Links 21/11/2016: New Linux RC, Zorin OS 12 Receives a Lot of Press Coverage

Posted in News Roundup at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • In memoriam: Pieter Hintjens

    Former FFII President, erstwhile OFE collaborator, and personal friend, Pieter Hintjens, passed away last month at the age of 53. Pieter was a programmer, an influential thinker, and a prolific writer who inspired many. While we did not always agree, I always appreciated the intelligence and passion he brought to everything he did. He will be much missed.

  • Best open source management tools

    Open source software provides an attractive alternative to more costly commercial products, but can open source products deliver enterprise-grade results? To answer this question we tested four open source products: OpenNMS, Pandora FMS, NetXMS and Zabbix. All four products were surprisingly good. We liked Pandora FMS for its ease of installation and modern user interface. In general, we found configuration to be easier and more intuitive with Pandora than the other contenders. NetXMS came in a close second with a nice user interface, easy to configure rules and a solid user manual. Overall, we found all four products suitable for enterprise use, particularly in small-to-midsize environments

  • Pandora FMS wins open-source management shootout

    Doing more with less remains an ongoing challenge for IT execs. Making sure everything keeps humming along to meet service-level agreements can be challenging for resource-stretched IT departments. For all but the smallest shops, effective monitoring requires tools that provide a meta view of the entire infrastructure with drill-down capabilities.

  • 4 ways to open up your project’s infrastructure

    Open source isn’t just about opening up your code—it’s also about building a supporting infrastructure that invites people to contribute. In order to create a vibrant, growing, and exciting project, the community needs to be able to participate in the governance, the documentation, the code, and the actual structures that keep the project alive. If the overall “hive” is doing well, it attracts more individuals with diverse skills to the project.

  • Minoca, it’s ‘another’ lightweight OS for IoT

    New on the scene is recent times is Minoca OS, a general purpose open source operating system written specifically to conserve power, storage and memory.

  • Events/Outreachy

    • Speak at The Linux Foundation’s Invite-Only Open Source Leadership Summit

      The Linux Foundation Open Source Leadership Summit (formerly known as Collaboration Summit) is where the world’s thought leaders in open source software and collaborative development convene to share best practices and learn how to create and advance the open source infrastructure that runs our lives.

      The Linux Foundation is now seeking executives, business and technical leaders, open source program office leaders, and open source foundation and project leaders to share your knowledge, best practices and strategies with fellow leaders at OSLS, to be held Feb. 14-16, 2017, in Lake Tahoe, CA.

    • LLVM Developer Meeting 2016 Videos Posted

      The videos from the LLVM Developer Meeting 2016 conference that took place at the beginning of November are now online.

    • Outreachy Winter 2016 Projects/Participants Announced

      The accepted participants and their projects for the Outreachy Winter 2016 session were announced earlier this month for helping females and other under-represented groups engage in free software development.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Early Stage Startup Heptio Aims to Make Kubernetes Friendly

      Two Former Google staffers the built the original Google Compute Engine and helped to create Kubernetes are launching their own company to fill a perceived gap in the container orchestration market.

      Heptio was officially announced on Nov. 17, as yet another company in the ever-growing landscape of vendors aiming to support the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. Heptio is noteworthy in that it was recently founded and led by the same two Google staffers, Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, that originally created Kubernetes in the first place.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • GLobjects 1.0.0 Released For OpenGL Aide

      GLobjects 1.0.0 has been released as an open-source library designed to make OpenGL usage “modern, less cluttered, and less error-prone.”

      GLobjects 1.0 is derived from glbinding and OpenGL Mathematics and provides a object-oriented C++-based interface.


  • Security

    • Linux versus Unix hot patching

      There has always been a debate about how close Linux can get to the real operating system (OS), the core proprietary Unix variants that for two decades defined the limits of non-mainframe scalability and reliability.

      But times are changing, and the new narrative may be when will Unix catch up to Linux on critical reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features such as hot patching?

      Hot patching, the ability to apply updates to the OS kernel while it is running, is a long sought-after but elusive feature of a production OS.

      It is sought after because both developers and operations teams recognise that bringing down an OS instance that is doing critical high-volume work is at best disruptive and at worst a logistical nightmare. Its level of difficulty also makes it somewhat elusive.

      There have been several failed attempts and implementations that almost worked, but they were so fraught with exceptions that they were not really useful in production.

    • Can I interest you in talking about Security?
  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Implicated in Targeting Yemeni Civilians

      Since March 2015, Yemen has been ravaged by armed conflict between the incumbent administration headed by President Abdrahbuh Mansour and the religious-political Houthi insurgency, sometimes linked to terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. The US had prioritized its anti-terrorism efforts in the Middle East following the rise of Musab al-Zarqawi (the founder of ISIS). But, in becoming preoccupied with hunts for other high-profile terrorist targets, the US let the internal socio-political state of Yemen fall to the wayside. To make up for past neglect, the Obama administration began backing Yemen’s Mansour administration and implementing “strategic” bombings. Today, Yemen is neck deep in a war they did not ask for, facing an enemy that is not identifiable.

      On August 15, 2016, “Abs Hospital, located in the country’s Hajjah governorate and supported by the international medical charity, was hit at 3:45 p.m. local time.” According to a statement released by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières [MSF]), nine individuals were killed on impact, including an MSF volunteer. Teresa Sancristóval, the MSF emergency program manager, claims that all military authorities were well informed regarding the GPS coordinates of the humanitarian hospital site, but failed to acknowledge it when planning the strike. There is still no information released on behalf of who was targeted by the strike.

    • 9/11, Permanent War, and the Transnational Capitalist Class

      Globalization of trade and central banking has empowered private corporations to positions of power and control never before seen in human history. Under advanced capitalism, the structural demands for a return on investment require an unending expansion of centralized capital in the hands of fewer and fewer people. The financial center of global capitalism is so highly concentrated that less than a few thousand people dominate and control some $100 trillion dollars of wealth.

    • Could David Petraeus, Rumored Candidate for Secretary of State, Get a Security Clearance?

      After months of criticizing Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information while serving as secretary of state, Donald Trump is reportedly considering David Petraeus for the same job, even though the four-star general and former CIA director pled guilty to passing classified information to his former lover and biographer.

      The Guardian reported on Thursday that Petraeus is in the running for secretary of state in the Trump administration. The anonymously sourced report could not be confirmed, but Petraeus reportedly met with Trump just before the election, and has since been complimentary about the president elect.

      On German cable news, Petraeus called Trump a “dealmaker,” and said, “He’s right to criticize Washington over its partisanship and its inability to forge compromises.”

      Petraeus resigned as CIA director in 2012 after the FBI discovered he was having an affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer. The resulting investigation revealed that he had given her highly classified information, and Justice Department prosecutors wanted to indict Petraeus on felony charges.

      According to his 2015 plea deal, Petraeus intentionally gave Broadwell access to eight “Black Books” filled with highly classified information, including “the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions,” and even Petraeus’s conversations with the president. He also admitted that he had misled the FBI during the investigation.


      John Pilger’s new film – The Coming War on China – will be in UK cinemas from Monday 5 December 2016 and on ITV at 10.35pm on Tuesday 6 December.

    • British Navy fires warning shots at Spanish vessel off Gibraltar

      The British Navy on Sunday fired flares at a Spanish research vessel after it ignored requests to leave the waters at Gibraltar’s coast and attempts to contact the crew failed, the Guardian reports.

      The boat, operated by Spain’s state Oceanographic Institute, entered the British waters several times within 48 hours, but ignored requests to leave.

      “The Royal Navy challenges all unlawful maritime incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters. We back this up by making formal diplomatic protests to the Spanish government,” a spokesperson for the ministry of defense told the Guardian.

      Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, said he was “satisfied” with the tactical decisions taken, AFP reports. Gibraltar says similar “provocative” incidents with Spanish vessels take place in its territorial waters, but it is rare for the Navy to fire flares.

    • Former NSA Director Doesn’t Think Michael Flynn Is Up To The Job

      Former National Security Agency director and CIA director Michael Hayden expressed concern about President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security advisor, Michael Flynn, saying Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, would be “stretched a bit” by his new role.

      “But by and large he’s been successful at the tactical operational level,” Hayden said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” “This is a strategic global job. And so I think he’ll be stretched a bit by this.”

    • A New Documentary Explores the Devastating Effects of Drone Warfare on Victims and Whistleblowers

      On the night of February 21, 2010, a group of families driving a convoy of vehicles through the valleys of Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan came into the sights of a Predator drone crew operating out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

      “That truck would make a beautiful target,” one of the operators says. The crew analyzes the convoy, debating whether children are present. “I really doubt that child call, man. I really fucking hate that shit.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Exploring Tidal Marsh Resilience to Sea Level Rise

      The NOAA-sponsored National Estuarine Research Reserve System released a national assessment of tidal marsh resilience in the face of rising sea levels. This assessment establishes a national monitoring baseline for estuarine climate change impacts.

      Using data from the reserve’s system-wide monitoring program, the study was conducted at 16 sites in 13 coastal states. The results indicate that Pacific coast tidal marshes are more resistant to rising seas levels from climate change than marshes in the Atlantic. Of the areas evaluated, one marsh in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, and another in Massachusetts’ Waquoit Bay were found to be the most vulnerable.

    • How Important is the Ocean to U.S. Island Territories?

      A new report allows readers to better understand the importance of the ocean to the economies of two U.S. territories in the Caribbean. For people who manage, protect, and make use of the resources in these special places, more accurate economic data about ocean use are key to good decision making. And good decisions will help keep our ocean healthy and resilient—supporting livelihoods for future generations. Shown here: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

    • San Francisco Bay And Outer Coast Sentinel Site Cooperative

      Rush Ranch, part of San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The tidal marshes at Rush Ranch and nearby China Camp serve as research sites for scientists; classrooms for teachers, land managers and naturalists; and inspiring places for Bay Area residents to visit. Credit: Tom Muehleisen.

      The region is a major urban and economic center and a unique ecological treasure. It is home to over seven million people, and retains some of the largest and most important natural areas along the west coast, including three National Marine Sanctuaries (Greater Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Monterey Bay), the Point Reyes National Seashore, the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The estuary serves as a major hub of commerce and supports the most intact Mediterranean-climate wetlands in North America.

      The San Francisco Sentinel Site Cooperative Management Team is currently comprised of representatives from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (OCM), the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), NOAA’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS), and California Sea Grant. The management team guides the development of the Cooperative and assists with engaging partners and linking existing efforts related to our focus areas, and expanding collaborations in the region.

    • Why “Climate Change” Must Become a Promise to Decolonize

      Like the racist policing we witnessed at the Dakota Access pipeline (and have been witnessing throughout the nation), climate change was, as feminist philosopher Chris J. Cuomo reminds us, “manufactured in a crucible of inequality.” Specifically, it is “a product of the industrial and the fossil-fuel eras, historical forces powered by exploitation, colonialism and nearly limitless instrumental use of ‘nature.’”

    • What we choose to resist

      I was standing in a crowded room filled with plaid and free cider. The student-run events space of Oxford Hub buzzed with a collective though rather timid optimism. Standing on a table with a foaming beer in his hand was Achim Steiner, Director of the Oxford Martin School and former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. He was delivering the first of the celebratory speeches.

      “In terms of global cooperation, the Paris Agreement was perhaps the most vital moment of sanity,” said Steiner. “Paris alone will not save us, but imagine if it had not happened.”

      In his words, the Agreement has forged an opportunity to deal with two key climate issues: legacy and equity. It has created the space to begin tackling the challenges of per-capita and historical CO2 emissions, and disparities such as the impacts of climate change on small island states and developing regions.

      As Steiner continued with his speech, however, he didn’t mince his words. Every syllable carried weight. “I have heard it all before,” he said, when referring to resistance to climate action and energy transitions. “We can’t do it. We don’t have the grid. It will affect our bottom line. It’s not possible. But the shareholders…”

    • English village strives for carbon neutrality

      South of Manchester, Ashton Hayes is a collection of tweed cottages and pretty houses, nestled between green fields and trees. But for the past 10 years, this small village has been showing world leaders how to save the planet.

      “I switched things off, wore more jumpers, changed how I used electricity – for example, I never used it after that for heating water,” says local Kate Harrison, as a way of explaining how she managed to cut her energy consumption by a whopping 60 percent over a short period of time.

      “Eventually I replaced my boiler for a much more efficient one – and just threw myself into the project, really.”

    • ‘Unprecedented’: More than 100 million trees dead in California

      California’s lingering drought has pushed the number of dead trees across the state past 100 million, an ecological event experts are calling dangerous and unprecedented in underlining the heightened risk of wildfires fueled by bone-dry forests.

      In its latest aerial survey released Friday, the U.S. Forest Service said 62 million trees have died this year in California, bringing the six-year total to more than 102 million.

    • Fiji’s Prime Minister Pleads With Trump: ‘Save Us’ From Climate Change

      Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has pleaded with Donald Trump and the American people to help save his slowly sinking nation. At this year’s global climate talks in Marrakech, he said that climate change was no hoax, and invited the President-elect to come visit Fiji and see the damage first hand.

      Mr. Bainimarama made his remarks on Friday, the last day of this year’s Conference of the Parties, a yearly meeting where UN signatories of the Paris Climate Agreement meet to discuss and plan its implementation.

      The spectre of a Trump administration and what that could mean for the climate agreement hung like a pall over the talks in Marrakech, and Mr. Bainimarama—slated to be president of next year’s meeting—addressed the worry directly on the closing day of the conference. His tiny island nation of Fiji is already under serious pressure from rising seas—a product of climate change.

  • Finance

    • German citizenship is ranked the most valuable in the world

      Not only do Germans have the most powerful passports in the world, they also have the highest quality of citizenship, according to a new report. The consultancy Henley & Partners’ first Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) ranks the value of 161 nations’ citizenship on a scale of 0 to 100%.

    • Sanders, Warren Not ‘Genuine Progressives’–Says Washington Post

      In standard theory, the people in the developing world buy their own stuff, with rich countries like the US providing the financing. It actually did work this way in the 1990s, up until the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. In that period, countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia were growing very rapidly while running large trade deficits. This pattern of growth was ended by the terms of the bailout imposed on these countries by the US Treasury Department through the International Monetary Fund.

      The harsh terms of the bailout forced these and other developing countries to reverse the standard textbook path and start running large trade surpluses. This post-bailout period was associated with slower growth for these countries. In other words, the poor of the developing world suffered from the pattern of trade the Post advocates. If they had continued on the pre-bailout path, they would be much richer today. In fact, South Korea and Malaysia would be richer than the United States if they had maintained their pre-bailout growth rate over the last two decades. (This is the topic of the introduction to my new book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer; it’s free.)

      It is also important to note that the Post is only bothered by forms of protection that might help working-class people. The United States prohibits foreign doctors from practicing in the United States unless they complete a US residency program. (The total number of slots is tightly restricted, with only a small fraction open to foreign-trained doctors.) This is a classic protectionist measure. No serious person can believe that the only way for a person to be a competent doctor is to complete a US residency program. It costs the United States around $100 billion a year ($700 per family) in higher medical expenses. Yet we never hear a word about this or other barriers that protect the most highly paid professionals from the same sort of international competition faced by steelworkers and textile workers.

    • TPP: A Post-Mortem

      The death of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that EFF called last week has since been confirmed by White House officials. This marks the end of a long-running campaign against the secretive agreement that EFF began back in 2012.

