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11.20.18

Links 19/11/2018: Linux 4.20 RC3, New Fedora ISO, GNU OrgaDoc 1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10’s October Update Breaks Apple’s iCloud

      Windows 10’s October 2018 Update has more bugs. Microsoft won’t offer the update if you have iCloud installed, and Apple won’t let you install iCloud if you’ve already upgraded. You’ll also have trouble if you have F5 VPN software installed.

      This information comes from Microsoft’s own Windows 10 Update History page, where Microsoft is publicly tracking the October Update’s bugs.

      According to Microsoft, Apple iCloud version 7.7.0.27 has an incompatibility with the latest update. You’ll have trouble updating or synchronizing Shared Albums after upgrading. If you try installing iCloud on the October Update, you’ll see an error message saying “iCloud for Windows requires Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (April 2018 Update) and earlier.”

    • Microsoft limits functionality for older versions of the Office: Enterprise users to suffer additional subscription costs

      Initially launched as a whole suite for businesses of all kinds, Microsoft Office 365 came out back in 2011, introducing a cloud based software service. Before this, Microsoft only focused on corporate software on the cloud, which was very limited. Since then, Office 365 has gained quite the customer satisfaction, considering it is used in almost all universities for education, in corporate firms, in households, with their sharing plans and otherwise. While this was a good way of revenue generation, Microsoft went a step further, when it launched the new Office 2019 this past September.

      While this new Office opens up features for the users, it also puts a nail in the way for Corporations that have found ways around office subscriptions, limiting them to an older version in order to get full functionality. Microsoft steps in this time around, with the release of their latest version of the Office platform.

  • Server

    • Silicon Sky enhances its managed Linux service

      Silicon Sky, an IT infrastructure provider, has enhanced its managed Linux service for customers who require Linux management and administration skills.

      The Linux managed services will benefit customers that have limited Linux skills.

      Silicon Sky provides the necessary skill set to manage Linux workloads on-premises or in a hosted environment. This service is a remote managed service, operated out of Silicon Sky’s Network Operation Centre.

    • Three Things IBM Must Do To Keep Red Hat Acquisition From Sinking The Company
    • Quickly try Red Hat Decision Manager in your Cloud

      It’s been some time since I last talked with you about business logic engines and using them in application development cloud architectures. At that time, I showcased running JBoss BRMS in a container on Red Hat OpenShift. This gives you the cloud experience, one that’s portable across private and public clouds, but on your own local laptop using Red Hat Container Development Kit.

      The world continues to move forward, a new product has been released which replaced JBoss BRMS with the Red Hat Decision Manager, so now I want to provide a way for you to install this on OpenShift, in the same easy to use demo format.

    • Open for Good: How open source software can unlock the world’s potential for humanitarian good

      In August 2017, I participated in a cross-departmental design thinking session with our Global Services vice president, John Allessio, our vice president of marketing communications, Leigh Day, and numerous other leaders from our design, brand and marketing teams. After a face-to-face, all-day session where ideas burst out of our collective heads left and right, one thing was certain: we were collectively passionate about using open source technology, along with Open Innovation Labs’ focus on people and process, to help solve the world’s grand challenges and to positively impact people in need. We just needed to find the right project to prove it would work.

      Fast-forward to New York City, late that same year. I was attending Red Hat Forum, an amazing event where our customers, partners and communities come together to share what we’re doing, and find new ways to leverage Red Hat to great advantage. I presented on Open Innovation Labs and talked with Red Hat users from Cigna, Marriott, Deutsche Bank, and more.

    • What being a catalyst looks like when you’re CIO

      Last month, along with more than 12,000 Red Hat co-workers across the globe, I celebrated We Are Red Hat Week. It’s a special time for us to recognize and honor the values and spirit that make Red Hat truly unique.

      At Red Hat, our mission is to serve as the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners making better technology the open source way. We’re unabashedly an open organization, which means we excel by – as our CEO Jim Whitehurst puts it in his book, “The Open Organization” – “engaging participative communities both inside and out.”

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Enters Beta with Hardened Code and Security Fixes

      Red Hat Inc. announced the availability of the beta version for its upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 operating system series, which will be available for sale sometime next year.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is the next major step in the evolution of Red Hat’s Linux-based, enterprise-ready operating system, promising lots of new features and numerous improvements, along with much-needed hardened code and security fixes to make RHEL more stable, reliable, and supported across all infrastructures.

      “In the four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 redefined the operating system, the IT world has changed dramatically and Red Hat Enterprise Linux has evolved with it. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta once again sets a bar for how the operating system can enable IT innovation,” writes Stefanie Chiras for Red Hat.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Hits Beta With Improved System Performance

      It has been three and half years since Red Hat last issued a major new version number of its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform. A lot has happened since RHEL 7 was launched in June 2014, and Red Hat is now previewing its next-generation RHEL 8 platform in beta.

      Among the biggest changes in the last four years across the compute landscape has been the emergence of containers and microservices as being a primary paradigm for application deployment. In RHEL 8, Red Hat is including multiple container tools that it has been developing and proving out in the open-source community, including Buildah (container building), Podman (running containers) and Skopeo (sharing/finding containers).

      Systems management is also getting a boost in RHEL 8 with the Composer features that enable organizations to build and deploy custom RHEL images. Management of RHEL is further enhanced via the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Web Console, which enables administrators to manage bare metal, virtual, local and remote Linux servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux as a Library: Unikernels are Coming

      If you think about it, an operating system kernel is really just a very powerful shared library that offers services to many programs. Of course, it is a very powerful library, but still — its main purpose is to provide services to programs. Your program probably doesn’t use all of the myriad services the kernel provides. Even a typical system might not fully use all the things that are in a typical kernel. Red Hat has a new initiative to bring a technology called unikernels to the forefront. A unikernel is a single application linked with just enough of the kernel for it to execute. As you might expect, this can result in a smaller system and better security.

      It can also lead to better performance. The unikernel doesn’t have to maintain devices and services that are not used. Also, the kernel and the application can run in the same privilege ring. That may seem like a security hole, but if you think about it, the only reason a regular kernel runs at a higher privilege is to protect itself from a malicious application modifying the kernel to do something bad to another application. In this case, there is no other application.

    • Linus Torvalds Comments On STIBP & He’s Not Happy – STIBP Default Will End Up Changing

      It turns out that Linus Torvalds himself was even taken by surprise with the performance hit we’ve outlined on Linux 4.20 as a result of STIBP “Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors” introduction as well as back-porting already to stable series for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 protection. He doesn’t want this enabled in full by default.

      All of the benchmarking I’ve been doing the past few days to shine the light on the Linux kernel’s STIBP addition appears to be paying off. My tests have found Linux 4.20 to incur significant performance penalties in many workloads — in fact, more so than some of the earlier Spectre and Meltdown mitigations — and STIBP is already being back-ported to stable series like Linux 4.19.2. PHP, Pythom, Java, and many other workloads are measurably affected and even the gaming performance to some extent.

    • Linux 4.20-rc3

      The only unusual thing last week was my travel – not any code issues.
      That caused a few pulls to be delayed by a day or two, but nothing
      else.

      And now I’m back home, and 4.20-rc3 is out there.

      The changes in rc3 are pretty tiny, which means that the statistics
      look slightly different from the uysual ones – drivers only account
      for less than a third of the patch, for example. But that really isn’t
      because of anything odd going on anywhere else, it all looks like just
      random noise in the distribution of patches. So we have about one
      third driver updates, one third arch updates, and one third “core”
      (kernel, mm, fs, networking).

    • Linux 4.20-rc3 Kernel Released
    • Feral Interactive Announces Total War: WARHAMMER II to Be Released for Linux Tomorrow, Uber Joined The Linux Foundation, Security Bug Discovered in Instagram, Fedora Taking Submissions for Supplemental Wallpapers and Kernel 4.20-rc3 Is Out

      Linux kernel 4.20-rc3 is out. Linus says the only unusual thing was his travel and that the changes “are pretty tiny”.

    • There Is Finally A User-Space Utility To Make EROFS Linux File-Systems

      Back when Huawei introduced the EROFS Linux file-system earlier this year, there wasn’t any open-source user-space utility for actually making EROFS file-systems. Even when EROFS was merged into the mainline tree, the user-space utility was still non-existent but now that issue has been rectified.

    • The State Of Heterogeneous Memory Management At The End Of 2018

      Heterogeneous Memory Management is the effort going on for more than four years that was finally merged to the mainline Linux kernel last year but is still working on adding additional features and improvements. HMM is what allows for allowing the mirroring of process address spaces, system memory to be transparently used by any device process, and other functionality for GPU computing as well as other device/driver purposes.

      Jerome Glisse at Red Hat who has spearheaded Heterogeneous Memory Management from the start presented at last week’s Linux Plumbers Conference on this unified memory solution.

    • An attempt to create a local Kernel community

      Now I am close to complete one year of Linux Kernel, and one question still bugs me: why does it have to be so hard for someone in a similar condition to become part of this world? I realized that I had great support from many people (especially from my sweet and calm wife) and I also pushed myself very hard. Now, I feel that it is time to start giving back something to society; as a result, I began to promote some small events about free software in the university and the city I live. However, my main project related to this started around two months ago with six undergraduate students at the University of Sao Paulo, IME [3]. My plan is simple: train all of these six students to contribute to the Linux Kernel with the intention to help them to create a local group of Kernel developers. I am excited about this project! I noticed that within a few weeks of mentoring the students they already learned lots of things, and in a few days, they will send out their contributions to the Kernel. I want to write a new post about that in December 2018, reporting the results of this new tiny project and the summary of this one year of Linux Kernel. See you soon :)

    • Linux kernel Spectre V2 defense fingered for massively slowing down unlucky apps on Intel Hyper-Thread CPUs

      Linux supremo Linus Torvalds has voiced support for a kernel patch that limits a previously deployed defense against Spectre Variant 2, a data-leaking vulnerability in modern processors.

      Specifically, the proposed patch disables a particular Spectre V2 defense mechanism by default, rather than switching it on automatically. And here’s the reason for that suggested change: code runs up to 50 per cent slower on Intel CPUs that use Hyper-Threading with the security defense enabled.

      For those not in the know, Hyper-Threading is Chipzilla’s implementation of simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), which splits individual CPU cores into two hardware threads. Thus, each core can mostly run two strands of software at the same time. That means a, say, 12-core processor would have 24 hardware threads, effectively presenting itself as a 24-core chip to the operating system and software.

    • Linux 4.20 kernel slower than its previous stable releases, Spectre flaw to be blamed, according to Phoronix
    • Spectre Patches Whack Intel Performance Hard With Linux 4.20 Kernel
    • Linux Foundation

      • Uber joins Linux Foundation in further nod to open source commitment

        Uber has joined the Linux Foundation as a gold member, firming up a long-standing commitment to open source technologies.

        The ridesharing firm, which is working on more than 300 open source projects, said it was looking forward to collaborate with other open source leaders to solve problems and further promote open source adoption globally.

      • Uber Joins Linux Foundation

        Uber has joined the Linux Foundation as a Gold member, making an annual contribution of $100,000. In addition it has become a member of the TODO Group, an open group of companies that run open source programs.

        Uber may seem an odd recruit to the Linux Foundation but it is in fact an active and committed member of the open source community and is well-known for making use of open source in its core tools.Data provided by company records that it is working on over 320 open-source projects and repositories with 1,500 contributors making over 70,000 commits. The Uber Open Source page at GitHub has details of some of its most important projects.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Vulkan 1.1.93 Released With Two New Extensions, Adds ID For Google “Pastel”

        Continuing to make Sunday mornings more entertaining are new Vulkan documentation updates on their weekly-ish update cycle.

        Vulkan 1.1.93 brings a lot of the usual fixes/clarifications to the growing documentation. There are though some interesting bits: two new extensions and the driver ID being added for “Pastel”.

      • Wayland Secure Output Protocol Proposed For Upstream – HDCP-Like Behavior

        Collabora developer Scott Anderson sent out a “request for comments” patch series that would add a Secure Output Protocol to the Wayland space.

        The Secure Output Protocol is for allowing a Wayland client to tell the compositor to only display if it’s going to a “secure” output, such as for HDCP-like (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) configurations, but there is no mandate at the protocol level about what is the definition of secure — if anything.

        This does not impose any DRM per se by Wayland but is mostly intended for set-top-boxes and other closed systems where a Wayland client can reasonably trust the compositor. The Wayland Secure Output Protocol is based upon the work done by Google on their Chromium Wayland code.

      • RADV Lands Another Fast Clear Optimization, Helping An Operation 18x

        Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s open-source Linux graphics driver team has landed a patch providing another optimization around fast clears for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver within Mesa 19.0.

        This latest nearly 300 line patch allows for fast clears on the depth part of a surface or the stencil part when HTILE is enabled. For now though it’s only enabled on Vega/GFX9 due to no testing on GFX8 hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • 20-Way AMD / NVIDIA Linux Gaming Benchmarks For The 2018 Holidays

        If you are hoping to pick-up a new graphics card during the upcoming holiday sales, here is a 20-way NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison using a wide assortment of GPUs while using the very newest graphics drivers and a variety of OpenGL/Vulkan titles.

        In preparation for the Radeon RX 590 launch this week, I’ve been re-testing my available graphics cards on the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers and newest kernel (unlike some Windows sites that may regurgitate their existing data points for months at a time, Phoronix tests are always done fresh on the current/latest components). But with the Radeon RX 590 currently being a dud on Linux with the current AMDGPU kernel code, I decided to keep testing including some older graphics cards to make for this twenty-way comparison ahead of Black Friday sales and the holidays.

      • Void Linux, Solus, Manjaro, Antergos, Sabayon & Clear Linux Put To A Performance Battle

        Given last week’s new images release of the rolling-release, systemd-free, original-creation Void Linux I decided to take it for a spin with some fresh benchmarking as it had been two years or so since last trying out that Linux distribution with its XBPS packaging system. For seeing how the performance compares, I benchmarked it against some of the other primarily enthusiast/rolling-release/performant Linux distributions including Antergos, Clear Linux, Debian Buster Testing, Fedora Workstation 29, Manjaro 18.0, Sabayon Linux, Solus, and Ubuntu 18.10.

        These nine Linux distributions were tested on the new Intel Core i9 9900K eight-core / sixteen-thread processor. The i9-9900K was running at its stock speeds with the ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard, 2 x 8GB DDR4-3000 memory, Samsung 970 EVO 256GB NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable

      A desktop environment is a collection of disparate components that integrate together. They bundle these components to provide a common graphical user interface with elements such as icons, toolbars, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. Additionally, most desktop environments include a set of integrated applications and utilities.

      Desktop environments (now abbreviated as DE) provide their own window manager, system software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system. They also provide a file manager which organizes, lists, and locates files and directories. Other aspects include a background provider, a panel to provide a menu and display information, as well as a setting/configuration manager to customize the environment.

      Ultimately, a DE is a piece of software. While they are more complicated than most other types of software, they are installed in the same way.

