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10.10.17

Links 10/10/2017: Plasma 5.11, GCC 5.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Linux Foundation Launches OpenMessaging Project

    The roster of Linux Foundation Collaborative Project is growing again, this time with the launch of OpenMessaging project.

    According to the project’s GitHub projec page, the goal of the effort is to provide a vendor-neutral open standard for distributed messaging and stream.

    “OpenMessaging, which includes the establishment of industry guidelines and messaging, streaming specifications to provide a common framework for finance, e-commerce, IoT and big-data area,” the project states. “The design principles are the cloud-oriented, simplicity, flexibility, and language independent in distributed heterogeneous environments.

  • Designing tabletop games with open source

    The print-on-demand industry is one of my favorite products of technological innovation. It removes gatekeepers and eliminates the bottleneck of physical bulk production. It gives anybody with a good idea and the drive to produce it a way to get their work out into the world.

    Print-on-demand combined with open source software is even more powerful, letting independent publishers generate content at whatever price they can afford at the time (or for nothing at all). And the tools are a pleasure to use.

  • This New Storyboarding Software Is Both Free And Open Source

    A new piece of software – both free and open source – wants to upend the market for digital storyboarding applications. Meet Storyboarder.

    Storyboarder is intended to be a fast and simple tool, with six drawing tools and easy-to-rearrange panels. The app is also integrated with external software, allowing for the ability to do roughs in Storyboarder, and with the click of one button, refine the artwork in Photoshop.

  • Circle Announces Open Source Project CENTRE and Foundation
  • TACC Develops Multi-Factor Authentication Solution, Makes it Open-Source

    How does a supercomputing center enable tens of thousands of researchers to securely access its high-performance computing systems while still allowing ease of use? And how can it be done affordably?

    These are questions that the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), asked themselves when they sought to upgrade their system security. They had previously relied on users’ names and passwords for access, but with a growing focus on hosting confidential health data and the increased compliance standards that entails, they realized they needed a more rigorous solution.

    [...]

    To learn more about OpenMFA or explore the code, visit the Github repository.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Is Mesosphere surrendering to Kubernetes?

      Until recently there were three major contenders for the spot as top cloud container orchestration program: Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Mesosphere. It’s now down to two. Mesosphere has thrown in the towel and is adopting Kubernetes into DC/OS.
      Is this really a surrender? Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert argues it’s not. His position is Marathon, Mesosphere‘s parent company, and Kubernetes have different use cases. You can use Mesosphere to run legacy applications without containers, while Kubernetes is all containers, all the time. Leibert said. “It’s like a layer cake. Kubernetes and Mesos can work really well together. Kubernetes takes over the container workflow but it can’t handle workflows that don’t run on containers such as Hadoop.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Conference 2017 Kicked Off Today with a Focus on LibreOffice 6.0

      The LibreOffice Conference 2017 event kicked off today in Rome, Italy, with a focus on the development of the next major LibreOffice office suite release, version 6.0, which will arrive next year in early February.

      The Document Foundation will be hosting the LibreOffice Conference 2017 in a venue located at Via del Tempio di Giove 21. During three days full of talks, workshops, and hacking sessions, various developers will try to improve the open-source and cross-platform LibreOffice office suite, as well as to focus on adding new features.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Security-Oriented OpenBSD 6.2 OS Released with Better ARM Support, Improvements

      The BSD-based, UNIX-like operating system OpenBSD has been recently updated to version 6.2, a release that introduces up-to-date components, better hardware support, and lots of security improvements.

      Coming six months after the launch of OpenBSD 6.1 early this spring, which was the first point release in the 6.x series of the operating system, OpenBSD 6.2 is here to introduce a large number of enhancements, among which we can mention better support for various ARM boards, IEEE 802.11 wireless stack improvements, as well as some generic network stack improvements.

    • OpenBSD 6.2 released: Oct 9, 2017

      We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 6.2. This is our 43rd release. We remain proud of OpenBSD’s record of more than twenty years with only two remote holes in the default install.

    • OpenBSD 6.2 Released

      A few days ahead of the date hinted at by the work-in-progress release page, OpenBSD 6.2 was released today, October 9th 2017.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 5.5 Released

      The GNU Compiler Collection version 5.5 has been released.

      GCC 5.5 is a bug-fix release from the GCC 5 branch containing important fixes for regressions and serious bugs in GCC 5.4 with more than 250 bugs fixed since the previous release.

      This is also the last release from the GCC 5 branch, GCC continues to be maintained on the GCC 6 and GCC 7 branches and the development trunk.

    • GCC 5.5 Released, That’s It For GCC5

      Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat today announced the release of GCC 5.5 compiler that also marks the end of the GCC5 series.

    • The State Of GNU’s GDB Conversion To C++

      Last year the GNU Debugger’s code-base was converted from the C programming language (C90) to now using C++11. At last month’s GNU Tools Cauldron was an update on this process.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Europe pledges support for open source government solutions

      Estonia has long been the digital envy of many European Union member states. An effective and open policy approach to digital government has yielded extraordinary results—from 90%+ uptake of electronic identification (E-ID) solutions to an open source e-government platform (X-Road) to meet the ever-growing expectations of IT-savvy citizens as well as other countries wanting to pool IT across borders.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • NISO Publishes Standards Tag Suite (NISO STS) Standard

      The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of a new American National Standard, STS: Standards Tag Suite, ANSI/NISO Z39.102-2017. The purpose of this “standard for standards,” which will be known as NISO STS, is to define a suite of XML elements and attributes that describes the full-text content and metadata of standards. NISO STS provides a common format that preserves intellectual content of standards independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mechanism To Assess Trade Agreements Needed, UN Forum On Access To Medicines Hears

      She said that such a mechanism would safeguard the measures countries have under the TRIPS (WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, to protect and advance human rights.

    • No Vaccines Before the Next Zika Outbreak?: A Case for IP Preparedness

      In September 2017, the development of the US Army’s Zika vaccine—once a leading candidate in the Zika vaccine race—came to a halt after almost all federal funding for Zika R&D was cut short. This happened less than a year from the end of the global public health emergency. Funding will now resume only if the Zika epidemic re-emerges.

      That R&D on diseases like Zika is not attractive to pharmaceutical companies is a well-known phenomenon. It usually takes a major public health crisis to shake up the playing field. With Ebola, for instance, funding for R&D increased 258% in 2015. The Zika outbreak had the same effect, and so will future outbreaks of similar diseases.

    • Congress Uses Las Vegas Massacre to Push Abortion Ban

      This week, the Senate takes up an unconstitutional bill recently passed 237-189 in the House that would ban all abortion after 20 weeks. The deceptively named “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 36) would “make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.”