      Make no mistake; although the proximate cause of the TPP’s demise was the U.S. Presidential election result, the TPP faced long odds in Congress even if the election had gone the other way. This in turn was due to broad opposition to the agreement from many sectors of society across the political divide, including from members of the digital rights community. So as we survey the fallout from the TPP’s demise, EFF and its supporters are entitled to feel proud of the part we played.

    • NYC Lawmakers Push For Audits of Landlords Who Pocket $1.4 Billion Tax Break

      New York City’s biggest housing subsidy may finally get more scrutiny just as state lawmakers are about to consider a massive expansion of the controversial program.

      The $1.4 billion-a-year program, known as 421-a, is designed to wipe away most of the property taxes owed by real estate developers who agree in return to limit annual rent increases in new apartments they have constructed. For buildings in Manhattan as well as expensive neighborhoods in other boroughs, a certain percentage of units must also be set aside for low-income renters.

    • Federal Court Holds That the Government Can’t Lock Up Immigrants for Being Poor

      Cesar Matias, a gay man, fled to the United States from Honduras more than a decade ago to escape the persecution he suffered because of his sexuality. He worked as a hair stylist and in a clothing factory in Los Angeles and rented a small, one-bedroom apartment.

      In March 2012, immigration agents arrested him; locked him up in the city jail in Santa Ana, California; and put him in deportation proceedings. He applied for asylum, and an immigration judge found him eligible for release while his case was being decided. He then spent the next four years of his life in prison — not because of any crime, but because he couldn’t afford to pay the $3,000 bond set by the judge.

    • For the poor, Texas’ justice system is a maze with no exit

      Dee Arellano had just parked her car in downtown Houston when she was approached by a police officer on horseback. The officer cited her because her vehicle registration had lapsed, a common infraction.

    • A ‘trade war’ is already going on in cyberspace

      After the initial shock-and-awe reaction to the surprise Trump victory, the markets rejoiced last week… a lot.

      “The Dow closed at an all-time high on Thursday, while the S&P and the Nasdaq were flirting with their record highs entering Friday,” reported CNBC.

      Others were less thrilled with the election result. Some experts claimed Trump’s plans to raise tariffs on China, withdraw from NAFTA, and otherwise stop globalization in its tracks would surely set off a trade war and hurt the markets.

      I disagree.

      I think Trump can’t start a trade war because we are already in one. It’s been going on for years, right under our noses… and it’s happening in cyberspace.

    • Economist’s research reveals poverty should be measured by more than income

      Since social scientists and economists began measuring poverty, the definition has never strayed far from a discussion of income.

      New research from Georgia Tech economist Shatakshee Dhongde shows there are multiple components of poverty that more accurately describes a household’s economic condition. Dhongde looks at “deprivation” more than simply low income, and her work finds that almost 15 percent of Americans are deprived in multiple dimensions.

      “This study approaches poverty in a new way,” said Dhongde, who recently published “Multi-Dimensional Deprivation in the U.S.” in the journal Social Indicators Research.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘None of the old rules apply’: Dave Eggers travels through post-election America

      It was different in 2008. Knowing that Michigan was securely in Obama’s column and Ohio was on the bubble, Rob and Jenny went to Toledo to knock on doors in trailer parks and housing projects. Foreclosure signs were common. When they introduced themselves as canvassers for Obama, the residents, all of them white, were welcoming and chatty. “The interactions were long,” Mickey said. “The people were worried and they wanted to talk.” Ohio’s 18 electoral votes went to Obama in 2008 and 2012.

      “This campaign wore a lot of people down,” Mickey said. “The state was bombarded by pro-Clinton ads, but she failed to offer any sustained and coherent economic message. She said, ‘I’m not crazy’ and ‘I’m not a sexist racist pig’, but for working class whites that’s not enough. I would say that of the people who slammed their doors on me, most of them didn’t vote for either candidate.”

    • Lashing Out at ‘Identity Politics,’ Pundits Blame Trump on Those Most Vulnerable to Trump

      Over the past two weeks, pundits from all ends of the spectrum have been scrambling to explain Clinton’s unexpected loss, with reasons spanning from the plausible to the highly dubious; WikiLeaks, Bernie Sanders, fake news, Jill Stein, Russia, bad algorithms and the FBI have all been accused of having sole or part responsibility. Lately, however, a new, entirely bogus culprit has emerged from center and center-left circles: “identity politics” and its close cousin, “political correctness.”

    • Those Damn Emails

      Clinton supporters were surprised the emails mattered at all, because they had been fed a regular and often fully-factually wrong diet by the majority of the media. There was some good reporting on what the emails meant, and how classification works, but it was almost all on right-of-center websites Clinton people did not read, and blithely dismissed as biased when the sites were brought to their attention. And yeah, sometimes things got a bit too partisan in tone, but the facts were also there.

    • Hamilton vs Trump

      “Apologize!” was President elect Donald Trump conclusion of two messages he wrote to the cast of Hamilton, one of the most successful Broadway musicals in recent times. He was thus responding to the incident in which actor Brandon Victor Dixon, that played Vice President Aaron Burr, addressed the audience of the show.

      At the end of last Friday’s performance, noting that Vice President-elect Mike Pence was in the audience, he used the opportunity to thank Mr. Pence for attending the show and told him, “We hope you will hear us out.”

      And then Dixon added, “We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”

    • For Many Americans, A Day to Forget
    • A Victory for ‘White’ America

      My reaction four days out from the moral tragedy of Donald Trump’s election as President is this: we are two nations, not one nation. On Nov. 8, 2016, one nation, a very white, very gerrymandered nation, braced by feeble voter turnout, conquered the other.

      The conquest will continue for at least a generation since it includes control of the U.S. Supreme Court. Mid-term elections may bring minor relief (or possibly not because Senate Democrats have far more seats to defend than Republicans) but the conquering nation knows that the Supreme Court and other judges pipe the tune to which all must dance.

    • Trump Can’t Hear What the Cast of “Hamilton” Tried to Tell Him

      The message, written by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, with input from the cast and crew, certainly reached Trump Tower, less than a mile away from the Richard Rodgers Theater, since it inspired a fit from the man whose divisive campaign stirred the alarm and anxiety the cast described, Donald Trump.

      Despite the intensely civil tone of this act of dissent, Trump inaccurately claimed that Pence “was harassed” by the cast of the play, and then described their plea for tolerance as “very rude,” before demanding an apology.

    • We Cannot “Give Trump a Chance”

      In the ten days since the election, several thousand people have phoned and emailed my Seattle City Council office in their fury over my call to shut down Donald Trump’s agenda with massive peaceful protests on Inauguration Day.

      Many messages were from middle- and working-class people who had voted for Trump because they hated corporate Democrats and Hillary Clinton, and mistakenly believed that Trump was going to stand up for the ordinary Americans. Many were also racist and misogynist, saying things like, “You don’t belong here with the bull***t you spew from your c***su**er,” or “Drop dead and go back to turbanville.”

      Call after call, while having zero tolerance for bigotry and threats, my staff patiently explained to the more reasonable Trump supporters that we agree working people have been sold out by corporate politicians. That we completely oppose the bipartisan, big business policies of “free trade” deals like the TPP and NAFTA, corporate tax handouts, and the close ties of both parties to Wall Street. Callers were surprised to learn that while I fiercely oppose Trump, I did not back Hillary Clinton (I campaigned for Bernie Sanders, and later Jill Stein). Many were simply not reachable, as they spewed hate on all those protesting their president-elect. They will have to experience Donald Trump’s policies in office to see him for what he is: a con man and representative of the billionaire class who sold the lie that he will bring back the American Dream.

      My first grim thoughts as I saw some of the horrifying emails was that I will be far from the only person targeted after the dangerous rise of Donald Trump. Bigots are feeling emboldened. Already a surge in bullying and hate crimes has taken place, and the KKK felt confident to hold a rally in North Carolina to celebrate Trump’s victory.