    • eDEX-UI: A Fully Functioning Sci-Fi Computer Interface Inspired By TRON Legacy

      eDEX-UI is an application that resembles a Sci-Fi computer interface, which creates the illusion of a desktop environment without windows. It’s inspired by the DEX-UI project (which hasn’t been updated since the beginning of 2015), and the TRON Legacy movie effects. The application uses Electron, and runs on Linux, Windows and macOS.

      eDEX-UI runs a real terminal and displays real, live system information like the CPU and memory usage, temperature, top processes, public IP address and a live network traffic graph, and more, on top of a movie-like futuristic desktop interface. A file browser is included, which is synchronized with the embedded terminal: navigating to any folder in the embedded file browser makes the terminal navigate to that folder, and vice-versa.

      An on-screen keyboard is also incorporated in its GUI, because eDEX-UI is meant to be used with a touchscreen, though multitouch doesn’t currently work. The application works without any issues with regular displays – when using a physical keyboard, pressing keys will illuminate the virtual keyboard.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • libqaccessibilityclient v0.3.0

        Hi, I’ve been asked to make a new release of libqaccessibilityclient, which seemed like a good idea. So here we go: https://download.kde.org/stable/libqaccessibilityclient/ – version 0.3.0 is now available. I’d like to say thanks to the KDE sysadmins for being super fast.

        Now if I wasn’t involved with the accessibility project, I’d have no clue what this is about… so What is libqaccessibilityclient?

      • Video Editing for foss-gbg

        Editing videos for foss-gbg and foss-north has turned into something that I do on almost a montly basis. I’ve tried a few workflows, but landed in using kdenlive and, when needed, Audacity. I’m not a very advanced audio person, so if kdenlive would incorporate basic noise reduction and a compressor, I stay within one tool.

        Before I describe the actual process, I want to mention something about the hardware involved. There are so many things that you can do when producing this type of contents. However, all the pieces that you add to the puzzle is another point of failure. The motto is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Hence, we use a single video camera with an integrated microphone. This is either an action cam, or a JVC video camera. In most cases this just works. In some cases the person talking has a microphone and then we try to place the camera close to a speaker. It has happened that we’ve recorded someone whispering just by the camera…

        As we don’t have a dedicated microphone for the speaker, we get an audio stream that includes the reaction of the audience. That is in my opinion a good thing. It captures the mood of the event. However, we also get quite a lot of background noise which is bad. For this, I rely on this workflow from Rich Bowen. Basically, I extract the audio stream from the recording, massage it in Audacity, and then re-introduce it.

      • KDE Plasma, Dolphin & Discover Pick Up More Features Ahead Of The Holidays

        It’s been another busy week in the KDE development space ahead of the holidays and developer Nate Graham has done another great job detailing all of the changes made over the past week for this open-source desktop environment.

      • KDE neon upgrade – From 16.04 to 18.04

        I am quite happy with the KDE neon upgrade, going from the 16.04 to the 18.04 base. I think it’s good on several levels, including improved hardware support and even slightly better performance. Plus there were no crashes or regressions of any kind, always a bonus. This means that neon users now have a fresh span of time to enjoy their non-distro distro, even though it’s not really committing to any hard dates, so the LTS is also only sort of LTS in that sense. It’s quite metaphysical.

        On a slightly more serious note, this upgrade was a good, positive experience. I semi-accidentally tried to ruin it, but the system recovered remarkably, the post-upgrade results are all sweet, and you have a beautiful, fast Plasma desktop, replete with applications and dope looks and whatnot. I’m happy, and we shall bottle that emotion for when the need arises, and in the Linux world it does happen often, I shall have an elixir of rejuvenation to sip upon. KDE neon, a surprisingly refined non-distro distro.

      • Contributing to the kde userbase wiki

        This is the story about how I started more than one month ago contributing to the KDE project.

        So, one month ago, I found a task on the Phabricator instance from KDE, about the deplorable state of the KDE userbase wiki. The wiki contains a lot of screenshot dating back to the KDE 4 era and some are even from the KDE 3 era. It’s a problem, because a wiki is something important in the user experience and can be really useful for new users and experienced ones alike.

        Lucky for us, even though Plasma and the KDE applications did change a lot in the last few years, most of the changes are new features and UI/UX improvements, so most of the information are still up-to-date. So most of the work is only updating screenshots. But up-to-date screenshots are also quite important, because when the user see the old screenshots, he can think that the instructions are also outdated.

        So I started, updating the screenshots one after the other. (Honestly when I started, I didn’t think it would take so long, not because the process was slow or difficult, but because of the amount of outdated screenshots.)

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Unite Shell: Making GNOME Shell More Like Ubuntu’s Unity

        If you are/were a fan of Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment, Unite-Shell is one of the most promising efforts to date for making the current GNOME 3 stack more like Unity.

        The Unite Shell is an extension to GNOME Shell for configuring it to look just like Ubuntu’s Unity 7. While it made waves a bit earlier this month, a Phoronix reader reported in over the weekend just how good it looks and works that it’s worthy of an extra shout-out.

      • GNOME 3.32 Mutter Should Perform A Lot Better For DisplayLink/USB-Display Type Setups

        An improvement was merged today to GNOME’s Mutter compositor / window manager that should allow it to perform much better in multi-GPU setups, particularly for scenarios where the display is driven via a USB-based DisplayLink adapter.

        The change to Mutter’s renderer code uses Cogl for the CPU copy path rather than the OpenGL glreadPixels() function. Plus it adds some pixel format conversion tables between DRM and Cogl formats.

  • Distributions

    • Fedora

      • Testers needed for New Fedora 29 updated isos

        The Fedora Respin Sig has been working on being able to produce Fedora 29 updated isos. This past week we have been able to produce updated isos. We are looking for Testers to help test the isos for release. If you are willing to help please join us in #fedora-respins on the Freenode irc network tomorrow 20181119.

      • Video: Container Security

        Red Hat’s Dan (Mr. SELinux) Walsh gave a talk about Container Security at the USENIX LISA 2018 conference.

      • Submissions now open for the Fedora 30 supplemental wallpapers

        Each release, the Fedora Design team works with the community on a set of 16 additional wallpapers. Users can install and use these to supplement the standard wallpaper. Submissions are now open for the Fedora 30 Supplemental Wallpapers, and will remain open until January 31, 2019

        Have you always wanted to start contributing to Fedora but don’t know how? Submitting a supplemental wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to start as a Fedora contributor. Keep reading to learn how.

      • F29-20181119 updated isos released

        The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F29-20181119 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.19.2-200 kernel.

        This set of updated isos will save about 850MBs of updates after install. (for new installs.)

    • Debian Family

      • Lars Wirzenius: Retiring from Debian

        I’ve started the process of retiring from Debian. Again. This will be my third time. It’ll take a little while I take care of things to do this cleanly: uploading packages to set Maintainer to QA, removing myself from Plant Debian, sending the retirement email to -private, etc.

        I’ve had a rough year, and Debian has also stopped being fun for me. There’s a number of Debian people saying and doing things that I find disagreeable, and the process of developing Debian is not nearly as nice as it could be. There’s way too much friction pretty much everywhere.

        For example, when a package maintainer uploads a package, the package goes into an upload queue. The upload queue gets processed every few minutes, and the packages get moved into an incoming queue. The incoming queue gets processed every fifteen minutes, and packages get imported into the master archive. Changes to the master archive get pushed to main mirrors every six hours. Websites like lintian.debian.org, the package tracker, and the Ultimate Debian Database get updated at time. (Or their updates get triggered, but it might take longer for the update to actually happen. Who knows. There’s almost no transparency.)

        The developer gets notified, by email, when the upload queue gets processed, and when the incoming queue gets processed. If they want to see current status on the websites (to see if the upload fixed a problem, for example), they may have to wait for many more hours, possibly even a couple of days.

      • Derivatives

        • deepin 15.8 GNU/Linux Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

          On 15 November 2018, deepin 15.8 has been released. The ISO size is now reduced one more time to 2.1GB compared to the previous release of 2.5GB. It includes new design on the dock and the right panel. Here’s download links with mirrors and torrents. Enjoy!

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Linux: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be supported for a full decade

            Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for ten years. Long Term Support releases of Ubuntu usually enjoy just five years of support, so this doubling is highly significant.

            Shuttleworth — the founder of Canonical and Ubuntu — made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, and the change is a tactical maneuver that will help Ubuntu better compete against the likes of Red Hat/IBM. It is also an acknowledgement that many industries are working on projects that will not see the light of day for many years, and they need the reassurance of ongoing support from their Linux distro. Ubuntu can now offer this.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with 10 years of support

            If you are worried about the manufacturer of your operating system not providing Long Term Support (LTS) it might be time to ditch it and jump over to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which will be supported for 10 https://www.geeky-gadgets.com/ubuntu-18-04-lts-19-11-2018/years into the future. The 10 year support cycle has been created by the development team at Canonical to make Ubuntu a more attractive option for hardware developers creating Internet of Things appliances and specific industries including financial services and telecommunications, says Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth.

            “Ubuntu is an open source software operating system that runs from the desktop, to the cloud, to all your internet connected things. From home control to drones, robots and industrial systems, Ubuntu Core provides robust security, app stores and reliable updates. Ubuntu makes development easy, and snap packages make Ubuntu Core secure and reliable for widely distributed devices.”

          • Mark Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Be Supported for 10 Years

            Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth announced last week at OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018 that his Linux company will support the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system for no less than ten years.

            During a keynote at the OpenStack Summit 2018 conference, which took place last week in Berlin, Germany, at CityCube, from November 13th to 15th, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth revealed the fact that the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series will be supported with software and security updates for 10 years, until April 2028.

            “I’m also delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years. In part because of the very long time horizons in some of those industries, financial services and telecommunications, but also in the IoT where manufacturing lines are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade,” said Shuttleworth.

          • OpenStack 2018: Mark Shuttleworth chats to The Reg about 10-year support plans, Linus Torvalds and Russian rockets

            Mark Shuttleworth delivered an unashamed plug for Ubuntu while cheerfully throwing a little shade on the competition at the OpenStack Berlin 2018 summit last week.

            If Nick Barcet of Red Hat had elicited gasps by suggesting the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) might consider releasing updates a bit more frequently, Shuttleworth sent eyebrows skywards by announcing that the latest Long Term Support (LTS) edition of Ubuntu, 18.04, would get 10 years of support.

          • Tuning your Intel Graphics Card in Ubuntu 18.04

            In the computing world things move at a brisk pace. To appeal to business users and conservative types like me Ubuntu releases the Long Term Support (LTS) versions of Ubuntu the latest of which is Ubuntu 18.04 which came out early this year. Ubuntu 16.04 for which I wrote the guide, is the LTS version prior to 18.04.

            It’s a little bit late to say this now but Ubuntu 18.04 came with a lot of changes including the infamous switchback to GNOME and the subsequent death of Unity. Another not so famous change was the fact that Intel drivers now ship with the kernel. This is not an Ubuntu specific change per se which explains why it was more of a footnote and not a headline in the Ubuntu world.

          • 4 Best open source & free YouTube Downloader for Ubuntu Linux

            Downloading YouTube Videos on Ubuntu Linux is not that much difficult as it appears. Lots of newbies think that Windows is the only platform to download online Youtube videos due to the availability of tons of free YouTube downloader software for it. However, after going through this article their opinion would be changed forever because not only normal videos but 4K videos can be downloaded on the Linux platforms as easy as on Windows.

          • Beginner’s Guide: How To Install Ubuntu Linux 18.10
          • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Available for Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Precise Pangolin) on 32-bit, 64-bit, Raspbbery Pi 2, AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform), and cloud environments, the new Linux kernel security updates fix multiple issues that might put your computer and data at risk.

            Affecting both Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) releases, the kernel security patch address just one issue, namely a vulnerablity (CVE-2018-15471) discovered by Felix Wilhelm in Linux kernel’s Xen netback driver, which improperly performed input validation under certain circumstances, thus allowing an attacker to crash the vulnerable system via a denial of service (DoS attack) or possible execute arbitrary code.

          • Running Ubuntu 18.04 on the One Mix 2S Yoga mini laptop

            The One Netbook One Mix 2S Yoga looks nearly identical to its predecessor, the One Mix Yoga. But the new model supports USB Type-C charging, has a fingerprint sensor, and sports a much faster processor and speedier storage — and the upgrades result in significantly better performance.

            It turns out that’s not the only thing that’s different — the new model also has slightly better out-of-the-box support for Ubuntu 18.04 Linux.

          • egmde: a project that uses Mir

            Display servers solve a large and complex problem. Mir provides a broad and powerful library to solve those problems, but there is a learning curve to use Mir effectively. It is really helpful to have a step-by-step example that covers enough of the issues to get a decent start.
            To address this need there’s a set of blog posts based around the development of “egmde” [Example Mir Desktop Environment]: a very simple shell that can either form the basis of further development or provide a platform for experimentation. Note that egmde is not a complete desktop: the tutorials (and the code in egmde) don’t cover aspects of a desktop environment that are not related to using Mir. Missing functionality includes: integrating into the system for screen locking & suspend, policy kit integration, internationalization, etc.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 554
          • Ubuntu 18.04 Gets 10 Year Lifespan Ahead of Canonical IPO

            At a keynote in Berlin, Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is getting a 10 year support period, which is 5 years longer than normal. This extension is specifically aimed at the IoT, financial services and telecommunications market, where products will often operate for many years without significant changes. He also reiterated “Canonical’s promise to easily enable OpenStack customers to migrate from one version of OpenStack to another,” and promised to support versions of OpenStack from 2014 and on. Interestingly, these promises come ahead of Canonical’s planned IPO in 2019. Mark seems to think that Ubuntu is a real competitor with Red Hat now, which IBM just recently acquired, and he’s quite enthusiastic about the future of Ubuntu. The full Canonical keynote can be seen on Ubuntu’s blog here. Thanks to dgz for the tip.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Development Setup: Ubuntu MATE 19.04 + Ayatana Indicators

              This is a quick HowTo that shows how to setup a Ubuntu MATE 19.04 development setup in which Ubuntu System Indicators [1] get replaced by Ayatana System Indicators [1].

              The current development strategy is to use nightly DEB packages provided by the Arctica Project and Ayatana Indicators upstream on top of Ubuntu MATE 19.04 and see what details still require work.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenCV 4.0 Released As The Overhauled Computer Vision Library, Adds Experimental Vulkan

    OpenCV 4.0 is now officially out as the widely-used real-time computer vision library.

    This is a big update for OpenCV and also marks converting it into a C++11 library. Besides shifting more to a C++ focus, OpenCV 4.0 also has performance improvements, DNN improvements, a QR code detector, a Kinect Fusion module, and various other additions.

  • Google’s Move To Open Source BERT May Change NLP Forever

    In 1954, with the success of the Georgetown experiment in which the scientists used a machine to translate random sentences from Russian to English, the field of computational linguistics took giant strides towards building an intelligent machine capable of recognising and translating speech. These models were even used in translations during the Nuremberg trials. Nonetheless, the future of machine translation was nowhere close to the forecast due to sluggish computational devices and scarcity of data to train on.

    [...]

    Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers or BERT, which was open sourced earlier this month, offers a new ground to embattle the intricacies involved in understanding the language models.

    Pre-training a binarised prediction model helps understanding common NLP tasks like Question Answering or Natural language Inference.