      The claim that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks has been thoroughly debunked. Published at the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, a 2011 review of more than 150 studies has confirmed that a fetus’s neurological system is not developed enough at 20 weeks to register pain; the connection between the brain and the rest of the body simply doesn’t exist.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Deloitte hack hit server containing emails from across US government

      The hack into the accountancy giant Deloitte compromised a server that contained the emails of an estimated 350 clients, including four US government departments, the United Nations and some of the world’s biggest multinationals, the Guardian has been told.

      Sources with knowledge of the hack say the incident was potentially more widespread than Deloitte has been prepared to acknowledge and that the company cannot be 100% sure what was taken.

      Deloitte said it believed the hack had only “impacted” six clients, and that it was confident it knew where the hackers had been. It said it believed the attack on its systems, which began a year ago, was now over.

      However, sources who have spoken to the Guardian, on condition of anonymity, say the company red-flagged, and has been reviewing, a cache of emails and attachments that may have been compromised from a host of other entities.

    • Apache Patches Optionsbleed Flaw in HTTP Server

      The Apache HTTP Web Server (commonly simply referred to as ‘Apache’) is the most widely deployed web server in the world, and until last week, it was at risk from a security vulnerability known as Optionsbleed.

    • Browsers Will Store Credit Card Details Similar to How They Save Passwords

      A new W3C standard is slowly creeping into current browser implementations, a standard that will simplify the way people make payments online.

      Called the Payment Request API, this new standard relies on users entering and storing payment card details inside browsers, just like they currently do with passwords.

    • Equifax will give your salary history to anyone with your SSN and date of birth
    • Forrester Research Discloses Limited Website Data Breach

      At 6:17 ET PM on Oct.6, Forrester Research publicly admitted that it was the victim of a cyber-attack. According to the firm, the attack had limited impact, with no evidence that confidential client data had been stolen.

      According to Forrester Research’s preliminary investigation, attackers were able to gain access to Forrester.com content that was intended to be limited exclusively to clients.

      “We recognize that hackers will attack attractive targets—in this case, our research IP,” George F. Colony, chairman and chief executive officer of Forrester, stated.

      “We also understand there is a tradeoff between making it easy for our clients to access our research and security measures,” Colony added. “We feel that we have taken a common-sense approach to those two priorities; however, we will continuously look at that balance to respond to changing cyber-security risk.”

    • Akamai Reports Fast Flux Botnets Remain a Security Risk

      Attackers are continuing to benefit from the use many different technique to remain hidden. New research released Oct.10 by Akamai reveals that a botnet with over 14,000 IP addresses has been using the fast flux DNS technique to evade detection, while still causing damage to users and organizations.

      Fast Flux is an attacker technique that uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to hide the source of an attack. DNS operates by referring a domain name to a specific IP address

    • Disqus reveals data breach, but wins points for transparency

      Disqus has publicly announced that its user database leaked in 2012, exposing the usernames, email addresses, sign-up dates, and last login dates of more than 17 million users.

      In addition, the data included crackable SHA1-hashed passwords of “about one-third” of users. Presumably many accounts registered with the popular blog-commenting service do not have associated passwords due to many users signing-in using third-party social media accounts such as Google or Facebook.

      Quite how the security breach occurred is currently a mystery, and – frankly – despite their good intentions, Disqus may find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what happened five years after the event.

    • WhatsApp Exploit Can Allow Hackers To Monitor Your Sleep And Other Things
    • Multi-Layered Defenses Needed to Improve Cyber-Security, FBI Says
    • Hacking is inevitable, so it’s time to assume our data will be stolen

      If recent hacking attacks such as the one at Equifax, which compromised personal data for about half of all Americans, have taught us anything, it’s that data breaches are a part of life. It’s time to plan for what happens after our data is stolen, according to Rahul Telang, professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University.

      Companies are prone to understating the scale of hacks, which suggests that there needs to be better standards for disclosing breaches. Yahoo recently confessed that its data breach actually impacted 3 billion user accounts, three times what it disclosed in December. Equifax also boosted the number of people it says were affected by its hack.

    • 7 Security Risks User and Entity Behavior Analytics Helps Detect
    • UpGuard Reports Accenture Data Exposure, Debuts Risk Detection Service

      Security vendor UpGuard announced on Oct.10 that it discovered that global consulting firm Accenture had left at least four cloud-based storage servers publicly available. UpGuard alleges that the exposed cloud servers could have left Accenture customers to risk, though Accenture is publicly downplaying the impact of the cloud data exposure.

      “There was no risk to any of our clients – no active credentials, PII and other sensitive information was compromised,” Accenture noted in a statement sent to eWEEK. “The information involved could not have provided access to client systems and was not production data or applications.”

      Accenture added that the company has a multi-layered security model and the data in question would not have allowed anyone that found it to penetrate any of those layers.

    • [Older] The creepiest data breach till date: Passwords of 540,000 Car Tracking Devices Leaked Online

      Data breaches have become so common these days that every single day we get news about a data breach. We have seen data breaches from big to small, from dangerous to embarrassing, but this is one is the creepiest data breach of 2017, this leak of credentials of almost 540,000 Car Tracking Devices might take the biscuit.

      The Kromtech Security Center recently found over half a million login credentials belonging to SVR, a company specializes in “vehicle recovery”, is leaked online and is publicly accessible. SVR provides its customers with around-the-clock surveillance of cars and trucks, just in case those vehicles are towed or stolen.

    • Nginx 1.13.6 Patches Web Server for the Year 2038 Flaw

      Developers and organizations around the world rushed to fix the Y2K bug nearly 20 years ago as the calendar rolled over to the new millennium. There is also a similar bug that is resident in Unix/Linux systems known as the Year 2038 bug.

      The latest vendor to fix its software for the 2038 bug is open-source web application server vendor nginx. The new nginx 1.13.6 release debuts on Oct. 10, fixing 11 different bugs.

      “Bugfix: nginx did not support dates after the year 2038 on 32-bit platforms with 64-bit time_t,” the nginx changelog noted.

    • Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It’s now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLIOON

      Last month, US credit score agency Equifax admitted the personal data for just under 400,000 UK accounts was slurped by hackers raiding its database. On Tuesday this week, it upped that number ever-so-slightly to 15.2 million.

      In true buck-passing fashion, at the time of writing, Equifax hadn’t even released a public statement on the matter. Instead it fell to Blighty’s National Cyber Security Centre to reveal the bad news that a blundering American firm had put them at risk of phishing attacks.

      “We are aware that Equifax was the victim of a criminal cyber attack in May 2017,” the NCSC said in a statement today.

