EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.27.16

Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

Posted in News Roundup at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Are You a Linux Expert?
    • Common hardware causes Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashes, again

      Microsoft’s Anniversary Update is causing headaches yet again, this time for owners of Kindle e-readers. Some Kindle Paperwhite and Voyager devices are causing PCs running the Anniversary update to lock up and display the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD) whenever the e-readers are connected via USB, as first reported by The Guardian.

      The reason for this odd behavior is unclear, but Microsoft says it’s working on it.

      “We are aware of an issue with a small number of Kindle Voyager and Paperwhite e-Readers causing an unexpected behavior when plugged into Windows 10 devices after installing the Anniversary Update,” Microsoft said on its support forums.

      The impact on you at home: For now, there isn’t a solid workaround for anyone who’s experiencing this problem. Some users are reporting, however, that leaving the Kindle plugged in to the PC while rebooting will allow them to use the Kindle normally and transfer files. Rebooting the PC and plugging the Kindle back in again just causes another lock-up.

  • Kernel Space

    • World Wide Web became what it is thanks to Linux

      Linux is used to power the largest websites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

    • SFC’s Kuhn in firing line as Linus Torvalds takes aim

      A few days after he mused that there had been no reason for him to blow his stack recently, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has directed a blast at the Software Freedom Conservancy and its distinguished technologist Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GNU General Public Licence.

      Torvalds’ rant came on Friday, as usual on a mailing list and on a thread which was started by Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler on Wednesday last week. She suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto, held from Monday to Thursday, also include a session on GPL enforcement.

    • Linux at 25: A pictorial history

      Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that’s used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.

    • Microsoft at LinuxCon: Building Open Source Cred One Conference at a Time [Ed: Wim Coekaerts received just one salary from Microsoft and now he’s being painted as “Microsoft”, which still attacks Linux. Microsoft is just purchasing the illusion that it is loved by Linux and vice versa.]

      Coekaerts came to Microsoft after some off campus meetings at a Redmond area Starbucks with Scott Guthrie and Mike Neil, two vice presidents with the cloud and enterprise group, who convinced him that “open source is very important to Microsoft.”

    • How Cloud Native Computing Is Evolving

      “Cloud native” is a relatively new term that isn’t particularly well understood, but the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to change that.

      At the Cloud Native Day here following LinuxCon, Dan Kohn, CNCF executive director (pictured), detailed what his organization does and how the cloud native approach is now evolving.

      The CNCF was formed in July 2015, as an effort to help unify and define the Cloud Native era. Kohn started off his keynote with a brief history of the cloud and the movement of workloads from physical servers.

    • Making Use Of eBPF In The Mainline Linux Kernel

      One of the exciting innovations within the Linux kernel in the past few years has been extending the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) to become a more generalized in-kernel virtual machine. The eBPF work with recent versions of the Linux kernel allow it to be used by more than just networking so that these programs can be used for tracing, security, and more.

    • Linux turns 25 with a brilliant history

      Chances are, you use it every day. Linux runs every Android phone and tablet on Earth. And even if you’re on an iPhone or a Mac or a Windows machine, Linux is working behind the scenes, across the Internet, serving up most of the webpages you view and powering most of the apps you use. Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Wikipedia—it’s all running on Linux.

      Now, Linux is finding its way onto televisions, thermostats, and even cars. As software creeps into practically every aspect of our lives, so does the OS designed by Linus Torvalds.

    • Linus Torvalds says GPL was defining factor in Linux’s success

      Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, discussed the role that GNU GPL played in the success of Linux during a keynote conversation this week at LinuxCon NA in Toronto.

      Hohndel, who has been involved with the kernel for a very long time, said that during the past 25 years there have been many challenges, and one of the biggest challenges was the possibility of fragmentation. “How do we keep one single kernel?” he asked.

      “I used to be worried about fragmentation, and I used to think that it was inevitable at some point,” said Torvalds. “Everyone was looking at the history of Linux and comparing it with UNIX. People would say that it’s going to fail because it’s going to fragment. That’s what happened before, so why even bother?”

      What made the difference was the license. “FSF [Free Software Foundation] and I don’t have a loving relationship, but I love GPL v2,” said Torvalds. “I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint.”

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Bodhi Updates, KaOS & Antergos Reviews, Another 25?

        Today in Linux news, Jeff Hoogland posted a short update on the progress of Bodhi Linux 4.0 and reported on the updates to the project’s donations page. In other news, An Everyday Linux User reviewed Arch-based Antergos Linux saying it was “decent” and Ubuntu-fan Jack Wallen reviewed “beautiful” KDE-centric KaOS. makeuseof.com has five reasons to switch to the Ubuntu phone and Brian Fagioli asked if Linux can survive another 25 years.

      • Rescatux 0.40 beta 9 released

        Many code in the grub side and in the windows registry side has been rewritten so that these new features could be rewritten. As a consequence it will be easier to maintain Rescapp.

        Finally the chntpw based options which modify the Windows registry now perform a backup of the Windows registry files in the unlikely case you want to undo some of the changes that Rescapp performs.

        I guess that in the future there will be a feature to be able to restore such backups from Rescapp itself, but, let’s focus on releasing an stable release. It’s been a while since the last one.

        UEFI feedback is still welcome. Specially if the Debian installation disks work for you but not the Rescatux ones.

      • Bodhi 4.0.0 Updates and July Donation Totals

        Late last month I posted a first alpha look at Bodhi 4.0.0. Work since then has been coming along slowly due to a few unpredictable issues and my own work schedule outside of Bodhi being hectic over the summer. Bodhi 4.0.0 will be happening, but likely not with a stable release until September. I am traveling again this weekend, but am hoping to get out a full alpha release with 32bit and non-PAE discs next week.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Weeks 2016/34

        Time seems to be flying, it feels like I only just wrote review of week 33 and now week 34 is already over again. A perfect moment to look back what the three snapshots (0818, 0820 and 0822) offered us.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Virtualisation 4 woos VMware faithful

        It is easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn’t forgotten about you.

        Red Hat Virtualisation (RHV) 4.0 refreshes Red Hat’s open source virtualisation platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat’s product line. It is a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat’s virtualisation efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company’s intention to woo VMware customers.

      • Forbes Names Red Hat One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced it has been named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. Red Hat was ranked as the 25th most innovative company in the world, marking the company’s fourth appearance on the list (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Red Hat was named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Growth Companies” list in 2011.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • When creating updates remember to build for rawhide and Fedora 25 (devel)

          When ever we branch for a new release of Fedora I, and others, end up spending a non trivial amount of time ensuring that there’s a clean upgrade path for packages. From the moment we branch you need to build new versions and bug fixes of packages for rawhide (currently what will become Fedora 26), for the current stabilising release (what will become Fedora 25) as well as what ever stable releases you need to push the fix for. For rawhide you don’t need to submit it as an update but for the current release that’s stabilising you do need to submit it as an update as it won’t just automagically get tagged into the release.

          As a packager you should know this, it’s been like it for a VERY LONG TIME! Yet each cycle from the moment of branching right through to when a new release goes GA I still end up having to fix packages that “get downgraded” when people upgrade between releases!!

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 5 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Phone

            You’ve had Android phones, and you’ve had iPhones. Buying a smartphone for most people is a polarized, A/B choice. And for some, the experience of choosing a new phone is becoming… jaded.

            You might think that Android and iOS have the mobile market sewn up, but what if I was to tell you that you don’t need to look at Windows 10 Mobile or BlackBerry as alternatives? Various others are available, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Ubuntu Phone, which uses the Ubuntu Touch platform, and can be found on devices such as the Meizu Pro 5.

          • Ubuntu Linux 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 1 now available for download (don’t talk back)

            Linux celebrated a 25th birthday yesterday — a spectacular open source milestone. For some folks, rather than eat cake, they reflected on how the kernel impacted their lives. For many, Ubuntu would be a big part of the picture — the desktop OS is wildly popular in the Linux community.

            Today, the first beta of Ubuntu Linux 16.10 sees release. Once again, a silly animal name is assigned, this time being the letter “Y” for the horned mammal, “Yakkety Yak”. This is obviously a play on the classic song “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters. Please be sure not to “talk back” while testing this beta operating system!

            “Pre-releases of the Yakkety Yak are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this bos grunniens ready. Beta 1 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. These images are still under development, so you should expect some bugs”, says Set Hallström, Ubuntu Studio project lead.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google Does Open Source

    Marc Merlin has been working as an engineer at Google since 2002 and has seen (and done) a lot of open source and Linux work during that time. Speaking at the LinuxCon North America event this week, Merlin provided a standing room only audience with an overview how Google uses and contributes to open source.

    “Google wouldn’t be around today without open source software,” Merlin said.

  • ownCloud-Forked Nextcloud 10 Now Available
  • Secure, Monitor and Control your data with Nextcloud 10 – get it now!

    Nextcloud 10 is now available with many new features for system administrators to control and direct the flow of data between users on a Nextcloud server. Rule based file tagging and responding to these tags as well as other triggers like physical location, user group, file properties and request type enables administrators to specifically deny access to, convert, delete or retain data following business or legal requirements. Monitoring, security, performance and usability improvements complement this release, enabling larger and more efficient Nextcloud installations. You can get it on our install page or read on for details.

  • What makes a great Open Source project?

    Recently the Document Foundation has published its annual report for the year 2015. You can download it as a pdf by following this link, and you can now even purchase a paper copy of the report. This publication gives me the opportunity to talk a bit about what I think makes a great FOSS project and what I understand may be a great community.

    If it is possible to see this topic as something many people already went over and over again, think again: Free & Open Source Software is seen as having kept and even increased its momentum these past few years, with many innovative companies developing and distributing software licensed under a Free & Open Source license from the very beginning. This trend indicates two important points: FOSS is no longer something you can automagically use as a nice tag slapped on a commodity software; and FOSS projects cannot really be treated as afterthoughts or “nice-to-haves”. Gone are the days where many vendors could claim to be sympathetic and even supportive to FOSS but only insofar as their double-digits forecasted new software solution would not be affected by a cumbersome “community of developers”. Innovation relies on, starts with, runs thanks to FOSS technologies and practices. One question is to wonder what comes next. Another one is to wonder why Open Source is still seen as a complex maze of concepts and practices by so many in the IT industry. This post will try to address one major difficulty of FOSS: why do some projects fail while others succeed.

  • Events

    • First FSFE Summit Will Focus on Social Issues and Strategies

      Free Software advocates from all over Europe will be meeting in Berlin Sept. 2-4 at the first ever Free Software Foundation Europe’s summit.

      This 2016 event, besides being long overdue, also marks 15 years since the creation of the FSFE. Throughout its history, the FSFE has had its fair share of landmark achievements. It has been instrumental in a successful antitrust-case against a big software corporation that intended to dominate the market of personal computers. It managed to keep software patents unenforceable in Europe, thereby avoiding a veritable apocalypse for European small and medium-sized tech companies. And, it worked alongside gpl-violations.org to get free licenses vindicated in German courts, setting ground-breaking precedents for the whole of the EU.

      One of the main missions of the Free Software community in general, and the FSFE in particular, is to put users back into the driver’s seat, so that people control technology and not the other way around. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it would likely not be an exaggeration to say that the FSFE has transformed the foundations of IT in Europe and that it has had a deep impact on anybody who has used a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet in the last decade or so.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Report: DOD must embrace open-source software

      The Defense Department increasingly relies on software for everything from weapons systems to accounting, but it is failing to capitalize on the power of open-source software, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In “Open Source Software and the Department of Defense,” CNAS argues that a number of cultural factors, biases and regulatory barriers are keeping DOD from embracing open-source options.

      “Unfortunately, software development is not currently a high-profile, high-priority topic in the discussion about diminishing U.S. military technical superiority,” the report states. “It should be.”

      Industry relies heavily on open-source software with great success, and DOD’s continued reliance on proprietary code is more expensive, slows innovation and puts America’s warfighters at greater risk, according to CNAS.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Black Women Do Breastfeed, Despite Intense Systemic Barriers in the US

      The movement to normalize breastfeeding in this country has generated positive results, but a racial gap in breastfeeding rates persists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 79 percent of all newborn infants in the US started out breastfeeding in 2011. That is good news for both babies and mothers, as breastfeeding yields significant health benefits, such as a lower risk of asthma and childhood leukemia for children, and a lower risk of gynecological cancers and osteoporosis for mothers. But the data suggest that US mothers require more support in order to continue breastfeeding. Among US-born children in 2011, only 49 percent were still breastfeeding at six months; and at 12 months, only 27 percent of those babies were still breastfeeding. For Black mothers and their babies, support needs are greater, as Black women’s rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration are significantly lower than the US average.

    • EPA’s Inaction Made Way for Lead Poisoning in Children, Lawsuit Claims

      Environmental justice and public health groups are demanding that the federal government update regulations and expand efforts to protect young children from lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible cognitive and behavioral problems and tends to be more common in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

      In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a coalition of groups asked a federal court in California to mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update its standards for assessing dangerous levels of lead dust on surfaces in homes and residential buildings, especially those built before 1978, when regulators began restricting the amount of lead in lead-based paints.

