Still, experienced Linux users looking for a change of pace might enjoy setting up a Slackware system.

        The documentation and user guides are fairly detailed, but they are heavy reads that will frustrate the typical new user. Those without a strong technical background will see a big disconnect in going from the live session “Slackware demo” to a functioning Slackware installation.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Most companies worried about coping with increasing data volumes, says Red Hat

        Storage has become a complicated animal within the IT stack, and according to a recent Vanson Bourne survey commissioned by Red Hat, there’s growing evidence that ignoring the critical role storage plays across physical, virtual, container and both public and private cloud environments is a recipe for disaster.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • DNF 1.1.10 and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE 0.1.21-3 Released

          Another stability release of DNF and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE has been made. This release should eliminate the most critical bugs, especially the Unicode tracebacks and COPR plugin should work in Korora again. More information about the release can be found in DNF and plugins release notes.

        • Trying Out Fedora 25 With Wayland, Early Benchmarks Included

          With the news from Friday that Fedora 25 will run Wayland by default I loaded up the current Fedora 25 development packages on a test system this weekend and I used that as my primary system for all of my business/production work this weekend. It went well and included are some early gaming benchmarks of Fedora 25 Workstation GNOME on Wayland and X.Org.

        • Fedora 25 Linux OS to Arrive on November 15, Ship with Wayland by Default

          The Fedora Project is currently working very hard on the next major version of the popular GNU/Linux computer operating system, Fedora 25, bringing you all the latest and modern technologies.

          Wayland is a modern technology, the next generation display server designed as a drop-in replacement for the old X.Org Server or X11 as many of you out there might want to call the display server almost all GNU/Linux distributions are currently using by default. But there are many security-released issues with X11 that for some reason can’t be fixed, so it’s time for the open-source ecosystem to adopt Wayland.

        • New role as Fedora Magazine editor in chief

          Today, I am pleased to announce my new role as the Fedora Magazine editor-in-chief. After deciding to shift focus to other areas of the Fedora Project, I am receiving the torch from Ryan Lerch. Ryan has helped lead the Magazine, edit pieces from other contributors, contribute his own pieces, and decide strategic direction for the Magazine.

          He leaves big shoes to fill, but I hope to offer my own leadership, creativity, and direction in coming years as well. I’d like to thank both Ryan, Paul Frields, and Remy DeCausemaker for their mentorship and guidance towards becoming involved with Fedora and the Magazine. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help guide the Fedora Magazine in how it fits with the rest of Fedora.

        • FOSS Wave: Delhi, India

          After the introductory session on FOSS, we went ahead with our agenda and introduced the Fedora Project and the community behind it: what the Fedora Project is, what its mission is, and how the participants can get started with Fedora. The participants were guided upon how they can create their identity on the Fedora Project by signing up on FAS. They could then use that identity to get access to various Fedora applications and resources. The session on Fedora moved on with the introduction on how the contributors can get to the mailing list and introduce themselves to the community. There, they can get help about starting their contributions. The main focus during the session on Fedora was to introduce the participants to the Fedora Quality Assurance (QA) team and release validation testing.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible Builds: week 69 in Stretch cycle

        Daniel Stender blogged about python packaging and explained some caveats regarding reproducible builds.

      • Proposing speakers for DebConf17

        As you may already know, next DebConf will be held at Collège de Maisonneuve in Montreal from August 6 to August 12, 2017. We are already thinking about the conference schedule, and the content team is open to suggestions for invited speakers.

      • Google Summer of Code 2016 : Final Report

        This project aims to improve diffoscope tool and fix Debian packages which are unreproducible in Reproducible builds testing framework.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Now in Feature Freeze, First Beta to Land August 25

            Ubuntu and Debian developer Iain Lane informed the Ubuntu community that the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system is in Feature Freeze as of August 18, 2016.

          • Artist Sylvia Ritter Painted All 25 Ubuntu Linux Mascots and They’re Astonishing

            Artist Sylvia Ritter happily informs Softpedia about the availability of 25 wallpapers for mobile phones and tablet devices illustrating her vision of the mascots used for all the Ubuntu Linux operating system releases.

          • Canonical and QTS Team on Private, Managed OpenStack Cloud Solution

            For several years running, OpenStack Foundation surveys have revealed that Ubuntu is the most common platform for OpenStack deployments to be built on. Organizations report that they choose OpenStack and Ubuntu to save money and avoid vendor lock-in. These themes have been emphasized by Canonical at OpenStack Summit.

            Now, responding to what they describe as “increasing demand for flexible, open source and cost-predictable cloud solutions, QTS Realty Trust, Inc. and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, have announced a private, fully managed OpenStack cloud solution. It will be available from any of QTS’ secure data centers in mid-September.

            Built on Ubuntu OpenStack and using Canonical’s application modeling service Juju as well as Canonical’s Bare Metal as a Service (MaaS), QTS’ OpenStack cloud will be fully managed. Essentially, organizations can treat it as a turnkey cloud solution.

          • Rotate Screen on Ubuntu Easily With This Indicator Applet

            Sam, our backend web hamster, makes occasional use of a portrait monitor. He says it makes reading long terminal sessions easier.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint OS explained

              In the childhood many of us must have eaten peppermint tablets. Well, just the name gives us some nostalgic moments. So today on the 12th segment of “Introduction with Linux Distro” we are having Peppermint OS as our guest. Peppermint OS is a lightweight option for those with old machines or those who loves fast and light OS.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software for Business: 12 Leading Apps

    These are some of the best ERP, CRM, small business server, project management and business intelligence applications available under an open source license.

  • Digital Asset to Open Source Smart Contract Language

    Digital Asset Holdings has announced it intends to open-source DAML, the smart contracting language it acquired from startup Elevence earlier this year.

    Though no date has been set for the transition, the Blythe Masters-led blockchain startup credited its bid to “advance industry adoption” of the tech as the impetus for the move.

  • Reasons behind Enterprises’ Appeal towards Open Source Analytics Frameworks

    Big Data might be a relatively new term but not an entirely new concept. It has been around for millennia. Even in the Paleolithic age, the cavemen of Africa etched markings into bones or sticks to monitor their food supplies. Then came the abacus, the library of Alexandria, the Antikythera Mechanism (the world’s first computational device), and the list goes on. As time passed by, the art of data analysis or deduction evolved giving rise to new sciences and technologies– statistics, data storage, business intelligence, and data centers.

    When the internet storm took over the human world in the latter part of the 20th century, analog storage systems made way for digital storage and cloud services. In another ten years or so, the total storage information processed in the world grew from 1.5 billion gigabytes to 9.57 zettabytes (9.57 trillion gigabytes to be specific). In the meantime, Wired gave a name to this vast ocean of information– Big Data, (quite undervalued if you ask me, how about Cosmic Data!). At the same time, something else also passed under the radar. It was Hadoop, an open source framework for Big Data analysis, developed by the Apache Software Foundation, the open source advocates. Soon, Hadoop was extensively adopted by businesses for two reasons; firstly, it was cost-efficient, secondly, it was fast.

    Since then, open source has been the buzzword for Big Data analytics. But, what makes open source analytics platform attractive for enterprises even though there is no guarantee about security or the quality of the software?

  • Events

    • Updates from LinuxCon and ContainerCon, Toronto, August 2016

      The first 25 years of Linux has transformed the world, not just computing, and the next 25 years will continue to see more growth in the Open Source movement, The Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said during the opening keynote of LinuxCon/ContainerCon in Toronto on Monday, August 22, 2016.

      “Linux is the most successful software project in history”, Zemlin said, noting that the humble operating sytem created by Linus Torvalds 25 years ago this week is behind much of today’s software and devices.

    • 2016 SFD Registration is on!

      The Digital Freedom Foundation is very happy to announce that registration of its thirteenth edition of Software Freedom Day has just opened. While the wiki has been back online for about a week we were still lagging on the registration. Fear no more, it is now fixed and you can all register your events!

    • Advanced Linux System Administration and Networking is designed for IT professionals

      This Course includes some of the course materials, with access to LFS211 Linux operating system and networking and administration for 1 year, also registration includes a printed course manual.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Johnson Banks reveals first designs for “open-source” Mozilla rebrand

        Johnson Banks has unveiled seven potential brand identities for Mozilla, as part of its ongoing “open-source” rebrand.

        The search for the not-for-profit software company’s new identity was first announced in June, and it has been taking feedback from the Mozilla community and members of the public since then.

        Seven initial themes were created by Johnson Banks, all exploring different facets of Mozilla’s advocacy for shared and open-source internet access and software.

      • Mozilla’s new logo ideas

        The folks over at Mozilla (makers of Firefox) are redesigning their logo—because apparently just having a wordmark isn’t good enough. That said, maybe it’s time to retire the dinosaur head.

        In the spirit of openness, Mozilla has posted a series of logo concepts to their blog and invited the public to review and share their opinions. I am doing so here.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Walmart’s OneOps open source cloud management platform could become part of OpenStack

      The retailing giant is pondering a move where its OneOps open source platform could be lumped under OpenStack.

    • Apache CloudStack Still Going, Arrives in New Version

      In case you don’t know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used. It has even inspired a popular forked version.

      Now, the Apache CloudStack project has announced the availability of Apache CloudStack v4.9, the latest version of the cloud platform used for creating private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Apache remains a steady steward for CloudStack, even as OpenStack has overtaken it in popularity.

  • Databases

    • Does MariaDB’s latest move show how hard it is to make money with open source?

      It turns out that selling open source software is really, really hard. So hard, in fact, that only one company has proven the ability to do so profitably at scale: Red Hat. Everyone else is either swimming in red ink or a rounding error.

    • MariaDB MaxScale: at scale yes, but at a proprietary license cost

      MariaDB is a database that was created as a community-developed ‘fork’ of the MySQL relational database management system and, as such, has always been free to use under the GNU General Public License.