      “Equifax have today updated their guidance to confirm that a file containing 15.2m UK records dating from between 2011 and 2016 was attacked in this incident. NCSC advises that passwords are not re-used on any accounts if you have been told by Equifax that any portion of your membership details have been accessed.”

    • Major Data Breach Left 15 Million Accounts from These Popular Sites Vulnerable

      In what seems like an ever-lengthening line of data breaches in recent weeks (This restaurant, this financial services company, and this supermarket have all been breached in the past month), Lifehacker has reported that information from 15 million Kickstarter and Bitly accounts are now available to the public due to a 2014 data breach. The breach itself isn’t new, much like the fresh news about Yahoo’s massive breach, but it’s much less disconcerting. Although the information is now public, it is still encrypted, and both Kickstarter and Bitly took swift action to notify users of the breach when it originally occurred, urging them to change their passwords and nullifying the breach ones if user action was not taken.

    • It’s 2017… And Windows PCs can be pwned via DNS, webpages, Office docs, fonts – and some TPM keys are fscked too

      Microsoft today released patches for more than 60 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in its software. Meanwhile, Adobe is skipping October’s Patch Tuesday altogether.

      Among the latest holes that need papering over via Windows Update are three vulnerabilities already publicly disclosed – with one being exploited right now by hackers to infect vulnerable machines. That flaw, CVE-2017-11826, is leveraged when a booby-trapped Microsoft Office document is opened, allowing malicious code within it to run with the same rights as the logged-in user, and should be considered a top priority to patch.

      Dustin Childs, of Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, noted today that users and administrators should also pay special attention to Microsoft’s ADV170012, an advisory warning of weak cryptographic keys generated by Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) on Infineon motherboards.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Republican Sen. Bob Corker Warns Trump Taking U.S. Toward “World War III”

      The powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, warned Sunday that President Trump is treating the presidency like “a reality show” and setting the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” Sen. Corker made the comments to The New York Times after Trump spent much of the weekend threatening war with North Korea, and after Trump attacked Corker on Twitter Sunday morning, saying the senator “didn’t have the guts” to run for re-election and claiming Corker dropped out after begging unsuccessfully for Trump’s endorsement. That prompted Corker to respond on Twitter, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

    • Vegas Massacre Story Changes: Gunman Shot Security Guard Before Opening Fire On Crowd

      In a dramatic shift to the original Las Vegas shooting narrative, over a week after Stephen Paddock rained down bullets on a crowd and killed 58 people, late on Monday Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo drastically changed the timeline of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and now the gunman allegedly opened fire on a security guard six minutes before he unleashed the massacre. Officials had previously claimed that Paddock, 64, shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos only after Paddock had started shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country-music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite on Oct. 1.

      The revision to the story also undermines the story surrounding the end of the shooting: officials had previously credited Campos, who was shot in the leg, with stopping the 10-minute assault by turning the gunman’s attention to the hotel hallway, where Campos was checking an alert for an open door in another guest’s room. However, with the revelation that Campos was shot before his mass shooting, officials now admit they don’t know why he stopped his attack.

    • Duterte’s satisfaction rating plunges below 50 per cent amid Philippines drug killings

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s honeymoon period may be over, but his deadly anti-drugs campaign will not wane, his office said on Monday, after a fall in ratings that his opponents said showed public disillusionment with his rule.

      Duterte has enjoyed strong opinion poll numbers since winning the presidency in last year’s elections but heavy scrutiny of his war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Filipinos, appears to have impacted his ratings.

      Trust and satisfaction in Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency in the third quarter of this year, a survey showed on Sunday, although sentiment about his leadership remained positive overall.

    • The Scandal of Pentagon Spending

      Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?

      The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.

      Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department’s already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget — hundreds of billions of dollars — really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.

      The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result is weapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start.

    • Should Limiting North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions be the Responsibility of the U.S. Government?

      In recent months, advances in the North Korean government’s nuclear weapons program have led to a sharp confrontation between the government leaders of the United States and of North Korea. This August, President Donald Trump declared that any more threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” In turn, Kim Jong Un remarked that he was now contemplating firing nuclear missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam. Heightening the dispute, Trump told the United Nations in mid-September that, if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Soon thereafter, Trump embellished this with a tweet declaring that North Korea “won’t be around much longer.”

      From the standpoint of heading off nuclear weapons advances by the North Korean regime, this belligerent approach by the U.S. government has shown no signs of success. Every taunt by U.S. officials has drawn a derisive reply from their North Korean counterparts. Indeed, when it comes to nuclear weapons policy, escalating U.S. threats seem to have confirmed the North Korean government’s fears of U.S. military attack and, thus, bolstered its determination to enhance its nuclear capabilities. In short, threatening North Korea with destruction has been remarkably counter-productive.

    • A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings

      From time to time, the Kremlin uses the Sunday evening weekly news wrap-up program of Dmitry Kiselyov on state television, channel Rossiya-1, to send blunt and public warnings to Washington without diplomatic niceties. Last night was one such case and we must hope that the intended audience within the Beltway can put aside all its distractions about Russia-gate long enough to read a real message from Moscow.

    • Chris Murphy: Trump’s threat of war with North Korea must be taken ‘seriously’

      Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Monday said President Trump’s rhetoric directed at North Korea must be taken “seriously,” following remarks made by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about Trump possibly leading the U.S. on the path toward “World War III.”

      “It’s time to take Trump seriously as he keeps hinting, over and over, that he wants to go to war with North Korea,” Murphy said in a series of tweets, adding that some of the president’s other tweets have proven to not always be “just bluster.”

    • War Culture – Gun Culture: They’re Related

      If you go to the Wikipedia page that gives a timeline of U.S. foreign military operations between 1775 and 2010, you are likely to come away in shock. It seems that ever since the founding of the country, the United States has been at war. It is as if Americans just could not (and still cannot) sit still, but had to (and still have to) force themselves on others through military action. Often this is aimed at controlling foreign resources, thus forcing upon others the consequences of their own capitalist avarice. At other times the violence is spurred on by an ideology that confuses U.S. interests with civilization and freedom. Only very rarely is Washington out there on the side of the angels. Regardless, the bottom line seems to be that peace has never been a deeply ingrained cultural value for the citizens of the United States. As pertains to foreign policy, America’s national culture is a war culture.

