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Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • BSODs at scale: we laugh at your puny five storeys, here’s our SIX storey #fail

    It’s an easy drive-by troll, isn’t it? Last week, we asked readers to top the five-storey Blue Screen of Death spotted in Thailand, and examples big and small flooded the inbox.

    Manchester Piccadilly Station is either vying for the crown with last week’s entry, or perhaps it’s a display from the same maker. Thanks to James for catching this shot from 2013.

  • Server

    • Cost Effective Linux Server Software for Enterprises

      The advantages of a Linux server over expensive Windows systems are numerous with hardly any drawbacks. Since Linux is not dominant as Windows, there are some slight difficulties to find applications based on this platform to support the needs. While security stands as an important aspect for servers, the advantage over dominant operating systems is that security flaws are caught in Linux, even before they become an issue for the public.

      Linux was one of the first open-source technologies in which you can download the source code and change it any way you like. Several Linux coders have developed software that’s completely open-source for any user, improving the security and usability at each core.

    • Weigh the pros, cons of three Linux load balancer options

      Nginx, HAProxy and Linux Virtual Server are three different Linux load balancer to consider for multiserver, high-traffic requests in the data center.

    • Monitoring of Monitoring

      I was recently asked to get data from a computer that controlled security cameras after a crime had been committed. Due to the potential issues I refused to collect the computer and insisted on performing the work at the office of the company in question. Hard drives are vulnerable to damage from vibration and there is always a risk involved in moving hard drives or systems containing them. A hard drive with evidence of a crime provides additional potential complications. So I wanted to stay within view of the man who commissioned the work just so there could be no misunderstanding.

      The system had a single IDE disk. The fact that it had an IDE disk is an indication of the age of the system. One of the benefits of SATA over IDE is that swapping disks is much easier, SATA is designed for hot-swap and even systems that don’t support hot-swap will have less risk of mechanical damage when changing disks if SATA is used instead of IDE. For an appliance type system where a disk might be expected to be changed by someone who’s not a sysadmin SATA provides more benefits over IDE than for some other use cases.

      I connected the IDE disk to a USB-IDE device so I could read it from my laptop. But the disk just made repeated buzzing sounds while failing to spin up. This is an indication that the drive was probably experiencing “stiction” which is where the heads stick to the platters and the drive motor isn’t strong enough to pull them off. In some cases hitting a drive will get it working again, but I’m certainly not going to hit a drive that might be subject to legal action! I recommended referring the drive to a data recovery company.

      The probability of getting useful data from the disk in question seems very low. It could be that the drive had stiction for months or years. If the drive is recovered it might turn out to have data from years ago and not the recent data that is desired. It is possible that the drive only got stiction after being turned off, but I’ll probably never know.

  • Kernel Space

    • Windows 10 vs. Linux Radeon Software Performance, Including AMDGPU-PRO & RadeonSI

      As alluded to earlier and on Twitter, the past few days I have been working on a fresh Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux graphics/gaming performance comparison. This time it’s looking at the latest Radeon performance using an R9 Fury and RX 480. Tests on Windows were obviously done with Radeon Software Crimson Edition while under Linux were the two latest AMD/RTG Linux driver options: the hybrid AMDGPU-PRO driver and the fully open-source driver via Linux 4.8 and Mesa 12.1-dev.

    • Linux Kernel 3.10.103 LTS Has Lots of MIPS Improvements, Updated Radeon Drivers

      Today, August 28, 2016, Linux kernel developer Willy Tarreau announced the release of the one hundred and third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.10 kernel series.

      For some reason, the Linux 3.10 kernel branch is still getting updates, and this new version promises to add quite some improvements and updated drivers, as, according to the appended shortlog and the diff from the Linux kernel 3.10.102 LTS build, a total of 161 files have been changed, with 1800 insertions and 1293 deletions.

    • Collabora’s Devs to Bring Performance Improvements to Emulated NVMe Devices

      We reported earlier this month that Collabora’s developers contributed patches to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel to bring the open source Intel graphics driver on par with its Windows equivalent.

      And now Softpedia was informed by Collabora’s Mark Filion about some other interesting patches contributed by Collabora’s developers to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel. These patches promise to add huge performance improvements to emulated NVMe devices.

    • Linux 4.8-rc4

      Another week, another -rc.

      Everything looks normal, and it’s been a bit quieter than rc3 too, so
      hopefully we’re well into the “it’s calming down” phase. Although with
      the usual timing-related fluctuation (different maintainers stagger
      their pulls differently), it’s hard to tell a trend yet.

      Regardless, it all looks pretty small. I think the biggest thing in
      there is a skylake power management fix that came in as part of the
      gpu updates just before I was about to cut the rc4 release. Oh well.
      The other slightly larger change is some btrfs fixes.

      But on the whole those things don’t look that scary, and the rest is
      all really pretty tiny fixes spread out: various driver subsystems
      (sound, rdma, block), kvm, and some arch updates.

      The usual shortlog below for the details -it’s small and easy to scan
      to get a taste for the kind of things we’ve had.

      Go forth and test.


    • Linux 4.8-rc4 Kernel Released

      Continuing his Sunday tradition, Linus Torvalds released a few minutes ago the Linux 4.8-rc4 kernel.

      This latest weekly development installment of the Linux 4.8 kernel features a variety of bug/regression fixes, including some last minute DRM fixes that made it into this kernel release.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.8 RC4 with Skylake Power Management Fix

      It’s Sunday evening, so guess what you’ll be doing in the next few hours? Yes, that’s right, Linus Torvalds has just announced the fourth RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.8-rc4
    • Linus rages at GNU enforcement

      Open Sauce’s Mr Sweary has gone off on lawyers making money on GPL enforcement.

      Linus Torvalds waded into the Software Freedom Conservancy and Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GPL General Public Licence.

      Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler made a mistake when she suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto should include a session on GPL enforcement.

      A number of developers think that while discussing enforcement issues was topical and necessary, doing it at a conference of this kind could well lead to people who took part being deposed later on by lawyers for their own cases.

    • How IoTivity and AllJoyn Could Combine

      At the Embedded Linux Conference in April, Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) Executive Director Mike Richmond concluded his keynote on the potential for interoperability between the OCF’s IoTivity IoT framework and the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn spec by inviting to the stage Greg Burns, the chief architect of AllJoyn. Burns briefly shared his opinion that not only was there no major technical obstacle to combining these two major open source IoT specs, but that by taking the best of both standards, a hybrid could emerge that improves upon both.

      Later in the day, Burns gave a technical overview of how such a hybrid could be crafted in “Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework.” (See video below.) Burns stated in both talks that his opinions in no way reflect the official position of OCF or the AllSeen Alliance. At the time of the ELC talk in April, Burns had recently left his job as VP of Engineering at Qualcomm and Chair of the Technical Steering Committee at the AllSeen Alliance to take on the position of Chief IoT Software Technologist in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corp.

    • ​Linus Torvalds’ love-hate relationship with the GPL

      Linux’s founder appreciates what the GNU General Public License has given Linux, but he doesn’t appreciate how some open-source lawyers are trying to enforce it in court.

    • Linus Torvalds reflects on 25 years of Linux

      LinuxCon North America concluded in Toronto, Canada on August 25th, the day Linux was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, VP and chief of open source at VMware, sat down for a conversation at the event and reflected upon the past 25 years. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation.

    • 6 things you should know from Linux’s first 25 years

      Red Hat was founded in 1993, two years after Linux was announced and the company has been one of the top contributors to Linux. There is a symbiotic relationship between the company and the project. Whitehurst pointed out that it’s hard to talk about the history of Red Hat without talking about Linux and vice versa.

    • There Is Talk Of Resuming OpenChrome VIA KMS/DRM Driver Development

      Two or so years back or so it was looking hopeful that the mainline Linux kernel would finally have a proper VIA DRM/KMS driver for the unfortunate ones still have VIA x86 hardware and using the integrated graphics. However, that work was ultimately abandoned but there is talk of it being restored.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Clarity (Vector Design) Icon Theme for Linux Desktop’s

      Clarity Icon Theme is completely different from other icon themes because its purly based on Vector design. This theme is based on AwOken and Token, lots of shapes and basic color pallete was taken from these icons. Few icons was taken from Raphael. used some shapes from OpenClipart, Wikipedia, Humanity and AnyColorYouLike Themes. The rest of icons designed by developer by simplifying existed icons or logos. Two types of fonts used Impact and Cheboygan.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Builder 3.22 Enters Beta with Many Vim Improvements, New Search & Replace

        The GNOME Builder open-source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) designed for the GNOME desktop environment will soon get a major update as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 release.

      • GUADEC 2016

        I have just returned from our annual users and developers conference. This years’ GUADEC has taken place in the lovely Karlsruhe, Germany. It once again was a fantastic opportunity to gather everyone who works pretty hard to make our desktop and platform the best out there. :)

      • GUADEC 2016, Karlsruhe

        Nice thing this year was that almost everyone was staying in the same place, or close; this favoured social gatherings even more than in the previous years. This was also helped by the organized events, every evenings, from barbecue to picnic, from local student-run bar to beer garden (thanks Centricular), and more.

        And during the days? Interesting talks of course, like the one offered by Rosanna about how the foundation runs (and how crazy is the US bank system), or the Builder update by Christian, and team meetings.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Debian-Based Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” Linux Distro Launches with Trinity Desktop 14.0.3

        Softpedia has been informed today, August 28, 2016, by the developer of the Debian-based Q4OS GNU/Linux distribution about the immediate availability for download of a new stable release to the “Orion” series, version 1.6.

        The biggest new feature of the Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” release is the latest Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) 14.0.3 desktop environment, an open source project that tries to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop interface alive. Q4OS was used the most recent TDE version, so Q4OS 1.6 is here to update it.

        “The significant Q4OS 1.6 ‘Orion’ release receives the most recent Trinity R14.0.3 stable version. Trinity R14.0.3 is the third maintenance release of the R14 series, it is intended to promptly bring bug fixes to users, while preserving overall stability,” say the Q4OS developers in the release announcement.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • LuLu Group migrates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        LuLu Group has selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to help business managers faster identify and respond to new opportunities and competitive threats.

        Headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, the international retailer runs 124 outlets and operates in 31 countries. It welcomes more than 700,000 shoppers daily.

