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10.16.16

Links 16/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC1, Wine 1.9.21

Posted in News Roundup at 11:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • NFV trends and open source SDN work with OpenDaylight

    Open source continues to gain momentum and is said to remain central to ongoing development and deployment of NFV and SDN for telecommunication operators

    The open source community remains active in bolstering support for the telecommunication market’s move towards network virtualization platforms using software-defined networking and network functions virtualization.

    In the past month alone, new platform iterations from the Open Platform for NFV project with its Colorado release; fellow Linux Foundation organization OpenDaylight with its Boron SDN platform; and the Open Networking Laboratory’s Open Network Operating System Project with its SDN-focused Hummingbird platform.

  • Google releases Open Source Report Card — does the company deserve an A+?

    The future of computing is open source. While there is still room for closed source software, more and more companies are going the open route. Major players such as Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook are all contributing to the open source community. Google in particular is a huge proponent of open source. Heck, two of the company’s operating systems — Chrome OS and Android — are Linux distributions.

    Today, the search giant announces the ‘Open Source Report Card’. This is essentially a report that explains the details of its open source projects. Google is undoubtedly a major open source contributor, but the question is, what grade should the company get?

    “Today we’re sharing our first Open Source Report Card, highlighting our most popular projects, sharing a few statistics and detailing some of the projects we’ve released in 2016. We’ve open sourced over 20 million lines of code to date and you can find a listing of some of our best known project releases on our website”, says Josh Simmons, Open Source Programs Office.

  • My FOSS Journey and Why I am applying for a Toptal Scholarship

    When I graduated from my high school in India, our class had an almost 50-50 ratio of boys-to-girls. My graduating class in one of India’s premier engineering institutions had less than 10%. It was even more interesting to see that there were more than 20% girls enrolled in Bachelors in Design (which offered courses like Product Design, Human Computer Interaction and User Experience Research) while there were none in Mechanical Engineering since the last three graduating classes. Was it that Design was considered a relatively non-technical course ? While I have never been openly discouraged from pursuing a career in technology – a predominantly male-populated field – there has always been an unconscious bias even from within my family. When I wanted to apply for a degree course in Mechanical Engineering, I was asked to take some more time to think about my future – was gently nudged towards more female-friendly engineering fields like Computer Science which wouldn’t involve as much strenuous physical effort. Was it even sublte experiences like this which had contributed towards the gender gap ? This feeling of being an ‘outsider’ in a predominantly male field never left till I started contributing to Open Source.

    I first learnt about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) via Outreachy, a program designed to increase participation of minorities in FOSS. I liked the fact that the program had no knowledge prerequisites so that anyone interested in contributing to FOSS could be a part of it.

  • Hello fans and followers of open source voting in San Francisco!

    The Open Source Initiative works with a variety of organizations to promote the adoption of open source software throughout government. San Francisco Elections Commissioner Chris Jerdonek provides the OSI with a breakdown of the latest happening with San Francisco’s efforts to develop and certify the country’s first open source voting system!

  • Events

    • Announcing Google Code-in 2016 and Google Summer of Code 2017

      One of the goals of the Open Source Programs Office is to encourage more people to contribute to open source software. One way we achieve that goal is through our student programs, Google Summer of Code (for university students) and Google Code-in (for pre-university students).

      Over 15,000 students from more than 100 countries have worked with 23,000 mentors and contributed to 560+ open source projects, so we’re excited to announce the next round of these programs.

  • Databases

    • MySQL 8.0: The end of MyISAM

      This blog discusses the gradual end of MyISAM in MySQL.

      The story that started 20 years ago is coming to its end. I’m talking about the old MyISAM storage engine that was the only storage provided by MySQL in 1995, and was available in MySQL for 20+ years. Actually, part of my job as a MySQL consultant for 10+ years was to discover MyISAM tables and advise customers how to convert those to InnoDB.

    • Devs Await Open Source Word After Commercial RethinkDB Effort Fails

      With the company behind the RethinkDB project having failed and its engineering team scooped up by Stripe, Big Data developers are awaiting further word on plans to continue it as fully open source.

      Although failing to achieve commercial success, the RethinkDB database was lauded by many developers for its different approach and solid technology on developer-oriented social sites such as Hacker News and Reddit.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • First LibreOffice 5.3 BugHunting Session

      LibreOffice is approaching the 5.3 release season with the first bug hunting session, on Friday, October 21, 2016. Tests will be performed on the Alpha version of LibreOffice 5.3, which will be available on the pre-releases server (http://dev-builds.libreoffice.org/pre-releases/) a few days before the event. Builds will be available for Linux (DEB and RPM), MacOS and Windows, and will run in parallel with the actual installation.

  • CMS

    • When it Comes to Open CMS Solutions, Take a Test Drive First

      Datamation is out with an extensive evaluation of which open source content management systems (CMS) really stand out, which is a topic near and dear to us here at OStatic. Our site runs on Drupal, which powers many sites around the web, but there are key differences between CMS offerings, and if you’re looking for the right solution, we have some good resources for you.

      The Datamation story provides a nice overview of the open CMS space, but here are some of out favorite ways to go about evaluating which is the right CMS for you.

      Marking a true renaissance for tools that can help anyone run a top-notch website or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) have come of age. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.

  • Microsoft and Openwashing

  • Public Services/Government

    • The White House open sources President Obama’s Facebook Messenger bot

      The White House today shared open source code for President Obama’s Facebook Messenger bot to help other governments build their own bots.

      The White House says it’s sharing the code “with the hope that other governments and developers can build similar services — and foster similar connections with their citizens — with significantly less upfront investment,” according to a post published today by chief digital officer for the White House Jason Goldman.

      In August, the White House launched a Facebook Messenger bot to receive messages from American citizens. The messages are read alongside letters and other communique sent to the president.

      The open source Drupal module for the president’s bot is available to download on Github.

      “While Drupal may not be the platform others would immediately consider for building a bot, this new White House module will allow non-developers to create bot interactions (with customized language and workflows), and empower other governments and agencies who already use Drupal to power their digital experiences,” Goldman said on the White House website today.

    • Obama’s Facebook Messenger Bot Is Now “Open Source” And Available On GitHub
    • Why the White House is open-sourcing its chatbot code
    • White House open-sources chatbot
    • White House encourages local governments to embrace chatbots
    • Governments favor open source, Google releases 3 new projects, and more news: Russia and the Netherlands propose moves to open source

      For years now, governments throughout Europe have been enthusiastically adopting open source software. Their main reasons for doing so have been to lower costs and to be able to modify the software to suit their needs. Governments in Russia and the Netherlands are following that trend, but for divergent reasons.

      The Russian Duma announced earlier this month that it’s drafting a law to give preference to open source over proprietary software. Specifically, “the law will require local agencies to give preference to open source software and justify any purchases of proprietary software.” In an interview with Bloomberg News, Duma official Andrey Chernogorov cites security as a major driver behind this shift. Much of the government’s IT infrastructure is based on proprietary, foreign-made platforms, and Chernogorov said that the Russian government is “seeking to close this loophole for state purchases, as it causes security risks.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Senate supports open-source initiatives

        The ASWSU Senate passed a resolution to support the Office of the Provost’s open education initiatives at its meeting on Wednesday. The resolution supports the use of the OpenStax program to provide textbooks created with open-source material.

        This does not force professors to use a book that does not perfectly line up with their curriculum because they can freely edit and update the source material, said Sen. Matthew Morrow, author of the resolution.

        Researchers and professors collaborate to create open-source textbooks for students at other universities to use. Morrow said they are targeting UCORE courses because open-source textbooks are currently less suitable for upper-level classes.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • TFW an obituary you wrote five years ago goes viral

      This is not a new phenomenon. Social media snap-posts have killed off celebrities hundreds of times before their actual deaths (to the point where some have required websites to constantly fact-check their mortality). Facebook is full of years-late “RIP” posts. The Internet may never forget, but the humans who use it have become increasingly absent-minded.

      It wasn’t even just my story that went viral—a similar Guardian story also resurfaced, probably because of the same “memories” feature on Facebook or some other social media feature that dredges up old content. Still, there was something personally unsettling about having words I had written in tribute of “dmr”—a man whom I credited personally for making my early exposure to computing and its potential possible—suddenly resurface five years later.

      The first few times I spotted Twitter acting up, I thanked people for resurfacing the story after so much time. But reading the post again—partially to make sure I hadn’t somehow written another tribute subconsciously from my perch at my dad’s bedside—was affecting in ways I didn’t expect. Maybe I got emotional because I was in a hospital room with my father, who was recovering from an other-than-routine knee replacement surgery, and I had spent the day before sitting in a surgical waiting room.

    • Tracing HTTP request latency in Go with OpenTracing
    • How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016
    • Why should students learn to write code?

      There are lots of efforts underway to get students (young and old) to learn to write code. There are far-reaching efforts, like the Hour of Code, and plenty of smaller, more focused projects, such as the Design and Technology Academy (part of Northeast ISD here in San Antonio, Texas). These are excellent programs that enrich the education of many students.

Leftovers

  • Smartphones are “contaminating” family life, study suggests

    Parents, which do you respond to first – your ring tone or your toddler’s crying?

    Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets can be distracting from child-rearing, upending family routines and fueling stress in the home, a small, new study finds.

    Incoming communication from work, friends and the world at large is “contaminating” family mealtime, bedtime and playtime, said study lead author Dr. Jenny Radesky. She’s an assistant professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School.

    Her comments stem from her team’s study involving interviews with 35 parents and caregivers of young children in the Boston area.

  • Science

    • FCC CIO encourages creative problem solving in IT through compassionate leadership

      When speaking with Dr. David Bray, senior executive and CIO of the U.S. Federal Communication Commission, he is always quick to assign all the credit for achievements within his organization to his team of interdisciplinary change agents – from a successful move to the cloud, to saving millions on a legacy technology upgrade.

      Bray is firm in his belief that if digital C-Suite leaders aren’t first and foremost inspiring people to be creative problem solvers, their organizations simply won’t be able to move with the speed or the resiliency necessary to survive in the fast-paced digital world. Further, he says that leading a team of diverse change agents who are intrinsically motivated takes a unique approach. We touched base with Bray to learn more.

    • Opinion: Stop Submitting Papers

      PIXABAY, STARTUPSTOCKPHOTOSI woke up to three requests for review, and two papers to handle as a subject editor. It is unusual, but it happens. I declined to do all the reviews. This is not sustainable.