    • Jimmy Carter Urges Trump Administration to Pursue Peace with North Korea

      Former President Jimmy Carter has decades of experience talking to North Korean leaders and citizens, and he shares his knowledge in a recent piece published by The Washington Post. Arguing that the current tension between the U.S. and North Korea is “the most serious existing threat to world peace,” Carter urges President Trump to work towards a peaceful, diplomatic solution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘An Inferno Like You’ve Never Seen’: Deadly Wildfires Ravage California

      More than ten people have been killed, thousands have been left without power, and tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate as more than a dozen wildfires tore through Northern California overnight Monday, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in eight counties.

    • Mass Evacuations in California as Wildfires Kill at Least 10

      In California, powerful winds and bone-dry conditions have fueled massive wildfires across the state, leaving at least 10 people dead, destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. State fire officials say they’re battling at least 14 major fires in eight counties. One of the worst blazes was in the city of Santa Rosa in Northern California’s Sonoma County, where fire ripped through a trailer park, destroyed homes, restaurants and hotels, and forced medical teams at the Kaiser Permanente hospital to evacuate 130 patients as flames approached. This is Santa Rosa resident Dave Rollans.

    • Emergency aid distribution stalled in Puerto Rico

      Status update: Customers with electricity: 15% … People in shelters: 6,452 … Functioning cell towers: 28% … Access to drinking water: 60% … Commercial flights: 100%.

      USA Today’s Oren Dorell reports from San Juan: “The Auxilio Mutuo Hospital here can’t figure out how to get specialized medical supplies from the nearby airport. A Puerto Rican in Tampa found the quickest way to deliver help to her hometown was to do it in person. And shipping containers filled with emergency goods are piling up at the Port of San Juan.”

      In the photo above, taken yesterday, Efrain Diaz Figueroa, 70, walks through the remains of the house of his sister, destroyed by Hurricane Maria in San Juan.

  • Finance

    • Republican Leaders’ Tax Framework Provides Windfall to High-Income Households, With Working Families Largely an Afterthought

      The “Big Six” Republican tax framework announced last week by President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress specifies large tax cuts aimed at profitable corporations and wealthy households while offering only vague promises for lower- and middle-income working families. It closely follows many aspects of the House GOP’s “Better Way” plan released last year, which was heavily tilted to those high on the income scale. Like that plan, the new framework offers little for working families with modest incomes compared to what it would do for those at the top.

    • For hardline Brexiters, the lure of the cliff edge is irresistible

      The heckles in the House of Commons can be as revealing as the speeches. When the prime minister was taking questions about her Brexit plans on Monday, Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe, asked about the no-deal scenario – whether the UK would “jump off the cliff”. At which point a male voice, dripping with derision, chimed in: “There is no cliff!”

      Hansard doesn’t record the source of the intervention. It could have been one of dozens of Tories who despise talk of cliffs. The prime minister is not among them. She has been taken on an illustrated tour of the edge by her advisory council of business leaders. They describe the elevation and the effect of high-velocity impact: the return of customs controls; barriers to trade; the rupture of supply chains; investors rerouting money and jobs to the continent.

    • [Older] Revealed: How gold takes the shine off Britain’s trade figures

      Doubt has been cast over one of the longest-standing economic claims in the Brexit debate after a Sky investigation revealed that Britain’s real exports to outside the EU are actually far lower than official figures suggest.

      The Government’s trade statistics show that, over the past five years, the share of UK goods being exported to the European Union was only 46% – a fact frequently referred to by those who campaigned for Brexit.

    • Brexit is no game, says Barnier when asked if ball is in his court

      “Brexit is not a game,” the EU’s chief negotiator has said, as he emerged from a lunch with the UK’s Brexit secretary, David Davis, in Brussels on the second day of the fifth round of negotiations.

      Michel Barnier was responding to a question that referred to Theresa May’s claim that the ball is now in the EU’s court on Brexit.

      “Lunch was good and we had constructive talks, not the first time or the last time,” Barnier told reporters outside the residence of the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels.

      When asked whether progress was being made on the opening withdrawal issues, and if “the ball [is] in your court”, Barnier responded: “We are working. Brexit is not a game. Don’t forget it.”

    • IMF cuts UK growth forecast and warns Brexit is starting to bite

      The International Monetary Fund singled Britain out as a “notable exception” to an improving global economic outlook on Tuesday, as it confirmed a cut to its long-term forecast for UK growth and said negative effects of Brexit were beginning to show.

      In its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, the IMF sharply reduced its UK long-term growth outlook, from an estimated annual growth rate of 1.9 per cent to 1.7 per cent. The forecasts show the UK trailing Greece over the next five years. The IMF is now predicting 11.5 per cent growth in Greece during the period, compared with 10.3 per cent in Britain.

    • IMF says UK ‘notable exception’ to growth in advanced economies

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday downgraded the U.K.’s growth expectations, declaring it to be the “notable exception” to the trend of higher economic growth among the world’s advanced economies in the first half of 2017.

      The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook report predicted the U.K.’s economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2017, 0.1 percentage points less than in 2016. The agency predicted that the U.K. would grow at an even slower rate, 1.5 percent, in 2018.

    • Egypt military opens ‘New Cairo’ luxury hotel, as old Cairo sinks in poverty

      A swanky new hotel built by Egypt’s Armed Forces Engineering Authority was unveiled on Friday, coinciding with the 44th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, sparking criticism on social media.

    • Theresa May refuses to say if she would vote for Brexit in fresh poll

      Theresa May has refused to say if she would vote for Brexit if another referendum were held today, saying instead she would have to “weigh up the evidence” before deciding what to do in the current situation.

      The prime minister, who voted to remain in the EU in last year’s poll, struggled to give clear answers on Brexit issues during an LBC radio phone-in on Tuesday, and admitted there was no plan for what would happen to EU citizens living in the UK if no deal was agreed with Brussels.

    • ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen’: Theresa May won’t guarantee migrants’ rights if there’s no Brexit deal

      Theresa May has refused to guarantee EU citizens’ rights if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

      And she admitted the government ‘don’t know what’s going to happen’ to UK citizens in the EU if negotiators can’t reach an agreement.

      The Prime Minister tried to reassure a worried radio phone in listener by saying: “We want you to stay.”

      Mrs May was taking part in a live call-in show on LBC Radio when Nina from Islington, an EU citizen who has been living in the UK for 31 years, called in with some concerns.

      She said: “I’m extremely worried about my future. My question is, in case of a no-deal scenario, will the proposal of ‘settled status’ be withdrawn, and will EU citizens end up losing their rights and be deported?”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Manhattan DA Vance Took $10,000 From Head Of Law Firm On Trump Defense Team, Dropped Case

      The principal of a law firm involved in fending off a criminal investigation into a Trump Organization project gave $10,000 to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance amid the probe, according to campaign finance records reviewed by International Business Times. The money from Elkan Abramowitz, which had not previously been reported, was in addition to a separate campaign donation to Vance from Trump attorney Mark Kasowitz. After the money flowed to Vance, the Democratic DA overruled his prosecutors and declined to file charges against Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and others involved in the controversial Trump SoHo project.