    Unidirectional models are efficiently trained by predicting each word conditioned on the previous words in the sentence. However, it is not possible to train bidirectional models by simply conditioning each word on its previous and next words, since this would allow the word that’s being predicted to indirectly “see itself” in a multi-layer model.

  • Stumbling into Linux and open source from Vietnam to Amsterdam

    Since the beginning of time… no, really, just the beginning of Opensource.com in 2010, our writers have shared personal stories of how they got into open source or Linux (many times both).

    Some had friends in school remark “You don’t know Linux? What’s going on with you, dude?” Some came in through the gateway of gaming, and others were simply looking for alternatives.

    When I came on the scene in 2012 as a newcomer to open source and Linux, I saw these stories as pure gold. They get to the heart of why people are so passionate about it and why they love talking about it with other people who “get it.” Now I’m one of those people, too.

  • Open Source 2018: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

    Recently, IBM announced that it would be acquiring Red Hat for $34 billion, a more-than-60-percent premium over Red Hat’s market cap, and a nearly 12x multiple on revenues. In many ways, this was a clear sign that 2018 was the year commercial open source has arrived, if there was ever previously a question about it before.

    Indeed, the Red Hat transaction is just the latest in a long line of multi-billion dollar outcomes this year. To date, more than $50 billion dollars have been exchanged in open source IPOs and mergers and acquisitions (M&A); and all of the M&A deals are considered “mega deals” — those valued over $5 billion.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Reading News In 2019

        The internet is the major source of news for many of us, and we spend a lot of time reading articles to stay updated. There are many news sources available that offer various categories of news. However, it is a time-consuming task to open each of those websites.

    • Mozilla

      • Daniel Stenberg: I’m leaving Mozilla

        It’s been five great years, but now it is time for me to move on and try something else.

        During these five years I’ve met and interacted with a large number of awesome people at Mozilla, lots of new friends! I got the chance to work from home and yet work with a global team on a widely used product, all done with open source. I have worked on internet protocols during work-hours (in addition to my regular spare-time working with them) and its been great! Heck, lots of the HTTP/2 development and the publication of that was made while I was employed by Mozilla and I fondly participated in that. I shall forever have this time ingrained in my memory as a very good period of my life.

        [...]

        I had worked on curl for a very long time already before joining Mozilla and I expect to keep doing curl and other open source things even going forward. I don’t think my choice of future employer should have to affect that negatively too much, except of course in periods.

        With me leaving Mozilla, we’re also losing Mozilla as a primary sponsor of the curl project, since that was made up of them allowing me to spend some of my work days on curl and that’s now over.

        Short-term at least, this move might increase my curl activities since I don’t have any new job yet and I need to fill my days with something…

      • 6 Essential Tips for Safe Online Shopping

        The turkey sandwiches are in the fridge, and you didn’t argue with your uncle. It’s time to knock out that gift list, and if you’re like millions of Americans, you’re probably shopping online.

      • Elementary Bugs

        Mozilla is a well-known open-source organization, and thus draws a lot of interested contributors. But Mozilla is huge, and even the more limited scope of Firefox development is a wilderness to a newcomer. We have developed various tools to address this, one of which was an Outreachy project by Fienny Angelina called Codetribute.

        The site aggregates bugs that experienced developers have identified as good for new contributors (“good first bugs”, although often they are features or tasks) across Bugzilla and Github. It’s useful both for self-motivated contributors and for those looking for starting point for a deeper engagement with Mozilla (an internship or even a full-time job).

        However, it’s been tricky to help developers identify good-first-bugs.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Google, Amazon and Facebook Embrace Open Source Software As Future

      Open source coding lets users collaborate on software code, giving them the ability to store and edit code independently. It is designed to make projects built with its software publicly accessible, and has been the key to success for companies like Airbnb and Uber, which have made their fortunes by offering services, rather than the software itself.

      “The previous generation of developers grew up in a world where there was a battle between closed and open source,” said GitHub’s Ben Balter, a researcher with the web-based hosting service for source code and open source software projects. “Today, that is no longer true.”

    • AWS Developing New Services Amid Open-Source Tensions

      Companies that manage open-source software have a message for cloud computing providers like Amazon: pay up, share your code or stop using our technology for free.

    • AWS develops new services amid open-source pushback

      Last month, MongoDB changed its licensing to put the Community Server software under a SSPL license, which lets cloud providers offer MongoDB as a service but only if they open source all of the related code or create a commercial agreement.

    • Urvika Gola: Attending ReactConf’18 in Henderson, Nevada

      Day 2 of React Conf, started with talking about how performance is integral to UX. Code Splitting, a concept were instead of sending the whole code in the initial payload, we send what’s needed to render the first screen and later, lazily loading the rest based on subsequent navigation. A most common problem while implementing code splitting can be ‘what do you display to the user if the view hasn’t finished loading?’ Maybe a spinner, loader, placeholder…?? But lot of these degrades the UX. Then came Concurrent React into the picture, Concurrent React can work on multiple tasks at a time and switch between them according to priority. Concurrent React can partially render a tree without committing the result and does not block the main thread.

    • OpenStack Rebranding Infrastructure Team as OpenDev

      OpenStack is one of the largest open source efforts in the world, with a large infrastructure that is used to build, develop and test the cloud platform. The infrastructure effort is now being rebranded as OpenDev as OpenStack continues to evolve.

      In a session, at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany last week, Clark Boylan team lead for the OpenStack Infrastructure team outlined how things are set to change as OpenStack moves beyond its core project to embrace a broader group of Open Infrastructure efforts.

      “We basically act as beta testers for the infrastructure and make sure things work,” Boylan. “If it works for us, it’ll probably work for you too.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.2 Enters Beta with New User Interface Design Called “Notebookbar”

      Expected to arrive next year on February, LibreOffice 6.2 will be the second semi-major update to the LibreOffice 6 office suite series, bringing a bunch of enhancements and new features to make your daily office tasks easier and more enjoyable. One of these new features is an optional UI design called the Notebookbar.

      The Notebookbar UI is included in the beta version of LibreOffice 6.2 if you want to take it for a test drive (details below), along with the KDE Plasma 5 integration and numerous other improvements we talked about in a previous article. Of course, LibreOffice 6.2 will also include lots of stability and reliability updates.

    • LibreOffice 6.2 Branched, The Beta Dance Begins & x86 32-bit Builds Are Deprecated

      LibreOffice 6.2 was branched from master this weekend and the first beta release tagged for this open-source, cross-platform office suite.

      LibreOffice 6.2 Beta 1 is now being spun while a possible second beta may come in early December. At least three release candidates will be coming over the next two months while these open-source office suite developers hope to have out LibreOffice 6.2 either at the very end of January or in early February.

      The beta one tag and latest 6.2 bits are available from libreoffice-6-2. The branching also marks the hard feature freeze for this release. LibreOffice 6.2 was branched from master this weekend and the first beta release tagged for this open-source, cross-platform office suite.

      LibreOffice 6.2 Beta 1 is now being spun while a possible second beta may come in early December. At least three release candidates will be coming over the next two months while these open-source office suite developers hope to have out LibreOffice 6.2 either at the very end of January or in early February.

      The beta one tag and latest 6.2 bits are available from libreoffice-6-2. The branching also marks the hard feature freeze for this release.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Review: NetBSD 8.0

      NetBSD, like its close cousins (FreeBSD and OpenBSD) does not do a lot of hand holding or automation. It offers a foundation that will run on most CPUs and we can choose to build on that foundation. I mention this because, on its own, NetBSD does not do much. If we want to get something out of it, we need to be willing to build on its foundation – we need a project. This is important to keep in mind as I think going into NetBSD and thinking, “Oh I’ll just explore around and expand on this as I go,” will likely lead to disappointment. I recommend figuring out what you want to do before installing NetBSD and making sure the required tools are available in the operating system’s repositories.

      Some of the projects I embarked on this week (using ZFS and setting up file sharing) worked well. Others, like getting multimedia support and a full-featured desktop, did not. Given more time, I’m sure I could find a suitable desktop to install (along with the required documentation to get it and its services running), or customize one based on one of the available window managers. However, any full featured desktop is going to require some manual work. Media support was not great. The right players and codecs were there, but I was not able to get audio to play smoothly.

      My main complaint with NetBSD relates to my struggle to get some features working to my satisfaction: the documentation is scattered. There are four different sections of the project’s website for documentation (FAQs, The Guide, manual pages and the wiki). Whatever we are looking for is likely to be in one of those, but which one? Or, just as likely, the tutorial we want is not there, but is on a forum or blog somewhere. I found that the documentation provided was often thin, more of a quick reference to remind people how something works rather than a full explanation.

      As an example, I found a couple of documents relating to setting up a firewall. One dealt with networking NetBSD on a LAN, another explored IPv6 support, but neither gave an overview on syntax or a basic guide to blocking all but one or two ports. It seemed like that information should already be known, or picked up elsewhere.

      Newcomers are likely to be a bit confused by software management guides for the same reason. Some pages refer to using a tool called pkg_add, others use pkgsrc and its make utility, others mention pkgin. Ultimately, these tools each give approximately the same result, but work differently and yet are mentioned almost interchangeably. I have used NetBSD before a few times and could stumble through these guides, but new users are likely to come away confused.

      One quirk of NetBSD, which may be a security feature or an inconvenience, depending on one’s point of view, is super user programs are not included in regular users’ paths. This means we need to change our path if we want to be able to run programs typically used by root. For example, shutdown and mount are not in regular users’ paths by default. This made checking some things tricky for me.

      Ultimately though, NetBSD is not famous for its convenience or features so much as its flexibility. The operating system will run on virtually any processor and should work almost identically across multiple platforms. That gives NetBSD users a good deal of consistency across a range of hardware and the chance to experiment with a member of the Unix family on hardware that might not be compatible with Linux or the other BSDs.

    • 2018 LLVM Developers’ Meeting Videos Now Online

      For those wishing to learn more about the LLVM compiler stack and open-source compiler toolchains in general, the videos from October’s LLVM Developers’ Meeting 2018 in San Jose are now online.

    • OpenBSD in Stereo with Linux VFIO

      Now, after some extensive reverse engineering and debugging with the help of VFIO on Linux, I finally have audio playing out of both speakers on OpenBSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU OrgaDoc 1.0 Released

      I am pleased to announce GNU OrgaDoc version 1.0, a stable release. Version 1.0 is the first release of a rewrite from Eiffel to C89.

    • GNU OrgaDoc 1.0 Released For Managing Documents Between Computers

      GNU OrgaDoc is a means of copying and maintaining a pool of documents between a set of computers. Document synchronization is handled by rsync or unison and is done without needing a database server or other components.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open Source Cloudify 4.5 Extends its Cloud Native Orchestration to the Network – from Core to Edge [Ed: Another example of proprietary and "Community" edition for openwashing purposes]
    • Why some open-source companies are considering a more closed approach

      “I would put it in a very blunt way: for many years we were suckers, and let them take what we developed and make tons of money on this.”

      Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal doesn’t mince words. His company, known for its open-source in-memory database, has been around for eight years, an eternity in the fast-changing world of modern enterprise software.

      Cloud computing was very much underway in 2011, but it was still a tool for early adopters or startups that couldn’t afford to bet millions on servers to incubate a promising but unproven idea. Most established companies were still building their own tech infrastructure the old-fashioned way, but they were increasingly realizing that open-source software would allow them to build that infrastructure with open-source components in ways that were much more flexible and cheaper than proprietary packages from traditional enterprise software companies.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Envoy and gRPC-Web: a fresh new alternative to REST

      Personally, I’d been intrigued by gRPC-Web since I first read about it in a blog post on the Improbable engineering blog. I’ve always loved gRPC’s performance, scalability, and IDL-driven approach to service interaction and have longed for a way to eliminate REST from the service path if possible. I’m excited that gRPC-Web is ready for prime time because I think it opens up some extremely promising horizons in web development.

    • RcppMsgPack 0.2.3

      Another maintenance release of RcppMsgPack got onto CRAN today. Two new helper functions were added and not unlike the previous 0.2.2 release in, some additional changes are internal and should allow compilation on all CRAN systems.

      MessagePack itself is an efficient binary serialization format. It lets you exchange data among multiple languages like JSON. But it is faster and smaller. Small integers are encoded into a single byte, and typical short strings require only one extra byte in addition to the strings themselves. RcppMsgPack brings both the C++ headers of MessagePack as well as clever code (in both R and C++) Travers wrote to access MsgPack-encoded objects directly from R.

Leftovers

  • Sole and Despotic Dominion: Fiction
  • Hardware

    • New iPad Pro Reportedly Suffering From Bending Issues

      It has not been one month since Apple launched its latest iPad Pro models. It has been found that the nearly bezel-less iPad Pro models are prone to bending issues.

      In a durability test video by the famous YouTuber JerryRigEverything, iPad Pro models bent when a slight force was applied to it. Many new iPad owners also took to MacRumor’s forum to complain about the bending of the latest iPad.

    • How Apple tricked me into buying a new MacBook Air

      I have been using MacBook Air laptops for several years now and I like them much better than anything in the Windows space. However, my experience has been far from problem-free and I am angry at what I believe is a deceptive business practice designed to screw money out of loyal users.

      [...]

      So for $175 I got my computer completely fixed after being told by both Apple and an Authorised Apple repairer that it could not be salvaged. Furthermore, I subsequently discovered through online inquiry that this particular keyboard had a design fault and that I was not to blame at all for the damage. I had been tricked into buying a new computer needlessly.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Anti-Choice Politicians Are Taking Direct Aim at Roe v. Wade

      Anti-abortion politicians wasted no time going after Roe v. Wade after the midterm elections. Last week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a ban on abortion starting at six weeks in pregnancy, which would effectively ban almost all abortions given that most people don’t know they are even pregnant at that time.

      The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to pass. If it does, the outgoing governor could veto it, but the legislature may have enough votes to override it. And if the legislature doesn’t override the veto, the incoming governor has said he would sign it.

      The bill is blatantly unconstitutional. If it passes, we will challenge it, and it will likely be blocked by the lower courts. But make no mistake: This bill is designed to directly challenge the fundamental constitutional right to abortion. As the bill’s author said, “We literally crafted this legislation to be the arrow in the heart of Roe v. Wade. It is made to come before the United States Supreme Court.”

      In other words, the bill’s supporters know this bill is unconstitutional, but they passed it anyway in hopes that it will make its way through the courts, eventually arriving at the Supreme Court.

      Anti-abortion politicians at the state level are clearly emboldened by the Trump administration’s extreme anti-abortion and anti-woman policies. Just like Ohio, the Trump administration wasted no time to unleash more attacks on reproductive health care access after the midterms.

  • Security

    • 50 countries vow to fight cybercrime – US, Russia don’t

      Fifty nations and over 150 tech companies pledged Monday to do more to fight criminal activity on the internet, including interference in elections and hate speech. But the United States, Russia and China are not among them.

      The group of governments and companies pledged in a document entitled the “Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace” to work together to prevent malicious activities like online censorship and the theft of trade secrets.