      Over the last six months, I kept informal track of the reviews I received, both as an author and as a subject editor. In the overwhelming majority of papers, about half of the “major” points were actually not major, but things that improve the paper because the reviewers see it from a different perspective.

      This is burdening the peer review process for very little return (because these comments, important as they may be, do not make the paper more correct or more robust).

      Here is what we should do: stop submitting papers to journals.

      Wait, what? No, I mean it. We should write our draft, go over it with our coauthors, and then put it on a preprint server. And wait. Some reasonable amount of time. A year, maybe. After a year, when we had the opportunity to share this paper with colleagues, then we can submit it.

    • Winner of the Norwegian Digitalisation Prize 2016, Deichmanske Public Library in Oslo

      A movie that shows that putting the user at the hub and thinking untraditionally makes exctiting things happen.

    • Status digitalisation in the Norwegian Public Sector
    • Digitalisation for Renewing, Simplifying and Improving the Norwegian Public Sector
  • Hardware

    • AMD x86 Zen Architecture Will Implement Game Changing Encryption Features Such as SME, SEV and HW Based SHA – Not Present In SkyLake or KabyLake

      Today I will be talking about a very disruptive feature that will be present in AMD’s upcoming compute architecture. Disruptive is probably the most misused word in the history of technology and I do not use it casually. While the readers of this site consist primarily of technology enthusiasts, for whom this news may not mean much. From a company like AMD’s standpoint, a vast majority of revenue will come from the Enterprise segment. For Enterprise users, data security is a very important consideration and on that front AMD Zen will be introducing some very significant advanced encryption features, such as SME and SEV. These features are not present in any competing Intel architecture.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Metasploit eyeing Linux and usability improvements; iOS support uncertain

      Engineers at Rapid7, which owns the popular Metasploit penetration testing tool, are preparing a variety of enhancements for the ramp-up to version 5.0 in 2017.

      Metasploit evolved in 2003, Rapid7 acquired it from the original developers in 2009, and fourth-generation software debuted in 2011. Metasploit Pro is currently in version 4.2 and costs several thousand dollars for a license; Metasploit Framework currently in version 4.12.33 is open source, officials explained.

    • Self-Checkout Skimmers Go Bluetooth

      This blog has featured several stories about payment card skimming devices designed to be placed over top of credit card terminals in self-checkout lanes at grocery stores and other retailers. Many readers have asked for more details about the electronics that power these so-called “overlay” skimmers. Here’s a look at one overlay skimmer equipped with Bluetooth technology that allows thieves to snarf swiped card data and PINs wirelessly using nothing more than a mobile phone.

      The rather crude video below shows a Bluetooth enabled overlay skimmer crafted to be slipped directly over top of Ingenico iSC250 credit card terminals. These Ingenico terminals are widely used at countless U.S. based merchants; earlier this year I wrote about Ingenico overlay skimmers being found in self-checkout lanes at some WalMart locations.

    • 10-year-old OpenSSH vulnerability caught up in IoT DDoS attacks [iophk: "not an actual ssh problem despite the parrots"]

      THE THREAT WRANGLERS AT Akamai have come up with something new for us to worry about, except that it isn’t so much new as a decade old.

      An OpenSSH vulnerability is being used to fuel distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on the bloody Internet of Things (IoT).

      DDoS attacks are a constant pain, but attacks on the IoT are relatively new. A combination of the two would be a problem, unless you are the kind of company that makes its business discovering this kind of thing.

      “Researchers at Akamai have been monitoring the growth of attacks leveraging IoT devices,” said Eric Kobrin, director of adversarial resilience at Akamai, in a blog post about the SSHowDowN Proxy.

    • a single byte write opened a root execution exploit

      As one of the maintainers of the c-ares project I’m receiving mails for suspected security problems in c-ares and this was such a one. In this case, the email with said subject came from an individual who had reported a ChromeOS exploit to Google.

      It turned out that this particular c-ares flaw was one important step in a sequence of necessary procedures that when followed could let the user execute code on ChromeOS from JavaScript – as the root user. I suspect that is pretty much the worst possible exploit of ChromeOS that can be done. I presume the reporter will get a fair amount of bug bounty reward for this.

    • Parrot Security 3.2 “CyberSloop” Ethical Hacking OS Is Out with Linux Kernel 4.7

      Today, October 15, 2016, the ParrotSec team unleashed the second point release to the Debian-based Parrot Security 3.x GNU/Linux distribution designed for ethical hackers and security researchers.

    • Parrot Security 3.2 “CyberSloop” Ethical Hacking OS With Linux Kernel 4.7 Released
    • Alpine edge has switched to libressl

      We decided to replace openssl with libressl because we believe it is a better library. While OpenSSL is trying to fix the broken code, libressl has simply removed it.

    • German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

      A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility’s operations because it is isolated from the internet, the station’s operator said on Monday.

      The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE.

      The viruses, which include “W32.Ramnit” and “Conficker”, were discovered at Gundremmingen’s B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualisation software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

    • The Slashdot Interview With Security Expert Mikko Hypponen: ‘Backupception’

      Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer at security firm F-Secure, has answered a range of your questions. Read on to find his insight on the kind of security awareness training we need, whether anti-virus products are relevant anymore, and whether we have already lost the battle to bad guys. Bonus: his take on whether or not you should take backups of your data.

    • SourceClear Brings Secure Continuous Delivery to the Developer Workflow [Ed: I don’t trust them; they’re Microsoft connected with a negative track record]
    • Serious security: Three changes that could turn the tide on hackers

      The state of tech security is currently so dire that it feels like anything you have ever stored on a computer, or a company or government has ever stored about you, has already been hacked into by somebody.

    • Crypto needs more transparency, researchers warn

      Researchers with at the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) and the University of Pennsylvania have called for security standards-setters to publish the seeds for the prime numbers on which their standards rely.

      The boffins also demonstrated again that 1,024-bit primes can no longer be considered secure, by publishing an attack using “special number field sieve” (SNFS) mathematics to show that an attacker could create a prime that looks secure, but isn’t.

      Since the research is bound to get conspiracists over-excited, it’s worth noting: their paper doesn’t claim that any of the cryptographic primes it mentions have been back-doored, only that they can no longer be considered secure.

      “There are opaque, standardised 1024-bit and 2048-bit primes in wide use today that cannot be properly verified”, the paper states.

      Joshua Fried and Nadia Heninger (University of Pennsylvania) worked with Pierrick Gaudry and Emmanuel Thomé (INRIA at the University of Lorraine on the paper, here.

      They call for 2,048-bit keys to be based on “standardised primes” using published seeds, because too many crypto schemes don’t provide any way to verify that the seeds aren’t somehow back-doored.

    • Is Let’s Encrypt the Largest Certificate Authority on the Web?

      By the time you read this, Let’s Encrypt will have issued its 12 millionth certificate, of which 6 million are active and unexpired. With these milestones, Let’s Encrypt now appears to us to be the the Internet’s largest certificate authority—but a recent analysis by W3Techs said we were only the third largest. So in this post we investigate: how big is Let’s Encrypt, really?

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Enters Yemen War Directly for the First Time With Attack on Houthis

      When the Houthis fired on the U.S.S. Mason earlier this week, sailors were able to deploy countermeasures and the ship was not damaged.

      The Department of Defense issued a statement describing the U.S. attack as a series of “limited self-defense strikes,” but promised to “respond to any further threat” to U.S. ships “as appropriate.”

      “The intent of our strikes were to deter future attacks and to reduce the risk to U.S. and other vessels,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Thursday. “We are prepared to respond if necessary to any future missile launches.”

      The U.S. Navy tweeted a video of the destroyer U.S.S. Nitze launching cruise missiles, captioning it with the hashtag “#Yemen” — commonly used by activists to draw attention to the humanitarian catastrophe.

    • Biden vows US will retaliate against Russia for hacks

      Vice President Biden is vowing the U.S. will retaliate against Russia for its alleged hacking of American political groups.

      “We’re sending a message,” Biden said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that will air Sunday.

      Biden did not detail the type of response the U.S. is preparing but said Russian President Vladimir Putin will “know it” when it happens.

      “It will be at the time of our choosing,” he added. “And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”

      The vice president is the highest-ranking member of the Obama administration who has pledged a response to Russia for its alleged hacking.

      His comments come a week after the administration took the unprecedented step of publicly blaming Moscow for hacking the computer systems of political organizations with the goal of influencing the outcome of the November elections.

      The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and campaign officials were authorized by senior Kremlin officials.

    • The Left’s Fatal Dismissal of Islamic Imperialism

      There is a general dearth of leftist discourse critical of Islamism in the English speaking West. In fact, the dominant leftist discourse in that regard is characterized by a mixture of portraying Islam as the ultimate victim and Islamism as a force of resistance to, or at least an excusable reaction to, Western policies. Meanwhile, millions of people throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) continue to struggle against the rising wave of Islamism on a daily basis in the absence of acknowledgement or support from the Western left.

      For the colonized peoples of the MENA region such as Amazighs, Assyro-Chaldeans, Copts, Nubis, Kurds, and Yezidis, Islamic imperialism is the most serious threat to their very existence. One would hope that the situation of these peoples would form the foundational parameters of the international left’s outlook on the MENA region. However, it is far more often the right in the West that takes issue with the genocidal campaigns waged against these peoples.

    • Hiding US Role in Yemen Slaughter So Bombing Can Be Sold as ‘Self-Defense’

      To hear US corporate media tell it, the US was dragged into a brand new war on Wednesday.

      US destroyers in the Gulf of Aden launched airstrikes against Houthi rebels, a Shia insurgent group currently withstanding a massive bombing campaign from a Saudi-led coalition in a year-and-half conflict between largely Shia rebels and the Saudi-backed Sunni government in Yemen. The Pentagon insisted that cruise missiles had been fired onto the USS Mason on Sunday and Wednesday from Houthi-controlled territory, and called the airstrikes a “limited self-defense” response.

      Needless to say, US media followed the Pentagon’s lead. The fact that the United States has been literally fueling Saudi warplanes for 18 months while selling weapons and providing intelligence support to the Gulf monarchy—acts which even the US State Department believes could expose the US to war crimes prosecution—was either downplayed or ignored. Nor did media recall the US’s long history of drone warfare in Yemen, where the military and CIA have been carrying out long-range assassinations since 2002, killing more than 500 people, including at least 65 civilians.