    • Trump Assembling Team of ‘Swamp Creatures,’ Says Ellison

      Forget “draining the swamp,” President-elect Donald Trump is building a cabinet full of “more swamp creatures than ever before,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

      Appearing on the morning show, the progressive lawmaker, who is running to chair the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said, “Donald Trump has already proven where he’s going with this thing,” based on the nominees thus far.

      “He has lobbyists and big-time investment bankers,” Ellison continued, pointing to the recent Politico article, “Why Wall Street is Suddenly in Love with Trump.”

      “He’s not doing what he’s said he’s gonna do for average working Americans,” he added.

    • Meet the Candidate For Attorney General Who’s Hunted Quail with Corporate Donors

      While Donald Trump was running for the White House, he bashed politicians who courted the billionaire Koch brothers as “puppets” and vowed to “drain the swamp” in Washington by squelching cozy relationships between lobbyists and elected officials.

      Take, for example, Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, who is reportedly on the short list to become Trump’s attorney general.

      Last month, Kobach was among a group of Republican secretaries of state who spent the weekend hunting pheasant and quail and shooting clay pigeons with corporate donors at a Kansas lodge, a getaway funded by industry groups.

      The attendees included Allen Richardson, a lobbyist for Koch Industries, who joked about keeping the guest list secret. “The Koch brothers out with the Republican secretaries of state — that’s a news story I don’t need,” he said, unaware that a ProPublica reporter was in attendance.

    • Switzerland not so neutral with Clinton Foundation donation

      An agency overseen by the Swiss foreign ministry made a hefty donation to the Clinton Foundation — at the same time the US and Switzerland were in the midst of a diplomatic struggle over tax evasion.

      The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation shelled out about $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation in 2011, money earmarked for a program that sought to lower mortality for mothers and infants in Liberia, the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper discovered on Sunday, according to The Local.

      The payment was made when the US government was pressuring Swiss banks to hand over customer info, after allegations arose that Swiss banks were being used to help avoid US taxes.

    • The Dark Money Cabinet

      uring the Presidential primaries, Donald Trump mocked his Republican rivals as “puppets” for flocking to a secretive fund-raising session sponsored by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire co-owners of the energy conglomerate Koch Industries. Affronted, the Koch brothers, whose political spending has made their name a shorthand for special-interest clout, withheld their financial support from Trump. But on Tuesday night David Koch was reportedly among the revellers at Trump’s victory party in a Hilton Hotel in New York.

      Trump campaigned by attacking the big donors, corporate lobbyists, and political-action committees as “very corrupt.” In a tweet on October 18th, he promised, “I will Make Our Government Honest Again—believe me. But first I’m going to have to #DrainTheSwamp.” His DrainTheSwamp hashtag became a rallying cry for supporters intent on ridding Washington of corruption. But Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Elections Commission who has championed reform of political money, says that “the alligators are multiplying.”

    • What Student Protests Tell Us About America Under Trump

      There is little doubt that Trumps’ campaign and subsequent election have brought trauma into public education at all levels.

      “The country has elected a man who threaded racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic messages and mockery of disabled people through his campaign,” writes Emily Bazelon for the New York Times.. “Donald J. Trump’s victory gives others license to do the same,”

      Bazelon, a Times staff writer and author of a highly regarded book on bullying explains that characteristics Trump targeted for insults and inflammatory rhetoric – being non-white, gay, or disabled – describe students who are most apt to be bullied and abused in schools. She cites numerous examples of harassment and racist displays in schools since the election.

      An article for Mother Jones reports, “Bullying in schools is out of control since the election,” and cites examples of racist incidents and actions in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.

    • Who’s to Blame for President Trump?

      First, as Wikileaks has proven without a shadow of a doubt, it is clear that the DNC colluded with the Clinton campaign as well as with highly placed sources at CNN to fatally undermine and sabotage the progressive insurgency campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

    • Swedish company Tetrapak linked to Clinton Foundation Haiti Operations. More on Ericsson

      This article reports the link found between the Swedish company Tetrapak (also know as Tetra Pak) with the Clinton Foundation, as it is indicated in a document newly released by the US Department of State to the organization Judicial Watch, after a federal order (details down below). I am also reporting, based in document I found at the Freedom of Information Act, on the economic consequences for Haiti due to expanded credits given to the giant Swedish company Ericsson.

    • President-elect: I had to settle Trump University case ‘to focus on our country’

      President-elect Donald Trump sounded off on his $25m payout to students who accused him of fraud on Saturday, as he prepared for a meeting with former foe Mitt Romney, tipped as a possible nominee for secretary of state.

      On Friday the US president-elect settled class-action fraud lawsuits relating to his Trump University for $25m, avoiding the public embarrassment of having to testify in court, despite having previously vowed to fight the cases to the end.

      On Saturday he sought to explain in a tweet: “I settled the Trump University lawsuit for a small fraction of the potential award because as President I have to focus on our country.”

    • Ivanka isn’t the only reason these photos of Trump meeting Abe are problematic

      Trump also hasn’t done much to reassure the public about potential conflicts of interest: As many pointed out, his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner feature prominently in photos of the diplomatic meeting.

      Presidential family members often interact with foreign leaders at state dinners, but Ivanka is more than family—she represents Trump’s private business interests. While part of Trump’s transition team, she is one of three Trump kids slated to run his private business after Jan. 20. Her own business recently was forced to apologize for turning media appearances about her father’s presidency into a sales opportunity.

    • Lucy Kellaway to leave the Financial Times to become a teacher

      Lucy Kellaway, the columnist and associate editor of the Financial Times, is leaving the newspaper after 31 years.

      From next summer, she will begin a new career as a maths teacher in a “challenging” London secondary school. In so doing, she will be acting as a pioneer for the charity Now Teach, which she co-founded earlier this year.

      It was set up to encourage high-flying professionals in the business world to retrain as teachers and help to address the shortage of maths and science teachers.

      Kellaway said: “I’ve had one of the nicest jobs in journalism by writing a column for 22 years. I love it, but I don’t want to spend my entire life doing it.

      “I think teaching is hugely important and I’m in the luxurious position of being able to take on the task. My mother was a teacher. One of my daughters is a teacher. It’s in the family, and I’m very excited about making this move.”

      Kellaway’s columns, poking fun at modern corporate culture, have long been regarded as a jewel in the FT’s crown. Editor Lionel Barber describes her as “a unique voice for the business community.”

    • Extreme Center Goes After Anti-Trump Protesters

      After Donald Trump’s surprise victory last week, protests against his pending presidency—and against the racism, misogyny and xenophobia he embodies—popped up from New York City to Portland to Kansas City to Austin to Nashville. Thousands of protesters gathered under the banner of #NotMyPresident, expressly rejecting the Trump administration’s agenda of, among other things, forced deportations, Muslim bans and attacks on women’s reproductive rights.

      On cue, several center and center-left pundits jumped in to call into question and concern-troll this exercise of dissent and its sometimes “violent” excesses of property damage.

    • TV Pundits Eager to Make Trump the New ‘Normal’

      After wrongly predicting the election, political pundits are returning to TV talkshows to explain what will happen under a Trump presidency. But these predictions aren’t like TV anchors predicting the weather; these forecasts have a profound impact on the public reception to the Trump administration and the future course of US politics.

      The danger is that by normalizing Trump—a candidate distinguished by an embrace of political violence and open appeals to ethnic nationalism who boasted of getting away with sexual assaults—these commentators will make racist and sexist bullying an acceptable way to run for public office.

    • 2016 the year everyone got interested.

      Some people wondered why the “losing” side to Brexit or the US Elections complained, moaned and did not accept the result. This is quite simple when you boil it down to the fact both were only a binary choice question, this is clearly going to be divisive by nature!

