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01.29.17

The Future of Patent Trolls in the US Will Also Determine Europe’s

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sisvel

Summary: A quick update about patent trolls and what the latest developments may mean to their operations in the United States and Europe

THE UPC threatened to bring yet more patent trolls to Europe (patent professionals admit this), but thankfully the UPC is not happening, albeit few patent trolls thrive in Europe even without it (here is an example from London in 2015).

Patent aggressors and trolls have come a long way in the US. Last year we wrote about yet more of those infamous patent raids in US-based expos. These “bans” would serve only to discourage participation, wouldn’t they? These turned out to have been frivolous and actual items got confiscated with little or no (minimal) legal basis. Is the same kind of thing coming to Europe as well? Sisvel already operates in Europe and this Sunday column from IAM’s editor says we “can also expect all kinds of entity – operating and non-operating – to be keeping a close look-out for potential IP infringements. With this in mind, the Barcelona courts have developed a fast-track protocol that, in some circumstances, enables rights owners to obtain preliminary injunctions preventing the exhibit of allegedly infringing items.”

Are they seriously trying to rush something that would typically take days if not weeks/months to properly assess? Is this a notorious case of “shoot first, ask questions later”?

As in the case of Sisvel, these practices are extremely controversial. Sisvel is not a company, it’s a kind of Mafia. They work not for companies but for aggressors; they’re trolls, they’re shells. They’re just a front for other people or large corporations. There is this new article in the news which speaks of patent trolls as follows:

Many companies still benefit from patents—including the whole industry of “non-practicing entities” (NPEs, sometimes called “patent trolls”). NPEs are companies that attempt to enforce patent rights against accused infringers far beyond the patent’s actual value or contribution to the prior art. Normally, NPEs do not actually manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents they attempt to enforce. This has caused such a problem that even the U.S. government has complained: “An analysis of recent research…suggests that a substantial amount of patent litigation in the United States, often with little substantive merit, often arises from certain types of NPEs.”

So even those working for traditional intellectual-property-loving corporations are told not to look at the patent literature when innovating, as it could weaken their legal arguments in anticipated lawsuits. This essentially handcuffs innovators to searching for 20-year-old (or older) patents if they even look at the patent database at all. To search for patents that have expired, you can simply set a T-20 year period at the USPTO search or Google Patents.

Will Michelle Lee carry on with reforms that tackle patent trolling? Will the US Supreme Court finally put an end to the trolls’ capital, where capital punishment still exists? If Donald Trump capitulates and surrenders to the patent maximalists (for example if he appoints people like Rader to top positions), then it’s going to be yet another negative sign for US-based software companies. According to today’s non-update from Patently-O, it is still not known for sure whether Lee can carry on with the good progress she has made. To quote: “Apart from the two positions that require Senate confirmation (Secretary and Deputy), the only top commerce department position not filled by either an acting chief or appointee is Undersecretary of Intellectual Property and USPTO Director.”

If Lee squashes all software patents and trolls, they are unlikely to ever spread to Europe, maybe only to China (their new breeding ground).

Revealed: Lack of Justice at the European Patent Office (EPO), No Valid Courts

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 6:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is a textbook example or hallmark of a regime when there is no recourse to the principles of natural justice and management is basically above the law

No EPO justice
Large version

Summary: A quick glance at the perception of utter lack of justice at the EPO, even as far as EPO employees are concerned

THIS morning/afternoon we asked for ‘leaks’ related to a comment seen only hours earlier. It was about lack of justice at the EPO, whose entire basis and reason for existence is supposed justice (in relation to patents).

Published on the SUEPO Web site on Friday was the above notice, which we have anonymised a tad bit to reduce chances of reprisal against the author (leaving some uncertainty around identities). As many people may have noticed for various reasons, Trump and Battistelli become ever more similar by the day, as over the weekend the Trump Administration too defied court orders (see our latest daily links for references/coverage). What is the point or purpose of state-sanctioned courts if i) they deliver no real justice and ii) the state (or management) exempts itself from the law and from the courts’ rulings?

Links 29/1/2017: Calibre 2.78, Liveslak 1.1.6

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Election Technology Institute’s ‘Trust the Vote Project’

    The urgency of completing ElectOS by 2018 and/or 2020 is evident from the many irregularities experienced during our most recent 2016 primaries. To ramp up their efforts, the OSET Institute needs to hire at least six more technological engineers as soon as possible. They would prefer to maintain their financial integrity by directing their appeal to average citizens who share their concern for honest elections. If this describes you, consider donating to the OSET Institute at TrustTheVote.org (PayPal accepted), or address checks to Open Source Election Technology Foundation, Inc. and mail to:

  • Good usability but poor experience

    However, that last item is treading on different territory: User eXperience (UX). And UX is different from usability.

    If usability is about real people using the software to do real tasks in a reasonable amount of time, User eXperience is more about the user’s emotional response when using the software. Or their emotional attachment to the software. UX is more closely aligned to the user’s impression of the software beyond usability, beyond using the software to complete tasks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Icculus: EmScripten Audio Conversion Performance In The Web Browser

      Linux game porter and SDL developer Ryan “Icculus” Gordon has shared some performance measurements when bringing SDL’s new audio conversion support within web-browsers using EmScripten.

      Within the latest SDL development code is audio conversion support. Ryan Gordon was testing it by seeing how long it takes to use a 12MB Wav file and re-sample it 500 times.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Open Collective: A New Chapter of Open Source Project Funding

      One year ago, putting yourself entirely into a position of Open Source contribution was a difficult task, there was no consistent money out of working on one. One had to have a full-time job in a company for money. Open Collective, a platform for curating funds for open source projects, is changing that, starting with Webpack.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • G’MIC 1.7.9 (Standalone Software And GIMP Plugin) Has Been Released

      As you may know, G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic Image Converter) is a editing tool, that can be used with GIMP or as a standalone application, being available for both Linux and Windows. G’MIC provides a window which enables the users to add more than 500 filters over photos and preview the result, in order to give the photos some other flavor.

      G’Mic comes with different interfaces: a command-line tool, an interface for webcam manipulation, build in Qt and a library and plugin for GIMP.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Trump’s immigration ban is already having a chilling effect on science

      Maryam Saeedi, an assistant professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon, is effectively trapped inside the US.

      Under Trump’s immigration ban, which, among other things, restricts immigrants and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, she and her husband — both Iranian academics and green card holders — have learned they may not be able to reenter the US if they leave.

      “We’ve been living [here] for years,” she told Vox. “We are a productive part of this community — and now we’re banned. They just consider us to be terrorists.”

      As rumors began to circulate last week that the immigration ban might be coming down, Saeedi and a handful of Iranian colleagues started to mobilize. For researchers like them, who attend many international scientific conferences a year, restrictions on travel will take a heavy toll on crucial collaborations with other scientists from around the world, not to mention their personal lives.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virus Genetic Information Hot Topic At WHO; Flu Framework Under Nagoya Needs More Time

      World Health Organization members decided more consideration is needed to address the genetic information of flu viruses in the organisation’s pandemic framework, and the suggestion to have the framework considered as a special instrument under the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources.

    • The US Is Suffering From a Very Real Water Crisis That Few Are Acknowledging

      On January 16, 2016, President Obama declared a federal emergency for the city of Flint, Michigan, over the contamination of the city’s drinking water.

      One year later, not only is the city still struggling to provide clean sources of water to the Michigan city’s population, but the plight of residents in Flint has opened up the conversation about a water crisis in the United States that very few people even knew existed.

