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09.11.16

Links 11/9/2016: Chakra GNU/Linux Refresh, Wine Staging 1.9.18

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 3.14 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Move to Linux 4.4 LTS

      We reported the other day that the long-term supported Linux 3.14 kernel branch is about to reach end of its life, and that one more maintenance version will be released in the next couple of weeks.

    • Allwinner A33 DRM Support Coming In Linux 4.9

      Maxime Ripard of Free Electrons has sent in the Allwinner DRM driver pull request that will ultimately land for the Linux 4.9 kernel merge window.

      New to report on for the young Allwinner DRM driver is support in the sub4i-drm code for the Allwinner A33 SoC. Aside from the Allwinner A33 SoC, there are various other bug fixes and updates.

  • Applications

    • Dstat – Versatile resource statistics tool for Linux

      Dstat – versatile tool for generating system resource statistics & replacement for vmstat, iostat, netstat and ifstat. Dstat is another handy tool for monitoring systems during performance tuning tests, benchmarks or troubleshooting. It overcomes some of other tools limitations and adds some extra features, more counters and flexibility.

      I really impressed by dstat utility when analyzing the tool to prepare the article. I excited then i dig into deep on dstat utility usage, wow! awesome features which i didn’t find any performance monitoring tools.

      You can monitor additionally MySQL database activity, batter percentage info for laptop, number of dbus connections, fan speed, nfs utility, postfix, system temperature sensors, power usage, etc,., more & more. I personally advise every administrator to give a try, which will help you to improve the troubleshooting skill a lot.

    • PostfixAdmin 3.0

      I just released the long awaited PostfixAdmin 3.0.

    • Samba 4.5 Is a Massive Release That Improves Security, Adds Many New Features

      Samba 4.5 has been released and it is the latest, newest stable branch of the widely-used, free, cross-platform, and open-source software project that re-implements the SMB/CIFS networking protocol on UNIX-like platforms.

      Samba is being used by default in numerous, if not all GNU/Linux operating systems, as well as on Apple’s macOS, to allow users to access network shares from other computers that run Microsoft Windows, and interact with them to exchange any file format that exists today.

    • The new v40 TrueType interpreter mode

      FreeType 2.7 ships the new v40 TrueType instructions interpreter version enabled by default. It finally brings DirectWrite/ClearType-like rendering to the screen, or ‘subpixel hinting’ as some FreeType code calls it. Actually, there is no subpixel hinting.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Release 1.9.18

        The Wine Staging release 1.9.18 is now available.

      • Wine-Staging Adds 1D Textures For D3D10/D3D11

        There is finally a new Wine-Staging version with release notes to talk about for this more-experimental version of Wine.

      • Wine Staging 1.9.18 Adds Experimental Support for 1D Textures in D3D10 and D3D11

        After being away since June, the Wine Staging development team is back to announce the new features incorporated in the latest version of the open-source software that let’s users run Windows apps and games on their Linux boxes, Wine Staging 1.9.18.

        Based on the recently released Wine 1.9.18, Wine Staging 1.9.18 is here to bring you all the neat features and improvements implemented in the respective development version of Wine, such as the ability to support multiple kernel drivers in only one process, improvements to the WebServices reader, and better joystick support.

    • Games

      • Ioquake3 Is Finally Moving To Its New OpenGL Renderer By Default

        The ioquake3 open-source game engine project that’s built around the Quake III: Arena code-base is finally moving to its new renderer by default and abandoning the original 17-year-old renderer.

        Beginning next month they will be defaulting new ioquake3 installs to using their “OpenGL 2″ renderer and in November will disable the original renderer for all ioquake3 installations.

      • Agricola spinoff and Patchwork pass Greenlight, heading to Linux

        Two more digital incarnations of designer Uwe Rosenberg’s hit 2-player board games are coming to Linux on Steam, as they’ve both now passed their Greenlight campaigns!

        Yes, they are mobile ports, just as Le Havre: The Inland Port is, but that doesn’t mean they’re of poor quality. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I’ve played all three on Android (and the Le Havre spinoff additionally on Linux), and they’re all fantastic and well-polished implementations. DIGIDICED is a team of only 4 developers, but they’re really doing a great job with the licenses. They’ve even shown evidence of acting on user feedback with Le Havre, so I feel confident in recommending them to my fellow Linux gamers.

      • Wargame: European Escalation works once again for Nvidia users, two years after breaking

        It seems Wargame: European Escalation was broken for nearly two years (see this forum post) for Nvidia GPU users on Linux.

      • Curvatron, a simple yet interesting evolution of the old game ‘Snake’, we have free keys for you

        Curvatron has recently been released on Linux and the developer sent in a bunch of keys for you lucky people. The game itself is inspired by the old game ‘Snake’ that was on rather old Nokia mobile phones.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.7.4 and several important package updates available in Chakra

        The latest update for KDE’s Plasma series is now available to all Chakra users, together with other important package updates mostly for the core repository.

        Plasma 5.7.4 includes a month’s worth of bugfixes and new translations, with the changes mostly found in the plasma desktop and workspace packages.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Gets LibreOffice 5.2.1 and KDE Plasma 5.7.4, Vulkan API Support
      • KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS Desktop to Offer a More Efficient Pager, Per-Screen Pagers

        KDE developer Eike Hein reports on various improvements to pagers that will be implemented in the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment, due for release on October 4, 2016.

        We reported a couple of months ago that the next major version of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, build 5.8, will be a long-term supported one. KDE Plasma 5.8 will also be the first LTS (Long Term Support) version of the renowned desktop interface used in numerous GNU/Linux operating systems by default.

      • QtCon + Akademy 2016

        This year Akademy take place along with QtCon in Berlin, Germany. It is a year of great celebration for some free software communities, so they decided to get together to celebrate in a single event. KDE is celebrating 20 years, while VideoLAN and FSFE are celebrating 15 years. It was a historic moment and I could not miss it, so I went to Berlin for the second time (the first was to attend the Desktop Summit 2011).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • A Detailed Review On Elementary OS 0.4 Loki

        It’s also worth to mention that the distribution is almost empty; No many default applications are already installed, for example even LibreOffice isn’t installed so you can’t manage your documents or open them, you almost only have the elementary OS applications, Files, Photos, Videos.. But nothing else, and this is not a very good deal comparing it to a size of 1.4GB for the ISO file. You will need to do a lot of downloading after you install the system on your hard drive.

    • New Releases

      • Linux From Scratch and BLFS 7.10 Books Released to Support GCC 6.2.0, Glibc 2.24

        Bruce Dubbs from the Linux From Scratch (LFS) and Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) projects, which let users build their own Linux-based operating systems from scratch, proudly announced the release of LFS 7.10 and BLFS 7.10.

      • 4MLinux 20.0 Distribution to Be the First to Run on UEFI PCs, Core Beta Out Now

        Today, September 11, 2016, 4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of the Beta release of the Core Edition of his upcoming 4MLinux 20.0 GNU/Linux operating system.