    • Sanders Draws Massive Crowds as Progressives Prepare to Fight Trump

      The election of a right-wing, repressive government led by President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Congress has the American left searching for ways to mount a resistance and regain ground in future elections.

      Many have found an answer in progressive figures such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), it seems, as crowds of young people are once again gathering to hear the senator speak.

      The senator has spoken out multiple times in the days since Trump’s election, arguing that the Democratic party needs to make greater efforts to reach working-class people and overhaul its leadership; vowing that progressives will “not go silently into the night”; and promising to resist Trump’s repressive, right-wing policy plans.

      The Democratic Party, which spurned Sanders’ campaign during the primary, has elevated the senator to a leadership position within the party.

    • Resisting Despair: Speaking Truth in the Face of Trump

      The attacks keep coming. A few blocks from my apartment in Michigan, a white man threatened to light a Muslim woman on fire if she did not remove her hijab. In California, my friend comforted a mother whose high-school-age daughter and her friend got yelled at in the grocery store parking lot by a man screaming, “Get out of here, lesbian bitches, you know Trump is president and that isn’t going to be allowed anymore.” My heart sinks with each new report of anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ attacks involving direct references to Trump and his campaign slogans. As we countenance a president who has embraced a curator of white supremacist propaganda as his chief White House strategist, and who plans to enact xenophobic attacks on a mass scale, I see Truthout’s role as twofold. First, we must resist the normalization of state-sanctioned violence and white supremacy. We can do so by publishing investigative reports and analyses that center the words of people directly affected by this violence. Second, we must resist despair by reporting on concrete acts of mass resistance that can be joined and copied by others. As a commissioning editor, I will be seeking out these stories in the days and months to come.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Acclaimed Brazilian film makes splash despite political battles and cries of censorship

      An internationally acclaimed Brazilian film received the equivalent of an X rating, perhaps because of a political stand taken by the cast. But despite the controversy and alleged censorship surrounding Kleber Mendonca Filho’s “Aquarius,” it has made a big splash at the box office in a large and growing market that usually has more conservative tastes.

    • Germany Wants To Hold Facebook Criminally Liable If It Doesn’t Find & Delete ‘Hate’ Speech

      We’ve been pointing out that in the rush to claim that Facebook is a media company that must take responsibility for the content that is posted and shared on the site, there’s really an implicit call for blocking content that is somehow deemed “bad.” People keep acting like Facebook, rather than its users, has the responsibility to edit what is on the site. That’s dangerous — and for yet another example of how, we’ve now got a German official saying that Facebook has to be classified as a media property and be held criminally liable if it doesn’t magically delete “hate speech.”

      This is really, really dangerous. Yes, we know that Germany has much stricter hate speech laws, but if you have to have them, at least hold the proper party responsible: those doing the speaking (and, yes, as we’ve pointed out repeatedly, hate speech laws are almost always abused by governments to silence and punish people they don’t like). Facebook, to some extent, has brought this on itself. In the past, it’s made promises, to Germany in particular about how it will help curb “hate speech” on the site. And, eventually, the government is going to get upset and say “you’re not doing enough.” Earlier this year, Facebook (along with Google, Microsoft, and Twitter) tried to appease European bureaucrats by signing an agreement to respond to complaints of hate speech within 24 hours. But now officials want more. Because once you give governments the power to censor speech, they’re always going to want more.

    • Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s fake news: We’re working on it

      Buzzfeed found that the most-shared Facebook stories have been bogus pro-Trump articles, some of them produced by a fake-news mill run by Macedonian teenagers. A man who makes $10,000 a month writing bogus news opened up to a Washington Post reporter about his conflicted feelings. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) suggested the media take note of “paid rioting”—referring to the persistent, yet evidence-free idea that anti-Trump activists were bused-in, paid protesters.

    • Citizen Lab uncovers censorship across Chinese live-streaming apps

      The Citizen Lab, a research centre based at U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs, has published a report following a year-long investigation into censorship practices concerning Chinese live-streaming applications Sina Show, YY, and, 9158.

      Citizen Lab’s research was done by reverse-engineering the applications in order to examine the scripts that facilitate censorship, such as keyword bans which were on the client-side and therefore completely accessible to researchers after the reverse-engineering process.

      The popularity of live-streaming using these applications has risen exponentially, with people using them to perform and share glimpses into their everyday lives.

    • NYT Advocates Internet Censorship

      The New York Times wants a system of censorship for the Internet to block what it calls “fake news,” but the Times ignores its own record of publishing “fake news,” reports Robert Parry.

    • A moment of truth amid the fake news for Mark Zuckerberg


      Well, the election is over; now we’re knee-deep in postmortems. Every mainstream publication and every corner of the blogosphere is full of autopsies. Many of these investigations have an anguished “How could this have happened?” tone. American students in a university department adjacent to mine have decorated the trees outside with hundreds of distraught but determinedly forward-looking messages. “Love WILL Conquer!” says one. “Knowledge not Ignorance,” says another.

      I don’t propose to add to this genre. If you want an informed, dispassionate analysis of the campaign that has given Trump the keys to the kingdom, look no further than an essay by Professor Charlie Beckett of the LSE on that institution’s Polis blog. It’s worth reading in full, but for those who are pressed for time, the gist is: “Trump had the better politics. Tactically, strategically, personally, policy-wise. He won partly because the Democrats and Hillary Clinton got most of that wrong, but mainly because he did best what you are supposed to do in an election: convince people to vote for you. They (and he) knew what they were doing.”

    • According to Snopes, Fake News Is Not the Problem

      The day after the election, news began swirling around social media that New York Times columnist David Brooks had called for President-elect Donald Trump’s assassination. Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski had a feeling it was fake. Because, come on now, would a prominent columnist for a reputable news outlet really make that kind of comment?

      Snopes has made its business out of correcting the misunderstood satire, malicious falsehoods, and poorly informed gossip that echoes across the internet — and that business is booming. Traffic jumped 85 percent over the past year to 13.6 million unique visitors in October, according to comScore. The site supports itself through advertising, and in the last three years it has made enough money to quadruple the size of its staff.

      Sure enough, a bit of Snopes reporting revealed that Brooks had written a column saying Trump would likely resign or be impeached within a year. A news item published on The Rightists claimed Brooks had then said in an interview for KYRQ Radio New York that Trump should be killed. Snopes found The Rightists doesn’t even pretend to traffic in truth. In the site’s “about” section, it describes itself this way: “This is HYBRID site of news and satire. part [sic] of our stories already happens, part, not yet. NOT all of our stories are true!” What’s more, the story’s facts didn’t add up. For example, the site claimed Brooks had made the comments on a radio station — KYRQ — that didn’t exist.

    • What Peter Thiel’s Appointment Could Mean For Freedom Of Speech

      As Donald Trump commences his ghastly slouch toward Washington, a coterie of sycophants snatches at his coattails: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie—we knew this particular trio would scurry after heightened relevance and authority. Unsurprisingly, all three have slavered their way to the president-elect’s transition team, and possibly into the Cabinet. Less expected, perhaps, was billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s recent appointment to the same advisory committee. And yet, an alliance between Trump and Thiel, however appalling, seems so fitting that hindsight renders it almost preordained.

      We can surmise that Thiel’s explicit relevance to the team resides in his connection to Silicon Valley. Fervently supportive of President Obama, the technology hub does not regard Trump with the same beam of approval; on the contrary, it’s deeply dismayed by his ascendance to the presidency. Apart from his evident love affair with Twitter, Trump oscillates in his position on technology’s consequence to modern life. He has also threatened to renegotiate international trade agreements beneficial to the tech industry. Apple, in particular, fears that it will be barred from overseas production (this might not be a bad thing, considering the working conditions of so many foreign factories).