      The sad story of Flint, Michigan, gained national attention because it was a crisis that was entirely avoidable, at least for the time being. Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was looking for ways to cut costs, so he hired an outside manager to come up with ideas on how to do that. Unfortunately, one of the ideas that was put into action was to change the source of Flint’s drinking water from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, which was known to be heavily polluted. When that contaminated water hit the city’s aging water delivery infrastructure, the chemicals interacted with the lead pipes, causing dangerous levels of lead contamination for residents who did not have water filters.

    • The Breakthrough: Uncovering Danger at the Pharmacy Counter

      Every time you pick up a prescription at the drugstore, you’re handed a set of instructions showing what the drug is for, how to use it, and its possible side effects.

      But millions of people across the country take more than one medication at a time, and some of those drugs can interact in dangerous, even deadly ways.

    • Texas Is Leading the Right-Wing Crusade Against Planned Parenthood

      At the end of a three-day hearing, a federal district court judge in Austin, Texas, on January 19 issued a temporary injunction blocking state officials from excising Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program — a move that would deny more than 11,000 of the state’s poorest residents from accessing preventive care from their provider of choice, and would annually strip Texas Planned Parenthood clinics of several million dollars.

      The current court action is just the latest in a long string of attempts by the state of Texas to defund local affiliates of the nation’s largest provider of women’s health and reproductive care. And it is part of a larger movement by conservative state and federal lawmakers to cut off Planned Parenthood from all government funding.

      If anti-choice lawmakers in D.C. have their way, it may be easier for Texas, and other states, to get their way.

  • Security

    • Police dept loses evidence in Windows ransomware strike

      In an incident that again underlines the danger posed by Windows ransomware, the police department of a city in Texas has lost video evidence dating back to 2009 and a host of documents following an attack by what appears to be a new strain of the Locky ransomware.

      The affected station is Cockrell Hill, a city in Dallas County. The story was first published by the TV station WFAA.

      In a media release, the police department said: “This virus affected all Microsoft Office Suite documents, such as Word documents and Excel files.

      “In addition, all body camera video, some in-car video, some in-house surveillance video, and some photographs that were stored on the server were corrupted and were lost.”

    • Backup?

      Of course, complexity grew too and intruders and malware attacked over the network. About 2003/4 the situation got so bad that the Wintel empire was threatened. Resources were poured into the problem. Code got better. Users became more aware of danger. The problem remains that the number of users and the number of attackers has grown to the point that no one anywhere at any time can be 100% secure. Of course, there is the backup, a copy of everything that can be rolled out to put things back the way they were. That’s what this police-department needed but it didn’t have a good backup, just a copy of the corrupted data where the backup should have been. Someone had the right idea but lacked the imagination to put in more depth.

    • Hotel ransomed by hackers as guests locked in rooms

      Hotel management said that they have now been hit three times by cybercriminals who this time managed to take down the entire key system. The guests could no longer get in or out of the hotel rooms and new key cards could not be programmed.

      The attack, which coincided with the opening weekend of the winter season, was allegedly so massive that it even shut down all hotel computers, including the reservation system and the cash desk system.

      The hackers promised to restore the system quickly if just 1,500 EUR (1,272 GBP) in Bitcoin was paid to them.

    • Microsoft won’t fix the most frustrating thing about Windows

      Maybe you’re delivering a presentation to a huge audience. Maybe you’re taking an online test. Maybe you just need to get some work done on a tight deadline.

      Windows doesn’t care.

      Windows will take control of your computer, force-feed it updates, and flip the reset switch automatically — and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it, once it gets started.

      If you haven’t saved your work, it’s gone. Your browser tabs are toast. And don’t expect to use your computer again soon; depending on the speed of your drive and the size of the update, it could be anywhere from 10 minutes to well over an hour before your PC is ready for work.

    • Thoughts on the Systemd Root Exploit

      Sebastian Krahmer of the SUSE Security Team has discovered a local root exploit in systemd v228. A local user on a system running systemd v228 can escalate to root privileges. That’s bad.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Migrant gang ‘burn down women’s centre’ just WEEKS after it opened

      The Women’s Centre at the refugee camp in Grande-Synthe on the outskirts of Dunkirk, northern France, was gutted by fire only a few weeks after it was officially opened by volunteers.

      The centre was opened as a safe place for women refugees and their infants to get emotional support, help and information around feeding babies and young children, and health advice.

    • Why did Hindustan Times remove a 10 year old article about Islamic invasion by Rizwan Salim?

      Rizwan Salim, narrates the historical aspects of the real Hindustan and how gradually the most developed civilization lost its sheen and became slave in the hands of foreigners. We all well know that after the Islam invasion thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed in an attempt to imprint the Islam practice in India. Every history books would narrate the stories of the barbaric act of Islam invaders and their forcible implementation of Islamic rituals. But what we failed to recognize was how their invasion destroyed the historical evolution of the earth’s most mentally advanced civilization, an unimaginable rich society with most creative culture.

    • Donald Trump: Parliament rounds on Republican but doesn’t ban him from UK

      A ban wasn’t their plan, though that was the ostensible excuse for meeting. It wasn’t in their power, anyway. Only the Home Secretary can decide to bar an individual from British shores.

    • Never mind the optics, Theresa May’s US dash was mortifying

      In normal times, you’d say everything went swimmingly. Sure, the American president seemed a tad unsure how to say the name of his guest – whom he greeted as Ter-raiser – slightly reinforcing the White House’s earlier failure, in a briefing note, to spell the British prime minister’s name correctly, dropping the “h” and thereby suggesting Donald Trump was about to receive Teresa May, who made her name as a porn star.

      But other than that, the PM would have been delighted. In the press conference that followed their Oval Office meeting, there were no bombshells: Trump managed to get through it without insulting an entire ethnic group, trashing a democratic norm or declaring war, any of which might have diverted attention from May’s big moment. He was on best behaviour, diligently reading the script that had been written for him, attesting to the “deep bond” that connects Britain and the US. May received all the assurances she craved that her country’s relationship with the US remains “special”. Why, he even, briefly, took her hand.

    • A Yazidi Refugee, Stranded at the Airport by Trump

      At 10:05 on Friday morning, a young Iraqi couple named Khalas and Nada were trading panicked texts. Would Nada escape Iraq before President Trump’s executive order barring refugees took effect, or would Trump’s pen-stroke bring all their plans to ruin?

      The day before was their second anniversary, but they couldn’t celebrate together: Khalas lives in Washington, D.C., and Nada in Sinjar, in the north of Iraq. Khalas, a former interpreter for the U.S. Army, was granted a Special Immigrant Visa for his service to America. He came last July, thinking that Nada would arrive shortly thereafter.

      They are also Yazidis, members of a pre-Islamic religion whose adherents have been severely persecuted in recent years, particularly by the Islamic State.

    • Federal Judges Push Back Against Trump Order, Stopping Deportations Nationwide

      Less than 36 hours passed after President Trump signed his executive order on Friday restricting immigration on several fronts before four federal judges had issued rulings in quick succession blunting the effect of the order and calling its constitutionality into question.

      The executive order — “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” — temporarily halted the US refugee program for 120 days; indefinitely suspended the intake of refugees from Syria; and blocked all people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days.

      The moves against the order started when federal judge in Brooklyn on Saturday evening granted a nationwide stay of removal — preventing deportation — for those people affected by the order.

      “Nobody is to be removed,” US District Judge Ann Donnelly told the government lawyers, issuing the stay after holding the first hearing on a challenge to the order.