      [...]

      Why are American ships in those waters? Why are Tomahawk missiles “flying”? The conflict is never explained; it’s only brought up so that Maddow can warn that the GOP nominee could make things worse. Of course, it isn’t Trump who backed the Saudis in an air campaign that’s left thousands dead, but Obama—and it’s Hillary Clinton who as secretary of State enthusiastically pushed to sell warplanes to Riyadh (The Intercept, 2/22/16). But such facts would messy up the election-season narrative.

      Maddow, like the other reports, used the loaded modifier “Iran-backed” to describe the Houthis (even though experts and Pentagon officials think Iran’s support is overblown). This is a stark asymmetry, considering that none of the reports referred to the Yemeni government as “US-backed” or “Saudi-backed.” She also said that the Navy blamed the attacks on the Houthis, when the Pentagon only claims the missiles came from rebel territory, and could very well be from other allied groups (New York Times, 10/13/16).

      Not only is the US’s backing of Saudi Arabia omitted from all these reports, the word “Saudi” isn’t uttered in any of them. The viewer is given the impression that the war, aside from Iranian meddling, is an entirely internal affair—when it actually involves over 15 different countries, mostly Sunni monarchies propping up the Yemeni government—and that the rebels just randomly decided to pick a fight with the largest military in the history of the world.

      The Houthis, for their part, vehemently deny having carried out the attack on the Mason, and there is no publicly available evidence it was them or allied forces. It should be noted, however, that Houthi forces took credit for sinking a United Arab Emirates supply ship two weeks earlier.

      As is often the case with war, the issue of “first blood”—or who started the fighting—gets muddied. Governments naturally want global audiences and their own citizens to view their actions as defensive—a necessary response to aggression, not aggression itself. US corporate media are aiding this official spin in their reporting on the US bombing of Yemen.

    • Regime Change In The Philippines

      When will the neoconservative chant begin: “Duterte must go”? Or will the CIA assassinate him?

      President Rodrigo Duterte has indicated that he intends a more independent foreign policy. He has announced upcoming visits to China and Russia, and his foreign minister has declared that it is time for the Philippines to end its subservience to Washington. In this sense, regime change has already occurred.

      Duterte has suspended military maneuvers with the US. His defense minister said that the Philippines can get along without US military aid and prefers cooperation over conflict with China.

    • I Support a No-Fly Zone in Syria – A Real One that Applies to NATO Too

      When the neo-cons in the UK parliament and the serial warmonger Hillary Clinton call for a “no-fly zone” they actually mean the opposite. They mean that NATO should be given untrammelled access to the airspace to carry out mass bombings – but that nobody else should.

      We saw it in Libya. The argument goes like this. NATO aircraft need to enforce the no-fly zone. To do this in safety, they need to attack and destroy any ground to air weapons capabilities on the ground. That does not just include surface to air missiles, both carriage mounted and hand held, but anything that can be pointed upwards and fired. They need to take out by more bombing any stores that may house such weapons. They need to take out any radar installations, including civilian ones, that may pinpoint NATO aircraft. They need to destroy any runways and hangars, including civilian ones. They need to destroy by bombing all military command and control centres, including those in built up areas. They need to destroy the infrastructure on which air defence relies, including electricity generation and water supply, including civilian assets.

      I am not exaggerating. That really is the doctrine of NATO for enforcing a “no fly zone”, as previously witnessed in Iraq and Libya. It really was NATO aircraft which did to the beautiful Mediterranean town of Sirte the destruction which you see in that picture – in order to enforce a no-fly zone. Enforcement of the no-fly zone was the only authorisation NATO had for the massive bombing campaign on Libya which enabled regime change, which enabled rival jihadist militias to take over the country. They showed their gratitude by murdering the US Ambassador. The failure of central government led to Libya becoming the operating site from which a number now in the hundreds of thousands of boat refugees have crossed to Europe.

    • How Much Will Brexit Add to the Cost of Trident and Hinkley Point?

      The spectacular and continuing fall in the value of the pound will add over £50 billion to the cost of Trident. Yes, bits of steel are being welded together in the UK, but the steel is imported and so is the missile technology.

      Similarly, Hinkley Point will be in trouble. The Chinese and French are to build it against guarantees of income from future energy prices fixed at double the cost of current wholesale electricity. But the hard currency value of that income has now been slashed. I do not know the precise details of the contracts, but the French and Chinese not being stupid, my guess is that their income from it is set in a proper stable currency not in sterling. Which means that electricity prices to the British consumer will have to not just double as planned, but go up 50% again, to cover the diminished value of sterling.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pamela Anderson reveals fears for Wikileaks’ Julian Assange on Embassy visit

      Pamela Anderson has revealed her fears over Julian Assange’s health after visiting him at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      The former Playboy model said the WikiLeaks founder was doing “really well” but expressed concern for him and his family.

      The Australian has been living in the embassy for over four years and has been granted political asylum by Ecuador.

      He is due to be questioned over a sex allegation in Sweden – which he denies. Mr Assange believes that if he goes to Sweden he will be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • As She Campaigns With Al Gore, New Emails Show Hillary Told Environmentalists to ‘Get a Life’

      Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the environmental movement has never exactly been the epitome of cordiality. At a campaign event in March, she blew up at a Greenpeace activist who asked her about her relationship with fossil fuel companies. Annoyed at the young woman’s question, she angrily pointed her finger at her and said she was “sick!” of the Bernie Sanders campaign lying about her. Now, thanks to WikiLeaks, we have proof that Clinton outright mocked green activists in her speeches to trade unions.

    • Greenland Is Very Mad About the Toxic Waste the US Left Buried Under Its Ice

      Greenland isn’t happy about being treated as a dumping ground for abandoned US military bases established at the height of the Cold War—and in a newspaper editorial, it’s calling on Denmark to deal with the mess left behind by the Americans, since the Danish long ago took responsibility for them. This editorial notes that, after decades, Greenland is “losing its patience.”

      One of the abandoned bases, called Camp Century, is full of nasty chemicals and some radioactive material, as Motherboard previously reported.

      At Camp Century, which was built in 1959, soldiers called “Iceworms” practiced deployment of missiles against Russia and literally lived inside the ice. When the US decommissioned the base in the 1960s, the military left basically everything behind, thinking that its waste would stay locked up in the Greenland ice sheet forever.

      Well, climate change has made that unlikely. Melting ice threatens to expose all kinds of toxic debris in decades to come, and Greenland wants it cleaned up, now.

    • Climate change: ‘Monumental’ deal to cut HFCs, fastest growing greenhouse gases

      More than 150 countries have reached a deal described as “monumental” to phase out gases that are making global warming worse.

      Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) are widely used in fridges, air conditioning and aerosol sprays.

      Delegates meeting in Rwanda accepted a complex amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will see richer countries cut back their HFC use from 2019.

      But some critics say the compromise may have less impact than expected.

    • Nations, Fighting Powerful Refrigerant That Warms Planet, Reach Landmark Deal

      Negotiators from more than 170 countries on Saturday reached a legally binding accord to counter climate change by cutting the worldwide use of a powerful planet-warming chemical used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.

      The talks in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, did not draw the same spotlight as the climate change accord forged in Paris last year. But the outcome could have an equal or even greater impact on efforts to slow the heating of the planet.

      President Obama called the deal “an ambitious and far-reaching solution to this looming crisis.”

    • Bernie Sanders Just Asked President Obama to Halt the Dakota Access Pipeline

      The Dakota Access pipeline currently hangs in a state of uncertainty. On October 9, a federal appeals court dismissed the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s request for a permanent injunction to stop to the project. Meanwhile, Obama administration officials continue to stall; one day after the court ruling, the departments of Justice, Interior, and the Army issued a joint statement refusing to authorize construction along part of the proposed route.

      And while a federal review of the permitting process began this week, a handful of Senate Democrats, led by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have now penned a powerful letter to President Barack Obama, calling on him to suspend all construction permits for the project and to order a full environmental impact statement. Check it out below.

    • NOAA Collects Aerial Imagery in Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

      From October 7-10, 2016, the National Geodetic Survey collected damage assessment imagery for more than 1,200 square miles in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The aerial imagery was collected in specific areas identified by FEMA and the National Weather Service.

    • ‘All the Warning Signs Are There, Loud and Clear’ – CounterSpin interview with Dahr Jamail on climate disruption

      New research on attitudes to climate change suggests that people believe they are entitled to their own facts on the matter, even as scientific evidence points one way, only one way, and every day more urgently. Corporate media bear some responsibility: years of matching every piece of evidence with some statement of doubt or denial, years of placing scientific consensus alongside politicians’ folkloric ideas as though they merited the same sort of attention.

  • Finance

    • The Tax Code for the Ultra-Rich vs. the One for Everyone Else

      The revelation of details from Donald Trump’s 1995 state tax returns created exactly the political firestorm that it merited. Before they came to light, the Republican presidential candidate’s flimsy excuses for not releasing his returns produced two lines of speculation: Either he wasn’t as rich as he claimed, or he wasn’t paying any taxes. Trump’s colossal $916 million loss in 1995 partially confirmed both theories, with opponents portraying him as a bumbling businessman who exploits tax loopholes to shift his losses onto ordinary taxpayers.

      When it comes to tax policy, however, Trump’s tax returns are a distraction that crowds out more important issues. In The New York Times, the columnist James Stewart outlined how to prevent Trump’s particular form of tax avoidance: Shorten the period in which losses can be used to offset income, limit the deduction for depreciation, and so on. These are perfectly good solutions—to a minor issue. The poster child for the problems of the tax code isn’t Donald Trump; it’s Warren Buffett.

    • Why For-Profit Education Fails

      Earlier this year, LeapFrog Enterprises, the educational-entertainment business, sold itself for $1 a share. The deal came several months after LeapFrog received a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that it would be delisted if the value of its stock did not improve, a disappointing end to the public life of a company that had the best-performing IPO of 2002.

      LeapFrog was one of the very last remaining of the dozens of investments made by Michael Milken through his ambitiously named Knowledge Universe. Founded in 1996 by Milken and his brother, Lowell, with the software giant Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, as a silent partner, Knowledge Universe aspired to transform education. Its founders intended it to become, in Milken’s phrase, “the pre-eminent for-profit education and training company,” serving the world’s needs “from cradle to grave.”