    • Researchers Find Critical Vulnerability In Optical In-Display Fingerprint Sensors, Allowed Attackers To Unlock Devices Instantly

      In-Display Fingerprint sensors seem like an upcoming trend in smartphones. Conventional fingerprint sensors have become quite reliable over the years, but it’s still limited by design. With conventional fingerprint sensors, you need to locate the sensor and then unlock your phone. With the scanner placed under the display, unlocking the device feels much more natural. The technology is still in its infancy and hasn’t really matured yet, but a few companies like OnePlus have already put out phones with In-Display fingerprint sensors.

      Optic sensors used in most of the In-Display fingerprint scanners these days aren’t very accurate and some researchers even discovered a big vulnerability in them, which was patched recently. The vulnerability discovered by Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab gave attackers a free pass, allowing them to bypass the lock screen completely.

      Yang Yu, a researcher from the same team stated that this was a persistent problem present in every In-Display Fingerprint scanner module they tested, also adding that the vulnerability is a design fault of In-display fingerprint sensors.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 123 – Talking about Kubernetes and container security with Liz Rice

      Josh and Kurt talk to Liz Rice about Kubernetes and container security. How did we get where we are today, what’s new and exciting today, and where do we think things are going.

    • New Instagram Bug Raises Security Questions
    • Instagram’s Data Download Tool Accidentally Leaked Users’ Passwords

      As reported by The Information, the photo-sharing app had a security flaw which unknowingly led to the revelation of some users’ passwords. The new bug seems to have affected a recently-introduced security tool by Instagram- ‘Download Your Data’ which allows users to download his or her data from the app.

    • You Know What? Go Ahead and Use the Hotel Wi-Fi

      This advice comes with plenty of qualifiers. If you’re planning to commit crimes online at the Holiday Inn Express, or to visit websites that you’d rather people not know you frequented, you need to take precautionary steps that we’ll get to in a minute. Likewise, if you’re a high-value target of a sophisticated nation state—look at you!—stay off of public Wi-Fi at all costs. (Also, you’ve probably already been hacked some other way, sorry.)

      But for the rest of us? You’re probably OK. That’s not because hotel and airport Wi-Fi networks have necessarily gotten that much more secure. The web itself has.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Beyond Passwords: 2FA, U2F and Google Advanced Protection
    • Dependencies in open source

      The topic of securing your open source dependencies just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. I always expect it to get less attention for some reason, and every year I’m wrong about what’s happening out there. I remember when I first started talking about this topic, nobody really cared about it. It’s getting a lot more traction these days, especially as we see stories about open source dependencies being wildly out of date and some even being malicious backdoors.

      So what does it really mean to have dependencies? Ignoring the topic of open source for a minute, we should clarify what a dependency is. If you develop software today, there’s no way you build everything yourself. Even if you’re writing something in a low level language there are other libraries you rely on to do certain things for you. Just printing “hello world” calls into another library to actually print the text on the screen. Nobody builds at this level outside of a few select low level projects. Because of this we use code and applications that someone else wrote. If your business is about selling something online, writing your own web server would be a massive cost. It’s far cheaper to find a web server someone else wrote. The web server would be a dependency. If the web server is open source (which is probably is), we would call that an open source dependency.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Drone could have caused police helicopter ‘catastrophe’ in Guyhirn as man sentenced in first UK case

      A drone which passed narrowly under a police helicopter could have brought about ‘catastrophic’ consequences similar to the recent tragedy in Leicester which killed five people, a court heard.

      Sergej Miaun became the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for flying a drone which interfered with a police vehicle after he disrupted a search for a missing woman in the River Nene in Guyhirn.

    • A Tale of Two Marines

      These two young men may have an infinite number of things in common, but the actions they took this week do not.

      One used a pro-war ceremony at a professional basketball game to reject the celebration of militarism, and to protest war-profiteering advertising in sports.

      One became the latest “mass shooter” — which I put in quotation marks only because he had already been a mass shooter, but he had been an acceptable kind of mass shooter.

      On Tuesday evening, former U.S. Marine Josuee Hernandez was scheduled to be honored for his so-called service at a Portland Trailblazers game. He unzipped his jacket to reveal a shirt with a protest message shaming the team for accepting money from a weapons dealer. He rejected the bag of prizes being given him. “We should not feel honored by being gifted a bag of trinkets and then paraded in front of an audience,” Hernandez said. He acted righteously and bravely, and perhaps (I know nothing about him, but have known a lot of veterans) therapeutically as well.

    • Yemen’s Houthis say ready for ceasefire
    • Yemen’s Houthis halt missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, UAE; say ready for peace
    • Yemen’s Houthis Halt Missile Attacks on Saudi Coalition
    • Life in fear: Report says 1 in 3 US drone-strike deaths in Yemen are civilians, including children
    • Yemen war: Houthis ‘halting drone and missile strikes’

      Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they are halting drone and missile strikes on the Saudi-led military coalition after a request from the United Nations.

      The move comes after the coalition ordered a halt in its offensive on the key Yemeni port of Hudaydah.

      The UN is attempting to revive talks to end a three-year war which has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

      So far, the war has killed thousands and pushed millions more Yemenis to the brink of starvation.

    • Yemen’s Houthis say they are ready for a ceasefire

      Pressure has mounted on warring parties to end war that killed thousands and pushed the country to verge of starvation.

    • Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian

      One has to admire the Canadian government’s manipulation of the media regarding its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite being partners with the Kingdom’s international crimes, the Liberals have managed to convince some gullible folks they are challenging Riyadh’s rights abuses.

      By downplaying Ottawa’s support for violence in Yemen while amplifying Saudi reaction to an innocuous tweet the dominant media has wildly distorted the Trudeau government’s relationship to the monarchy.

      In a story headlined “Trudeau says Canada has heard Turkish tape of Khashoggi murder”, Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour affirmed that “Canada has taken a tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for months.” Hogwash. Justin Trudeau’s government has okayed massive arms sales to the monarchy and largely ignored the Saudi’s devastating war in Yemen, which has left up to 80,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

    • The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace

      Are we forever doomed to be warriors, wired from birth to be belligerent? Or is there, deep inside our species, an equal propensity toward peace?

      I found a tentative answer to these questions that have vexed humanity through the ages when I was no more than a child growing up in Queens in the late 1940s. At about the time when it turns out that Donald Trump, a mile or so away, was taking his first steps in life, I found myself at the age of 7 or so, fiercely engaged in a street-level cult of war that he would might well approve of today, given his militaristic posturing and bellicose language.

      But Trump’s Queens was, in that era of rampant discrimination, almost entirely white, whereas I resided — thanks to my Argentine father’s work for the fledgling United Nations –in an apartment complex called Parkway Village, a multicultural, multinational, multiethnic enclave. And the most unlikely place in the world for any sort of conflict between children or adults, for that matter, to find fertile ground, because it was thought of as a unique experiment in diversity — international, linguistic, racial — supposedly projecting a utopian vision of planetary harmony.

      Alas, it was not harmony I sought as I roamed the gardens and open spaces of Parkway Village where confrontations had broken out between rival groups of the young sons of diplomats and staff, who were so fervently dedicated to amity among nations and cultures. The clashes had started with an insult of some kind, soon escalating to fists and stones and, eventually, sticks.

      The pugnacious kids were recent immigrants to the States, perhaps eager to hold onto some form of nativist identity by bashing the heads of anyone who spoke strangely or looked different.

    • Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry

      Poets are all too human, and some of them are moral and political imbeciles. Some poets, however, are so deeply troubled by their times that that they both extend and challenge the culture they inherit.

    • Declassified 1949 CIA manual gives warning to disinformation on social media

      No need for Google — it turns out that finding a blueprint to launch an effective disinformation campaign on social media can be found in a CIA manual from 1949.

      Declassified in 2012, “Strategical Psychological Warfare” was written in response to World War II. While the CIA did not predict a medium like social media, the communication strategies it outlines are eerily similar to what the U.S. has witnessed from Russia during and since the 2016 election.

      As a refresher, a 2017 U.S. intelligence community report concluded that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” U.S. intelligence also concluded that a major goal for the Kremlin was to undermine public faith in the American democratic process.

    • The Fatal Flaws in a Congressional Resolution to End US Support for the Saudi-Led Yemen War
    • US will be hostage to partisan bickering for next two years – CIA veteran

      As the rift between the US and the rest of the world grows wider, at home, Democrats are now in control of Congress. How big of a game changer is the result of the US midterms for the rest of the globe? We talked to two-decade CIA veteran Rolf Mowatt-Larssen.

    • Shattering Europe? Why Trump’s Paris Fiasco Really Matters
    • Bullhorns: CIA confidence

      Brexit and high drama – the saga continues. Also, the CIA says it has high confidence they know who killed Khashoggi. And is it high noon for Julian Assange?

    • Report: 1 in 3 Deaths Caused by US Drone Strikes this Year in Yemen Were Civilians

      SANA’A, YEMEN — At least one third of those killed by U.S. drone strikes in the war-torn country of Yemen over the past year have been civilians, according to a recent Associated Press investigation.

      The troubling statistic comes amid a three-year-long bombing campaign of Western Yemen led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which the U.S. aids by providing weapons as well as targeting and logistical assistance despite the fact that the airstrikes frequently target civilians and civilian infrastructure. The recent AP investigation reveals that U.S. drones are yet another deadly but often overlooked threat to Yemen’s civilians.

      The investigation begins by noting that a comprehensive count of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes is nearly impossible, given the difficulty in confirming the identities and allegiances of those killed. However, examination of the available information on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, allegedly conducted to combat the presence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), found that at least 30 of those killed by the strikes this year were not al Qaeda members but civilians, including a 14-year-old boy and five members of a family looking for their lost child.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pursuing Julian Assange – and the President

      When the history of American foreign policy and the misery Washington has caused throughout its tenure as world policeman is written, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks will have many entries in the footnotes, not to mention the index. The publication of Chelsea Manning’s treasure trove of US diplomatic history – thousands of cables describing the interactions of US decision-makers with world leaders through the decades – alone gives WikiLeaks the title of most important journalistic outlet of the new millennium. And that is just the crown jewel in a diadem of journalistic triumphs – stinging exposures of the War Party and their corrupt enablers — no other outlet can hope to match. It is therefore with very little surprise that one reads the news that the Justice Department has secretly indicted Assange – and please pay special attention to how that has been revealed.

      The New York Times had the scoop: in an unrelated case, the geniuses over at the Justice Department had mistakenly copied phrases from the secret indictment in publicly available court documents.

      Really? That doesn’t seem very credible, and the specific document the Times refers to throws the whole matter into serious question: the mention of Assange is simply inserted into text that is about someone who is alleged to have coerced a child, and asks for the documents in the case to be sealed. The insertion reads:

      “Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

    • Who is Julian Assange? Everything you need to know about the WikiLeaks founder

      Julian Assange, 47, is a computer programmer and hacker best known as the founder of WikiLeaks, which publishes confidential and classified government information. Assange founded Wikileaks in 2006, and the site drew headlines in 2010 for publishing secret U.S. military information related to the Iraq War, which had been provided to Assange by Chelsea Manning.

      Assange was born in Australia and now resides in Ecuador’s embassy in London under political asylum. He became an Ecuadorean citizen in 2016.

    • Julian Assange Isn’t Worth It

      If the U.S. government can prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for publishing classified material, then every media outlet is at risk.

    • Prosecuting Wikileaks, Protecting Press Freedoms: Drawing the Line at Knowing Collaboration with a Foreign Intelligence Agency

      The inadvertent disclosure of the likely existence of a sealed indictment against Julian Assange raises the question of what the constitutional implications of such an indictment might be. Only an indictment narrowly focused on knowing collaboration with a foreign intelligence agency, if in fact the evidence supports such a finding, would avoid the broad threat that such a prosecution would otherwise pose to First Amendment rights and press freedoms.

      Any prosecution for the publication of the Chelsea Manning disclosures (war logs; embassy cables) or for involvement in the Edward Snowden disclosures would meet the same constitutional difficulties that arose at that time. As I argued in detail in 2011, and then as a witness for the defense in the Manning trial, for purposes of constitutional protection it is impossible to distinguish Wikileaks from more traditional media on stable grounds that cannot be leveraged against all manner of media organizations over time, including both partisan and mainstream media. No distinguishing line can usefully be drawn in organizational terms. Central to this discussion are federal cases concerning journalists’ privilege under state law, as well as the Supreme Court’s clear statement that “Liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods” from Branzburg v Hayes.

    • US has filed secret charges against Julian Assange, reports say

      The Committee to Protect Journalists is closely monitoring news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has secretly filed charges against the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

      “We are closely monitoring reports that prosecutors have prepared a sealed indictment against Julian Assange,” said Alexandra Ellerbeck, CPJ’s North America program coordinator. “While the charges are not known, we would be concerned by a prosecution that construes publishing government documents as a crime. This would set a dangerous precedent that could harm all journalists, whether inside or outside the United States.”

      In 2010, CPJ sent a letter to the Obama administration urging officials not to charge Assange for the publication of classified materials. This year, CPJ reported on experts’ concerns over a civil lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee, which argues that Assange and WikiLeaks were involved in a criminal conspiracy to hack the committee’s servers during the 2016 election.

    • We can detest Assange but don’t lock him up

      As his lawyers might put it, Julian Assange’s best defence against extradition to America is that there is no law yet against being really annoying. Remarkably it is now a little over six years since he went into the embassy of Ecuador — the longest anybody like him has spent out of the sunlight since they last bought a particularly gripping computer game.

    • Court Filing Suggests Prosecutors Are Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange
    • Bokhari: Rise of the Western Dissidents

      We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

      Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

      This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Appears To Have ‘Been Charged’ In Federal Court
    • Secret Charges Against WikiLeaks Chief a Threat to Free Press

      In a case with potentially massive implications for freedom of the press and government secrecy, federal prosecutors have seemingly filed secret charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (shown), court filings suggest. It was not immediately clear what exact charges the advocate of transparency may be facing. But some conspiracy theorists making allegations about a supposed link between President Donald Trump and the Kremlin — many of whom claim to believe Russian authorities delivered incriminating e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign to WikiLeaks — are hyping the case as a potential turning point in the Special Counsel “investigation.” More than a few experts and insiders have suggested the leaked Democrat e-mails were actually released by a campaign insider, potentially even murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. But so far, the actual source remains a mystery to the public. Assange denies it was a state source at all. But he is facing the wrath of Deep State outrage either way.

      From across the political spectrum, a wide range of voices — including some traditionally associated with the Left, the far-left, and even the establishment — have vigorously protested the effort to prosecute and destroy Assange as an all-out assault on free speech, freedom of the press, and government transparency. The biggest concern among critics, perhaps, is that the prosecution of Assange could set a precedent that would eventually be used to prosecute anyone publishing government secrets. Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, for instance, noted that the precedent against WikiLeaks could “easily be turned around” and used against more conventional and “mainstream” reporters. “Hard to overstate how dangerous it would be for press freedom,” he added, echoing concerns by free speech and free press advocates across America and worldwide.

    • The Case Against WikiLeaks Is a Crisis for the First Amendment
    • 5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Julian Assange founder of Wikileaks

      From TV appearances to surprising supporters here are five facts you didn’t know about the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

    • Did a copy-paste error reveal the US’s secret case against Assange?