    • WH: No mention of Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day because others were killed too

      The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews or anti-Semitism because “despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday.

      Hicks provided a link to a Huffington Post UK story noting that while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, 5 million others were also slaughtered during Adolf Hitler’s genocide, including “priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.”

    • Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Culmination of War on Terror Mentality but Still Uniquely Shameful

      It is not difficult for any decent human being to immediately apprehend why and how Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim countries is inhumane, bigoted, and shameful. During the campaign, the evil of the policy was recognized even by Mike Pence (“offensive and unconstitutional”) and Paul Ryan (violative of America’s “fundamental values”), who are far too craven and cowardly to object now.

      Trump’s own defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, said when Trump first advocated his Muslim ban back in August that “we have lost faith in reason,” adding: “This kind of thing is causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through this international system.”

    • Trump’s Muslim Ban Triggers Chaos, Heartbreak, and Resistance

      Following an executive order signed late Friday, President Donald Trump on Saturday launched a sweeping attack on the travel rights of individuals from more than a half dozen Muslim majority countries, turning away travelers at multiple U.S. airports and leaving others stranded without answers — and without hope — across the world.

      Trump’s order triggered waves of outrage and condemnation at home and abroad, prompting thousands of protesters to flood several American airports and ultimately culminating in a stay issued by a federal district judge in New York City on the deportation of people who were being detained by immigration officials. Similar stays were issued by judges in Washington, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

    • Netanyahu in hot water over praise of Trump’s wall

      When Benjamin Netanyahu sent a tweet in support of President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall along the Mexican border, the Israeli prime minister can barely have expected it would be retweeted 40,000 times and cause a backlash at home and abroad.

      Already under arguably the greatest pressure he has faced in his 11 years as prime minister, with police questioning him in two criminal probes into abuse of office, aligning himself with Trump may further undermine his standing.

    • Activists try to stop warplanes leaving UK bound for Saudi Arabia

      Two activists have been arrested while apparently trying to disarm warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia.

      A statement released on behalf of the Rev Dan Woodhouse and Quaker activist Sam Walton said the pair had entered the BAE Systems site in Warton, Lancashire, on Sunday morning with the intention of disarming planes.

      Lancashire police confirmed two people had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage following an incident at the site and officers were investigating.

    • The Drone Assassination Assault on Democracy

      After being released from the prison where he was detained without charges, Al-Awlaki was eliminated by US drone on September 30, 2011, along with Samir Khan, also a US citizen, who had been putting out pro-jihad propaganda. Two weeks later, Al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman, who had only just turned 16 years of age (making him a “military age” male) was eliminated by a US drone as well, also in Yemen. Was the son intentionally killed? Or did a missile just happen to land in the remote village where he and his friends were preparing to enjoy their evening meal? The US government has declined to comment on the case, citing State Secrets Privilege under a pretext of national security.

    • Mexico ‘Astonished’ at Israel’s Netanyahu’s Tweet backing Wall

      Earlier on Saturday, Netanyahu tweeted: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border… Great success. Great idea.”

      Mexico’s government on Saturday rebuked Israel for a tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that applauded U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico to keep out undocumented migrants.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Disappointed but Not Defeated: Battle Over Oil Pipelines Continues

      Despite the immense failures of the Democratic Party to live up to its stated progressive ideals, there are differences between the two major parties. Nowhere is that difference more obvious in recent days than in the decision by Donald Trump to reinstate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access (DAPL) pipeline projects. Tens of thousands of environmental, indigenous and other activists slogged for months, even years, to push President Obama to stop the climate-destroying projects. They marched, locked themselves to each other and to heavy equipment, faced arrests and felony charges, were hit by tear gas and rubber bullets, and even bitten by dogs. But they prevailed over Obama. With the stroke of a pen, Trump signed memorandums Tuesday to undo the results of those sacrifices and struggles, even though he knows he has no popular mandate. And he did it on day five of his administration.

    • It’s A Whole New World Of Engery, Trump

      See that? Solar and wind increased 25-32% per annum from a good base while “conventional” dirty fuels are declining rapidly like coal and oil. Natural gas is taking their jobs, not Mexico, not China, not NAFTA.

    • A Coalition of Scientists Keeps Watch on the U.S. Government’s Climate Data

      During Donald Trump’s first week in office, a steady stream of electronic signals pointed to upheaval within the agencies that deal with environmental protections and climate change. Via memos leaked to the press, rogue tweets, and unnamed agency sources, the public learned of growing pressure on federal employees to avoid sharing their scientific work. Meanwhile, small but significant changes to federal web pages hinted at the demise of former president Barack Obama’s efforts to manage climate change.

      The Trump team got to work editing the web starting on inauguration day, when most mentions of climate change vanished from the White House website. Trump’s team did not post a replacement page on climate, though they did publish an “America First Energy Plan” that noted, “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.”

      A coalition of scientists, researchers, and technologists had been preparing for this scenario. At events held in Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles they had worked to pull as many climate and environmental datasets as possible off the federal web sites of departments including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Energy Department, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    • Prince Charles may raise climate change during Trump’s visit to Britain

      Prince Charles will not lecture Donald Trump over his policy on climate change during the US president’s state visit to Britain later this year but has not ruled out addressing the topic altogether, according to royal sources.

      Charles is being urged by some in Whitehall to challenge Trump’s pledge to abandon the United Nations climate change deal signed in Paris in 2015, as part of “harmonised” efforts with the UK government to keep the carbon-cutting treaty on track.

      But other UK officials are reported to be concerned that the likely meeting between the two men has become a risk factor for the visit. Another potentially controversial issue that could arise is religion, with Charles’s history of trying to promote better interfaith relations contrasting with Trump’s actions to block travellers from Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

  • Finance

    • Media Consensus on ‘Failing Schools’ Paved Way for DeVos

      The nomination of billionaire voucher enthusiast Betsy DeVos for secretary of Education comes after nearly two decades of a largely bipartisan consensus around “education reform.” That consensus, repeated for years in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, posits, first and foremost, that public schools are failing.

      They are, the narrative goes, especially failing the nation’s most vulnerable students. That failure is presented, by education reformers and corporate media pundits alike, not as a result of inequality or poverty or resource scarcity, but of public education itself. The solution, pioneered by pro-privatization reformers and repeated by newspapers since the George W. Bush years, sounds both innocuous and innovative: school choice.

      As a result of the uncritical consensus around school choice, major papers like the Times and the Post are unable to report on an extremist figure like DeVos—whose pro-voucher and pro-charter advocacy fits comfortably within the school-choice ethos—without ceding even more ground to the corporate education reform movement. “School choice” is not as value-neutral as it sounds: It is a buzzword not only for the expansion of charter schools and vouchers, but for the divestment of public funds away from public education and into the private sector.

    • Greece’s best-selling daily newspaper to close due to debts

      Two historic Greek newspapers, including the country’s best-selling daily, will cease publication, the debt-ridden Lambrakis Press Group announced on Saturday.

      “To Vima weekly and Ta Nea daily are forced to cease their publication within days due to financial reasons,” the company said in a statement.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Roaming Charges: Populism With an Inhuman Face

      Depending on where you sit, a Barcalounger or a yoga mat, the first episodes of Trumplandia either fulfilled every expectation or confirmed your worst nightmares. With Trump there is no middle ground, no grey areas. Responses to him are purely binary, intensely so. And that’s the way Trump–and his opponents–want it. Total war from day one.