    • The battle of Hastings: What’s behind the Netflix CEO’s fight to charterize public schools?

      Silicon Valley electrical engineer Brett Bymaster was optimistic when Rocketship Education, a non-profit charter school chain, began building its flagship Mateo Sheedy elementary school next to his San Jose home in 2007. He and his family lived in a lower-income community, so he figured the new approach could help local kids. “I didn’t know anything about charter schools, so I thought it was a good thing,” he said.

      But the more he learned about Rocketship and charter schools, which receive government funding but operate independently of local school boards, the more concerned he became. He was struck by the school’s cramped quarters: over 600 students on a one-acre campus, compared to the 9.2 acres per 450 students recommended for elementary schools by the California Department of Education. All those students meant big classes; last year Mateo Sheedy had one teacher for every 34 students, more than the maximum allowed for traditional elementary schools under state law.

      The teacher deficit seemed to be compensated for with screen time: Thanks to its so-called “blended learning” approach, Rocketship kindergarteners were spending 80 to 90 minutes a day in front of computers in a school learning lab, nearly the daily maximum screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And when the kids weren’t in front of computers, they seemed to be getting disciplined throughout their extra-long school days. Bymaster says he’d constantly see teachers yelling at students. “It’s a military-style environment,” noted Bymaster, who spearheaded a 2013 lawsuit that caused Rocketship to scrap one of its planned San Jose schools. “It’s really a kill-and-drill kind of school.”

    • On TTIP, CETA, free trade and a free and open Internet

      I’m a free marketeer. I believe that free trade would be hugely beneficial for all.

      I also believe in a free and open Internet. Especially as it provides a level playing field on which entrepreneurs from all over the world can join a global market, 24/7.

      And I’m not at all happy with politicians and bureaucrats trying to force me to choose between the two.

      The CETA (EU-Canada) and TTIP (EU-US) trade agreements are problematic. CETA will undermine Europeans right to data protection and privacy online. The same goes for TTIP, which also might contain intellectual property regulations undermining the principle that Internet service providers are not responsible for what their customers are up to in their cables (the mere conduit principle). That would have huge implications, leading to a strictly controlled Internet where everything you are up to must be approved in advance. When it comes to TTIP, we still have no comprehensive information about what is going to be included or not when it comes to IP – as negotiations are carried out behind closed doors.

      Also, the ISDS mechanism in these trade agreements will make a much needed and long overdue copyright reform impossible.

    • CETA puts the protection of our privacy and personal data at risk

      We are constantly sharing parts of our lives on the internet. We feel free to do this because we believe that we can still preserve some privacy and remain in control of what we share. Governments have a moral and legal duty to protect our privacy, prevent abuses and preserve a climate of trust. This is done through laws. Nowadays, our online privacy and the protection of our personal information are threatened in “creative” ways. One of these ways can be found in the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. Unlike traditional “trade agreements”, CETA goes far beyond trade, touching upon privacy and data protection, as well as other fundamental rights.

      Fifteen years ago, the European Union formally recognised that Canada offered EU citizens an adequate level of protection of their privacy and personal information, and this permitted EU data to be exported to Canada without additional restrictions. However, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has recently clarified in the Schrems case that this means that non-EU countries must provide not just “adequate” but essentially equivalent protection as the EU does.

    • Boris Johnson’s ‘secret’ case against Brexit

      Boris Johnson thought Britain should stay in the European Union to avoid worsening “geostrategic anxiety” and a potential break-up of the United Kingdom, according to a “secret,” unpublished newspaper column by the foreign secretary.

      Johnson, the former mayor of London, was the figurehead for the Leave campaign in the run-up to the June 23 Brexit vote, but had flirted with supporting the other side earlier in the year.

    • Aide Planted Anti-Bank Comments in One Paid Clinton Speech to Throw Reporters Off the Scent

      A top aide calculatingly inserted a passage critical of the financial industry into one of Hillary Clinton’s many highly-paid speeches to big banks, “precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats,” he wrote in an email posted by Wikileaks.

      In late November 2015, campaign speechwriter Dan Schwerin wrote an email to other top aides floating the idea of leaking that passage, which had come in a speech Clinton gave to Deutsche Bank in October 2014 in return for $260,000.

      “I wrote her a long riff about economic fairness and how the financial industry has lost its way,” for that purpose, Schwerin wrote. “Perhaps at some point there will be value in sharing this with a reporter and getting a story written. Upside would be that when people say she’s too close to Wall Street and has taken too much money from bankers, we can point to evidence that she wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power.”

      Another email, from among the thousands posted by Wikileaks over the past week from Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account, shows how panicked members of the Clinton campaign intervened at the last minute to cancel a paid Bill Clinton speech to Morgan Stanley because it was timed too close to the launch of her campaign — against the initial wishes of the candidate herself.

      In the passage that Schwerin wanted to leak from Clinton’s speech to Deutsche Bank, she quoted Chicago Mercantile Exchange president Terry Duffy warning that “some Wall Streeters can too easily slip into regarding their work as a kind of moneymaking game divorced from the concerns of Main Street.”

      In his email to his fellow aides, however, Schwerin recognized that the press response might not be entirely in the campaign’s favor. “Downside would be that we could then be pushed to release transcripts from all her paid speeches, which would be less helpful (although probably not disastrous). In the end, I’m not sure this is worth doing, but wanted to flag it so you know it’s out there.”

    • As the Spirit of Enoch Powell Presides Over England, Scotland Must Leave the Union Now

      I am genuinely stunned that, following the competitive racism-fest that was the Tory Party conference, the Tories have gone up in the opinion polls.

      I quite admit my judgement was completely wrong. I was feeling happily that the Tories had finally overreached themselves, and the implications of employers drawing up lists of foreign employees, or primary schools writing to parents demanding birth certificates, would be met with popular revulsion from the inherently decent British people.

      Well, I was wrong. Racism pays, at least in England. After their Conference the Tories are up to 43%. The Tories and UKIP combined are up to 54%. I am afraid it is intellectually dishonest to avoid the grim truth. At present, you cannot be too racist for popular English taste. The underlying theme of the Labour Party conference was Blairite calls for Labour to join in the mood of xenophobia. Of the existence of that mood there can now be no doubt.

    • I am Warming to Nicola

      The BBC spin on Nicola Sturgeon’s speech was that actually it was a move further back from Indyref2. It can be interpreted that way. In effect she was saying that leaving the EU is perhaps not a “material change” triggering Indyref2, only hard Brexit would be a “material change”. On this reading, as given by Brian Taylor of the BBC, the publishing of a draft Indyref bill is simply a sop to placate the SNP troops in the hall.

      But I am satisfied that Nicola has in fact deliberately set conditions for Scotland to remain in the Union which she knows Theresa May will under no circumstances meet. Barring continued full access for Scotland to the single market, which simply cannot happen if England leaves it, then she insists that not only must the powers held by Brussels come to Scotland (eg fisheries) but that Scotland must control its own immigration policy and run its own foreign relations.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Leaked Podesta emails address Obama polling in 2008, executive privilege

      Emails leaked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private email account Friday by WikiLeaks addressed using executive privilege to keep the emails between Hillary Clinton and President Obama from being released, a 2008 survey testing reaction to then-Sen. Obama’s Muslim father and use of cocaine, and a suggestion from former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholme on how to take Clinton out of the “bubble.”

    • Roaming Charges: a Wikileak is a Terrible Thing to Waste

      + I’ve spent the week greedily consuming the treats offered up by Wikileaks’s excavation of John Podesta’s inbox. Each day presents juicy new revelations of the venality of the Clinton campaign. In total, the Podesta files provide the most intimate and unadulterated look at how politics really works in late-capitalist America since the release of the Nixon tapes.

      + There’s a big difference, though. With Nixon, the stakes seemed greater, the banter more Machiavellian, the plots and counter-plots darker and more cynical.

      + The Podesta email tranches show the inner mechanics of a much more mundane, petty and banal political machine. Instead of shaping a campaign around an ideological movement, the Clinton operation resembles the packaging of a political mutual fund, a balanced, low-risk portfolio of financial interests, captive NGOs and dependent demographic sectors.

      + The red meat in the emails can be found in the disclosures of the internal rivalries, self-aggrandizement and sycophancy of hired guns and consultants, especially as they gravitate toward Podesta, whose chilly presence looms behind the scenes like the ghost of Thomas Cromwell.

    • Latest Wikileaks Releases Boost Case for DNC Class Action Lawsuit

      Shortly after the Democratic Primaries, attorneys Jared Beck and Elizabeth Beck, Harvard and Yale Law School graduates, filed a class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and disgraced former DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for the millions of Bernie Sanders supporters they allegedly suppressed and silenced. The latest Wikileaks releases of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails has revealed further evidence that the scales were heavily tipped in favor of Hillary Clinton by both the DNC and the mainstream media.

      “The latest documents provided by Wikileaks confirm and add considerable detail to what prior leaks have disclosed: that the DNC was actively working to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign while colluding with the Hillary Clinton campaign behind the scenes,” Jared Beck told the Observer. “This is further evidence in support of our lawsuit, which seeks to hold the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz accountable under the law for their failure to ensure a fair and neutral presidential nominating process.”

      The latest leaks include evidence current DNC interim chair Donna Brazile forwarded the Clinton campaign information about the Sanders campaign while she served as DNC vice chair and was obligated to remain neutral per the DNC Charter. Brazile also tipped off the Clinton campaign to a planned question on the death penalty the day before a Democratic town hall on CNN. “As soon as the nomination is wrapped up, I will be your biggest surrogate,” Brazile wrote to Podesta in a January 2016 email.

    • From liberal beacon to a prop for Trump: what has happened to WikiLeaks?

      How did WikiLeaks go from darling of the liberal left and scourge of American imperialism to apparent tool of Donald Trump’s divisive, incendiary presidential campaign?

      Thursday brought another WikiLeaks dump of nearly 2,000 emails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign, allegedly by Russians. As usual, they were inside-the-beltway gossip rather than game-changing: the campaign tried to push back the Illinois primary, believing it would make life harder for moderate Republicans.

      That has not stopped Trump trying to make hay from the leaked emails and deflect attention from allegations of sexual harassment against him. “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “So dishonest! Rigged system!”