    • Trump digital director says Facebook helped win the White House

      The Trump presidential campaign spent most of its digital advertising budget on Facebook, testing more than 50,000 ad variations each day in an attempt to micro-target voters, Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, told CBS’s 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday night.

      [...]

      Parscale said he asked the Facebook “embeds” to teach staffers everything the Clinton campaign would be told about Facebook advertising “and then some”.

    • American Kakistocracy

      “Can’t anybody here play this game?” was Casey Stengel’s famous lament about his inept 1962 New York Mets. The same lament could apply to the Trump administration and its majority team in Congress—but the problem is deeper and worse when ineptitude joins with venality and recklessness, and when the stakes are far more than baseball pennants.

    • NO ONE CAN SAVE THE TORIES

      Grant Shapps, the former Tory chairman, was slapped down by MPs – in widely leaked WhatsApp messages – for pulling together signatures to prompt May’s resignation. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s crowd-pleasing turn at conference has suggested he’s once again on manoeuvres, but his stock is lower than ever among the parliamentary party.

      The usual factions are split. Boris still pines for the top job, fancying himself as the positive pro-Brexit leader the people crave, but many Tory Eurosceptics fear a leadership challenge would put Brexit at threat. Meanwhile, Tory Remainers have no clear candidate. For all the gloom, and the Brexit battles to come, May clings on for lack of any alternative.

    • Europe Hostage to the Ludicrous Hyperbole of the Spanish Constitutions

      A glance at a historical atlas of Europe century by century shows a kaleidoscope of continuing shifts in states as they form and reform, move, merge and dissolve. It is the normal state of Europe. Nor is it in any sense slowing down; this is not a process which has stopped. Even in the short period since I left university, eight states currently members of the European Union have undergone truly drastic changes to their national boundaries or nation state status.

      Even Hitler was only nuts enough to think his Reich would last for a thousand years. Spain (which incidentally was almost entirely Muslim a thousand years ago) tops Hitler for mad ambition. Spain believes its current borders will last forever. The Constitution specifies the “indissoluble unity” of Spain. This plainly mad claim is the entire basis of the “legalistic” stance of Rajoy. An excellent article today by Gerry Adams in the Guardian points out that Rajoy is making negotiation impossible by insisting on the precondition that it is illegal even to discuss Catalan independence.

    • Progressive California Democrat calls for Feinstein primary challenge

      Hours after Dianne Feinstein announced she will run for re-election next year, a prominent California Democratic representative urged primary challengers to unseat the four-term senator.

      Arguing it’s time for Democrats “to move on” and better represent the progressive grassroots, freshman House Democrat Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley on Monday said he has contacted Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the most liberal members of Congress, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to urge them to challenge Feinstein’s re-election in 2018.

    • President Trump’s temper tantrums are getting worse and occurring more frequently.
    • Fact Checker: President Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days
    • Why EU Consultations Are Inherently Biased Against Members Of The Public

      The European Union’s institutional machinery is so complex and hard to fathom for those outside the Brussels bubble, that most people don’t bother trying. That’s a pity, because the grinding of the EU’s great gears often throws out small sparks of illumination. For example, earlier this year, the S&D MEP Childers Nessa used a parliamentary question to ask the European Commission about “Civil society’s views on ancillary rights in response to the public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain” – the (in)famous Article 11 of the EU proposed copyright directive, also known as the “snippet tax”.

      As well as supplying a few figures relating to the response to the consultation, in his reply Vice-President Ansip also noted that “Public consultations are for the Commission an essential tool to inform its policy-making. However, the Commission adopts a cautious approach to quantitative data, as responses to consultations are generally not statistically representatives of a target population.”

    • The bizarre situation where only retiring Republicans will talk about Trump’s fitness for office

      Sen. Bob Corker’s warning that President Donald Trump’s recklessness could set the country “on the path to World War III,” issued in a New York Times interview on Sunday, is notable for a few reasons.

      For one, this is a critique that many Democrats and even some Republicans have made for some time — and that even more Republicans are said to make regularly in private.

      For another, this is coming publicly from a Republican senator in a conservative state who chairs a major committee, has worked closely with the administration, and has had strong relationships with several of its officials. So when he says he knows “for a fact” that there’s no “good cop, bad cop” act underway, we should take him seriously.

      But perhaps most noteworthy of all is that Corker only felt empowered to make such a bold critique after he had decided to retire rather than run for reelection in 2018 (as he announced at the end of last month). Only Corker’s liberation from the concerns of electoral politics, it seems, has motivated him to say what he truly thinks.

    • Trump proposes ‘IQ tests’ face-off with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a ‘moron’
    • Poll: Americans Hope Trump Follows Pence’s Example and Leaves Early

      A poll taken after Vice-President Mike Pence made headlines on Sunday with an abrupt early departure reveals that a broad majority of Americans hope that Donald Trump follows Pence’s example and leaves early, as well.

      In a striking result, the poll shows that Trump’s early exit would be approximately a thousand times more popular than the one Pence participated in on Sunday.

      While Pence defended his decision to leave early on Sunday by saying that he did it out of patriotism, a substantial majority of Americans agreed that a premature departure by Trump “would be, by far, the most patriotic thing he could ever do for his country.”

    • Trump’s popularity is slipping in rural America: poll

      Outside the Morgan County fair in McConnelsville, in a rural swath of Ohio that fervently backed U.S. President Donald Trump in last year’s election, ticket seller John Wilson quietly counts off a handful of disappointments with the man he helped elect.

      The 70-year-old retired banker said he is unhappy with infighting and turnover in the White House. He does not like Trump’s penchant for traveling to his personal golf resorts. He wishes the president would do more to fix the healthcare system, and he worries that Trump might back down from his promise to force illegal immigrants out of the country.

    • Theresa May’s latest ‘initiative’ shows she’s now just trolling everyone living with mental health issues
    • FT columnist who called Corbyn supporters “thick as pigsh*t” nominated for Political Commentator of the Year Award
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Yale-NUS: A partner in name only?

      Classics professor Victor Bers added that he was disturbed by the recent case of Amos Yee, a Singaporean teenager who has applied for asylum in the United States on the grounds that he was persecuted for his political opinions in the city-state.

