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12.09.18

Links 9/12/2018: New Linux Stable Releases (Notably Linux 4.19.8), RC Coming, and Unifont 11.0.03

Posted in News Roundup at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Blockstream Releases the Open Source Code for Its Bitcoin Block Explorer

    Last month, Blockstream, a leading developer of blockchain technologies, launched a new block explorer that allows users to monitor real-time data for both the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain and the Liquid Network sidechain.

    After receiving a largely positive response, the company has made the decision to release Esplora, the free and open-source software that powers the site.

  • New opensource VR viewer for OpenSim may be coming soon

    OpenSimulator core developer Melanie Thielker — also known as Melanie Milland in-world — announced that she is releasing her virtual reality OpenSim viewer to the open source community.

    The new viewer uses the Unreal Engine to display OpenSim regions, such as areas from the grid Thielker founded, Avination.

    “We were actually able to walk through those sims with a VR headset on,” she said. “It changed my whole view of the world. I’ve been in virtual worlds for a long time but actually walking through Avination was a new dimension for me. It was like coming home.”

  • Why open source makes sense for cloud deployments

    Instaclustr is a 100% open-source business, using Cassandra (“one of the most scalable databases in the world”) for data storage, Spark for analytics, Elasticsearch for search, and Kafka for messaging, among other pieces of software.
    Instaclustr’s proposition is that organisations need to be able to massively and reliably scale cloud applications, and if Instaclustr looks after the data layer, its clients can concentrate on their applications, chief executive Peter Nichol told iTWire.

    Benefits of open source in this context include the absence of expensive licences, and the flexibility to run the same software in any public cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment. Organisations are looking for “cloud independence”, he explained. Eventually it will be possible to run a single Cassandra cluster across multiple cloud providers.

  • The Consequences of a Changing Open-Source Software Business Model

    It has been an interesting year for open-source software makers. The primary commercial sponsors and/or individual contributors to projects as game-changing and as popular as Apache Kafka, MongoDB and Redis, among many others, may now be asking themselves if they are being taken advantage of, are using the right open-source licenses, or if they’re truly engaged in communities of like-minded people.

    This is happening as some cloud providers and open-source brands are taking code that was written by open-source project “volunteers,” lofting it onto their clouds or locking it down and then reselling it. The most recent occurrence happened late last week at Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference.

  • We’re Building on Hollowed Foundations: Worrying Trends in Open Source and What You Can Actually Do About It

    Heather Miller is Director of the Scala Center at EPFL, Professor at Northeastern University. Heather is a co-founder of and the Executive Director of the Scala Center at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northeastern University in Boston. She obtained her PhD in October 2015 under Martin Odersky at EPFL, and is a longtime member of the Scala team.

  • SD Times news digest: Qt 5.12, Hyperledger Sawtooth 1.1 and Linux’s new open source, Linux and Git courses

    Qt has announced the latest version of its cross-platform software development framework for building apps, user interfaces and embedded devices. Qt 5.12 comes with long-term support, improved performance and quality updates.

    Features included reduced memory consumption support for asset conditioning, TableView, input handling, support for Python, remote objects and WebGL streaming plugin, and updates to its design and developer tools.

  • Open Source Project Allows e-Bike Rentals in Seconds over Bitcoin’s Lightning Network

    Matthias Steinig, a German programmer, has developed a new mechanism that allows e-bikes to be rented in exchange for payments on the bitcoin Lightning Network. A prototype built using a modified bicycle is already fully functional and has been demonstrated in a video posted on Twitter.

  • NVIDIA Extends PhysX for High-Fidelity Simulations, Goes Open Source

    NVIDIA PhysX, the most popular physics simulation engine on the planet, is going open source.

    We’re doing this because physics simulation — long key to immersive games and entertainment — turns out to be more important than we ever thought.

    Physics simulation dovetails with AI, robotics and computer vision, self-driving vehicles, and high performance computing.

    It’s foundational for so many different things that we’ve decided to provide it to the world in an open source fashion.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla: Microsoft’s Chromium Shift Will Strengthen Google’s Monopoly

        Yesterday, Microsoft made it official that they are bidding bye to EdgeHTML and will redesign a Chromium-based Edge browser. Chromium is an open source web browser project initiated by Google. Microsoft’s shift to Google’s open source platform has been described as bad by Mozilla.