    • Want to Know Julian Assange’s Endgame? He Told You a Decade Ago

      Amid a seemingly incessant deluge of leaks and hacks, Washington, DC staffers have learned to imagine how even the most benign email would look a week later on the homepage of a secret-spilling outfit like WikiLeaks or DCLeaks. In many cases, they’ve stopped emailing altogether, deleted accounts, and reconsidered dumbphones. Julian Assange—or at least, a ten-years-younger and more innocent Assange—would say he’s already won.

      After another week of Clinton-related emails roiling this election, the political world has been left to scrub their inboxes, watch their private correspondences be picked over in public, and psychoanalyze WikiLeaks’ inscrutable founder. Once they’re done sterilizing their online lives, they might want to turn to an essay Assange wrote ten years ago, laying out the endgame of his leaking strategy long before he became one of the most controversial figures on the Internet.

    • WikiLeaks Sources Face Serious Charges Following CIA, FBI, DHS Hacks

      Two North Carolina men were arrested in September for their alleged roles in a hacking group responsible for breaching the email accounts of CIA Director John Brennan, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — and providing the contents to WikiLeaks.

    • David Crosby: America is no longer a democracy

      At three o’clock in the morning on the day we talk, David Crosby woke from a sound sleep and wrote a song. He’ll be the first one to tell you that wasn’t the case years ago when he was touring huge venues with Crosby, Stills and Nash and CSNY in between bouts of his public struggles with drugs, alcohol and prison (he was jailed for five months in 1986 for on weapons and drugs charges).

      But with Lighthouse, a new album due this month, Crosby continues the hot streak he started in 2014 with Croz, his first solo album in 20 years. As a founding member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash – and one of the finest voices of his generation – Crosby could well be sitting on his laurels. But the stunning material on Lighthouse, which is focused squarely on his vocals and guitar, suggest he is more creatively engaged than he has been since his much younger days.

    • Warnings of conspiracy stoke anger among Trump faithful

      In an arena normally reserved for ice hockey, the Donald Trump crowd was on edge.

      Some wore shirts with slogans like “[Expletive] Your Feelings” or, in reference to the female Democratic nominee, “Trump that Bitch.” Others had buckets of popcorn, ready for the show. When the media entourage entered, thousands erupted in boos.

      Anger and hostility were the most overwhelming sentiments at a Trump rally in Cincinnati last week, a deep sense of frustration, an us-versus-them mentality, and a belief that they are part of an unstoppable and underestimated movement. Unlike many in the country, however, these hard-core Trump followers do not believe the real estate mogul’s misfortunes are of his own making.

    • Transcripts of Clinton’s Wall Street talks released in new Wikileaks dump

      U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s full remarks to several Wall Street audiences appeared to become public on Saturday when the controversial transparency group Wikileaks dumped its latest batch of hacked emails.

      The documents showed comments by Clinton during question-and-answer sessions with Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and Tim O’Neill, the bank’s head of investment management, at three separate events in 2013 in Arizona, New York and South Carolina.

      Some excerpts of Clinton’s speeches had already been released. For more than a week, Wikileaks has published in stages what it says are hacked emails from the account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

      Clinton’s campaign has declined to verify the emails. Goldman Sachs did not immediately provide any comment on Saturday.

    • Donald Trump’s Son & Campaign Manager Both Tweet Obviously Fake Story

      It’s no secret that there’s been a huge number of totally fake news websites popping up in the past few years. Apparently, it’s a fun and profitable venture. While some of the fake news sites come up with generic names, like National Report, Hot Global, The Valley Report and Associated Media Coverage, some of the most successful fake news sites just make use of the big well-known broadcaster websites… and just get a .co domain: using nbc.com.co or abcnews.com.co. Some of the hoax stories are really well done — and, yes, even we’ve been fooled, though in our defense, the fake story we fell for… was so believable it became true just months later. But, of course, we’re just a bunch of random bloggers, not a Presidential campaign.

      The Trump campaign, on the other hand, should know better. Amusingly, of course, this week we’ve talked about the Trump campaign’s willingness to fall for hoaxes, but they seemed to take it up a notch this week. I first noticed it when I saw Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway tweet an obviously fake story, claiming that an anti-Trump protestor was really paid by the Clinton campaign.

    • How One Young Black Man Supporting Trump Massively Skews The LA Times Presidential Poll

      Let’s jump right into this, because this post is going to be a bit on the wonky side. It’s presidential silly season, as we have said before, and this iteration of it is particularly bad, like a dumpster fire that suddenly has a thousand gallons of gasoline dropped onto it from a crop-duster flown by a blind zombie. Which, of course, makes it quite fascinating to watch for those of us with an independent persuasion. Chiefly interesting for myself is watching how the polls shift and change with each landmark on this sad, sad journey. It makes poll aggregating groups, such as the excellent Project FiveThirtyEight, quite useful in getting a ten-thousand foot view as to how the public is reacting to the news of the day.

      But sites like that obviously rely on individual polls in order to generate their aggregate outlooks, which makes understanding, at least at a high level, just how these political polls get their results interesting as well. And, if you watch these things like I do, you have probably been curious about one particular poll, the U.S.C. Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll, commonly shortened to the USC/LAT poll, which has consistently put out results on the Presidential race that differ significantly from other major polls. That difference has generally amounted to wider support for Donald Trump in the race, with specific differences in support for Trump among certain demographics. To the credit of those that run the poll, they have been exceptionally transparent about how they generate their numbers, which led the New York Times to dig in and try to figure out the reason for the skewed results. It seems an answer was found and it’s gloriously absurd.

    • Speaker Paul Ryan Tries to Change the Topic

      One day after Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of 20,000 in Cincinnati, Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to a group of about 100 undergraduates, 50 reporters and a phalanx of cameras on the “Failures of Liberal Progressivism” in a heavily controlled and scripted event in Madison on Friday.

      The students were members of the College Republicans of UW-Madison, a student group led by Gov. Scott Walker’s son Alex Walker.

      Acknowledging that the election has taken “a dark turn,” Ryan quickly pivoted to his hallmark message of fiscal austerity and his Better.GOP site, a website and policy plan first unveiled in June.

      [...]

      The invitation-only speaking engagement and managed “Q&A” at the Madison Masonic Center Foundation followed a tumultuous week for Ryan which began last Friday with the release of an Access Hollywood audio tape in which Trump brags about his ability to grope women. When you’re a star, “they let you do anything,” said Trump.

      The following day, Ryan rescinded Trump’s invitation to his annual “Fall Fest” in his congressional district. But Ryan was booed and heckled by some of Trump’s grassroots supporters and even called a “traitor,” according to news accounts. On Monday, Ryan said in a conference call with House Republicans that he will no longer defend Trump, nor campaign for him, over the objections of some.

    • Trump, Victim Shaming, Coincidences and Some Questions About the New York Times

      Did none of the many, many Republican primary candidates do any opposition research about Trump during the months and months of the primary season? Given the apparent accessibility of Trump sexual assault material, how was none of this found by Trump’s earlier opponents, who were certainly digging for dirt? A Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio could have knocked Trump out of the race in April with half this information.

      Similar question; did no media investigate Trump’s background during his 18 months of candidacy?

      Coincidences happen, just not as often as we’d like to believe. Was any of the timing of any of this indeed coincidental, given much of this information was never reported for decades but is now front paged a few weeks before the election? I am well-aware of the reasons a woman might choose not to report an attack for many years. I am sometimes a bit more skeptical when after 30 years, during which Trump was in the media spotlight, and then another 18 months of Trump as a leading candidate, the accusations emerge only weeks before the election, timed nearly to the day with bookended presidential debates.

      And the big one.

      What process did the New York Times pursue before it decided to print the stories of the two initial Trump accusers? How did the Times vett their stories? If I were to walk into the Times’ newsroom today and report that either Trump or Hillary had inappropriately touched me in 1979, what process would unfold at the Times before my statement was published?

      I’m not being a smartass. I am not “victim shaming.” I do not believe asking these questions, especially the procedural questions about how the Times conducted its journalism, amounts to victim shaming. This is politics. No one is saying they are suing Trump, or engaged in a criminal case against him. It is at this point pure politics.

    • Russia, Terror and Taxes Dominate Debates; Climate, Poverty, Abortion Barely Mentioned

      A review of topics mentioned and questions asked in the first three presidential/vice-presidential debates shows a significant emphasis on Russia, terrorism and taxes—pushing aside most other issues, including climate change, abortion, education, campaign finance and LGBTQ rights.

      The total mentions of Russia and Putin—the number of times the words were said by either candidates or moderators—was 137. For ISIS and “terrorism” combined, it was 101. “Taxes” were mentioned 171 times—94 times in the context of tax policy, 77 times in regard to Donald Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns.

      In contrast, “climate change” (or “global warming”)—widely recognized as the biggest existential threat facing humanity—has only been mentioned three times. All three mentions were by Hillary Clinton, made in passing.

      “Poverty” (and “the poor”), “drugs,” “abortion” (with “right to choose” and “pro-life”) and “environment” have each been mentioned less than 10 times. LGBTQ issues (“LGBT,” “gay,” “trans,” “marriage equality”) were brought up in passing three times—once for the sole purpose of criticizing Russia. “Campaign finance” and/or Citizens United was brought up once by Clinton.

      The NSA (along with “privacy” and “surveillance”) and Native Americans have not been mentioned onstage once.

      In the first three debates, Russia and Putin have been mentioned more than the TPP, trade, race, guns, Social Security, the Supreme Court, education, student debt, poverty, drugs, abortion, climate change, LGBTQ issues and the environment combined, with 137 vs. 132 mentions.

    • Engage In Sex, Not War

      During the sexual scandals of Bill Clinton—the “bimbo eruptions” as Hillary called them—the Democrats and progressive opinion ruled out a person’s sex life as a political factor. Now suddenly nothing more than juvenile locker room banter without the actual sex has become the determinant of political unfitness.

      Where did the 11-year old recording of locker room talk between Donald Trump and Billy Bush come from? Who recorded it and kept it for 11 years for what purpose? Why was it released the day prior to the second debate between Trump and Hillary? Was the recording an illegal violation of privacy? What became of the woman who recorded Monica Lewinsky’s confession to her of sex with Bill Clinton? Wasn’t she prosecuted for wiretaping or some such offense? Why was Billy Bush, the relative of two US presidents, suspended from his TV show because of a private conversation with Trump?