      There will be no apologies, no revisions, no concessions. Refreshingly, Trump offers no rhetorical filigrees about unifying the country and healing its divisions. The point is not to reassure, but to enrage. Trump the President is the same person he was on the campaign trail, only more so.

      In his first week, Trump has blasted out a blitzkrieg of divisive executive orders to the silence of GOP members of congress, who only a week ago were howling at the dictatorial nature of Obama’s executive actions. Trump’s rule by decree makes the Theory of the Unified Executive from Bushtime seem quaint, almost cautiously legalistic.

    • Macomb v media: voters who read little news think Trump had a great first week

      In one short week in the White House, Donald Trump has managed to shatter the tradition of the honeymoon period enjoyed by new presidents. While predecessors eased themselves into the role and were showered with national adulation, he has prompted widespread criticism with a stream of provocations.

      Trump has proclaimed war on the media, was accused of serial lying, declared open season on environmentalists and undocumented immigrants, outraged the Mexican president, begun stripping millions of Americans of healthcare coverage, and revived the prospect of torturing terror suspects. The pugnacity of his pronouncements has left even Trump-hardened observers aghast, prompting speculation that such an adrenaline-charged opening to his term couldn’t possibly be sustained.

    • Here’s How Republicans Plan to Kill Net Neutrality, Climate, and Labor Rules

      Republicans in Congress are wasting no time laying the groundwork for a wholesale attack on federal regulations protecting the environment, guaranteeing internet freedom, and ensuring consumer safety and labor rights.

      The Republican-controlled House has passed a trio of bills that would give Congress effective veto power over future regulations advanced by the Federal Communications Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and a host of other federal government agencies.

      This is about more than just the new Trump administration silencing federal agency Twitter accounts—it’s a brazen GOP effort to fundamentally undermine the power of US regulatory agencies.

    • Countries where Trump does business are not hit by new travel restrictions

      The seven nations targeted for new visitation restrictions by President Trump on Friday all have something in common: They are places he does not appear to have any business interests.

      The executive order he signed Friday bars all entry for the next 90 days by travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. Excluded from the lists are several majority-Muslim nations where the Trump Organization is active and which in some cases have also faced troublesome issues with terrorism.

    • The president’s demolition derby: Trump wants to axe everything he doesn’t like — and he doesn’t like a lot

      We’re a week into the Trump administration and it’s pretty obvious what he’s up to. First, Donald Trump is running a demolition derby: He wants to demolish everything he doesn’t like — and he doesn’t like a lot, especially when it comes to government.

      Like one of those demolition drivers on a speedway, he keeps ramming his vehicle against all the others, especially government policies and programs and agencies that protect people who don’t have his wealth, power or privilege. Affordable health care for working people? Smash it. Consumer protection against predatory banks and lenders? Run over it. Rules and regulations that rein in rapacious actors in the market? Knock ‘em down. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on.

      Trump came to Washington to tear the government down for parts, and as far as we can tell, he doesn’t seem to have anything at all in mind to replace it except turning back the clock to when business took what it wanted and left behind desperate workers, dirty water and polluted air.

    • Democracy Wins One as a Federal Court Strikes a Big Blow Against Gerrymandering

      Democracy has taken very hard hits in the first days of the Trump interregnum, as Donald Trump and the mandarins of his “alternative-fact” administration have spun fantasies about “voter fraud” that clearly does not exist; obsessed about the dubious legitimacy of a president who lost the popular vote and drew a disappointing crowd for his inauguration; and attacked the free and skeptical press that provides and essential underpinning for the open discourse that sustains popular sovereignty.

      But sometimes democracy wins out—in a way that could transform our politics and our governance.

      Nothing has so sustained and advanced Republican dominance of the states (and of the US House of Representatives) as the gerrymandering of legislative and congressional district lines by Republican politicians who have used their overarching control of state-based redistricting processes to warp electoral competition in their favor. And few states have seen such radical gerrymandering as Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, where the governor and his allies skewed district lines so seriously that clearly contested state legislative races have become a rarity in much of a state that national elections suggest is evenly divided.

    • 9 Trump moments over lunch with Theresa May

      Fresh from public displays of affection at their joint press conference early Friday afternoon, Donald Trump and Theresa May retired to the White House state banqueting room for lunch. Then it got really interesting.

    • Grassroots Labour supporters revolt against Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit

      Jeremy Corbyn is facing a serious revolt by grassroots Labour supporters who backed him to be leader as the party’s crisis over Brexit escalates rapidly.

      With more members of Corbyn’s frontbench considering resigning – shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens became the first to quit the shadow cabinet on Friday – the rebellion is now spreading among local party members, who are furious at his support for Theresa May’s plans for triggering the article 50 process.

    • Theresa May’s visit to Turkey is more evidence of her desperate search for trading partners to replace the EU at any cost

      As the international political order fragments, Theresa May flies from seeing Donald Trump, who speaks approvingly of the use of torture, to a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is presiding over the reintroduction of torture in Turkey.

      The opportunism and hypocrisy of British foreign policy, as the UK flails around for new allies to replace the EU, is better illustrated by the Prime Minister’s Turkish trip than by her ingratiating speech to Republican Party leaders in Philadelphia. She told them that as close allies the US and UK would always win the war of ideas “by proving that open, liberal, democratic societies will always defeat those that are closed, coercive and cruel.”

      Yet within 48 hours of adopting this high moral tone, May will be in talks with Erdogan which will be seen as endorsing the destruction of Turkish democracy; he is replacing it with a presidential system as dictatorial and repressive as anything seen in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. Since a failed military coup last July, a sweeping purge has seen at least 137,000 judges, teachers, journalists, civil servants and military personnel arrested or sacked, according to the government’s own figures.

    • Supreme Court Puts Off Taking Up Texas Voter ID Case

      The high court lets stand the findings of lower courts that the strict Texas ID measure discriminated against minorities.

    • Trump gives National Security Council seat to ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon

      The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings.

      Trump also said the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence, two of the most senior defense chiefs, will attend meetings only when discussions are related to their “responsibilities and expertise”. Barack Obama and George W Bush both gave the men in those roles regular seats on the council.

      In an interview with the New York Times this week, Bannon called the press “the opposition party” and said it should “keep its mouth shut”. He has previously described himself as “a Leninist” and an “economic nationalist”.

    • NYT Amazed That Republicans Are Embracing Republican Ideas

      The New York Times seems intent on exaggerating the ideological space between Donald Trump and traditional Republican Party policies (FAIR.org, 1/22/17). The latest example is a piece by congressional reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, “Republicans Now Marching With Trump on Ideas They Had Opposed” (1/26/17), that expresses amazement that Republicans in Congress seem to accept Trump’s ideas—most of which are longstanding GOP policies.

    • Beyond Romanticization: Reflections on Obama in the Age of Trump

      On January 10, when Barack Obama returned to Chicago to give his last speech as president of the United States, I could feel the city hold its breath and hold back tears. I live in Hyde Park — Obama’s old neighborhood. Here one can feel the pride Chicagoans have for Obama more than in most other parts of the city. A plaque where he and Michelle had their first date sits at the corner of 53rd and Dorchester. In the Cove Lounge on 55th St., a six-foot mural of his grinning face looms opposite the bar, and on January 10, hours before his speech, he dined at Valois in the heart of the neighborhood, while people eagerly waited in the Chicago chill hoping for a glance of our soon-to-be-former president.