    • Lindsay Lohan’s Parents Want Her To Sue A Senator Who Made Fun Of Lindsay

      Over the past few years we’ve written about some really dumb lawsuits (or threats of lawsuits) filed by actress Lindsay Lohan. There was that time she sued E*Trade for $100 million because it had a baby in its commercial, named Lindsey, who was described as a “boyfriend-stealing milkaholic,” which she insisted must be a reference to her (think about that one for a second…). Or there was the time she claimed that a jewelry store releasing surveillance tape footage of her stealing a necklace violated her publicity rights. Then she sued the rapper Pitbull for a lyric “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” (and, bizarrely, that one included accusations of a plagiarized filing by her lawyer. And, of course, most famously, Lohan spent years battling Take Two Interactive, claiming a ditzy starlet character in Grand Theft Auto was also a violation of her publicity rights.

    • Lightning Network Centralization Leads to Economic Censorship

      A few months ago, I wrote an article called “Mathematical Proof That the Lightning Network Cannot Be a Decentralized Bitcoin Scaling Solution”. It received quite a bit of attention, both positive and negative.

      Now it seems that the realities of LN’s limitations are being accepted, and new narratives are forming to justify the continued morphing of Bitcoin into a settlement layer.

    • Group claims censorship over film screening at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018
    • M1 Singapore Fringe Festival accused of censorship by artist collective
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ICE Demands Journalists ‘Return’ Snitch Hotline Data It Left Exposed For Three Days After Being Notified

      Daniel Rivero and Brendan O’Connor of Splinter recently acquired documents pertaining to ICE’s snitch program — a “see something, say something” but for suspected undocumented aliens. What’s contained in these documents is nasty, petty abuse of a crime victim hotline by Americans who don’t mind turning the government into their own personal army.

      This is part of new program started by the Trump Administration — one presumably meant to pump up numbers for its weekly “Two Minutes Hate” reports, which document the criminal acts of people roaming the county without the proper papers.

      Splinter didn’t find much evidence backing up the administration’s fervent belief that “undocumented” equals “hardened criminal.” What it did find was Americans using the VOICE tip line to engage in a low-level variant on SWATting: sending ICE to round up people they just don’t like.

    • US Cyber-Defence Data Stolen From NSA Contractors’ Home Computer Direct
    • Dubai Airport is going to use face-scanning virtual aquariums as security checkpoints

      Dubai International Airport has come up with a novel way for departing travelers to clear security: by walking through a virtual aquarium lined with facial recognition cameras.

      According to a report from The National, the virtual aquarium is shaped like a tunnel, and outfitted with 80 cameras that can scan faces and irises as passengers walk through. The images inside the tunnel can be changed to show different landscapes, like deserts, or to display advertisements. Once a traveler reaches the end, they’ll either be cleared with the message “have a nice trip,” or a red sign will be displayed to alert security.

    • As Catalonia Plans Independence from Spain, Julian Assange Advises Organizers on Secure Messaging

      Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau is calling for Spain to remove thousands of state police who have been deployed to Catalonia ahead of tonight’s expected declaration of independence by regional President Carles Puigdemont, possibly triggering intervention by Spanish forces. We speak with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has been advising those pushing to secede on how to communicate securely even as the state pushes back.

    • VPN logs helped unmask alleged ‘net stalker, say feds

      Virtual private network provider PureVPN helped the FBI track down an Internet stalker, by combing its logs to reveal his IP address.

      The Department of Justice announced on Friday the arrest of Ryan Lin, a 24-year-old from Newtown, Massachusetts, on charges that he cyber-stalked a former room-mate.

    • The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics

      The CIA agent tapped softly on the hotel room door. After the keynote speeches, panel discussions and dinner, the conference attendees had retired for the night. Audio and visual surveillance of the room showed that the nuclear scientist’s minders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were sleeping, but he was still awake. Sure enough, he opened the door, alone.

      According to a person familiar with this encounter, which took place about a decade ago, the agency had been preparing it for months. Through a business front, it had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign centre of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff, just so it could entice the nuclear expert out of Iran, separate him for a few minutes from his guards, and pitch him one-to-one. A last-minute snag had almost derailed the plans: the target switched hotels because the conference’s preferred hotel cost $75 more than his superiors in Iran were willing to spend.

    • Key transatlantic data flows under threat as US surveillance laws clash once more with EU privacy protections

      We wrote recently about clouds gathering over the Privacy Shield framework that governs transatlantic data flows for thousands of US companies. As that post explained, even if the Privacy Shield is struck down by the EU courts, as some believe it will be, there are alternative mechanisms that can ensure the legality of data transfers out of the EU to the US. The most important of these is the use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs), also known as “model clauses”. However, last week an Irish judge said she would make a formal request for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s highest court, to rule whether SCCs for this purpose were invalid too. If the CJEU decides they are, that will make sending personal data of EU citizens across the Atlantic hard, or even impossible, for many top Internet companies like Google and Facebook.

    • What the proposed new EU rules on free flow of non-personal data could mean for businesses

      Current data localisation restrictions by Member States’ public authorities and so-called ‘vendor lock-in practices’ (obstacles to the movement of data across IT systems) are considered to prevent businesses from embracing digital opportunities, including the use of data-driven technologies and services relating to data-storage, data-transfer and analytics. Legal uncertainty and lack of trust cause additional barriers to the free flow of non-personal data.

    • Privacy International suggests improvements to the Data Protection Bill

      They include smart thinking including the non-use of automated judgement systems, and a better consideration towards its structure so that any mistakes or complaints and issues can get to the right people.

    • Finland plans personal ID number overhaul, may add biometrics

      Another reason Finland is looking at ways to change the ID system is the relatively recent development of undocumented residents living in the country. Korpisaari says that adding a biometric aspect to the IDs – like a person’s fingerprints – would assist in identifying residents who do not have a passport or other ID.

    • Facebook Lies

      In the past, I had a Facebook account. Long ago I “deleted” this account through the procedure outlined on their help pages. In theory, 14 days after I used this process my account would be irrevocably gone. This was all lies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Reminder: In government training material, “terrorism” includes peacefully disagreeing with administration policy in public

      Governments are still using “terrorism” as a scareword to get any insane law passed – like Britain’s digital book-burning law. But with its other hand, those same governments are expanding the definition of terrorism way beyond what the public could possibly imagine: the government’s own training material says that peaceful street protests in disagreement with administration policies are examples of terrorism.

    • Inside the CIA’s black site torture room
    • The High Court deals a major blow to Amber Rudd, ruling that her ‘barbaric’ policy is unlawful

      Rudd became Home Secretary in July 2016. In September of that year, the Home Office redefined the term to refer only to torture carried out by state agents; such as the USA’s actions in the so-called war on terror that many suspect the UK was complicit in. The new definition didn’t include those tortured by traffickers or other non-government entities.