    • The Donald Lives!

      The press had to cover it. Then the women marched into the auditorium at Washington University to watch Hillary Clinton defend her behavior toward them after their encounters with Bill.

      As the moderators and Hillary Clinton scrambled to refocus on Trump’s comments of a decade ago, Trump brought it back to Bill’s criminal misconduct against women, his lying about it, and Hillary’s aiding and abetting of the First Predator.

    • After the Republic

      Electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump cannot change that trajectory.

      [...]

      Because it is difficult to imagine a Trump presidency even thinking about something so monumental as replacing an entire ruling elite, much less leading his constituency to accomplishing it, electing Trump is unlikely to result in a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction. Continuing pretty much on the current trajectory under the same class will further fuel revolutionary sentiments in the land all by itself. Inevitable disappointment with Trump is sure to add to them.

    • Blaming Millennials for Their Elders’ Trump Attraction

      Mahken, Stern and Boot all argue that declining civic education standards—a popular target of neoliberal criticism—gave rise to the ignorant population that bred Trump. There’s one basic problem with this premise: It doesn’t make any sense.

      If Trump’s support were tethered to declining education standards, the younger someone is (e.g. the more recently they were educated), the more likely they would be to vote Trump. But Trump’s voters trend overwhelmingly older: He’s most popular with voters 65 and over, least popular with those under 30

      The two most recent examples of this argument, by Stern and Boot, are textbook think piece sophistry: They begin with a superficially appealing premise designed to flatter the reader (people are dumber, therefore Trump; but not you, you’re smart) and throw out some data points, pivot to a conclusion that doesn’t follow and hope no one notices. While Boot doesn’t use the word Millennial, it’s the logical implication of what’s he’s advancing. (His examples supporting his claim that people are getting more stupid are all relatively recent.)

    • Dear Clinton Team: We Noticed You Might Need Some Email Security Tips

      There is probably no one more acutely aware of the importance of good cybersecurity right now than Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails have been laid bare by WikiLeaks, are being mined for news by journalists (including at The Intercept), and are available for anyone with internet access to read.

      So as a public service to Podesta and everyone else on Clinton’s staff, here are some email security tips that could have saved you from getting hacked, and might help you in the future.

    • White House Brief: Things to Know about Jill Stein

      This isn’t Stein’s first foray into presidential politics. She ran on the Green Party line in 2012, failing to crack 500,000 votes or generate any significant spotlight. She thinks this time could be different, thanks to Sanders. Stein wasted no time swooping in on his political revolution, campaigning in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention and rallying throngs of angry Sanders’ supporters outside of the convention hall when the Vermont senator conceded the nod to Hillary Clinton.

      Stein’s running on a platform of erasing all existing student debt, mobilizing what she calls a wartime effort to switch the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and disengaging from foreign wars that she says the United States has no business being in. She’s offering a dark view of the future, saying both Republicans and Democrats are leading the country into imminent disaster.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • CPJ calls on Thailand to not censor news during royal transition

      The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Thailand’s military government to lift a blanket censorship order on television news broadcasters imposed in the wake of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death yesterday.

      According to local news reports, all television news channels including foreign broadcasters were blocked and replaced with Royal Household Bureau footage eulogizing the Thai king. Local media were also barred from using Facebook live indefinitely, according to reports. Bhumibol, the world’s longest-serving monarch at the time of his death, reigned for 70 consecutive years.

    • Thai TV flicks back to colour, subdued, after king’s death

      Thai television flicked back to colour today – but with orders to keep it subdued – as the government lifted a black-and-white rule imposed out of respect for the country’s late king.

      All channels, including international satellite networks, have been replaced with prepared state media programmes praising revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death, who died Thursday after a 70-year reign.

    • 12 unspoken censorship rules for Bollywood, if it still wants to make movies

      The following are the unspoken censorship rules that Bollywood must follow if it still wants to make movies.

      1. Even if the Government of India issues visas to Pakistan talent you will not make films with them. You must understand that the government of India is not bothered about how our jawans are dying in the border fire but you, as a proud Indian, should be.

      2. Even if the Central Board of Film Certification clears your film, it can still be censored by political parties. The CBFC does not have people of any merit. They can only determine the length of the kiss in a film. It is our political parties who really know how to protect the value, culture and integrity of India.

    • Kashmir, Dylan, censorship hog limelight

      Sleepy Kasauli town reverberated with the sights and sounds of authors, intellectuals and actors as the three-day Khushwant Singh Literature Festival-2016 got underway on Friday.

      Apart from a number of panel discussions, the day also saw Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh declaring the Khushwant Singh trail open.

      One of the highlights of the day was the panel consisting of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, author and journalist Rahul Pandita and author and historian Dilip Simeon talking about the crisis in Kashmir with the topic being “Kashmir: Cry the Beloved Country.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Police Around the Country Regularly Abuse Law Enforcement Databases

      For more than a year, EFF has been investigating how police in California misuse the state’s law enforcement database with little oversight from officials. An investigation published by the Associated Press today shows that abuse of law enforcement systems is a nationwide problem.

      The AP’s investigation analyzed records from all 50 states and three dozen of the country’s largest cities. The reporters found that officers have routinely used law enforcement and driver databases to stalk ex-partners, dig up dirt on their neighbors, and even spy on celebrities and journalists.

    • [Old] Why the Warrant to Hack in the Playpen Case Was an Unconstitutional General Warrant

      Warrants are often considered the basic building block of the Fourth Amendment. Whenever the government seeks to engage in a search or seizure, it must first get a warrant, unless a narrow exception applies. In a previous post, we explained the significance of the Fourth Amendment “events”—several searches and seizures—that occurred each time the government employed its malware against visitors to Playpen.

      But simply calling something a warrant doesn’t make it a constitutionally valid warrant. In fact, the “immediate evils” that motivated the drafters of the Bill of Rights were “general warrants,” also known as “writs of assistance,” which gave British officials broad discretion to search nearly everyone and everything for evidence of customs violations. In the words of colonial lawyer James Otis, general warrants “annihilate” the “freedom of one’s house” and place “the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.”

    • What Yahoo’s NSA Surveillance Means for Email Privacy

      This is a terrible precedent and ushers in a new era of global mass surveillance. It means that US tech companies that serve billions of users around the world can now be forced to act as extensions of the US surveillance apparatus. The problem extends well beyond Yahoo. As was reported earlier, Yahoo did not fight the secret directive because Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the Yahoo legal team did not believe that they could successfully resist the directive.

      We believe that Yahoo’s assessment is correct. If it was possible to fight the directive, Yahoo certainly would have done so since they previously fought against secret FISA court orders in 2008. It does not make sense that US surveillance agencies would serve Yahoo Mail with such an order but ignore Gmail, the world’s largest email provider, or Outlook. There is no doubt that the secret surveillance software is also present in Gmail and Outlook, or at least there is nothing preventing Gmail and Outlook from being forced to comply with a similar directive in the future. From a legal perspective, there is nothing that makes Yahoo particularly vulnerable, or Google particularly invulnerable.

    • CIA threatens cyber attacks against Russia

      The CIA was recently reported to have issued the threat of cyber attacks against the Russian leadership, in retaliation for alleged and unsubstantiated claims that Russia is trying to influence the American elections.

    • Five EFF Tools to Help You Protect Yourself Online

      Do you get creeped out when an ad eerily related to your recent Internet activity seems to follow you around the web? Do you ever wonder why you sometimes see a green lock with “https” in your address bar, and other times just plain “http”? EFF’s team of technologists and computer scientists can help. We engineer solutions to these problems of sneaky tracking, inconsistent encryption, and more. Our projects are released under free and open source licenses like the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses, and we make them freely available to as many users as possible. Where users face threats to their free expression, privacy, and security online, EFF’s technology projects are there to defend them.

    • How a Facial Recognition Mismatch Can Ruin Your Life

      It was just after sundown when a man knocked on Steve Talley’s door in south Denver. The man claimed to have hit Talley’s silver Jeep Cherokee and asked him to assess the damage. So Talley, wearing boxers and a tank top, went outside to take a look.

      Seconds later, he was knocked to the pavement outside his house. Flash bang grenades detonated, temporarily blinding and deafening him. Three men dressed in black jackets, goggles, and helmets repeatedly hit him with batons and the butts of their guns. He remembers one of the men telling him, “So you like to fuck with my brothers in blue!” while another stood on his face and cracked two of his teeth. “You’ve got the wrong guy,” he remembers shouting. “You guys are crazy.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Encryption Proposal Was “Impossible,” Said Top Adviser

      Hillary Clinton’s advisers recognized that her policy position on encryption was problematic, with one writing that it was tantamount to insisting that there was “‘some way’ to do the impossible.”

      Instead, according to campaign emails released by Wikileaks, they suggested that the campaign signal its willingness to use “malware” or “super code breaking by the NSA” to get around encryption.

      In the wake of the Paris attacks in November, Clinton called for “Silicon Valley not to view government as its adversary,” and called for “our best minds in the private sector to work with our best minds in the public sector to develop solutions that will both keep us safe and protect our privacy.”

      When asked during a debate in December whether she would legally compel companies to build a backdoor into their products to give law enforcement access to unencrypted communications, Clinton responded “I would not want to go to that point.”

      But she then called for a “Manhattan-like project” to develop secure communication while allowing the government to read messages.

      Cryptography experts overwhelmingly agree that backdoors inevitably undermine the security of strong encryption, making the two essentially incompatible.

    • Researchers Ask Court To Unseal Documents Related To Technical Assistance Requests And Electronic Surveillance Warrants

      This has the makings of a movement along the lines of the highly-unofficial “Magistrates Revolt.” More efforts are being made more frequently to push federal courts out of their default secrecy mode. The government prefers to do a lot of its work under the cover of judicial darkness, asking for dockets and documents to be sealed in a large percentage of its criminal cases.

      Just in the last month, we’ve seen the ACLU petition the court to unseal dockets related to the FBI’s takedown of Freedom Hosting using a Tor exploit and Judge Beryl Howell grant FOIA enthusiast Jason Leopold’s request to have a large number of 2012 pen register cases unsealed.

      Now, we have researchers Jennifer Granick and Riana Pfefferkorn petitioning [PDF] the Northern District of California court to unseal documents related to “technical assistance” cases — like the one involving the DOJ’s attempted use of an All Writs Order to force Apple to crack open a phone for it.