      What a rough few weeks it’s been for WikiLeaks founder/Ecuadorian embassy poltergeist Julian Assange: Ecuador told him that if he wants to stay wrapped up in his asylum cocoon, he needs to shut up about politics, clean his own damn bathroom and scoop the poop from his cat’s litter box lest the kitty be given to somebody who knows how to take care of it.

      Then last week there were rumours that the US finally, after six long years, filed charges against him for publishing stolen information.

      It’s a big “maybe.” The supposition that the US secretly charged Assange comes from a mistake on a court filing that could have been a slip-up or might have been just a copy-paste error.

    • Julian Assange must be brought to justice [Ed: “brought to justice” means being brought back home to Australia to be with family and friends. Jealous corporate media against Wikileaks and Assange because the latter do a better job.]

      I remember groaning a few years ago when the pale Australian hacker weirdo accused of sexual assault was winning awards left and right from so-called human rights groups and peace foundations, prestigious journalism prizes, and gushing tributes from Michael Moore and Oliver Stone. It didn’t matter that Assange was an obvious charlatan — what kind of sane person trademarks his name? — and that the so-called philosophy of radical transparency undergirding WikiLeaks was just the teenaged nihilism of a million pimply 4chan users applied to politics. He was a cool guy, and the Obama administration’s half-hearted attempts to bring him to justice like the terrorist he is were doomed to fail thanks to the public-spiritedness of the Ecuadorian government.

    • Assange Charges Worry Free-Press Advocates

      The revelation that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been secretly charged has prompted fears among free-press advocates that the Justice Department is targeting those who publish classified information

    • Criminal Charges Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Are Sealed But Not For Long

      WikiLeaks is the Robin Hood-type tech company that exposes dark and hidden government secrets. WikiLeaks spills the corrupt beans so people around the world can understand how corrupt some political actors and their agendas can be. But that Robin Hood image doesn’t fit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Sasse thinks Assange should go to prison for life. Senator Sasse believes WikiLeaks spreads foreign propaganda in order to compromise the government of the United States.

      But Donald Trump didn’t share that description of WikiLeaks when Assange was working behind the scenes to expose Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump told his followers he loved WikiLeaks. Mr. Trump wasn’t the only conservative singing the praises of WikiLeaks. Conservatives came out of the woodwork back in 2016, and they all thought Julian Assange was on their side. They gave Assange the title of whistle-blower, and Fox News congratulated Australian-born Assange for showing the world how phony, dishonest, and corrupt the American government is.

    • Why the Trump administration stepped up pursuit of Julian Assange

      Soon after he took over as CIA director, Mike Pompeo privately told lawmakers about a new target for US spies: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

      Intent on finding out more about Assange’s dealings with Russian intelligence, the CIA last year began to conduct traditional espionage against the organization, according to US officials. At the same time, federal law enforcement officials were reconsidering Assange’s designation as a journalist and debating whether to charge him with a crime.

    • DOJ Mistake Reveals Secret Assange Indictment
    • EXCLUSIVE: Lawyer for Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange speak out on possible US government charges

      Jennifer Robinson, lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaks exclusively with MSNBC’s Keir Simmons about his possible arrest and extradition to the U.S.

    • Justice Dept. filing alludes to charges against WikiLeaks founder Assange

      The assistant U.S. attorney wrote the other suspect’s charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.” The document did not explain any connection or association between Assange and the other man.

    • The Dangerous Rush to Judgment Against Julian Assange

      After years of speculation, we now know that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been accused by the Justice Department of committing crimes against the United States. We know this because an assistant U.S. attorney named Kellen S. Dwyer screwed up and inadvertently disclosed in a motion filed on Aug. 22 in an unrelated case that Assange has been secretly charged in an accusation that has been placed under seal.

      The unrelated case is pending in the Eastern District of Virginia against Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, 29, who, according to The Washington Post, is linked to international terrorism and whose father in-law has been convicted of committing terrorist acts.

      What we don’t know about the prosecution of Assange is virtually everything else.

    • Evidence the Australian government knew of US charges against Assange since 2010

      Charges could include “conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act”. Regarding the latter, former CIA director Mike Pompeo explained that WikiLeaks had allegedly “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States”. And the late Michael Ratner (Assange’s US lawyer) was certain that the most likely charge Assange could face was “conspiracy to commit espionage”.

    • Pamela Anderson lashes out at Scott Morrison over ‘smutty’ comments

      Actress Pamela Anderson has taken a swipe at Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing him of making “smutty, unnecessary” comments about her.

      The former Baywatch star made the remarks in an open letter which she posted to twitter today, after Mr Morrison reportedly laughed about her plea to help bring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange back home to Australia.

    • Government’s contempt for a free press on display with Assange

      In case you missed it, last week Julian Assange and his decision to remain within the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 was vindicated — entirely so.

      Assange and his legal team have always argued that his refusal to leave — even after the dropping of prosecution for sexual offences in Sweden — is because of the threat of the US government seeking to extradite him based on charges relating to WikiLeaks’ release of US government information. So central was this argument to his case that opponents, like Bob Carr, (briefly Australia’s foreign minister under Julia Gillard) tried to dispute it, insisting in the face of extensive evidence that the Americans had no prosecutorial interest in Assange.

    • The Australian government needs to protect its citizen: Assange Lawyer
    • Pamela Anderson criticises Australia PM for ‘smutty’ comment

      Earlier this month Ms Anderson, a former Baywatch star and long-time advocate for Mr Assange, had called on the Australian government to help him.
      “Get Julian his passport back and take him back home to Australian and be proud of him, and throw him a parade when he gets home,” she told Australia’s 60 Minutes programme.
      Mr Morrison’s comment was made soon afterwards on a radio programme. He also reiterated Australia’s position that it would not intervene in Mr Assange’s case.
      On Sunday, Ms Anderson wrote in an open letter: “You trivialized and laughed about the suffering of an Australian and his family.

    • Netizens Back Anderson in Crushing ‘Smutty’ Australia PM for Abandoning Assange

      Appearing on a radio program, the Australian prime minister publicly chuckled at the Baywatch icon’s proposal, claiming in response that he has a number of “envoys” close at hand who would eagerly deal with the Pamela issue.

    • Pamela Anderson accuses Scott Morrison of making ‘smutty’ comments about her
    • All The Weirdest Auspol Vs Celebrity Fights
    • Lisa Wilkinson: Why ScoMo Should Apologise To Pamela Anderson. And Every Woman.
    • Australia PM slammed for ‘smutty’ comment

      Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced criticism following his “smutty” remarks about actress Pamela Anderson, after she asked him to help Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
      Anderson had urged Scott Morrison to bring Assange to Australia. Rejecting her plea, Morrison said he had “plenty of mates who have asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort out the issue with Pamela”.

      Several politicians backed the actress slamming the politician saying it was high time men stopped using a woman’s sexuality and appearance to denigrate her political arguments.

    • Pamela Anderson criticises Australian prime minister’s ‘lewd’ and ‘smutty’ comments in Assange spat

      Pamela Anderson, the American actress, has attacked Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for his “lewd” and “smutty” comments about her after she asked him to assist Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      Following Anderson’s appeal to Mr Morrison to help Mr Assange return to Australia, the prime minister discussed the request on commercial radio, saying: “Well no, first of all, but next, I’ve had plenty of mates who’ve asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort the issue out with Pamela Anderson.”

      Responding to the comments, Anderson, a former Baywatch star and Playboy model and a friend and supporter of Mr Assange, wrote an open letter to Mr Morrison and condemned his “unnecessary” comments.

    • Female MPs blast Scott Morrison over ‘smutty’ Pamela Anderson remark
    • Pamela Anderson slams Australian PM Scott Morrison for ‘smutty’ comments
    • Pamela Anderson is trying to rescue from prison, Julian Assange

      Now the star of Playboy living in Paris with footballer Adil Rami, but your ex still remembers, even tries to participate in his life. For six years the ex-beloved star of “Baywatch” hiding from law enforcement. It is published on the website WikiLeaks has provided him with a prison sentence in many countries.

      Many prominent figures, including politicians and colleagues, spoke out in defense of Assange. They were joined by Pamela Anderson. She tries to rescue a former lover from prison. Celebrity encourages the Australian government to rescue Julian from prison and drop charges against him. However, members of the government “Green continent” the actress refused and even laughed at her attempts. Among the mockers was and 50-year-old Scott Morrison. Directly on one of the Australian TV show he was denied Pamela’s request.

    • Report: Mueller Will Meet Again With Roger Stone’s Alleged Link To WikiLeaks

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to meet again with Randy Credico, the New York comedian who was revealed this week as having tipped off Trump confidant Roger Stone to WikiLeaks’ plans to release information that would harm the Clinton campaign.

      Credico’s attorney, Martin Stolar, told The Daily Beast that his client will meet with Mueller’s team at some point after Thanksgiving.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change Is the Product of How Capitalism “Values” Nature

      Climate change is the greatest existential crisis facing humanity today. Capitalist industrialization has led us to the edge of the precipice, and avoiding the end of civilization as we know it may require the development of a view in direct opposition to the way in which capitalism “values” nature, according to John Bellamy Foster, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and editor of the socialist magazine Monthly Review.

    • How to Help California Wildfire Survivors

      California’s grim year of record-breaking wildfires continues this month. The Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County claimed 113,000 acres and 42 lives and counting as of Tuesday morning, while the Woolsey Fire in Southern California tore through 96,000 acres. Watching these fires race through the landscape can be scary, especially when it may feel like there’s nothing you can do.

      Fortunately, a lot of people are working on the ground to fight these fires and support survivors as they return home — or find new housing, in the case of thousands who have lost their residences.

      Whether you’re a local or live across the country, there are a number of ways to help.

    • Louisiana Teachers Mobilize Against ExxonMobil Tax Exemption

      Sometimes the boss offers us a fight that directly exposes the destructive effects of corporate power.

      In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that moment came when ExxonMobil asked for yet another handout from taxpayers—property tax exemptions totaling $6 million.

      For the ninth-largest corporation in the world, it was a routine request. ExxonMobil is accustomed to receiving such perks from obedient state officials. But teachers saw it differently: as a $6 million theft from the local schools budget.

      Educators and other school employees voted 445-6 on October 23 to stage a one-day walkout the following week. Teachers planned to pack a hearing on ExxonMobil’s requests.

      Within hours of the union vote, the company’s exemption bids were off the Board of Industry and Commerce’s agenda.

    • Yellowstone investigating illegal drone photo taken in park

      Yellowstone National Park officials say they’re investigating after a photo was posted online showing one of the park’s geothermal features from a drone, which is illegal.

      The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Wednesday the photo of Grand Prismatic Spring was posted on Instagram and then deleted after criticism from other users.

      Drones are banned in Yellowstone and many other parks.

    • Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires

      With the shocking loss of thousands of homes and dozens of lives in the Camp and Woolsey fires in Northern and Southern California, people are looking for answers as they try to understand how a tragedy such as this can be prevented in the future.

      As people struggled to evacuate, President Donald Trump in a tweet blamed the fires on poor forest management and repeated the claims before his visit to California. While Trump did not explicitly call for an expansion of logging in his latest response, he has previously touted this strategy as a way to curb fires. Meanwhile, the federal government is moving to allow commercial logging in areas such as the Los Padres National Forest outside Santa Barbara, claiming it will prevent fires. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has also blamed “environmental terrorist groups” for preventing the government from properly managing forests.

      It is deeply troubling that Trump and his administration would support logging as a way to curb fires when studies have shown it’s ineffective. In the most comprehensive scientific analysis conducted on the issue of forest management and fire intensity — which looked at more than 1,500 fires on tens of millions of acres across the Western United States over three decades — we found that forests with the fewest environmental protections and the most logging actually tend to burn much more intensely, not less.

    • Protest Song Of The Week – ‘MutterERT’ By Chuck D (Featuring Jahi)

      Chuck D recently released his fourth studio album, “Celebration of Ignorance.” The album is rooted in a classic 1980s throwback style. The lyrics are as hard-hitting as ever, and he tackles subjects such as racism, toxic masculinity, gun violence, dangers of technological advances and the hateful rhetoric of President 45.

      “MutterERT” addresses the issue of climate change and the damage we are doing to the planet. Lyrics such as “Forgetting future generations gonna be regretting” highlights how future generations will suffer from the sinful short-sighted greed of those in power.

      The song also features contributions from Jahi of P.E. 2.0, who on his verse adds the pointed observation, “The land of my birth. Some treat her like a prostitute. Some know her worth. Some help her stay clean. Some shelling out the hurt.”

    • Making Visible the Globe-warming Gases of the Permian Fracking Boom

      There is an LED sign at a Chase Bank in downtown Midland, Texas, the heart of the Permian Basin, which quantifies the current oil boom. It alternates between current rig count, the price of oil, and the price of gasoline. On October 30, the day I arrived, the sign informed me there were 1,068 drilling rigs across the United States, of which 489 — nearly half — are in the Permian Basin.

      Though the flashing sign is meant to celebrate the fracking boom, Sharon Wilson, Texas coordinator of Earthworks, sees it as a warning sign of the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change.

  • Finance

    • Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security

      In the surreal alternative reality world of the US Congress, there are many bills passed each year that on the surface may sound like good ideas — they even give them high-sounding names like the US PATRIOT ACT or Better Care and Reconciliation Act, that in fact are the opposite of what they claim to be (the former actually being an unpatriotic undermining of the Bill of Rights and the latter actually being an unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (itself a deceptively named bill that forced middle-income families to buy hugely expensive insurance plans or pay a tax penalty).

      But few of these deceptions are as egregious as one being pushed by embattled incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is advocating a bill that would require any legislation that would raise taxes on incomes in the bottom 80% to be passed with a 60% majority of the House.

      That bill, while promoted by Pelosi as protecting the middle class from future tax rises, actually would make impossible passage of any bill expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, creating a kind of Canadian-model national health system, and might even prevent efforts to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits as called for by progressive Democrats.

      The thing is, a broad majority of Americans, including many Republicans, and an overwhelming majority of Democrats, favor Medicare-for-All, a program that would extend and expand Medicare coverage making it a government insurance plan for covering all medical care for all Americans of any age — exactly what Canadians have had since 1971, and which they have overwhelmingly supported through both Liberal and Conservative governments since then.

    • “Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers

      Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, wouldn’t seem to need the money. Nonetheless, huge sums of money will be diverted from social needs to line his pockets — a cost that won’t stop there, as gentrification will be accelerated still more in New York City and the Washington area.

      In all, Mr. Bezos scooped up nearly US$3.7 billion worth of subsidies this week. Does someone worth $112 billion and owner of a company that has racked up $7 billion in profits for the first nine months of 2018 really need such largesse? Corporate subsides are hardly unique to Amazon, but this to all appearances represents the most blatant example yet seen.

      Incredibly, these astronomical sums of money don’t represent the biggest giveaway offers, even in the “winning” areas’ metropolitan areas. The state of New Jersey, then under the governorship of Chris Christie, offered $7 billion to Amazon to build its second headquarters in Newark, and the state of Maryland offered $8.5 billion to Amazon to build in Montgomery County, which borders Washington on the opposite side of the Potomac River from Arlington, Virginia.

      Many other locations across the United States offered gigantic subsidies, as Amazon did all it could to initiate a bidding war. But as the two locations chosen (splitting in two the original proposal to create a single “second headquarters”) were picked because of the available workforces and city amenities, were these gargantuan subsidies necessary? It would seem not, making them all the more hideous. One strong clue is that Google is rapidly expanding its presence in New York City without, as far as the public knows, any subsidies.