    • Adding Insult to Injury, Trump Flirts With Classic Holocaust Denial

      He excludes Muslim immigrants and expunges Jews from memory but the new president sees himself as ‘incredibly inclusive.’

    • Carl Bernstein Nails Trump’s Voter Fraud Quack: ‘This Is the Birther Conspiracy All Over Again’

      CNN host John Berman hammered conspiracy theorist Gregg Phillips Friday not long after he received the same treatment from morning host Chris Cuomo.

      Phillips has alleged that he has evidence of 3 million to 5 million undocumented people who voted illegally in the 2016 election. His claim has been quoted by President Donald Trump, but Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen pointed out that the “study” doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Phillips has also refused to release evidence of the claim. At one point, Phillips went so far as to admit, “if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.”

    • Boston-area academics face bans on entering US

      President Trump’s order closing the nation’s borders to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries echoed across Boston’s academic institutions and research laboratories Saturday, blocking some scholars from entering the country and leaving scores more in limbo.

      The directive, which also halts refugees worldwide from entering the United States for 120 days, prompted leaders at schools such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University to offer support to students and academics whose lives might be upended by the order.

      The full extent of the upheaval triggered by the new rules wasn’t immediately clear, and a federal judge’s decision late Saturday night to halt deportations of refugees and those with valid visas added a layer of uncertainty. But research groups at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital were among those who lost incoming scholars to the travel ban.

    • Deep State vs. Donald Trump

      We do not know what President Trump’s foreign policy – in practice – will be. It is not at all clear (intentionally so, in part. But, also because the details have not yet been thrashed out within the team, who are busy with managing a complex transition). Nonetheless we can tease out, perhaps, a few solid pointers in the wake of the new U.S. President’s inaugural speech:

    • Donald Trump and His ‘Magic Mirror’

      President Trump’s vain tirades about crowd size and voter fraud make him look like Snow White’s evil queen gazing into her mirror, but he could turn that around by telling some important truths, says Robert Parry.

      [...]

      While Trump’s refusal to accept unpleasant realities raises fresh concerns about his fitness for office – since his presidency will surely face some painful reversals and rejecting reality is a dangerous way to respond – he is certainly not the first president to lie to the American people.

    • Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal

      President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that purports to bar for at least 90 days almost all permanent immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Syria and Iraq, and asserts the power to extend the ban indefinitely.

      But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.

    • Little National Security Benefit to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

      Tomorrow, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order enacting a 30-day suspension of all visas for nationals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Foreigners from those seven nations have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015. Six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis, and one Yemini have been convicted of attempting or carrying out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Zero Libyans or Syrians have been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that time period.

    • Game Over for Democrats?

      In 2008, the American people overwhelmingly voted for “change” in Washington. They never got it. Hence, Trump. To pretend that there’s not a straight line connecting the failed policies of Barack Obama and the subsequent rise of Donald John Trump, is to ignore the obvious and to shrug off responsibility for the situation the country is in today.

      Obama created Trump, the man didn’t simply appear from the ether. Had Obama acted in good faith and kept his promises to shake up the status quo, end the foreign wars, restore civil liberties, hold Wall Street accountable or relieve the economic insecurity that working families across the country now feel, Hillary Clinton would have been a shoe-in on November 8th. As it happens, Obama made no effort to achieve any of these goals, which is why Hillary was defeated in the biggest political upset of the last century.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship of a snowflake society

      While we’re at it, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi has shown that he’s the biggest snowflake of all. After being asked a couple of questions by the very unscary journalist from the Labour media, Azzopardi called in the police, saying the Labour media were intimidating him. Luckily for him, the police were too stretched to jump into their cars, sirens flashing, to arrest the inoffensive journalist in question.

      Azzopardi later apologised for the incident, but not before he had become the butt of a thousand jokes about the lethality of microphones. It was an amusing interlude and all, but it also sheds light on the current set of politicians who are only too happy to see their opponents on the receiving end of a journalist’s questions but shy away from answering questions directed at them.

    • Letter: Censorship is wrong

      A recent Ledger headline stated, “Trump orders EPA contract freeze and media blackout” [Ledger, Jan. 25]. In our country, we don’t need an office of censorship between the federal agencies and the American people. President Donald Trump, that is not how it works in the United States; that is how it works in totalitarian countries.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • British Companies Are Using a Tracking Device That Monitors Their Workers’ Voices, Steps and Stress Levels

      At least four British companies are using a device to track details about their workers, reports the New York Times. Currently participation in the program is voluntary, but 90 percent of the employees have asked to be included.

      The technology was developed by a Boston-based company called Humanyze, which has created a tracker that monitors workers via their lanyards. The lanyards track the employees’ number of steps, location and even stress levels.

      “It’s looking at the amount of time you talk, who you talk to, your tone of voice, activity levels, dynamics like how often you interrupt,” Humanyze CEO Ben Waber told the Times. “By mining that data, you can actually get very detailed information on how people are communicating, how physiologically aroused people are, and can make predictions about how productive and happy they are at work.”

    • U.S. Seeks to Double Video Surveillance Towers Along Mexican Border

      On January 18, a week before Donald Trump issued Wednesday’s executive order decreeing the immediate construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency posted a “Request for Information” to a federal database of government contract opportunities for private businesses. Although released without fanfare, the solicitation appears to be one of the earliest operational glimpses into the federal government’s plans for heightened security along U.S. land borders under the Trump administration.

      The request makes clear that in the days preceding Trump’s swearing in, CBP was already taking steps to dramatically scale up its surveillance capabilities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

      Because of the often treacherous and desolate terrain along the country’s 1,954-mile southern land border, many have speculated that in such areas Trump’s wall could be more of a digital surveillance shield composed of video camera towers and drones that scan for border crossing activity.

      Now, according to the documents, the CBP is “contemplating an expansion” of Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) that would deploy the program’s digital watchtowers to some of the border’s most isolated regions.

      A document attached to the request for information details CBP’s eventual goal of deploying RVSS towers in every section of its operations along the U.S.-Mexico border. The overhaul, according the CBP’s estimation, would more than double the program’s surveillance towers in six of its nine Mexican border sectors, increasing from 222 towers to 446 towers. The envisioned placement of the requested towers falls in line with Trump’s Mexico-focused anti-immigrant rhetoric: Of the 229 new towers detailed in the request, only 5 would be placed along the Canadian border.

    • For Data Privacy Day, Play Privacy As A Team Sport

      Protecting digital privacy is a job no one can do alone. While there are many steps you can take to protect your own privacy, the real protection comes when we recognize that privacy is a team sport. So as we celebrate Data Privacy Day on January 28, don’t just change your tools and behavior to protect your own privacy—encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to take action, too.

    • FBI request for Twitter account data may have overstepped legal guidelines

      Twitter has published a pair of FBI National Security Letters that had been served with gag orders. The company announced in a blog post that the gag order has been lifted.

      In its statement, Twitter’s Associate General Counsel for Global Law Enforcement Elizabeth Banker outlined that the company had been prohibited from notifying the affected accounts or the general public about the existence of the orders.

    • Twitter publishes FBI national security letters following gag order lift

      Twitter has published a pair of FBI National Security Letters that had been served with gag orders. The company announced in a blog post that the gag order has been lifted.

      In its statement, Twitter’s Associate General Counsel for Global Law Enforcement Elizabeth Banker outlined that the company had been prohibited from notifying the affected accounts or the general public about the existence of the orders.

    • Memo: New York Called For Face Recognition Cameras At Bridges, Tunnels

      The state of New York has privately asked surveillance companies to pitch a vast camera system that would scan and identify people who drive in and out of New York City, according to a December memo obtained by Vocativ.

      The call for private companies to submit plans is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s major infrastructure package, which he introduced in October. Though much of the related proposals would be indisputably welcome to most New Yorkers — renovating airports and improving public transportation — a little-noticed detail included installing cameras to “test emerging facial recognition software and equipment.”

      “This is a highly advanced system they’re asking for,” said Clare Garvie, an associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Privacy and Technology, and who specializes in police use of face recognition technologies. “This is going to be terabytes — if not petabytes — of data, and multiple cameras running 24 hours a day. In order to be face recognition compliant they probably have to be pretty high definition.”

    • Your Permanent Student Record

      This is a slightly older article that just came to my attention today, though the data systems it describes are currently being built out and used. It seems to be quite a well researched article, with a ton of links to sources.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Teens Report Onslaught of Bullying During Divisive Election

      A new national survey of more than 50,000 teens charts a surge in abusive and hateful behavior among young people since the beginning of the presidential election campaign.

      “Our biggest takeaway was that 70 percent of all respondents had witnessed bullying, hate speech or harassment since the 2016 election,” said Allison Turner, assistant press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent LGBT advocacy group that conducted the survey. HRC polled a large, though not demographically representative, sample of the nation’s youth.

    • Were police snooping on Women’s March protesters’ cellphones? Too many departments won’t say

      The Women’s Marches last weekend were collectively some of the largest protests ever conducted in the United States. While we would love to have some hard data to be able to inform the public about what type of surveillance being used on the demonstrations, unfortunately many of the police department’s we have requested in our Cell Site Simulator Census have either not given us any documents yet, or used sweeping law enforcement exemptions in order to not disclose some of the more sensitive, and important, information about their use.

    • EU leaders vow ‘firm’ response to Trump

      French President Francois Hollande vowed a “firm” response to a growing list of pronouncements by the maverick tycoon, including his encouragement for Brexit and suspension of all refugee arrivals.

      “We must conduct firm dialogue with the new American administration which has shown it has its own approach to the problems we all face,” the French leader said after a meeting of southern EU countries in Lisbon, flanked by fellow leaders.

      Another EU founder member, Luxembourg, also said Trump risks bolstering “hatred towards the West” by slapping tight new controls on travellers from seven Muslim countries including war-wracked Syria.

      Hollande spoke out a day after Trump – who has made clear he thinks other EU countries will leave the bloc – called Britain’s decision to leave the European Union a “wonderful thing”.

    • Massachusetts Top Court Orders Prosecutors to Remedy Thousands of Tainted Drug Convictions

      More than four years after a Massachusetts lab chemist confessed to manipulating drug test results, the state’s highest court has called on prosecutors to reverse potentially thousands of tainted convictions.

      The chemist, Annie Dookhan, may have played a role in more than 20,000 drug cases during her eight and a half years at a state lab, but to date prosecutors have resisted mounting a wholesale revisiting of the convictions that resulted at least in part from Dookhan’s work.

      At one point, prosecutors argued that they had no obligation to inform those convicted of their possible innocence. Another prosecutor suggested that many of the defendants might be too poor or busy dealing with more pressing issues, such as mental illness or addiction, to have any desire to contest old drug convictions. And when prosecutors tried to alert all of the affected defendants of their potential innocence — four years after Dookhan’s confession — the mailed notice they sent was “wholly inadequate,” according to the court. As of last November, fewer than 2,000 defendants had sought or received relief from their drug convictions.

    • Department of Homeland Security vows to enforce Donald Trump’s travel bans, despite court order

      Donald Trump’s travel bans will continue to be enforced by the The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), despite a New York judge placing a temporary stay on it being executed.

      Judge Ann Donnelly ruled the bans on refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries, were unconstitutional.

      But the DHS said it would “continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people.”

    • Getting Better Results Than Law-and-Order

      Despite President Trump’s tough law-and-order rhetoric, courts and schools are finding that “restorative justice” – as an alternative to traditional punishments – can reduce offenses and save money, writes Don Ediger.

    • Malnourished Prisoner’s Death Reveals Horrific Conditions in a Texas Prison

      Alton Rodgers was 31 years old and suffering from bilateral bronchopneumonia, bed sores, and severe malnutrition when he died of head trauma on January 19, 2016, in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Guards had found Rodgers unresponsive in his cell at the William P. Clements Unit in Amarillo, one of the most violent prisons in Texas, the previous day. His fatal injury, the official paperwork noted, was consistent with having his head “slammed onto the concrete floor.” The TDCJ immediately began investigating a suspect, Rodgers’s cellmate, Joe Greggs.

      But the official findings raised a cloud of doubt. Why did they ignore or make so very little of Rodgers’s dire medical condition even before the blows to his head? The inmate’s family has raised questions about Greggs’s alleged involvement, Rodgers’s medical treatment at the Clements unit, and the conduct of the prison staff. In October, the family, represented by attorney Jesse Quackenbush, filed a $120 million wrongful death lawsuit against the TDCJ, alleging that guard brutality and untreated tuberculosis contributed to his death. Rodgers was first diagnoses with tuberculosis in 2002 or 2003. “The purpose of the lawsuit is to change the way [the state of Texas] treats inmates who are suffering very serious diseases,” Quackenbush told The Intercept.

    • The Injustices of Manning’s Ordeal

      “Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence,” Obama said. “It has been my view that given she went to trial; that due process was carried out; that she took responsibility for her crime; that the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received; and that she had served a significant amount of time; that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence. … I feel very comfortable that justice has been served.”

    • David Ignatius, the CIA’s Apologist-in-Chief

      There is universal agreement that President Donald Trump’s “advertisement for himself” in front of CIA’s memorial wall on Saturday was an unmitigated disaster for both the vainglorious president and the Central Intelligence Agency. But there are always favorable reviews to be found. In this case, there were two: one from the president who told ABC’s David Muir that the presentation was “great;” the other from the Washington Post’s long-time apologist-in-chief for the CIA, David Ignatius.

      Over the past several decades, Ignatius has defended the CIA’s political assassination program, and argued that no investigation was necessary because “nobody had been killed.” He never condemned the CIA training of death squads in Central America, including Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. He never deplored the CIA’s Phoenix operation during the Vietnam War, when the agency ran a paramilitary campaign of interrogation, torture, and assassination that targeted many innocent victims. And he never favored accountability for agency operatives who manned the secret prisons, and conducted the program of torture and abuse.

    • Pence once called Trump’s Muslim ban ‘unconstitutional.’ He now applauds a ban on refugees.

      Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis stood directly behind their boss Friday, one man on each side, as President Trump announced an order that will ban half the world’s Shiite Muslims from entering the country for months.

      “I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States,” Trump said from his podium at the Pentagon. “We don’t want ‘em here.”

      Pence nodded along to the words. It was just over a year earlier when he had called Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States “offensive and unconstitutional.” That was before Trump picked him as his running mate and won the election.

    • Theresa May faces calls to cancel Trump visit over US travel ban

      Jeremy Corbyn has called for Theresa May to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit if the president does not overturn the ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries entering the US.

      The Labour leader said it would not be right for Trump to be hosted by the Queen this summer with the immigration order still in place. Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, issued a statement making the same demand.

      Theresa May was under pressure on Sunday to make a stronger condemnation of Trump’s ban, which has brought global condemnation and prompted travel and legal chaos within the US.

    • Trump redefines the enemy and 15 years of counterterrorism policy

      In just his first week in the White House, President Trump has sought to redefine America’s most lethal enemy in terms far broader than his post-9/11 predecessors.

      The net result of Trump’s new approach — outlined in speeches, interviews and executive orders — is a vast departure for a country that has often struggled over the past 15 years to say whether it is at war and precisely who it is fighting.

      With a few sweeping moves, Trump has answered those questions with a clarity that is refreshing to his supporters and alarming to some U.S. counterterrorism officials as well as most of the Muslim world.

    • Whether You Live in a Mansion or Under a Bridge, the Government Can’t Just Take Your Stuff

      The ACLU of Washington is suing the city of Seattle for taking away homeless people’s belongings without warning.

      Imagine if government agents came to your home and carted away everything you own, without warning and without telling you how to get back whatever they didn’t throw out.

      For Lisa Hooper, who lives with her partner outdoors near Interstate 90 in Seattle, this is an ever-present threat. One day in May 2015, workers tasked with cleaning up homeless encampments showed up. Lisa scrambled to pack up their things. Her partner was gone at the time, and Lisa couldn’t carry everything by herself. She took what was necessary for their survival, sleeping bags and cold-weather gear.

      When Lisa returned to their home of two years, everything she’d left was gone: baby teeth from her grown children and the only photos she had of them. Important legal paperwork. A mattress. The family Bible.

    • Trump’s Crazy Immigration Freeze

      The most disgraceful aspect of the ban is the notion that it does not apply to religious minority groups in the named countries, such as Christians, Yazidis and Jews. All the countries named are majority Muslim, so in effect it imposes a religious test. It is a ban plainly targeted by religion and not by nationality, and if the US court system had any integrity would be struck down on that basis. This is reinforced by the fact that other non-religious minorities facing persecution, such as gays, are not excluded from the ban.

    • ACTION ALERT: Tell CNN to Stop Using Trump Propaganda Term ‘Terror-Prone Countries’

      As several outlets have noted (e.g., Intercept, 1/28/17; NPR, 1/27/17; Huffington Post, 1/28/17), since at least 1975, nationals from the countries Trump is banning entry from have killed zero Americans in terror attacks. Whereas countries that have had some of their citizens involved in US political violence (and sometimes even fund designated terror organizations), such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE, are entirely omitted from the administration’s list.

      If stopping immigrants from “terror-prone” countries was the objective, the list Trump provided would make no sense. By adopting the Trump administration’s framing, however, CNN is treating it as a rational response to a realistic danger.

      Smearing entire countries as “terror-prone,” of course, puts immigrants from these countries at risk at a time when xenophobic hate crimes are on the rise. Responsible news outlets should be discouraging scapegoating, not fueling it with lazy and malicious generalizations.

    • Judge Halts Deportations After Protesters Swarm Airports Over Trump’s Order Barring Muslims

      A FEDERAL JUDGE in New York issued a nationwide temporary injunction, halting the implementation of part of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration on Saturday night, blocking the deportation of travelers with valid visas detained at airports in the past 24 hours.

      Judge Ann Donnelly, a United States District Court Judge in Brooklyn, issued the ruling at an emergency hearing on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups on Saturday, as Trump’s executive order temporarily banning citizens of seven nations with Muslim majorities from entering the U.S. took immediate effect.

      The judge ruled that the government must immediately stop deporting travelers from those nations, including refugees who already went through a rigorous vetting process, and provide a complete list of all those detained, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project Lee Gelernt told reporters in Brooklyn.

    • Trump Begins His Unconstitutional Program of Anti-Muslim Discrimination

      Yesterday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, The White House put out a statement that failed to mention the 6 million Jews who were exterminated by the Nazis. Hours later, President Trump signed an executive order suspending all refugee resettlement for 120 days and indefinitely suspending the resettlement of refugees from Syria. In addition to banning Syrian refugees, the president ordered a ban all entries of the nationals of seven majority-Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, for 90 days, and provided that the ban might be extended and that additional countries might be added to that list.

    • We’ll See You in Court: Why Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees Violates the Establishment Clause

      In both respects, the Executive Order violates the “clearest command of the Establishment Clause.” First, as I developed in an earlier post, the Constitution bars the government from targeting Islam. One of the lowest of many low moments in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was his December 2015 call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration. The proposal treated as presumptively suspect a religion practiced by about 1.6 billion people worldwide, nearly a quarter of the globe’s population. Trump soon retreated to talk of “extreme vetting,” but never gave up his focus on the religion of Islam. Friday’s executive orders are of a piece with his many anti-Muslim campaign promises.

    • Deported Mothers, Separated From Their Children, Wait in Limbo at the Mexican Border

      When deported mother Yolanda Varona received a call from photojournalist Natalie Keyssar on Friday morning, her voice was quivering. Varona, a Mexican mother of two and leader of the Dreamers Moms of Tijuana, spoke clearly — and forcefully — about her feelings on Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall to fortify the border between the United States and Mexico. In an executive order signed Wednesday evening, President Trump called for the “immediate” construction of the barrier that has already escalated tensions between the two nations.

      “I woke up yesterday to this news, and it filled me with sadness,” Varona told Keyssar, a photographer who documented her life in Tijuana — separated from her children — last spring. “To me, the wall means misery. It makes me think of death, of how many people die trying to cross these borders, and it represents hatred for my community. It means separation of families.”

    • In President Trump’s First Week, ACLU Hands Him First Stinging Rebuke

      The United States is a nation governed by the rule of law and not the iron will of one man. President Trump now has learned that we are democratic republic where the powers of government are not dictatorial. They are limited. The courts are the bulwark of our democracy that protects individual rights and guards against the overreaching of an administration that confuses its will for the American public’s.

    • The President of the United States Explicitly Endorses Torture — a Crime Against Humanity

      Even George W. Bush called torture abhorrent.

      “Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law,” he wrote on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in 2004.

      Bush’s words were outrageously insincere and hypocritical, considering that his administration brutally tortured hundreds of captives in the war on terror, referring to it euphemistically as “enhanced interrogation.”

    • Customs agents ignore judge, enforce Trump’s travel ban: ACLU

      A Brooklyn federal judge took on President Trump Saturday night,…
      Federal judge grants stay for those detained under Trump’s travel ban

      The ACLU is getting “multiple reports” that federal customs agents are siding with President Trump — and willfully ignoring a Brooklyn federal judge’s demand that travelers from seven Muslim countries not be deported from the nation’s airports.

      “The court’s order could not be clearer… they need to comply with the order,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights project, told The Post late Saturday.

    • Trump Order Will Block 500,000 Legal U.S. Residents from Returning to America From Trips Abroad

      A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security told Reuters on Saturday morning that the President’s executive order will, in fact, stop green card holders from seven countries from returning to the United States if they travel abroad. “It will bar green card holders,” the spokeswoman said.

      When details leaked earlier this week about a spate of immigration-related executive orders from President Donald Trump, much public discussion focused on a 30-day ban on new visas for citizens from seven “terror-prone” countries.

      But the order signed this afternoon by Trump is actually more severe, increasing the ban to 90 days. And its effects could extend well beyond preventing newcomers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, from entering the U.S., lawyers consulted by ProPublica said.

    • Fear Among Undocumented Immigrants

      The new mayor of the “People’s Republic of Berkeley,” Jesse Arreguin, is facing a trial by fire. The son and grandson of farmworkers and the first Latino to ever be elected mayor of Berkeley, California, Arreguin finds himself on the frontlines of the “sanctuary city” movement and in the cross hairs of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

      [...]

      And so, I’m angry. And I’m concerned about what the executive order the President signed today [Jan. 25] means for the people of Berkeley, and undocumented people throughout our country. And, now, more than ever, we’re going to stand up, and protect everyone, regardless of their national origin, their religion. And, I think, now more than ever, Berkeley needs to be a leader in the resistance against the Trump administration.

    • Hours After Landing in U.S., Cleveland Clinic Doctor Forced to Leave by Trump’s Order

      Hours after landing in New York on Saturday, a doctor at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic was forced to leave the country based on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump that bans visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.

      Her flight to Saudi Arabia took off minutes before a federal judge in New York put a temporary stay on turning back people in such situations.

      Suha Abushamma, 26, is in the first year of an Internal Medicine residency program at the clinic and held an H-1B visa for workers in “specialty occupations.” Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, she holds a passport from Sudan, one of the seven countries from which Trump barred visitors.

      On Saturday evening, Abushamma was forced to make a choice by Customs and Border Protection agents: She could leave the country voluntarily and withdraw her visa — or she could be forcibly deported, which would have prevented her from coming back to the United States for at least five years. The latter also would have resulted in a permanent black mark on her immigration record.

      She asked for a delay but was refused, she said in a FaceTime interview with ProPublica while she was flying over the Atlantic on her way back to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is not one of the countries on Trump’s list, but because Abushamma’s passport is from Sudan, she was told she is covered by the executive order.

    • Canadian Officials Say The White House Told Them Citizens Won’t Be Affected By The Trump Bans

      As the world processed the impact of President Donald Trump’s immigration and visa orders Saturday, tens of thousands of Canadian citizens — possibly including the country’s immigration minister — were told they were suddenly barred from entering Canada’s closest neighbor and ally.

      Trump’s executive action signed Friday bans citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days, even if they are also citizens of another nation. Trump’s actions on Friday also suspended the entire US refugee program for four months and indefinitely halted the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

    • Inside the confusion of the Trump executive order and travel ban

      When President Donald Trump declared at the Pentagon Friday he was enacting strict new measures to prevent domestic terror attacks, there were few within his government who knew exactly what he meant.

      Administration officials weren’t immediately sure which countries’ citizens would be barred from entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was left making a legal analysis on the order after Trump signed it. A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings.

    • Trump executive order: US judge temporarily halts deportations

      A US judge has issued a temporary halt to the deportation of visa holders or refugees stranded at airports after President Donald Trump issued an order barring entry to them for 90 days.

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a case in response to the order issued on Friday.

      The White House said 109 people were detained, and around two dozen travellers are still being held.

    • Counterattack On Trumpism

      Trump is building a house of cards. His government will be the laughing stock of USA for the mid-term elections if he’s not impeached earlier. An executive violating the constitution multiple times per week will be noticed. This week has made me proud to be a Canadian.

    • ACLU says it raised $10 million since Saturday

      The American Civil Liberties Union says it has raised over $10 million since Saturday morning and gotten over 150,000 new members in what the group’s executive director calls an “unprecedented” response to President Trump’s executive order blocking entry into the United States from citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

      “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the civil liberties group, told Yahoo News in a telephone interview. “People are fired up and want to be engaged. What we’ve seen is an unprecedented public reaction to the challenges of the Trump administration.”

    • Merkel ‘explains’ refugee convention to Trump in phone call

      Donald Trump’s executive order to halt travel from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia – has provoked a wave of concern and condemnation from international leaders and politicians.

      A spokesman for Angela Merkel said the German chancellor regretted Trump’s decision to ban citizens of certain countries from entering the US, adding that she had “explained” the obligations of the Geneva refugee convention to the new president in a phone call on Saturday.

      “The chancellor regrets the US government’s entry ban against refugees and the citizens of certain countries,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Shadow Regulation Around the World

        For close to 20 years, online copyright enforcement has taken place under a predictable set of legal rules, based around taking down allegedly infringing material in response to complaints from rights holders. In the United States, these rules are in Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and in Europe they are part of the E-Commerce Directive. In a nutshell, both sets of rules protect web platforms from liability for copyright infringement for material that they host, until they receive a formal notice about the claimed infringement from the copyright holder. This system is imperfect, and has resulted in many mistaken or bad faith takedowns. But as imperfect as the rules are, the fact that they are established by law at least means that they are pretty clear and well understood. That may be about to change.

        Around the world, big media lobbyists are pushing for changes to the way copyright is enforced online, and they’re focusing on new codes of conduct or industry agreements, rather than new laws. In particular, we have written in depth about Europe’s plans to force platforms to enter into private agreements with copyright holders to filter files that users upload to the web, something that copyright holders would also like to see done in the United States. They’re pushing this new upload filtering mandate through private agreements to avoid the long and divisive process of developing such requirements through through laws debated in parliaments, regulations made on public record, or a balanced multi-stakeholder process.

      • The US ‘Six Strikes’ Anti-Piracy Scheme is Dead

        The “six-strikes” Copyright Alert System is no more. In a brief announcement, MPAA, RIAA, and several major US ISPs said that the effort to educate online pirates has stopped. It’s unclear why the parties ended their voluntary agreement, but the lack of progress reports in recent years indicates that it wasn’t as successful as they had hoped.

IRC Proceedings: December 18th, 2016 – January 14th, 2017

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: December 18th, 2016 – December 24th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: December 25th, 2016 – December 31st, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: January 1st, 2017 – January 7th, 2017

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IRC Proceedings: January 8th, 2017 – January 14th, 2017

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Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: November 20th – December 17th, 2016

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: November 20th, 2016 – November 26th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: November 27th, 2016 – December 3rd, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: December 4th, 2016 – December 10th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: December 11th, 2016 – December 17th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: October 23rd, 2016 – November 19th, 2016

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: October 23rd, 2016 – October 29th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: October 30th, 2016 – November 5th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: November 6th, 2016 – November 12th, 2016

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IRC Proceedings: November 13th, 2016 – November 19th, 2016

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Enter the IRC channels now

Battistelli Keeps Filling His Swamp at the European Patent Office for Social Control and Immunity Purposes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO has its own Trump and Union Ban

Miscarriage of justice
Reference: Miscarriage of justice

Summary: The catastrophe which is today’s European Patent Office keeps making more of a mockery out of itself, based on rumours from the inside

THIS morning we saw two anonymous comments that contain new information. The first of these comments said the following:

Today the The Hague Local Staff Committee informed the staff that the Disciplinary Committee was not properly constituted in 2015 and 2016.
Sanctions (including dismissals) were inflicted by the president after consultation of a defective committee.

Can someone please pass this to us (the message, if any such message exists)? It ought to be publicly visible for accountability and enforcement — if any is possible — from the outside, e.g. Parliament. The EPO’s management spitting in the face of justice is a very severe violation of trust if not law; how are applicants expected to believe in patent justice when the EPO management so blatantly miscarries justice even when its own employees are concerned?

The second comment said this (with a tinge of sarcasm):

Good news ! at last hard workers are finally rewarded at EPO :

- the principal director Chairman of the disciplinary committee
- the director of the investigation unit
- the right hand of the president and husband of PD HR
- the director of personnel right hand of PD HR

ALL PROMOTED !!!!!

Who said that talents aren’t rewarded at EPO ?

Does anyone have more information about this? If so, please get in touch. The EPO may have managed to almost silence SUEPO, but it cannot silence Techrights (it tried repeatedly).

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