      In 2009, the EPA granted a citizens’ petition to update its lead dust standards and agreed to initiate rulemaking proceedings, after new scientific evidence showed that existing standards were inadequate for protecting children from lead poisoning. However, seven years have passed and the agency has yet to set new rules.

    • Slamming ‘Absurd’ US Healthcare, Sanders Backs Single-Payer in Colorado

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this week endorsed a Colorado ballot measure that would create single-payer healthcare in the state, urging his supporters to rally around the amendment and stating, “If that proposal can win in Colorado, I believe that idea will spread around the country.”

      “It is absurd, it is beyond belief, that here in America we remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” Sanders said at an event in Vermont on Wednesday, where he offered his official endorsement.

      As the Denver Post reports, Colorado Amendment 69—known colloquially as ColoradoCare—would create a universal healthcare system funded by payroll taxes that would largely replace private health insurance. People could still choose to keep their own, although they would still be required to pay the tax.

    • Bernie Sanders endorses ColoradoCare universal health care measure

      Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has formally endorsed the Colorado ballot measure to create a universal health care system in the state.

      At an event in Vermont on Wednesday launching his new political organization, called Our Revolution, Sanders singled out Colorado’s Amendment 69 — also known as ColoradoCare — as something his supporters should rally behind.

    • In Zika-Gripped Florida, Concerns Mount Over Insecticide Use—and Efficacy

      Not only is the anti-Zika aerial insecticide spraying program raising health concerns in Florida and beyond, but the high-rise landscape in Miami Beach may be making such campaigns ineffective, to boot.

      Weeks ago, as mosquitoes carrying the disease became resistant to a less-potent pesticide, Miami-Dade County turned to the more controversial naled, which the Miami Herald noted is “toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish—and people.”

    • Is insecticide sprayed to fight Zika a risk for people and wildlife?

      Faced with the need to quickly kill hard-to-reach mosquitoes spreading the Zika virus through Wynwood, Miami-Dade County has turned to a controversial pesticide that’s toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish — and people.

    • The ADHD Epidemic: Smart Drugs and the Control of Bodies and Minds

      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has seen massive recent increases in diagnosis since 2000, is defined as a difficulty in paying attention, restlessness, and hyperactivity. By 2010, nearly one in three US children age 2-17 had been diagnosed as suffering ADHD, and by 2012, diagnoses of ADHD had risen 66% in the prior decade. Ballooning rates of diagnosis for ADHD have been met with unprecedented levels of medical prescriptions principally for the amphetamine pharmaceutical drugs Adderall and Ritalin. By 2011 11% of all US children 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD and 6.1% were taking ADHD drugs and an estimated 8% to 35% of university students in the US using cognitive stimulants. Boys are diagnosed at nearly three times the rate as girls. About 80% of those children diagnosed with ADHD are using these medications. Children below the poverty line are diagnosed at higher rates especially poor toddlers.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 released
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Openwall 3.1-20160824 is out

      New Openwall GNU/*/Linux ISO images and OpenVZ container templates are out.

    • Scorpene Leak Could Be Part Of ‘Economic War,’ Says French Maker: 10 Facts

      The leak, was first reported in The Australian newspaper. Ship maker DCNS has a nearly 38 billion dollar contract with Australia, but the leak has no mention of the 12 vessels being designed for Australia.

    • Homeland Security has ‘open investigation’ into Leslie Jones hacking

      The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the cyberattack against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones one day after her personal information and explicit images were leaked online.

      In a short statement on Thursday, a spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said that the Homeland Security investigations unit in New York “has an open investigation into this matter”.

      “As a matter of agency policy and in order to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, we will not disclose any details,” the statement said.

      “As a matter of agency policy, we are unable to disclose any information related to an active investigation,” a spokeswoman said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The US: A Dead Nation Walking

      It is my conclusion that Washington is aware of the constraint that the desire for Western acceptance puts on the Russian government and that this is why Washington, in a direct thrust at Russia, was comfortable orchestrating the coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government. I believe that this constraint also explains the mistakes the Russian government made by refusing the requests of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics to be reincorporated as parts of Russia, where the territories formerly resided, and by the premature withdrawal from Syria that allowed Washington to resupply the jihadists and to insert US forces into the conflict, thus complicating the situation for Russia and Syria.

    • The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire

      The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.

    • Russia’s Misplayed Hand with Iran

      Iran’s annoyance that Russia over-played its hand in going public about its use of an Iranian airbase shows the risk of offending potential allies, a lesson that U.S. officials also need to learn, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • The High Cost of American Hubris

      Although renowned political scientist John Mearsheimer does not consider himself to be an isolationist – a term which has acquired a negative connotation since WWII – his definition is illuminating as much for clarifying what the term does not mean as for what it does.

      In America Unhinged, Mearsheimer writes: “Isolationism rests on the assumption that no region of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere is of vital strategic importance to the United States. Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

    • Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn ‘Coup’ in Brazil

      Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”

      [...]

      “The impeachment—labeled a coup by many Brazilians—has generated outrage and frequent protests in Brazil,” Mendonça adds.

      “We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil,” the letter says, adding that “Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades.”

      Rousseff’s removal would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule, as Common Dreams reported, and bring about the confirmation of “the unelected, right-of-center Temer” as president until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.

    • Saudi-Led Bombing Kills 11 Civilians in Yemen, While Kerry Ignores US ‘Complicity’

      Another Saudi-led coalition airstrike in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians on Friday—only one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Saudi Arabia, purportedly to urge Saudi King Salman to seek a “political solution” to the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

      And despite Kerry’s words about seeking peace in Yemen, the U.S. continues to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons that have been used to kill civilians in that country.

    • Saudi-Led Airstrikes Reportedly Kill 11 Civilians in Yemen

      Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians, including women and children, Yemen’s rebel-run news agency said Friday.

      The overnight attack in the city of Saada, a stronghold of the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, came as Iran’s foreign minister dismissed claims from Saudi Arabia that his country had supplied Yemen’s rebels with missiles.

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to Saudi Arabia the previous day, said he was “deeply troubled” over Saudi photographs showing Iranian-supplied missiles being positioned along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said such statements were “baseless accusations.”

    • What Makes a Hate Group?

      “As a matter of fact, you have had a person attend your protests in Camp Douglas who has threatened to kill our Deputies.” This piece of startling news was revealed to me in a letter from Juneau County, Wisconsin, Undersheriff Craig Stuchlik dated July 25.

      I had written to the sheriff’s department requesting documents under the Open Records Law and for an explanation of the department’s response to a demonstration at Volk Field, a Wisconsin Air National Guard base near the town of Camp Douglas, where my colleague at Voices for Creative Nonviolence Kathy Kelly and I had been arrested onFebruary 23, carrying a loaf of bread and a letter for the base commander. There is a facility at this base where military personnel are trained in the operation of remotely controlled Shadow Drones that have been instrumental in the targeted assassination program that legal experts label war crimes and that military experts say recruit more enemies for our country than they kill.

      Undersheriff Stuchlik put this purported threat into a broader context that suggests that the sheriff’s department views Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars that organizes these demonstrations as hate groups: “Law Enforcement Officers are being targeted in the United States by hate groups because they stand for law and order. Law Enforcement Officers are being executed by these hate groups at an alarming rate and it does not appear to be slowing down.”

    • Pundits, Decrying the Horrors of War in Aleppo, Demand Expanded War

      The devastating photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance after his home was bombed in Syrian or Russian air strikes has amped up calls for direct US military intervention against the Syrian government. The now-viral photo of Omran—and the broader siege of east Aleppo—was prominently featured in most major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and several other publications. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all ran stories on the photo, and editorial boards and pundits weighed in as well, with several insisting that President Obama must “do something” to stop the suffering of the Syrian people.

      According to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, State Department officials “sent a cable to Obama, urging stronger military action against Syrian government forces. They suggested that could include cruise missiles and ‘targeted airstrikes.’ That’s what we mean by leverage, of a sort Putin would comprehend.”

      In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote (in response to the siege of Aleppo, but before the photo went viral): “Many experts recommend trying to ground Syria’s Air Force so it can no longer drop barrel bombs on hospitals and civilians. One oft-heard idea is to fire missiles from outside Syria to crater military runways to make them unusable.”

      And on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough proclaimed: “Inaction by the United States and the West and the world is not only responsible for this [holding up the Omran image] and 500,000 deaths, it’s responsible for those images of those Syrian refugees, the little boy we saw washed up on the beach…. The world will look back. Save your hand-wringing…you can still do something right now. But nothing’s been done.”

    • How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home

      Among the prime movers in our corporatized politics are undoubtedly the two billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, and their cozy network of secret donors. It’s hard to grasp how rich they really are: they rank fifth (David) and sixth (Charles) on Business Insider’s list of the 50 richest people in the world, but if you pool their wealth they become by far the single richest “individual” on the planet. And they have pals. For decades now they’ve hosted top-secret gatherings of their richest collaborators that sometimes also feature dignitaries like Clarence Thomas or the late Antonin Scalia, two of the Supreme Court Justices who gave them the Citizens United decision, suffocating American democracy in plutocratic dollars. That select donor group had reportedly planned to spend at least $889 million on this year’s elections and related political projects, but recent reports note a scaling back and redirection of resources.

      While the contest between Trump and Clinton fills the media, the big money is evidently going to be aimed at selected states and municipalities to aid right-wing governors, Senate candidates, congressional representatives, and in some cities, ominously enough, school board candidates. The Koch brothers need not openly support the embarrassing Trump, for they’ve already proved that, by controlling Congress, they can significantly control the president, as they have already done in the Obama era.

      Yet for all their influence, the Koch name means nothing, pollsters report, to more than half of the U.S. population. In fact, the brothers Koch largely stayed under the radar until recent years when their roles as polluters, campaigners against the environment, and funders of a new politics came into view. Thanks to Robert Greenwald’s film Koch Brothers Exposed and Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, we now know a lot more about them, but not enough.

      They’ve always been ready to profit off America’s wars. Despite their extreme neo-libertarian goal of demonizing and demolishing government, they reportedly didn’t hesitate to pocket about $170 million as contractors for George W. Bush’s wars. They sold fuel (oil is their principal business) to the Defense Department, and after they bought Georgia Pacific, maker of paper products, they supplied that military essential: toilet paper.

      But that was small potatoes compared to what happened when soldiers came home from the wars and fell victim to the profiteering of corporate America. Dig in to the scams exploiting veterans, and once again you’ll run into the Koch brothers.

    • Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads

      As the Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels near the signing of a comprehensive peace accord, and though they have already signed a bi-lateral ceasefire which is largely holding, Colombia is still suffering from the worst human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere. These abuses are being carried out by right-wing paramilitary groups (aka, death squads), which the U.S. and Colombian governments conveniently deny even exist.

      These paramilitary groups, in accord with their long-time friend and ally, former President Alvaro Uribe, are openly and aggressively opposed to the peace accords, and will most certainly escalate their violence as a national referendum which will be held to ratify, or reject, these accords draws near. Thus, as Insight Crime recently reported, the Colombian Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) estimates that nearly 250 municipalities (or more than 25% of the 1,105 municipalities in all of Colombia) “are at risk of violence or fraud affecting the referendum on an anticipated peace deal” with the FARC. The departments of Choco, Arauca, Cauca and Putumayo – that is, departments with heavy concentrations of Afro-Colombians and indigenous – are among the departments with the greatest risk. Antioquia, the department of Alvaro Uribe who was governor there, has the greatest number of municipalities at risk.

      [...]

      Father Giraldo then expresses a seldom-uttered truth which I have certainly learned upon my numerous trips to Colombia in the past 17 years – that while the paramilitaries oppose the peace process because it will grant some immunity for rebels, the “popular movements feel more fear of the impunity of the powerful and of the paramilitaries and the agents of the government, whose war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide greatly exceed, both in quality and in cruelty, the crimes of the insurgency.”

    • ‘It Is Time to Give Peace a Chance’: Historic FARC Peace Deal Achieved

      After almost four years of negotiations and over 50 years of war, Colombia’s rebel FARC group and the government finally signed a peace accord in Havana, Cuba, late Wednesday.

      “We won the most beautiful of all battles: Peace,” said the rebel group’s top negotiator, Iván Márquez.

      “The war is over,” the Guardian quotes Humberto de la Calle, chief government negotiator, as saying after signing the deal. “It is the time to give peace a chance.”

      “Today marks the beginning of the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of the war,” Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said in an address to the nation after the announcement in Havana.

      Colombia’s government will hold a plebiscite on October 2 for citizens to either accept or reject the agreement.

    • Colombia’s president rushing vote on deal with rebels

      Colombia’s president is moving quickly to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, delivering the final text of the deal to congress on Thursday and declaring a definitive cease-fire with the guerrillas.