        Since starting its retail journey in the early 1990s, LuLu Group expanded its business aggressively and required advanced technology to optimise its business.

        Hence, it migrated from Solaris UNIX to SUSE Linux as platform for SAP solutions, reducing SAP landscape operating costs at least 20 percent.

      • SUSE’s Role in the History of Linux and Open Source

        What role did SUSE play in the growth of Linux and the open source ecosystem? How did SUSE and other Linux-based operating systems evolve into the enterprise platforms they are today? Here’s what SUSE employees had to say about Linux history in a recent interview.

        To help mark the anniversary of Linus Torvalds’s release of Linux twenty-five years ago, I interviewed Meiki Chabowski, SUSE Documentation, and Markus Feilner, Strategist & Documentation Team Lead. Their answers, printed below, provide interesting perspective not only on the history of SUSE, but also of Linux and open source as a whole.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Multiple vulnerabilities in RPM – and a rant

        Last year in November I decided that it might be a good idea to fuzz the parsers of package management tools in Linux distributions. I quickly found a couple of issues in DPKG and RPM. For DPKG the process went very smooth. I reported them to Debian’s security team, eight days later fixes and security advisories were published by both Debian and Ubuntu, the main distributions using DPKG. For RPM the process was a bit more difficult.

      • Commvault announces support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4

        Back-up and archive specialist CommVault has announced support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4, the open source company’s kernel-based virtual machine powered virtualisation platform.

        Red Hat Virtualisation 4 is built on the company’s enterprise Linux distribution. It provides a centralised management platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads.

      • Microsoft, Red Hat Look To Steal VMware Customers

        Unfortunately for competitors, VMware has executed on its software strategy consistently enough to stay one step ahead of the prediction of eminent downfall. If it had faltered or introduced a highly defective product, it might have left more of an opening for Microsoft. But instead it has added value to its products and expanded those products into data center operations and virtual networking with such regularity that even IT managers who want to leave have found it hard to cut the cord.

      • VMware New Cloud Plan: Sell Stuff for Rival Clouds
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • GSoC Wrap Up

          GSoC 2016 finished last week and i am writing this blog to list the work done by me in last three months for Fedora. My project was to adjust pagure and write script(s) so that we can have pkgs.fedoraproject.org on a pagure instance.

        • Flatpak Universal Linux Package Supports Local Path References for Git Sources

          Alex Larsson from the Flatpak project has announced the release of a new maintenance update to the universal binary package format for Linux kernel-based operating systems.

          Flatpak 0.6.9 is now the latest version, and it promises to add many great enhancements, among which we can mention the ability to pass partial references every time a terminal command takes a runtime or application name, as well as a brand new command called build-commit-from.

          Application developers who want to package their apps and distribute it in the Flatpak format can use the above-mentioned command for creating new commits based on the contents of an existing commit, which can be from another local repository or a remote one.

        • Getting involved with the Fedora kernel

          There are countless ways to contribute to open source projects like Fedora. Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to contribute is by helping with the Linux kernel in Fedora. At Flock 2016, I gave a talk about the state of the Fedora kernel. One of the themes of the talk was getting more people involved. The kernel is a project for everyone and all are welcome to take part. This article details what you can do to become a part of the kernel.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds: week 70 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu’s Mir May Be Ready For FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync

            The Mir display server may already be ready for working with AMD’s FreeSync or VESA’s Adaptive-Sync, once all of the other pieces to the Linux graphics stack are ready.

            If the comments from this Mir commit are understood and correct, it looks like Mir may be ready for supporting FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync.

            While NVIDIA’s proprietary driver supports their alternative G-SYNC technology on Linux, AMD FreeSync (or the similar VESA Adaptive-Sync standard) has yet to be supported by the AMD Linux stack. We won’t be seeing any AMD FreeSync support until their DAL display stack lands. DAL still might come for Linux 4.9 but there hasn’t been any commitment yet by AMD developers otherwise not until Linux 4.10+, and then after that point FreeSync can ultimately come to the open-source AMD driver. At least with the AMDGPU-PRO driver relying upon its own DKMS module, DAL with FreeSync can land there earlier.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Free Hadoop and Spark Training Options Spread Out

      In the tech job market race these days, hardly any trend is drawing more attention than Big Data. And, when talking Big Data, the subject of Hadoop inevitably comes up, but Spark is becoming an increasingly popular topic. IBM and other companies have made huge commitments to Spark, and workers who have both Hadoop and Spark skills are much in demand.

      With that in mind MapR Technologies and other providers are offering free Hadoop and Spark training. In many cases, the training is available online and on-demand, so you can learn at your own pace.

    • Git hooks, a cloud by the numbers, and more OpenStack news

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • Databases

    • Improving phpMyAdmin Docker container

      Since I’ve created the phpMyAdmin container for Docker I’ve always felt strange about using PHP’s built in web server there. It really made it poor choice for any production setup and probably was causing lot of problems users saw with this container. During the weekend, I’ve changed it to use more complex setup with Supervisor, nginx and PHP FPM.

      As building this container is one of my first experiences with Docker (together with Weblate container), it was not as straightforward as I’d hope for, but in the end is seems to be working just fine. While touching the code, I’ve also improved testing of the Docker container to tests all supported setups and to better report in case of test fails.

  • Funding

    • Support open source motion comic

      There is an ongoing campaign for motion comic. It will be done entirely with FLOSS tools (Blender, Krita, GNU/Linux) and besides that, it really looks great (and no, it is not only for the kids!). Please support this effort if you can because it also shows the power of Free software tools. All will be released Creative Commons Atribution-ShareAlike license together with all sources.


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Italian guide on government websites to be updated

      The source of the document is now available on GitHub, a cloud-based source code management system.

    • Open Data

      • Ethiopia’s Lucy is Now Open Source: Famous Bones’ 3D Scans Released

        The world’s most famous fossil is now open source. 3D scans of Lucy — a 3.18-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia — were released on 29 August, allowing anyone to examine her arm, shoulder and knee bones and even make their own 3D-printed copies.s

      • How to use open source information to investigate stories online

        Myself and others at First Draft frequently receive emails from a whole range of people asking how they can start doing the sort of online open source investigation and verification that they’ve seen us doing. The skills and methodologies used are all something that can be learnt through a little persistence, but here are a few pieces of advice to get you started.

      • Microsoft relies on Wikipedia and loses Melbourne

        Microsoft’s Bing made the grave mistake on relying on data collected by Wikipedia for its mapping software and lost Melbourne.

        While Melbourne might not be the nicest it place to live, there were a fair few who felt that Bing Maps moving it to the wrong hemisphere was not exactly fair dinkum.

        Apparently Vole made the mistake when it collected the data. Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, said that the outfit does not normally rely that much on Wackypedia, but sometimes it uses it.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • You don’t need a green thumb with this farming robot

        FarmBot is a robotic open hardware system that assists anyone with a small plot of land and a desire to grow food with planting, watering, soil testing, and weeding. It uses a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other awesome components, including weather-resistant materials.


  • Students suck, professors don’t care and other myths you shouldn’t let ruin the start of the school year

    Back to school means back to bashing students. Maybe it’s time to end that trend.

    It’s that time of year again. As many of us get ready to start the school year, we are bombarded by articles, stories and memes that mock students and denigrate the professors that teach them. By now you have probably seen at least a few articles offering sage advice to this year’s incoming class of college kids. Maybe the article comes in the form of a handy list or maybe it is just a basic rant about how pathetic students are these days. You have likely already seen that meme of an Einstein look-alike professor sporting an “It’s in the syllabus” T-shirt. It all seems very funny and very wise so your instinct is to share it.

    Don’t do it.

    Consider this: When in the last decade have you gone online and read anything positive about the start of the school year? When have you read that the next class of students is extremely bright and promising? That their professors are dedicated and hardworking? Or that their places of higher education are preparing them well for their futures?

    Probably never.

    We live in an age where college aged students — millennials — are the most maligned generation in decades. They are described as lazy and clueless and selfish. Stories of them taking selfies, refusing to grow up and move out, and freaking out over trivial issues abound.

  • Recruitment mistakes: part 3

    It has been a while that I have been contacted by a recruiter, and the last few ones were fairly decent conversations, where they made an effort to research me first, and even if they did not get everything right, they still listened, and we had a productive talk. But four days ago, I had another recruiter reach out to me, from a company I know oh so well: one I ranted about before: Google. Apparently, their recruiters still do carpet-bombing style outreach. My first thought was “what took them so long?” – it has been five years since my last contact with a Google recruiter. I almost started missing them. Almost. To think that Google is now powerful enough to read my mind, is scary. Yet, I believe, this is not the case; rather, it’s just another embarrassing mistake.

  • Denmark gathers ideas for Digital Post update

    In September, Denmark will hold a four-week public survey on the next generation of Digital Post, the country’s eGovernment messaging system. The country’s Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) is finalising questions on user experience, IT architecture, timetable and procurement approach.

    The next generation of Digital Post should be “future-proof, easy to use and the best possible solution with regards to needs and opportunities”, Digitaliseringsstyrelsen announced in August.

  • One million Norwegians have a government mailbox

    This summer, 23-year old Solveig Boland from Løten (Norway) created the millionth government mailbox account, the Norwegian government reports. Ms Boland opened her account to obtain documents required for registration in the city of Bergen, where she wants to study medicine.

    Earlier this month, the student was congratulated by Jan Tore Sanner, Minister for Local Government and Modernisation. According to a press announcement, both Ms Boland and the minister agreed that the digital mailbox is practical. “In spring, she will receive her income tax forms in the digital mailbox.”

    According to Difi, the country’s Agency for Public Management and eGovernment, this year the number of citizens that created a government mailbox account has doubled.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Chefs get creative about restaurant food waste

      The numbers are big. $218 billion of food is wasted every year in the United States—1.3 percent of national GDP, or $1,500 a year for a family of four. In a country with 48 million food-insecure people, this represents 1,250 calories per person, every day.

      For restaurants and chefs, reducing food waste is becoming business as usual. Not only does it help the bottom line – a potential savings of $1.6 billion a year in an industry with tight margins—it saves resources all along the food supply chain.

    • Claremont wants to kick its private water company out of town. Good idea

      The citizens of Claremont, fed up with the private company that provides their water, voted overwhelmingly in 2014 to seize its water system by eminent domain and convert it to a municipal utility. A Los Angeles state judge has just wrapped up a trial over whether that’s legal and is expected to issue a ruling sometime in the next three months.