    • What Amazon Taught the Cops

      The future of policing, it seems, will look a lot like the present of policing, just faster and with more math. Instead of using inherent bias and simplistic statistics to racially profile individuals on a street, cops of the future will be able to use complicated statistics to racially profile people in their homes.

    • European lawmakers ask Amazon to stop selling Soviet-themed merchandise

      The MEPs point out that “the total number of victims of the Soviet Regime is estimated at more than 60 million” while the Soviets also deported “over 10 million people” to camps in Siberia where they endured “inhumane living conditions, forced labour, starvation and physical violence”.

    • Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market

      The problem wasn’t so much that customers had made a conscious decision to buy their running gear elsewhere, Lampen-Crowell says. Rather, a number were doing more of their overall shopping on Amazon—and as the online giant became a pervasive, almost unconscious habit in their lives, they had started dropping into their Amazon shopping carts some of the items they used to buy from Gazelle Sports. Lampen-Crowell’s initial response was to double down on marketing his company’s own website. But while that helped, there were many potential customers who still had little chance of landing on it. That was because, by 2014, nearly 40 percent of people looking to buy something online were skipping search engines like Google altogether and instead starting their product searches directly on Amazon.

    • Postal-Service Workers Are Shouldering the Burden for Amazon

      Amazon was able to make a deal to ship its packages through USPS at cut-rate prices, because the company preemptively sorts and labels packages by postal route. But transporting and distributing these packages still takes clerks like Amanda much longer than sorting letters, which can be fed through a machine. If the clerks are delayed, the station’s carriers will be delayed in starting routes, which are already longer than ever thanks to the packages filling up their satchels and trucks. Many won’t deliver their final box until well after the sun has set.

      “If there’s a lot of Amazon, it just gums up the works,” Amanda said. “Things get backed up by two, three hours.”

    • A Socialist Response to Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Report

      In October, the Council of Economic Advisers, which counsels the president on economic matters, published a far-from-moderate report attacking socialism. Producing large-scale economic studies about socialism can be considered to be progress on the Washington establishment’s part, considering its usual practices of invading countries and instituting embargos that force entire populations into starvation (as in the cases of Nicaragua and Cuba).

      Ultimately though, the report reveals conservative, bourgeois economists’ ignorance about constructive political discourse. These economists — the very people who have much to lose from a transition to socialism — employ a paternalistic attitude toward the “careless masses,” one that resembles economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek’s approach in his bestselling book The Road to Serfdom. They desperately aim to prove that, as Hayek stated, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

      These conservative economists, Trump and all the other members of the Washington establishment are ignorant of current political discourse. Their blurry definition of socialism and incoherent comparisons between the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong’s China, Nordic social democracy and Bernie Sanders’s proposals throughout the report demonstrate as much. More specifically, they enmesh “here-and-now” demands with transitional socialist demands. In turn, they call the “here-and-now” demands “socialist” (as opposed to social-democratic) and focus their criticisms on them. This is evident on page 39 of the report where they refer to Medicare for All as a “socialist proposal.”

    • How Tammy Baldwin, Target of $14 Million in Outside Spending, Sent the Koch Brothers and Their Minions Packing

      Baldwin, the top target of early Koch Brothers attack ads, won big in the state of Wisconsin, crushing her opponent Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir by 11 points. She also garnered 150,000 votes more than Tony Evers, the Democratic nominee for governor who beat Scott Walker by 31,000 votes. This, in a state that had elected Walker three times and gave Trump the 23,000 votes he needed to capture Wisconsin and the White House.

      By February, Baldwin had already been the target of $4.5 million in ads from just one Koch front group, Concerned Veterans of America, claiming she dropped the ball on the over-prescription of opioids at the Tomah veteran’s clinic, which resulted in the death of a U.S. Marine. The group ladled on another $1.5 million in July, claiming that she failed to attend important committee meetings. Other ads by the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners groups attacked Baldwin over taxes and for “rigging the system against us.”

    • Poverty Isn’t Neglect, But the State Took My Children Anyway

      As I write this, I’m sitting in a small, humid room in Plantation, Florida. I’m from Seattle, and I know almost nobody in this area, but I can’t leave. That’s because my three- and four-year-old daughters were taken from me by the state last April. Until that case is overturned, or my parental rights are restored, this is where I’ll stay.

      When most people hear “the state took my kids,” their minds jump to the worst conclusions. These cases are quiet and the courtrooms are closed, so I don’t blame you for assuming I was beating them up, or looking the other way while they were abused, or some other such nightmare scenario you see on the Lifetime channel. Those kinds of cases happen, but far more common are the ones where parents do their very best but still come up short on money for the heat, or the rent, or a licensed babysitter. My case is one of those, in which a little more cash and sympathy would have kept my daughters with me.

      Three-quarters of substantiated child maltreatment cases are related to neglect, and the kind of neglect that triggers a CPS case is almost always the result of poverty. Although each state gets to set its own specific definitions for neglect, they typically center around deprivation of things like food, shelter, clothing, or medical treatment, which are problems almost totally exclusive to poor people.

      The accusation that brought child services into my family was related to drug use. My mother-in-law, with whom I’ve never really gotten along, called the child abuse hotline and told them she suspected I was out using heroin while she watched the kids. After a series of urine and hair panels tested negative, child protective services broadened their investigation. They raised concerns about the fact that I was living with my in-laws, and that I had been unable to attend trauma therapy for a month while I waited for my new state insurance to go into effect.

    • Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer

      For decades, shoppers for sex-related products and services were mostly men, often dubbed the “raincoat crowd,” who slinked into XXX-rated shops in a down-market part of town to purchase a risqué magazine, porn flick, a vibrator, a special costume or hookup with a sex worker.

      Those days are over!

      The commercial sex industry is now mainstream. Old-time sex toys have been rebranded “sex-wellness products” and are available at specialty outlets like Gotham’s Pleasure Chest, San Francisco’s Good Vibration and Seattle’s Babeland as well as major retailers, ranging from high-end specialty chains like Nordstrom and Brookstone, to mass-market outlets like Walgreens and Target, and even crusty down-market Wal-Mart.

      But the big one is Amazon! It’s the nation’s largest retailer of sex-wellness products offering around 60,000 items.

      And its sex-toys business will become even bigger with the support of the New York taxpayer.

    • Don’t Be Duped by Corporate Spin: Regulation Protects Us All

      High regulatory standards protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. They safeguard our homes, workplaces, wallets, health, environment and economy from corporate recklessness, greed and lawbreaking.

      Yet every year, regulated industries, trade associations, corporate PR firms and industry-funded lobbying groups spend billions to turn lawmakers and the media against regulation. Much of their spending is aimed at making journalists unwitting accomplices in their decades-long campaign to dismantle the US’s system of public protections. That is why it is crucial for journalists to be aware of the vast amount of misinformation spread by regulated industries aimed at distorting the debate, and for news outlets to avoid editorial choices that carry water for big corporations and harm the public.

      Consider that the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by weakening and repealing regulations, leading to the Great Recession, which cost Americans up to $14 trillion, destroyed 8.7 million jobs and caused pension funds for workers to lose nearly a third of their value.

      Meanwhile, weak drilling safety standards resulted in the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers, cost nearly $62 billion and disrupted small businesses, working families and ecosystems all along the Gulf Coast.

    • Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?

      The right would like us to believe that the inequality we see in the United States, and increasingly in other countries, is a natural outcome of market processes. Unfortunately, many on the left seem to largely share this view, with the proviso that they would like the government to alter market outcomes, either with tax and transfer policy, or with interventions like a higher minimum wage.

      While redistributive tax and transfer policies are desirable, as is a decent minimum wage, it is an incredible mistake to not recognize that the upward redistribution of the last four decades was brought about by conscious policy, not any sort of natural process of globalization and technology. Not recognizing this fact is an enormous mistake from both the standpoint of policy and politics.

      From the policy standpoint, we give up a huge amount by not examining the policies that have caused before-tax income to be redistributed upward. As a practical matter, it is much easier to prevent all the money from going to the top in the first place than trying to tax it back after the fact.

      On the political side, we should never have our argument be that somehow the big problem is that the Bill Gates of the world were too successful. The big problem is that we have badly structured the rules of the market so that we gave Bill Gates too much money. With different rules, he would not be one of the world’s richest people even if he had worked just as hard.

      Since we’re on the topic of Bill Gates, patent and copyright rules are a good place to start. For some reason, it is difficult to get people to accept an obvious truth: there is a huge amount of money at stake with these rules. By my calculations, patent and copyright monopolies could well direct more than $1 trillion a year, a sum that is more than 60 percent of after-tax corporate profits.

    • Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs

      Plato has a bad reputation in many circles because his most famous work, The Republic, appears to defend all sorts of ideas that are unpalatable to most contemporary readers, ideas such as that people need to be protected from the truth, that large-scale censorship and even the deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information by governments is defensible as a means of ensuring order in a society. I believe, however, as I have argued elsewhere, that such a view of Plato is mistaken.

      There’s a lot of talk these days about the positive value of a liberal arts education. I couldn’t agree more. There is much we could learn, for example, from Plato’s Republic. Despite the fact that it disparages what it calls “democracy,” the democracy it describes is not one that I believe would be recognizable as such to any Enlightenment thinker. More importantly for the purposes of the present reflections, the Republic takes nearly as dim a view of societies that value money above everything else. Such societies are generally referred to as “plutocracies,” which literally means “government by the wealthy.” Interestingly, however, Plato calls them “oligarchies” which means “government by the few,” because he believes that societies that value money above everything else will inevitably end up concentrating the wealth in the hands of a very small number of people.

      I love teaching The Republic for many reasons. It is a beautiful and deeply moving book. One of the things that makes it such a joy to teach, though, is how it engages students. The city on which the book focuses is what Socrates calls an aristocracy, or “government by the best individuals.” Even this city, he acknowledges, however, in Book VIII, will inevitably succumb to a process of dissolution into a series of increasingly degenerate states, first to a timocracy, or “government in which love of honor is the ruling principle,” then to an oligarchy, which values money above everything else, from there to a democracy, which according to Socrates, values nothing at all except freedom from restraint, and finally, to a tyranny.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “Senator, Why Are You Being Arrested?”

      The morning of Tuesday, November 13, started out like many others for Nikema Williams. The Democratic state senator, who since 2017 has represented a diverse district covering a broad swath of Atlanta, showed up to work at the Georgia State Capitol for a special legislative session. A few hours later, the day became one she’ll never forget. “I keep replaying this in my mind over and over,” she told me. “Never did I imagine my day was going to end in jail.”

      [...]

      On her arrest: Shortly thereafter, my arm was pushed behind my back and I was placed in the same zip ties that I just asked the officers about upstairs, and they put me in restraints. There were so many cameras and people—even media was present—and they said, “Senator, why are you being arrested?” [The police] knew I was a senator and it didn’t matter to them that I was there for a special session, that I was supposed to be in the building, that I wasn’t even a part of the protest. I came down to monitor and make sure that my constituents have the right to voice their concerns with what happened around the election.

      I was taken out of the building in handcuffs, escorted by Capitol police, and put in a van. The vans had been out there waiting. They were waiting to arrest people all day. I was taken over to the Fulton County Jail where I was held for hours without ever [knowing] what I was being charged with or why I was being detained.

      On almost being strip searched: I had on a dress, and I didn’t know that if you wear a dress that you are asked to remove your clothes. But that’s what happened to me. An officer at the Fulton County Jail actually told me to remove my dress because she needed to make sure that I was not hiding anything in my vaginal cavity. I refused, because at that point I told her I didn’t even know if I was being lawfully detained. And this felt incredibly invasive, and I was not stripping in front of everyone standing here. I went in and I saw all the other people that were arrested with me sitting there all waiting to know what they were actually charged with and why they were escorted out of their state Capitol. We finally learned that everyone there, including me, got one charge of disrupting the General Assembly. But apparently I was special and someone wanted to make a point with me because I got two charges: Disrupting the General Assembly as well as obstruction.

    • Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections

      Well, the mid-term elections are over, but the fallout from them, the constant verbal diarrhea from newscasters, pundits and other self-proclaimed experts, continues.

      And what are they saying? For many of them on whatever passes for ‘leftist’ in the U.S. today (there is really no such thing in the two major parties or the so-called ‘mainstream’ news media), the glee is overwhelming. Democrats won control of the House and now, finally, we are told, much needed brakes will be applied to the speeding Donald Trump train wreck-in-the-making.

      Ho hum. Is there really any cause for thinking people in the U.S., or anywhere in the world, for that matter, to suddenly think that the U.S. has begun to climb out of its long decline? Does any reasonable person actually think that Democrats controlling the House of Representatives will change anything?

    • Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss

      The Irish just elected their President. But who cares? No one – least of all the Irish. History has ruthlessly disappeared the Irish nation state, so the idea of an Irish President is anachronistic.

    • Authoritarian Rule to Revolution: What Can the US Learn From Mexico?

      The distinct features of our current moment in politics have left many grasping for analogies. Are we living in the second iteration of the Weimar Republic? A new Cold War? The return of high-imperial great power competition?

      The problem with this is that it often represents more an exasperated flailing for solid guidance about what to do next than an authentic assessment of historical similarities and differences.

      If there is a consensus on anything, though, it is that the pronouncements made in the immediate post-Cold War period about the “end of history” having been decided in a definitive fashion were simply wrong. The socioeconomic form of what was once called “democratic capitalism” has not definitively triumphed over all others, with many who live under it now questioning its systemic legitimacy.

      The key indicator of a crumbling socioeconomic form is whether certain questions, which were previously not politically operative, now are. In this respect, the doors have been thrown open to radical solutions to systemic problems that were previously not even considered as such. For instance, in recent years, income inequality has been defined as an issue worthy of political concern such that even United Nations bodies now consider it a global challenge.

    • Nearly 3,000 Votes Disappeared From Florida’s Recount. That’s Not Supposed to Happen

      Nearly 3,000 votes effectively disappeared during the machine recount of Florida’s midterm races, according to election records, calling into question whether officials relied on a flawed process to settle the outcome of three statewide contests.

      With extremely narrow gaps separating candidates in the still-undeclared races for both governor and United States Senate, the results of the machine recount of all votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, posted by the Florida secretary of state’s office, showed 900 fewer votes than those reported in the original statewide tally.

      The discrepancy was expected to grow by an additional 2,000 votes when updated numbers from Broward County, whose results initially were disqualified because they came in two minutes late, are added to the statewide results on Sunday.

    • How Newly Elected Attorneys General Could Thwart Trump’s Worst Moves

      Election Day, it might have been overlooked that there were attorney general races in key states. Attorneys general can make a real difference, particularly if they are willing to consistently bring lawsuits against the presidential agenda both to protect their state and the country as a whole. The election of several progressives last week means that might soon be in the cards.

      We’ve already seen the power of progressive attorneys general banding together. On Election Day, the attorneys general of 18 states sent a joint comment on proposed U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations that would undermine the settlement agreement in Flores v. Reno. Flores requires the federal government to favor the release of immigrants who are minors, even if they arrive with their parents. After 20 days, the children must be released and placed in foster or shelter care. The administration has proposed undercutting the Flores settlement so drastically as to render it defunct.