        Still powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel series, 4MLinux 20.0 is now in development, and it looks like it incorporates the Glibc (GNU C Library) 2.23 and BusyBox 1.25.0 core components, along with GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 6.1.0 for compiling the programs included in the final release of the GNU/Linux distribution.

      • Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 Alpha 2 Release and August Donation Totals

        The feedback from our first alpha release has reported the Moksha desktop on the 16.04 base is as stable as ever, so the only reason this remains with a pre-release tag is due to some rough edges in terms of polish. There are some minor issues with the default theme under our new 16.04 base and I am still looking to make time to compile a non-PAE kernel image and create a separate disc image for that.

      • Bodhi 4.0 Linux OS Gets a Second Alpha Build, Remains Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Bodhi Linux developer Jeff Hoogland is pleased to announce on September 11, 2016, the release and immediate availability of the second Alpha development snapshot of his upcoming Bodhi 4.0.0 GNU/Linux distribution.

        Bodhi 4.0.0 Alpha 2 remains based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, and it looks like it brings an up-to-date Bodhi Builder tool that the developer uses to build his Ubuntu derivative. Moreover, the latest security and software versions pushed upstream in the Xenial repos have also been imported in the Bodhi 4.0.0 distribution, which uses the most stable release of the Moksha desktop environment.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • debhelper 10 is now available

        Today, debhelper 10 was uploaded to unstable and is coming to a mirror near you “really soon now”. The actual changes between version “9.20160814” and version “10” are rather modest. However, it does mark the completion of debhelper compat 10, which has been under way since early 2012.

      • Unseen changes to lintian.d.o

        We have been making a lot of minor changes to lintian.d.o and the underlying report framework. Most of them were hardly noticeable to the naked. In fact, I probably would not have spotted any of them, if I had not been involved in writing them. Nonetheless, I felt like sharing them, so here goes.

      • Derivatives

        • It Looks Like Descent OS 5.0 Linux Will Be Based on Debian After All, Not Ubuntu

          After deciding to switch base one more time and move to Ubuntu, again, Descent OS Linux developer Brian Manderville announced at the beginning of the year first Alpha release of his upcoming Descent OS 5.0 GNU/Linux operating system.

          It took the developer two years to bring us an Alpha build of its Ubuntu MATE-based Descent OS 5.0 distribution, and we haven’t heard anything from him in the meantime. No Beta, not another Alpha build has been released since the February announcement of Descent OS 5.0 Alpha, which was based on Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Launcher List Indicator Update Adds PPA, New Workspaces Features

            Did you find the Launcher List Indicator we wrote about recently useful? If so, you’ll want to check in with the latest version that’s available.

            Why?

            Well, a number of you said how more useful this applet would be if the launcher lists changed depending on which workspace you use.

            Well, this applet now supports exactly that!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Download Linux Mint 18 KDE Edition

              The KDE Edition of Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” was officially released recently at Friday, 9 September 2016. You can download the ISO files from these links.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Women & Free Software projects

    To many women, a large social group of men they are supposed to join may be intimidating – the same could probably be said of any men joining a large social group primarily populated of women. But when what looks intimidating reveals itself as being actually oppressing , that is the moment we have a true problem. Male developers shunning, criticizing, belittling and offending female developers because they are females, even when not necessarily expressed in an explicit way, is purely not acceptable. It is neither on the most basic moral grounds nor in the letter and spirit of the Free Software movement. The Internet, unfortunately, reveals protracted bullies, the kind of people who would probably not have the guts to ask the targeted woman out, or even not dare look at a female developer in the eyes and tell her what he would be able to write from the comfort of his own keyboard, miles away from her.

  • RoundCube-Next Is Woefully Behind Schedule

    After raising more than $103,000 USD last year via crowd-funding the RoundCube-Next web-based email client doesn’t really appear to be going anywhere.

    A massive crowdfunding campaign was launched in early 2015 to make RoundCube-Next a reality where they raised $103,541 of their original $80k goal. RoundCube-Next is/was supposed to be completely redesigned, offer integrated chat functionality, support video conferencing with WebRTC, integrate cloud file access, and offer a new and quite nice looking responsive UI.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Some notes on programming languages and web development

      Even before I begin, I must state that I’m not a web developer. I’ve never been one, and I have no intention to turn into one either. It isn’t that I don’t like developing web applications. On the contrary, I find the topic incredibly interesting. It’s just that everything I need has pretty much already been developed by web developers, so I’ve never had to write an app myself. Add to that my lack of interest in pursuing a career the software development industry – I prefer my research – the implications are that I will always prioritise research related development.

      Take this blog, for example. It once used to be a WordPress deployment, but I eventually got fed up with it bleeding the resources of my shared hosting space and moved to a static site. I didn’t even bother learning a new language like Ruby to use Jekyll. I found something that was written in Python, a language that I know pretty well – Pelican – which works really well. So, really, for my web requirements, I tend to pick the path of least effort.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is there a ‘club culture’ at the heart of the NHS’s quality regulator?

      A look at the Care Quality Commission’s choice of inspection chairs and overall processes reveals a predominantly white, male, corporate culture that risks letting down patients and staff.

    • U.S. Healthcare System Culls the Wheat from the Working Class Chaff

      Americans are an oddly and beautifully diverse lot, but the healthcare industry has us all figured out. For decades now, maintaining control over American lives and any vestige of the American dream has become increasingly the purview of big business. And no one relishes and maintains more direct control over the health and safety of every American life than the healthcare industry.

      No terrorist group is stronger or more threatening. No political candidate is more menacing – not even Donald Trump. Standing ever at the ready to pass judgement on the value or lack thereof of your life, my life, and every American life stands the health care industry and its stockholders. Until we recognize the depth of the internal threat from the collusion that drives the medical-financial-industrial-complex (the MFIC), we won’t change this system to one that truly values health and life over profits.

      The MFIC includes all the obvious suspects – the for-profit health insurance industry, big Pharma, medical device manufacturers, the giant hospitals and providers’ groups, and the collection agencies and financiers who keep the flow flowing. I have to add to that group all stockholders in these corporations who cannot reasonably assert any deniability about profiting personally from the pain of others. If you own stock in one of these areas, you are supporting the slow, sure genocide of those Americans deemed expendable by the healthcare system.

    • Brexit camp abandons £350m-a-week NHS funding pledge

      Leaders of the cross-party campaign that persuaded the British people to leave the EU have dropped their pre-referendum pledge of a £350m-a-week spending bonanza for the NHS.

      Many of those who headed the Vote Leave campaign, including its former chair, Labour MP Gisela Stuart, and Michael Gove, the Tory former justice secretary, are re-forming this weekend, creating a new pressure group called Change Britain.

      Other top names involved in the organisation, which says it is being established to help “deliver the UK’s referendum result in the most effective way”, include former chancellor Nigel (Lord) Lawson, Digby Jones, former head of the CBI, and David (Lord) Owen, the former Labour foreign secretary.