    • Proprietary licences both frustrating and pushing move to PostgreSQL

      Proprietary licences that are very complex, impossible to comply with, and abused to squeeze customers are frustrating public agencies in their effort to make IT infrastructures more open and interoperable. On the other hand, these licensing problems are motivating the same agencies to move to open source software. The Swedish National Heritage Board, the Dutch City of Ede, and the Dutch DUO agency all mention complex licences from their traditional proprietary suppliers as an important reason to deploy PostgreSQL as an open alternative for their database systems. At the same time, suppliers are abusing their inscrutable licensing models to hinder public agencies in their migration and consolidation efforts.

    • Time To Move To PostgreSQL

      Sigh… I understand that businesses need to make money but proper businesses don’t jerk their customers around in the process. That drives them away.

      Large businesses that use MySQL/MariaDB depend on the MaxScale component and changing the licence for that jerks them around. In the process, MariaDB is preventing a larger community from sharing in the development, a major plus of FLOSS. So, this is essentially kicking a large segment of the market for SQL databases to a non-Free solution. It really is time to go to PostgreSQL, a truly Free/Libre Open Source database from top to bottom.

  • Education

    • Out of the Trash and into the Class: Building a STEM Program by Re-Building Computers.

      The FLOSS Desktop for Kids initiative refurbishes surplus and discarded school computers, allowing students to learn (hands-on) about computers and technology by diagnosing, breaking-down and repairing hardware components. Students acquire, install and configure open source software including Linux operating systems, LibreOffice, GIMP, Pidgin, etc.—not just run “apps” on a tablet. The program, is designed to teach engineering and technology by doing, failing, fixing, frustration, and finally achieving—that’s how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math really happen, and that aligns perfectly with STEM’s goals: “knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GCC 6.2 Compiler Released

      GCC 6.2 is now available as the first stable update to this year’s GCC 6/6.1 compiler release.

      GCC 6.1 shipped earlier this year as their first stable version of GCC 6 (per their unique versioning scheme…) while GCC 6.2 is out this morning as the first point release.

  • Public Services/Government

    • New US Government Source Code Policy Could Provide Model For Europe

      The United States government this month published its new federal source code policy to allow government-wide access to custom source code developed by or for any agency of the federal government. The policy, which aims to reduce duplication, avoid technology “lock-in,” and tap the best minds in or outside government, has caught the attention of free software developers in Europe who are hoping to use it as a basis for change there too.

      “We plan to use that in the next months as an example for European countries,” Matthias Kirschner, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), said in a recent email discussion on the new US policy.

    • Open Source at work, Open Society working in Taiwan

      There was striking evidence that Open Source can lead to Open Society at the first day of OS//OS at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on Monday August 22.

      One of the keynote speakers, Audrey Tang from Taiwan, outlined how a quiet (and unheralded, at least in New Zealand) revolution has completely changed how democracy is practiced in the 23 million people nation sitting off China’s coast.

      It started with a parliamentary sit-in in 2014 – aided and abetted by Taiwan’s digital wizards as informal representatives debated how to use internet tools to ensure that all voices are heard before any new legislation is put in place.

      Eventually parliamentarians agreed that what was proposed by the ‘Sunflower Movement’ was valid.

      Now, the feelings and opinions of many different people (and animals and the environment) are considered. The role of parliament is to enact this debate outcome through legislation.

    • Up to EUR 200,000 for Austria open source projects

      The Austrian government will award up to EUR 200,000 for open source projects on eGovernent, eHealth, eLearning, eInclusion, or commercial products and services. “Open source has beneficial macroeconomic effects, improving possibilities for use and development”, explained Muna Duzdar, State Secretary for Digitisation, in a statement.

    • Ministry of ICT and NITA Uganda Urge on Adoption of Open Source Software

      Increased awareness, integration and adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Uganda, both by government and the private sector is key to improved service delivery by government, reduced cost of public service deliver as well as improve competitiveness of Uganda’s ICT and ICT Enabled Services (ITES), Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s ICT and National Guidance Minister has said.

    • UK Government Digital Service looking for a “Chief Penguin”

      According to the job description on LinkedIn, the new role has been created as part of a change of course to “a more concerted approach to open source, building collaboration and reuse internally and making higher impact contributions to the wider open source community”. The new Lead will “work with teams in GDS and across government to help build their open source community, both through driving specific, focused projects and by providing tools and an environment that allow the work to grow and thrive”. At the same time, the job requires technical hands-on capabilities as well: “day to day responsibilities will alternate between programming, liaising with colleagues from other professions (eg. communications, legal and delivery management), community building and leading projects”.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Dutch Accountability Hack set for week before Little Prince’s Day

        On Friday 9 September, an Accountability Hack will be organised at the Dutch Court of Audit in The Hague. Developers and open data adepts are asked to participate and work on innovative (mobile) apps that allow people to check on government spending and returns. Increased transparency helps strengthen democracy, fight corruption and waste, and improve efficiency and accountability.

    • Open Access/Content

      • 7 resources for open education materials

        Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, “The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material.” There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials?

      • Open education is more than open content

        The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw once said: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

        I love that quote, and in May I shared it with a room full of educators, administrators, and open source advocates at New York University during the Open Summit, an open conversation about education. I believe it reveals something critical about the future of education and the positive role openness can play in the future, if we embrace it.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development


  • Yahoo Ad Partner Media.net Sells to China Group for $900 Million

    A group of Chinese investors said it’s acquiring ad-tech startup Media.net for about $900 million in cash, with plans to eventually sell the company to an obscure telecommunications firm whose shares have been suspended from trading since last year.

    Media.net, which is based in Dubai and New York, is touting this as the third-largest ad-tech acquisition in history. However, the complex deal more closely resembles a reverse merger, where a private company takes over a public one and bypasses the formalities of an initial public offering.

    Technology entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia started Media.net in 2010 and bootstrapped the business. The company provides the technology powering contextual ads offered by Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing search engine. The system is similar to one offered by Google, choosing which ads to show based on the content of the web page they appear on.

  • Hardware

    • The Story of How the Apple I Computer Could Fetch $1 Million at Auction

      In the summer of 1976, Daniel Kottke was looking for a job while off from college. He found one from his old buddy and the man he spent time with in India just years prior: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

      During that summer, Kottke had a somewhat tedious job. He was to sit in a garage and put together Apple I computers, the devices his old college friend and his co-founder Steve Wozniak had designed and built. Now, nearly 40 years later, one of those Apple I computer boards that Kottke helped assemble is up for auction—and it could be worth as much as $1 million, according to a listing on auction site CharityBuzz.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pfizer to pay $14 billion for Medivation, whose drug Xtandi was discovered by UCLA [Ed: the public pays for research! The public subsidises development of cures. Some private firms then patent it and make a killing. Prices soar. At whose expense? The public!]

      Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. is paying $14 billion to buy Medivation Inc., a San Francisco biotech company that sells a high-priced prostate cancer medication discovered by UCLA.

      A year’s worth of the drug, Xtandi, sells for about $129,000, and the medicine has generated about $2.2 billion in net sales worldwide over the last year, the companies said Monday in announcing the deal.

      Medivation had become a prime target of larger pharmaceutical companies, largely thanks to Xtandi, which is also being tested for breast cancer treatment.

    • WHO Africa Region Addresses Strategies On Counterfeits, Malaria, Hepatitis

      The 47 members of the World Health Organization African region this week adopted or considered a series of measures aimed at fighting substandard and counterfeit medical products, eliminating malaria and viral hepatitis, and setting a global strategy and plan of action on ageing and health that includes a focus on non-communicable diseases. They also addressed a plan for disease outbreaks and health emergencies.

    • NHS could struggle post-Brexit without EU citizen staff, Department of Health officials admit

      A 7-day week NHS may no longer be possible following Brexit because so many healthcare professionals come from EU countries, Department for Health officials have warned.

      The NHS employs around 55,000 staff who are EU citizens, amounting to a tenth of the overall workforce. It is currently unknown whether freedom of movement and employment rights will change for EU citizens following the referendum vote, prompting uncertainty over future staffing levels.

    • Drug and Device Makers Pay Thousands of Docs with Disciplinary Records

      Physicians whose state boards have sanctioned them for harming patients, unnecessarily prescribing addictive drugs, bilking federal insurance programs and even sexual misconduct nonetheless continue to receive payments for consulting, giving talks about products, and more.

    • Why a Single-Payer Healthcare System is Inevitable

      The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans.Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, and by Humana, another one of the giants.

      All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up.

      The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It lies in the structure of private markets for health insurance – which creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making this structural problem more obvious.

    • What the UN must do to wipe out cholera in Haiti

      It is not enough that the United Nations is finally beginning to acknowledge its involvement in the lethal cholera epidemic in Haiti. Now it must urgently do everything in its power to eliminate cholera in Haiti before thousands more die.

      Cholera was brought to Haiti in October 2010 by UN peacekeepers from Nepal. Some of the Nepalese peacekeepers had been infected with the disease in their home country. And due to close quarters and poor sanitation practices, the disease quickly spread throughout the Nepalese camp near the interior town of Mirebalais.

      Early on, some contaminated fecal waste from the Nepalese camp leaked into a nearby stream, infecting a few Haitians. Then the accumulated camp waste was dumped into the local river by a poorly supervised UN vendor. This local river flowed on to the mighty Artibonite River, which runs through the breadbasket of Haiti before emptying into the Caribbean Sea.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • A Congressman Campaigns to “Stop the Madness” of U.S. Support for Saudi Bombing in Yemen

      For months, a California congressman has been trying to get Obama administration officials to reconsider U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And for months, he has been given the runaround.

      Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing Los Angeles County, served in the Air Force and is a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. The brutal bombing of civilian areas with U.S.-supplied planes and weapons has led him to act when most of his colleagues have stayed silent.

      “I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,” he told The Intercept. “You can’t kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients — those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians,” he said. “So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.”

      But he and a very few other lawmakers who have tried to take bipartisan action to stop U.S. support for the campaign are a lonely bunch. “Many in Congress have been hesitant to criticize the Saudis’ operational conduct in Yemen,” Lieu said. He didn’t say more about that.

    • Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia

      Last week, the Pentagon announced the approval of the sale of an additional $1.15 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The callousness of this announcement – just days after Saudi Arabia rebooted its devastating bombing campaign in Yemen – is breathtaking. The Saudi-led coalition has used American-made fighter jets, bombs and other munitions in a relentless onslaught against Yemen that has left thousands of innocent civilians dead and created a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations characterizes as a “catastrophe.” In just the last few days, the Saudi-led coalition has killed at least 35 people – most of them women and children – in three airstrikes against a school, a residential neighborhood and a hospital in northern Yemen.

      Congress has thirty days to block the sale of these weapons. It is a moral imperative that they do so.
      The internal crisis in Yemen spiraled out of control when the Saudis intervened in March 2015. The BBC has reported that nearly all of the more than 3,000 civilian deaths reported in the conflict have been caused by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi air strikes have also decimated Yemen’s infrastructure, leaving more than 21 million people desperately in need of humanitarian assistance.

    • US Guilty of ‘Basically Unconditional Support’ for Saudi War Crimes in Yemen

      The United States and other governments that continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia are guilty of “the worst kind of hypocrisy,” an international watchdog charged on Monday, as the arms trade continues despite mounting evidence of civilian causalities, war crimes, and other atrocities being committed by the kingdom in Yemen.

      “It is extremely concerning that many transfers are still continuing, in particular the governments of the United States, the U.K., and France have authorized and are continuing to export very large quantities of weapons, including explosive weapons, bombs which are being used daily against civilians in Yemen,” said Anna Macdonald, director of Control Arms Coalition.

      The statement was made as governments convened in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Trade Organization’s second conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which stipulates that signatories block any arms deal if there is evidence that the weapons will be used against civilians.

      “At the heart of the ATT is the obligation on countries that have joined it to make an assessment of how the weapons they want to transfer will be used,” states the Control Arms website. “They must determine if the arms would commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and serious human rights violations.”

      Both France and the U.K. have ratified the agreement. While the U.S. has signed on, Congress has failed to approve it.

    • Syrian boy’s image shamelessly exploited for West’s war agenda

      How many times have we seen this before? Western media selectively focusing on, or distorting, human suffering in order to fulfill a base political agenda – war – for powerful interests.

      It is no coincidence Western media fevered with images of a five-year-old boy, pulled from rubble in Aleppo after an alleged air strike by Syrian government or Russian forces – and the very next day US warplanes were scrambled over northern Syria reportedly to ward off Syrian Su-24 fighter bombers.

    • Nearly 15 Years and $70 Billion Later, US Troops Still Endlessly Fighting Taliban

      More than a hundred U.S. troops were sent to Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan on Monday to continue fighting the Taliban, in the first deployment of forces to the area since the drawdown in 2014—offering another signal that the U.S. military presence there is expanding, not decreasing, as President Barack Obama has promised.

    • Over a hundred US troops sent to Lashkar Gah to battle Taliban
    • Soldier dies in live firing training exercise in Northumberland

      A soldier has died after being shot at a military training area in Northumberland, police have said.

      The male soldier, serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was shot on the military ranges in Otterburn during a live firing exercise at about 23:15 BST on Monday.

      Northumbria Police said the soldier sustained a “serious head wound” and was pronounced dead at the scene.

      He has not been identified by the Ministry of Defence.

    • Near-War: US Planes almost tangle with Syrian MiGs, which bombed area of US troop Embeds

      The fighting that has broken out between Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Arab Army in Hasaka, northeast Syria, is hardly a new thing. There were clashes in April.

      Syria says that the Kurds brought it on themselves by trying to expand into government-held territory.

      As the US has deepened its involvement in Syria, this round of fighting could drag the US into war.

      The People’s Protection Units or YPG is a Syrian Kurdish militia that now holds large swathes of northern Syria. These leftist Kurds are in conflict with Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) and with the fundamentalist rightwing Arab guerrillas such as the al-Qaeda-linked Army of Syrian Conquest and the Saudi-backed Army of Islam.

    • US-Allied Kurds advance in Hasaka City, NE Syria

      Clashes continued on Sunday between the Kurdish YPG [People’s Protection Units] and the Syrian Arab Army in Hasaka, according to the Egyptian press . Surveying Syrian social media, Misr24 said that the Kurds had apparently advanced into Hasaka and driven the Syrian army from some districts, including al-Nashwa and Ghuwayran.

    • Destroying history is now being charged as a war crime

      An Islamist fighter has pleaded guilty in the Hague for destroying parts of the fabled West African trading city of Timbuktu, in the International Criminal Court’s first case based on the destruction of cultural artifacts.

      Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has admitted today (Aug 22) to razing all but two of the city’s 16 mausoleums as well as a mosque dating back to 1400 during a raid by Islamist radicals in 2012. Ahmad told the tribunal in the Netherlands that he regretted “the damage [his] actions have caused.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EXCLUSIVE Jill Stein op-ed: In praise of Wikileaks

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a hero. Like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and other whistleblowers facing government persecution, Assange has sacrificed his personal comfort and safety to bring us the truth.

      George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Thanks to Wikileaks, we know that powerful institutions have been abusing their power and lying to the public. For example, redacted State Department communications published by Wikileaks revealed that Secretary Clinton identified Saudi Arabia as a leading funding source for terrorist groups around the time she approved a whopping $29 billion arms deal with the Saudi dictatorship.

      Wikileaks courageously published the infamous “Collateral Murder” video showing an American helicopter gunning down Iraqi civilians, Viewed over 15 million times on Youtube alone, it revealed just one of the many shocking war crimes whitewashed as “collateral damage” by the US government.

      Wikileaks’ stunning revelations of how top Democratic National Committee officials conspired to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, in collusion with the media, shattered the illusion of a fair electoral process and confirmed what millions Americans already knew in their gut: we live under a rigged political system.

      What Wikileaks actually does — to political parties, the military, and other powerful entities — is pull back the curtain of censorship, spin, and deception to show the public what’s really going on. Unlike pundits in the mainstream media, Wikileaks doesn’t tell us what to think. They invite us to read the emails, watch the footage, and decide for ourselves.

      The political and economic elite, used to controlling information, see this unprecedented transparency as a tremendous threat. They have mercilessly persecuted a series of heroic whistleblowers. Chelsea Manning, convicted of leaking the Collateral Murder video among other revealing materials, was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Jill Stein Speaks With Victims of Louisiana’s Catastrophic Flood—and Those Trying to Help Them

      In a concluding clip, Stein thanked everyone who had shown up to help the people of Denham Springs recover. Local activist Le’Kedra Robertson said local children won’t be able to return to school until December and invited viewers to come to Denham Springs and contribute physical labor to help residents get back on their feet.

      “If you walk through these streets of Denham Springs, where I grew up, there aren’t any FEMA or other resources that are coming except for people who have compassionate hearts who are fixing lunches and putting boots on the ground.”

    • Forest restoration can turn the clock back

      The ecological and carbon cost of rainforest destruction goes on accumulating for years after nations halt the conversion of canopy into farmland, scientists have found.

      This implies that to meet ambitious targets, global strategies to combat climate change – including forest restoration – should have started years ago.

      Tropical forests soak up vast quantities of carbon dioxide released by industrial combustion of fossil fuels, limiting global warming. Burning, clear-felling and ploughing of forest lands release centuries of stored carbon back into the atmosphere to accelerate global warming and climate change. So forest conservation and carbon emissions reduction are both vital parts of any strategies to contain global temperature rises.

    • Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening

      Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago. Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015. Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community. Child poverty is up, double the national average. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help. Here are the numbers.

    • New Study Shows How Clinging to Nuclear Power Means Climate Failure

      While it’s been touted by some energy experts as a so-called “bridge” to help slash carbon emissions, a new study suggests that a commitment to nuclear power may in fact be a path towards climate failure.

      For their study, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies grouped European countries by levels of nuclear energy usage and plans, and compared their progress with part of the European Union’s (EU) 2020 Strategy.

      That 10-year strategy (pdf), proposed in 2010, calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by least 20 percent compared to 1990 levels and increasing the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20 percent.

      The researchers found that “progress in both carbon emissions reduction and in adoption of renewables appears to be inversely related to the strength of continuing nuclear commitments.”

      For the study, the authors looked at three groupings. First is those with no nuclear energy. Group 1 includes Denmark, Ireland, and Portugal. Group 2, which counts Germany and Sweden among its members, includes those with some continuing nuclear commitments, but also with plans to decommission existing nuclear plants. The third group, meanwhile, includes countries like Hungary and the UK which have plans to maintain current nuclear units or even expand nuclear capacity.

    • Report Shows Whopping $8.8 Trillion Climate Tab Being Left for Next Generation

      “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” is an oft-quoted proverb, frequently used to explain the importance of environmental preservation. Unsaid, however, is how much it will impact the next generation if the Earth is bequeathed in a lesser state.

      Environmental campaigners NextGen Climate and public policy group Demos published a new study that attempts to quantify the true cost of not addressing climate change to the millennial generation and their children.

      The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennials’ Economic Future (pdf) compares some of the high costs millennials will face in the “new inequality economy”—such as student debt, child care costs, stagnant wages, as well as financial and job insecurity—against the fiscal impacts of unmitigated global warming.

      “The fact is,” the report states, “unchecked climate change will impose heavy costs on millennials and subsequent generations, both directly in the form of reduced incomes and wealth, and indirectly through likely higher tax bills as extreme weather, rising sea levels, drought, heat-related health problems, and many other climate change-related problems take their toll on our society.”

    • Water Is Life, Oil Is Death: The People vs. the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa and the Dakotas

      The American version of democracy focuses on elections and candidates. As the venerable left intellectual Noam Chomsky observed in June, “Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world. It’s a very destructive ideology … a way of making people passive, submissive objects.” Chomsky added that we “ought to teach kids that elections take place, but that’s not [all of] politics.” There’s also the more urgent and serious politics of popular social movements and direct action beneath and beyond the election cycle.

      We might refine Chomsky’s maxim to read “and let rich guys run the world into the ground” or “let rich guys ruin the world.” With anthropogenic (really “capitalogenic”) global warming, the nation and world’s corporate and financial oligarchs are bringing the planet to the brink of an epic ecosystem collapse.