    • Pentagon Has No Idea Where Hundreds of Thousands of Guns Went in Iraq and Afghanistan

      The U.S. government has shipped over 1.4 million guns to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, according a new analysis by the U.K.-based watchdog Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), but the Pentagon is only able to account for fewer than half of them.

      AOAV released its analysis of publicly available data on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts on Wednesday, and added that when requested to provide its own accounting for the small arms provided to the war-torn nations, “the DoD data shows that over 700,000 small arms were sent from the U.S. to Iraq and Afghanistan within these periods. However, this amount only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open source government reports.”

      AOAV also noted that the total number of small weapons the U.S. provided to Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to be far higher than even the group’s count, as the Pentagon kept such shoddy records of the planeloads of weapons it dispatched to those countries—if it kept any records at all.

    • Afghanistan, dynamic of war

      Afghanistan has somewhat fallen off the radar of western media, even though violent conflict there continues unabated. An exception is major incidents such as the ten-hour attack and siege against the American University in Kabul on 24 August, which killed fourteen people and injured many more. This rightly attracted attention as a grim indicator of continued Taliban activity, as did the bombing of a Hazara protest march on 23 July, also in the capital, when eighty people died and 250 were wounded.

      But other developments in the Afghan conflict, which are barely reported or even ignored by establishment media in the west, can carry much greater significance. So it was this week with a report at the bottom of an inside page of a leading military journal: “B-52 bombers rejoin US campaign in Afghanistan”.

    • Is the U.S. Finally Ending the Toxic Practice of Burning Old Munitions in Open Pits?

      By the year 2020, the U.S. is expected to have on its hands a growing stockpile of munitions nearing 1.1 million tons that are no longer considered useful to the military. As a means of disposal, these munitions, including small arms cartridges, rockets, mortars, artillery shells, tactical missiles and other wastes, have for decades been burned or detonated on large trays out in the open at military bases across the country.

      Canada and a number of European countries like Germany and the Netherlands have banned the practice, for good reason. Plumes of toxic smoke from burn pits have been documented drifting over surrounding communities, while the destroyed munitions expel pollutants that leach into the soil and groundwater. These pollutants include an array of highly toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans, PCBs, chromium, dinitrotoluene (DNT), and perchlorate. Many of these toxic chemicals are known carcinogens, while all of them can cause chronic illnesses in humans and wildlife.

    • Is Turkey’s incursion into Syria about Daesh, or about the Kurds?

      Turkish military sources told the Anadol news agency that Wednesday’s military attack on the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, held for years by Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), involved hitting 82 targets. The objective, Ankara said, was to secure the Turkish border and to support the US-led Coalition in its war on Daesh and guarantee the unity of Syrian territory.

      The Turkish military chief of staff and his deputy said they followed the course of the operation from their operations room in Ankara.

      Daesh fighters withdrew from much of Jarabulus and surrounding villages, heading south to al-Bab, now the northernmost Daesh outpost in Syria.

    • Hillary Clinton Shows Dangerous Tendency to Go to War No Matter the Consequences

      In our extended interview with scholar Vijay Prashad, he discusses the U.S. presidential election and notes that while President Obama was reticent, then-Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, damn the consequences. If you’re looking at this from outside the United States, there’s a real reason to be terrified.”

    • War ‘Has Become a Permanent Condition’ for the United States

      Did you know that Oliver Stone was a Vietnam vet? That explains a lot. No wonder he has come out so strongly against all the various American “war” fiascos since then. If you had suffered through all the shite that he did while fighting in Vietnam, you would most likely be anti-war as well.

      Stone recently spoke at the annual Veterans For Peace convention here in Berkeley—and he had a lot to say too. “America’s crackpot realists create the terror for which they then provide the antidote.” Apparently it’s the American thing to do.

      “In Vietnam, every time we took fire, we went berserk. We’d blow up everything. The mentality of absolute destruction. But when I came back from Vietnam, I thought that intelligence would finally start to reign. Didn’t happen. Reagan’s warning to the world was that Americans could be truly barbaric. That was the lesson of Hiroshima too—to let the Soviet Union know that America was capable of anything.”

    • Acceptable Losses

      Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

      Such was the dire condition of the country before Saudi Arabia unleashed a bombing campaign in March 2015, which has destroyed warehouses, factories, power plants, ports, hospitals, water tanks, gas stations, and bridges, along with miscellaneous targets ranging from donkey carts to wedding parties to archaeological monuments. Thousands of civilians — no one knows how many — have been killed or wounded. Along with the bombing, the Saudis have enforced a blockade, cutting off supplies of food, fuel, and medicine. A year and a half into the war, the health system has largely broken down, and much of the country is on the brink of starvation.

    • Mainstream Media Are Ignoring U.S. Accountability in Saudi Arabia’s Destruction of Yemen

      Many Americans were shaken last week after a picture of a stunned Syrian child, whose home had just been bombed into rubble, went viral. Time magazine noted that “[d]evastating pictures and footage from Syria are common now.” But what about children in other war-torn countries?

    • “This is Our War & It is Shameful:” Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the U.S. Role in the War in Yemen

      Even before the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began more than a year ago, Yemen was ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. But now, a year and a half into the war, Yemen’s health system has broken down, and the population is facing the threat of starvation. For more, we’re joined by Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined “Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen.” He is author of “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • “The Hunt”: Colonial Conservation, Caught on Film

      Over the last few weeks, BBC America has broadcast “The Hunt,” the latest offering from world-renowned natural history broadcaster David Attenborough. The formula is familiar: gorgeous photography, silky smooth voiceovers and tear-jerking narratives about the animals on screen. The series has profiled the world’s most “charismatic” predators — big cats, birds of prey, wolves, bears — and the ways in which they dominate their environment. The final episode focused on conservation and the threats faced by many of these species, which are unquestionably very serious.

      Sadly, rather than critiquing poaching or industrialization, the program placed most of the blame for endangering species like the lion and the tiger on the shoulders of the tribal people who live in the so-called “wildernesses” that had been photographed. The narrative was full of distortion and misrepresentation and seemed to support an essentially colonial form of conservation that is deeply problematic.

    • Waste Not, Save More

      On average, each person in the U.S. throws away five pounds of solid waste each day. While many eco–conscious citizens do their due diligence to recycle, compost, and reduce waste, others remain apathetic about preserving the environment.

      Wherever you might land on the eco-friendly scale, innovative “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) programs are incentivizing people nationwide to increase (or start) recycling and composting through a usage-pricing model.

      Basically, the less trash you send to a landfill, the less you pay.

      Over 7,000 communities in the U.S. report using this green solution, with cities seeing an average of 45 percent less trash.

    • Day After Obama Tours Louisiana Flood Damage, Gov’t Holds Massive Gulf Oil & Gas Lease Auction

      On Tuesday, President Obama visited Louisiana for the first time since the devastating floods that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes. The Red Cross has called it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. While many climate scientists have tied the historic floods in Louisiana to climate change, President Obama made no link during his remarks. However, on Tuesday, four environmental activists were arrested in New Orleans protesting the Interior Department’s decision to go ahead with a lease sale of up to 24 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development. The sale is being held today in the Superdome—the very building where thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans sought refuge during Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. We speak to Antonia Juhasz, an oil and energy analyst, author of “Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.” She joins us from San Francisco.

    • Flood-Ravaged Gulf Coast Residents Ask President Obama To Cancel Federal Offshore Drilling Lease Auction

      During President Obama’s visit to a flood-ravaged area near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, a group of environmental activists delivered a petition to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) protesting the planned leasing of more of the Gulf of Mexico for oll and gas drilling.

      They gathered 184,000 electronic signatures over just six days calling for the President and BOEM to cancel its lease auction — scheduled to take place today, August 24.

      Four members of the group told police on the scene they planned to stay until either they got a response from President Obama or they were arrested.

    • Climate Change and the 1,000-Year Flood in Baton Rouge: When Will We Learn?

      The floodwaters are receding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the scale of the damage is revealing itself. It has been described as a 1,000-year flood, leaving at least 13 people dead and close to 60,000 homes ruined. According to Weather Underground meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, August has been the wettest month in Baton Rouge in 174 years, when records were first kept. They added, “Since June 1, Baton Rouge has picked up an amazing 40.95 inches—more rain in three months than downtown Los Angeles has recorded over the last five years (38.79 inches)!”

      President Barack Obama traveled there Tuesday. “I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood,” he said after walking through part of the devastated city. While Obama was criticized by his political opponents for not visiting Baton Rouge earlier, it’s what happened one day later, in nearby New Orleans, that should have everyone concerned.

      The Obama administration conducted a massive auction of offshore oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The irony was not lost on Antonia Juhasz. She is a journalist and energy analyst who has long tracked the multinational petroleum corporations engaged in deep-water oil extraction. “Following Obama #LouisianaFlood visit, Interior Dept to auction offshore drilling leases to 24 million acres in Gulf on 8/24 at Superdome,” she tweeted, followed by, “After protests nearly shut down lease sale in March at Superdome, for first time, BOEM closes sale to public, makes viewing available online.” The BOEM is the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The agency was auctioning 23.8 million acres in the western section of the Gulf of Mexico, for deep-water oil and gas exploration and extraction.

    • 3 Reasons the Standing Rock Sioux Can Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

      America has more than 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines crossing the country in every direction. So plans to construct the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline from oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois, were supposed to be a nonevent. The regulatory process was largely through state commissions and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and far less stringent than the successfully opposed Keystone XL pipeline.

    • From #NoDAPL to #FreedomSquare: A Tale of Two Occupations

      On the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, Natives have been encamped for 146 days, in an ongoing effort to thwart construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. In Chicago, Black organizers with the #LetUsBreathe collective have created a living, breathing community space in the shadow of the infamous Homan Square police compound — a facility that some call a “black site,” where people have been held for days on end without being able to contact loved ones or an attorney and where some have been tortured.

    • Kandi Mossett on Native American Pipeline Protests

      This week on CounterSpin: For months now, hundreds and then thousands of indigenous people have been taking part in peaceful protests at the Sacred Stones camp in North Dakota. They’re protesting the construction of what’s called the Dakota Access pipeline, slated to carry fracked oil across the state and across the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux say the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without their consent. For many people, what’s happening right now in North Dakota is a crucial story of a frontline fight of indigenous people against extractive industry—and on behalf of humanity, really, and the planet.

    • The American Petroleum Institute’s Desperate PR is Failing

      If you’ve watched any political coverage on television in the last few months, or the Olympics, or really anything on TV, you’re bound to have seen some pretty ridiculous advertising coming from the oil and gas industry.

      The American Petroleum Institute in particular has been putting out some pretty desperate stuff. Did you know that “A Vote for [Fossil Fuel] Energy is a Vote for Cheesesteaks?” That’s actually the title of one ad put out during the Democratic Convention, which was held in Philadelphia (Get it? Cheesesteaks!).

    • Win for Climate Protection as Obama Creates World’s Biggest Marine Sanctuary

      President Barack Obama’s creation on Friday of the world’s largest marine protected area drew praise from lawmakers, Hawaiian community members, and environmental groups alike, who say it will help protect biodiversity and increase resilience in the face of climate change.

      Obama is expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size to 582,578 square miles.

      A White House fact sheet says the expansion, which also bans commercial resource extraction, will afford “critical protections for more than 7,000 marine species,” “improve ocean resilience,” and help preserve “resources of great historical and cultural significance.”

      Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who was among those who had proposed the expansion to the president, praised the move, calling it “one of the most important actions an American president has ever taken for the health of the oceans.” He noted, however, that it was “only beginning” because “management, research, educational opportunities, and enforcement” need to follow.

      Similarly welcoming the move was Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), who said the expansion “will help to combat climate change, preserve biodiversity, and honor cultural traditions.”

    • New Study Warns Biofuels May Be Worse for Climate Than Gas

      A new study finds that biofuels—which are derived from plants like corn or soybeans and sometimes considered to be carbon-neutral—may actually be worse for the climate than gas.

      University of Michigan (UM) Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco analyzed all the greenhouse gas emissions created in the supply chains of various fuel types. For gas, that meant starting with extraction and transportation, among other parts of the process; for biofuels, it was farming and fertilizer use, but not tailpipe pollution, due to the presumed carbon dioxide offset, the Detroit Free Press explains.

    • Biofuels worse for climate change than gas, U-M study says

      The multi-billion-dollar U.S. biofuels industry — promoted and expanded for more than a decade by the federal government — may be built on a false assumption, according to a University of Michigan study published Thursday that is sure to stir all sides in the contentious debate over the industry.

      Despite their purported advantages, biofuels — created from crops such as corn or soybeans — cause more emissions of climate change-causing carbon dioxide than gasoline, according to the study from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco.

      The study is the latest salvo in the expanding battle over whether biofuels, and the farmland increasingly devoted to them, are actually providing the environmental and climate benefits many expected.

      [...]

      As for the petroleum industry funding, DeCicco said that years ago, he reached out to other more environmentally oriented funding sources that he declined to specify, who weren’t interested in funding his examination of life-cycle analysis.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Recall America’s Historical Shame

      Until a few years ago, the word “occupation” was synonymous with power, imperialism and foreign invasion. Today, in the post-Occupy Wall Street era, more and more activists are using their physical presence to make demands. From Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupation has become a powerful method of organizing.