      But despite the NHS pledge having been at the heart of their message in the run-up to the 23 June vote, and displayed on the official Vote Leave battlebus, the Change Britain website made no mention of the NHS in its manifesto about how to make a success of Brexit.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • What You Really Should #NeverForget on 9/11

      Happy 9/11 Day, our fifteenth anniversary together. If it was a child, she’d be almost ready to drive. They do grow up so fast, don’t they?

      We’re instituted full background checks, body scanners and cavity searches at my home for all guests and pets (can’t be too careful!), which keeps me pretty busy, so this will be a short post. Because they hate our freedoms, we’ve taken them away for safekeeping.

    • What Was the Saudi Involvement in the 9/11 Attacks?

      To this day, there is no clarity about the role of the Saudi Arabian government or individual Saudis with close ties to the government in the 9/11 attacks. We know that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. We know that the bin Laden family had close ties to the family of George W. Bush. We know that right after the attack, wealthy Saudis living in the United States frantically contacted the Saudi Embassy in Washington asking to leave because they feared a backlash. Just days after the attack, some 140 Saudis, including about two dozen members of the bin Laden family, were mysteriously spirited out of the country with little questioning by the FBI.

      [...]

      Members of Congress were allowed to read the 28 pages in a secure, soundproof facility in the basement of the Capitol, but they were not allowed to take notes, bring any staff, or talk about the content. After reading the 28 pages, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky said, “They’re the most consequential pages in the 1,000-page report.” Massie said the section was “shocking” and he had to “stop every couple pages and try to rearrange my understanding of history.”

      Former Sen. Bob Graham, who chaired the investigation, fought hard to get the section released. “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” said Graham. He suggested that the Bush and Obama administrations refused to release the information for fear of alienating an influential military and economic partner.

    • US and Russia plan Joint Air Command to hit Terrorists in Syria

      Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced an agreement on a Syria plan between the US and Russia late on Friday, which they said the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad had agreed to.

    • Photo of the Week: A Tense Look Between President Obama and Vladimir Putin
    • Who, apart from its people, wants peace in Yemen?

      Following the collapse on August 6 of the Kuwait negotiations between Hadi’s internationally recognised government in exile on the one hand and the Huthi-Saleh alliance on the other, diplomatic activity to bring the war to an end has notably increased, particularly on the part of the external actors. How serious are their efforts? Will they achieve anything? Meanwhile the living conditions for Yemenis continue to deteriorate.

    • How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the War on Terror

      The “War on Terror,” which former President George W. Bush officially launched in late-September 2001, and which President Obama officially rebranded as “The Series of Persistent Targeted Efforts to Dismantle Specific Networks of Violent Extremists That Threaten America” in May 2013, has, at this point (i.e. fifteen years into it), become our official consensus reality … or in other words, “just the way things are.” An entire generation has come of age during the “National State of Emergency With Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks,” which President Obama recently extended. For most of this unfortunate generation (which some are calling “Generation Homeland”), the sight of soldiers in body armor, rifles held in the sling-ready position, patrolling the streets of their towns or cities, the absurd “security procedures” at the airport, the hysteria pumped out by the mainstream media, the sanctimonious memorialization of anything even remotely connected to the “Certain Terrorist Attacks” in question, and all the rest of it, is entirely normal, the way their world has always been.

      Of course, this is also the first generation for whom the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 are nothing but hazy childhood memories, or historical events they learned about in school, or on television, or the Internet. Odds are, what they learned about them was that “America” was attacked that day by a group of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, for no apparent logical reason, other than that “they hate our freedom.” Chances are they also learned that the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombing and destabilizing of numerous other countries (i.e. Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and any others I’ve forgotten to mention), the indefinite detentions, the assassinations, the torture, the illegal mass surveillance, the militarization of society generally, and all the other familiar features of the “state of emergency” that has been in effect for as long as anyone their age can remember … that all of this has something to do with “protecting Americans” or “America’s interests.”

      My heart goes out to this generation … or at least to all those in their early twenties who have been bombarded with this official narrative since more or less the day they were born and yet somehow have managed to maintain their sanity (and who continue to struggle on a daily basis to recognize, analyze, deconstruct, and otherwise fend off the relentless barrage of ideological bullshit aimed at their heads). Resisting the force of the official narrative is exhausting, and usually unrewarding, at least in professional and financial terms (unless, of course, one enjoys being marginalized). It’s so much easier to do like the king in The Parable of the King and the Poisoned Well, drink the Kool-Aid, and embrace the madness. Never mind that the official narrative doesn’t actually make much sense, or have anything to do with … well … history … or facts, or other stuff like that.

    • ‘Newspeak’, the U.S. and Palestine

      Let’s see how ‘Newspeak’ has been utilized in describing the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

      Rarely a day goes by that some Israeli politician isn’t screaming about an existential threat to that rogue nation. The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, which includes churches, labor unions and universities voting to divest from Israeli holdings; scholars refusing to take part in academic projects with Israel, and entertainers refusing to perform there, along with the ‘rank and file’ boycotting Israeli products, is decried as an ‘existential threat’. Criticism by any nation of illegal settlements is seen as an ‘existential threat’. Palestinian resistance, that of a poorly armed, starved, occupied and blockaded population, is seen as an existential threat. The list is really endless.

      The United States government, of course, owned by the Israeli lobby AIPAC (Apartheid Israel Political Affairs Committee), buys right into this, with billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money going to Israel, and laws being passed in various states banning the boycotting of Israel. How any elected official thinks such a law will ever stand up to a court challenge, and how they think such a law can be enforced, is beyond the understanding of this writer. But they all agree that these and other criticisms of Israel threaten the very existence of that country.

      Now, it must be remembered that Palestine has no army, navy or air force. Its imports are severely restricted, and its exports, thanks to the occupation and blockade, are almost non-existent. Israel continually ‘confiscates’ (read: steals) Palestinian land to build huge new housing developments, all in violation of international law. Palestine faces a very real existential threat, but is seen as threatening Israel. This is certainly Newspeak.

    • Why the Syrian People Won’t Accept a Deal to Remove Assad

      Once again a plan for democratic transition in Syria has been drawn up by a coalition of opposition groups meeting in London, supported by the usual suspects in the shape of Turkey, the EU, US, and Gulf States. It is described as a detailed plan committing Syria to democratic and religious pluralism. Predictably, and the reason why it is a non-starter, it contains the pre-condition of Bashar al-Assad’s removal from power.

    • Media Trumpet Another Phony “Secret Nuclear Deal” Story

      Two major media outlets — Reuters and The Washington Post — pushed another Iran “secret side deal” story last week, ignoring obvious facts that revealed it as clever political deception aimed at sabotaging the nuclear agreement with Iran.