      We might also put some meat on the bones of Chomsky’s pedagogical advice by “teach[ing] kids” about the people’s politics being practiced in the upper Midwest and northern Great Plains by citizen activists fighting to help avert ecological calamity by blocking construction of what North Dakota Sioux leader David Archambault II calls “a black snake” of “greed.” The snake in question is the planet-baking Dakota Access/Bakken pipeline, what Iowa activists call “The Next Keystone XL.”

    • Fire crews battling late summer blazes

      A fire swept through a pine forest in Moura, just over the Algarve border in the Alentejo on Saturday morning.

      Pine, grassland and scrub were consumed before 82 firefighters brought the blaze under control and extinguished it.

      Two aircraft were used to dump water on the fire with 26 vehicles supporting ground operations.

      Last week there was a fire in the Algarve at Luz da Tavira in which a pasture area and an orchard were damaged before Tavira and Olhão fire teams prevented the fire from spreading.

      Portugal’s weather service has kept 13 municipalities in the districts of Castelo Branco, Faro, Guarda, Leiria and Santarém on high fire risk.

  • Finance

    • Brexit Diary: the clash of political will and reality, continued

      The story of Brexit is about the clash of political will (the referendum result and express government policy) and the realities of trade, devolution, and government capability. All because the government wants something to happen, it cannot just be made to happen.

    • National borders are ‘the worst invention ever’, says EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker

      National borders are “the worst invention ever”, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has claimed.

      The comments by Brussels’ top official were dismissed by Theresa May, whose spokeswoman said “it is not something that the Prime Minister would agree with”.

    • Brexit latest: UK Government asserts right to set tax rates after Swedish Prime Minister warns against EU ‘tax war’

      Downing Street has asserted its right to set tax rates after an EU leader warned Britain against “aggressiveness” in slashing business levies during Brexit talks.

      A Number 10 spokeswoman said it is up to each member state how they set their taxes, following the comments made by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven.

      The exchange highlights a potential conflict point in EU negotiations, with Britain seeking to boost growth through lower corporate levies while also trying not to aggravate EU states concerned about a ‘tax war’.

      Chancellor Philip Hammond has already said he is ready to bolster the British economy with corporate tax cuts and other measures if need be.

    • With Both Presidential Candidates Claiming To Be Against The TPP, President Obama Kicks Off Campaign To Ratify It

      Even as the candidate that President Obama is supporting, Hillary Clinton, has been increasingly insisting that she really (no, really) is against the TPP (despite being for it prior to this campaign) — and even as Donald Trump has been vehemently against it, despite trade agreements usually getting strong support from the GOP — President Obama is making a big push to get the TPP ratified by Congress. It needs a majority vote in both houses of Congress to be ratified in the US. Last week, we noted the weird situation where everyone’s position on the agreement appeared to be wishy-washy, though mostly for all the wrong reasons.

    • Obama Is Pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership So Clinton Won’t Have To (Video)

      President Obama is rushing to pass the sovereignty-crushing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the lame duck session of Congress in order to save Hillary Clinton from revealing that she supports it, which she’ll have to do if she wins the White House, says Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks.”

    • Virgin Trains East Coast strikes to be held in August

      Workers on Virgin Trains East Coast are to stage three 24-hour strikes this month, including one on Bank Holiday Monday, the RMT union has said.

      Members will walk out from 03:00 BST on 19, 26 and 29 August and ban overtime for 48 hours from 27 August, in a row over cuts, work conditions and safety.

      The RMT said the dispute involved about 1,800 members, saying Virgin Trains was trying to “bulldoze” through changes.

    • Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”

      August 22, 2016, was the twentieth anniversary of the day President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which replaced the income safety net for poor single mothers and their children with temporary, disciplinary, punitive relief. While this so-called reform of welfare did reduce the welfare rolls, it did not stanch the poverty of single mothers or improve the well-being of their children. The failure of 1990s welfare reform to enhance economic security and opportunity is reason to dedicate this anniversary to rethinking and revising our national approach to poverty.

      It is time to end this version of “welfare as we know it” by creating a system of income support that makes the dignity and equality of low income mothers a preeminent policy value, while respecting and supporting the role of caregiving in family well-being.

      Future policy should restore income support for low-income caregivers by renovating welfare policy in a way that restores the right of each caregiving parent to figure out her own balance between family work and wage work. We need not catalog here the numerous and familiar ways the key features of welfare 1990s reform — work requirements, time limits, family sanctions, fertility control pressures, and marriage promotion — suppress the economic empowerment and wellbeing of low-income single-mother families.

    • Clinton’s Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency Foretold

      Like other Bernie Sanders delegates in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I kept hearing about the crucial need to close ranks behind Hillary Clinton. “Unity” was the watchword. But Clinton has reaffirmed her unity with corporate America.

      Rhetoric aside, Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign—Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.

      After many months of asserting that her support for the “gold standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership was a thing of the past—and after declaring that she wants restrictions on fracking so stringent that it could scarcely continue—Clinton has now selected a vehement advocate for the TPP and for fracking, to coordinate the process of staffing the top of her administration.

      But wait, there’s more—much more than Salazar’s record—to tell us where the planning for the Hillary Clinton presidency is headed.

    • The Scourge of Neoliberalism: Why the Democratic Party Is Failing the Poor

      When Democrats began their rightward lurch in the late 1960′s, they were not content to merely broaden their coalition in order to quell the rise of the ultra-reactionary right; they have been concerned, also, with preventing left-wing insurgencies that could spook their patrons and push the party left.

      After Ronald Reagan’s decisive victories — first in 1980 against an incumbent president whose administration had, in many ways, fueled the neoliberal turn, and again in 1984 — the efforts of Democrats eager to transform the party, both superficially and ideologically, intensified.

    • Escalating the War on Low-Income Families

      Illinois Governor Rauner recently cut “Meals on Wheels” for seniors and at-risk youth services. Chicago residents were hit with a nearly 13% property tax increase. Some Chicago public schools could face 2017 cutbacks of an incredible 20 percent.

      But six of Illinois’ largest corporations together paid ALMOST ZERO state income taxes this year. Full payment of their taxes would have exceeded the $1.1 billion Chicago Public School deficit.

      It’s much the same around the nation, as 25 of the largest U.S. corporations, with over $150 billion in U.S. profits last year, paid less than 20% in federal taxes, and barely 1% in the state taxes that are vitally important for K-12 education.

    • ‘I wasn’t crazy.’ A homeless woman’s long war to prove the feds owe her $100,000.

      If you’ve spent any time in downtown Washington, you’ve probably seen 80-year-old Wanda Witter.

      Shock white hair, a determined, unsmiling set to her mouth, jeans. She may have asked you for some change and probably didn’t smile if you gave her some. This month you may have also been taken aback by the black eye and stitches across her face.

      For years, Witter bedded down for the night at 13th and G streets NW, on the concrete in her blue sleeping bag, pulled up tight to keep the rats and cockroaches out. Her tower of three suitcases was stacked on her handcart and bike-locked to the patio chairs next to her.

      She may have even told you that inside those bags is all the paperwork to prove the government owes her more than $100,000. And she was right.

    • John Oliver on How Charter Schools Around the Country Have Been Allowed to Run Wild (Video)

      “The problem with letting the free market decide when it comes to kids,” the “Last Week Tonight” host said in his commentary on publicly funded, privately run schools, “is that kids change faster than the market. And by the time it’s obvious a school is failing, futures may have been ruined.”

    • Students across Finland protest cuts to vocational education

      Students across the country took to the streets Monday to protest government cuts to education programmes. Organisations representing institutions, students and teachers are calling on the government to postpone or soften plans to slash up to 190 million euros from funding for the schools next year.

    • Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success

      Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan, philanthropies such as the Rockefeller Foundation, politicians such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Massachusetts former governor and now Bain Capital Managing Director Deval Patrick, and elite universities such as Harvard have been aggressively promoting Pay for Success (also known as Social Impact Bonds) as a solution to intractable financial and political problems facing public education and other public services. In these schemes investment banks pay for public services to be contracted out to private providers and stand to earn much more money than the cost of the service. For example, Goldman Sachs put up $16.6 million to fund an early childhood education program in Chicago yet it is getting more than $30 million (Sanchez, 2016) from the city. While Pay for Success is only at its early stages in the United States, the Rockefeller Foundation and Merrill Lynch estimate that by 2020, market size for impact investing will reach between $400 billion to $1 trillion (Quinton, 2015). The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, directs federal dollars to incentivize these for profit educational endeavors significantly legitimizing and institutionalizing them.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein visits Baton Rouge amid presidential campaign

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein arrived in Baton Rouge on Sunday (Aug. 21) to visit the flood-struck region and assist with relief efforts for residents, according to a news release. She planned to stay through Monday (Aug. 22) and said via Twitter that she would live-stream her activities in Denham Springs that morning from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Facebook.

      On Sunday, Stein said she was scheduled to meet with Louisiana Green Party officials to receive an update on the flooding’s impacts and discuss how her campaign might help mobilize more aid resources. For Monday, she pledged to help Green Party volunteers gut houses and stave off water damage in affected areas.

      The news release also said Stein would discuss her experiences later in the week at a press conference in Washington DC, highlighting the need for emergency action on climate change.

    • Louisiana floods a ‘crisis of climate change’ say Greens

      The Green Party presidential candidate has described the flooding in the US state of Louisiana as “a crisis of climate change”.

      Dr Jill Stein spoke as she surveyed the wreckage from the disaster, which has killed at least 13 people and displaced thousands more.

      A week on, more than 2,800 people remain in shelters unable to return to their wrecked homes.

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also visited this week.

      President Barack Obama has been criticised for not breaking off his holiday last week but he will come on Tuesday.

      Dr Stein stood in front of a home gutted by the rains in Denham Springs to deliver her message on global warming.

      “We see the Louisiana flood as further evidence of the global crisis posed by climate change,” the Green Party released in a statement.

    • New York Times Edited Bernie Sanders Article For Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

      Emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee reveal that Nicholas Confessore suppressed information about Hillary Clinton’s victory fund in an article he wrote about Bernie Sanders. The New York Times political correspondent made the omissions at the request of Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer, Marc E. Elias, and DNC officials.