      Theoretically, Thiel will forge a more congenial relationship between his Silicon Valley colleagues and the incoming executive administration. He has previously claimed that his outlier status as a Trump-supporting libertarian has not blighted his business relationships. That said, it’s difficult to conceive of Thiel as possessing much social capital or political influence amid such a staunchly liberal community. And, in any case, would Silicon Valley be cajoled into cooperation with Trump? That remains to be seen.

    • UK Piracy Blocklist Silently Expands With Hundreds of Domains

      UK Internet providers have added close to 500 URLs to the national pirate site blocklist. The expansion follows a request from copyright holders who frequently add new proxies for sites that have previously been barred. Despite this mass-update, the ongoing blocking whack-a-mole is far from over.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz

      Do you panic easily? Do you often feel blue? Do you have a sharp tongue? Do you get chores done right away? Do you believe in the importance of art?

      If ever you’ve answered questions like these on one of the free personality quizzes floating around Facebook, you’ll have learned what’s known as your Ocean score: How you rate according to the big five psychological traits of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. You may also be responsible the next time America is shocked by an election upset.

      For several years, a data firm eventually hired by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, has been using Facebook as a tool to build psychological profiles that represent some 230 million adult Americans. A spinoff of a British consulting company and sometime-defense contractor known for its counterterrorism “psy ops” work in Afghanistan, the firm does so by seeding the social network with personality quizzes. Respondents — by now hundreds of thousands of us, mostly female and mostly young but enough male and older for the firm to make inferences about others with similar behaviors and demographics — get a free look at their Ocean scores. Cambridge Analytica also gets a look at their scores and, thanks to Facebook, gains access to their profiles and real names.

      Cambridge Analytica worked on the “Leave” side of the Brexit campaign. In the United States it takes only Republicans as clients: Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries, Mr. Trump in the general election. Cambridge is reportedly backed by Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire and a major Republican donor; a key board member is Stephen K. Bannon, the head of Breitbart News who became Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman and is set to be his chief strategist in the White House.

    • Obama declines comment on reports of possible removal of NSA chief

      U.S. President Barack Obama declined on Sunday to comment on media reports that senior defense and intelligence officials in his administration had requested the removal of National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers.

      Obama called Rogers a “terrific patriot” during a news conference at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, adding he did not generally comment on personnel matters.

    • Former GCHQ spy suspended because of work ‘incident’ found dead in bath

      A FORMER GCHQ spybase worker who had once been suspended because of an “incident” at work was found drowned in his bath – and the front door of his flat was unlocked, an inquest heard yesterday.

    • Theresa May’s Terrible Instincts

      Everything you do on the web is now stored for twelve months by the security services. They can hack into your laptop or phone to see what is on there without any conditions at all. Not only do they not need to convince a judge you are suspected of a crime, they do not need to even pretend to actually suspect you of anything at all. They can just decide to target you and go fishing. The UK has now zero right to online privacy and the most vicious security service powers of any democracy. Indeed when you combine powers with capability (and the security service are recruiting tens of thousands more staff to our stasi state) the UK is now the most authoritarian country in the world. The legislation. passed this week, was framed by Theresa May as Home Secretary and received no significant opposition from the UK’s complicit political class.

    • Self-censorship dangerous for journalism and democracy: Joseph [Ed: surveillance is made to induce exactly that]

      Veteran investigative journalist Josy Joseph today said self-censorship, which had become the norm across newsrooms, was dangerous for both journalism and democracy.

      “Once journalist gets a job, he has a bank loan and has to pay EMI. So his concern is to protect his salary. So, he starts self-censorship within himself,” he said.

      “Then when once he goes into newsroom, the editors bring in their vested interest. So there is large and very powerful self-censorship that rules newsroom and I think it is dangerous for both democracy and journalism,” said Joseph, whose book on corruption in India released recently.

      He was speaking during a discussion on “Investigative journalistic stories that never saw light of the day” at Tata Lit-fest here.

      Joseph’s book “A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India” examines and documents the corruption within the Indian democracy.

    • Battle erupts as Trump considers NSA chief for top intelligence post
    • Intelligence battle erupts as Trump considers NSA chief for top intel post
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Congress Needs More Information Before the Government’s New Hacking Powers Kick in [Ed: Older but relevant]

      The federal government is set to get massively expanded hacking powers later this year. Thankfully, members of Congress are starting to ask questions.

      In a letter this week to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, 23 members of Congress—including Sens. Ron Wyden and Patrick Leahy and Rep. John Conyers—pressed for more information and said they “are concerned about the full scope of the new authority” under pending changes to federal investigation rules.

      The Department of Justice kickstarted this process by proposing changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs how the government obtains search warrants from federal magistrate judges. Specifically, the changes to Rule 41 would let judges grant warrants allowing the government to remotely hack into and search computers and other devices when those devices are part of a “bot-net” or when the government isn’t sure where the devices are located.

    • President Obama Claims He Cannot Pardon Snowden; He’s Wrong

      There may be reasons why the President doesn’t wish to grant a pardon to Snowden, but his stated reasons are completely bogus.

    • Trump’s Picks For AG & CIA Happy To Undermine Civil Liberties, Increase Surveillance

      This is (unfortunately) not a huge surprise, but it appears that a Trump administration is going to be much worse for civil liberties and surveillance. Earlier today, Donald Trump named his choices to head the CIA — Rep. Mike Pompeo — and to be the next Attorney General — Senator Jeff Sessions — and both have terrible records on surveillance, civil liberties and whistleblowing. They also are problematic in other areas, but in the areas where we cover, it’s not looking good.

    • Chagossians Have No Right of Self-Determination

      The debate starts at 10.34 – if you put the cursor to the bottom of the picture a slider appears. It is excruciating to watch. In an unusually full House of Commons (not a high bar) there is indignation and real anger on all sides, with even Tories describing the decision to continue the eviction of the Chagos islanders as “dishonourable”.

      The government argues that the Chagossians are not “a people” distinct from the Mauritians, therefore they do not have a right of self-determination. This piece of sophistry is designed to answer the obvious question of why the Chagossians have less rights than the Falkland Islanders or Gibraltarians. The actual answer – that the Chagossians are not white – is not one the government wishes to give. It also begs the question, if the Chagossians are Mauritians, why are the islands not a part of Mauritius?

      The government produced a paper on prospective resettlement, imposing arbitrary conditions on where and how the Chagossians could live designed to make life as difficult as possible. Those conditions included that there could be no civilian use of the airstrip – which I am glad to see Alex Salmond challenged in the Commons. Chagossians could work at the US airbase, but only on condition their partners and children would not be permitted to be with them. Fishing – their traditional activity – will be banned by the UK government’s marine reserve.

    • Spinning Bannon as ‘Provocateur’ Who ‘Relishes Combativeness’

      There’s a difference between bad news and bad reporting. We’re seeing a lot of both these days, as each Trump Cabinet choice hurls us deeper into dystopia.

      For example: How do you describe a man who propagates white supremacy, misogyny and antisemitism? If you’re the New York Times, you call him a “provocateur.” If you’re the AP, you say his hire is evidence of Trump’s “brash, outsider instincts.”

      Stephen Bannon, the Trump campaign chief executive and recently named “Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor” for the Trump White House, has declared of Breitbart, the website he still heads, “We’re the platform for the alt-right”—that being, by Breitbart’s own description, a coalition of advocates of “scientific race differences” with those who “believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved” and online traffickers in racist and antisemitic stereotypes and harassment, along with a significant admixture of pro-Hitler neo-Nazis.

    • CBS Evening News Provides Platform For White Nationalist To Spin, Without Pressing Him On Racist Views

      CBS News provided alt-right white nationalist Richard Spencer with a platform to normalize his racist political movement and praise President-elect Trump without pressing him on his racists comments and stances.