      Water users who still get their supply from private companies should be rooting for him to give Claremont a green light.

    • A doctor’s take on pot: Marijuana shouldn’t be grouped into the same category as more dangerous drugs

      On August 11th, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its decision to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug. The federal government has historically referred to this category as the “most dangerous” group of substances, including drugs like heroin and bath salts.

      As a resident physician specializing in mental health, I can’t make much sense of this.

      Every day, I talk to patients about substance abuse. Whether evaluating patients in clinic, in the emergency department or on inpatient units, my colleagues and I screen patients for substance use. It’s a vital component of any clinical interview, particularly in mental health care, and helps us understand patients’ habits and their risks for medical complications.

      During my medical training, I’ve learned which substances to worry about and which ones matter less.

  • Security

    • Hacking the American College Application Process

      In recent years, foreign students have streamed into American universities, their numbers nearly doubling in the last decade. About half of all international students are coming from Asian countries, many of which have been subject to heavy recruitment from American colleges.

      Taking advantage of the popularity of an American education, a new industry has sprung up in East Asia, focused on guiding students through the U.S. college application process with SAT preparation courses, English tutors and college essay advisors.

      But not all college prep companies are playing by the rules. In their investigative series for Reuters, a team of reporters found that foreign companies are increasingly helping students game the U.S. college application process. Some companies have leaked questions from college entrance exams to their students before they take the test. Others have gone so far as to ghostwrite entire college applications and complete coursework for students when they arrive on campus. We spoke with Steve Stecklow, one of the reporters on the team, about what they uncovered.

    • illusive networks’ Deceptions Everywhere

      illusive networks’ bread and butter is its deception cybersecurity technology called Deceptions Everywhere whose approach is to neutralize targeted attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats by creating a deceptive layer across the entire network. By providing an endless source of false information, illusive networks disrupts and detects attacks with real-time forensics and without disruption to business.

    • Mozila Offers Free Security Scanning Service: Observatory

      With an eye toward helpiing administrators protect their websites and user communities, Mozilla has developed an online scanner that can check if web servers have optimal security settings in place.

      It’s called Observatory and was initially built for in-house use, but it may very well be a difference maker for you.

      “Observatory by Mozilla is a project designed to help developers, system administrators, and security professionals configure their sites safely and securely,” the company reports.

    • New FairWare Ransomware targeting Linux Computers [Ed: probably just a side effect of keeping servers unpatched]

      A new attack called FaireWare Ransomware is targeting Linux users where the attackers hack a Linux server, delete the web folder, and then demand a ransom payment of two bitcoins to get their files back. In this attack, the attackers most likely do not encrypt the files, and if they do retain the files, probably just upload it to a server under their control.

    • How do we explain email to an “expert”?

      This has been a pretty wild week, more wild than usual I think we can all agree. The topic I found the most interesting wasn’t about one of the countless 0day flaws, it was a story from Slate titled: In Praise of the Private Email Server

      The TL;DR says running your own email server is a great idea. Almost everyone came out proclaiming it a terrible idea. I agree it’s a terrible idea, but this also got me thinking. How do you explain this to someone who doesn’t really understand what’s going on?

      There are three primary groups of people.

      1) People who know they know nothing
      2) People who think they’re experts
      3) People who are actually experts

    • Why the term “zero day” needs to be in your brand’s cybersecurity vocabulary

      Linux is “open source” which means anyone can look at the code and point out flaws. In that sense, I’d say Linus Torvalds doesn’t have to be as omniscient as Tim Cook. Linux source code isn’t hidden behind closed doors. My understanding is, all the Linux code is out there for anyone to see, naked for anyone to scrutinize, which is why certain countries feel safer using it–there’s no hidden agenda or secret “back door” lurking in the shadows. Does that mean Android phones are safer? That’s up for debate.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Indonesia’s most-wanted awakens new generation of jihadis

      During a May 2011 shootout, Indonesia’s counter-terrorism forces killed the leader of a militant group thought to be behind a series of failed bomb attempts around the city of Solo in Central Java.

      The death of “Team Hisbah” founder Sigit Qurdowi caused the group to splinter. Some formed an anti-vice squad in the city; many others became associated with a former Solo resident called Bahrun Naim, who authorities believe is a leading Indonesian coordinator for Islamic State (IS).

      Now, five years later, Naim, based in IS’s stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, is building an ever-more sophisticated network of militants from his former hometown, according to police, self-proclaimed radicals and people who work with the militants in Solo.

      Solo, which has a long history of schools and mosques associated with radical Islamists, is a breeding ground for Naim’s recruits, counter-terrorism officials say, and many of his lieutenants in Indonesia have come from Team Hisbah.

      As a result, authorities fear the risk of a major attack in Indonesia is growing.

    • Failed Indonesia Church Bomber Wounds Priest

      A would-be suicide bomber’s explosives failed to detonate in a packed church in western Indonesia during Sunday Mass, and he injured a priest with an ax before being restrained, police said.

    • VIDEO: Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment Trial Nears an End, Endangering Brazilian Democracy

      The most remarkable aspect of all of this – and what fundamentally distinguishes this process from impeachment in, say, the U.S. – is that Dilma’s removal results in the empowerment of a completely different party that was not elected to the presidency. In fact – as my colleagues at The Intercept Brasil, João Filho and Breno Costa, documented this week – Dilma’s removal is empowering exactly the right-wing party, PSDB, that has lost four straight national elections, including one to just Dilma 20 months ago. In some cases, the very same people from that party who ran for president and lost are now in control of the nation’s key ministries.

      As a result, the unelected government now about to take power permanently is preparing a series of policies – from suspending Brazil’s remarkably successful anti-illiteracy program, privatizing national assets and “changing” various social programs to abandoning its regional alliances in favor of returned subservience to the U.S. – that were never ratified by the Brazilian population and could never be. Whether you want to call this a “coup” or not, it is the antithesis of democracy, a direct assault on it.

    • Glenn Greenwald on the hypocrisy of Brazil’s political crisis

      Dilma Rousseff’s political enemies got their wish this week, as Brazil’s Senate voted to remove her from office to face an impeachment trial over charges of financial mismanagement.

      But Glenn Greenwald, founder of the Intercept and long-time resident of Brazil, says ousting Rousseff is likely to make things worse, not better.

      “The only real effect it’s probably going to have on corruption is that it will protect corruption and make it more difficult to root it out of the political system,” he tells Brent Bambury in an interview for CBC Day 6.

      Rousseff has been suspended from office while the trial goes ahead, a process that could take six months. She is accused of cooking the books to hide the size of Brazil’s budget deficit while she was campaigning for re-election. It’s part of a broader investigation including accusations that dozens of lawmakers and state oil execs got huge kickbacks for government contracts.

    • Brazil’s Rousseff faces senators, says accusations meritless

      In the middle of her second term, the left-leaning leader is accused of breaking fiscal rules to hide problems in the federal budget.

    • Green Party calls for a cutoff of aid to Saudi Arabia, citing carnage inflicted on Yemen with U.S. arms

      The Green Party is calling for an immediate cutoff of aid to Saudi Arabia and for intense diplomatic pressure to halt the Saudis’ war in Yemen.

      “Saudi Arabia is using weapons purchased from the U.S. in a campaign of indiscriminate killing in Yemen, with mass civilian casualties, including children, and attacks on medical facilities,” said Robin Laverne Wilson, New York Green candidate for the U.S. Senate ( http://www.robinforsenator.com ). “The Green Party demands a halt in aid to Saudi Arabia until the war on Yemen ceases and the Saudis stop arming violent movements in the Middle East and observe human rights in their own country.”

    • Obama’s Imperial Mideast Policy Unravels

      President Obama’s Mideast policy is such a confusing mess that he is now supporting Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria although it’s primary target is not ISIS but another U.S. ally, the Kurds, explains Daniel Lazare.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Wildlife conservationists need to break out of their Stockholm syndrome

      Conservationists like me want a world where wildlife has space, where wild places exist, and where we can connect with the wild things. Yet time after time, like captives suffering from Stockholm syndrome, wildlife conservation NGOs placate, please and emulate the very forces that are destroying the things they want to protect.

      Despite our collective, decades-long, worldwide commitment to protect wildlife, few indicators are positive. The Red List that’s issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature now includes 22,784 species that are threatened with extinction. Habitat loss is the main problem for 85 per cent of species on the list.

      The number of African rhinos killed by poachers, for example, has increased for the sixth year in a row. Pangolins are now the most heavily poached and trafficked mammals on the planet. One third of the world’s freshwater fish are at risk from new hydropower dams. Two hundred amphibians have already gone and polar bears are probably doomed. Human beings are simply taking too much from the world for its rich diversity to survive.

    • Ohio Residents Clash With State and County Government in Fight to Ban Fracking via the Ballot

      For years, local Ohioans have been told by courts and elected officials that they have no control over fracking — “it is a matter of state law.”

      However, groups of determined residents are refusing to accept this argument, taking steps to establish local democratic control over what they see as vital societal questions of health, safety, and planetary survival. But not without resistance from their own governments.

      In recent years, Ohio has seen fracking-induced earthquakes, contaminated waterways, and new proposals for natural gas pipelines and compressor stations, all amidst the accelerating march of climate change. Together, these events have brought the fight against fracking to a fever pitch for the Buckeye State.

      Fed up, residents have taken to the local ballot initiative process — by which citizens write, petition for, and vote on legislation — to propose “Community Bill of Rights” ordinances to ban fracking, injection wells, and associated infrastructure for natural gas production and transportation. Their efforst are part of a growing nationwide Community Rights movement

      This summer, citizens of Medina, Portage, Athens, and Meigs counties collected signatures for county-wide ballot initiatives that would establish new county charters and enshrine rights to local democratic control over fossil fuel development. All four gathered enough signatures to get on their respective November ballots. Normally, that would be enough. But not in Ohio, where Secretary of State and gubernatorial hopeful Jon Husted has done everything he can to stymie the movement’s use of direct democracy.

    • Climate change pledges not nearly enough to save tropical ecosystems

      The Paris Agreement marked the biggest political milestone to combat climate change since scientists first introduced us in the late 1980s to perhaps humanity’s greatest existential crisis.