      Stories in both of those outlets suggested that a leading think tank had revealed a secret deal that allowed Iran to exceed various qualitative and quantitative limits placed on it under the nuclear agreement reached last year — the main current theme of political opponents of the agreement. The stories were based on claims in a report co-authored by David Albright, the head of the Institute for Science and International Security, who has long been treated by corporate media as the leading “independent” expert on Iran’s nuclear program.

      In fact, as Truthout revealed in 2014, Albright had abandoned any independence he had maintained on Iran as early as 2008 and had aligned his position on nuclear negotiations with Iran with those of the Bush administration and Israel.

      Albright wrote in the report, “We have learned that some nuclear stocks and facilities were not in accordance with JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] limits on Implementation Day, but in anticipation the Joint Commission had earlier and secretly exempted them from the JCPOA limits.”

    • 15 Years after 9/11, can we Recover our Republic?

      The Founding Fathers thought keeping a standing army was a danger to democracy. The great wars of the twentieth century appear to have imbued the United States with a permanent standing army, and this institution has been reinforced by the September 11 attacks. Or rather it has been reinforced by how Washington elites have decided to respond to those attacks. They have responded with lawlessness. If only we had treated al-Qaeda as the criminals they are instead of creating a ‘war on terror’ then we would have relied more on courts and due process and less on force majeure.

      Perhaps the US military itself is not a danger to democracy, but that it is there, well-trained and well-equipped, creates a constant temptation for presidents to use it. And war presidents are imperial presidents, as we have seen with both Bush and Obama.

      The pretext of national security born of wars has been fatal to our basic liberties. Both Bush and Obama sought to have their intelligence agencies carry out massive domestic surveillance and both have killed and buried the Fourth Amendment.

    • Despite ‘28 pages’ release, Saudi’s 9/11 involvement still buried

      The White House thinks releasing the “28 pages” summarizing Saudi involvement in 9/11 satisfied the public’s need to know. But don’t be fooled. The full story remains buried under more than 100,000 pages of other, still-secret documents.

      The public didn’t even get to see everything that was in those long-classified 28 (actually 29) pages from the congressional inquiry, which narrowly focus on Saudi government officials’ contacts with just two of the 15 Saudi hijackers during their stay in San Diego. The Obama administration blacked-out critical information throughout the document.

      In all, there are nearly 100 separate redactions, ranging from single words, such as names of Saudi suspects, to paragraphs and entire sections of text. Obama’s censors offered no reason why any of that information had to be kept secret 15 years after the attacks, even though such explanations are required as part of declassification reviews.

    • Will Christie Whitman Follow Her 9/11 Apology With One for Her Nuke Shill Game?

      Soon after the 9/11 terror attacks 15 years ago today, then-US EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman assured New Yorkers the air was safe to breathe.

      Today she has issued a “heartfelt” apology, admitting that her misleading advice caused people to die. But will she also apologize for pushing lethal atomic reactor technologies that could kill far more people than 9/11?

      Back in 2001, Whitman went public to “reassure the people of New York and Washington D.C. that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink.” She also said, “The concentrations are such that they don’t pose a health hazard….”

      The Environmental Protection Agency itself later said there was insufficient data to offer such assurances.

    • Ex-EPA boss Whitman offers first-ever apology for bad info on post-9/11 air quality: ‘People have died because I made a mistake’

      The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency apologized for the first time for her declaration a week after 9/11 that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe.

      Christine Todd Whitman conceded Friday that it was a mistake to give the all-clear at Ground Zero and said she was sorry for the ongoing health crisis that still grips first responders.

      Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, quickly added that she never lied about the air quality and repeated that she was simply passing on information given to her by government scientists.

      “Whatever we got wrong, we should acknowledge, and people should be helped,” Whitman told the Guardian. “I’m very sorry that people are sick.”

      The mea culpa comes as several reports leading up to the 15th anniversary have underscored the consequences of letting people stay at Ground Zero. The reports reveal the fallout of inhaling toxic dust was worse than predicted. “I’m very sorry that people are dying, and if the EPA and I in any way contributed to that, I’m sorry,” Whitman said. “We did the very best we could at the time with the knowledge we had.”

    • The Time U.S. Spies Thought Al Qaeda Was Ready to Nuke D.C.

      On Christmas Eve 2003, Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the secretive U.S. National Security Agency, made a secure phone call to his British counterpart, David Pepper, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters.

      “Happy Christmas, David,” Hayden said, speaking to Pepper from NSA headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland, about 20 miles from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Such social calls weren’t unusual. The NSA and GCHQ were the closest of allies in a global hunt for the phone calls, emails, and other electronic communications of spies and terrorists.

      But Hayden had more on his mind than season’s greetings. In recent days, the NSA had been collecting what Hayden would later describe as a “massive amount of chatter”—phone calls and emails from terrorists—that suggested al Qaeda was planning multiple attacks inside the United States, timed to the holidays.

      “One more thing, David,” Hayden said after the two men exchanged pleasantries. “We actually feel a bit under threat here. And so I’ve told my liaison to your office that should there be catastrophic loss at Ft. Meade, we are turning the functioning of the American [signals intelligence] system over to GCHQ.”

      There was a long pause as Pepper absorbed what his American colleague had just told him.

    • Barbara Lee’s Lone Vote on Sept. 14, 2001, Was as Prescient as it was Brave and Heroic

      Almost immediately after the 9/11 attack, while bodies were still buried in the rubble, George W. Bush demanded from Congress the legal authorization to use military force against those responsible for the attack, which everyone understood would start with an invasion of Afghanistan. The resulting resolution that was immediately cooked up was both vague and broad, providing that “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

    • Retaliation: Reality Vs. Pundit Fantasy

      It’s worth recalling the US response to the bombing of a Berlin disco in April 1986, which resulted in the deaths of two US service members: The US immediately bombed Libya, which it blamed for the attack. According to Libya, 36 civilians were killed in the air assault, including the year-old daughter of Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy (Washington Post, 5/9/86). It is unlikely that Libyans considered this a “pinprick.” Yet these deaths apparently had little deterrence value: In December 1988, less than 20 months later, Pan Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in an even deadlier act of terrorism the US blames on Libyan agents.

      Likewise, a few months after a suicide bombing of the US embassy in Beirut in April 1983 that killed 63 people, the United States used battleships to pound hostile targets in Lebanon. This is hardly “issuing subpoenas,” but this violence did not deter another, more deadly suicide attack in October 1983, killing 241 US and 58 French military personnel.

      More recently, in 1998, Bill Clinton sent 60 cruise missiles, some equipped with cluster bombs, against Osama bin Laden’s Afghan base, in what was presented as retaliation for the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. One missile aimed at Afghan training camps landed hundreds of miles off course in Pakistan, while a simultaneous attack in Sudan leveled one of the country’s few pharmaceutical factories. Media cheered the attacks (In These Times, 9/6/98), though careful investigation into the case revealed no credible evidence linking the plant to chemical weapons or Osama bin Laden, the two justifications offered for the attack (New York Times, 10/27/99; London Observer, 8/23/98).