      Similarly, attorneys general in Maryland and Washington, D.C. are the plaintiffs in an emoluments lawsuit against President Donald Trump. A federal court recently ruled that lawsuit could proceed, which means the litigation discovery process might soon lay bare one facet of Trump’s corruption.

    • How Workers Of Color Helped Democrats Defeat Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

      The midterm elections may have been a mixture of jubilation and disappointment for progressives, but Wisconsin was certainly a story worth celebrating, as voters ousted Republican Governor Scott Walker, who was notorious for his attacks on labor unions.

      Walker’s attempt at a third term was thwarted by Democratic challenger Tony Evers. Organized labor strongly backed his campaign.

      The most striking component of Walker’s loss was the turnout. Almost 60 percent of eligible Wisconsin voters made it to the polls, which is about 2.6 million people. That’s more than any previous midterm in the state and more than the amount that showed up for the recall election in 2012, which Walker won.

      However, record numbers certainly did not produce a slam dunk for Evers: he beat Walker by a mere 1.2 points, a little more than 30,000 votes.

      Wisconsin’s exit polls point to yet another noteworthy election take away—that black and Latino voters likely were a definitive force in electing Evers.

      Although such polls are never completely accurate, it seems clear that black voters outperformed white voters proportionally. This fact is even more staggering when one considers that the state’s black voter turnout declined by 19 percent in 2016, over four times the national average.

    • Native Voters Made Decisive Impact on Elections in Battleground States

      Nearly a week after ballots were cast in contentious midterm elections primarily seen as a referendum on the Trump administration, the race for Arizona senator was called in favor of the Democratic candidate, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (now senator-elect) — the first Democratic win for this seat in three decades. In the final tally, Sinema won by about 53,000 votes out of more than 2.36 million votes cast — an incredibly close race that fell well within the reach of Native American voters in the state to deliver. The bulk of these Native American voters reside in just three counties (Coconino, Navajo and Apache Counties) that encompass the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the United States, with a reservation that is slightly larger than New England and extends into three states. Based on US Census 2017 population estimates for those counties and 2010 Census ethnic/racial statistics, some 40,000 of the 65,858 votes cast for Sinema in those counties likely came from Native American voters.

      Sinema’s victory points to a larger pattern shaping elections: In counties with Native American-majority populations in North Dakota, Montana and Arizona (all states that had closely contested Senate races this year), Democrats won upwards of 80 percent of the vote. Contrasted with neighboring white-majority rural counties which vote overwhelmingly Republican, Indian country is indeed another country. Moreover, in battleground states in the West where the push and pull between historically rural red voters and a growing population of urban blue voters leaves contests as close as a few thousand votes, the Native American electorate is often left to choose the winner.

    • Judge Blocks White House From Pulling Jim Acosta’s Press Pass, But The Battle Continues

      Last week I wrote about the case that CNN and its reporter Jim Acosta had filed against the White House for the removal of his press pass over some trumped up claims that he had “assaulted” a White House intern (he did not, he simply resisted returning the microphone to her after she attempted to grab it from him). As we noted, the removal of the pass was clearly based on the content of his questioning and it seemed fairly obvious that the White House would lose the lawsuit, especially based on the existing precedent in Sherrill v. Knight, which gave CNN clear basis under both the 1st Amendment and the 5th Amendment.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, a bunch of Trump supporters quickly ran to the comments to screech at me about how wrong and biased I was against them. Let’s be clear: this is bullshit. I would have written the same article had Obama removed the press pass of a Fox News reporter under identical circumstances (and, frankly, the Trump supporters here should learn to think beyond their obsession with defending “dear leader” in everything he does, because the same rules will apply when other Presidents are in charge, and they may not always like it in the other direction). The Constitutional elements here are pretty clear. The White House is allowed to set non-content-based rules for who gets a press pass, but once they do that, they absolutely cannot remove a press pass for anything having to do with content, and they can’t simply make up rules to remove someone without any form of due process.

    • ‘We Need New Leaders, Period’: Embracing Primary Challenges and Bold Agenda, In-Coming Progressives Did Not Come to Play

      “All Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative-elect from New York, on the call organized by Justice Democrats. “I don’t think people who are taking money from pharmaceutical companies should be drafting health care legislation. I don’t think people who are taking money from oil and gas companies should be drafting climate legislation.”

      Becky Bond, a political strategist and veteran of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, applauded Justice Democrats as being” founded by some of the best strategists in the progressive movement” and said she believes “the group’s young, vibrant leaders are going to recruit and usher in the next generation of diverse working-class leaders into Congress.”

    • Shithole Countries: Made in the USA

      In two years, the world has become accustomed to being shocked by the words and actions of United States President Donald Trump. In January of this year, he again showed his lack of diplomacy, tack and common decency, when he referred to many poorer countries as “sh*ithole countries”, asking “Why do we want all these people from sh*thole countries coming here?” Former member of the House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney, in her new book, How the US Creates ‘Sh*thole’ Countries, has gathered a collection of essays, including one of her own, that clearly shows that it is the U.S. that is responsible for the poverty and suffering in these very nations.

      The first series of essays describes U.S. foreign policy, and its true motives. In the essay, “The End of Washington’s ‘Wars on the Cheap’,” The Saker sums of U.S. foreign policy as follows: “Here’s the template for typical Empire action: find some weak country, subvert it, accuse it of human right violations, slap economic sanctions, trigger riots and intervene militarily in ‘defense’ of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘self-determination’ (or some other combo of equally pious and meaningless concepts).” The hypocrisy of such a policy is obvious. A weak and vulnerable nation is victimized by a far more powerful one. The U.S. has done this countless times in its ugly history, and there appears to be no appetite in the government to change.

      This introduction and explanation of U.S. foreign policy is followed by essays on some, but certainly not all, of the countries that have been victimized by the United States, usually following the ‘template’ previously mentioned. As McKinney states in her essay, “Somalia: Is Somalia the U.S. Template for All of Africa,” “…while mouthing freedom, democracy, and liberty, the United States has denied these very aspirations to others, especially when it inconvenienced the US or its allies. In Mozambique and Angola, the US stood with Portugal until it was the Portuguese people, themselves, who threw off their government and voted in a socialist government that vowed to free Portugal of its colonies.”

    • Filipino Reporter Maria Ressa on Duterte’s Targeting of the Press & How Facebook Aids Authoritarians

      As Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte amps up his attacks on the free press, we speak with renowned Filipino journalist Maria Ressa about Duterte’s deadly “war on drugs,” his affinity for Donald Trump, and his weaponization of social media. Ressa is the CEO and executive editor of the leading independent Filipino news site The Rappler, which Duterte has repeatedly tried to shut down. Last week, the Filipino government indicted her for tax evasion in what is widely seen as the government’s latest attack on the website. We speak with Maria Ressa in New York City. She has received the 2018 Knight International Journalism Award and the Committee to Protect Journalists 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

    • An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections

      Henry Wallace said the 20th should be the ‘century of the common man’. It wasn’t. Nor is this one.
      This one opened with a ‘war on terror’ whose only legacy (and perhaps, only goal) was to curb whatever rights and protections the common man had secured before September 11, 2001. Including privacy, free-speech, trial, and status as civilians.

      Wallace was a sincere and able politician. So the alleged party of the common man -then, the Democrats- made sure it wasn’t his century, either. Trump, in contrast, is as fake and incompetent as it gets. He rules by tantrum, and thinks the world should pout with him. And he’s willing to gas us all for a few coal-dollars more. Despite what they say, the Democrats want to let him cry it out. After all, he’s only there because he appealed to the common man. It’s easier just to clear the room (particularly the chat room), than upstage him.

      Of course, Democrats prefer their stalled occupation, to the Right’s total war. Paradoxically, the last few weeks they spent all they could, convincing us these midterms would decide, in absolute terms, the future of democracy, perhaps even -with our climate-chances narrowing- humankind, itself. So, show faith in the stalled party?

      This remarkably-indecisive war to end all wars just happened to coincide with the anniversary of peace in WWI. With the midterms now over, the trenches seem as much advanced now as in 1918. The ‘Blue Wave’, which I doubt anyone really expected, gently rocked the House -the ‘lower’ branch. Meanwhile, the Senate got worse, the court and cabinet had already, hence, so can Trump.

      Mind, a Pyhrric loss is still a win for the DNC, as it highlights their only excuses for running -Trump and the Republicans- without raising hopes that a Democratic majority also wouldn’t fulfill. But what sucks is all the liberal hype about him marching us up to 1939 does 1) squat to contain the horror he actually brings. 2) invites the few horrors he doesn’t. Namely, the ones the Democrats had mastered, already.

    • Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America

      If they’re Latinos and Hispanics, as they go to the polls they are aware their choice is either Trump Republicans who consider them enemies, criminals and drug pushers; or Democrats who, in the past under Obama, deported their relatives in record numbers and repeatedly abandon programs like DACA (‘Dreamers) as a tactical political necessity, as they say. Who will they trust least? One shouldn’t be surprised if they too largely sit it out, harboring a deep sense of betrayal by Democrats and concern they may soon become the next ‘enemy within’ target of Trump and his White Nationalist shock troops who are being organized and mobilized behind the scenes by Trump’s radical right wing buddy, Steve Bannon, and his billionaire and media friends.

      If they’re African Americans, they know from decades of experience that nothing changes with police harassment and murders, regardless which party is in power.

      If they’re union workers in the Midwest, they know the Democrats are the party of free trade and job offshoring, while Republicans are the party favoring low minimum wages, elimination of overtime pay, privatization of pensions, and cuts to social security.

      All these key swing groups of Millennials, Hispanics, African-Americans, and union workers in the midwest—i.e. those who gave Obama an overwhelming victory in 2008, gave him one more chance in office in 2012 despite failure to deliver, and then gave up on the unfulfilled promises in 2016—will likely not be thinking about the real ‘issues’ as they go to the polls. For the ‘Great Distraction’ is underway like never before.

    • Trump’s Military Deployment to the US-Mexico Border Is Illegal

      Donald Trump’s decision to send thousands of troops to the US-Mexican border to intercept migrants who intend to apply for asylum is not just a bald-faced political stunt — it is also illegal.

      Passed in 1878 to end the use of federal troops in overseeing elections in the post–Civil War South, the Posse Comitatus Act forbids the use of the military to enforce domestic US laws, including immigration laws. For this reason, Trump’s decision to deploy the military to the border to enforce US immigration law against thousands of desperate migrants from Central America — who have undertaken the perilous journey over 1,000 miles through Mexico to the US border in order to apply for asylum — is an unlawful order.

      Kathleen Gilberd, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s Military Law Task Force, told Truthout, “The deployment of US troops to the Southern border is an illegitimate political ploy and a serious misuse of the military. This action casts shame on a government that treats refugees seeking asylum as enemies.”

      The illegality of Trump’s order to the military opens the door to the possibility that service members will resist it: Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Nuremberg Principles and Army Field Manuals, service members have a duty to obey lawful orders and a duty to disobey unlawful orders.

      Before the midterm elections, pandering to his nativist base, Trump began the deployment of 5,200 active duty troops to Texas, California and Arizona at the southern US border, with the promise of nearly 10,000 more. On October 29, describing the impending arrival of migrants seeking asylum as an “invasion,” Trump tweeted, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”

    • What We Must Do Now: Abrams, Georgia & Something Extraordinary

      Abrams, in her I-won’t-concede speech on Friday, cited one victim of the purge: 92-year-old Christine Jordan. I filmed Jordan on Election Day at the polling station she’d voted at for fifty years. Until this year, when her name was simply wiped off the voter rolls.

      That should give “Governor-elect” Kemp pause. Because that’s the signal that this heartbreaking story will become the hammer to smash the Kemp-created Jim Crow machine.

      (And Ms. Jordan is up to the task, telling me she’s willing to take the fight into federal court, “If somebody will help me walk there.”)

      The immediate weapon will be litigation against the State of Georgia to show that the election was hopelessly tainted, which, under Georgia statute, could result in a court throwing out the whole rotting dung-heap of an election. That is why Abrams technically did not concede, but rather dropped her claim to office. (Lawyers will understand that she has to maintain “standing.”)

      Abrams vocally took up the issue of the massive purge of voters — and intends to defend those purged. This is what’s really historic about her candidacy. Yes, Abrams is the first African-American woman nominated for governor by the Democratic Party. More revolutionary is that she is the first Democratic candidate to demand an end to racist ethnic cleansing of the voter rolls. (If Al Gore had taken that stance in 2000, maybe Stacey would be Governor today — and, hey Al, they’d be calling you Mr. President.)

      Our investigation produced the facts — and the names and addresses of the 340,134 voters wrongly purged for supposedly moving out of Georgia or out of their congressional districts — but never moved an inch.

      We are now free to hand over those lists to the Abrams litigation team, the NAACP, the SCLC, ACLU and others who are opening courtroom fronts. We are working with them all.

    • Donald Trump’s fascist politics and the language of disappearance

      In an age when speed overcomes thought, a culture of immediacy blots out any vestige of historical memory and markets replace social categories, language loses its critical moorings and becomes what Chris Hedges has called “a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idiom of mass culture.”

      No longer a vehicle for critique, doubt or possibility, language in the age of Donald Trump upholds the cultural and political workstations of ignorance and paves the way for a formative culture ripe with the death-saturated practices and protocols of fascist politics. As a species of neoliberal fascism eradicates social bonds and democratic communal relations, vulgarity parades as political wisdom and moral cowardice becomes a mark of pride. In a neoliberal age that has a high threshold of disappearance, the sins of a Vichy-inspired history have returned and are deeply rooted in a Republican Party that is as criminogenic as it is morally irresponsible and politically corrupt.

    • What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” in California?

      Will the victories of the Democrats in 2018 be the beginning of a brighter and more hopeful period? One might have doubts given that large majorities of Democrats in both the House and Senate recently voted for a defense budget that is more than $80 billion higher than the previous one, and higher than what was requested by the Trump regime.

      Looking at what Democrats do when they are in power, as they have been in California during the last eight years, might reveal what they will do if they gain control of Congress and the Presidency in 2020. Since 2011, the Democrats have had close to total dominance of California’s politics–holding every executive office and having large majorities in both houses of its state legislature, a time when a simple majority vote in each body is needed to pass the state budget. Have California Democrats robustly funded public education, an issue presumably dear to the heart of supporters of the Democrats? No.

      Among all states, in 2015-16, California ranked 41stin spending per K-12 student, 37thin spending as a share of the economy, and had the highest number of students per teacher in the nation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Prosecutors Charge Suspect With Evidence Tampering After A Seized iPhone Is Wiped Remotely

      Grant now faces three felonies: two counts of evidence tampering and one count of hindering prosecution. One count of evidence tampering related to the alleged phone wipe. The other two counts listed are related to concealing the shooter’s identity and disposing of the weapon used.