        In an official blog post titled, “Goodbye, EdgeHTML,” Mozilla has criticized Microsoft’s decision. The post says that by adopting Chromium, Microsoft is handing over even more control of our online life to Google.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 5.0 Delivers Block-Based Editing Approach

      The open-source WordPress blogging and content management system (CMS) project on Dec. 6 released a major milestone update—WordPress 5.0.

      WordPress 5.0 is code-named “Bebo,” named after Cuban jazz musician Bebo Valdés, following the project’s long tradition of naming releases after notable Jazz musicians. WordPress 5.0 boasts a number of improvements, with the biggest user-facing change being the new Project Gutenberg editor. The new editor is the primary interface to how WordPress site administrators create content and define how it is displayed.

      “Our new block-based editor is the first step toward an exciting new future with a streamlined editing experience across your site,” Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, wrote in a blog. “You’ll have more flexibility with how content is displayed, whether you are building your first site, revamping your blog, or write code for a living.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 12 Is Running Great On The Dell PowerEdge R7425 EPYC 2P Server

      AMD EPYC on BSDs has generally worked out well though in the case of motherboards occasionally there are mishaps in the FreeBSD kernel support — just as we often see with new Intel platforms too when trying out the BSDs. With the Dell PowerEdge R7425 it was hanging during the boot process on the older FreeBSD 11.2 (granted, I didn’t spend much time exploring workarounds for that older BSD release), but when testing this week with FreeBSD 12.0-RC3 it has been running well. OpenBSD 6.4 was also tested on this Dell PowerEdge EPYC 2P server and it too has been running without a hitch. Unfortunately, the new DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release isn’t panning out yet on the hardware: when booting the USB installer media, the system ends up rebooting during the boot process.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Unifont 11.0.03 Released

      Unifont 11.0.03 is now available. Significant changes in this version include the Nushu script contributed by David Corbett, and the Kana Supplement and Kana Supplement-A scripts contributed by Johnnie Weaver.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Software Licensing Effort Focuses on Compliance Tools

      “License compliance is an important hygiene factor in the open source ecosystem,” said Endocode CEO Mirko Boehm. “With QMSTR, we started to create a toolchain that focuses on fact-finding and accurate, complete and up-to-date compliance documentation for every software build.”

      VMware’s contribution, Tern, provides a “bill of materials” for application containers. VMware said the tool would help developers meet open-source compliance requirements as containers make steady inroads in handling enterprise production workloads.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • CZI announces funding for open-source software efforts to improve image analysis in biomedicine

      The CZI Imaging Software Fellows work on three critical and widely-used tools: scikit-image, FIJI / ImageJ, and CellProfiler. After several workshops, hackathons, and discussions with the imaging community, these three projects were identified as playing a critical role in the imaging ecosystem, and their developers demonstrated an interest in improving the interoperability and capabilities of their tools.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Saving lives with open source, RISC-V and Linux Foundations team up, and more news

        Chip designer ARM pretty much dominates the worlds of embedded systems and the Internet of Things. At least the instruction set architectures (ISA) that underlie those worlds. That could soon change thanks to the RISC-V Foundation teaming up with the Linux Foundation to “to encourage adoption of the open source RISC-V ISA.”

        Although the Linux Foundation is better know for its software and IT infrastructure projects, this alliance makes sense according to Rick O’Connor, the RISC-V Foundation’s executive director. O’Connor told online publication The Register that the ISA is “where software meets hardware. There’s a lot of overlap in our respective ecosystems that will create a fair amount of synergy.” The Linux Foundation Jim Zemlin also noted that “RISC-V is a technology that has the potential to greatly advance open hardware architecture.”

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Thousands of Utah state employees entangled in reply-all nightmare

    An apparently simple email about a holiday potluck at a state office in Utah went off the rails Friday when it was accidentally sent to approximately 25,000 state employees.

    One early respondent seemed to anticipate the coming storm of emails by replying to all, “braces self for receiving thousands of emails from people hitting ‘reply all’ to say they got added by mistake.”
    Then the ‘reply-all’ responses began.