      The emails, published by Wikileaks, also appear to show that Confessore made other edits to the article at the request of former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. After Confessore’s revisions, DNC National Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach suggested that the DNC Chairwoman grant an off-the-record interview to a group of New York Times writers.

      In an email to Paustenbach, Miranda writes, “We were able to keep him from including more on the JVF, it has a mention in there, but between us and a conversation he had with Marc Elias he finally backed off from focusing too much on that.”

    • Consultant Raised Cash for Hillary Clinton, Used Access to Seek Meeting for Coal Giant, Emails Reveal

      In 2009, when St. Louis-based coal company Peabody Energy was aiming for rapid expansion into Mongolia, China, and other international markets, it sought an audience with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss its global vision.

      In April of that year, an official with Peabody reached out to the State Department to request a formal meeting. The request was denied, so Peabody leaned on its lobbying team to intervene on the issue. In June, two months after Peabody’s formal request, Joyce Aboussie, a political consultant working for Peabody, wrote to Clinton aide Huma Abedin to ask that Clinton meet with Peabody executives as a personal favor.

      “Huma, I need your help now to intervene please. We need this meeting with Secretary Clinton, who has been there now for nearly six months,” Aboussie wrote. “It should go without saying that the Peabody folks came to Dick and I because of our relationship with the Clinton’s,” she added.

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘Pivot’ or ‘Spin’?

      To stave off Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton became a born-again progressive, critical of trade deals and tough on fracking, but her preparations for a presidential transition presage a pro-corporate and hawkish administration, says Norman Solomon.

    • ‘It’s a Kind of Original Sin of the Modern Democratic Party’

      Looking back, a New York Times “Retro Report” this May treated as novel the recognition that though welfare rolls were reduced in the wake of the Act, poverty was not, that for those who could find jobs, wages were insufficient to lift them from poverty, and that “all too often they had a hard time staying employed when the economy soured.” The piece also says that those using assistance “found themselves…characterized as loafers and cheats”—with no hint of just who was broadcasting such characterizations.

      Well, none of this is news to the many who criticized the Act, at the time and ever since. The question is what will we do about it. Those who remember the welfare reform debate remember that it centered on unmarried women with children, overwhelmingly depicted as women of color. Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter said that to this group of poor mothers could be traced “every threat to the fabric of this country.” Diane Sawyer said, “To many people, these girls are public enemy No. 1.” Low-income women were and are the target of so-called reform, so if we’re really reconsidering it, shouldn’t we start with them?

    • Nicholas Schou, Alexander Zaitchik, and David Talbot

      Mickey speaks with two authors in the new “Hot Books” series. First, Nicholas Schou discusses “Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood.” Then Alexander Zaitchik describes his study of Trump voters, “Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Donald Trump’s America.” Also on hand for the hour is author David Talbot, the founder and editorial director of Hot Books; he explains its mission, and describes some of the other titles in the Hot Books series.

    • Trump’s White Supremacist Factor

      America has been a nation of white male supremacists from Day One. They “bought” Manhattan Island from the Indians for $24. They safeguarded slavery in the Constitution. They bought the Louisiana Purchase from the French but stole the land from the Indians, and then took the Southwest from the Mexicans. They settled what was left of the Indians on reservations in the most uninhabitable land on the continent where they live in poverty inconceivable to the rest of us.

      White males have nonetheless done some great and noble things. When they declared our independence from England, they could have said, “Get out of our hair; we can make more money without you.” Instead, they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    • Donald Trump’s undocumented deportation pledge called into question

      A central promise of Donald Trump’s campaign – to deport 11 million undocumented people – came into question on Sunday, with a series of conflicting reports and equivocations on the Republican nominee’s long-held, hardline stance on immigration.

    • Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion

      Meryl Streep must be a very intelligent woman to be such a good actress. So it was embarrassing to see her dressed in an American flag playing cheer leader for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention. One must suppose that she is too busy studying for all her varied movie roles to have learned much about the sinister nature of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. She proclaimed that President Hillary Clinton would be “making history” simply by being a woman. That means symbolic history. The fact that President Hillary Clinton is more likely to make real history by starting another war even more disastrous than those she has already helped get us into seems not to have occurred to Meryl Streep.

      Nor does it occur to millions of other American women who share the same illusion.

      Those women are thinking too much in terms of symbols and images. They are ignoring the major issue facing the United States: whether to make peace or war. They don’t worry that the imminent conflict with the other major nuclear power, Russia, might affect themselves, their families, the world and the future. They feel that they will somehow personally benefit from the election of a woman to the U.S. Presidency.

    • Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates

      Conventional wisdom says Donald Trump is going to lose, and lose big.

      You see it everywhere in corporate media. Republican Party insiders are bereft and in denial, simultaneously refusing to accept the reality that their party is facing the possibility of catastrophic defeats in races all over the country this fall; indeed, some pundits say Trump marks the beginning of the end of the GOP. The New York Times is running a 24-7 odds placement that puts Hillary Clinton’s chances of victory at 86% against his 14%.

    • Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’

      Although Hillary Clinton selected Tim Kaine as her Vice President in this campaign, her true running mate might very well be her vagina. Indeed, while Clinton’s support continues to be among the lowest for any Democratic nominee in recent memory, she has managed to position her gender as a focal point of her campaign, a move intended to capture the women’s vote among liberals and conservatives alike. And, considering her opponent is Donald Trump, a man seen by millions of women as a misogynistic loudmouth, she has done this quite successfully.

      But beyond the political window-dressing and empty rhetoric, Clinton’s record on women and families should not only lose her the support of American women, it should qualify her as one of the most anti-woman candidates in history. For while modest progress has been made toward some semblance of gender equality, it is the actions of Clinton herself that have done more than any other single individual to harm women and families. Slick public relations aside, Hillary Clinton may very well be the most anti-woman candidate in generations.

    • What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say, “Never Trump”?

      Keep in mind that this is just a taste of the CVs of this list of 50 Republican foreign policy and national security luminaries who took out after The Donald.

      With any luck, between his indirect call to assassinate his opponent and the latest news about his campaign director Paul Manafort’s shady Ukraine connections, we have now reached Peak Trump. With supporters bolting on all sides, it’s just possible that we won’t have Trump to kick around forever.

      But we shouldn’t forget that the party that made Trump possible is also the home of the crooks, liars, and war criminals now eager to disown him. The enemies of our enemy are not our — or the world’s — friends.

      Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

      Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

    • A Slow River Flows Through the Campaigns

      That’s pretty extreme for elite academics—to say that science is pointing us back toward religion. The Ehrlichs believe that we are stuck in the essential inaction of right-thinking, spinning speeches, wonkyness, clicktavism, lobbying and marketing, i. e. modern politics—as the Earth heats up. In the Church of Stop Shopping we agree, we need to break out of these repetitions. And cut out the patriarch and invite in the Earth. Amen?

      The Ehrlichs bold move reminds me of Dr. Cornel West’s stop-everything sermons at the last months’ Democrat platform hearings. He froze the Clinton professionals with dread. Dr. West spoke openly of the soul, prophecy, the agony of Gaza, and what it means to hesitate with your morals, as if to warn the Clinton professionals that they would be depressed by their hack work.

      The video footage of that panel is fascinating. I felt like the Earth was to about crush the room in the triangle between the preacher and Deborah “water is sacred to my people” Parker and Bill “we need bicycles in the suburbs” McKibben. Debbie Wasserman retired to a back room behind her staring eyes as Gaia’s wind and waves and wildfires seemed to sing to her from multiple faces. And then she voted for fracking, Monsanto, and TPP.

    • Why These Latinas are Voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein in the Presidential Election

      Despite what mainstream media might have you believing, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren’t the country’s only presidential options. This is good news, considering Americans nominated the two most-disliked candidates for commander in chief in U.S. history. Among those frustrated are Latinxs, who definitely can’t support Trump’s blatant racism and xenophobia but are also side-eyeing Clinton for her perpetuation of systemic violence, particularly impacting communities of color at home and abroad.

      That’s why these Latinas are planning to vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein in the November election. Ahead, they share why they are supporting the physician-activist-politician.

    • Hillary Clinton Should Follow Jill Stein’s Lead In Louisiana

      On Sunday, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein traveled to Baton Rouge to help out with relief and rebuilding efforts following more than a week of intense flooding in Louisiana. She joined local Green Party members to visit displaced residents in and around Baton Rouge, and posted videos online explaining how her supporters could help with disaster relief efforts. President Obama is also expected to arrive in Louisiana on Tuesday after Donald Trump’s recent high-profile visit to Baton Rouge, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that the Democratic nominee would only travel to Louisiana “at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response.” However, Clinton should follow Stein’s lead in helping with relief efforts on the ground.

      That’s not to say that Clinton hasn’t addressed the situation in Louisiana. She reportedly called Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards late last week, and a post on her official Facebook page urged her supporters to donate to the Red Cross and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions,” the post read. “The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need.”

    • I’m a Bernie backer and I refuse to support Hillary

      I mean, why pick a pro-life, pro-offshore-drilling, pro-TPP white male as your vice president if you want to unify with Sanders supporters?

      It’s clear why: Because Clinton cannot represent the progressive vote and, guess what? Neither can the Democratic Party. Not anymore.

      Now, maybe you’re thinking that it’s Clinton and her crony politics that are the problem, not the entire Democratic Party. I’ll give you that. It’s not the entire party. It’s just too much of the party to make staying and fighting worth it.

      It’s like a good friend of mine says: It’s an abusive relationship. You know it is so unhealthy to stay with this abusive person and that you deserve better. You know in reality that this person are not going to change. Yet, you stay.

      Why? Fear is at the core.

      You stay, that is, until that magical day when enough is enough. Well guess what, my friends? That day has come. Hope can be a beautiful thing. Hope can also be extremely destructive and blinding.

      For me, that moment came when the DNC and Wasserman Schultz colluded against Sanders, stacking the deck against him and manipulating the odds in favor of Clinton during the Democratic primary. That was the moment when enough really became enough. Clinton and the entire Democratic establishment are antithetical to the foundation of the United States and to true progressive values.