      Grant purchased a new iPhone some time after her other one was seized. It could be her logon from a new device erased files on her old one, but that seems unlikely and the dates don’t really line up. Her lawyer says she got a new phone “days after” the cops took her first one, but the documents alleging evidence tampering says it happened less than 24 hours after the alleged drive-by. Supposedly, Grant isn’t a “computer-savvy person,” according to her attorney, but it’s not all that tough to do even for someone with limited tech skill

      The easiest method for remote wiping would be using Apple’s “Find My iPhone” feature, which has “Erase iPhone” right on the landing page. This seems to be the likeliest explanation for what happened, although it may be Grant herself did not trigger the remote wipe.

    • After Being Hit With A ‘Motion For Return Of Property,’ Gov’t Agrees To Delete Data Copied From A Traveler’s Phone

      A couple of months ago, Rejhane Lazoja, an American Muslim, sued (sort of… ) the DHS over the search of her iPhone at the border. According to her allegations, CBP officers detained her and demanded she unlock her phone for them. She refused. The CBP seized her phone and searched it anyway, copying all the data it could from her device. It returned the phone to her over three months after it had taken it.

      Lazoja didn’t allege civil rights violations in her courtroom motion. In fact, it wasn’t even technically a lawsuit. Instead, with the help of CAIR, Lazoja filed a Rule 41(g) motion — something normally used to challenge seizures and forfeitures. In this case, Lazoja wanted her data back — the data CBP had copied from her phone.

      Lazoja leveraged CBP’s own policies against it, pointing out its internal guidelines say seized data must be destroyed unless it is determined there’s probable cause to retain it. Since this search occurred at the border, it’s safe to say the CBP did it because it could, not because it could be justified under the more-stringent standard required further inland.

      Apparently, the CBP agrees with this assessment. Or, at least, it has decided this isn’t the hill it’s going seek precedent on. As Cyrus Farivar reports for Ars Technica, the government has agreed to delete — i.e., “return” — Lazoja’s phone data.

    • Yet Another GDPR Disaster: Journalists Ordered To Hand Over Secret Sources Under ‘Data Protection’ Law

      When the GDPR was being debated, we warned that it would be a disaster for free speech. Now that it’s been in effect for about six months, we’re seeing that play out in all sorts of ways. We’ve talked about how it was used to disappear public court documents for an ongoing case, and then used to disappear a discussion about that disappearing court document. And we wrote about how it’s been used against us to hide a still newsworthy story (and that leaves out one other GDPR demand we’ve received in an attempt to disappear a story that I can’t even talk about yet).

      When I wrote about all of this both here on Techdirt and on Twitter, I had a bunch of “data protection experts” in Europe completely freak out at me that I had no idea what I was talking about, and how any negative impact was simply the result of everyone misreading the GDPR. I kept trying to point out to them that even if that’s true in theory, out here in the real world, the law was being used to disappear news stories and was creating massive chilling effects and burdens on journalists. And the response was the same: nah, you’re reading the law wrong.

      And now we have an even more horrifying story of the damage the GDPR is doing to journalism. There’s a Romanian investigatory journalism publication called RISE Project that has reported on corruption in Romanian politics. Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about that. OCCRP — the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project — a partner to RISE Project has the worrisome details about how the very Romanian government that RISE Project has been breaking corruption stories on has magically found the need to use the GDPR to demand the journalists turn over their sources.

    • Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality
    • With Facebook at ‘War,’ Zuckerberg Adopts More Aggressive Style

      Mark Zuckerberg gathered about 50 of his top lieutenants earlier this year and told them that Facebook Inc. was at war and he planned to lead the company accordingly.

      During times of peace, executives can move more slowly and ensure that everybody is on board with key decisions, he said during the June meeting, according to people familiar with the remarks. But with Facebook under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users, he needed to act more decisively, the people said.

    • Things Are Really, Really Bad At Facebook; Zuckerberg Turns Aggressive

      A report by The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that Zuckerberg’s new aggressive approach has forced many top executives to leave the company. Facebook CEO also blamed Sheryl Sandberg for the public fallout over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and reportedly got her to wonder about the security of her job at Facebook.

    • The Next Data Mine Is Your Bedroom

      If this sounds invasive, it’s important to recognize this is already happening, just online. Google and Facebook both record and analyze user behavior, use it to sort people into categories, then target them with ads and other content. Facebook likely knows your race and religion, while Google uses your emails and search history to sort you into ad-ready brackets. Netflix infers all types of data on users based on what they watch, then serves back hyper specific movie and TV categories. This patent simply expands the areas in which your behavior is already mined and recorded from your phone and laptop to your bedroom.

      And your children’s bedrooms. The second patent proposes a smart home system that would help run the household, using sensors and cameras to restrict kids’ behavior. Parents could program the device to note if it overhears “foul language” from children, scan [I]nternet usage for mature or objectionable content, or use “occupancy sensors” to determine if certain areas of the house are accessed while they’re gone— for example, the liquor cabinet. The system could be set to “change a smart lighting system color to red and flash the lights” as a warning to children or even power off lights and devices if they’re grounded.

    • Why are people so poor at making privacy choices? What can be done about it?

      Privacy News Online explores a rich mix of information about privacy. Things like threats to privacy, privacy wins, ways to enhance privacy. One common thread is how bad people are at protecting their privacy. So why is that? That’s not a topic explored much, which makes a recent feature in the Harvard Business Review particularly valuable. It goes beyond pointing out that people make poor choices when it comes to protecting their personal data, and attempts to understand the key reasons for that failure. Here are the main categories discerned by the article’s author, Leslie K. John, who is an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘We are capitulating to extremists’

      Asia Bibi is currently in a state of limbo. She had spent eight years in prison, on death row, by the time Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned her conviction for blasphemy. But since her acquittal, protests have erupted across Pakistan. The government has prevented her from leaving the country until a petition calling for her acquittal to be overturned can be heard in the courts.

      Even if Bibi does manage to leave, there is one country that has refused to offer her asylum: Britain. Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association, who is in contact with Bibi and her family, revealed last week that British officials had fears of unrest if Bibi came here. spiked caught up with Chowdhry to discuss the ramifications of the Bibi case in Pakistan and Britain.

    • Meet the Prisoners Being Paid $1 an Hour to Battle the Deadly Climate-Fueled Fires of California

      As the death toll from the Camp Fire rises to 77, California is combatting its deadliest fire in state history using prison labor. Some 1,500 of the 9,400 firefighters currently battling fires in California are incarcerated. They make just a dollar an hour, but are rarely eligible to get jobs as firefighters after their release. According to some estimates, California saves up to $100 million a year by using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem. In September the Democracy Now! team traveled to the Delta Conservation Camp in Northern California, a low-security prison where more than 100 men are imprisoned. We interviewed incarcerated firefighters who had just returned from a 24-hour shift fighting the Snell Fire in Napa County.

    • Indiana State Police Turn Down Elkhart Mayor’s Request for Broad Review of City’s Police Department

      The Indiana State Police have declined a request by Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese to investigate his city’s Police Department in the wake of reporting by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica that revealed a handcuffed man’s beating by Elkhart officers and examined the disciplinary records of higher-ranking officers.

      Capt. David Bursten, a state police spokesman, said in a statement Monday the agency would not participate in the criminal case against officers Cory Newland and Joshua Titus, or in the type of broader review of the Elkhart police that Neese requested last week. He instead suggested that the mayor approach the U.S. Department of Justice.

      Elkhart County prosecutors have filed a single misdemeanor count of battery against each officer in the Jan. 12 beating of Mario Guerrero Ledesma.

      The prosecutor’s office was “very well engaged” in the case and there was no reason for an investigation by the state police, Bursten said.

      The mayor also called Thursday for a “very thorough and far-reaching” investigation by the state police of any patterns of excessive force and “anything that relates to the Elkhart Police Department.” At the time, Neese said he had spoken with Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter about his request. But on Monday, Bursten said in his statement the state police had declined to undertake such a review.

    • Police Misconduct, Data Breaches, And The Ongoing Lack Of Accountability That Allows These To Continue

      Two of the most damaging breaches in recent years involved millions of people who were given little or no choice in how much personal data of theirs was held by these entities. One was the Office of Personnel Management. Those seeking government jobs turn over a lot of info to the government, which then handles it carelessly.

      The other — Equifax — was even worse, at least in terms of consent. There was none. No one voluntarily hands information to Equifax. It’s gathered by Equifax which sells access to any number of companies seeking credit records. No one opts in and, more importantly, there’s no way to opt out.

      No one can hold these entities accountable, at least not to the extent it will deter future breaches. Because of that, the only thing we’re guaranteed is more breaches. These companies and agencies will continue to exist, hoovering up even more personal data, and, eventually, leave it exposed where criminals can make the most of other people’s finances.

    • The Institutionalization of Social Justice

      A few months ago, mathematician Theodore Hill described in a Quillette essay how progressive groups were able to get a research paper of his on a biological phenomenon known as the “Greater Male Variability Hypothesis” removed from two separate journals, as well as to intimidate his co-author into silence.

      Hill’s article was published just a week after another article by endocrinologist Jeffrey Flier, former dean of Harvard Medical School, who described how social justice activists had managed to get an academic journal to initiate a review of an already-published research paper by Brown University medical researcher Lisa Littman on gender dysphoria. Brown also deleted a reference to the paper from its website.

      Both Hill and Flier point out that they’ve never experienced anything like this before. Hill wrote: “In my 40 years of publishing research papers I had never heard of the rejection of an already-accepted paper.” Flier noted: “In all my years in academia, I have never once seen a comparable reaction from a journal within days of publishing a paper that the journal already had subjected to peer review, accepted and published.”

    • What a Portrait of General Robert E. Lee Means for One Man’s Capital Trial

      Racial bias can affect a capital punishment case at every legal step. The result of that bias can be deadly.
      Anyone walking into the sole courtroom in the town of Louisa, Virginia, is met by an array of portraits covering nearly every square inch of the walls. Overwhelmingly they feature white men. Though on first glance, most of them are not recognizable, one is unmistakable. It’s a looming image that dominates the back wall of the courtroom, directly across from the judge. The portrait is of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, in uniform, sword unsheathed at his side.

      The presence and prominence of Lee’s portrait in a courthouse in Louisa County speak to the kinds of bias found in courts of law across the country, and it demands reflection on and analysis of those biases.

      Since the end of the Civil War, Lee has come to symbolize a society premised on white supremacy that intrinsically promotes the dehumanization of people of color, specifically of Black people. Lee’s image and name blemish public spaces throughout the United States, but they are particularly prevalent in the former slave states of the Confederacy. When a symbol of white supremacy appears in a public space charged with the administration of justice, it visually endorses a two-tiered legal system premised on differentiating the value of lives based on race.

      This warped weighing can have a particularly disastrous consequence in a case where the death penalty is on the table. In Louisa, Darcel Murphy, a Black defendant, is facing a trial for his life in the courtroom housing this menacing reminder of our nation’s legacy of racialized violence. As Murphy’s attorney argued last week, in support of his previously filed motion, he should not be forced to endure a proceeding tainted by the insidious effect of Confederate symbols, memorials, and iconography.

      Unless the judge grants the motion, Murphy will be tried in an environment ripe for improper considerations of race.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cord Cutting Sets More Records, Yet Many Cable Giants Still Refuse To Compete On Price

      Despite the obvious realities that ratings are sharply down and consumers are cutting the cord, there’s a vibrant and loyal segment of cable and broadcast executives and analysts who still somehow believe cord cutting is a myth. Every few months, you’ll see a report about how cord cutting is either nonexistent or overstated. Often, they’ll try to claim that cord cutters are just lame weirdos they didn’t want anyway, or that this is just a temporary trend that stops once more Millennials procreate.

      Newsflash: it’s not stopping.

      The latest data from Kagan indicates traditional pay TV providers lost another 1.3 million subscribers last quarter as users continued to flock to streaming alternatives, embrace the use of over the air antennas, or embrace piracy (something analysts traditionally never mention, as if acknowledging this fact somehow condones it). A big part of this latest surge in losses were courtesy of Dish Network, which saw a record 367,000 departures as its satellite TV customers flocked to greener and cheaper pastures, including Dish’s cheaper Sling TV alternative.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Koh rules Qualcomm is Obligated to License SEPs to Competitors

      On Tuesday, November 6th, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California entered an order in the antitrust case brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against San Diego, CA-based semiconductor developer Qualcomm Inc. Judge Koh’s order granted a motion filed by the FTC for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether a pair of industry agreements obligates Qualcomm to license its standard essential patents (SEPs) to competing suppliers of modem chips.

      This case was initiated by the FTC in January 2017 when the trade regulator filed suit against Qualcomm alleging antitrust claims including exclusionary tactics in violation of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) obligations which Qualcomm is subject to under agreements signed with standard-setting organizations (SSOs). The FTC alleged that Qualcomm is a dominant supplier of modem chips, holds several SEPs which are essential to widely adopted cellular standards and has violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. § 45). These alleged violations include Qualcomm’s refusal to sell modem chips to a customer unless the customer pays what the FTC termed “elevated royalties” for a license to Qualcomm’s SEPs, Qualcomm’s refusal to license SEPs to competing modem chip suppliers and Qualcomm’s “exclusive dealing arrangements” with consumer tech giant Apple.

    • The Bumpy Road To Selection Patents In India [Ed: IP Watch has been reduced to propaganda platform of law firms today. Or "patentability of selected novel species."]

      The patenting of selection inventions is not plain sailing in India. The patentability of such inventions must be determined in accordance with the general provisions of the Indian Patents Act, as there is no separate provision for the same in the Act. Of the said general provisions, the assessment of inventive step and testing under section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act can be perceived as the most critical to patentability of selected novel species. Additionally, the concepts of ‘implicit disclosure’ and the contrasting views on ‘coverage vs disclosure’ frequently makes it challenging for applicants to defend their novel selection under the Indian scenario. Given the lack of enough precedents in India on this aspect, to date the fate of selection patents depends mostly on the judgement of the patent controllers. Not all hope is lost, however, since not only the Indian Patent Office, but also the IPAB and higher Courts have time-and-again acknowledged the existence of selection patents in India.

    • Trademarks

      • Red Bull Fails To Block Trademark Registration In EU Over Logos That Aren’t All That Similar

        While it is by no means the most litigious beverage company ever, Red Bull is not a complete stranger to trademark bullying. The last we heard from the iconic energy drink company, it was making legal arguments over bovines and their castrated status somehow rising to the level of trademark infringement. It seems that Red Bull typically likes to do its bullying during the trademark application status rather than in legal proceedings, but the universe is currently running an experiment to see just how hard and fast a rule this is for the company.

        That experiment takes the form of Red Bull attempting, and failing, to oppose the trademark registration for a beverage company called “Big Horn” over the following logos.

      • MAJOR DEFEAT FOR RED BULL

        Red Bull has suffered a painful defeat. On 23 May, the Opposition Division of European Trademark Office EUIPO ruled that the device mark Big Horn did not infringe Red Bull’s logo and could therefore be registered as a European trademark for energy drinks.

    • Copyrights

      • Cyberpolice Raid Pirate Site For Infringing Universal’s Copyrights

        Officers from Ukraine’s cyberpolice unit have raided the home of the alleged operator of a pirate streaming portal suspected of infringing the rights of Universal City Studios and many other entertainment companies. A 24-year-old man, who is also believed to be behind another 10 pirate sites, now faces up to six years in prison.

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