      The Home Office’s guidelines don’t allow it to detain torture survivors while it’s processing their asylum claims. But the revision essentially created a work-around that allowed the government to lock up people in detention centres who didn’t fall under that narrow definition.

    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Sentenced to Prison by Turkish Court

      A Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison Tuesday, declaring her guilty of engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her Journal articles.

    • The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think

      But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the Times, Jonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

    • America’s Predators Problem

      If we look a little deeper, what do we see? America’s cruel, in strange and unthinkable ways. It is something like a religious mission, a crusade, and the only object of this pilgrimage is to purify the weak with suffering. That is the reason its institutions and norms and values punish the broken, not protect them. Mercy is the truest crime of all. So the American way is to punish those who cannot stand up for themselves, and to celebrate, aggrandize, apotheosize those who can stand sneering, smirking, grinning, above everyone else.

    • Philly socialists accuse prisons of censorship

      A Philadelphia socialist group is questioning how their magazine was denied entry into a state prison over language regarding “white supremacy.”

      The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has apologized for a letter that stated that an August 2017 issue of Worker’s World newspaper was being “denied to all inmates” due to “articles that call for people to join the fight against white supremacy.”

    • Leaked FBI Report Cites “Black Identity Extremists” as Terror Threat

      An FBI counterterrorism unit secretly identified so-called black identity extremists as a violent threat, according to a leaked document obtained by Foreign Policy magazine. In the report, dated August 2017, the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit writes, “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups warn the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups, and have compared it to the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement.

    • The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment

      While navigating professional relationships can often require that dreaded thing known as “any amount of work at all”, there is hope. You see, by following this one simple rule, you too can interact with women as people.

      It’s as clear cut as this: Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

      I know, this sounds weird, but trust me, this is a visualization exercise that will work wonders in your dealings with the women in your workplace. When a woman approaches you, just replace her in your mind with The Rock. Then, behave accordingly.

    • Weinstein Company Fires Harvey Weinstein over Sexual Harassment Reports

      Back in the United States, in Hollywood, the Weinstein Company fired co-founder Harvey Weinstein Sunday, just four days after The New York Times reported the movie mogul was the subject of harassment and assault accusations for decades—and that he paid off at least eight women who confronted him over the alleged humiliating and degrading harassment. Weinstein’s firing came after three members of the company’s board of directors resigned, along with two of Weinstein’s attorneys, following the report in the Times.

    • Email Prankster Apparently Fooled Both Harvey Weinstein and His Ex-Adviser Lisa Bloom

      An email prankster who has fooled a number of high-profile people in both the media and politics has apparently struck again — and this time it involves the huge Harvey Weinstein scandal.

      As reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper this afternoon, the trickster posed as Weinstein to fool his former adviser Lisa Bloom, who recently dropped out from representing Weinstein following quite a bit of criticism tossed her way. In the email exchange on Sunday, the fake Weinstein told the real Bloom that he understood why she had to leave his team. She responded by telling the prankster that she was unaware of the more serious allegations against Weinstein. When the fake Weinstein asked what those allegations were, Bloom merely said “sexual assault.”

    • Kim Dotcom sets sights on Hollywood execs as sex abuse scandals escalate
    • Proposed Bill Would Exempt Customs And Border Protection From FOIA Compliance

      To build a wall, you’ve got to break a few laws. That’s the message being sent by a new bill, which helps pave the way for the eventual construction of a border wall by exempting the CBP and US Border Patrol from a large number of federal laws.

      H.R. 3548 [PDF] would give the CBP a free pass to ignore all sorts of federal restrictions when engaging in its enforcement activities. All the things citizens can’t legally do on federal land, the CBP and Border Patrol would be allowed to. This would keep the federal government from getting in its own way in the event wall construction actually takes place, as well as keep CBP agents from worrying about polluting, killing endangered species, or violating sacred grave sites while pursuing undocumented aliens.

    • Home Office splits British man from his wife 10 months after she gives birth to their daughter

      A British man has been told his Ecuadorian wife cannot settle in the UK despite the couple having three young children, including a baby who is still breastfeeding.

      Dan Newton, 41, lived with his wife and three young children in Abu Dhabi in the UAE for nearly five years. The couple had previously lived in the UK for a year, where they had their first child.

    • Torture victims were wrongly imprisoned in UK, high court rules

      Hundreds of victims of torture have been wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres, a high court judge has ruled, following a challenge by seven survivors of serious abuse.

      Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that aspects of a Home Office policy introduced in September 2016 known as “Adults At Risk” wrongly allowed many who had been tortured overseas to be imprisoned.

    • The NFL Quietly Changed Its Obscure Rule About Standing For The National Anthem

      Having gotten all the public relations it wanted (even a hackneyed Sports Illustrated cover), NFL leadership is now back to the more familiar demeanor of reminding its players to either get in line or join the unemployment line. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Monday that any player who is “disrespectful to the flag” won’t play. The league, then, itself upped the ante by feeding this tidbit to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, which he reported before the station’s broadcast of Monday Night Football.

    • Joe Arpaio’s Infamous and Inhumane Tent City Jail Officially Shut Down

      In 1993, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio opened his infamous Tent City outdoor jail, supposedly as an answer to the problem of overcrowding in Phoenix’s jails. Tent City was a source of controversy for the entirety of its existence, and this weekend, it finally closed for good, just 10 months shy of its 25-year anniversary.

    • After her spies told Thatcher they thought an MP was raping children, she knighted him

      The UK has been rocked by a series of “historic sex scandals” in which beloved cultural and political figures — Clement Freud, Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and many others — have been revealed to have been sexual predators since the earliest days, using their money and respectability to rape children for decades with impunity. When each new horror surfaces, one of the first questions the public asks is, “Who knew about this and helped to cover it up?”

      Margaret Thatcher knew.

      Cyril Smith was an MP for Rochdale when in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher recommended that he be knighted. She had been warned by MI5 that Smith was suspected to have raped at least eight boys. After Thatcher knighted Smith, he went on raping children, because his knighthood opened doors for him, getting him inside organisations that supported vulnerable children. He died in 2010, at the age of 82, without ever facing charges.

    • Judge denies Reality Winner bail on grounds she “hates” the United States

      Federal judge Brian Epps of Augusta, Georgia has denied bail for alleged whistleblower Reality Winner in an aggressively worded ruling that claims the 25-year-old intelligence contractor “hates the United States and desires to damage national security.” Epps also cited social media comments by Winner that she”admires Edward Snowden and Julian Assange” as evidence against her bond request.