      Despite the dubious record of retaliatory violence in ensuring security, many pundits insist that previous retaliation failed only because it was not severe enough. As the Chicago Tribune‘s John Kass declared (9/13/01), “For the past decade we’ve sat dumb and stupid as the US military was transformed from a killing machine into a playpen for sociologists and political schemers.” This “playpen” dropped 23,000 bombs on Yugoslavia in 1999, killing between 500 and 1,500 civilians, and may have killed as many as 1,200 Iraqis in 1998’s Desert Fox attack (Agence France Presse, 12/23/98).

    • How Israel Stole the Bomb

      When Israel launched a covert scheme to steal material and secrets to build a nuclear bomb, U.S. officials looked the other way and obstructed investigations, as described in a book reviewed by James DiEugenio.

    • 9/11: A Story of Attacks, Horror, Victims, Heroes and Jingoistic Shame

      No. The Neo-Cons are unrepentant and still trying to advance themselves on the lie that their once and forever war justifies more than their prosecution and conviction in The Hague. Here is a belligerent and unrepentant Dick Cheney passing the torch of evil to his spawn Liz Cheney in the august pages of the Wall Street Journal…

    • America’s War against Terror Drugs Justice

      It’s a reminder that doesn’t get much attention elsewhere in the massive article that the US brought a bunch of (right wing) terrorists to the United States and effectively gave them shelter from justice in their own country.

      One reason the terrorists were spirited away to the US — and thereby hidden from the Peace and Justice process in Colombia — is because they had ties to former President Álvaro Uribe, as well as the CIA. In the one war where the US declared both sides terrorists, it managed to find a way to avoid treating “our” terrorists like we do all others.

      Compared to either the sentences your average low level drug dealer gets or your average young Muslim kid set up by the FBI, the sentences these key players in the drug and terror industry are remarkably light: 7.5 years on average for the paramilitaries and 10 for the drug lords, according to the NYT’s calculation.

      As such, I think this is one of the most important articles for you to read today, on Never Forget day. It reveals a dramatically different model for a war on drugs and terror than the Foreverwar we’re marking today, one in which America’s favored terrorists get impunity and the victims of terrorism get shafted.

    • It’s Not Enough to Remember 9/11

      To Michael Moore’s everlasting credit, these two scenes were never included in the film in any way. The 9/11 responders were not wanting sympathy. They wanted to be remembered. They wanted us to remember, and perhaps they wanted us to show just a fraction of the commitment to their well-being that they had committed to others — to the point of risking their lives if necessary. And we have failed them greatly.

    • The Lost Innocence of 9/11

      The renewed patriotism and commitment we felt a decade ago has decayed, sullied by jingoism, xenophobia and paranoid fantasies about race and religion. At the panel, Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York observed, “What stops another 9/11 is not profiling, but all New Yorkers becoming partners and friends.”

      We actually had that for a while in those first days and weeks of smoke and ash, those days when the smell of vaporized metal and electrical cable and God knows what else filled our air; so pungent you could taste it.

    • North Korea accused of ‘maniacal recklessness’ after nuclear test triggers earthquake

      North Korea has confirmed it has conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date, marking the 68th anniversary of its founding with a reminder to the world that it may be edging closer to developing a warhead capable of striking the US mainland.

      Friday morning’s test, which triggered a magnitude 5.3 earthquake, drew immediate condemnation from North Korea’s neighbours and Washington.

      Barack Obama, who was briefed on board Air Force One by National Security Adviser Susan Rice as he returned to the US from an Asian tour, said provocative actions by North Korea would have “serious consequences”.

      “To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” Obama said in a later statement. He said he would work “to take additional significant steps, including new sanctions, to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions.”

      The UN security council agreed at an urgent meeting on Friday to immediately begin work on a new raft of sanctions.

      During the meeting behind closed doors, the council strongly condemned the test and agreed to begin drafting a new resolution under article 41 of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Fall of the Wild: Study Documents ‘Catastrophic Decline’ in World’s Untouched Places

      Wilderness, though remote by nature, is not immune to the ravages of humanity. In fact, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology, the world’s wild places are undergoing “catastrophic decline” and could be facing elimination within decades if monumental policy shifts are not implemented.

      “If we don’t act soon, there will only be tiny remnants of wilderness around the planet, and this is a disaster for conservation, for climate change, and for some of the most vulnerable human communities on the planet,” warned lead author Dr. James Watson, of the University of Queensland in Australia and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. “We have a duty to act for our children and their children.”

      Watson and his team mapped wilderness areas around the globe, which were defined as “biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance,” and then compared that to one produced by the same methods in the early 1990s.

      The amount of wilderness loss in those two decades was “staggering,” according to co-author Dr. Oscar Venter of the University of Northern British Colombia.

    • National Guard on Standby in North Dakota Before Court Ruling on Dakota Access Pipeline

      North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has activated the National Guard ahead of today’s ruling on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit against the U.S. government over the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is set to rule today on an injunction in a lawsuit challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to issue permits for the pipeline, arguing it violates the National Historic Preservation Act. This comes as over 1,000 people representing more than 100 Native American tribes are gathered along the Cannonball River by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to resist the pipeline’s construction. It’s been described as the largest unification of Native American tribes in decades. We go to North Dakota for an update from Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth.

    • Why Rivers, Why Now?

      For over ten years, I’ve worked on campaigns to protect forests and secure land rights for communities around the world. And this month, I’m thrilled to take on a new position, as the Executive Director of International Rivers.

      Why rivers? Why now? Believe it or not, it’s not such a big stretch.

      Throughout my career, I’ve worked to ensure that development is fair and equitable, that people’s rights are respected, and that their livelihoods are upheld with dignity. Rivers are an often overlooked but critical part of an ecosystem, and they are essential to the livelihoods of billions of people. Freshwater fisheries are the primary source of protein for millions. Fertile river basins nourish and irrigate farms to feed the world. And rivers provide critical energy and sanitation services. For many indigenous communities, they are also a sacred source of life.

      I joined International Rivers because it’s the only international organization fully dedicated to protecting rivers and the lives they support. This sharp, savvy group has always had an outsized impact relative to its size, jumpstarting a global river protection movement thirty years ago. Over the organization’s lifetime, it’s prevented more than 200 bad projects and supported thousands of communities around the world to defend their rights and territories in the face of wasteful development projects. From our back of the envelope calculations, we’ve channeled $174 billion from destructive dams towards better alternatives. This is an organization that takes on the big fights undaunted by entrenched interests with deep pockets, and time and again, wins equally big.

    • Shell begins production at world’s deepest underwater oilfield

      Royal Dutch Shell has started production at the world’s deepest underwater oil and gas field, 1.8 miles beneath the sea surface in the Gulf of Mexico.

      The first oil pumped from the Stones field, 200 miles south of New Orleans, comes after billions of dollars of investment from Shell over the last three years.

      The achievement will anger many climate change campaigners, but will boost annual pay for Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, under the group’s controversial performance bonus arrangements.