      One of the most dramatic such occupations is occurring in the form of a growing encampment at the Cannonball River in North Dakota, where indigenous tribes are leading a coalition of environmental activists in protest over the building of a new crude oil pipeline.

    • We’ve always “Occupied the Prarie” and We’re Not Going Anywhere

      In Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline by Jack Healy, New York Times, Aug. 23, 2016 we see and hear about Indians in paint on horseback, in “procession” out of their “tepee-dotted camp.” Who writes like that?

      While the almost 500 Nations of our indigenous brothers and sisters (over 80 are represented in the Sacred Stones Camp) are proud of the heritage of our peoples, it’s important to keep the focus on today and why we are here. This is our land, as defined in our times as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a Sovereign Nation.

      In fact, what we call the United States is really comprised of Nations, it is a “united” Nations, of relationships formed by diplomacy.

      The Greater Sioux Nations predated the United States, so as the newly minted USA acquired more territory, agreements were sought in many cases with the existing nations of the Plains and elsewhere. One such Treaty, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851), matters now. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was signed on September 17, 1851 between United States treaty commissioners and representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations.

    • In Effort to Kill Pipeline, Groups Call Directly on Obama to Oppose Permits

      As Indigenous activists maintained resistance to a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota this week, allied groups on Thursday sent an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pull its permits for the project.

      “After years of pipeline disasters—from the massive tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010, to the recent oil pipeline spills in the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura, CA—our organizations and our millions of members and supporters are concerned about the threat these projects pose to our safety, our health, and the environment,” reads the letter (pdf), signed by groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, and 350.org.

      The letter was published as a federal judge delayed a decision on allowing the construction to continue.

    • Fatigue, Migraines Linked to Fracking as Case Builds for National Ban

      New research published Thursday links severe fatigue and migraine headaches to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, leading to renewed calls for a ban on the controversial oil and gas extraction method.

      Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported their findings online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, saying their research adds to “a growing body of evidence linking the fracking industry to health problems.”

    • Study: Fracking associated with migraines, fatigue, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms

      New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active natural gas wells operated by the hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—industry are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms, and severe fatigue.

  • Finance

    • Median Income Is Down, But Public College Tuition Is Way Up

      Public colleges play a special role in making higher education affordable, but in recent years, soaring tuition is pushing that dream out of reach. From 2000 to 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees for public colleges in America rose 80 percent. During that same time period, the median American household income dropped by 7 percent.

    • ‘Good News,’ Says Sanders, as McConnell Signals No Lame-Duck Vote on TPP

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the U.S. Senate will not vote on the 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year, buoying progressive hopes that the trade deal will never come to fruition.

      Responding to the news, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—whose opposition to the TPP was a hallmark of his presidential campaign—said: “This is good news for American workers, for the environment, and for the ability to protect public health.”

      McConnell told a Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast in Louisville that the agreement, “which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year.”

      Grassroots groups have led a concerted campaign to prevent a vote during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress, after the November election and before President Barack Obama leaves office in January. The White House recently vowed to wage an “all-out push” in favor of such a vote.

      “We never thought we would agree with Mitch McConnell on something, but we do agree on not bringing the TPP to a vote in the lame-duck session,” said Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder, on Friday. “There’s widespread, bipartisan opposition to the corporate-written TPP and an unaccountable, lame-duck Congress voting on it.”

    • Sanders Welcomes McConnell Decision to Block TPP

      A leading opponent of the proposed Pacific rim trade pact, Sanders welcomed McConnell’s turnaround on the measure. The Republican leader on Thursday told an audience in Kentucky that he won’t bring the pact to the Senate floor for a vote this year because it “has some serious flaws.” Last June 23, McConnell engineered congressional passage of a measure that gave President Barack Obama and future presidents power to “fast-track” negotiations with the 11 other countries which are parties to the deal. He called it “a very important accomplishment for our country.”

    • Groups Demand Clinton Publicly Oppose Lame-Duck TPP Vote—Now

      Heavy-hitting progressive groups have sent a letter to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, urging her to make “a clear, public, and unequivocal statement opposing any vote on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the post-election, ‘lame-duck’ session of Congress.”

    • How Small Donors Are Giving Super PACs a Run for Their Money

      Election reform advocates are closely watching Seattle to see whether it becomes a viable model for getting big money out of local politics. Last year the city approved a “democracy vouchers” program, which will publicly fund local candidates through small donors, requiring limits on campaign spending.

      Starting in 2017, all registered voters will receive $100 in vouchers from the city government to spend in $25 parcels on their preferred candidates for city office.

    • Debt Collectors Get Away With Daylight Robbery

      I thought Donnie Trump and his fellow Republicans were big law ‘n order politicians. So, why are they trying to scrap the sheriff and unleash thousands of robbers to run wild across America?

      The sheriff they want to nix is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      The thieves they’re out to help are corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar for huge databases of overdue bills, then hound the borrowers to pay up.

      Debt collectors profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year—including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

    • Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud

      As readers of this blog know, deregulation of charters leads to fraud, graft, and abuse. On this site, I have documented scores of examples of fraudsters and grifters who take advantage of weak (or no) oversight to enrich themselves and to strand children in bad schools.

      A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he “hurt” children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was “hurting children and their teachers” by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.)

      Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers. No one is demanding accountability. Politicians get paid off by charter friends, then cripple any effort to oversee them Ohio and Michigan spend $1 billion a year to subsidize charter schools, which are lower-performing than public schools.

    • Diane Ravitch to Readers: Don’t Let Charter Industry Silence John Oliver

      Shared opposition to the fraud and abuse associated with charter schools and other privatization efforts, of course.

      On Thursday, longtime educator and activist Diane Ravitch encouraged her readers to start a campaign of thanks to comedian John Oliver, who devoted a segment of his HBO show Last Week Tonight on Sunday to charter schools and fraud—and is now being targeted by privatizers and other corporate propagandists on Twitter.

      Charter supporters are “saying that he ‘hurt’ children, he savaged children,” she wrote, noting that this is “a familiar tactic” of intimidation that she faced after writing about dubious test-scoring methods in New York City school a decade ago.

    • John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

      Sometimes it takes a funnyman to make sense.

      Earlier this week, British comedian John Oliver devoted a “Back to School” segment on his HBO program Last Week Tonight to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars.

      The Washington Post’s education blogger Valerie Strauss watched the segment and reports that while Oliver declined to address whether or not charters provide high quality education, he focused mostly on how often these schools are “terribly – and sometimes criminally – operated.” (You can see Oliver’s entire sketch here.)

      Editors at Rolling Stone watched Oliver’s broadcast as well and report Oliver focused much of his attention on three states – Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – that have “especially depressing charter track records – including negligence in the approval process and school executives embezzling funds.”

    • Progressive Activists Take A Seat For The People At Federal Reserve Retreat

      Two years ago this week, the nonprofit Center for Popular Democracy and allied groups launched the Fed Up campaign, aimed at making the Federal Reserve more accountable to workers and communities of color. They converged then on the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming, where Fed officials decamp every year to discuss policy and hobnob with the economic elite.

      How much political headway has the campaign made since then? This year, Fed Up activists were essentially put on the schedule for senior Federal Reserve officials, with a major meeting at the Jackson Hole summit.

      The group met Thursday, the first day of the summit, with eight of the 12 presidents of the regional Federal Reserve banks and two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

      Fed Up activists have met individually with the governors and regional bank presidents before; they spoke with some Fed officials less formally at the past two Jackson Hole gatherings. This is the first time, however, that their delegation of some 120 rank-and-file activists had met with so many of the central bank’s decision-makers in one place.

    • Day Laborers Leader on Right-Wing Hostility: “So Far, We Have Won This Fight”

      Pablo Alvarado is executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)—a group dedicated to building a movement among low-wage workers, most of them immigrants and many of them undocumented. The 49-year old Alvarado, who came to the United States in 1990 from El Salvador, views NDLON as both a workers’ rights and an immigrants’ rights organization. It has been an important player in campaigns to win local minimum wage laws and to stop the exploitation of immigrant workers, many of whom survive in the shadow economy as day laborers, housekeepers, gardeners, restaurant workers and janitors.

      We recently spoke with Alvarado in his small office at the Pasadena Community Job Center in Pasadena, California, one of some 70 worker centers in 21 states connected with NDLON. He is a whirlwind of activity, typically working 12 hours a day, running a national organization while engaged in the daily activities of the Pasadena center—counseling workers, organizing demonstrations, negotiating with city officials, raising money and supervising staff.

      This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    • The Tax Evasion Double Standard: How US CEOs Are Withholding Revenue

      If I refused to pay any taxes until the US government lowered my taxes to a so-called “fair rate,” I’d almost certainly be arrested for tax evasion. But when The Washington Post asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the billions that his company has stashed in tax havens around the world, Cook declared: “We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.”

      And nothing happened, either to Cook or to Apple. Because when it comes to taxes, it’s truer today than ever that only the little people pay.

      Apparently though, that’s not enough for the CEOs of multinational corporations, like Tim Cook. He doesn’t just want to avoid taxes, he wants Americans to know that Congress isn’t writing the rules; Apple is.

    • Meet the Swedish politician ready to play hardball with the UK on Brexit

      During the febrile, topsy-turvy days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, there were plenty of tough messages from European leaders. But few sounded more uncompromising than the EU trade commissioner.

      A week after the result, Cecilia Malmström, Europe’s lead trade negotiator, stated that the UK could not even begin discussing a trade deal until it had left the bloc. “First you exit and then you negotiate the terms of the relationship,” she told Newsnight, opening up the prospect of the world’s sixth-largest economy being left dangling for years. When the BBC interviewer suggested this would damage businesses in Britain and on the continent, her response was straightforward: “Yes, but the vote was very clear.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Another Fly In The SugarMan Lemonade

      Recently Rudy Giuliani said if you want to find dirt on Hillary Clinton, just go on the Internet and google “Hillary Clinton”. Apparently he got that idea from out own Google master, the Sugarman (Remember that moniker? That’s the nickname given to him by some servers in a local eatery for his knack of ordering lemon water and sugar to make his own lemonade). The Sugarman actually said Lemon Water is only served in “High-Class” restaurants, I assume he thinks Chiles or Applebees are “High-Class”… Anyway, the Sugarman has been doing exactly what Giuliani suggested since day one. He scratches around Right Wing blogs until he finds something that he can use. In his last letter he found Democratic Convention goodies, never mind that they were mostly just made up. Things like, foreign flags like N. Korean, Soviet, Plastinian and Hamas but NO American flags. Really Sugarman? That was just one, he had a whole list of made-up stuff to share, he always does…

    • Donald Trump: The NSA Is ‘Coddling’ Hillary Clinton
    • Trump thinks NSA has Clinton’s deleted emails
    • Hillary Clinton Used BleachBit To Wipe Emails

      Have any Slashdotters had any experience with BleachBit? Specifically, have you used it for erasing “yoga emails” or “bridesmaids emails?”

    • In Defending His Support of Trump, Sean Hannity Says He ‘Never Claimed to Be a Journalist’
    • Sean Hannity Turns Adviser in the Service of Donald Trump

      During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with).

      But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel.

    • US: Clinton calendars won’t be released until after election

      Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

    • From Booster to Adviser: Sean Hannity Has Erased His Final, Albeit Microscopic, Sliver of Impartiality

      Today in Austin, Texas, Republican presidential nominee – it still feels weird to type this – Donald Trump will tape a two-hour interview with his trained news poodle Sean Hannity. The event will likely entail 120 minutes of the Fox News host offering the sentient tangelo peel open-ended softball questions from which Trump can spin out extended rants about every conspiracy theory and nasty, subversive rumor he has ever heard about Hillary Clinton, egged on by the chuckles of the live audience brought in for the private, closed-to-the-press affair.

    • Embracing the Alt-Right: New Trump Campaign Chief “Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists”

      Last week, Donald Trump once again upended his campaign team and named Stephen Bannon, the head of Breitbart Media, to be his campaign chief. Breitbart regularly sparks controversy with headlines such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard” and “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.” In a new article published by Mother Jones, investigative journalist Sarah Posner writes, “By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the ‘alt-right,’ a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media.” For more, we speak to Sarah Posner and Heather McGhee of Demos.

    • Weapons, Pipelines & Wall St: Did Clinton Foundation Donations Impact Clinton State Dept. Decisions?

      New questions have arisen this week over Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. On Tuesday, the Associated Press published a new investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with had donated to the Clinton Foundation. The AP investigation comes after a three-year battle to gain access to State Department calendars. The analysis shows that at least 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton had scheduled phone or in-person meetings with were foundation donors. This does not include meetings Clinton held with U.S. or foreign government workers or representatives, only private citizens. We speak to David Sirota of the International Business Times and Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly. He was President Bill Clinton’s chief speechwriter from 1998 to 2001.