      Last December, 178 nations pledged to do their part to keep global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels — adding on an even more challenging, but aspirational goal of holding temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

      To this end, each nation produced a pledge to cut it’s own carbon emissions, targeting everything from the burning of fossil fuels to deforestation to agriculture.

      It seems like a Herculean task, bound, the optimistic say, to bring positive results.

      Yet, less than eight months later, a study in the journal Nature finds that those pledges are nowhere near as ambitious as they need to be to keep temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees. And in August, British scientists reported that this year’s record El Niño has already pushed us perilously close to the 1.5 degree milestone.

    • With echoes of Wounded Knee, tribes mount prairie occupation to block North Dakota pipeline

      Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people.

      Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They string banners between trees and, when they can get a signal, they post messages with hashtags such as #ReZpectOurWater, #NoDakotaAccess and #NODAPL. For weeks, they have been arriving from the scattered patches of the United States where the government put their ancestors to protest what they say is one indignity too many in a history that has included extermination and exploitation.

      It is called the Dakota Access oil pipeline and it could carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois.

    • China’s trans-Amazon railway stokes forest fears

      China’s fast-rising population and its burgeoning economy make steep demands on natural resources, so steep that Beijing is searching constantly for supplies from overseas. And it wants to obtain them, naturally, as cheaply as it can.

      Now in prospect is China’s trans-Amazon railway – a 3,300 mile-long (5,000 km) artery to link the soya-growing areas and iron ore mines of Brazil to the southern Peruvian port of Ilo, providing a cheaper, shorter route than the Panama Canal.

      Feasibility studies on three different trajectories were carried out by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group (CREEC). The route preferred by the Chinese, because it is cheaper and avoids the complex engineering work needed to traverse the Andes, would instead pass through heavily forested areas in the Amazon, home to many indigenous groups in both Brazil and Peru.

      Miguel Scarcello, a geographer, from the NGO SOS Amazônia, (Portuguese only) says this route for the railway will also cross the headwaters of many rivers.

    • Trumping Environmentalism

      Like many of his conservative white Cajun Catholic neighbors, Mike was a strong Republican and an enthusiastic supporter of the Tea Party. He wanted to strip the federal government to the bone. In his ideal world, the Departments of Interior, Education, Health and Human Services, Social Security, and much of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be gone; as for federal money to the states, much of that, too. The federal government provides 44% of Louisiana’s state budget — $2,400 per person per year — partly for hurricane relief, which Mike welcomes, but partly for Medicaid and, as he explained, “Most recipients could work if they wanted to and honestly, they’d be better off.”

      Louisiana is a classic red state. In 2016, it’s ranked the poorest in the nation and the worst as well in education, health, and the overall welfare of its people. It also has the second highest male incidence of cancer and is one of the country’s most polluted states. But voters like Mike have twice elected Governor Bobby Jindal who, during his eight years in office, steadfastly refused Medicaid expansion, cut funding for higher education by 44%, and laid off staff in environmental protection. Since 1976, Louisiana has voted Republican in seven out of ten presidential elections and, according to a May 2016 poll, its residents favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 52% to 36%.

      Mike was an intelligent, college-educated man with a sense of stewardship over the land and the waters he loved. Given the ominous crack in his floor and the gas monitor in his garage, could he, I wondered, finally welcome government as a source of help? And had the disaster he faced altered his views of the presidential candidates?

    • The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds

      The first offshore wind farm in American waters, near Block Island, R.I., was completed this month. With just five turbines, the farm won’t make much of a dent in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it shows the promise this renewable energy source could have. When the turbines start spinning in November, they will power the island, which currently relies on diesel generators, and will also send electricity to the rest of Rhode Island.

      Putting windmills offshore, where the wind is stronger and more reliable than on land, could theoretically provide about four times the amount of electricity as is generated on the American grid today from all sources. This resource could be readily accessible to areas on the coasts, where 53 percent of Americans live.

      This technology is already used extensively in Britain, Denmark, Germany and other European countries, which have in the last 15 years invested billions of dollars in offshore wind farms in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas. In 2013, offshore wind accounted for 1.5 percent of all electricity used in the European Union, with all wind sources contributing 9.9 percent of electricity. By contrast, wind power made up only 4.7 percent of electricity in the United States last year.

    • Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative

      Hawaii stands alone in more ways than one. It is the only U.S. state comprised entirely of islands. There are eight major islands, but the Hawaiian Island Chain consists of more than 80 volcanoes and 132 islands, reefs, and shoals that extend across the Pacific for 1,500 miles (that’s the approximate distance from Houston to San Francisco). Located about 2,400 miles from California, the islands are, in fact, the most isolated inhabited pieces of land in the world.

    • Public Cost of Fukushima Cleanup Tops $628 Billion and Is Expected to Climb

      The public cost of cleaning up the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster topped ¥4.2 trillion (roughly $628 billion) as of March, and is expected to keep climbing, the Japan Times reported on Sunday.

      That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will sell off its shares to eventually pay back the cost of decontamination and waste disposal, but the Environment Ministry expects that the overall price of those activities could exceed what TEPCO would get for its shares.

    • Public cost of Fukushima nuclear accident cleanup topped ¥4.2 trillion as of end of March
    • The Anthropocene Is Here: Humanity Has Pushed Earth Into a New Epoch

      The Anthropocene Epoch has begun, according to a group of experts assembled at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa this week.

      After seven years of deliberation, members of an international working group voted unanimously on Monday to acknowledge that the Anthropocene—a geologic time interval so-dubbed by chemists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000—is real.

      The epoch is thought to have begun in the 1950s, when human activity, namely rapid industrialization and nuclear activity, set global systems on a different trajectory. And there’s evidence in the geographic record. Indeed, scientists say that nuclear bomb testing, industrial agriculture, human-caused global warming, and the proliferation of plastic across the globe have so profoundly altered the planet that it is time to declare the 11,700-year Holocene over.

  • Finance

    • TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

      Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

      “Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel.

    • TTIP has failed – but no one is admitting it, says German Vice-Chancellor

      The free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but “nobody is really admitting it”, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said.

      Talks over the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP, have made little progress in recent years.

      The 14th round of negotiations between American and EU officials took place in Brussels in July. It was the third round in six months.

    • Jobs With Justice regarding the importance of a binding convention on supply chains.

    • U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed – Germany’s economy minister

      Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

      “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

      “Things are not moving on that front,” said Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor.

    • Voices from the supply chain: an interview with Jobs With Justice

      BTS speaks with Benjamin Woods of Jobs With Justice regarding the importance of a binding convention on supply chains.

    • Universal basic income wouldn’t make people lazy–it would change the nature of work

      Americans believe in the importance of a good day’s work. And so it’s understandable that the prospect of a universal basic income (UBI), in which the government would issue checks to cover the basic costs of living, rubs some people the wrong way. Writing in The Week in 2014, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry envisions a UBI dystopia in which “millions of people” are “listing away in socially destructive idleness,” with “the consequences of this lost productivity reverberating throughout the society in lower growth and, probably, lower employment.”

      This is a reasonable concern. After all, the most successful anti-poverty programs in the US thus far, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, have been carefully designed to promote work–not enable people to avoid it. But based on the evidence we have so far, there’s little reason to believe that a UBI would lead people to abandon work in droves. And even if some people did indeed opt to give up their day jobs, society might wind up reaping untold rewards from their free time in the long run.

      Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the US and Canada were seriously considering the possibility of instating a UBI. During that time, the US government commissioned a series of experiments across six states to study the effects of guaranteed income, particularly its effects on work. The Canadian government introduced a similar experiment in the town of Dauphin.

    • Overwhelming Evidence that a Guaranteed Income Will Work

      We’ll have to do something drastically different to employ people in the future. Our jobs are disappearing. The driverless vehicle is here, destined to eliminate millions of transport and taxi-driving positions. Car manufacturing is being done by 3-D printing. An entire building was erected in Dubai with a 3-D printer. Restaurants are being designed with no waitstaff or busboys, hotels with no desk clerks, bellhops, and porters. Robot teachers are interacting with students in Japan and the UK.

      There are plenty of naysayers and skeptics, of course. The Atlantic proclaimed, “The job market defied doomsayers in those earlier times, and according to the most frequently reported jobs numbers, it has so far done the same in our own time.” But this is a different time, with no guarantees of job revolutions, and in fact a time of unprecedented machine intelligence that threatens the livelihoods even of doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, and lawyers.

    • Punishing the Poor: Welfare Reform and Its Democratic Apologists

      A defining feature of Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 presidential bid—a feature that would animate his political career from that point forward—was his theatrical depiction of welfare recipients.

      While he demonized the welfare system as a whole in familiar terms, Reagan’s ire was largely directed toward single mothers, and his racially coded language was sufficient to make clear his overarching intentions.

      “There’s a woman in Chicago,” Reagan said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veterans’ benefits on four nonexisting deceased husbands.”

      She operated under several identities, the actor-turned-politician would go on to lament, and her activities were costing those he deemed the “hard-working” taxpayers dearly. Though, as Josh Levin has documented, Reagan’s storytelling was vaguely based on a real person and a real case of welfare abuse, his vivid construction of the “welfare queen” rapidly became larger than life and emerged as a mainstay in the national discourse.

    • What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends on Which Taxman Asks

      Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on user experience has helped him make Amazon the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. But regulators in Europe and the U.S. say that the value Amazon places on the technology behind that experience varies radically depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on — and which appraisal will lower its tax bill.

      In Europe, the e-commerce giant tells authorities that the intellectual property behind its web shopping platform is immensely valuable, justifying the billions in tax-free revenue it has collected there since moving its technology assets to tax-friendly Luxembourg a decade ago. In the U.S., however, it plays down the value of those same assets to explain why it pays so little in taxes for licensing them.

    • ‘Trade Deals’ & Corporate Sovereignty: How Convicted Executives Escape Punishment

      Okay, we’ve been trying to raise the alarm bells about “ISDS” — “Investor State Dispute Settlement” — systems for many, many years, even helping to push the term “corporate sovereignty” to help describe it, since people’s brains seem to turn to mush when you spell out ISDS. We’ve pointed out over and over again the problems of such a system where it basically allows companies to sue countries for passing regulations they don’t like. We’ve noted over and over and over again how problematic this is… and yet people still tell us it’s no big deal and the system is fair and “necessary” to keep countries from doing things like simply nationalizing an industry that foreign companies build up. Of course, that doesn’t happen that often. ISDS corporate sovereignty cases are happening quite frequently, over subjects like Eli Lilly being upset that Canada rejected some patents and Philip Morris suing lots of countries for passing anti-smoking health regulations.