      Now, don’t get me wrong. By all means, support your down-ticket Berniecrats and progressives. However, I really think it’s time that we revolutionaries shift away from the two-party system, because honestly, both parties are just destructive tidal waves of corruption — tidal waves that, this time, climate change is not responsible for.

    • As She Rakes in the Cash, Clinton Fundraisers Still Shrouded in Secrecy

      Hillary Clinton spent the weekend fundraising in affluent New England communities, speaking to more than 2,200 donors at private brunches and gatherings in Nantucket and Cape Cod—but what she told them “remains a mystery,” the Associated Press reported Monday.

      The fundraising effort—which follows her campaign’s most lucrative month so far with a $63 million gain in July—underscores Clinton’s continued evasion of transparency over her ties to wealthy elites. In fact, of the roughly 300 fundraising events she has held since announcing her White House run in April 2015, only five have allowed any press coverage, and Clinton has attempted to ban the use of social media among guests, according to the AP.

    • The Populist Uprising Isn’t Over; It’s Only Just Begun

      But Frank is waving the white flag when the struggle has only just begun. One needn’t have illusions or hopes about a Hillary Clinton presidency to think that the old order can’t be sustained. Both elites and dissenters tend, I believe, to underestimate the scope and the devastation of the establishment failure both at home and abroad.

      America is a rich country, awash in entertainment. People have little time and few outlets for real political education. Labor and the left are weak. The Democratic Party is a fundraising and recruitment machine, not a source of political education. The truly desperate tend to be isolated, locked up and kept out of sight.

      But what we’ve seen in this election — and in the elections of 2008 and 2012 – is that Americans are catching onto the game. They are working harder and losing ground. They suffered through the Great Recession, and have witnessed the wars without end and without victory. They’ve seen their kids graduate from college and come back home burdened by debt. Poor people of color are in many cities more segregated and in worse condition than they were in the Jim Crow South. They are casting about for a change.

    • Missing: FBI files linking Hillary Clinton to the ‘suicide’ of White House counsel Vince Foster have vanished from the National Archives

      Documents describing Hillary Clinton’s role in the death of White House counsel Vince Foster have vanished, Daily Mail Online has learned after an extensive investigation

    • Trickle Down Election Economics: How Big Money Can Affect Small Races

      At a press event in Kingston, New York, a Hudson Valley community about 90 miles north of Manhattan, the local Democratic congressional candidate, Zephyr Teachout, earlier this month called for a debate. But not with her Republican opponent, John Faso.

      Instead she issued the challenge to two high-rolling hedge fund bosses who back him.


      “When someone writes a $500,000 check they don’t do it out of the goodness of their heart, continued Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who literally wrote the book on political quid pro quos: In 2014, her Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United, laid out a strong argument for what she calls “prophylactic” anti-corruption laws that focus on preventing the circumstances that give rise to corruption rather than prosecuting it after the fact.

    • Powell talks Clinton emails: ‘Her people are trying to pin it on me’
    • Why Colin Powell is a bad enemy for Hillary Clinton to make
    • The FBI found 15,000 emails Hillary Clinton didn’t turn over. Uh oh.
    • Clinton emails recovered by FBI to be released just before election day
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • KickassTorrents ‘Front Company’ Disappears From Web

      According to the United States Government, KickassTorrents was operated through Cryptoneat, an alleged “front company” located in Ukraine. Now, however, Cryptoneat’s web’s presence is no more. In addition to the disappearance of its website, the company’s main domain has just expired.

    • How Facebook censors your posts (FAQ)

      Facebook doesn’t disclose how many times people post, how many live videos are streamed or how many posts it’s deleted. It has said it’s responded to about 20,000 law enforcement requests over a five-month period last year.

      Activists say Facebook needs to more clearly spell out policies, particularly after what happened with Gaines.

    • Groups question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on why Korryn Gaines’ account was shut down

      The following video depicts a confrontation between Baltimore County Police and Korryn Gaines during a standoff on Monday, August 1.

    • Police Continue to Withhold Information in Case of Korryn Gaines

      In Maryland, Baltimore County police say they will continue to withhold the names of the officers involved in the August 1 shooting of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African-American mother shot by police in her apartment after an hours-long standoff. The officer who shot Gaines has been assigned to administrative duties. There is body camera footage of the standoff prior to the shooting, but police claim there is no footage of the shooting itself. Gaines live-streamed the beginning of the standoff on Facebook, before Facebook responded to a police request to shut down Gaines’s account. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and activists have both questioned official police accounts of the shooting. Gaines’s five-year-old son, Kodi, was also injured by police gunfire. This is Gaines’s cousin, Creo Brady, speaking last week at her funeral.

    • India Criminalizes Merely Visiting A Copyright Infringing ‘Blocked’ Site

      The Indian film industry has long had a complicated relationship with piracy. After all, India’s Bollywood regularly produces the most films of any other country in the world (it’s often neck and neck with Nigeria). That seems to be a sign that the market is pretty healthy. After all, filmmakers keep telling us that piracy is going to destroy their reasons for making films… and yet here’s a market that’s making tons and tons of films (many of which are excellent). And, as we’ve noted in the past, the film studios in India are making lots of money, in part because they’re competing effectively against piracy. And, then you even have some Indian filmmakers who recognize that piracy helps spread the message of their films to a wider audience.

      And yet… because it’s (oooooh! scary!) “piracy,” there will always be some who freak out and come up with bad ideas. Apparently, one of those bad ideas is now the law. After already putting in place dumb site blocking laws that force ISPs, under court order, to block access to sites deemed hubs of infringement, the Indian government now says that getting around one of those blocks (hi there, VPN user!) is a criminal act that could get you three years in jail.

      “What are you in for?” “Me? I used a VPN to access Archive.org.”

      Think I’m joking? The Internet Archive was included in the ban list. As was GitHub and Vimeo.

    • Turkish journalists honour international organisations

      The Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) on Thursday gave a 2016 Press Freedom Award to a coalition of international organisations, including Index on Censorship, that have worked in concert since last year to support journalists in the country and fight an ongoing deterioration in the state of press freedom.

      “Press freedom cannot be taken for granted in any country and requires us to be constantly vigilant. As the post-coup crackdown continues, Index’s project Mapping Media Freedom is registering threats to the media, as well as publishing work from censored journalists, to help bring international attention to the issues. Index is grateful to be recognised for its work on behalf of the journalists of Turkey,” Rachael Jolley, deputy chief executive of Index on Censorship said.

    • Donald Trump Has Freed Up Journalists’ Ability To Call Bullshit; But It Won’t Last, Nor Extend To Others

      The question is what does this actually mean for journalism? Goodwin, at the Post, sees this as the downfall of journalism. The fact that the media will actually call someone out on their lies is seen as “bias” because it’s not done equally to other candidates. Klein sees this as a temporary state of being — because most other candidates will return to their truthy wrongness with the press happy to eat that up, with nothing more than a “he said/she said” type of false equivalency when there’s some question about the facts.

      Another writer, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, more or less agrees with Goodwin that this is somehow freeing the press up to be biased, after noting how much he disagrees with Trump — but worries about the press feeling emboldened.

    • Did The NY Times Give Up Its Journalism Standards The Second Facebook Threw A Few Million Its Way?

      Last month, we discussed how Facebook was apparently forking over truckloads of cash to various media companies to get them to use Facebook Live, the company’s new livestreaming video platform. This arrangement struck us as odd — and potentially an FTC violation, in that these media companies are basically promoting and endorsing Facebook’s product, after getting paid millions of dollars, without ever disclosing the payments and the relationship. That seems… questionable. Apparently the two largest recipients of the cash were Buzzfeed and the NY Times, who each got over $3 million to stream these videos. Buzzfeed, for its part, has embraced the ridiculousness of this situation with Buzzfeedian gusto, putting on stunts like livestreaming exploding a watermelon with rubberbands. But that’s kind of what you’d expect from Buzzfeed.

      The NY Times, on the other hand, is a bit of a different beast. The newspaper likes to pride itself on being serious, careful, thoughtful journalism. And while that’s often a lot more what the people there tell themselves than reality, it does raise some questions about what the NY Times is doing with that $3+ million and how journalistic it is. Apparently, I’m not the only one to wonder about this, as the NY Times recently appointed public editor, Liz Spayd, is concerned about what the NY Times is doing here as well.

    • Anti-Piracy Operations Are Fabricating Links To Non-Existent Torrents In DMCA Notices

      Okay, so you can see how this happened. The anti-piracy groups understood just enough about how the torrent cache sites worked, that they automated sending takedowns based on torrent hashes on the assumption that those torrents would also show up via the cache sites. Okay, understandable. But here’s the problem: they never checked to see if those links ever existed. Hell, it sounds like they never even visited Zoink.it again for at least the past two years.

      And yet they sent takedowns for links there.

      So how can these companies actually claim that they know these “files” are infringing, when they clearly never even checked the links, let alone the fact that the site they’re accusing of infringement, hasn’t even been up for two years?

      The TorrentFreak article notes that this is not a one-off thing. They found other anti-piracy groups sending takedowns for more non-existent torrents on the same non-existing sites. We know that these fly-by-night operations don’t bother to check the files to see if they’re actually infringing material, but now we know they don’t even seem to check to see if sites or links ever actually existed in the first place.

    • Gawker to Shut Down Next Week

      In media news, the digital outlet Gawker will shut down next week. Gawker was ordered to pay $140 million in a lawsuit for publishing a sex tape of wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan’s lawsuit was financially backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who was outed as gay by a now-defunct Gawker blog.

    • Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

      The BBC has made much of a report from Demos warning that thousands of ‘Islamophobic’ tweets are sent in English every day. But the researchers, like everybody else who uses the term, have totally failed to define what ‘Islamophobia’ actually means.

      The research by Demos into ‘Islamophobia’ was reported by the BBC under the headline “Islamophobic tweets ‘peaked in July’”. From reading the BBC report you might imagine that 7,000 bigoted and anti-Muslim tweets were sent every day in July.