    • “Our Revolution”? Bernie Sanders Launches New Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest

      Bernie Sanders and his supporters have launched a new political organization called Our Revolution. It seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were held across the country last night to witness Sanders launch the new organization. But reports have emerged of political tumult within Bernie Sanders’s own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal structure. For more, we speak with Larry Cohen, incoming board chair of Our Revolution, and with Claire Sandberg, former digital organizing director for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, who resigned as the organizing director for Our Revolution.

    • Is Trump-Bashing Good for the Media?

      Just about everyone now concedes that the media have it in for Donald Trump. A survey of eight major news organs during the primaries, conducted by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy — one I cited in a previous post — showed that the press grew increasingly hostile to Trump, peaking at 61 percent negative to 39 percent positive at the end of the primary season. Even the conservative, Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal editorialized that he should consider quitting the race, and the normally cautious NBC Nightly News has turned reporter Katy Tur into a one-woman truth squad, correcting Trump whoppers.

    • Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race

      Alienation is built into the societal edifice, a known factor long before Marx’s Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, which enabled him to write as presciently as he did. The commodity becomes engrained in the human psyche, and from there the merry race commences, codified in the institutions and culture of property, for superiority one over another fellow human being. Is it too late for systemic rectification of what should be regarded as the political culture of oppression and evil? That would make for an interesting starting point for discussion and possible action, not the mealy-mouthed platitudes offered by the candidates, their respective parties, and America as a whole.

    • Trump Illegally Pumped Up His Own Book Sales With Campaign Donations

      Now we know how Donald Trump manages to write so-called bestsellers. He buys up thousands of copies himself.

      The newest wrinkle in the Republican nominee for president’s con artistry is that he used campaign donations — to the tune of about $55,000 — to buy up approximately “3,500 copies of the hardcover version of Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, or just over 5,000 copies of the renamed paperback release, Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America,” the Daily Beast reported Wednesday morning.

      According to a Federal Election Commission filing, the Trump campaign paid $55,055 to Barnes & Noble for the books in May. While it’s not illegal to buy thousands of copies of your own book to artificially boost your sales, it is when you use campaign donations to do so, while also lining your own pockets.

    • Internet blind spot highlighted in Trump’s $8.4 million digital expenditure

      Since internet advertisements are usually targeted to a specific demographic, only the people who are targeted by the ad will know it is out there. The only way to tell if campaigns are getting what they paid for in terms of this digital marketing is if those targeted people show up to the polls and vote.

    • Reporter Tweets From Trump Rally: “His Supporters Are Ready for Violence”

      Since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign took off, there have been numerous reports of the sometimes violent nature of the crowds attending his massive rallies, including tales of pushing, shoving and other physical altercations instigated by attendees pumped up by Trump’s hateful rhetoric. “I can’t vote for Trump after that way I was treated,” said one student who was kicked out of a rally.

      Trump’s angry speeches at these rallies are nothing new, but the targets of his vitriol keep changing. In recent weeks, Trump has narrowed his focus to one enemy: the mainstream media.

    • The Independent “Women’s” Voice? Most Known Donors Are Men

      The Independent Women’s Voice touts its “independent” brand in reaching potential voters.

      But is it even women’s voices it is throwing? Let alone independent women?

      The reported data from the Federal Election Commission data says no.

      New research shows that the overwhelming majority of its known donors are men.

      Very rich men.

      Yes, men have provided most of the disclosed donations to fund election-related expenditures under the name of the “Independent Women’s Voice.”

    • How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear

      Dana Milbank, a columnist for the paper, popped up at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s news conference that focused on climate change. After Stein noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have gotten billions in free media, he chimed in: “Dana Milbank with the Washington Post segment of the corporate media. I have a conundrum I want to present to you. I could write about today and others could report here about what an important issue climate change is. And we would publish it or broadcast it. The fact is very few people will read it. They will go read or view stories about Trump’s staff machinations or Clinton’s e-mails. I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a corporate media but what people are demanding. Why is that? What is the way around that if there is one?”

      Milbank is pretending to be so concerned about what it is people want. What came to mind for me was John Milton’s aphorism: “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

      Stein was more diplomatic: “Right now so many people are tuned out [of] the election and out of the political system in general because they are accustomed to being ignored by that system. Was Bernie Sanders tuned out? I don’t think so. I think he had more attention from the American public than just about anyone at least from my point of view. It looks to me like he was the guy saying that the emperor had no clothes and everyone was agreeing with him. Even Trump supporters were agreeing with him. Polls showed that the majority of Trump supporters are not motivated by supporting Trump. They are motivated by not liking Hillary Clinton. Let’s give them another choice besides Donald Trump as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.”

      Having been deftly rebuffed, Milbank didn’t note his own question in his column in the Post.

    • Jill Stein: Majority of Americans Want Another Choice

      Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein discusses the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and her campaign. She speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

    • Tech Giants Go to Washington

      As they try to gain more influence with regulators and policymakers, several of the top technology companies are increasing the amount of money they spend on lobbying.

    • A Guided Tour of the ‘Alt-Right,’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

      And the “alt-right”? Well, Breitbart (3/29/16) tried to explain what that is in a 5,000-word piece last spring, written by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos—perhaps best-known for being banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones—and Allum Bokhari, who describes himself as the “resident kebab at Breitbart Tech” and “Milo’s deputy.”

    • Will Debates Inject Ideas Into Election Coverage? That’s Debatable

      After weeks of watching media rehash Clinton and Trump campaign talking points of the day, Americans can be forgiven for wanting to see some ideas injected into coverage of the presidential election. For some, debates are a natural opportunity to possibly pull candidates off script, force them to answer questions they didn’t write themselves. But, activists are saying, debates that include only the two major party candidates are far less likely to do that.

      As FAIR founder Jeff Cohen notes in a recent column, the Commission for Presidential Debates that runs the show, though sometimes mistakenly described as “nonpartisan,” is in fact vehemently bipartisan—really a sort of corporation run by the two major parties, and funded by powerful interests like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and finance. CPD rules, Cohen says, don’t aim so much at eliminating “nonviable” candidates as preventing outsiders from ever becoming viable.

      In charge of debates since the 1980s, the CPD makes no bones about its intent to use its role to secure a Republican/Democrat duopoly. So much so that when they took over fully in 1988, the League of Women Voters, which had been running debates, pulled its sponsorship, saying, “The demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

    • ‘Good Riddance’: Canada’s Stephen Harper Bids Adieu to Politics, Hello to Consulting

      As expected, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced his resignation from Parliament, saying that he’s now gearing up for “for the next chapter of my life.”

      That chapter, as the Toronto Star reports, includes “launching a global consulting business.”

      Harper posted the news Friday on his social media accounts, saying, “I leave elected office proud of what our team accomplished together.”

      For the 57-year-old, the resignation marks the end of “nearly two often-tumultuous decades in public office,” Mississauga News reports.

      Harper lost power in October in a “devastating election defeat” when his Conservative Party lost to the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party.

      Since then, the Star adds, he “has only appeared in the Commons for votes since he lost power last fall, and has never spoken in debate as the MP for Calgary Heritage.”

    • Former Canadian prime minister Harper leaves politics

      Harper served as prime minister for almost a decade. Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry and backed the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His legacy includes merging two conservative parties in Canada.

      Harper now plans to consult on international issues.

    • American white nationalism isn’t isolationist #USA!USA!USA!

      Alt-right white nationalism is an apt term for a campaign that has electrified white supremacists so it makes sense that most people would focus on the racial angle. According to this analysis in the Guardian, the rising right wing ethno-nationalist movement in Europe is the progenitor of this American version, which adheres to its basic premise but brings its own special brand of deep-fried racism. Both share a belief that the white race is under siege and that “demands for diversity in the workplace which means less white males in particular forms the foundation for the movement.” So it stands to reason that Trump’s border wall, Muslim ban and bellicose appeals for “law and order” (along with his overt misogyny) is a clarion call to this faction.

    • Here’s a Bold Idea for Hillary’s Troubled Campaign

      3. Eliminate tax shelters and loopholes for 1-percenter households and businesses. The loopholes crying out for elimination include capital gains and other types of investment income, such as ‘carried interest’ and the truly outrageous ‘step-up in basis,’ which exclusively benefits inherited wealth. These function as direct federal subsidies to mostly affluent Americans. And they cost the national treasury some $250 billion per year, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that a whopping 70 percent of this subsidy is hoovered by Americans in the top 1 percent income bracket (and nearly 93 percent by the top 20 percent bracket).

    • Maryland redistricting lawsuit can go forward, federal judges rule

      A lawsuit challenging Maryland’s contorted congressional district map on First Amendment grounds has merit and should go forward, a three-judge federal panel ruled Wednesday.

      The map, drawn by Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers following the 2010 Census, essentially ensured that seven of the state’s eight congressional seats would be under their party’s control.

      According to the lawsuit, the redistricting specifically targeted western Maryland’s 6th District, where lines were altered to help unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R). Bartlett was defeated by John Delaney (D) in 2012.

    • Democracy Wins as ‘Biggest Gerrymandering Case in Generation’ Moves Forward
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook Reduces Human Involvement in Selection of Trending Topics

      Facebook Inc. is reducing human involvement in how it displays its Trending Topics after a controversy earlier this year over whether editors working for the social network operator silenced conservative news.

      After conducting an internal investigation and saying it found no bias, Facebook is still retooling the trending news section to rely more on computers than humans. Instead of showing a headline and a summary, the trending topics will instead show an algorithmically selected topic, like “Olympics,” as well as the number of people talking about it, the company said Friday in a blog post.

    • How I Was Blacklisted at CNN, and How Easily America Goes to War Now

      It was about two years ago to the day I was blacklisted at CNN.

      I don’t want to remind them they were sadly wrong, but they were. So write this off however you prefer, but understand that we were lied to again to drag us again into an open-ended war in Iraq-Syria. Last time it was Bush and those missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. This time is was Obama and saving the Yazidi people from genocide.

      Wait, what? Who are the Yazidis? How they get us back into Iraq?

      Ah, how fast time flies.

      Two years ago a group of Yazidis, a minority spread across Iran, Iraq and Turkey, were being threatened by a group called ISIS few American were focused on. Obama declared a genocide was about to happen, and the U.S. had to act. U.S. officials said they believed that some type of ground force would be necessary to secure the safety of the stranded members of the Yazidi group. The military drew up plans for limited airstrikes and the deployment of 150 ground troops.

    • Why There’s a Media Blackout on the Native American Oil Pipeline Blockade

      As the Lakota Sioux continue their peaceful blockade of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, the story’s absence from the national media narrative is palpable. Considering the corporate media’s chronic quest for controversial stories on government versus public standoffs, you’d think this situation would garner the typical media frenzy invoked during a right-wing militia occupation of a federal building, for example, or a tense standoff between the Black Lives Matter movement and police. But it’s not.

      As of late, the media has faced criticism for its selective coverage of certain events — like, say, focusing on single terror attacks in Western Europe that garner thousands of headlines while basically ignoring similar or worse attacks that occur on a constant basis in Muslim-majority countries.

    • Melania Trump threatens to sue news outlets

      Melania Trump has threatened to sue The Daily Mail, Politico and at least eight other news outlets for defamation, her lawyer says.

      Trump, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has placed The Daily Mail and other news organizations “on notice… for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s,” Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement.

      In addition, Harder said that he had put Politico on notice for “false and defamatory statements” regarding its reporting on Trump’s immigration history. Politico confirmed that its reporters had been sent notices.

    • Lawsuit Over Facebook Post Raises Fears of Online Censorship in Bhutan

      Bhutanese journalist Namgay Zam is facing defamation charges over a Facebook post, marking the first time that anyone in the Himalayan country has been taken to court over their social media activities. Official statements surrounding the case indicate that social media users in Bhutan may soon be restricted in what they can say online.

      The suit against Zam revolves around a family that is fighting a property dispute against well-connected business man Ap Sonam Phuntsho, who is also father-in-law to the Chief Justice of Bhutan.

      In an online appeal posted by Namgay on Facebook, Dr. Sacha Wangmo explains how Phuntsho attempted to seize her family’s home when an estranged family member could not repay Phuntsho a debt of Nu 0.7 million. Wangmo says that Phuntsho forged documents to show that they sold their house to repay debts to him, something to which the family says they never agreed. The documents also indicated that their debts had compounded, rising from Nu 0.7 million to Nu 3 million.

    • Pakistani law could enable sweeping internet censorship

      Bangkok, August 26, 2016 – Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain should veto a bill that could allow for sweeping censorship of the internet and the prosecution of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pakistan’s National Assembly approved the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 last week and sent it to Hussain to sign into law, according to press reports.

      Ambiguous language in the bill, which the Pakistani Senate approved in July and the National Assembly approved on August 11, would give state regulators sweeping powers to censor the internet, including material posted to social media platforms, in the name of upholding stability, security, and “the glory of Islam,” news reports said. Penalties under the law include three years in prison and fines for “spoofing,” defined as creating a website or disseminating information online using a “counterfeit” identity with “dishonest” intent, a provision that could apply to satirical websites. Judges could also sentence those found guilty of publishing material deemed to “harm the reputation” of someone, reports said.