      Thankfully, Chris Hamby, an excellent investigative reporter with BuzzFeed*, has done a massive detailed investigative report into the ISDS corporate sovereignty system and what a complete disaster it is. Much of this was assumed before, but many of the ISDS cases are done in complete secrecy, so there are few details out there. Hamby’s reporting, though, will hopefully change that.

    • The “People’s Fed” and the Oracles of Jackson Hole

      When William Greider wrote his 1989 book about the Federal Reserve, it’s not hard to understand why he called it “Secrets of the Temple.” The Fed’s proclamations can make it seem as mysterious as the Oracle of Delphi. (To be fair, nobody has speculated that hallucinogens are involved, as seems to have been the case in Delphi.)

      The Fed’s oracular sages gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last week for the central bank’s annual retreat. But this year’s meeting was different: For perhaps the first time in history, some of the Fed’s leaders met with activists who are fighting to change it.

      Actually, the Fed’s not as mysterious as it seems. Some of the its behavior can be explained by its hybrid nature as a publicly created, but partly private, entity. (It’s reportedly the only central bank in the world that is not fully public.) As a result, the Fed’s leaders must struggle to accomplish their goals within a complex set of accountabilities, with multiple boards of directors that include many of the same bankers they are supposed to regulate.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Boundary changes could affect up to 200 Labour seats, says analysis

      Two hundred Labour seats – more than 85% of the party’s total – could be affected by the review of parliamentary boundaries due next month, according to a detailed analysis of the review’s likely impact.

      Up to 30 Labour seats could disappear altogether, says Lord Hayward, an analyst widely regarded as an expert on the boundary review, while the rest will see their composition altered in some form.

      Although the changes will also affect the Conservatives, Hayward, a Tory peer, said his analysis of demographics in the UK concluded that Labour is over-represented.

    • After Trump

      I recently got a call from a political analyst in Washington. “Trump is dropping like a stone,” he said, convincingly. “After Election Day, he’s history.”

      I think Trump will lose the election, but I doubt he’ll be “history.”

      Defeated presidential candidates typically disappear from public view. Think Mitt Romney or Michael Dukakis.

      But Donald Trump won’t disappear. Trump needs attention the way normal people need food.

      For starters, he’ll dispute the election results. He’s already warned followers “we better be careful because that election is going to be rigged and I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.“

    • Democrats Step Up Pursuit of House Republicans Left Limping by Donald Trump

      Emboldened by Donald J. Trump’s struggles in the presidential race, Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork to expand the list of House Republicans they will target for defeat as part of an effort to slash the Republicans’ 30-seat majority and even reclaim control if Mr. Trump falls further.

      Mr. Trump’s unpopularity, which has already undermined the party’s grip on the Senate, now threatens to imperil Republican lawmakers even in traditionally conservative districts, according to strategists and officials in both parties involved in the fight for control of the House.

    • It Takes a Ruling-Class Village to Staff the White House

      That was all very stirring, but who actually comprises the “we” that makes executive branch policy in the name of the common good when either Democrats or Republicans hold the White House? Not the nation’s working- and middle-class majority, that’s for sure. The Dutch political scientists Bastiaan van Apeldoorn and Nana de Graaff recently constructed a richly detailed career profile of the U.S. presidency’s top “grand strategy makers” (GSMs)—holders of key policymaking cabinet and senior advisory positions—over the administrations of the 42nd, 43rd and 44th presidents: Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Barack Obama (2009-2017). Their findings are like something out of Karl Marx’s and Frederick Engels’ notion of “the executive of the modern state” as “nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

      By van Apeldoorn and de Graaff’s calculations, 23 (more than 70 percent) of Obama’s top 30 GSMs had “top-level corporate affiliations”—executive, director, senior adviser or partner in a law firm—prior to their appointment to the U.S. executive branch. These 23 were linked through a combination of board memberships, executive positions and advisory roles to 111 corporations. These “affiliations in many cases display a revolving door pattern, indicating that the actors are not just closely tied to but actually themselves members of the corporate elite.”

      Elite travelers in and out of top positions in the Obama White House include Timothy Geithner, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag, Ken Salazar and Tom Donilon. Geithner went from being Citigroup Chair Robert Rubin’s handpicked head of the New York Federal Reserve Board to serving (Wall Street) as Obama’s first Treasury secretary to his current position as CEO of the leading Wall Street private equity firm, Warburg Pincus.

      Before replacing Geithner atop Treasury, Lew was chief operating officer at Citigroup’s alternative investment division, focused on risky and complex proprietary trading schemes.

      Orszag left his position as Obama’s Office of Budget Management director to become vice chair of global banking and chair of financial strategy and solutions at Citigroup and now serves as vice chairman of investment banking and managing director at Lazard. (Salazar and Donilon will be discussed later in this report.)

    • Tell Us Why We’re At War, Candidates

      When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

      I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.

      When I was in college our president told us that we needed to fight in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua or the Sandinistas would come to the United States. He told us Managua was closer to Washington DC than LA was. He told us we needed to fight in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

      When I was a little older our president told us how evil Saddam Hussein was, how his soldiers bayoneted babies in Kuwait. He told us Saddam was a threat to America. He told us we needed to invade Panama to oust a dictator to protect America. We believed. It was a lie.

      Another president told us we had to fight terrorists in Somalia, as well as bomb Iraq, to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

    • Disrupting the myth of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the age of Trump, Sanders and Clinton

      The 2016 presidential election cycle and its three prominent candidates are being held up as representing polarizing interests that are emblematic of the political, economic and cultural tensions of our time. Yet, a look back at the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt reveals some familiar tones and policy positions that capture those of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

      As president, Roosevelt is widely celebrated by American “progressives” for fathering the New Deal, which encompassed financial regulations, union rights and a number of social programs. While FDR’s extramarital affairs are well known, what is less known is his racist and anti-Semitic worldview and white supremacist loyalties, which contributed to the suffering and death of millions of the most vulnerable people.

      Many understand the New Deal as a program to save U.S. capitalism based on Keynesian interventions meant to soften its blow via social programs and collective bargaining rights, while simultaneously regulating the most volatile aspects of the banking system.

    • Greenwald: Journalists Should Not Stop Scrutinizing Clinton Just Because Trump is Unfit for Office

      Media outlets have launched massive investigations into Donald Trump’s business and tax history, as well as probes into the lives and past work of his current and former campaign managers Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort. But are these same outlets and journalists refusing to scrutinize Hillary Clinton? For more, we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    • Greenwald: “Why Did Saudi Regime & Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to Clinton Foundation?”

      Questions surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation continue to grow. On Sunday, Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile defended Clinton’s meetings as secretary of state with Clinton Foundation donors, saying, “When Republicans meet with their donors, with their supporters, their activists, they call it a meeting. When Democrats do that, they call it a conflict.” Donna Brazile’s comments come in response to an Associated Press investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with during the reporting period 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. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. His most recent piece is headlined “Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?”

    • Clinton Campaign Happily Using Strong End-To-End Encryption To Communicate; Will They Let The Rest Of Us Use It Too?

      Of course, she then did a “on the other hand” and noted the concerns of security folks. Since then, she’s called for a sort of Manhattan Project on encryption, believing that if Silicon Valley people could just nerd harder, they could make encryption that could only be broken by law enforcement. That’s not how it works. She’s also complained that Silicon Valley treats the government “as its adversary.”

      So it seems rather noteworthy that, following questions about how well she secured her own emails, combined with email leaks from the DNC and reports that the campaign itself has been hacked, the Clinton campaign has now started using Signal, the popular encrypted messaging system from Open Whisper Systems (which made the protocol that is generally considered the best around for end-to-end encrypted messaging).

    • Hillary Clinton Alleged Barack Obama Sold Access To Big Donors; Now Criticizes Campaign Finance Attacks

      In the closing stretch of the New Hampshire primary campaign, Hillary Clinton has slammed critics for pointing out that she backed public policies that helped her major campaign contributors in the financial industry. At a debate sponsored by MSNBC, she said it was out of line for her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, to “link donations to my political campaign, or really donations to anyone’s political campaign, with undue influence with changing people’s views and votes.”

      “But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to — you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought,” Clinton said. She dismissed such suggestions as a “very artful smear” of public officials that is unacceptable in American politics.

      In her previous presidential campaign, though, Clinton launched an aggressive attack on then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over campaign finance issues. She explicitly alleged that Obama traded access and legislative deals for campaign cash in a set of public attacks, one of which was criticized as deeply dishonest.

    • What Landslide? New Polling Shows Clinton and Trump Still Neck and Neck

      With just over two months to go, pundits have all but called the results of the 2016 presidential election. But despite the never-ending torrent of bigotry and obfuscation streaming from the mouth (and fingers) of the Republican candidate, new polling shows that Donald Trump is still neck and neck with rival Hillary Clinton.

      As of Monday, the USC Dornslife/LA Times tracking poll had the two candidates locked in a virtual tie, with Trump leading slightly at 44 percent and Clinton polling at 43.6 percent.

      That survey uses a slightly different method than most, asking roughly 3,000 randomly recruited voters on a regular basis about their support for Clinton, Trump, or another candidate. The poll is updated daily “based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week,” which the Times explains, “means the results have less volatility than some other polls.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech


      I got an exclusive comment on this situation from Jill Stein – “Thanks to the free and open internet, people’s eyes are being opened to how corporate-funded media outlets, including PBS, have controlled the narrative by choosing what to report and what to leave on the editing room floor.”

    • New Chinese film law to tighten censorship

      China will soon enact a new censorship law banning contents relating to preaching terrorism and mandating clearance of a film by three experts besides asking film personalities to abide by moral integrity. The draft of the law aiming to promote the development of the Chinese film industry is being reviewed by China’s legislature the National People’s Congress (NPC), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

      The draw legislation includes rules stipulating people in the film sector to abide by laws as well as social and professional ethics. The bill was submitted for a second reading NPC Standing Committee which sits from Monday to Saturday.

      NPC routinely approves proposals from the government vetted by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). According to the draft, people working in the movie industry, including actors and directors, should strive for “excellence in both professional skills and moral integrity,” and build good public images.