    • Kica Matos on Immigration, Sue Udry on Civil Liberties–Under Trump

      This week on CounterSpin: Donald Trump spent his entire campaign demonizing immigrants as dangerous, job-stealing criminals. While denouncing that, media sometimes dismissed it as mainly campaign rhetoric. Will they take the story seriously enough as a Trump administration tries to turn those ideas into policy? We’ll hear from Kica Matos, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Community Change.

    • Jewish historians speak out on the election of Donald Trump

      As scholars of Jewish history, we are acutely attuned to the fragility of democracies and the consequences for minorities when democracies fail to live up to their highest principles. The United States has a fraught history with respect to Native Americans, African Americans and other ethnic and religious minorities. But this country was founded on ideals of liberty and justice and has made slow, often painful progress to achieve them by righting historic wrongs and creating equal rights and opportunities for all. No group has been more fortunate in benefiting from this progress than American Jews. Excluded by anti-Semitism from many professions and social organizations before the Second World War, Jews in the postwar period became part of the American majority, flourishing economically and politically and accepted socially. There are now virtually no corners of American life to which Jews cannot gain entry. But mindful of the long history of their oppression, Jews have often been at the forefront of the fight for the rights of others in this country.

      In the wake of Donald Trump’s electoral victory, it is time to re-evaluate where the country stands. The election campaign was marked by unprecedented expressions of racial, ethnic, gender-based, and religious hatred, some coming from the candidate and some from his supporters, against Muslims, Latinos, women, and others. In the days since the election, there have been numerous attacks on immigrant groups, some of which likely drew inspiration from the elevation of Mr. Trump to the presidency of the United States.

    • Career Racist Jeff Sessions Is Donald Trump’s Pick For Attorney General
    • Grassroots Digital Rights Alliance Expands Across U.S.

      Observers around the world are scrutinizing the President-elect’s transition team and prospects for digital rights under the incoming administration. Trump’s campaign statements offered few reasons to be optimistic about the next administration’s commitments, making the unrestrained domestic secret surveillance regime that President Trump will inherit an even greater threat not only to privacy, but also dissent, individual autonomy and freedom of conscience, and—ultimately—our democracy.

      At EFF, we have committed ourselves to redoubling our efforts to defend digital rights. We know, however, that it will take the concerted actions of our supporters to help our goals find their reflection in law, policy, technology, and culture.

      That’s why we launched the Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA), a network of grassroots groups taking action in their local communities to promote digital rights.

    • Troubling Study Says Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Who Will Be Criminals Based on Facial Features

      The fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning are moving so quickly that any notion of ethics is lagging decades behind, or left to works of science fiction. This might explain a new study out of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which says computers can tell whether you will be a criminal based on nothing more than your facial features.

      The bankrupt attempt to infer moral qualities from physiology was a popular pursuit for millennia, particularly among those who wanted to justify the supremacy of one racial group over another. But phrenology, which involved studying the cranium to determine someone’s character and intelligence, was debunked around the time of the Industrial Revolution, and few outside of the pseudo-scientific fringe would still claim that the shape of your mouth or size of your eyelids might predict whether you’ll become a rapist or thief.

      Not so in the modern age of Artificial Intelligence, apparently: In a paper titled “Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images,” two Shanghai Jiao Tong University researchers say they fed “facial images of 1,856 real persons” into computers and found “some discriminating structural features for predicting criminality, such as lip curvature, eye inner corner distance, and the so-called nose-mouth angle.” They conclude that “all four classifiers perform consistently well and produce evidence for the validity of automated face-induced inference on criminality, despite the historical controversy surrounding the topic.”

    • Officer Put on Leave After Video Shows Him Punching Woman in Face During Eviction

      An officer with the Flagstaff police department in Arizona has been put on leave following the release of video footage taken by an eye witness that showed him punching a woman in the face during an arrest earlier this week.

    • Hey, Trump Told, ‘Get Your Daughter the F$%k Out of State Meetings!’

      U.S. News & World Report writes that “Ivanka Trump’s presence at the meeting was only made public when the Japanese government released photos, as the Trump team has continued to bar journalists from witnessing all but the most superficial aspects of the transition.”

      CBS News describes her presence, along with that of her husband, Jared Kushner, as “a reminder of potential conflicts of interest between Donald Trump’s businesses and the White House” as well as his adult children’s future roles in the White House.

      Ivanka and Kushner are on the Trump transition team’s executive committee.

      “Their involvement raises a host of ethical questions,” Emily Jane Fox writes at Vanity Fair, as “it appears to violate the 1967 nepotism law put in place after John Kennedy installed his kid brother Bobby as attorney general.” There’s also the fact that Ivanka, along with her two brothers, will reportedly run the real estate mogul’s business empire in a “blind trust.”

      “Which, as you hardly need to be sharp-eyed to point out, makes it a bit odd that she’s sitting in on presidential state business,” Marine Hyde writes at the Guardian.

      Hyde added, “Before you could say ‘conflict of interests’, America’s most dysfunctional family have already begun blurring the lines between politics and business”

    • Killing Dylann Roof Wouldn’t Help Racial Injustice

      The impact of race on criminal justice is one of the hottest topics of our time. Today’s police-shooting videos have not revealed something new, they have revealed, in a new way, a legacy of racial hatred and violence that is embedded in our nation’s DNA, and more and more Americans are waking up to that fact. So, if we are ready to address the impact of racism in the criminal justice system, what do the remedies look like?

      Let me tell you one thing that will not work—sentencing Dylann Roof to death. Jury selection for his federal death penalty case in the Charleston shooting last summer starts on Nov. 7.

    • Donald Trump’s Mass Deportations Would Cost Billions and Take Years to Process

      And while the president-elect’s comments, rhetoric, and choice of advisers, have fueled panic among immigrant communities across the country, many are quick to point out that he is only going to exacerbate a broken system that’s already been defined by rogue enforcement agencies and rampant abuse for years.

      “Obama built a horrible machine already,” said Danny Cendejas, an organizer with Detention Watch Network, a group that fights immigration detention and deportations nationwide. “Trump will just take it, and take it to a much more horrifying level.”

      In fact, what Trump is proposing is not very different from what has already been happening under the Obama administration, which has prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions. But there simply aren’t two to three million of them. According to the Migration Policy Institute, the number of undocumented people with criminal records is closer to 820,000, and even then many of those people are not the “rapists” and “criminals” Trump would have us believe but are guilty instead of “status crimes,” like driving without a license in states that won’t allow undocumented people to get one, or entering the country illegally.

    • As Schools See Hate-Fueled Attacks Rise, Millions Demand Trump Speak Out

      And while Trump “spoke against bullying, intimidation, and hate crimes” during his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday, his appointment of alt-right “hero” Stephen Bannon to chief strategist “sends the exact opposite message,” the letter charges.

      “The presidency is about many things,” it concludes. “Chiefly, it is about setting an example through your leadership. You have said that you will be the president for all Americans, Mr. Trump. We ask that you keep your promise by loudly, forcefully, unequivocally, and consistently denouncing these acts and the ideology that drives them. We ask you to use your position, your considerable platform, and even your tweets to send a clear message that hate has no place in our public discourse, in our public policy, or in our society.”

    • None of This Is Normal. All of It Is Un-American.

      Journalists who investigated Trump, his businesses, family and associates have been mailed anti-Semitic screeds or threatened with violence and even death. Women who have reported on Trump have been sent the vilest sexist epithets. Kshama Sawant, the socialist city council member from Seattle who recently urged protests at Trump’s inauguration in January has been targeted for email and phone attacks, some of which have suggested that she kill herself.

      Just about everyone I know has a story or two or three from the last week and a half. My friend Deana tells of a part-Asian co-worker swung at by a white male who mistook him as being from the Middle East, of a friend’s boyfriend who was told to “Go back to Africa” on his Facebook page, of another friend’s middle-school-aged daughter and other girls who were pushed around by boys in her class, some wearing Trump T-shirts and shouting hateful things about women.