    • Israel’s war on open discourse: State censorship now reaches into international news sources and social media

      Since the beginning of this year, Israel’s attempts to control what people can read and write within the country and in occupied Palestinian territories have increased, reaching into new areas in ways that are of concern.

      Of course, all states carefully monitor information, and Israel is not the only country that advertises itself as being an “open democracy” while imposing strict kinds of censorship. But recent developments in Israel signal not only the kinds of things it wishes to censor beyond its borders, but also how it is systematically censoring political dissent and monitoring social media.

      Israel’s authority to carry out such monitoring and censorship still largely derive from measures called the “Defense (Emergency) Regulations,” which were put in place in 1945 during the British Mandate. These have been adapted to the present day in three problematic manners. First, Israel is imposing gag orders on international journalists. In some cases, this holds true even if the information included in an international report is already available in Israel itself. This puts international journalists and editors in the difficult position of determining how much information is worth fighting for.

      Second, Israel is using a vague and broad notion of “incitement” to arrest and detain individuals for things they post on Facebook and Twitter, and requiring that certain individuals gain the State’s approval before posting. Furthermore, Israel has publicly shamed Facebook for not catching certain posts in time — in effect, Israel is asking Facebook to adopt the State’s criteria for what is to be censored. Finally, Israel has also tried to enlist Facebook and Twitter to its cause, and recruited other countries to form a consortium of watchdogs.

    • Who is Nabeel Rajab?

      Have you expressed disapproval of your government? Called for more democratic decision-making in your country? Criticised prison conditions or criticised a country allied with your government? Retweeted a comment that included #opinionsarenotcrimes?

      You are a criminal. You could be facing up to 15 years in prison for simply expressing your point of view, if you lived in Bahrain.

      Nabeel Rajab, just like you, thinks his country could be better. And he has made those views public. He speaks out against poor prison conditions, and argues for more freedom of speech in Bahrain.

      On 5 September Rajab is due in court accused of spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours”, evidence of which includes a retweet of an Index tweet; “offending a foreign country” through tweeted criticism of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen; and “offending a statutory body” by condemning conditions in the country’s notorious Jau prison.

      What’s worse, it’s just the latest in a long line of actions taken by the Bahraini government against Rajab, one of the Middle East’s most prominent human rights defenders.

    • Shrinking space for journalism in Russia and Ukraine

      The conflict over Crimea between Ukraine and Russia is having a direct impact on journalists. Though the tactics have differed, each country has been narrowing the space for reporting information on events.

      “A review of incidents reported to the database show that increasingly — in both Russia and Ukraine — the public’s right to information is being jeopardised by the blocking of journalists’ professional duties. The long-term implications, reinforced by polarised viewpoints, are hardened by a lack of a free media,” Hannah Machlin, project officer of Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform, said.

    • Brazilian students return to the streets over classroom censorship laws
    • Social media throttling in Turkey points to wartime censorship efforts
    • Telemundo Responds To SAG-AFTRA’s Accusation Of Censorship For Not Airing Ad Critical Of NBCUniversal
    • Telemundo Refuses to Air SAG-AFTRA Ad About Language Equity
    • Telemundo refuses to air ad from SAG-AFTRA calling for pay uniformity
    • US Latin TV Network Underpaying Spanish Speakers
    • SAG-AFTRA Blasts Telemundo’s ‘Double Standard’ Treatment of Talent in TV Spot
    • Clinton’s Censorship Tactics Aren’t Working Against Trump
    • Journalists resort to self-censorship after Maldives passes draconian defamation law
    • Former President of Maldives Mohammed Nasheed flies secretly to Sri Lanka to unseat President Abdullah Yameen
    • Facebook Censors Video Exposing PBS Cutting Hillary/TPP Criticism From Jill Stein Interview

      Facebook is censoring a video created by Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein supporter Matt Orfalea that exposes PBS Newshour cutting Stein’s criticism of Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Obamacare.

      Breitbart News reported on the Orfalea’s video exposing the Hillary bias and now it appears Facebook is censoring the exposure of censorship. Orfalea told Breitbart News: “It’s insane.”

    • PBS NewsHour Cuts Anti-Hillary Portions of Judy Woodruff’s Jill Stein Interview
    • Criticism of Clinton Edited from Jill Stein’s Answer During PBS Interview
    • Jill Stein Reportedly Censored In PBS Interview
    • PBS Gets Caught Cutting Criticism Of Hillary, TPP, and Obamacare From Jill Stein Interview
    • Just What Clinton Doesn’t Need: An Attack From the Left by Jill Stein
    • Extensive Criticism of Clinton Edited Out of Green Party Nominee’s Answer During PBS Interview
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

      The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.

      Inside, a judge was delivering the verdict in the case of Caesar Goodson, the only Baltimore police officer facing a murder charge for the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2015, Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police van, and prosecutors had argued that Goodson purposefully drove the vehicle recklessly, careening through the city, to toss Gray around.

    • Cisco starts patching firewall devices against NSA-linked exploit [Ed: Cisco should not deliver patches. It should liberate all the code, make it FOSS so that trust can be established]

      Cisco Systems has started releasing security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls targeted by an exploit linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The exploit, dubbed ExtraBacon, is one of the tools used by a group that the security industry calls the Equation, believed to be a cyberespionage team tied to the NSA.

      ExtraBacon was released earlier this month together with other exploits by one or more individuals who use the name Shadow Brokers. The files were provided as a sample of a larger Equation group toolset the Shadow Brokers outfit has put up for auction.

    • Cisco Takes Measures Against NSA Exploit Cyberweapon

      On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Cisco Systems has released some security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls found to be the target of an exploit cyberweapon linked to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Security analysts expect that the networking company will soon release more fixes.

    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers

      According to another expert, Matt Suiche, co-founder of security start-up Comae Technologies, the stolen sample also shows that network security equipment from different manufacturers and brands – including Cisco Systems, Juniper, Fortigate and Chinese industrial giant Topse – are targeted by Equation.

    • Hacker Group to Auction Off Supposed NSA Data From Breached Computer Systems

      The hacking group who perpetrated the cyber attack call themselves “The Shadow Brokers” and much speculation surrounds their origin.

      How sure are we that these tools actually belonged to the NSA?

      This code similarity makes us believe with a high degree of confidence that the tools from the ShadowBrokers leak are related to the malware from the Equation group.

    • Untangling the NSA’s latest alleged embarrassment
    • Should the NSA Reveal Leaked Exploits?

      The outing of the NSA-linked framework is the latest in a series of leaks of cyber toolsets that highlight that many governments are active in cyber operations against rival nations, non-governmental groups and even individuals. Mobile security firm Lookout and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab revealed on Aug. 25, for example, that an attacker, likely a nation, had used espionage tools allegedly created by the NSO Group—including exploits for three previously unknown iOS vulnerabilities—against a well-known Middle Eastern activist, Ahmed Mansoor. Mansoor had been targeted by similar attempts twice before.

    • Cisco updates advisory: “We have started publishing fixes” for NSA-linked exploits

      Cisco Wednesday updated a security advisory for a remote code execution vulnerability affecting the SNMP application-layer protocol. The vulnerability was discovered after the Shadow Brokers release of exploits believed to have been used by the Equation Group loosely tied to the National Security Agency (NSA).

      Omar Santos, principal engineer of Cisco’s product security incident response team (PSIRT), wrote in the advisory that the SNMP vulnerability (CVE-2016-6366) is related to the ExtraBacon exploit. “We have started publishing fixes for affected versions, and will continue to publish additional fixes for supported releases as they become available in the coming days,” Santos wrote.

    • Cisco, Huawei and Juniper play down NSA attack reports

      The reports emerged after a group called Shadow Brokers released files that seemed to show the NSA was targeting not only US companies such as Cisco and Juniper but also Chinese vendor Huawei.

      A Huawei spokesperson said: “We do view this as a bit of an old story”, but gave an official statement: “Huawei is aware of allegations of past government attempts to exploit commercial networking gear. We know that networks and related ICT product are under regular and widespread attack and we make significant investments in innovative technologies, processes and security assurance procedures to better secure them, as well as the networks and data of our customers.

    • Is There Another Edward Snowden Leaking NSA Info?

      After news that a cache of proprietary and powerful hacking tools had been stolen from the National Security Agency, the government suggested Russian hackers were to blame.

      But intelligence expert and former NSA whistleblower James Bamford writes that the theft probably isn’t the work of the Russians, and was more likely carried out by an insider, similar to famed NSA leak source, Edward Snowden.

      “If Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale,” Bamford wrote for Reuters. “It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook.”

      On the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14, a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers placed the stolen tools online. They consist of what The Washington Post called “a sophisticated cyber arsenal” capable of smashing through firewalls and exploiting weaknesses in network security.

    • Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany

      The Green and Die Linke politicians wrote a letter to the Federal Court of Justice, asking that Snowden be allowed to be questioned in Germany for an ongoing inquiry into NSA surveillance.

      According to DPA sources, they want to break a blockade by the coalition government against having Snowden come for questioning about surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      “Neither a questioning by video nor a hearing of Edward Snowden in Moscow are the same as a questioning in Berlin,” said Linke politician Martina Renner.

      “A testimony in Moscow or by video still would entail significant problems for security and the protection of information about the relevant concerns.”

      The German parliament set up an investigatory committee after Snowden leaked information that revealed the scale of the NSA’s spying, including claims that American agents had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

      The information from Snowden also led to the emergence of information about Germany helping the NSA to spy on German companies and European politicians.

    • Letter: Liberals twist ‘hacks’ and ‘leaks’ [Ed: Whistleblowers need to defy rules in order to demonstrate misconduct and avoid cover-up. This letter ignores that.]

      What if the leaker signed a confidentially agreement not to share any information, as Manning and Snowden did? Did they not then break the law to obtain the information? What if someone physically enters into a restricted area at work and leaks this data to the media? Is this not theft?

    • NSA has a Most Skillfully Developed Hackers’ Team

      It’s presumed that Equation Group is a contractor that provides service to the NSA. To describe it differently it would be USA’s very own hackers’ team. Cyber Security Company Kaspersky Lab based in Moscow analyzed Equation Group as an extremely skilled hacking group equipped with resources and sophisticated techniques.

    • Were Stolen NSA Codes Leaked by ‘Another Snowden?’

      Top secret tools used by the National Security Agency are believed to be have been leaked by a group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers.”

      The “Shadow Factory” author James Bamford said he wouldn’t be surprise if the hack was caused by someone within the NSA.

      “All indications are that this probably came from somebody from the inside, not somebody from the outside, and certainly not the Russians,” Bamford said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.

      The leaked toolkits, believed to be authentic, provided an inside look at the hacking toolkit of the NSA’s hacker unit from 2013. Bamford is convinced someone from within the agency is responsible for the security breach – an incident similar to the one in which Edward Snowden walked away with 1.7 million NSA documents.

    • If You’re Learning About It From Slate, Running Your Own Email Server Is A Horrendously Bad Idea

      And for what tradeoff? Well, there are some pretty big ones. If you’re not particularly skilled and experienced with online security issues, your personal email server is almost certainly significantly less secure than the big companies that have strong security teams and are constantly making it stronger and on the lookout for attacks. If you’re that good, you’re not learning about the issue of hosting your own email server for the first time in… Slate.

      The article insists that it’s a myth that running your own server is a security nightmare, but I’ve yet to see an online security expert who agrees with that even remotely. Even the comments to the Slate piece are filled with IT folks screaming about what a bad idea this is.

      In the end, this seems to be an issue of tradeoffs and skills. If you’re quite skilled with online security and you think the government might want secret access to your email, then maybe in some limited cases, it might make more sense for you to run your own server — though, even then you’re exposing yourself to being hacked by the government too, because, you know, they do that kind of thing also in some cases. Otherwise, you’re almost certainly opening yourself up to a home IT nightmare and a lot more trouble than it’s worth for significantly less security.

      In short, even if you’re not Hillary Clinton, running your own email server is a bad idea. And if you’re just now getting the idea from Slate… then it’s a really bad idea.

    • Privacy-Preserving Abuse Detection in Future Decentralised Online Social Networks
    • WhatsApp and Facebook to share data – even more snooping

      WhatsApp is an encrypted mobile messaging service. It was purchased by Facebook in February 2014 with the implication that its users’ data would never be shared. It is still saying that despite its latest blog indicating otherwise.

      WhatsApp’s latest blog “Looking ahead for WhatsApp” reveals changes to allow it to share user data with its parent Facebook for highly targeted advertising.

      The blog says, “By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.”

      The updated privacy policy, however, is a wordy document but essentially says, “We may provide you marketing for our Services and those of the Facebook family of companies, of which we are now a part.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sheriff’s Raid to Find Blogger Who Criticized Him Was Unconstitutional, Court Rules

      An appellate court in Baton Rouge ruled Thursday that a raid on a police officer’s house in search of the blogger who had accused the sheriff of corruption was unconstitutional.