      In fact, Demos have inadvertently set out what has been warned of for many years; that ‘Islamophobia’ is a nonsense word with sinister implications.

      On reading the report it is clear that the Demos research isn’t just focused on anti-Muslim tweets, or bigotry against Muslims, but, as they define it in their research paper, “anti-Islamic ideas”.


      Anti-Muslim bigotry and criticism of Islam are separate phenomenon, they may overlap, there are some who engage in both, but it is methodologically meaningless to consider both of these things in one term. That is why Demos’ researchers found ‘Islamophobia’ “challenging” to define.

      What they have produced is therefore subjective, as Demos admit: “Ultimately, this research comes down to the judgement of the researchers involved.”

      Demos argue that Islamic terror attacks drive ‘Islamophobic’ tweets. Perhaps challenging Islamism would therefore be a good place to start if you want to cut anti-Muslim bigotry off at the source?

      The implications of this term’s use are very unsettling. The moral equivalence that is being drawn, increasingly, between abuse against Muslims, and the robust criticism of an idea (Islam), poses an immense threat to freedom of speech.

    • Nation Mirror calls on authorities not to censor their work

      The Nation Mirror newspaper has issued a statement complaining of “censorship and repression” after authorities in Juba on Thursday demanded that an article be removed from the paper, leading to suspension of printing in order to avoid confiscation of papers the following morning.

      The newspaper did not appear on news stands on Sunday. Censors in Juba had deemed a report about Riek Machar’s escape from South Sudan to Congo to sensitive for publication.

    • How To Escape The Challenges Of Internet Censorship

      Internet censorship is a barrier while enjoying the benefits of internet technology. This censorship is for the safety and welfare of the internet users. Yet, you cannot ignore that the process is a distraction. This article will discuss the probable ways as how to avoid censorship on the Internet.

    • Defeating Turkey’s censorship is a US national security interest
    • Wikipedia co-founder gets his Twitter account hacked
    • Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account hacked
    • Wikipedia co-founder’s Twitter account hacked
    • Hacking group OurMine strikes next victim taking over Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account
    • Twitter account of WikiPedia Founder Jimmy Wales Hacked by OurMine
    • Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales’ Twitter Account Hacked By OurMine
    • OurMine Hacks Twitter Account of Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales
    • Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Hacked
    • Hackers Hit Twitter Account of Wikipedia Co-Founder
    • OurMine hacks Wikipedia co-founder
    • Why the internet thought Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was dead
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The NYPD’s Third ‘Forfeiture’ Option: Call Seized Items ‘Evidence;’ Never Give Them Back

      Clavasquin’s iPhone was seized in the summer of 2015. His case was dismissed in December. The phone is still in the possession of the NYPD while Clavasquin has continued making monthly service contract payments for a phone he can’t use.

      The article points out that this noxious blend of asset seizure and bureaucratic malaise affects “hundreds, if not thousands” of New York City arrestees. The city is now facing a class-action lawsuit over this process, filed by Clavasquin and two others with the help of Brooklyn Defenders. In these cases, neither form of asset forfeiture — civil or criminal — is being used. Instead, the NYPD is tying up possessions seized during arrests in miles of red tape, subverting what would appear from the outside to be a straightforward, two-step process: case dismissed, items returned.

      Even if someone is able to move heaven, earth, and the District Attorney’s office, that’s not the end of the frustration. One thing most arrestees carry often disappears into the evidence locker as well, greatly increasing the difficulty of retrieving possessions.

    • Uncovering a $1 Billion Deal to Detain Unauthorized Immigrants

      Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would phase out its use of private prisons. While significant, the move will not put an end to the booming immigrant detention industry. Private prison companies will continue to receive millions in government contracts to detain unauthorized immigrants.

      Even though private prison companies play a central role in the government’s immigration strategy, the financial dealings between the two are often opaque. In his piece for the Washington Post, reporter Chico Harlan sheds light on one of these secretive arrangements, detailing a $1 billion deal between the Obama Administration and Corrections Corporation of America, also known as CCA, the largest private prison company in the country.

    • Shoot First

      Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show

    • KING: North Carolina police kill unarmed deaf man using sign language

      A North Carolina state trooper shot and killed 29-year-old Daniel Harris — who was not only unarmed, but deaf — just feet from his home, over a speeding violation. According to early reports from neighbors who witnessed the shooting this past Thursday night, Harris was shot and killed “almost immediately” after exiting his vehicle.

      He appeared to be trying to communicate with the officer via sign language.

      “They should’ve de-escalated and been trained to realize that this is an entirely different situation,” neighbor Mark Barringer said. “You’re pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped. To me, what happened is totally unacceptable.”

    • Muslim, American, & Intersectional: The Activism of Linda Sarsour

      TO THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW HER, Linda Sarsour might seem out of place in the lobby of the Public Theater on a blustery January night.

      Sarsour, head of the Arab-American Association of New York, waits patiently to enter the theater’s concert venue, where the folk-and-blues musician Toshi Reagon is to play. A radical lesbian icon, Reagon boasts an incredibly wide-ranging and diverse following. But Sarsour stands out in her brightly colored hijab, the head covering associated with her Muslim faith.

      Anyone familiar with her, though, would not be surprised at all, nor would they be surprised that tonight’s concert is a benefit for Sarsour’s group.

      “One of the reasons I want to support this organization,” Reagon says between songs, donning a “Stop Profiling Muslims” T-shirt, “is that this organization is inclusive. I see them reaching out to all kinds of people.”

    • Police Unions To City Officials: If You Want Good, Accountable Cops, You’ll Need To Pay Them More

      Three police unions in different cities have come forward to insert their feet in their mouths following changes to department policies. The thrust of their terrible arguments? Cops should be paid more for doing their job properly.

      In Cincinnati, officers are being outfitted with body cameras. This, of course, has sent the local Fraternal Order of Police into defense mode. The FOP sent a letter to the city stating that officers won’t be wearing the cameras until they’re given more money. The union apparently believes any increase in officer accountability should be accompanied by an increase in pay.

    • Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds

      Ramen noodles are overtaking tobacco as the most popular currency in US prisons, according a new study released on Monday.

      A new report by Michael Gibson-Light, a doctoral candidate in the University of Arizona’s school of sociology, found the decline in quality and quantity of food available in prisons due to cost-cutting has made ramen noodles a valuable commodity.

    • Justice Department Plans to Stop Using Private Prisons

      The Department of Justice will stop contracting with private prisons, the department announced Thursday morning. The decision comes a week after the DOJ inspector general released a damning report on the safety, security, and oversight of private prisons, which incarcerate 12 percent of federal inmates.

      The announcement comes on the heels of a Mother Jones investigation of a private prison in Louisiana that found serious deficiencies in staffing and security. It also documented a higher rate of violence than the prison reported. Last week’s DOJ report found that private prisons are more violent than federal prisons.

    • Hats Off To Mother Jones

      The road to Social Security privatization is the “reform” of the consumer price index, which under-measures inflation in order to deny Social Security recipients cost-of-living-adjustments. The continuing decline in the real value of Social Security benefits will result in large-scale economic distress. This distress will be used to discredit the Social Security system and to privatize it.

      Whenever you hear “privatization,” you are hearing the formation of a scam that will create riches for insiders while taking the public to the cleaners.

    • Team GB’s Olympic triumph is testament to the benefits of social democracy

      Team GB’s second place in the Rio medals table is nothing less than staggering. It is only 20 years ago that the squad returned with a solitary gold from Atlanta ’96 clinging on to 36th in the table. This sporting nation is now ranked alongside the Olympian superpowers of USA and China. If it hadn’t been for the partial International Olympic Committee ban on their competitors, Russia would have been in the mix too, but this still remains a remarkable Team GB medal haul.

      Unlike the football World Cup, the Olympics medal table is by and large an indicator of global economic and political power. When it comes to the Olympics, the more you have to plough into sport facilities and training for promising young athletes, the better you’re likely to do. Conversely, the superpower nations of USA, China and Russia have not come close to claiming a single men’s Football World Cup title between them. The Olympics is a different story. So how has Great Britain, not a superpower in the same league, ended up on top of the olympic pile?

    • The Right To Draw Air

      Less than two months after he was filmed hysterically waving his gun and screaming expletives at a bloodied dying Philando Castile, having just killed him for pulling out his ID as instructed during a traffic stop, St. Anthony’s police officer Jeronimo Yanez has returned to work on desk duty. With the shooting still under review, Yanez, 28, was praised by St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth as a good officer with “a real sound ability when it comes to communicating and relating to people.”

      Outside the St. Anthony’s Police Department last week, Castile’s still-grieving family and friends protested Yanez’ return as “another slap in the face”and “the wrong signal” to send to a black community reeling both locally and nationwide from too many deaths at the hands of racist police. Castile’s mother Valerie charged that police were “trying to sweep (another unjust death) under the rug” but vowed, “We’re not going to let this one go.” Meanwhile, the community has sought to channel their grief and rage by fundraising for a scholarship in Philando’s name at the school where he worked.

    • Virginia Just Took Step to Uproot ‘Tragic History of Voter Suppression’

      Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday restored the voting rights of roughly 13,000 felons—a development aimed at stopping his state from being “an outlier in the struggle for civil and human rights.”

      “The Virginia Constitution is clear,” he said in his announcement at the Civil Rights Memorial on Capitol Square in Richmond. “I have the authority to restore civil rights without limitation.”

      In April, McAuliffe issued an order restoring voting rights to roughly 200,000 convicted felons. The move was widely heralded by civil rights organizations, and it was supported by 61 percent of Virginians. But in July the Supreme Court of Virginia sided with Republican lawmakers and struck down that order, finding that McAuliffe had overstepped his authority.

    • Virginia Restores Right to Vote to Thousands of Ex-Felons

      Nearly 13,000 former felons in Virginia had their right to vote restored Monday—and more could be re-enfranchised in time for the November election.

      Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the rights restoration at a civil-rights memorial in Richmond.

      “Restoring the rights of Virginians who have served their time and live, work and pay taxes in our communities is one of the pressing civil rights issues of our day,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “I have met these men and women and know how sincerely they want to contribute to our society as full citizens again.”