    • Digital Security Tips for Protesters

      After the election, individuals took to the streets across the country to express their outrage and disappointment at the result of the U.S. presidential election. Many protesters may not be aware of the unfortunate fact that exercising their First Amendment rights may open themselves up to certain risks. Those engaging in peaceful protest may be subject to search or arrest, have their movements and associations mapped, or otherwise become targets of surveillance and repression. It is important that in a democracy citizens exercise their right to peaceably assemble, and demonstrators should be aware of a few precautions they can take to keep themselves and their data safe. Here we present 10 security tips for protesting in the digital age.


      If you’re really concerned with the data stored on your device, don’t bring it at all and pick up a prepaid mobile phone. These lower-end devices can be purchased along with a SIM card at most large retail stores, and current federal regulation does not require you to show your ID (but your state may). Let your friends know your temporary number, and use this to coordinate activities. Remember that the location of mobile devices can be determined by the cell towers they connect to, so if you don’t want your identity known, turn off your prepaid device before going home or anywhere that might lead to your identity. Using GPS should be safe, since GPS is a receiver and does not transmit any information, but your device may store your coordinates. For this reason, we suggest you turn off location services. When you’re done with the phone, it can be safely recycled or discarded from a location that is not linked to you. Keep in mind that if you carry both your regular device and a prepaid one with you, the location of these devices can be correlated as a way to compromise your anonymity.

    • Clemency Applicants Urge Obama to Act Before Trump Presidency Crushes Hope

      When Brigitte Barren Williams realized Donald Trump had won the presidential election, “it felt like somebody let the air out of a balloon,” she said. Her brother, David Barren, is locked up at a federal prison in West Virginia, serving life plus 20 years on federal drug conspiracy charges. Now in his 50s, Barren has served almost 10 years of his sentence — the minimum portion required before he is eligible to seek a commutation under President Obama’s clemency initiative.

      Tens of thousands of people convicted of nonviolent federal drug crimes have sought mercy under the program, which was announced in April 2014. Obama ramped up his commutations in advance of the election, and Williams prayed with each clemency announcement that her brother’s name might be on the list. After the last round came out, on November 4, Williams was forced to hope that if Obama didn’t grant her brother clemency, perhaps his successor might.

      But the chances of that almost certainly dissolved on election night. Trump has called the clemency recipients “bad dudes,” warning one audience this summer that “they’re walking the streets. Sleep tight, folks.” After winning the White House on such fearmongering rhetoric — and promptly naming a white supremacist to his cabinet — Trump chose Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as his attorney general, an opponent of criminal justice reform and defender of mandatory minimums. There is little reason to believe President Trump will show mercy to people like Barren.

      Yet Williams remains steadfast in her belief that her brother will come home. “We are a family of very strong faith,” she said. Besides, her fight does not end with his freedom. There are too many others in his position. “We have to continue making sure people care.”

      Williams spoke over the phone from Washington, D.C., where she had traveled from Pittsburgh for a series of public events under the theme “Hope for the Holidays.” The advocacy group #cut50, which aims to slash the incarcerated population in half, had organized the series, where participants urged Obama to commute as many sentences as possible in the remaining weeks of his presidency.

    • Installing a Torture Fan at CIA

      President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of torture practices used in the “war on terror,” to be CIA director shows that Trump was serious when he said he would support “waterboarding and much worse.”

      Earlier, there had been a sliver of hope that that, while on the campaign trail, Trump was simply playing to the basest instincts of many Americans who have been brainwashed – by media, politicians, and the CIA itself – into believing that torture “works.” The hope was that the person whom Trump would appoint to head the agency would disabuse him regarding both the efficacy and the legality of torture.

    • Obama says he can’t pardon Snowden

      A campaign to pardon NSA leaker Edward Snowden, launched in combination with a fawning Oliver Stone film about him, hasn’t made any headway. The request spurred the entire membership of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, 13 Republicans and 9 Democrats, to send a letter to President Barack Obama urging against a pardon. “He is a criminal,” they stated flatly.

    • A country with perfect law enforcement based on perfect surveillance will stop dead in its tracks

      Britain passed the Snooper’s Charter, as expected. Legislators worldwide are making the crucial mistake of seeing privacy as an individual luxury, instead of as a collective necessity: a country that increases its surveillance reduces its pace of progression and competitiveness, and does so at its peril, even disregarding the human rights angle.

      The United Kingdom, on its third attempt, just passed the worst mass-surveillance legislation seen in a democracy – the so-called “Snooper’s Charter”. There is a belief that such intrusion is necessary for the development of society, and that privacy is an individual luxury. Nothing could be further from the truth: privacy is a collective necessity, for society does not develop without it.

    • Rail bosses wanted to spy on sex lives of people who opposed controversial route

      The information gathered would include details of their sex lives, mental health and political views.

      An extraordinary document was published by HS2 detailing how they would access and “process personal data” including details of individuals’ sexual orientation, trade union affiliation, criminal record as well as information about their physical and mental health.

      As part of the company’s Privacy Notice, HS2 said it could collect this information on a number of people, including staff and suppliers but also complainants and litigants, which would include those claiming compensation or objecting to the scheme.

    • Student jailed after blackmailing schoolgirl, 14, with ‘abuse’ video

      A student has been jailed for blackmailing a 14-year-old schoolgirl into handing over family jewellery after threatening to release a video of her being ‘abused’ on Facebook.

      The young victim claimed she was targeted for sexual exploitation by Mohammed Luqman, 18, over a period of months.

      The Birmingham college student allegedly recorded her being sexually abused and later threatened to release the videos on social media, unless she stole from her family for him.

    • Monkey incident sparks clashes in southern Libyan city of Sabha, 16 dead

      At least 16 people died and 50 were wounded in Libya in four days of clashes between rival factions in the southern city of Sabha, a health official said on Sunday.

      According to residents and local reports, the latest bout of violence erupted between two tribes after an incident in which a monkey that belonged to a shopkeeper from the Gaddadfa tribe attacked a group of schoolgirls who were passing by.

      The monkey pulled off one of the girls’ head scarf, leading men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe to retaliate by killing three people from the Gaddadfa tribe as well as the monkey, according to a resident who spoke to Reuters.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Turning Promises Of Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired Into Reality

        With the recent entry into force of the Marrakesh Treaty providing copyright exceptions for persons with visual impairments, a panel convened alongside last week’s World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee meeting explored ways to transform the treaty’s promises into reality.

        The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) met from 14-18 November. The 15 November side event was organised by the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which is hosted by WIPO.

      • [Old] EFF to Copyright Office: It’s Time for Real Reform of DMCA 1201

        Over 11,000 People Join EFF’s Call to Protect Security Research and Repair

        San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the U.S. Copyright Office today to protect the public’s right to research and repair everything from phones to refrigerators to tractors, to support the right of people with print disabilities to convert media into an accessible format, and to restore users’ rights to make fair and lawful uses of the software and media they buy.

        EFF’s comments are part of the Copyright Office’s ongoing study into whether the “anti-circumvention” provisions of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are working for the public. Section 1201 bans anyone from accessing a copyrighted work when a technology like digital rights management software (DRM) is in place to block access. The law is meant to stop illegal copying, but instead, companies use digital locks in all sorts of products to obstruct those who want to look inside for any reason—blocking competition, innovation, security research, and other legal activities. To vindicate these activities, the public must resort to a burdensome exemption process that allows the digital locks to be broken in certain cases. EFF and a host of other public interest organizations must repeatedly plead for temporary exemptions that expire every three years. Moreover, the law expects users to figure out for themselves how to circumvent digital locks to take advantage of exemptions: no one is allowed to give them the technology to do so.

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