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals argued that Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s investigation into the blog ExposeDAT had flawed rationale: the alleged defamation was not actually a crime as applied to a public official.

      The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel comes after police officer Wayne Anderson and his wife Jennifer Anderson were denied assistance in local and federal court.

      “I love it when justice is tangible,” Jerri Smitko, one of the Andersons’ laywers, told The Intercept.

      “With that piece of paper it says that what they did was unconstitutional — that’s a great feeling because you’re holding it in your hand and it’s vindication for people that they intended to oppress,” she added.

      The raid was sparked by the sheriff’s investigation into who was behind the anonymous blog that accused local officials, including him, of corruption and fraud. Through a blog and a Facebook page called “John Turner,” ExposeDAT used public records to show conflicts of interest.

      The sheriff sought warrants when Tony Alford, a local business owner, filed a criminal complaint about the blog. On August 2, Larpenter and his deputies raided the Andersons’ house after they traced the IP address of the John Turner Facebook page through a warrant to AT&T.

      The information AT&T provided, according to an affidavit, gave the sheriff an address and a name: Wayne Anderson.

    • Patients violated, doctors rehabilitated

      Doctors who sexually abuse patients go to therapy and then return to practice

    • The Battle Over the Burkini

      There are at least two ways of looking at this: one from the perspective of much of the Muslim world, the other from the perspective of Western countries. The main difference here is this: Westerners or others have of course right to express personal opinions on this issue, but have no authority overseas to decide on the issues that essentially affect Muslim women and local practices in the Muslim world. (Unless we are talking about gross violations of human rights which this is not.)

      It is Muslim men and women who have to decide for themselves what norms they seek on social dress codes for their own countries and cultures. In the Muslim world there is no unanimity, and furthermore the issue is evolving with time.

      Let’s be clear — I’m talking about here the wearing of full face and body covering (burka), not about women’s modest Islamic dress such as the hijab — more like a nun’s habit — that covers the hair but not the face.

      I happen to personally believe that women’s place in society is basically held back by the wearing of the full body and face covering (burka). That is indisputably the case in the West, but even in the East as well. But that is just my personal opinion.

    • The Deep Colonial Roots of France’s Unveiling of Muslim Women

      Throughout the summer, as a growing number of southern French municipalities banned burkinis on their beaches, the measure was widely decried as Islamophobic, counter-productive and oppressive to women. While it would be easy to reduce it to a misled, demagogue measure by right-wing mayors attempting to appear ‘tough on extremism’ in the aftermath of the Nice attack and in a national climate of rising Islamophobia, the bans are only the latest development in a long history of state-led oppression of Muslim women. In fact, the French State has been unveiling Muslim women for decades.

      During colonial rule in Algeria and the Algerian War of Independence, French military propaganda enjoined women to unveil themselves as acts of allegiance to both the French state and “civilization” itself. In turn, remaining veiled was an act of cultural and national resistance. Following years of controversy on the subject, France passed a law to ban headscarves in schools in 2004, and in 2010 Nicolas Sarkozy’s government banned the burqa in all public spaces.

    • ‘Line in the Sand’: Court Halts Burkini Ban on French Beaches

      France’s highest administrative court halted the controversial ban on full-body “burkinis” imposed by the town of Villeneuve-Loubet on the grounds that it “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.”

      The court said a final decision on the legality of the ban—which is similar to those also in place in some 30 French towns, mostly on the Riviera—would be made later. If Villeneuve-Loubet’s ban is found to be illegal, that ruling could set a precedent for the others, the BBC reports. Correspondents said the court’s action makes it likely that the other bans will also be overturned.

      The ban on the full-body swimsuits has engendered widespread criticism from those who say it uses the language of human rights to impose discriminatory rules on Muslim women.

    • France: Reaction to court decision to overturn burkini ban

      Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:

      “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”

      “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”

    • When Police Body Cameras Aren’t The Answer

      Earlier this month, a too familiar tragedy unfolded in East Los Angeles when Los Angeles police officers shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero. Witness accounts vary — the police department says Romero fled when officers approached him on suspicion of scrawling graffiti in his neighborhood, then fired at officers. Some civilians say he had a gun but tossed it away.

      As is increasingly common, the incident was captured on officers’ body cameras.

      Los Angeles officials have touted body cameras as a way to provide transparency and accountability and build trust between police and the public in moments of crisis. But that’s not how it has played out because the LAPD’s policies for body cameras don’t provide transparency or assure the public that officers will be held accountable.

      Instead, the department has stated that it generally holds videos from public view unless ordered by a court to release them. Romero’s family has called for the footage to be released.

      According to LAPD policy, officers are able to review body cam footage before talking to investigators. Instead of promoting transparency and trust, LAPD’s body camera program has resulted in more questions than answers.

    • NYPD Ignored Court-Imposed Rules While Spying on American Muslims

      A new report from the NYPD Inspector General provides more fodder for critics of the department’s discredited practices.

      The New York Police Department repeatedly violated important court-imposed safeguards when it secretly investigated American Muslims for years, according to a new report released this week by the police’s own watchdog.

      The report, issued by the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, examined the department’s compliance with the Handschu Guidelines, which protect New Yorkers’ lawful political and religious activities from unwarranted surveillance, and are incorporated into the NYPD’s Patrol Guide. The investigation focused on a sample of cases closed between 2010 and 2015 that largely involved American Muslims. The report found that the NYPD failed to follow important safeguards in place to protect people’s rights and the integrity of police investigations.

      In perhaps its most damning finding, the inspector general said that in more than half the cases reviewed, both NYPD investigations and their use of informants and undercover officers continued after approval expired. In some cases, the inspector general found the department failed to document any actual reason for extending investigations in which there was no reasonable indication of wrongdoing. This is just more proof that the NYPD’s surveillance of American Muslims was highly irregular and disturbing.

      In the cases reviewed, according to the inspector general, the NYPD always met the “informational threshold” required to open cases. That plainly does not jibe with what the ACLU and NYCLU discovered when looking at NYPD records. Our lawyers have said there were often no valid reasons for the NYPD to open or extend investigations of American Muslims.

    • Justice Department Pressed to Intervene When Police Arrest Grassroots Journalists

      Across the country, civilian journalists have documented government violence using cell phones to record police activities, forcing a much-needed national discourse. But in case after case after case after case, the people who face penalties in the wake of police violence are the courageous and quick-witted residents who use technology to enable transparency.

      Earlier this month, the International Documentary Association launched an online petition to the Department of Justice asking the federal government to intervene when local police arrest or otherwise harass civilians who document and record police violence. EFF was proud to sign the petition, since this is an issue on which we have been increasingly active.

      Led by film makers Laura Poitras and David Felix Sutcliffe, the petition also calls for an official investigation exploring “the larger pattern of abuse that has emerged on a federal, state, and local level, and the threat it poses to free speech and a free press.” Finally, the petition urges “our peers in the journalistic community to investigate and report on these abuses.”

      Poitras’ film Citizenfour, documenting the Edward Snowden revelations, won the 2015 Oscar award for Best Documentary. Sutcliffe directed (T)error, which is the first film ever to document an FBI sting operation as it unfolds (and in the interest of full disclosure, briefly features the author of this post).

    • Illinois Achieved Important Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reforms. But Those Reforms Represent Only A Fraction of What Must Be Done.

      While Illinois embraced some bipartisan criminal justice reform, the battle for systemic change has just begun.

      Earlier this week, Illinois’ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders from the Democratic-controlled legislature took a break from campaigning and gathered together at a ceremony in Chicago to smile for cameras and extol the spirit of compromise as the governor signed legislation aimed at reforming the state’s broken criminal justice system.

      To an observer outside Illinois politics, the significance of this show of bipartisanship might not be readily apparent. Election year politics aside, cooperation between Rauner and the General Assembly has been almost nonexistent since the governor took office in 2015. The two sides have been locked in a bitter and protracted budget battle, with the government operating on stopgap and court-ordered funding, while each side accuses the other of holding the state hostage.

      No one should expect that the recent bill signing represents a break in the impasse that has paralyzed government in Illinois. However, it does demonstrate that the growing consensus that Illinois’ criminal justice system is broken and in need of immediate reform has the power to transcend even the unprecedented partisan distrust and hostility that exists in Springfield today.

      The current state of Illinois’ criminal justice system is the product of a familiar story that is playing out in cities all across the country. Although crime rates have been on a steady decline for decades, our prisons are severely overcrowded as a result of “tough on crime” sentencing laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s, and the destructive impact of over-incarceration has fallen disproportionately upon communities of color and the poor. There is also a profound shortage of rehabilitative services to address behavioral health disorders that can thrust people into crisis and lead to negative interactions with law enforcement.

      Those released from prison face barriers to employment, education, and housing years after paying their debts to society. Not surprisingly, recidivism among those released from prison remains high. Meanwhile, relations between police and the community are at a tipping point, and our draconian drug sentencing laws have done nothing to stave off an epidemic of addiction and overdose.

      As the governor himself acknowledged, the five bills enacted into law on Monday are the first tiny steps in a long process of reform. Gov. Rauner created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in early 2015, and he tasked it with recommending specific reforms which, if implemented, will enable the state to safely reduce its incarcerated population by 25 percent over 10 years.

    • Federal police raids over NBN leak should ring alarm bells for journalists

      The last two people who were successfully prosecuted in Australia for receiving and disclosing an “official secret” were a former intelligence officer and the prostitute he gave classified documents to for the purposes of selling them on to a foreign government.

      But now, for the first time in decades, the Australian federal police has dusted off this rarely used law. There are no prostitutes this time, and no sordid allegations of espionage or intrigue.

      Instead, there’s a Labor staffer who is under investigation for allegedly receiving documents tantamount to an “official secret” from an anonymous source. The documents, according to Labor, are nothing to do with national security but do show failings and cost blowouts in the construction of Australia’s highly politicised national broadband network.

    • Administration Creates A Hack For A Entrepreneur’s Immigration Visa

      For many, many years we’ve talked about why the US should have an entrepreneur’s visa to let in smart entrepreneurs who are able to build companies and create jobs in the US, rather than kicking out the very people who are helping to build out the US economy. However, because immigration is such a touchy issue, attempts to do so via Congress have gone nowhere. And while we’ve had some concerns about the actual implementation (in particular the focus on requiring the entrepreneurs to raise a fair amount of venture capital), the general concept is a good one.

      [...]

      This does seem better than some of the earlier proposals, which included requirements after receiving the visa to have to raise upwards of $1 million from investors. We were worried that this would basically force entrepreneurs to take money from VCs when they might not otherwise need to. This parole system still has raising money as a criteria, but the amount is significantly lower and DHS also has the flexibility to still grant the parole without the investment if there is “other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

    • Challenged Over ‘Racist’ Remarks, Maine Governor Leaves Unhinged Voicemail

      Maine’s Donald Trump-supporting, race-baiting, Republican Governor Paul LePage has gotten into hot water—again—after leaving a state lawmaker an expletive-laced and threatening voicemail on Thursday.

      In the phone message, LePage—who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014—demands that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine “prove” that he’s a racist, calls him a “son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker,” and says: “I am after you.”

      Gattine has denied that he called the governor racist after his latest diatribe on the racial background of drug dealers in the state. LePage on Wednesday said that “90 percent of drug dealers coming into Maine are black or Hispanic.”

    • ‘Prove I’m a racist’: LePage challenges Westbrook lawmaker in obscenity-laced voice mail

      Gov. Paul LePage left a state lawmaker from Westbrook an expletive-laden phone message Thursday in which he accused the legislator of calling him a racist, encouraged him to make the message public and said, “I’m after you.”

      LePage sent the message Thursday morning after a television reporter appeared to suggest that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine was among several people who had called the governor a racist, which Gattine later denied. The exchange followed remarks the governor made in North Berwick on Wednesday night about the racial makeup of suspects arrested on drug trafficking charges in Maine.

    • Rights Advocates Slam Baltimore’s “Incomprehensible” Police Spying

      “The fact that the BPD has been engaged in a secret program of mass surveillance is both incomprehensible and unacceptable. It is even more astounding that this could be done during a Justice Department investigation into the BPD that found pervasive racial bias and lack of accountability,” Rocah said in a statement Wednesday.

    • Match the Fine For Palestine: The Higher You Build Your Barriers, the Taller We Become

      In what one admirer calls “a brilliant generous gesture… telling Palestinians they have not been forgotten,” activist fans of Scotland’s Celtics soccer team – the working-class, historically progressive community already facing punishment for flying Palestinian flags at a recent game against Israel to protest the Occupation – have launched a defiant fundraiser to match their likely upcoming fine, thus “hugging tighter” an oppressed population with which they’ve long felt a kinship. The Celtics plan to give the proceeds – their original goal of $20,000 quickly grew to a flood of about $200,000 – to two Palestinian charitable groups.