    • The Idea of Peace in the Quran

      Perhaps because it arose during a great seventh-century war between the Byzantine and Iranian empires, peace (al-salam) was a profound concern for the Qur’an. An early chapter (97) of the Qur’an comments on the first revelation given to the prophet, in 610, while he was meditating at a cavern at Mt. Hira near Mecca. It speaks of a descent of angels and of the Holy Spirit on the night of power when the revelation was sent down, ending with the verse “And peace it is, until the breaking of the dawn.” This verse identifies the night of revelation, and therefore the revelation itself, with peace. Peace in Semitic languages like Hebrew and Arabic is not only conceived of as an absence of conflict, but as a positive conception, of well-being. The revelation and recitation of scripture, Chapter 97 is saying, brings inner peace to the believer.

    • Where the Death Penalty Still Lives

      On a Saturday evening in July 2013, just before 6:30, James Rhodes was recorded on a surveillance camera walking into a Metro PCS cellphone store in Jacksonville, Fla. He was wearing a black do-rag and a blue bandanna, which he pulled over his nose and mouth. Shelby Farah, the store manager, stood behind the counter. Rhodes pointed a gun at her and demanded the money in the cash register. Shelby gave it to him. Then Rhodes shot her in the head. She was 20 years old. He was 21.

    • Turkish Journalist Jailed for Terrorism Was Framed, Forensics Report Shows

      Turkish investigative journalist Barış Pehlivan spent 19 months in jail, accused of terrorism based on documents found on his work computer. But when digital forensics experts examined his PC, they discovered that those files were put there by someone who removed the hard drive from the case, copied the documents, and then reinstalled the hard drive.

      The attackers also attempted to control the journalist’s machine remotely, trying to infect it using malicious email attachments and thumb drives. Among the viruses detected in his computer was an extremely rare trojan called Ahtapot, in one of the only times it’s been seen in the wild.

      “We have never seen a computer attacked as ferociously as Barış’s. The attackers seemed to pull everything out of their bag of tricks,” Mark Spencer, digital forensics expert at Arsenal Consulting, said.

    • RAMADAN TRAIN WRECK Muslim train driver crashed after going without food or drink for 15 hours during Ramadan

      The Great Western driver went through a double red light at London’s Paddington Station in June.

      He made an emergency stop after realising his error but the empty train left the tracks, hit a gantry and brought down power lines at 6.12pm.

    • ‘Belmarsh HERO’ Hate preacher Anjem Choudary ‘raising an army of extremists’ behind bars

      The news comes as the Government prepares to launch a crackdown on radicalisation behind bars.

      Choudary, 49, is being held in a single cell inside the most secure part of Belmarsh Prison.

      He has been isolated from the bulk of the jail’s 900 inmates for several months to prevent him from spreading his poisonous ideology.

    • Boy, 8, dies in Swedish hand grenade blast

      Emergency services were called to the building at around 3am when a large explosion was heard from its third floor. At least five children and several adults were inside at the time, said police, and an eight-year-old child who had suffered serious injuries later died in hospital.

      “It could have ended much worse,” said police spokesperson Thomas Fuxborg.

      The incident has been given a preliminary classification of murder/manslaughter by authorities, who also said that individuals convicted of serious violent crimes were living in the residence.

      Police have confirmed that one of the men convicted over a fatal shooting at a restaurant in the area last year was registered at the address. They are investigating revenge as a potential motive.

      “We’ll have to see if the motive is linked to that. Our theory is that it may be,” said Fuxborg.

    • Muslim convert, 35, ‘jumped out of his car to knock out a schoolboy for hugging his girlfriend in the street’

      A Muslim ‘bully’ grabbed a schoolboy by the throat and threw him to the ground because he saw him hugging a girl in the street, a court heard today.

      Michael Coe, 35, was driving through Newham in East London when he spotted the two 16-year-olds cuddling on the pavement, it is claimed.

      He allegedly confronted the pair, demanding to know if they were Muslims, before calling the girl a ‘whore’.

      Coe was said to have grabbed the boy by the throat, causing him to black out, before he woke up bleeding on the floor.

    • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Fires ‘Thousands’ of Government Officials

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Sunday that he would be sacking every member of his administration who was appointed by a previous President. The move — the latest in what Duterte calls a campaign against corruption — is one of several that have left critics troubled over what they say is an excessive wielding of executive power.

      “Until now, in my provincial visits, I still hear that corruption is being committed,” he said in a long press conference in the earliest hours of Sunday morning, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “My mouth is, as they say, lousy. If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions, all throughout the country, vacant.”

      As for the number of government employees to be sacked: “It will number in the thousands.”

      Duterte, formerly the tough-on-crime mayor of the city of Davao, has long been known as a bombastic firebrand, but in the less than two months since he was inaugurated as President of the Southeast Asian nation, many there have expressed concern over what that zeal means at the level of federal politics. He has in recent weeks threatened to impose “martial law” if the country’s judiciary infringes upon his campaign to eradicate drugs from the country — an exercise that has left hundreds dead.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Romania’s telecom regulator to boost competition

      Romania’s Telecom Regulator ANCOM wants to increase competition in the country’s mobile and fixed telecommunication services, the agency announced in August. ANCOM published its “Strategy for digital communications up to 2020”, “diagnosing the current status of the communications sector in Romania, as well as the future trends.”

    • T-Mobile, Sprint Tap Dance Over, Under, And Around Net Neutrality

      For some time now T-Mobile has been accused of violating net neutrality by exempting the nation’s biggest video services from its usage caps, and throttling all video on the network by default to 1.5 Mbps or 480p. Net neutrality advocates have repeatedly warned that giving some content or companies a leg up and fiddling with service quality sets a horrible precedent, and research has shown T-Mobile’s system to be unreliable and exploitable. Still, T-Mobile has so far received applause from many regulators, media outlets and customers operating under the belief consumers are getting something for free.

      As such, however bad the precedent being set here, there’s no real political pressure on the FCC to act since consumers are effectively applauding what many believe to be a net neutrality violation. The FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t specifically prohibit zero rating, something we’ve long argued opens the door to creative abuses of net neutrality to thunderous applause, which is effectively what’s happening here. The rules do require the FCC to explore whether zero rating is anti-competitive on a “case by case” basis, but so far, outside of a few letters, the FCC doesn’t seem particularly pressed to take action.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Appeals Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Broadcasters For Violating Publicity Rights During Football Game Broadcasts

      Javon Marshall — a former college athlete spearheading a putative class action against several broadcasters for uncompensated use of his likeness — has just seen the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court send him (and everyone “similarly situated”) back home without a parting gift.

      Marshall — like many others who believe the mere existence of intellectual property protections entitles them to a paycheck — sued a long list of broadcasters for allegedly violating the Lanham Act and the Tennessee “right of publicity” law by not paying him and other athletes for using his name and “image” in game broadcasts and advertising. Marshall also claimed the NCAA’s waiver student-athletes sign is “vague and unenforceable.” That may very well be, but that claim was never addressed by the plaintiff and the NCAA was never a defendant. It only served as an introduction to a long list of alleged violations [PDF] that the lower court determined to be baseless accusations.

    • Trademarks

      • A Test He Couldn’t Pass: College Admissions Expert Loses Domain

        Get into Harvard? Not this way. That’s the message of a World Intellectual Property Organization dispute panel after ruling the website harvard-review.com confusingly uses the name of a famous university in promoting skills training for college admissions tests, without authorisation.

    • Copyrights

      • New IP law titles: from EU copyright to ISP liability

        For some odd reasons, it seems that many good IP titles are being released at a time of the year when – at least in the Northern hemisphere – the attention for anything that relates to IP is increasingly and acutely replaced by a slightly stronger interest for holidays, sunshine, and the outdoors.

The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another outrageous patent settlement that requires Microsoft bundling, but the Linux Foundation is too bribed by Microsoft to actually antagonise it any longer

“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

Summary: This morning’s reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft’s patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles

MICROSOFT is not a friend. It’s a predator. It just changed the logo, the PR, and the CEO. It also started paying more and more money to its critics, including Linux OEMs, to keep them quiet. “Microsoft Keynoting LinuxCon,” said a headline from Phoronix yesterday. What it failed to say is that Microsoft actually pays the Linux Foundation to infiltrate it. This has gone on for a while. Earlier this month the Linux Foundation posted a Microsoft puff piece paid for by Microsoft. We mentioned it this worrisome development the other day (to their credit, the Linux Foundation did add a disclosure to this). The payment was made under the pretense of supporting a conference (i.e. interjecting Microsoft stuff into it).

Is Microsoft becoming more open? No, it’s spying more and more. All the core products are proprietary. What is PowerShell all about? Openwashing. “Embrace and extend” of wget and curl (soon to have Mono as well) while claiming to be “opening up” a part of Windows, which is proprietary spyware that defies law (and had Microsoft lose cases in court).

But never mind all the above. Has Microsoft actually made peace with GNU/Linux? Hardly. Au contraire. Microsoft is still attacking GNU/Linux. If “Microsoft loves Linux,” then it sure shows it like an abusive spouse that beats up the wife (to borrow the analogy from Simon Phipps). Microsoft extorts Linux again, but it has bamboozled the media like it first did when it attacked Acer. It did this several times more thereafter and we covered it earlier this year, e.g. in:

Remember what happened to Samsung when it said “No!”

Microsoft took it to court and Samsung later settled with bundling (early 2015). That’s like racketeering, but Microsoft is far too politically-connected to face charges under the RICO Act.

In the past, Microsoft was offering payments for bundling; right now, instead, it’s a patent settlement. A patent settlement over what? Linux. The media is calling it all sorts of things other than patent settlement (after threats), which is what it really is. Here is the coverage we see right now (misleading):

The following two articles suggest that Motorola too (already sued by Microsoft over patents) is a victim of this strategy:

All that Microsoft is trying to achieve here is control over Linux-powered mobile (or Android) users, e.g. using Skype malware. People who actually think that Microsoft has changed need to reassess their trust in corporate media (much of the above is Microsoft-connected media and Microsoft advocacy sites that help mislead other media).

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