    • ‘A Good Day for Elephants’: Ban on Domestic Ivory Trade Passes

      In a bid to stop the killing of elephants for their tusks, world governments voted at a major conservation conference to urge the closure of all domestic ivory markets.

      After fierce debate, disagreements and walkouts the motion was adopted on the final day of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, a 10-day meeting that drew 9,000 people to Honolulu, Hawaii this month.

      The domestic ban was backed by most of the 217 state and national members of IUCN, as well as over 1,000 conservation groups that are part of the union. But some countries, including Japan, Namibia and South Africa, argued against the ban.

      The international trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 but in many countries, including the US, UK and China, domestic ivory trading is still allowed for antiques.

    • Ban on domestic ivory trade passes at international summit

      Nations and environmental groups have agreed to shut down the domestic ivory trade, despite the resolution nearly being derailed by objections from countries including Japan and South Africa.

    • ‘Picking on’ Volkswagen: Why Follow Dieselgate?

      One of our commenters described my attention to Dieselgate as ‘picking on’ Volkswagen. It’s not as if there haven’t been scandalous problems with other automotive industry manufacturers, like General Motors’ ignition switches or Takata’s airbag failures, right?

      But Volkswagen earns greater attention here at this site because:

      1) A critical mass of emptywheel readers are not familiar with the automotive industry, let alone manufacturing; they do not regularly follow automotive news. Quite a number are familiar with enterprise information security, but not car manufacturing or with passenger vehicle security. Many of the readers here are also in policy making, law enforcement, judiciary — persons who may influence outcomes at the very beginning or very end of the product manufacturing life cycle.

      2) This is the first identified* multi-year incidence in which an automotive industry manufacturer using computer programming of a street-ready vehicle to defraud consumers and willfully violate multiple U.S. laws. This willfulness wholly separates the nature of this risk from other passenger vehicle vulnerabilities, ex: Fiat Chrysler’s hackable Uconnect dashboard computers or Nissan’s unprotected APIs for keyless remotes. (These latter events arose from inadequate info security awareness though responsiveness of vehicle manufacturers after notification may be in question.)

      3) Volkswagen Group is the single largest passenger vehicle manufacturer in Europe. This isn’t a little deal considering half of all passenger vehicles in Europe are diesel-powered. Health and environmental damage in the U.S. from 600,000 passenger diesels has been bad enough; it’s taking lives in the tens of thousands across Europe. 75,000 premature deaths in 2012 alone were attributed to urban NO2 exposures, the source of which is diesel engines. It was testing in the U.S. against U.S. emissions standards which brought VW’s ‘cheating’ to light making it impossible for the EU to ignore any longer. The environmental damage from all Volkswagen passenger diesels combined isn’t localized; these additional non-compliant emissions exacerbate global climate change.

  • Finance

    • Who Gains Most From School Choice? Not Low-Income Students Of Color

      As parents and students reenter public schools for a new year, they’re hearing a lot about “school choice.”

      Having “choice,” they’re told, lets parents send their kids to schools other than their assigned neighborhood school, such as a charter school, a magnet school, or, in some cases, even a school in another district.

      No doubt school choice will benefit some parents – just as any market-based system has some winners and some losers. But who really stands to gain most from choice and why?

      “We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice,” Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump declared at the Republican National Convention. Reporters at Education Week have noticed Trump’s campaign is “increasing focus” on the subject, and recently hired a policy expert, with a background in crafting education policy in Indiana, to “work on school choice issues.”

    • Huge Consumer Scam Results in Paltry Fines—and Little Else—for Wells Fargo

      Banking behemoth Wells Fargo, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, was fined a mere $185 million by various regulators on Thursday for opening millions of unauthorized accounts that racked up fees for consumers and bonuses for employees.

      The biggest fine came from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which levied its largest-ever penalty: $100 million. The Los Angeles City Attorney and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were also party to the settlement.

      “Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray on Thursday. “Because of the severity of these violations, Wells Fargo is paying the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed.”

    • Black to School: The Rising Struggle to Make Black Education Matter

      Indeed, billionaire philanthrocapitalists have upended education over the past 15 years by backing a series of major policy changes — codified in the No Child Left Behind Act, the Race to the Top initiative and the Common Core State Standards. These policies have badly damaged education for all kids and have had particularly harmful effects on Black and Brown communities. Today, increasing numbers of people have discovered that these reforms are in reality efforts to turn the schoolhouse into an ATM for corporate America.

    • How inmates are organizing a nationwide strike from behind bars

      Whenever an inmate and a guard get into an altercation, Melvin Ray sees an opportunity to connect and educate. After stepping in and trying to de-escalate the situation, he’ll talk to his fellow inmate and ask him how he got here. Not just “here,” in the sense of an altercation stemming from the emotional stresses of being incarcerated. Or “here,” in terms of the conviction that sent him to prison in the first place. Ray, ultimately, presses a larger point: “You’re not here because of that crime. You’re here because someone has figured out a way to make money off of you.”

      These sorts of one-on-one conversations are critical for organizing incarcerated people, and Ray — who also goes by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun — knows this better than anyone. He is one of the founders of the Free Alabama Movement, or FAM — a prisoner-led human rights group that is organizing what could become the largest nationwide prison work stoppage, starting September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising.

      Along with Support Prisoner Resistance and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, or IWOC, of the IWW labor union, FAM issued a call to action earlier this summer, with an estimated 40 prisons in 24 states expected to participate. Much like the inmates who took over New York’s infamous correctional facility in 1971, today’s prisoners are fighting against the conditions of their imprisonment, especially the conditions under which they are forced to work, which many describe as slavery.

    • Leading Economists Oppose TPP Provision Giving Corporations Upper Hand in Investor-State Disputes

      As the Obama administration begins a new push to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the TPP, more than 200 of the country’s leading economists and legal scholars have written a letter urging Congress to reject the 12-nation trade pact, citing its controversial investor-state dispute settlement. Critics say the so-called ISDS regime creates a parallel legal system granting multinational corporations undue power. We speak with Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “This is an agreement so repugnant that members of Congress do not want to vote for it,” says Lori Wallach.

    • Elizabeth Warren: Apple’s Tax-Shirking Schemes Show Congress Must Reform US Code

      The ongoing Apple tax scandal in Europe is the perfect opportunity to reform the U.S. tax code, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times on Thursday.

      Multinationals and their lobbyists on Capitol Hill are pushing U.S. Congress to give them favorable deals even as the U.S. Department of the Treasury finalizes reporting requirements for American corporations with offices in foreign countries that could help expose their “jaw-dropping variety of tax-dodging schemes,” Warren wrote.

      “But instead of bailing out the tax dodgers under the guise of tax reform, Congress should seize this moment to take three crucial steps to repair our broken corporate tax code.”