    • ‘NITE Team 4′ Announced, Seeks Crowd Funding – Screens & Trailer

      You play as a new recruit in the covert hacking cell, Network Intelligence & Technical Evaluation (NITE) Team 4. Engaged in cyberwarfare with black hat groups and hostile states, you will be in a struggle to penetrate highly secure targets. Your job is to use the STINGER hacking system to infiltrate hardened computer networks and coordinate strike teams on the ground to carry out missions that feature real espionage tradecraft terminology taken straight from leaked NSA documents.

    • New Story-Driven, TSW Inspired Sim Game Announced

      Alice & Smith have announced a new story-driven military hacking simulation game based on The Secret World. Called NITE Team 4, the game is based on both strategy and RPG elements with an emphasis and base on NSA top secret documents in the real world. A Kickstarter project has started and is already fully funded.

    • Military hacking RPG NITE Team 4 blends real NSA documents with gamified espionage

      In a world where hacking groups are a powerful tool in clandestine political warfare, we sure don’t exploit that rich fictional seam much in games. NITE Team 4, a currently funded Kickstarter title, looks to breach into that world and create an RPG out of what lies within.

    • Appeal Court Revives Lawyer’s Lawsuit Against The NSA’s Email Dragnet

      Another lawsuit against the NSA has been revived. Previously dismissed by a district court for lack of standing, attorney Elliott Schuchardt’s suit against the NSA for its domestic surveillance has been remanded back to the court that tossed it.

      Like several other surveillance lawsuits, Schuchardt’s springs from the Snowden leaks. Unlike some of the others, it doesn’t focus on the NSA’s phone metadata collection — the subject of the first Snowden leak. Instead, his challenges the constitutionality of the NSA’s Section 702 collection. With this program, the NSA apparently collects not just metadata on electronic communications, but also the content.

    • Even NSA BFF Verizon Thinks Warrantless Location Data Collection May Have Gone Too Far

      You’d be hard pressed to find companies more bone-grafted to the nation’s intelligence gathering apparatus than AT&T and Verizon. So much so that it’s often difficult to determine where the government ends, and where the telecom duopoly begins. From Mark Klein highlighting how AT&T was giving the NSA live access to every shred of data that touched the AT&T network, to Snowden’s revelation of Verizon’s handover of customer metadata, these are companies that were not only eager to tap dance around privacy and surveillance law, but actively mocked companies that actually stood up for consumer privacy.

      That’s why it’s notable to see one of Verizon’s top lawyers, Craig Silliman, penning an op-ed over at Bloomberg implying that location data hoovering has jumped the shark. Silliman details the problems arising in the age of location data collection, and specifically how four recent district courts have ruled that law enforcement can get location data without a warrant. These rulings relied on the “third-party doctrine,” or the argument that consumers lose privacy protections to this information if they’re willing to share it with a third party — aka Verizon.

    • Top German court rejects lawmakers’ request for NSA targets [Ed: same as below]
    • Top German court rejects lawmakers’ request for NSA targets

      Germany’s top court has rejected German lawmakers’ demands for access to a secret list of U.S. eavesdropping targets.

      Parliament’s intelligence oversight panel, known as the G 10 committee, had asked the Constitutional Court to force the German government to hand over the list. It contains “selectors” — such as phone numbers and email addresses — that the U.S. National Security Agency wants allies to monitor.

      Following ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks in 2013, German media reported that the targets included officials and companies in Germany and other European countries.

    • Salesforce CEO has “walked away” from deal with beleaguered Twitter

      In the wake of Salesforce’s CEO publicly saying Friday that his company would not buy Twitter, the popular social network’s stock price has dropped more than six percent as of this writing.

      “In this case we’ve walked away. It wasn’t the right fit for us,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the Financial Times.

      For months, rumors have swirled that numerous tech giants, ranging from Apple to Google, would snap up the San Francisco startup, which has lost nearly $2 billion from 2011 through 2015.

      Twitter has had a hard time attracting new users, which, in turn, has resulted in flat or slow growth.

    • After being outed for massive hack and installing an NSA “rootkit,” Yahoo cancels earnings call

      What do you do if your ailing internet giant has been outed for losing, and then keeping silent about, 500 million user accounts, then letting American spy agencies install a rootkit on its mail service, possibly scuttling its impending, hail-mary acquisition by a risk-averse, old economy phone company? Just cancel your investor call and with it, any chance of awkward, on-the-record questions.

    • DOJ: Microsoft Email Ruling Leaves Evidence Out of Authorities’ Hands

      In July, a court ruled that Microsoft did not have to provide the Department of Justice with the emails of a criminal suspect stored in Ireland. The case reportedly revolves around Gary Davis, who is charged with being a staff member of the dark web marketplace Silk Road.

      That ruling was seen as a victory for privacy and civil liberties campaigners. But the DOJ is not giving up. On Thursday, government attorneys filed a petition asking for the case to be reheard.

      The July ruling, “is significantly limiting an essential investigative tool used thousands of times a year, harming important criminal investigations around the country, and causing confusion and chaos among providers as they struggle to determine how to comply,” the DOJ writes in its petition, filed in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and sent to Motherboard by DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr.

    • Verizon reportedly wants $1 billion discount on Yahoo

      Verizon may not have bailed out of its deal to purchase Yahoo for $4.8 billion, but amid a growing case of bad news at the search engine company, the telecommunications giant is reportedly pushing to reduce the acquisition price by $1 billion.

      According to the New York Post, AOL chief Tim Armstrong, who runs the Verizon subsidiary that would be the umbrella company for Yahoo, is “getting cold feet.” Sources tell the publication that he’s “pretty upset about the lack of disclosure and he’s saying can we get out of this or can we reduce the price?”

      Yahoo is currently embroiled in two scandals, one of which involves hackers illegally accessing 500 million account. Members of the U.S. Congress have called upon the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Yahoo’s disclosures in light of the hacking. The other issue involves Yahoo’s apparent compliance with U.S. intelligence agencies in secretly scanning customer emails, especially years after the Snowden revelations.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amy Goodman Is Facing Prison for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All.

      This Monday afternoon, as the sun hits its peak over Mandan, North Dakota, the award-winning journalist, and host of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman will walk into the Morton County–Mandan Combined Law Enforcement and Corrections Center and turn herself in to the local authorities. Her crime: good, unflinching journalism.

    • Why Is North Dakota Arresting Journalists For Doing Journalism?

      Two years ago, we wrote about the ridiculousness of police arresting reporters for reporting in Ferguson, Missouri, even though courts had told police to knock it off. Even more ridiculous is that those reporters were eventually charged, leading to a ridiculous settlement earlier this year.

      And yet… arresting journalists for doing journalism continues to be a thing. As you probably know, there have been a bunch of protests in North Dakota lately concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline. Back in September, after covering the protests and having some of her videos of an attack on the protestors go viral, famed Democracy Now reporter Amy Goodman found out an arrest warrant had been issued for her. It’s pretty clear that this arrest warrant was solely because of the coverage reflecting poorly on officials.

      On Thursday, Goodman said that she’ll surrender to authorities next week. As Democracy Now points out, the criminal complaint against her is so transparently unconstitutional and so transparently about intimidating reporters, that it actually notes that “Amy Goodman can be seen on the video identifying herself and interviewing protesters about their involvement in the protest.” Right. That’s called journalism. Goodman was basically arrested for doing journalism that the powers-that-be dislike.

    • Outrageous! Felony Charges Given to Journalist Filming Anti-Pipeline Protest

      Many of you may have read my post on EcoWatch this morning, and already know that Deia Schlosberg, the producer of my new climate change documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, was arrested Tuesday in Walhalla, North Dakota, for filming a protest against a pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S.

    • The New Federal Safety Guidelines For Self-Driving Cars Are Too Vague… And States Are Already Making Them Mandatory

      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earned plaudits from across the tech sphere for its recently released safety guidelines for self-driving cars.

      With the NHTSA looking to offer guidance to this emerging industry, the agency issued a set of rules that largely just asks manufacturers to report on how they were following the guidelines. The 15-point checklist is vague in quite a few details, but that isn’t necessarily a tremendous problem so long as the standards remain voluntary, which they purport to be. To many, this approach struck a good overall balance between oversight and flexibility.

      Regulatory ambiguity can, however, turn out to be a real nightmare with standards that are mandatory. Vague rules can leave even the best-intentioned firms at a loss as to how to proceed. Given how much of a premium consumer confidence will be in a market as revolutionary and potentially transformative as autonomous vehicles, it’s crucial that manufacturers comply with whatever standards the federal government promulgates.

    • My Secret Evidence to Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee

      I have been considering my appearance before the Committee.

      As you will know, there has been very substantial doubt in the human rights community about the good faith of your committee’s inquiry. I have been prepared to give the benefit of the doubt and offer to cooperate.

      However if the committee really are genuine, they should wish me to be able to prepare and give the best evidence that I am able to do. There is no doubt that something went very wrong in terms of the UK government’s collusion with overseas torture programmes. The Feinstein report made plain that the CIA was very wrong in what it did, and your committee know very well that the CIA was sharing with SIS the intelligence obtained by torture. The British government has settled with large payments cases where the British government was involved more actively.

    • Structural Racism and Human-Rights

      In the first half-hour, author and professor Carol Anderson rejoins the Project Censored Show to discuss structural racism in the US, especially in the context of the presidential campaign. In the second half of the program, human-rights activists Hector Aristizabal and Isabel Garcia speak about conditions on the US-Mexico border, and how multiple US administrations have enforced border policies that bring death to many immigrants. They also discuss the Border Convergence taking place October 7 – 10.

    • A Missed Chance to Put Discriminatory Policing on Campaign Agenda

      But only a few—like Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post (10/7/16), Steven Holmes at CNN (10/7/16)—reminded us of Trump’s full-page screed in the New York Times, calling uncryptically for the young men to be executed and demanding an end to “our continuous pandering to the criminal population.” Trump’s CNN statement indicates that he would still support executing people whom the courts have found innocent. But no one withdrew their support or demanded an apology, and the comments were pushed off the page just hours later by the unearthing of tape of Trump joking about sexual assault.