      Chinese film world was rocked by a series of scandals in the recent past as some actors were involved in consumption of drugs. A number of film stars including Chinese Hollywood star Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee Chan were caught in drug scandals.

    • Florida newspaper kills story of local official allegedly seeking favors from developer

      The South Florida Sun Sentinel killed a news story on its website about Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian admitting on tape that he sought developer favors in return for his vote — a move by the newspaper’s leadership that appears to be part of a pattern of censoring controversial stories, according to multiple sources inside and outside the Fort Lauderdale newsroom.

      The story concerning Julian’s alleged bribe-taking was first reported by WPLG-10, where investigative reporter Bob Norman obtained a voice message that the commissioner mistakenly left after he failed to properly hang up a phone. Julian discussed voting favorably for the $450 million Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club and linked it to alleged pledges from the developer’s attorneys who allegedly promised campaign contributions and campaign volunteers as well as a new van for his favorite city charity.

      In a second report by Norman, Julian admitted it was his voice on the recording. Diplomat representatives deny wrongdoing. But Julian didn’t sound so sure in his interview with Norman.

    • Twitter is censoring Turkish accounts for RTs and likes

      The Daily Dot has previously reported that Twitter is censoring journalists’s accounts at the request of the Turkish government. The company appears to be censoring their followers’ accounts as well for “retweeting and liking” journalists’s tweets.

      The 5th Criminal Judgeship of Peace in Ankara, a court in Turkey’s capital, ordered a ban this year on 48 Twitter accounts that “spread posts of [journalist] @kamilmaman on Twitter by retweeting and liking [his tweets].” The judge listed 23 accounts who liked and 25 accounts who retweeted Kamil Maman, a former reporter of Bugün TV.

      The station was a critical Turkish channel that was raided violently by the police in October—four days before general elections—to replace its editors with government-appointed trustees. During the scuffle, Maman was handcuffed, dragged to the street, beaten by the officers, and spent the night in police custody; other journalists who opposed the new trustees’ editorial policy were fired on the spot.

    • Here’s Zimbabwe’s Censorship Act, the law that makes viewing, making and sharing porn illegal

      Porn is illegal in Zimbabwe but in spite of this fact, it’s still being consumed regularly in different formats with one of the recent indicators being the popularity of adult websites on the list of the most viewed sites.

      Thanks to technology like the internet and the way media is easier to share, produce and consume, it’s getting harder for the authorities to enforce any regulation on what people watch and make as well so it’s not surprising that a lot of people are helping themselves to such content.

      So what does the law actually say about indecent material like porn?

      According to Zimbabwe’s Censorship and Entertainment Act (which was instituted back in 1967), it is illegal to import, print, publish, manufacture, make or produce, distribute, display, exhibit or sell or offer or keep for sale any publication anything that is deemed by the Censorhip Board to be indecent.

    • UK Gov’t Report: Facebook, Twitter, And Google Are Pretty Much Unrepentant Terrorist Supporters

      I’m pretty sure giving terrorists free rein is more “damaging” to “brands” than the current status quo. Sure, chasing terrorists off the internet is just another form of whack-a-mole, but it’s not as though these companies aren’t trying. Facebook’s policing of content tends to lean towards overzealous. Twitter just removed over 200,000 terrorist-related accounts. And as for Google, it’s busy bending over backward for everyone, from copyright holders to a few dozen misguided governments. But the internet — including terrorists — perceives censorship as damage and quickly routes around it.

      The argument can be made (and it’s a pretty good argument) that it might be more useful to have terrorists chatting on open platforms where they can easily be monitored, rather than pushing them towards “darker” communications methods. But it’s tough to reason with lawmakers who find big corporations to be the easiest targets for their displeasure.

      And, really, their complaints are nothing more than a cheap form of class warfare, one that tacitly asks millions of non-terrorist internet users to sympathize with a government seeking to gain more control over the platforms they use.

    • Chinese TV host accuses Canada tourism body of censorship
    • China Focus: Talk show host accuses Canadian Tourism Commission of censorship
    • Chinese TV host accuses Canada’s tourism body of pressuring to remove program on First Nations
    • Chinese TV Star Accuses Canadian Tourism Officials of Trying to Censor Show About First Nations
    • Talk show goes offline under alleged pressure from Canada
    • Come to Canada for the natural beauty, stay for the … propaganda?
    • Talk show host’s fury at Canada ‘censors’
    • CBFC objected an ‘offensive shot of a woman’s brasserie’ and the mention of Savita Babhi in Baar Baar Dekho
    • CBFC at it again, asks to remove bra shot, Savita Bhabhi reference from ‘Baar Baar Dekho’
    • No Bra Shot & Definitely No Savita Bhabhi In ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ Thanks To Censor Board
    • Baar Baar Dekho: Censor board snips bra shot, Savita Bhabhi from Katrina Kaif, Sidharth Malhotra film
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook’s newest app may have a huge security problem for teens

      Lifestage, Facebook’s new app aimed at teens, is a great concept that captures a bit of the energy Facebook once had as a startup. It’s got a huge privacy issue that may affect teens, though.

    • Whatsapp and Facebook data sharing: Privacy group threatens legal action over invasive new terms

      WhatsApp has been criticised by campaigners after it backtracked on a pledge to not change its privacy policy when it was bought by Facebook in 2014.

      The US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic) has claimed the social media firm has violated a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order after it announced it would begin sharing user information such as phone numbers, profile data, status message and online status with Facebook.

      Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, firms are forbidden from “unfair or deceptive trade pratices”.

    • Leaked NSA Zero Days Already Being Exploited By Whoever Thinks They Can Manipulate Them

      There are still people out there who think it’s a good idea for the government — whether it’s the FBI, NSA, or other agency — to hoover up exploits and hoard vulnerabilities. This activity is still being defended despite recent events, in which an NSA operative apparently left a hard drive full of exploits in a compromised computer. These exploits are now in the hands of the hacking group that took them… and, consequently, also in the hands of people who aren’t nearly as interested in keeping nations secure.

      The problem is you can’t possibly keep every secret a secret forever. Edward Snowden proved that in 2013. The hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers are proving it again. The secrets are out and those who wish to use exploits the NSA never disclosed to affected developers are free to wreak havoc. Lily Hay Newman of Wired examines the aftermath of the TAO tools hacking.

    • New Baltimore Aerial Surveillance Program Raises Trust Issues

      The revelations triggered outrage from elected officials, defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union, who said the program raised privacy concerns and could aggravate public distrust in a city that exploded in riots last year after the death of a man in police custody.

      “Widespread surveillance violates every citizens’ right to privacy; the lack of disclosure about this practice and the video that has been captured further violates the rights of our clients who may have evidence supporting their innocence that is kept secret,” Paul DeWolfe, the Public Defender for Maryland said in a statement earlier this week.

      The response put Baltimore, where tensions between law enforcement and minority neighborhoods run high, on the edge of the debate about police use of rapidly evolving technology.

    • Experts: FBI Not Bidding On Hacked NSA Code With Bitcoin From Silk Road Seizure

      The FBI is not bidding on stolen National Security Agency (NSA) source code with bitcoins seized from Silk Road, contrary to a widely reported allegation. That’s according to security experts interviewed by The Hill.

      The allegation emerged when a bitcoin user sent money to both an NSA source code account and the seized bitcoin account, but no money changed between the accounts, according to experts.

    • Police Using Journalists’ Metadata to Hunt Down Whistleblowers

      The Nauru Files changed everything. The Guardian’s publication of leaked incident reports from the Manus Island detention centre finally confirmed what many suspected: that the Australian government has been complicit in a campaign of abuse and brutality against those seeking asylum within its borders.

      The expose, featured on front pages around the world, has turned Australia into an international pariah, and will be a black mark on our history for years to come.

      Although it’s received less attention, the Nauru Files have changed a lot for journalists too. Their union, the Media and Arts Alliance, has warned that they’re likely to become a test case for a little known provision snuck into the Government’s Data Retention laws, the Journalist Information Warrant Scheme. The new laws allow police and other investigative bodies to seek access to the phone records, emails and browser histories of journalists in order to track down sources they suspect of leaking confidential information.

      Even before the laws passed, the union had raised concern at the Government’s willingness to use police to investigate journalists’ sources.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Tale Of Greed and Stupidity

      As the Silk Road case winds down, Ars Technica posted a great article (seriously, read it) summarizing one of the most interesting aspects of the entire case.

      It is the story of how two corrupt officers in the DEA and Secret Service attempted to use the Silk Road investigations to illegally profit from and abuse the authority entrusted to them. After reading the article above I became interested in the case and decided to read the criminal complaint filing. Within it there were lots of interesting explanations of how the investigators were tipped off on the possibility of the corrupt activity as well as how they were able to produce the necessary evidence for the case.

    • In the Beginning We All Believed: Ramparts’ Warren Hinckle Dies

      Warren Hinckle, the progressive, flamboyant, truth-telling, hard-drinking editor and writer who earned the moniker “godfather of gonzo journalism” by publicizing the likes of Noam Chomsky, Eldridge Cleaver, Susan Sontag, Hunter Thompson, Seymour Hersh and Che Guevara, has died at 77. As editor of San Francisco’s muckraking Ramparts in the 1960s, he was credited with turning the country’s moral compass by publishing early denunciations of the Vietnam War, Cleaver’s prison letters, Guevara’s diaries and investigative pieces exposing CIA recruitment on college campuses, which won Ramparts the prestigious George Polk Award and the reputation of offering “a bomb in every issue.” When Ramparts went broke, he went on to start Scanlan’s Monthly, and then to decades of activism and newspaper columns for San Francisco’s Chronicle and Examiner.

      Hinckle’s mantra for writing and editing: “First you decide what’s wrong, then you go out to find the facts to support that view, and then you generate enough controversy to attract attention.” Always, reads one obituary, Hinckle “delighted in tweaking anyone in charge of anything and muckraking for what he fiercely saw as the common good.” He was startlingly prescient about America’s “professional megabuck politics,” and the need to challenge conventional wisdom. Hinckle starts his 1974 autobiography, ‘If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade’: “In the beginning, we all believed. We believed in many things, but mostly in America…It could be said that the youth of America, who had so recently studied it in civics classes, tested the system — and it flunked.”

    • Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism

      When Martin Luther King wrote of the white moderate, he wrote of the enemy of progress, the foe of social justice, the obstacle to the defining social movement of his time. He understood, perhaps better than many of his contemporaries, that the white moderate was the single most pernicious influence in the broader sociopolitical landscape. For it was the white moderate who opposed the essential and necessary radicalism, who blocked attempts at widening the Civil Rights Movement, who enjoined that demands be tempered, grievances be blunted; all while posing as a friend of the movement, a defender of the marginalized and oppressed.

      Such was the essence of the white moderate in King’s day. Such is the essence of the white liberal today. For it is the white liberal who finds any excuse to slander and attack radical people of color who challenge the ruling class; who justifies support for white supremacy, imperialism, and neocolonialism; and who does so with the palliative opiate of self-satisfaction – the genuine, though entirely wrongheaded, belief in his/her own essential goodness.

    • “Necessary Trouble” and a Long, Hard Struggle: Talking Movements With Sarah Jaffe

      Sarah Jaffe’s Necessary Trouble is one of the most essential books of the year — an extensive, vivid overview of “trouble-making” organizers and movements from the 2008 financial crisis until, if not quite today, then the moment the book went to press. Each chapter not only covers a movement or group of campaigns, but also provides a concise but nuanced historical summary of the issues at hand.

    • Graduate Students Are Workers: The Decades-Long Fight for Graduate Unions, and the Path Forward

      In the summer of 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the five-member body which adjudicates US labor law, ruled that graduate student teaching assistants and research assistants at Brown University were “primarily students, and not workers.” The Bush-appointee-dominated board’s ruling had immediate implications for graduate students at private universities, who had won protected status under the National Labor Relations Act four years earlier, when the board had ruled in favor of graduate employees’ organizing efforts at New York University (NYU).

      The NYU administration, freed by the Brown University ruling from its obligation to negotiate a second contract with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC), the first, and to this day, only union to win recognition at a private university (and twice, at that), elected to use the NLRB to break the union. In an attempt to force the recalcitrant administrators back to the bargaining table, NYU’s graduate employees went on strike on November 9, 2005, and remained on strike well into May of the following year. It was, and remains, the longest strike in the history of the US academic labor movement.

    • 5 Ways Growing Up Female In Saudi Arabia Is A Nightmare

      Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia law, which is a set of Islamic rules that pretty much boil down to banning anything that stimulates in any way. Adam elaborates:

      “Everybody knows about beer, pork, and porn, but it also extends to congregating in large groups (more than five, I think) and the playing of music in public. Also, I think Jeddah [a popular Saudi resort town] has recently forbidden the walking of dogs in public, because they may be used to attract the ladies.”


      Censorship also infiltrates the physical realm: “On occasion, I used to buy PC Gamer magazine, and all the computer-generated women had their arms, legs, and exposed cleavage colored in with black permanent marker. (Very precisely outlined, though. The censors were very fastidious in executing their jobs.) And since Islam prohibits the depiction of the human form, many people you’d see on billboards would have pixelated eyes.” (Or sport sunglasses, making all of Saudi Arabia look like it was sponsored by Ray-Ban.)

    • Women Bare Breasts for Gender Equality on GoTopless Day

      Women around the country are taking off their tops on GoTopless Day, a day that promotes gender equality and women’s rights to bare their breasts in public.

      GoTopless Day is celebrated annually on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, marking the day American women earned the right to vote.

      A group of about 50 women and men were walking topless in the oceanside Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice, behind a giant, inflatable pink breast that had the phrase “equal topless rights” written on it. One marcher carried a sign that said: “My Body Is Not A Crime.”

      A few dozen women, and some men, went topless as they walked down Broadway in New York City. Onlookers gawked and took photos as the parade participants went by.

      The events in New York City and Los Angeles were two of several planned for cities across the globe. Gatherings were planned in New Hampshire, Denver and more.

    • French Court lifts Municipal Burkini Ban; & Why should you care what other people wear?

      Nicolas Cadène, in an interview at L’Express analyzes the French court ruling issued Friday that struck down the ban by the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet on Muslim women wearing modest clothing at the public beach. The ban was on the burkini, invented by a Lebanese fashion designer to allow observant Muslim women to go to the beach with their families. But women wearing loose street clothes at the beach have also been bothered by police.

      Cadène is a rapporteur at the “Secularism Watchdog” (l’Observatoire de la laïcité), a Ministry of Education body that advises the French government on the implementation of the secularism provisions of the French constitution.

      The Counsel of State found that wearing a Burkini creates no trouble for public order and is simply not illegal in current French law. In response, the French right wing has demanded that the National Assembly enact anti-Burkini legislation. L’Express worries that the French executive, or at least the ministry of interior, might be inclined to appease the Islamophobic and anti-immigrant right wing on this issue.

      L’Express asked Cadène for his reaction. He said he wasn’t surprised and was very pleased that the court had upheld rights in such a clear way. He said that the court had reaffirmed the principle that secularism cannot be invoked to forbid wearing a piece of clothing in a public space, which creates no actual difficulty with regard to public order. And they found that the Burkini doesn’t generate any such disturbances.

    • KING: Why I’ll never stand again for ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

      Now that I have learned the truth about our national anthem and its author, I’ll never stand up for it again.

      First off, the song, which was originally written as a poem, didn’t become our national anthem until 1931 — which was 117 years after Key wrote it. Most of us have no true idea what in the hell we’ve been hearing or singing all these years, but as it turns out, Key’s full poem actually has a third stanza which few of us have ever heard. In it, he openly celebrates the murder of slaves. Yes, really.


      While it has always been known that the song was written during American slavery and that when those words about this nation being the “land of the free” didn’t apply to the millions who had been held in bondage, few of us had any idea that the song itself was rooted in the celebration of slavery and the murder of Africans in America, who were being hired by the British military to give them strength not only in the War of 1812, but in the Battle of Fort McHenry of 1814. These black men were called the Corps of Colonial Marines and they served valiantly for the British military. Key despised them. He was glad to see them experience terror and death in war — to the point that he wrote a poem about it. That poem is now our national anthem.


      I will never stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” another day in my damn life. I don’t care where I am or who’s watching. The statue of the racist Cecil Rhodes, which stood tall in South Africa as a painful relic from white supremacists until March of 2015, was finally removed once and for all. It should’ve never been erected. It should’ve been removed a very long time ago, student leaders made it clear that they had had enough.

      Like Kaepernick, I’ve had enough of injustice in America and I’ve had enough of anthems written by bigots. Colin Kaepernick has provided a spark.

    • Halfway to freedom with Stanley Cohen

      On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the business of privately-run halfway houses with civil rights attorney Stanley Cohen. After 11-months in prison for a federal tax violation, Cohen spent three months in a New York halfway house operated by the GEO Group. He reflects on what he calls the “vile” conditions and profit-driven approach at such facilities. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the world of the for-profit halfway houses located in most major US cities.

    • Democracy, neoliberalism and talking to strangers: a kid on a local bus

      In the act of going out from an excluding individualism, breaking the idea that everyone can improve their life conditions on their own, there is a big step. Español

    • What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?

      One might ask. After the too much excitement, fancy celebrations, and multibillion dollar gathering, what is next? What benefits did it bring to humanity?

      What did the poor get out of the abundant wealth that was spent for these games?

      It is sad to say that not only the poor didn’t get anything; some of them have lost their livelihoods and places of living altogether for the construction of the arenas.

      In her article The Olympics Are a Colossal Waste and a Shameful Distraction Sonali Kolhatkar stated, “The poorest sectors of society within the host countries experience displacement and other forms of oppression as authorities work hard to impress visiting athletes and spectators.”

      In Brazil, the first South American country to serve as the international showcase, this was certainly true; more than 20,000 families were displaced to make way for Olympics-related infrastructure. In fact, the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the games are being held, is in such desperate financial circumstances that state workers are not being paid and healthcare centers cannot even afford to take on the Zika virus crisis. Rio declared bankruptcy ahead of the games, and the state’s governor declared a “state of calamity.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why Tim Berners-Lee is no friend of Facebook

      I f there were a Nobel prize for hypocrisy, then its first recipient ought to be Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook boss. On 23 August, all his 1.7 billion users were greeted by this message: “Celebrating 25 years of connecting people. The web opened up to the world 25 years ago today! We thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee and other internet pioneers for making the world more open and connected.”

      Aw, isn’t that nice? From one “pioneer” to another. What a pity, then, that it is a combination of bullshit and hypocrisy. In relation to the former, the guy who invented the web, Tim Berners-Lee, is as mystified by this “anniversary” as everyone else. “Who on earth made up 23 August?” he asked on Twitter. Good question. In fact, as the Guardian pointed out: “If Facebook had asked Berners-Lee, he’d probably have told them what he’s been telling people for years: the web’s 25th birthday already happened, two years ago.”

      “In 1989, I delivered a proposal to Cern for the system that went on to become the worldwide web,” he wrote in 2014. It was that year, not this one, that he said we should celebrate as the web’s 25th birthday.

      It’s not the inaccuracy that grates, however, but the hypocrisy. Zuckerberg thanks Berners-Lee for “making the world more open and connected”. So do I. What Zuck conveniently omits to mention, though, is that he is embarked upon a commercial project whose sole aim is to make the world more “connected” but less open. Facebook is what we used to call a “walled garden” and now call a silo: a controlled space in which people are allowed to do things that will amuse them while enabling Facebook to monetise their data trails. One network to rule them all. If you wanted a vision of the opposite of the open web, then Facebook is it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Human Resources: All Is Harmony, Secretariat Says [Ed: like EPO under Battistelli they abuse workers]

      Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

    • New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee [Ed: There’s no oversight there]

      The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.

    • Copyrights

      • Head Of Anti-Counterfeiting Lobbying Group Says He’s Going To Make Counterfeit Techdirt T-Shirts

        Yes, yes, he’s obviously just being snarky and thinking he’s making a point, but it still seems odd for someone who insists he’s against counterfeiting to basically say he’s planning to counterfeit our shirt. At the very least, it actually gives us a platform to make our point: if he really wants to do so, he can absolutely go and make those cheap $5 shirts. But they won’t sell. Why? This is the whole point we’ve been trying to make all this time. The reason people buy shirts from us is because (1) they like the shirts and (2) they want to support Techdirt. Somehow, I get the feeling that the community that John Anderson has built up around his Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group aren’t exactly the kind of people who would jump at an offer to buy “Copying is Not Theft” T-shirts, even if they are 25% the price of our T-shirts.