      Last week, the European Commission slapped Apple with a $14 billion tax bill in a decision that came almost a year after it was revealed that the company had stockpiled $181 billion in profits in offshore funds in Ireland, more than any other American company. The commission found that Ireland’s levy on Apple was so lenient that it amounted to illegal state aid.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Open Letter to NBC Moderator Calls for Candidates to Debate ‘Democracy Itself’

      That is, democracy: issues ranging from money in politics to voting rights to freedom of the press. “Each of these topics deserves a full inquiry,” the letter reads. “Each affects, at the most fundamental level, who has power in this country and who doesn’t.”

      And “power— more specifically, the distribution of power—in this country affects every aspect of American life,” according to the missive, “from trade deals to criminal justice, from water quality to access to medical treatment. In the most extreme cases, power decides not only how people live, but if they live.”

      Voters deserve to hear presidential candidates speak about a system they’ve described as “rigged,” pro-democracy groups said on Thursday.

      “It’s evident this election cycle that Americans are fed up with a democracy that isn’t working for them,” said Rahna Epting, chief of staff at Every Voice.

      “At a time in which many Americans are losing faith in our government and public trust in politicians is at record lows, it’s critical that Lester Holt give voters a chance to hear from our presidential candidates about their take on our democracy and how they plan to restore people’s faith in the system,” she said.

    • Paranoid politics: how does Donald Trump get away with it?

      The paranoid style of politics accords enormous power to the enemy; it represents them as being able to change the normal course of history in an evil way.

      Hofstadter argues much of the enemy’s function lies in what can be condemned. The enemy’s supposed lack of morality gives paranoid stylists an opportunity to project and express similar aspects of their own minds.

      By focusing on Clinton’s alleged evil, corruption and lies, Trump’s and his supporters attempt to deny their own, simultaneously giving them voice and legitimising calling Clinton “crooked”, “weak”, “unstable” and “the Devil”.

    • Clinton ‘feeling great’ after getting overheated at 9/11 event

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly has raised questions about Clinton’s health and whether she had the “stamina” to serve as president.

      In December 2012, Clinton, 68, suffered a concussion and shortly afterward developed a blood clot.

    • Hillary Clinton Appeared To Faint At 9/11 Ceremony

      Hillary Clinton abruptly left the 9/11 ceremony at Ground Zero this morning because she “felt overheated,” according to her campaign.

      A senior law enforcement official told The Daily Beast that Clinton looked pale when she arrived at the ceremony. She left the ceremony at about 9:30 a.m., according to pool reports. As she walked away from the ceremony, according to numerous law enforcement officials, she slumped and appeared to faint. Then, according to the sources, her detail put her into a waiting vehicle.

      “They threw her in like she was a side of beef,” a senior law enforcement official told The Daily Beast.

    • Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign

      But the issue is that Clinton kept reporters totally in the dark for 90 minutes after her abrupt departure from the 9/11 memorial service for a health-related matter. No reporter was allowed to follow her. (Clinton has resisted a protective pool for coverage because Donald Trump refuses to participate in one.) This is, yet again, the Clinton campaign asking everyone to just trust it. She got overheated! But she’s fine now!

    • BBC Quietly Owns Up to Blatant Propaganda Lies

      Nine months after a massive propaganda campaign based on outright lies, the BBC quietly sneaked out an admission on its website tucked away in “corrections and complaints”. As the BBC went all out to galvanise support for bombing Syria, the meme was pumped out relentlessly that opponents of bombing Syria were evil and violent misogynist thugs, bent on the physical intimidation of MPs. Leading the claims was Stella Creasy MP.

      9 months after the propaganda had its effect – run on every news bulletin of every single BBC platform – the BBC published this correction, carried on zero news bulletins of any BBC platform.

    • Sanders, the “Progressive” Plutocrat, and the Supreme Court Vacancy

      Having made such profound campaign errors in his handling of this appointment as a candidate, it is still not too late for Senator Sanders to call on President Obama to make a recess appointment. The Democratic National Convention and the summer recess of seven weeks that expired on Labor Day was the best opportunity for making this demand. But there will be future recesses. Progressives should demand that Sanders call on President Obama to make a recess appointment of a progressive justice who will reliably fulfill the litmus test that he ascribes to Clinton without any evidence. He should also insist that Clinton join him in making this request. Progressives could let Sanders know that if he is too timid to take this action there is no reason to fund his “Our Revolution” venture or buy his book.

    • ‘Overheated’ Hillary Clinton Leaves 9/11 Event Early, Is Helped Into Vehicle

      Video shown on Twitter pages appears to show Clinton waiting at the curb as an official vehicle pulls up. As she is being led to the vehicle, she stumbles, her legs buckle and she is supported by aides before being helped into the vehicle. Witnesses said she lost a shoe in the incident.

    • Fooled Again

      The naive hopes of Bernie Sanders’ supporters—to build a grass-roots political movement, change the Democratic Party from within and push Hillary Clinton to the left—have failed. Clinton, aware that the liberal class and the left are not going to mount genuine resistance, is running as Mitt Romney in drag. The corporate elites across the political spectrum, Republican and Democrat, have gleefully united to anoint her president. All that remains of Sanders’ “revolution” is a 501(c)(4) designed to raise money, including from wealthy, anonymous donors, to ensure that he will be a senator for life. Great historical events happen twice, as Karl Marx quipped, first as tragedy and then as farce.

      The multibillion-dollar extravaganza of our electoral Circus Maximus is part of the smokescreen that covers the ongoing devastation of globalization, deindustrialization, trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, endless war, climate change and the intrusion into every corner of our lives by the security and surveillance state. Our democracy is dead. Clinton and Donald Trump do not have the power or the interest to revive it. They kneel before the war machine, which consumes trillions of dollars to wage futile wars and bankroll a bloated military. To defy the fortress state is political suicide. Politicians are courtiers to Wall Street. The candidates mouth the clichés of justice, improvements in income equality and democratic choice, but it is a cynical game. Once it is over, the victors will go to Washington to work with the lobbyists and financial elites to carry out the real business of ruling.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook backs down on censoring ‘napalm girl’ photo after public outcry

      In a letter on its front page, Norwegian daily Aftenposten lashed out at Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg for “limiting freedom” after Facebook removed the image from the newspaper’s profile page earlier this week for violating its policy against showing nudity.

      Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg weighed in, posting on her Facebook page, “Facebook gets it wrong when they censor such images.” She added: “I say no to this type of censorship.”

      Hours later, Solberg’s post—which included the image—was removed from her account.

    • Tuur Demeester Defends Theymos’ Censorship of The Bitcoin Community

      Throughout the years, there have been a few people in the Bitcoin world who generate a lot of negative friction. Even though their intentions may be good, the way they go about things leaves much to be desired. Censorship in the Bitcoin world is unacceptable, and many people see Theymos as one of the culprits. But Tuur Demeester is supporting his “style”, which creates even more discussion among enthusiasts.

      To be clear, running a Bitcoin community forum and subReddit is a tedious task. While there is a lot of activity on these platforms, there is also a lot of spam and irrelevant news. When heated debates take place, a wide variety of opinions are presented. In a lot of cases, name-calling and foul mouthing are becoming all too common. Maintaining order requires some harsh actions now and then.