      Those abhorrent remarks deserve the attention; but as The Intercept‘s Liliana Segura (10/11/16) noted, Trump’s comments on the Central Park Five also have wider repercussion. The ugly truth, she writes, is that his attitude is all too common in district attorneys’ offices. Prosecutors routinely defend the convictions of innocent people even after exoneration, and often block efforts to test for such evidence as DNA in the first place. When convictions are overturned, DAs often refuse to drop charges, dragging out the legal fight and forcing people found innocent to live under constant threat of re-imprisonment.

      Governors play a role—like Mike Pence, who recently refused to grant pardon to a man in Indiana, exonerated with DNA evidence after 10 years in prison. (Pence’s office said he refused to consider granting a pardon “out of respect for the judicial process.”)

      Hillary Clinton has shown more concern about wrongful convictions, but, Segura notes, she still supports the death penalty. And while in theory one might support executions while opposing killing innocent people, reality—preeminently, the exoneration of more than 150 death row prisoners to date — shows these positions are irreconcilable.

    • UK Torture Secrets Will Remain Secret

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has agreed that I shall be able to review Top Secret and other classified documents which contain the evidence of UK complicity in torture and my attempts to stop it, before giving evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. But under conditions which make plain the determination that the dirtiest of secrets will remain firmly shut away. Given that parliament actually defers to the FCO over what can and cannot be done, the entire pointlessness of the Intelligence and Security Committee Inquiry is starkly revealed.

      Gareth Peirce as my counsel is not to be allowed in to any of my evidence where anything secret is being discussed – which is 100% of it. I think that really says everything about the “Inquiry” that you need to know.

    • For Black Men, Running Is a Reasonable Reaction to Police Harassment and Racial Profiling, Concludes Massachusetts’ Supreme Court

      The justices found that it’s reasonable for Black men to run from police because of the indignity of stop and frisk.

      In 2004, University of Virginia football player Marquis Weeks returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. After the game he described how he did it: “That was just instinct,” Weeks said with a laugh. “Kind of like running from the cops, I guess you could say.”

      It’s funny until it isn’t. The “instinct” exists for a reason. Black and brown people have been running from people with badges for generations, going all the way back to the days of the slave catchers, who were predecessors of modern-day police.

      Despite his obvious speed, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court caught up with Mr. Weeks this month. The court found that the facts of the case, including that the young Black male suspect tried to avoid the police, did not justify a stop and search of the young man.

    • Report: Every 25 Seconds, Cops Arrest Someone for Drug Possession

      The war on drugs may have failed, but it certainly hasn’t ended: Every 25 seconds in the U.S., someone is arrested for drug possession.

      Arrests for the possession and personal use of drugs are boosting the ranks of the incarcerated at astonishing rates — with 137,000 people behind bars for drugs on any given day, and 1.25 million every year. Possession of even tiny quantities of illicit drugs is criminalized in every state, a felony in most, and the No. 1 cause of all arrests nationwide. And while marijuana is now legal in a handful of states and decriminalized in others, in 2015 police nationwide made over 547,000 arrests for simple marijuana possession — more than for all categories of violent crime combined. These arrests are feeding people into a criminal justice system that’s rife with inefficiencies, abuse, and racism, and compounding drug users’ substance abuse with the lifelong impact of a criminal record.

      The staggering numbers, detailed in a report released today by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, shed new light on the colossal impact of the criminalization of drug use, as well as on the discriminatory impact of its enforcement. These laws have done nothing to stem the public health problem of drug addiction and in the process have destroyed countless lives and cost incalculable amounts of public resources in arrests, prosecution, and incarceration, the report charges.

      Nearly half a century after it was first launched by President Nixon, the war on drugs has been widely recognized to have been a failure, yet little of substance has been done to reverse its course and the catastrophic damage it continues to inflict. In fact, while piecemeal approaches to fixing some of its symptoms — like sentencing reform, marijuana reclassification, and some discussion of police abuse — have by now been embraced within mainstream politics, the drug war’s founding policy, the criminalization of the personal use and possession of drugs, has rarely been questioned.

    • Drawing Representative Districts

      FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY, “one person, one vote” has been essential to American representative democracy. Key to preserving equal representation is redistricting, occurring most broadly every 10 years. The decennial census records population changes, which states must reflect in legislative districts to make the democratic process fair.

      But in many states this is a highly partisan process that is not always fair or in voters’ interests, says Laughlin McDonald, ACLU special counsel, who has fought voter suppression for decades. “Somewhere down the line they may consider the interest of the voters, but that’s not really what drives the process,” he says.

      Without Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, states are now free, without federal oversight, to make election-related changes that could adversely affect racial and language minorities.

    • It Is Time to Get Real About School Policinga

      Interactions between young people and police don’t occur just on the streets of America — they’re happening in our nation’s K-12 schools, too. Increasingly police have become “embedded” in schools, in many cases working there full-time. Many are considered school staff and have daily authority over students, even in situations that have traditionally been seen as everyday disciplinary matters.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The World Trade Organization Sets its Eyes on the Internet

      This week, EFF has been at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s annual Public Forum. Best known to the general public as the locus of anti-globalization protests at its 1999 Ministerial Conference, it’s ironic that the WTO is today the most open and transparent of trade negotiation bodies—an honor it holds mainly because of how closed and opaque the trade negotiations conducted outside the WTO are, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or on its margins, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).

      This year’s Public Forum, although notionally focusing on inclusive trade, has featured unprecedented interest in digital trade, with dozens of sessions dealing with this topic. Just a few of them, including the workshop “Boundaries and Best Practices for Inclusive Digital Trade” organized by EFF, have been summarized by the Geneva Internet Platform (you can also read slides from some of our workshop’s presentations below).

  • DRM

    • Amazon launches new ‘Music Unlimited’ service, starting at $4/month for use on just one Echo [Ed: DRM. Avoid.]

      Would you pay a few extra bucks a month to turn your smart home speaker into an intelligent, unlimited jukebox? Amazon is betting people will.

      The company on Wednesday is launching a new subscription music service, Amazon Music Unlimited, that starts at $3.99 a month for a library of tens of millions of songs. That’s less than half the cost of Apple Music, Spotify Premium and other competing music services.

    • Studio Ghibli’s first TV series getting English dub courtesy of Amazon

      Famed animation studio Studio Ghibli launched its first TV series, Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, in 2014, and fans’ wait for an official Western version is now coming to an end, thanks to Amazon.

      After the series’ 26-episode run wrapped, the studio began shopping an English-language version to various international channels and distributors. That shopping apparently concluded this week, as Amazon confirmed via a Friday press release that Ronja’s dub will debut exclusively on Amazon Video in the US, UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan. The news didn’t include a release date, but it did confirm one familiar voice joining the Ronja cast: Gillian Anderson, whose voice previously appeared in famed Ghibli film Princess Mononoke.

    • …And Here Come The Device-Restricted Music Subscriptions

      And so we enter a world with yet another means of fragmenting digital music services and making them way, way less appealing. At least they were decent enough to drop the price — but now that the floodgates are open, it’s entirely possible such heavily limited subscriptions will eventually become the new baseline, and truly open subscriptions that can be played anywhere (one of the biggest advantages of digital music) will morph into an expensive luxury. The key difference between this and our speculation about Apple limited output devices is that the restriction happens further upstream, with the subscription only being piped to one specific device — and if that device is an Echo Dot, there’s even still an analog jack so it can be plugged into just about anything else. But the next step — a subscription on a general purpose device like a phone with music that is artificially limited to only be output through certain devices, thanks to the DRM capabilities of digital-only connectors — feels slightly and worryingly closer to reality. And what will this accomplish? Nothing more than ensuring legal digital music continues to suck in unnecessary ways.

      The grand, omnipresent and incorrect assumption about music piracy is that it’s primarily motivated by price, and the desire to get content without paying. It’s not and it never has been: it’s motivated by restrictions, and the desire to easily access a wide variety of content how, when and where you choose. It’s about music being free, but not free as in beer.

      And so, naturally, the legacy music industry has sought out almost every opportunity to add restrictions and limitations to their digital offerings. Disruptive innovators like Spotify and Pandora fight an ongoing uphill battle to secure the necessary rights to offer something more open and appealing, and the massive digital retailers — Apple, Google and Amazon — drift around in between: aware and capable of the type of technological innovation necessary to make digital music services appealing, and armed with the money and clout to secure better licensing deals from rightsholders, but also prone (to varying degrees) to following in those rightsholders’ restrictive footsteps in order to fulfill their own dreams of total control and a captive audience. Amazon isn’t banking on people who are out searching for a digital music service deciding to go with the absurdly limited $4 option — it’s targeting existing Echo customers who might see it as a cheap add-on for some extra music around the house. It wants to upgrade those Echo users into Prime subscribers if they aren’t already (for even more music, since the services are weirdly fragmented from each other), and eventually turn new Echo-only music subscribers into fully dedicated Amazon Music customers. Instead of making it really, really easy to sign up for a music subscription that gives you everything you want on every device you own, it’s ensuring there are plenty of different ways for people to pay up for a tiny slice of that experience.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Lawmakers Warned That 10 Year Sentences Could Apply to File-Sharers

        The UK is currently forming new legislation that will harmonize sentences for offline and online piracy. While the theoretical 10-year maximum sentence is supposed to target only large-scale pirates, this week MPs were warned that wording in the Digital Economy Bill is not tight enough to exclude file-sharers.

      • Company Offers “Fraudulent” and Deceptive Copyright Registrations

        A ring of misleading websites is charging people to pay for copyright registrations in the UK, Australia and elsewhere, even though it’s a free and automatic right. In India, where there’s also an official registration office, the authorities are taking legal action to stop the “fraudulent” operation.

        [...]

        Interestingly the Indian Copyright Office has now become the center of a rights dispute itself. As it turns out, the website copyright.in is offering ‘unofficial’ copyright registrations to Indians as well.

        The website in question offer users “anteriority proof for their copyrights” in 164 countries, charging roughly $10 for a copyright registration.

      • AllMyVideos.net to Shut Down, No Longer Profitable

        Video-hosting service AllMyVideos.net has announced that it will shut down its website next weekend. The operator says that it’s no longer profitable to host videos due to a lack of revenue and encourages users to back up their files before it’s too late.

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    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  13. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  14. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  15. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  16. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  17. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  18. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  19. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  21. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  22. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  23. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  24. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  25. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  26. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  27. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  28. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  29. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  30. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day


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