        This is the point that so many fail to get when they freak out about people copying. If you’ve built up a community of people who want to support you and people who like and are interested in what you do, there’s nothing to fear from copying. It’s only when you don’t have that kind of support, or when you’re trying to force something on people that they don’t want that you suddenly have to worry about copying.

      • Leaked EU Copyright Proposal A Complete Mess: Want To Tax Google To Prop Up Failing Publishers

        Well, here we go again with the bad EU copyright proposals. Just a few days ago, Mozilla actually launched a petition to call on the EU to update its copyright laws for the 21st century, to make it “so we can tinker, create, share, and learn on the internet.” Apparently the EU’s answer to this is “Fuck You!”

        According to a leaked draft of the EU Commission’s plan to “modernize” copyright, the plan really seems focused on coming up with new ways to tax successful internet companies, like Google, to prop up other companies and industries that have failed to adapt. Apparently, the EU Commission thinks that copyright should be a tool to punish innovation and to reward those who have refused to innovate.

        The leaked draft talks repeatedly about this silly idea of a “value gap.” Just a few weeks ago we discussed why the “value gap” is a misleading talking point. It’s being used by companies that didn’t innovate to try to guarantee a business model, with that model being “have the government force successful companies to subsidize us, because we didn’t adapt to the current market.” And this draft is full of that kind of thinking.

        The draft also continues to weigh “the impact” of various proposals on different stake holders. For example, it notes whether different proposals will have a “positive, neutral, or negative” impact on rightsholders, internet services, consumers and “fundamental rights.” While it’s nice that they include the “fundamental rights” (and the public — who, it should be noted, are more than just “consumers”) it feels like they’re trying to set up proposals again that are sort of “balancing” all of these interests, rather than finding the one that maximizes overall utility. In fact, it’s quite troubling that they seem to think that anything that directly expands copyright automatically benefits “rightsholders.” We’ve seen how that’s not true at all. Greater freedom to remix, reuse and build on the works of others allow everyday people to become creators themselves more easily. And saddling internet platforms also harms many, many content creators who are only able to create, publicize, distribute, connect and monetize because of these new platforms. But the draft doesn’t seem to take much of that into account — or sort of hand-waves it away.

      • Prepare for the next EU copyright war

        The EU is to update the unions copyright laws. The first step was a public consultation, with a lot of input from so-called stakeholders, civil society, and ordinary citizens. The next step is to make an “impact assessment”.

      • Running a Torrent Tracker For Fun Can Be a Headache

        In January 2016, a BitTorrent enthusiast thought he’d launch a stand-alone tracker for fun. Soon, Zer0day.ch was tracking thousands of torrents after being utilized by The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent. Now it’s tracking almost four million peers and a million torrents, but the ride has been far from smooth.

      • Kim Dotcom Claims Revived Megaupload Will Run On Bitcoin Micropayments

        The controversial entrepreneur Kim Dotcom said last month that he was preparing to relaunch Megaupload, the file-sharing site that U.S. and New Zealand authorities dramatically shut down in 2012, with bitcoins being involved in some way.

        Now we know more. Dotcom, a German-Finnish man living in New Zealand and currently fighting extradition to the U.S. over copyright-infringement charges, tweeted Friday that the transfers taking place over Megaupload would be linked to very small bitcoin transactions.

        This system will be called Bitcache and Dotcom claimed its launch would send the bitcoin price soaring way above its current $575 value.

      • EU copyright reform proposes search engines pay for snippets

        The European Commission is currently working on major updates to existing copyright legislation, to reform copyright law to reflect digital content. One feature of this reform would allow media outlets to request payment from search engines, such as Google, for publishing snippets of their content in search results.

        The working paper recommends the introduction of an EU law that covers the rights to digital reproduction of news publications. This would essentially make news publishers a new category of rights holders under copyright law, thereby ensuring that “the creative and economic contribution of news publishers is recognized and incentivized in EU law, as it is today the case for other creative sectors.”

        Media outlets rely on Google and other search engines to boost traffic to their sites, while at the same time competing with them for advertising dollars. The updated copyright proposal would allow media outlets at their discretion to charge Google for publishing snippets of articles with the results of a user’s search request.

        The shift from print to digital consumption of newspaper and magazine content has created what is termed a ‘value gap’ – while a provider’s digital content is gaining popularity, revenues from digital content are not making up for the loss of print revenues.

Let Them Eat Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…as if anyone with an idea/invention can afford them.

Let Them Eat Cake
Reference: Let Them Eat Cake

Summary: A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings

THE USPTO is cracking down on software patents. Like TTIP lobbyists, patent lawyers will never publicly admit this. It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).

Proponents of software patents seemingly resort to unrelated cases now, such as this patent. It’s about Mayo, not Alice, as it is not a software patent. The patent attorney writes “US Pat 8,586,610, administration of iloperidone; Survived 101/ Mayo Attack,” once again reusing these loaded words (like “attack” and “survive”, even when the “survivor” is the patent aggressor/plaintiff and the “attacker” is actually the defender/victim). Nice reversal of narrative, right? Like George Bush “defending” himself in Iraq and Ukraine “attacking” Russia…

“It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).”Elsewhere in today’s news, we learn that “Prescient has received 13 patents on its software,” but software patents are pretty worthless right now. They just get invalided in the courts and the boards (and these are the ones whose holders actually believe have a chance, hence asserting them; the rest — or the untested patents — are likely easier to invalidate once scrutinised/challenged).

A pro-software patents site, Watchtroll, yesterday published this piece by Anthony de Andrade and Venkatesh Viswanath. It’s quite a shot in the foot actually as it serves to legitimise the site’s idealogical opponents. It shows that ‘global’ patents (applied for separately in several jurisdictions) is not for startups but for the richest people (or huge corporations). To get a patent virtually everywhere in the world (where it techncially matters) “an applicant would require $296,233 to file National Phase applications in said jurisdictions and maintain the applications” (renewal fees).

$296,233, eh?

“So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?”For one. Single. Patent!

So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?

This reminds us of Apple’s patents in the EPO — patents which Battistelli is totally clueless about. Remember that Apple is possibly the world’s richest company (by many criteria that are commonly assessed by major publications) and watch what it’s applying for now: “Apple filed for patent on unauthorized user biometric data collection system (AppleInsider) — If an “unauthorized user” (read: thief) uses an iPhone equipped with this technology, the device could capture a photo and fingerprint of the user for use by law enforcement. Not exactly rocket science to understand how this might be used by law enforcement remotely to assure a particular contact (read: target) is in possession of an iPhone, either. Keep an eye on this stuff.”

The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime. To quote AppleInsider: “An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes a method of storing an unauthorized user’s biometric information, which can help strengthen security management or assist in device recovery and criminal prosecution in the case of a theft.”

“The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime.”“Even as Apple contemplates surveillance software to catch thieves’ fingerprints,” IDG wrote, “it is also reportedly planning to redesign the physical elements of its devices that would make that approach possible.”

As usual, being an Apple story, it was all over the news (we saw more than dozens — perhaps hundreds — of articles, e.g. [1, 2]) and it was all praises and cheerleading, hardly criticism, just like that time Apple patented remote disablement of a phone’s camera (a ‘gentler’ form of kill switch that already exists).

“Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple.”It takes sheer disregard for privacy and human rights to do what Apple expresses a desire to do here. It’s not at all innovation, just a lot of hype. If Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple. Apple is suing companies (using patents) for billions. What about the mythical ‘little guy’? The patent system just isn’t for the ‘little guy’. Maybe it was a long time ago, but not anymore. See these comments in Reddit, one of which says about patent examiners: “They probably spend a lot more time digging themselves out from under the mountain of Apple / Samsung forms.”

This is, in essence, what the patent systems have turned into. To quote a comment that we mentioned yesterday (regarding the EPO), “Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”

Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It’s Just Summer’s Recess (and Silence)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Prepare for some EPO propaganda about staff being happy, even when the Organisation admits there is a crisis and the President has a 0% approval rate


Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat

THIS week, while on retreat in Wales, I intend to dive into hundreds of EPO documents. There is a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ in there (plenty of documents), but now isn’t the best time to write about them because not many people — both staff and journalists — will pay attention (many are still on holiday). Don’t let the silence be mistaken for pacification. We expect that Battistelli will misinterpret this silence and predict it won’t take long for the "Social Study" propaganda to come out (they have renamed it and expect to release it in several weeks, surely with journalists to be contacted to play along and spread/embed the EPO's lies).

“It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about?”There’s a similar/analogous situation at WIPO. IP Watch is playing along with WIPO’s PR/face-saving statements [1,2] (see below) today, whereas the EPO keeps rather quiet. In some promotional press releases, low quality control for EPO patents gets ignored and companies brag about intent to grant at the EPO. It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about? How long before the “Battistelli effect” is understood by all applicants?

For the first time in quite a while SUEPO published something today (not just a link). The workers are coming back (those who have not left or retired). “The London-based lawyers, Bretton Woods Law, specialise in the Rule of Law, International Human Rights law and International Administrative Law,” SUEPO explained this morning, sporting two PDFs that we made public a few months ago (these got leaked to us). “At the request of SUEPO, Bretton Woods Law produced a legal opinion concerning the actions of the President of the EPO, and the responsibility of the Administrative Council as well as the Member States of the EPO with respect to staff,” SUEPO continued. “In an Annex to the above document a number of the reforms are considered in the light of basic legal and democratic standards in Europe.”

“Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage.”One document is 22 pages long and the latter is 25 pages long. That’s a lot to read. But these are both well written and structured.

The EPO has not had any announcements for a while (other than the earthquake — Italy’s, not Battistelli'sgetting exploited). Universities are still 'spammed' by the EPO (new examples in [1, 2], even repeatedly today) and sometimes this pushing truly works, as it comes not only from the EPO to all Twitter ‘followers’. It’s promotion of Battistelli's next lobbying event (if he survives this long at the EPO).

Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage. Nothing at all has improved (for many months). In fact, things got worse. Those who wish to send us information can do so securely using anonymity-preserving methods of choice.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. WIPO Human Resources: All Is Harmony, Secretariat Says

    Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

  2. New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee

    The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.

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