      But there is a vast difference between handling an unruly crowd and censorship. In the Bitcoin world, the latter option is becoming more prevalent as time passes. Anyone who speaks out against Bitcoin Core is silenced. Altcoin supporters get banned. People who voice their opinion may find themselves shadowbanned in the blink of an eye.

    • Nominations open for 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards

      Beginning today, nominations for the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship are open. Now in their 17th year, the awards honour some of the world’s most remarkable free expression heroes. Previous winners include Chinese digital activists GreatFire, Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat and Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.

    • Western Publishers Submit to Islam
    • The real Islamophobia? Free speech dying in West
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Governing Google

      As for Google, without a more ‘joined up’ EU legal and regulatory framework integrating digital rights and economic concerns, users may need to look to solutions outside the law.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Seumas Milne named as aide who wanted Hebrew wording removed from Labour Passover greeting

      Seumas Milne, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest advisers, told a party worker to remove the Hebrew from a Passover greeting because it might look “Zionist”, it has been claimed.

      Mr Milne, Labour’s executive director of communications, is said to have wanted to delete the wording “Chag Kasher VeSameach,”, which translates as “A Happy and Kosher Holiday,’ from Mr Corbyn’s Pesach message to the Jewish community.

      According to Dave Rich, a senior official of the Community Security Trust, Mr Milne felt “the use of Hebrew implied support for Zionism”.

    • Don’t be surprised if Colin Kaepernick prompts more schoolchildren to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance

      Colin Kaepernick is a role model whether you like it or not. Many view Kaepernick’s choice of protest as disrespecting the flag, our armed forces and America itself, but the vitriol toward the football player represents the fears that children may grasp the power of civil disobedience. Students who idolize athletes like Kaepernick may also mimic him at school and sit during the pledge of allegiance in protest.

      Children in our broken U.S. school system have many reasons to take a seat.

      Every morning in most public and private schools, students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, although schools can’t legally force them to do it. The 1943 Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, ruled that students are protected by the Free Speech Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Consequently, schools can’t force students to stand, recite, salute, place a hand on one’s heart or acknowledge the Pledge in anyway if the student objects.

    • The National Anthem’s False Notes

      One August morning in a small French town in Normandy 250 years ago, a crucifix that stood as a monument in the heart of town was found mutilated. People were upset. They wanted blood. (Irony has never been Catholics’ strongest suit.) No one had any idea who’d done it, so it was necessary to invent a suspect.

      The mob chose a 20-year-old aristocrat, the Knight of La Barre, who was known to run around town doing irreverent things with a couple of equally free-thinking late adolescents. The proof of his guilt was simple: during a religious procession, he refused to take off his cap and stand respectfully. Blasphemy! La Barre was interrogated, tried, and tortured, his head was chopped off in front of an immense and cheering crowd and he was burned.

      Substitute dogma for freedom and the cruelty and stupidity of men has no bounds. I was reminded of the treatment of La Barre by the entirely predictable controversy surrounding an NFL quarterback’s decision not to stand up for the national anthem before a game. No one is calling for Colin Kaepernick’s head, at least not literally, but he’s been all but guillotined nonetheless, and for what? For finally deciding, as too few athletes do, to show that he’s not exclusively an object of entertainment making $12 million a year. He decided to protest police brutality and racism his way, with a quiet act that doesn’t take away from anybody else’s right to believe what they will.

      [...]

      Why confront racism and police injustice when you can hold an inquisition on who’s patriotic and who’s not, who’s behind our military and who’s not? When you can just scream U-S-A, U-S-A, the new anthem of goons too challenged by multisyllabic words or complete sentences to propose more reasoned arguments? And when all else fails, let it come down to that gibberish equivalence: compared to soldiers and the flag that represents them, apparently to the exclusion of everyone else, you, civilian whiner, are nothing.

    • High School Football Players Take Knee for Anthem Across Country

      High school football players across the US followed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and declined to stand for the national anthem Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

      It appears that Kaepernick has started a movementwith his silent protest during the national anthem during a pre-season game on August 26. Kaepernick said his “taking a knee” was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States.

    • Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike Against Prison Conditions

      U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning announced she began a hunger strike in protest of her prison conditions as she serves a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents.

      Advocacy group Fight for the Future shared a statement from the 28-year-old transgender woman as she demanded written assurances from the Army she will receive all of the medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria and that the “high tech bullying” will stop. “High tech bullying,” is what Chelsea describes as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”

      Following her sentencing, Chelsea has respectfully requested that the US Government give her treatment for her gender dysphoria. Over a year later, Chelsea filed a lawsuit in September of 2014, where she sued the government to get a battery of treatments. As a result, she began hormone therapy in February of 2015.

    • ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ Dakota Access Emerges as Pivotal Battleground

      It took months of fierce resistance, thousands camped out in protest, dozens of arrests, and a brutal encounter with attack dogs, but the tribal fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has emerged as a national moment of truth for the political establishment, as well as the hundreds of thousands who have voiced support for the Standing Rock Sioux in this pivotal moment.

      In anticipation of Friday’s federal court ruling that could temporarily halt pipeline construction, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple officially activated the National Guard to increase the security presence around the peaceful prayer camps, which heightened tensions for many tribal members.

      “To an average non-Native person, that might feel safe,” Faith Spotted Eagle, an Ihanktowan elder, explained to Indian Country Today. “To us, it feels really familiar, and it personally takes me back to the Whitestone Massacre,” she said, referring to the 1863 attack by the U.S. military on the very same land occupied by the prayer camp. “But we know how to handle these situations…We pray.”

    • Exclusive: Migrant Mother Says She Was Pushed to End Hunger Strike to Win Release from Detention

      In an exclusive interview, we speak with a woman held for nine months with her four-year-old daughter at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania as they seek asylum from El Salvador. She describes how she won their release only after she bowed to pressure to break her hunger strike and eat an apple. She agreed to do an interview if we did not show her face or use her real name. “Maria” had just arrived in Arlington, Texas. She must now wear an electronic monitor around her ankle. Democracy Now! correspondent Renée Feltz filed this report.

    • Jill Stein Spray Paints a Bulldozer and More Protesters Lock Down at #NoDAPL

      Over two thousand Natives have gathered in Standing Rock, North Dakota, in what some are calling the largest Indigenous convergence in more than a century. More than 100 nations are represented at multiple camps, with Natives travelling to Standing Rock from reservations and cities around the country, all with one aim: to thwart construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. If constructed, the Dakota Access pipeline would transport crude oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois — crossing the Missouri in treaty lands. On Tuesday, Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein also joined protesters on the frontline, speaking alongside Indigenous movement leaders and vandalizing a bulldozer as protesters cheered. Stein spray-painted the words “I approve this message” on a piece of equipment that had been shut down by protesters.

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