      Reality Winner faces an Espionage Act charge for allegedly passing classified material to media outlet The Intercept. The documents in question summarise the NSA’s view at the time of evidence suggesting Russia’s military intelligence attempted to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

    • Black man beaten by Charlottesville Nazis has been charged with assault

      DeAndre Harris is a 20 year old black man who was subjected to a vicious armed beat-down by Nazis who marched in Charlottesville on August 12. Two of the men who beat him have been charged with “malicious wounding” and are being held without bail; two others have not been arrested yet.

      One of the men who beat Harris tried to get the Charlottesville police to arrest Harris as well. When the Charlottesville police declined, the Nazi found a sympathetic magistrate judge (the clowns of the US judicial system) to issue a warrant for Harris’s arrest.

    • Jefferson Parish jail touts new video visitation program, but ban on in-person visits concerns inmate advocates

      Inmates at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna will no longer be able to receive in-person visits from relatives and friends beginning Oct. 10, when the facility will begin a “video visitation” program similar to one put in place at New Orleans’ lockup a couple of years ago.

      Newly installed Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said Wednesday that one major benefit of eliminating in-person visits at the jail is ending the possibility of visitors giving contraband to inmates.

      But some lawyers who work with people accused of crimes countered that face-to-face visitation makes it easier for inmates to rejoin their loved ones’ lives after their release, and a video-only model complicates that.

      It is becoming more common for correctional facilities across the country to use video technology similar to Skype to let inmates communicate with loved ones, though it is less common for jails to do away with all in-person visits as a result.

    • Donald Trump Can Destroy Records Without Judicial Review, Justice Department Tells Court

      It’s a question that pops up pretty much every time that Donald Trump deletes a tweet: Is he violating the Presidential Records Act?

      In a court filing Friday, not only do attorneys at the Justice Department say that courts can’t review this, but they also argue that when it comes to laws pertaining to government record-keeping, judicial review would be inappropriate even if Trump deleted secret recordings with administration officials or even if his staff purged phone records because they expected to be subpoenaed in connection with various investigations.

      The arguments come in response to a lawsuit from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C.

      In a complaint filed in June, the watchdog group cited the Presidential Records Act and challenged the way Trump and staffers “seek to evade transparency and government accountability” by the alleged use of certain communications practices and by a consolidation of power that allegedly results in records being shielded from other disclosure laws like the Freedom of Information Act. In particular, CREW nodded to news reports that White House staffers were using Signal to send encrypted, disappearing messages as well as resorting to the secret chat app Confide to duck any record preservation. Also mentioning Trump’s famous tweet implying a taped conversation with former FBI Director James Comey and the president’s repeated deletion of social media messages, the plaintiff is asking for injunctive relief compelling Trump and his staff to comply with duties under the Presidential Records Act.

    • New Yorkers Call for Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Removal of Columbus Statue

      More than 50 U.S. cities celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday in place of the federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who massacred and enslaved Arawak indigenous people while opening the door to the European colonization of the Americas. In New York City, protesters rallied at a 115-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus near Central Park, calling for its removal and for the city to make the second Monday of each October Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The protest came as the New York Police Department ringed the statue in metal barricades and said it was providing round-the-clock surveillance of the monument. Democracy Now! was there to speak with demonstrators. Special thanks to producer Andre Lewis.

    • New Report Alleges Harvey Weinstein Raped Three Women

      Intensifying the growing outrage aimed at Harvey Weinstein, a feature-length report published by The New Yorker on Tuesday includes accusations by three women who say the famous and politically powerful Hollywood producer “raped them.”

      Detailed in the article—written by Ronan Farrow and entitled “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories“—are the allegations that “include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex” on his victims.

      While a spokesperson for Weinstein released a statement to The New Yorker saying that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied,” Farrow reports that while rumors of the producer’s behavior circulated for years in Hollywood, “[t]oo few women were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories.”

    • From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories

      Since the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. As the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, he helped to reinvent the model for independent films, with movies such as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Crying Game,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.” Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein combined a keen eye for promising scripts, directors, and actors with a bullying, even threatening, style of doing business, inspiring both fear and gratitude. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations, and, at the annual awards ceremonies, he has been thanked more than almost anyone else in movie history, just after Steven Spielberg and right before God.

      For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now—Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would “crush” her. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old; some of them are older—has never come out.”

    • Harvey Weinstein Tries Every Possible Response To Explosive NY Times Story

      Last week, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that famed Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (formerly of Miramax and more recently of the Weinstein Company — from which he was fired over the weekend, despite practically begging for his friends to support him) had seriously lawyered up, hiring three high profile lawyers: David Boies, Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder to deal with two apparent stories that were in the works — one from the NY Times and another from the New Yorker (two publications not known for backing down from threats) — about some fairly horrible alleged behavior by Weinstein towards young female actresses, employees and more.

      A day later, the NY Times published its article about Harvey Weinstein and, damn, it’s quite an article. It details multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein against both employees and hopeful actresses — and includes claims of Weinstein having to pay off some of those individuals. The article was not based on a single source, but many sources, including one actress (Ashley Judd) willing to put her name behind the accusations (and just as we were completing this post, the New Yorker published its piece which appears to be more detailed and more damning, with more names and even more horrifying stories about Weinstein). And with the NY Times’ publication, much of the “legal team” leaped into action. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the three lawyers named above, it may help to do a quick review, before we dig in on the myriad (often contradictory) responses we’ve now seen from Weinstein and his legal team over the past few days.

    • Smashing White Supremacy, Building for Black Freedom

      Just 10 short months ago, kneeling in protest to the white national anthem, unapologetic blackness, raised fists, unruly afros, defiantly colored braids and hope that danced in the eyes of shiny brown children were becoming the norm. Players knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick’s sideline protests, stepping into what it means to be a “field Negro,” in the Malcolm X sense of the term.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Advertised broadband speeds should actually be realistic, UK tells ISPs

      The United Kingdom’s telecom regulator, Ofcom, wants to strengthen an industry code that lets Internet customers exit contracts without penalty when broadband providers fall short of their advertised speeds.

      Ofcom’s proposed changes would also improve the accuracy of speed information provided to customers before they sign up for broadband. Ofcom intends to add the new guidelines to its existing codes of practice for residential and business broadband speeds, which already “commit Internet companies who have signed up to them to give customers an estimated range of speeds they are likely to receive, as well as the right to exit their contracts penalty-free if their speed falls below a minimum level.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Roku Shows FBI Warning to Pirate Channel Users

        The popular media player Roku is flashing an FBI anti-piracy warning to users of “pirate” channels, including XTV. After been shown the FBI’s well known anti-piracy seal, users are informed that unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law and that the associated channel was removed.

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