      Europe’s ruling soccer body UEFA has already announced disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for its display of an “illicit banner” at a game against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva team a couple of weeks ago. The act of solidarity was one of many over the years by a largely Irish Catholic community with a strong sense of affinity for the Palestinian struggle against colonization. With over 1,200 Scots of Palestinian origin, their own history of occupation and an ongoing sense of being underdogs in Scotland, says historian Tom Devine, “Part of their sense of communal identity is that sense of grievance about what was done in the past. People who are Irish nationalists will always tend to support independence movements they believe to be based on historical justice.”

    • Death to the Death Penalty in California

      On Election Day, California voters will make a monumental moral and financial decision. Proposition 62—the Justice That Works Act—is on the Nov. 8 ballot, and if the initiative passes, it will replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole. It will also require convicted murderers to work and pay restitution to their victims’ families. And it will save taxpayers $150 million a year, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

      Among the states still part of the U.S. death penalty system, California has the most people on death row—746. Florida is next, with 388 according to the Yes on 62 campaign. Overall, 2,943 people are on death row in the United States (as of Jan. 1)—meaning almost one in four people waiting to be executed are in the California penal system. The elderly make up 11 percent, and the oldest condemned inmate is 86. The average stay on death row is 18 years.

      Although California has spent about $5 billion administering the death penalty, it has executed just 13 people since 1978. This means taxpayers have spent about $384 million per execution.

      There is no evidence demonstrating that the death penalty deters crime, according to a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study. Capital punishment has been applied arbitrarily due to inherent bias, local political pressures on prosecutors and judges, and lack of access to quality defense attorneys by those convicted. According to Death Penalty Focus, the race of the victim and the race of the defendant are major determinants in who is sentenced to death in this country.

      [...]

      And look at the company we keep. Only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia execute more people than the United States.

    • Where Is Our Martin Luther King Jr.?
    • Apple is the source of mistreatment of Chinese workers
    • iPhone or iExploit? Rampant Labor Violations in Apple’s Supply Chain

      A new report published August 24 by China Labor Watch (CLW) demonstrates that the same legal and ethical violations that attracted media attention in 2012 continue unabated at Apple supplier factories today. In the case of Pegatron, CLW reports that conditions have actually worsened since 2015, despite years of audits commissioned by Apple, a membership in the Fair Labor Association, and promises from the company that it is committed to ensuring the safety and dignity of those who make its lucrative products.

    • Why Walmart Matters to 21st Century Working-Class Struggle

      Service jobs as a share of US working hours increased 30 percent between 1980 and 2005, and their prevalence has only grown since the Great Recession. One 2012 study found that although two-thirds of the jobs lost during the recession were mid-wage jobs, 58 percent of the jobs regained by the time of the study were instead low-wage, paying less than $13.84 per hour. Retail sales alone added well over 300,000 jobs in this period, at an average wage of $10.97 an hour; just behind was food prep, paying an average of just over $9 an hour. The trend had begun before the crisis, but after the crisis hit, it was impossible to pretend that something fundamental hadn’t changed.

    • Temp Organizing Gets Big Boost from NLRB

      Thanks to a National Labor Relations Board decision, workers employed by temporary staffing agencies may find it easier to organize and bargain.

      The Board issued its long-awaited ruling last August in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). The decision revamped the Board’s test for what’s considered a “joint employer,” imposing new legal obligations on employers who hire through temp agencies and potentially also on giant corporate franchisors.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

      When the World Wide Web first took off in the mid 1990s, the dream wasn’t just big, it was distributed: Everyone would have their own home page, everyone would post their thoughts – they weren’t called “blogs” until 1999 – and everyone would own their own data, for there was no one around offering to own it for us. The web consisted of nodes joined by links, with no center.

      Oh, how times have changed.

      Now a handful of companies own vast swaths of web activity – Facebook for social networking, Google for searching, eBay for auctions – and quite literally own the data their users have provided and generated. This gives these companies unprecedented power over us, and gives them such a competitive advantage that it’s pretty silly to think you’re going to start up a business that’s going to beat them at their own game. The fact that Facebook already has the data in 1.7 billion users’ profiles and, more important, the history of its users’ interactions means that you’re probably not going to attract a lot of savvy investors. Plus that’s where all your friend are already. Vendor lock-in is real.

    • How Is This Not A Net Neutrality Violation, Sprint?

      While the United States’ net neutrality rules are certainly better than nothing, we’ve noted a few times how they contain enough loopholes (and ignore enough hot button topics) as to be more than a little problematic. More specifically, they contain so much wiggle room they let ISPs of all stripes violate net neutrality — just so long as they’re a bit more creative about it. Verizon and Comcast were quick to highlight this when they began cap-exempting their own content, while still penalizing their competitors (without so much as a real peep from the FCC).

      T-Mobile pushed these creative barriers further with Binge On, which exempts only the biggest and most popular video services from the company’s usage caps (aka “zero rating”). This automatically puts thousands of smaller video providers, non-profits, educational institutions and startups at a notable market disadvantage, but by and large nobody outside of the EFF and academia seems to give much of a damn because a: ill-informed consumers are happy laboring under the illusion that they’re getting something for free and b: the public (and by proxy media) is lazy and tired of debating net neutrality.

      But the door being opened here leads to a monumental, potentially dangerous shift not only in how broadband service is purchased and sold, but in just how open the internet of the future is going to be.

  • DRM

    • Remember When Cracking Groups Said Denuvo Would End Game Piracy? Yeah, Didn’t Happen

      As you may recall, earlier this year a well-known hacking group that specializes in cracking PC games made the bold prediction that cracking games would no longer be a thing in another year or two. Contrasting with what seems like the neverending trend concerning DRM in software, 3DM stated that the software industry had apparently found its unicorn in a DRM called Denuvo, which was increasingly elongating the time between a game hitting the market and the crack for it becoming available. A practice that usually took days or weeks was suddenly being measured in months, pushing to a year. 3DM made the case that this amount of time and effort to crack a Denuvo-protected game made the practice too costly and, more importantly, that the DRM software was being updated and getting so good that it might essentially become uncrackable.

      This prediction, of course, flew in the face of the history of DRM and the speed with which it has always been defeated, leading me to be more than a bit skeptical of the prediction. Skepticism well-founded, it appears, now that Denuvo appears to have been neutered in the days since.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • France Passes Copyright Law Demanding Royalties For Every Image Search Engines Index Online

        The Disruptive Competition Project is detailing yet another bad copyright law change in Europe — France, in particular, this time. Called the Freedom of Creation Act, it actually passed a few months ago, but people are just beginning to understand and comprehend the full horror of what’s happening. Basically, it will now require any site that indexes images on the internet (i.e., any image search engine) to pay royalties for each image to a collection society.

      • Do passive hosting providers commit acts of communication to the public in relation to third-party content?

        The document is extremely interesting for various reasons. Among the things, the Commission addresses the problem of right holders facing great difficulties, or being unable, “to negotiate with online service providers that store and give access to large amounts of protected content uploaded by their users. This results in right holders having limited control over the use and the remuneration for the use of their content.” [p 124, the so called 'value gap'].

      • European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers

        A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document’s recommendations foreshadow new a EU Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the European Union’s 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe’s Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

        The 182-page document identifies three general objectives—ensuring wider access to content, adapting copyright exceptions to the digital and cross-border environment, and achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. In this initial article we examine the recommendations that fall under the third of these three objectives, which are amongst the most alarming proposals, including new obligations on Internet platforms, and new copyright-like powers for news publishers.

        More specifically, this article will look at two of the proposals for what the Commission calls “upstream” problems, or difficulties faced by copyright owners in extracting value from the use of content online. We’ll deal with other parts of the document in later posts.

      • FBI-Controlled Megaupload Domain Now Features Soft Porn

        As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the U.S. Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom’s file-hosting service. Nearly five years later the authorities still control the domains but they haven’t done a very good job of securing them. Megaupload.org now links to a soft porn portal.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Alice v CLS Bank (SCOTUS, 2014) Has Had a Profound Effect on 2017 as Nearly No Software Patents Upheld at a High Level

    As 2017 nears its end (less than two weeks left), a look back reveals a terrible year for proponents of software patents and a milestone for opponents of software patents



  2. PTAB Helps Defend and Encourage Work by Actual Technology Companies in the US, the Patent Trolls' Lobby is Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which continues to invalidate software patents by the thousands, comes under attack from the expected sites, namely those that are fronting for patent trolls and parasites



  3. Patent Misconceptions Promoted in Media Dominated by the Patent Microcosm, Not Actual Innovators

    Examples from the media where popular myths have been promoted over the past few days, taking advantage of passivity and silence among those who actually create and invent



  4. Links 17/12/2017: KStars 2.8.9, GNOME 3.27.3, Parrot Security 3.10

    Links for the day



  5. Raw: Benoît Battistelli Has Long Been Obsessed With 'Alternative Facts' (Lying) Regarding Everything

    The chronic lying by Battistelli’s EPO goes way back and reveals a total lack of integrity, shedding doubt on just about any statement issued by the Office



  6. Raw: At the EPO “Social Democracy” is Actually a Euphemism for Authoritarian Regime

    An old document about the EPO‘s transition to so-called ‘social’ ‘democracy’ and what that means in practical terms



  7. Battistelli's 'UPC Buddy' Michel Barnier Helped Squash EU Intervention in Dysfunctional (Subverted by Battistelli) Administrative Council

    A look back at how Michel Barnier helped cover Battistelli's back, insisting that the Commission cannot do anything to rectify matters at the EPO (Elżbieta Bieńkowska, another UPC proponent, said something similar later)



  8. Raw: “Experienced Examiners Can Examine Anything.” (Even Not in Their Field!)

    An internal document shows how the EPO handles imbalance in filings, in essence shifting examiners to fields they are not familiar with



  9. Andrei Iancu in Charge of the United States Patent Office (USPTO) Would be a Patent Microcosm Coup

    The progression of Andrei Iancu's nomination/appointment is a reason for concern; it is, for a fact, a reason for optimism among patent extremists



  10. The Latest IAM Puff Pieces That Launder the 'Reputation' of Patent Trolls

    The creeping threat of patent extortion (litigation from companies that are empty shells with nothing but patents) does not worry IAM; instead, this is the vision IAM wants to actualise, having been paid by stakeholders in such a nefarious outcome



  11. The EPO Has Found 'Creative' New Ways to Bribe the Media and Promote Software Patents

    From Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII) and "Industry 4.0" the EPO is moving to creative new misnomers for carriers of software patents, SEP (patents-encumbered 'standards'), so-called 'FRAND' etc.



  12. EPO Busy Distracting From Miscarriage/Abuse of Justice at the EPO (Both Office and Organisation)

    The European Patent Organisation continues to be a vassal of the Office (Christoph Ernst is defending Battistelli) and justice is not being honoured; it's being discarded in the darkness (in secret meetings)



  13. Bristows LLP/IP Kat Carrying on With Dead UPC Jingoism

    The same old tune from Bristows not only gets played in Bristows' 'alternate reality' blog but also in other blogs where Bristows staff is 'contributing' (to confusion and misconceptions)



  14. Links 16/12/2017: Mesa 17.2.7, Wine 3.0 RC2, Kdenlive 17.12.0, Mir 0.29

    Links for the day



  15. Patrick Corcoran is Innocent, Yet Battistelli Will/May Have the Power to Sack Him Next Month (in DG1)

    The EPO's Administrative Council does not want to even mention Patrick Corcoran, as merely bringing that up might lead to the suggestion that Benoît Battistelli should be fired (yes, they can fire him), but to set the record straight, at the EPO truth-tellers are punished and those whom they expose are shielded by the Administrative Council



  16. Patent Trolls Are Going Bust in the United States (Along With the 'Protection' Racket Conglomerates)

    RPX continues its gradual collapse and patent trolls fail to find leverage now that software patents are kaput and patent opportunists struggle to access Texan courts



  17. IBM's Manny Schecter is Wrong Again and He is Attempting to Justify Patent Trolling

    In yet another dodgy effort to undermine the US Supreme Court and bring back software patents, IBM's "chief patent counsel" (his current job title) expresses views that are bunk or "alternative facts"



  18. EPO Administrative Council Disallows Discussion About Violations of the Law by Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO crisis is not ending for the Administrative Council does not want to tackle any of the obvious problems; Patrick Corcoran is a taboo subject and Ernst is coming across as another protector of Benoît Battistelli, based on today's meeting (the second meeting he chairs)



  19. Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

    Links for the day



  20. Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

    The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO's unambiguous rulings in his favour



  21. The End of Software Patents and PTAB's Role in Enforcing That End

    Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts



  22. No, China Isn't Most Innovative, It's Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

    Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation



  23. Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

    A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow's meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)



  24. Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  25. German Media Helps Cover Up -- Not Cover -- the Latest EPO Scandal

    EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO's biggest scandals to date



  26. PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

    Three Affiliated Tribes probably won't enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won't manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit



  27. Team UPC's Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

    Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there's someone 'courageous' enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup



  28. The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM)

    David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM's)



  29. The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn't Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

    PO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that "Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal"



  30. Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli's Control in DG1

    Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering 'royal decrees' whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts