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04.17.17

Links 17/4/2017: Devil Linux 1.8.0, GNU IceCat 52.0.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Guide To Finding a Home-Based Linux Job

    With the technology advancements that keep on evolving, locating a home-based Linux job is a lot of Linux engineers dream. Unfortunately, there is still a majority of engineers that work in a typical office setting, but the opportunity to work out of the house continues to increase over time. After all, why not? Not having to commute seems to make a lot of sense. If all is done right, the efficiencies that can be gained by telecommuting are significant, for both the employer and employee. Therefore, since it is of great interest to find this work arrangement for many engineers, how does one find such a position? The goal of this article is to hit on some high points that will hopefully help one locate this type of role.

  • Desktop

    • It’s Windows Time in Linux Land Again

      Windows being Windows, a monkey wrench was thrown into the machinery right off. I booted the laptop into Windows, which then refused to connect with the Wi-Fi. It found the on-board Broadcom Wi-Fi just fine, but every time I’d try to get it to connect, it’d throw up an “unknown error” notice and ask if I’d like to enable logging so I could figure it out myself. This was odd, considering I’d used the machine to do my taxes last year, and it connects with the Wi-Fi just fine in Linux. But I wasn’t going to spend the better part of a day trying to fix it — I had no desire to start relearning my way around Windows. Time for Plan B, which was the reverse of Plan A: boot the desktop to Windows and use the laptop in Linux for finding all my facts and figures.

    • Ten Reasons You Should Try Linux Today

      I know despite the posts about how great Linux is and why I like it, many of you are probably still hesitant to try Linux. I understand. I remember years ago when I first heard about it, even I was slow to try it at first. After all, Windows just worked. Everything I needed Windows would do, so why bother trying something else that may or may not work for me. Of course, back then, Linux was quite different from what it is today.

      Over the years, Linux has evolved to become one of the most powerful operating systems in the world. In addition to computers, did you know that it powers a wide range of devices including routers, switches, your smartphones and even your televisions. That’s right, when your fancy television boots up chances are its running a customized version of Linux. Most web servers today are powered by Linux as well, including the one that is serving this site out to you.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.11-rc7

      You all know the drill by now. We’re in the late rc phase, and this
      may be the last rc if nothing surprising happens.

      Things have been pretty calm this past week (the beginning of the week
      seemed particularly calm, and then as usual Friday happened..). We
      have a number of reverts for things that didn’t work out and aren’t
      worth trying to fix at this point, that’s also normal (and people will
      look at it for the next version instead).

      So not too big, and things look very normal with two thirds of the
      changes being to drivers, and the rest being a mixture of arch updates
      (arm, x86, ia64, parisc), networking and filesystems (btrfs, cifs,
      orangefs). With a smattering of other stuff (tooling, header files,
      core kernel).

    • Linux 4.11-rc7 Kernel Released: Final Might Come Next Week

      Linus Torvalds has announced the seventh weekly test build of the upcoming Linux 4.11 kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Trying AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 On Ubuntu 17.04

        In early April AMD released the AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver as their first hybrid proprietary driver update in some time. With this update came support for Ubuntu 16.04.2 (and also 16.10, unofficially) but to little surprise it doesn’t work out-of-the-box with this week’s Ubuntu 17.04 release. But it can be made to work.

      • RadeonSI Polaris: Mesa 12.0 vs. 13.0 vs. 17.0 vs. 17.1 Git

        With Mesa 17.1 branching this weekend I figured it would be a fun Easter running benchmarks of Mesa Git compared to previous branches with a Radeon RX 470 Polaris graphics card. Here are these Mesa 17.1 benchmarks while other tests and on more GPUs is forthcoming.

      • Nouveau In Linux 4.13 Will Support HDMI Stereo 3D
      • Vulkan 1.0.48 Released

        There’s another weekly update available to the Vulkan API, but this Easter update is on the small side.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Introducing Babe – History

        This is my very first post for KDE blogs and it is also my very first application. So when I sit down to think about what to write about I thought I would like to tell you all about how and why I wanted to start coding and then why I decided to create a (yet another (i know)) music player, specially made for KDE/Plasma.

      • Kubuntu 17.04 Banner
  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • GNU/Linux Review: Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus

        This is a review of Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus with both Unity 7 and 8 desktop environments. This release is beautiful as always, ready for serious use, and complete with more than 70000 packages on official repository. It will be supported for 9 months until January 2018. Finally, I hope this review helps people to find how Ubuntu is and what’s interesting from 17.04. Enjoy!

      • Maui Linux 17.03

        On the whole I enjoyed using Maui, more than I had expected. There was not any one feature or program which really stood out as amazing, but I liked the overall style of the distribution. Maui provides a lot of software and features out of the box, offers a stable core based on an Ubuntu LTS release and includes cutting edge KDE Plasma software. I like that the application menu is full of useful software while avoiding overlap in functionality. I also appreciate how easy it is to use the Calamares installer and how quickly Calamares sets up the operating system. Mostly, I like that the distribution provides distinct windows, large fonts and a high-contrast theme which I found easy to look at over longer periods.

        I ran into just two issues or concerns while using Maui. One was the performance of the desktop with its default settings in the virtual test environment. Maui performed well on my desktop computer, but Plasma was slow to respond when running in VirtualBox. It is possible to improve performance by adjusting some items in the System Settings panel, but it would have been nice if the desktop had defaulted to more efficient settings.

        My second issue was not a bug, but rather a matter of style. Maui has a friendly look, lots of simple configuration modules and, over all, a very modern and easy to use approach. Everything looks new and tasks are typically performed through slick, graphical wrappers. The one exception I found was Synaptic. The venerable package manager works well, but is a bit cryptic compared to most modern software managers. I like Synaptic for its speed and flexibility, but I think something like GNOME Software or mintInstall might be more in line with Maui’s newcomer-friendly approach.

        On the whole, I like Maui. The distribution is easy to set up, friendly and generally stayed out of my way while I was working. This seems like a fairly beginner friendly desktop distribution which does a good job of making things easy without distracting the user or doing too much hand holding.

    • New Releases

      • AV Linux 2017.4.9 Released!

        An updated 2017 ISO for AV Linux has been released, it features a new Audio Routing system,
        many refinements and improvements and probably the most stable and functional collection of
        Applications across the board to date! The older AV Linux 2016.8.30 ISO’s are currently still
        in the FTPs and will be phased out soon, make sure to download the 2017.4.9 release.

      • Devil-Linux 1.8.0 released

        Devil-Linux 1.8.0 has been released! This is a major overhaul of Devil-Linux. Most programs and libraries have been updated and unmaintained ones have been removed. The main file system has been switched to squashfs, to further reduce the iso size. See the changelog for additional details.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Chris Lamb Elected As New Debian Project Leader

        Chris Lamb has unseated Mehdi Dogguy as the next Debian Project Leader.

        The 2017 Debian election results were posted today. Chris Lamb managed to secure more votes than current DPL Mehdi Dogguy and these two were the only ones competing in this year’s elections. The DPL term is one year.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UBports Community Q&A: April 15, 2017

            Today marked another Q&A session in the books. You can find it right over here on our shiny new Youtube channel! The following are the majority of asked questions and a summary of their answers.

          • More Details On UBports’ Plans For Unity, Mir & Anbox

            The UBports community are among those planning to fork the work on Unity 8 and they’ve already made ambitious plans like porting Unity 8 to Wayland. More details were revealed today.

            The UBports team issued their latest FAQs with some interesting remarks…

          • Why Ubuntu 18.04 Should Use KDE Plasma Instead of GNOME

            I think it was a mistake for Canonical to have chosen GNOME rather than KDE Plasma and in this video I explain why. Essentially it boils down to the fact that the vast majority of features in Ubuntu’s Unity are already available in KDE Plasma, most of which are available by default. Canonical could maintain the switch to Qt that Unity 8 started, maintain the design vision that Mark Shuttleworth wanted all the while not having to hack on the code of the KDE Plasma desktop environment much and in some cases at all.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Could A New Linux Base For Tablets/Smartphones Succeed In 2017?

        Over the years we have seen many mobile/smartphone focused Linux efforts come and go from OpenMoko, Moblin/MeeGo, webOS, Firefox OS, and most recently Ubuntu Touch while others like Sailfish OS and Plasma Mobile appear to be somewhat stagnate or at least not gaining much marketshare nor advancing rapidly. But what if more of these mobile Linux efforts were to collaborate on a common base? There’s a new effort being worked on in this area.

        A Phoronix reader involved with this new project codenamed HALIUM shared with us some early details on the work. This open-source project is trying to pool resources and developers from UBports (one of the groups forking Unity 8), Sailfish OS community developers, the open webOS Lune OS project, and KDE Plasma Mobile contributors, among other developers.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Freedom Doesn’t Have to Be Free: Revenue and Open Source

    In 1983, Richard Stallman kicked off the free software movement with the launch of the GNU Project. From that point onwards, free software was commonly associated with being free in the monetary sense as well.

    Most all open source projects, especially those in the world of Linux are available free of charge. And while this is very nice in itself, it can result in developers not being able to fully commit to their projects.

    In turn fantastic open source projects going nowhere in development when the lives of the maintainers catch up to them. But there is another way to go about open source!

  • Web Browsers

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming/Development

    • Xfce Session Manager 4.13 Released, Ported To GTK3

      An updated version of the Xfce4 session manager was released this Easter weekend.

      The xfce4-session 4.13.0 package was released today and it’s a significant step forward for Xfce’s session manager.

    • Relm: A GTK-Based GUI Library In Rust For Async GUI Apps

      With there being many Rustlang fans reading Phoronix, many of you will probably be interested in Relm: a new GUI library for Rust.

      Relm is a new crate/library for developing asynchronous GUI applications in Rust. Using GTK up to now in Rust looks rather messy, but Relm aims to change that and also make the applications more responsive by making the user-interface asynchronous and makes use of the language’s futures capability.

    • Comprehend X86 Assembly Language with Open Source Books

      An assembly language is a low-level programming language for a computer, or other programmable device. Assembly language is used by almost all modern desktop and laptop computers. It is as close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal. It is converted into executable machine code by a utility program referred to as an assembler.

    • Rcpp now used by 1000 CRAN packages

Leftovers

  • Forgotten audio formats: The flexi disc
  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • [Older] Subpoena reveals federal grand jury investigation of Flint water crisis

      The subpoena, obtained by MLive-The Flint Journal, shows federal prosecutors made an extensive request for documents from the city of Flint as part of the grand jury proceedings.

    • Trump Says He’ll Combat the Opioid Crisis, but His Agenda Could Make It Worse

      Like his predecessor, President Trump has promised to take bold action to address the nation’s opioid crisis and overdose epidemic, but critics say his efforts to undo President Obama’s signature health care law could prevent large numbers of people with opioid use disorders from receiving treatment.

      Others fear that instead of expanding community access to opioid disorder treatments, the Trump administration will push poor and marginalized people into “treatment” within the brutal confines of the prison system.

      With his “law and order” approach to governing, Trump is poised to reverse federal momentum on opioids, shifting the focus from public health back to law enforcement and incarceration. What could that look like, besides more drug arrests? For starters, the man rumored to be Trump’s pick for drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, has called for placing parents facing minor drug charges in a “hospital-slash-prison.”

    • Louisiana Offers Clear Example Why States Should Expand Medicaid – Not Reduce It

      While recent Republican healthcare legislation failed to even come to a vote in Congress, a look at one microcosm state, Louisiana, shows the potential effects of the Republican plan on Medicaid recipients – notably, a decline in health for a large portion of the population, and an increase in the cost of healthcare.

      In January 2015, immediately after taking office, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order expanding Medicaid by 21 percent, reaching 300,000 additional residents. As a result, a quarter of the state’s population is now covered under Medicaid.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump Lurches into Chaos and Conflict

      It seems clear – as much as anything is ‘”clear” – that the so-called Tomahawk “tweets” were intended as a message (in the sense that they did not constitute a military strategic act, per se), but even now, the address on these Tomahawk tweets remains disputed. Ostensibly, it was directed at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, and Kim Jong Un of North Korea are considered probable addressees too (although no one seems certain of this, and U.S. statements are both confused and confusing).

    • Afghans Respond to Insult of U.S. Dropping Massive Bomb: “Would a Mother Do That to Any Children?”

      The “Mother of All Bombs” is the nickname for the bomb the U.S. dropped Thursday on Afghanistan, but our guests in Kabul say civilians there are asking if any mother would conduct such an attack. Basir Bita is a mentor with Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, and Dr. Hakim is a medical doctor who has provided humanitarian relief in Afghanistan for over a decade. He works with Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building nonviolent alternatives to war. We are also joined by Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who is just back from Afghanistan, and Wazhmah Osman, professor of media and communication at Temple University and member of the Afghan American Artists and Writers Association.

    • Syria: Cui Bono?

      A military act must have a political aim. As Carl von Clausewitz famously said 200 years ago: war is the continuation of politics by other means.

      The two main opponents in the Syrian civil war are the Assad regime and Daesh. So what is the aim of the US? It sounds like a joke: The US wants to destroy both sides. Another joke: First it wants to destroy Daesh, therefore it bombs Assad.

      The destruction of Daesh is highly desirable. There are few more detestable groups in the world. But Daesh is an idea, rather than just an organization. The destruction of the Daesh state would disperse thousands of dedicated assassins all over the world.

      [...]

      Syria was created by France after World War I. A part of it later split off and became Lebanon.

      Both are artificial creations. I doubt whether there are even today real “Syrians” and real “Lebanese”.

      Lebanon is a mountainous country, ideally suited for small sects which need to defend themselves. Over the centuries, many small sects found refuge there. As a result, Lebanon is full of such sects, which distrust each other – Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Maronite Christians, many other Christian sects, Druze, Kurds.

    • Trump Finds His Groove with Warmaking

      President Donald Trump has bathed in the praise from both Democrats and Republicans for his surprise missile attack on Syria last week, even as he prepared for a state dinner with the president of China at Trump’s elite Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

      As U.S. policies now push the world closer to World War III, I interviewed John. Pilger, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker who has just completed his 60th film for TV, which anticipates a global conflagration.

      The Coming War on China, says Pilger, “reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the road to war.”

    • U.S. Insurers Sue Saudis For $4.2 Billion Over 9/11

      The 10 defendants in the lawsuit include Al Rajhi Bank, aviation contractor Dallah Avco, the Mohamed Binladin Co, the Muslim World League, and other charities, but the biggest target is the Saudi National Commercial Bank, which is majority state-owned. The Saudi government heavily pressured the Obama Administration to block the JASTA last year, threatening to crash the US treasury market if it led to lawsuits, but overwhelming Congressional support still got it passed into law.

      While there were more than a few lawsuits already filed in the past several weeks related to JASTA, this is by far the biggest, and most previous lawsuits are still in limbo as the court and lawyers try to combine them into various class action groups.

      Historically, US sovereign immunity laws have prevented suits against the Saudi government related to overseas terrorism. With the release of the Saudi-related portions of the 9/11 Report last year, however, such suits were inevitable, and the federal government could no longer protect the Saudis from litigation.

    • A Father Describes Saving His Daughter From U.S. Bombardment of Mosul

      On March 17, Ala’a Ali left his wife and 4-year-old daughter at the home of relatives in the al Jadida neighborhood of Mosul, and went home to wash before the morning call to prayer. Two minutes after he arrived home, a deafening explosion ripped through the neighborhood, engulfing the narrow street in black smoke.

      “I hid in the corner of the building, and smoke crept in through the windows,” 28-year-old Ali told The Intercept. “Then the smell hit me, and I could barely breathe.” As soon as he could, he bolted from his hiding place and ran to the scene of the explosion, and the house where he had left his family.

      It had been hit by an airstrike from U.S.-led coalition forces bombing Islamic State fighters.

    • Take a 3D tour of North Korea’s nuclear test site, thanks to open source intelligence

      Rumors have been flying around about the possibility of a North Korean nuclear test, thanks in part to activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site. If it is, this will be the sixth known nuclear test in 11 years — and a clear sign that North Korean arms development is continuing.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • CIA Director calls WikiLeaks an “enemy,” says Assange has “no First Amendment freedoms”

      In a speech Thursday at a Washington, DC think tank, CIA Director Michael Pompeo called the whistleblower site WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and said news organizations that reveal the government’s crimes are “enemies” of the United States.

      Pompeo’s remarks announce an open break with the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech and a threat that the Trump administration will not tolerate opposition to war, surveillance and corporate plunder.

      Referring to WikiLeaks’ founder, Pompeo declared that “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms.” Pompeo’s remarks were prompted by Assange’s April 11 op-ed in the Washington Post, in which the whistleblower defended WikiLeaks. The threat of US prosecution or assassination has forced Assange to seek refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.

  • Finance

    • Trump’s Goldman Sachs Vampire Squid Presidency

      The things that come out of President Trump’s mouth seem to depend on who he talks to or what he sees on TV in the minutes immediately preceding his mouth motion.

      Based on his recent switchbacks, Trump has been spending a LOT of time talking to the alums of Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs who now form his inner circle.

    • Workers cheated as federal contractors prosper

      For 11 years, Karla Quezada assembled sandwiches at the Subway in the food court of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, a sprawling complex in downtown Washington, D.C., owned by the U.S. General Services Administration.

      She routinely worked more than 40 hours a week, with no overtime pay. She worked holidays, also without extra compensation. Her paychecks took a hit whenever she stayed home sick.

      “I knew it was a federal building, but since everyone else was paying low wages, too, I just figured that’s how it was supposed to be,” Quezada, 40, said in a recent interview at her home in Arlington, Virginia.

    • US foreign aid, explained

      President Donald Trump seeks to fulfill his campaign promise to “put America first” in his proposed 2018 budget.

      “This includes deep cuts to foreign aid,” Trump said in his opening message to his proposed budget. “It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.”

      His budget would slash funding for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to US$25.6 billion, down 28 percent from the current level. Although the budget doesn’t specify how much USAID alone would lose, if enacted, these deep cuts would significantly disrupt America’s ability to deliver foreign aid.

    • Roots of Trump’s ‘Economic Nationalism’

      As the Trump administration seeks to develop a coherent policy on global trade and the promotion of American manufacturing, looking to the current of Hamilton, Clay, Carey and Lincoln could, in the best case scenario, lead to an important shift in modern politics; at the least, it should allow for a deeper discussion of what protectionism actually means in U.S. history, beyond the caricature that has dominated the public discussion to date.

      The President is clearly picking and choosing his references, not without some confusion; indeed he speaks glowingly of Andrew Jackson, whose economic approach was diametrically opposed to that of Clay and other representatives of the economic nationalist current.

    • Britain set to lose EU ‘crown jewels’ of banking and medicine agencies

      The EU is set to inflict a double humiliation on Theresa May, stripping Britain of its European agencies within weeks, while formally rejecting the prime minister’s calls for early trade talks.

      The Observer has learned that EU diplomats agreed their uncompromising position at a crunch meeting on Tuesday, held to set out the union’s strategy in the talks due to start next month.

      A beauty contest between member states who want the European banking and medicine agencies, currently located in London, will begin within two weeks, with selection criteria to be unveiled by the president of the European council, Donald Tusk.

    • Labor union calls out Peru over land bond dispute

      The Teamsters labor union has escalated an investor dispute against Peru, arguing that its members’ pensions could be thrown into jeopardy as a result of the government’s alleged failure to pay investors $5 billion worth of debt tied up in land bonds.

      “Many of our pension funds are holding defaulted Peruvian land bonds through various investment vehicles,” Teamsters President James Hoffa said in a March 24 letter to Peru’s U.S. envoy, Carlos Pareja, that was obtained by POLITICO. “We believe that America can no longer allow countries that take advantage of our large domestic market to get away with defaulting on their debts, particularly when it hurts our workers and retirees. The Teamsters union calls on the Peruvian government to make good on its responsibility to pay its debts.”

    • Rockhopper launches arbitration claim against Italy

      Rockhopper Exploration is fighting for compensation from Italy after it banned offshore drilling, leaving the company unable to develop one of its oil and gas fields.

      The Aim-listed explorer said that it had begun international arbitration against the country for “very significant monetary damages” over the loss of future profits from its Ombrina Mare field.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Five Obama-era tech policies on the chopping block
    • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Travel Triggers Cost and Ethics Concerns
    • White House says it will keep visitor logs secret, reversing transparency policy introduced by Barack Obama

      The visitor logs, which are maintained by the Secret Service, are a record of everyone who enters the White House. Watchdog groups claim publication of the logs are crucial to government transparency.

    • The Trump Administration Lost Again in Court, This Time on Voter ID

      A federal court in Texas has again ruled the state’s 2011 voter identification law intentionally discriminated against minorities. It’s the latest loss in the case for Texas — which has spent years unsuccessfully defending the law. But it also has implications for the Trump administration.

      In February, the new administration abruptly abandoned the crux of the Justice Department’s opposition to the voter ID law. Government lawyers also asked the judge to delay her decision on whether the law intentionally discriminated against blacks and Latinos.

    • How Facebook and the New York Times corporatised ‘fake news’

      What is new is the extent to which fake news has overtaken the media landscape and the forms that this misinformation takes. News pieces from far-right ideologues like Alex Jones’ Infowars or Breitbart or Fox News constitute one type of propaganda. Another propagator of deception are Macedonians pumping out stories through politically named websites, more to generate personal income than to push a particular agenda. But the third – and perhaps surprising source – are the mainstream marketers.

      In the last few years, a new marketing trend – what I call “Black Ops Advertising” – has overtaken the digital landscape. Black ops, or covert, advertising is commercial content that has been obscured so as to appear to be editorial content. These hidden sales messages primarily take two forms: native advertising and content marketing.

      Native advertising is any type of sponsored content that has been created to be indigenous to the site within which it appears. You are likely most aware of this in the form of the ads that appear within your newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter. These in-feed native ads look like anything else that a friend or family member might send to you, but with some limited indicators that there is an advertiser attached – such as “sponsored” or “promoted” in faded gray type. An increasingly popular form of this is ‘custom native’: advertising produced by the publisher for the marketer.

    • Trump 90 Days Ago: “My People Will Have a Full Report on Hacking Within 90 Days!”

      Exactly 90 days ago — on Friday, January 13 — Donald Trump, then president-elect, issued a series of tweets attacking the claims in former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele’s “dossier” that the Russian government had long been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Trump.

      Trump called the allegations “phony” and “totally made up” and pledged that “My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!”

      No such full report has appeared, nor is there any evidence that an investigation by the Trump administration is currently underway — or was ever initiated.

      Reached by phone, Senior Assistant White House Press Secretary Michael Short said, “I’m in the parking lot, I don’t have an update” on the promised report. Asked when he might be able to provide an update, Short repeated, “I’m in the parking lot.” Then he said “I’ve got to run” and hung up.

    • ‘What, You Chicken?’ Coast-to-Coast Protests Dare Trump to Release Taxes

      From the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to Fairbanks, Alaska, to the Mar-a-Lago Resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, Americans are taking to the streets on Saturday to send a clear message to President Donald Trump: “Release your tax returns.”

      As residents prepare to submit their own yearly tax forms, the president continues to evade scrutiny by keeping his own returns hidden from view—breaking generations of precedent and prompting many to wonder what the financial disclosures might reveal.

      “Without seeing his tax returns, we have no idea what he’s hiding—shady business deals? Financial ties to foreign countries? Conflicts of interest?—or who his policies are really benefitting,” state the organizers, who include alumni of the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund, the Indivisible movement, and the Working Families Party, among other progressive organizations.

    • Trump is Hiring Lobbyists and Top Ethics Official Says ‘There’s No Transparency’

      President Trump has stocked his administration with a small army of former lobbyists and corporate consultants who are now in the vanguard of the effort to roll back government regulations at the agencies they once sought to influence, according to an analysis of government records by the New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica.

    • DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White

      The new acting head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights once complained that she experienced discrimination because she is white.

      As an undergraduate studying calculus at Stanford University in the mid-1990s, Candice Jackson “gravitated” toward a section of the class that provided students with extra help on challenging problems, she wrote in a student publication. Then she learned that the section was reserved for minority students.

      “I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”

    • No More Silver Lining: Trump Turns Clintonian

      The election of Donald Trump was a catastrophe. This was clear before Election Day; it is even clearer now.

      Nevertheless, his victory was not a total disaster — Hillary Clinton lost. She and her husband had done enough harm already. Three decades of Clintons is enough.

      I put the point this way because with the Republicans’ success in replacing the late Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, a smoother but more reactionary jurist, the Supreme Court is on my mind.

      The allusion is, of course, to an infamous remark of the much venerated – and ostensibly liberal –Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior in a ruling (Buck v. Bell, 1927) that permitted the state of Virginia to require the sterilization of an intellectually disabled woman. Holmes declared: “three generations of imbeciles is enough.”

    • Trump Uses Tiny Nation to Insult Russia

      Donald Trump has just approved Montenegro’s accession into NATO, the latest sign that hopes for a new détente with Russia have been dashed. Though Montenegro is a tiny nation and its inclusion doesn’t significantly affect NATO’s capabilities, the move does send a clear message to Moscow that Trump is continuing his reversal from his campaign promises of warming up to Russia and cooling off to NATO into the opposite.

    • Erdoğan Claims Ultimate Power in Turkey After Nearly Split Vote

      In a very close—and closely watched—referendum vote, Turks on Sunday handed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan what many say is authoritarian rule.

      With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, Erdoğan claimed a win with 51.36 percent voting in favor of the referendum and 48.64 voting against.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Photos: ‘Exorcists’ Attempt To Cast Demons Out Of Alleged NSA Spy Building In Tribeca

      While the Christian world focuses on Easter today, a different group of people with spirituality on their minds showed up in Tribeca yesterday afternoon with the aim of casting out some devils from a building that’s been reported to be an NSA listening station.

      As mentioned earlier this week, a group of demonstrators organized by editors of The Quiet American showed up in front of the AT&T building at 33 Thames Street to call attention to the purported NSA activity going on at the building and to “exorcise the malevolent energy and information coursing through the AT&T monolith.”

    • ‘Released docs on alleged NSA malware provide instructions for criminals’

      Alleged NSA cyber-infiltration tools empower criminals and intelligence agencies to develop more in this direction, and could be used by anyone able to reproduce and modify the code, software developer and co-founder of Dyne.org Denis Roio says.

      A hacking group named Shadow Brokers has published what it claims are some of the cyber-infiltration tools used by the NSA, alleging that the American spy agency used them to break into banking systems.

      The leaked NSA malware is said to be capable of breaking into more than half of computers using a Microsoft Windows operating system.

      The hacking group behind the revelation also says the NSA may have penetrated several banking services, including SWIFT.

    • More On Private Internet Access

      So my biggest issue now is that I can’t use my email. That’s pretty surprising, as I wouldn’t think using a VPN would make any difference for that. I don’t actually care about my Google Apps account, but I need to be able to read my Igalia mail in Evolution. (Note: My actual IP seems to leak in my email headers, but I don’t care. My name is on my emails anyway. I just care that it works.)

    • [Older] Government Goes After Critic on Twitter, Remembers Constitution Just in Time

      The attempt to unmask a critical Twitter account was an affront to our fundamental right to anonymous expression.

      For a few weeks, the government seemed to forget that the Constitution protects the right to speak anonymously. Thankfully, the prospect of a legal challenge from Twitter and the ACLU appears to have jogged its memory.

    • Hippies Exorcise New York ‘Spyscraper’ of NSA Demons

      Because today, at noon, an exorcism was performed on the AT&T Building in Lower Manhattan. If you’re not familiar, the AT&T Building is a building that would be rejected by the production team behind Power Rangers as too obvious a location for a supervillian lair. It is 550 feet tall. It has no windows. It is clad entirely in concrete thick enough to withstand an atomic weapon. It has three subterranean levels and enough food to support 1,500 people for three weeks, supposedly. At night, it remains unlit, an imposing clot of concrete that casts 29 stories of Manhattan’s glittery skyline in permafrost shadow.

    • NSA surveillance protested with mock prayers, chants

      “Exorcists” wearing tinfoil hats and burning sage staged a faux purification ritual in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood Saturday outside a building that they said was an outpost used by the U.S. government to surveil everyday Americans’ phone calls, texts and internet usage.

    • FBI Uses BitTorrent to Find and Catch Child Porn Offenders

      The FBI is using BitTorrent clients, specifically modified for law enforcement purposes, to track down people who share child porn and prosecute them. The software in question is configured to download complete files from a single suspect, to confirm that this person has the illegal content in his or her possession.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sharia Councils and Sexual Abuse in Britain

      If one asks how all of this jibes with British law, the answer is that it does not.

    • Jakarta election challenger Anies accused of courting Islamic vote amid religious divide [iophk: ""political islam" redundant term"]

      “He is going to mosques, and then preaching in the mosque and he also shows his closeness to radical groups like the FPI [the Islamic Defenders Front].

    • Dorm debate led to death in Pakistan ‘blasphemy killing’: witnesses

      The day before, a heated debate over religion with fellow students broke out at the dorm and led to people accusing Khan of blasphemy against Islam. That attracted a crowd that grew to several hundred people, according to witnesses.

      The mob kicked in the door, dragged Khan from his room and beat him to death, witnesses and police said.

    • For-Profit School Chain Camelot Suffers Setback Following Abuse Allegations

      The Muscogee County School Board in Columbus, Georgia, dealt another blow to embattled Camelot Education when it voted Monday night to delay for three months a decision on whether to hire the company to run its alternative education programs.

      The delay in awarding the $6.4 million annual contract comes in the wake of a recent report by ProPublica and Slate that more than a dozen Camelot students were allegedly shoved, beaten or thrown by staff members — incidents almost always referred to as “slamming.” The for-profit Camelot runs alternative programs across the country for more than 3,000 students, most of whom have emotional or behavioral difficulties or have fallen far behind academically.

    • ‘The Tamil Nadu factor’: demanding justice for genocide in Sri Lanka

      From politicians to protestors, the people of Tamil Nadu are making waves in Indian politics, rallying around the need for justice for the war crimes committed against Sri Lanka’s Tamils.

    • Students at Pakistani University Lynch Classmate Falsely Accused of Blasphemy

      The brutal lynching of a journalism student by classmates at a Pakistani university on Thursday, shortly after he was accused of blasphemy by administrators, appalled civil society activists, and provided new evidence of the corrosive effects of the nation’s strict blasphemy laws.

    • Snipers and Infiltrators at Standing Rock: Quashing Protests at Taxpayer Expense

      The inner-workings and cost of the government’s militant and violent crackdown on peaceful Standing Rock protesters have been trickling in these past few months, yet it hasn’t received the headlines it all deserves. In March, MUCKROCK was provided with an unredacted look at Indiana’s Department of Homeland Security’s EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) operation at Standing Rock, and just this week files and photos obtained by journalist Mike Best from Ohio’s State Highway Patrol confirm that at least one sniper was deployed on a nearby hill, overlooking the protests.

      First, here’s a look at Indiana’s EMAC, which was asked to join North Dakota’s efforts to silence Standing Rock protests at taxpayer expense. For 18 days, from October to November of last year, 37 officers from Indianapolis PD were sent to North Dakota’s Morton County. Estimates of the cost of sending these cops, including their equipment, transport and commodities, exceeded $725,000. Wisconsin’s Dane County Sheriff’s Office also sent 13 deputies, with a total cost of $91,166 per day for an eight day stint.

    • “Worse Since Trump’s Election” — For-Profit I.C.E. Jail Faces Second Hunger Strike in Two Years

      A hunger strike at a privately-run immigration detention facility in Tacoma, Wash. is slated to enter its third day on Thursday.

      More than 750 people are participating, according to supporters holding a demonstration at noon on Wednesday, in front of the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). The rally is being held, in part, to see if the hunger strike will continue.

      Inmates began refusing meals at lunchtime on Monday, in protest over conditions at the privately-run prison. Specifically, they want speedier hearings, improved food and healthcare access, and lower prices at the prison’s store.

      The hunger strike was also launched to protest working conditions at NWDC. Inmates are paid $1 every day for fulfilling jobs that prison managers need completed. Despite the pitiful compensation they receive, some have reported wage theft.

      “Some have even been denied the $1/day payment, and have been given a bag of chips in exchange for several nights of waxing the prison’s floors,” Latino Rebels said on Monday.

    • Ralph Nader Explains Why United Airlines Has “Total Unbridled Discretion to Throw You Off a Plane”

      And what United Airlines did in the flight from Chicago to Louisville, when they wanted to get four seats empty for four flight attendants deadheading it to Louisville to get on another plane, was offer vouchers that expire in one year. And they got three out of the four, and they picked a doctor, Dao, and called the security when he objected, and dragged him off the plane. And a billion people have seen that.

    • United gave doctor’s luggage the runaround, too

      “Instead, the airline flew their luggage to Louisville, Kentucky. And instead of delivering it to their home, they sent it to their medical practice office,” he added.

    • The women who sleep with a stranger to save their marriage

      A number of online services are charging “divorced” Muslim women thousands of pounds to take part in “halala” Islamic marriages, a BBC investigation has found. Women pay to marry, have sex with and then divorce a stranger, so they can get back with their first husbands.

    • Indonesian gay couple beaten on video before vigilantes hand them over to religious police

      The pair are to go on trial in an Islamic court for having gay sex and could receive 100 strokes of the cane if found guilty, officials in the conservative province of Aceh said, sparking calls for their release.

    • Why rightwingers are desperate for Sweden to ‘fail’

      There are few countries in the world that have “lost their innocence” as many times as Sweden. Even before a suspected terrorist and Isis supporter killed four and injured many more in last week’s attack in central Stockholm, Sweden’s policies were being portrayed on the programmes of Fox News and pages of the Daily Mail as, at best, exercises in well-meaning-but-naive multiculturalism, and at worst terrorist appeasement.

      So, when terrible events take place, they are framed as evidence of the decline and fall of the European social democratic project, the failure of European immigration policies and of Swedish innocence lost.

    • Another Startling Verdict for Forensic Science

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that the Justice Department is closing a federal agency formed four years ago that was designed to instill more scientific rigor in the forensic sciences. The National Commission on Forensic Science had been working on best practices for crime labs and had been funding research to assess reliability in whole fields of evidence. Sessions said a new approach will be outlined by an as-yet-unnamed “senior forensic advisor.”

      As ProPublica originally detailed in April 2015, there has been plenty of reporting over the years on faulty forensics.

    • Trump’s Wall: How Much Money Does the Government Have For It Now?

      During the campaign, President Donald Trump promised to build a wall across the southern border some 1,000 miles long. The number of miles the president currently has money for: seven.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials delivered the startling news this week at a conference in San Antonio for businesses eager to win contracts for beefing up security along the border.

      Although estimates to build the wall soar past $20 billion, the agency has so far managed to scrape together only about $20 million, according to its top contracting official. The rest of the cash will have to come from Congress, which so far has proven reluctant to foot the bill.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

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