  • Science

    • 50 years ago, Douglas Engelbart’s ‘Mother of All Demos’ changed personal technology forever

      Imagine someone demonstrating a jet plane 15 years before Kitty Hawk. Imagine someone demonstrating a smartphone 15 years before the first cellular networks were even launched. Imagine someone demonstrating a controlled nuclear chain reaction 15 years before Einstein formulated e=mc2.

      On a crisp, overcast, and breezy Monday afternoon in San Francisco on December 9, 1968, before an SRO audience of more than 2,000 slack-jawed computer engineers, a soft-spoken engineer named Douglas Engelbart held the first public demonstration of word processing, point-and-clicking, dragging-and-dropping, hypermedia and hyperlinking, cross-file editing, idea/outline processing, collaborative groupware, text messaging, onscreen real-time video teleconferencing, and a weird little device dubbed a “mouse” — the essentials of a graphical user interface (GUI) 15 years before the first personal computers went on sale.

    • Canada proves land of opportunity for famous immigrant inventors

      Ask the leader of any technology company and they’ll tell you that hiring engineers, data scientists or mathematicians is one of their biggest challenges. STEM careers are the fastest growing part of the labour market, and some estimates put the need for technology workers at 216,000 jobs by 2021. To explore the talent gap, the FP talked to innovators who have left Canada to pursue opportunities with big multinational companies, and also those who have moved here to be a part of this country’s digital transformation. You can find all of our coverage here.

    • Companies tap into an underused but highly capable workforce

      Oliver Willcox was always an excellent student. He earned an A in honors physics and a master’s in applied math from Loyola University Chicago. But when he started applying for jobs, Willcox, who has ADHD and a speech and language disorder, got nowhere. In interviews, he could be socially awkward, fidgeting nervously and not looking people in the eye.

      At one bank, after Willcox had aced the data analyst test, hiring managers told him about their tradition of drinking Scotch on Fridays. But Willcox, his mother noted, is not a Scotch Friday kind of guy. And sure enough, the bank ended up rejecting him, as many other employers did, because he wasn’t a good “cultural fit.”

    • Gender Diversity Is Urgently Needed Say Prominent Women In Technology

      Injustice against women persists in the application of new technologies. While our values and norms evolve, the old values remain locked into the internet. Gender-biased algorithms are becoming rampant. And these are not the only problems that women face with this male-dominated industry. As the battle for equality inside and outside the workplace continues, it is time to step up to the mark and make the changes needed to create social justice. If we are to become the equal society that we aspire to or pretend to be, then we need to ensure diversity in the workplace.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Prominent Doctors Aren’t Disclosing Their Industry Ties in Medical Journal Studies. And Journals Are Doing Little to Enforce Their Rules

      One is dean of Yale’s medical school. Another is the director of a cancer center in Texas. A third is the next president of the most prominent society of cancer doctors.

      These leading medical figures are among dozens of doctors who have failed in recent years to report their financial relationships with pharmaceutical and health care companies when their studies are published in medical journals, according to a review by ProPublica and The New York Times and data from other recent research.

      Dr. Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, the president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, for instance, declared that he had no conflicts of interest in more than 50 journal articles in recent years, including in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

      However, drug companies have paid his employer nearly $114,000 for consulting and speaking, and nearly $8 million for his research during the period for which disclosure was required. His omissions extended to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which is published by the group he will lead.

    • Agriculture as Wrong Turn

      Pesticides are a nightmare. By dint of their particulate nature when sprayed, they are easily carried away by the wind and end up contaminating soil and water and poisoning other creatures. Only 1% hit their intended target. 1%! Subsequently, at the large scale they are used, they degrade habitat, reduce biodiversity and magnify extinction rates. Ironically, pollinators required for food production are frequent victims. As with war, one can question whether non-target damage can honestly be described as “collateral”—”being aside from the main subject, target, or goal; tangential”—when it is inevitably, one could even say characteristically, a “subject” of nearly every attack, never truly “tangential.” But nature can be resilient, and targeted plants can and do develop herbicide resistance over time, meaning they survive being sprayed. Unfortunately, the agriculture industry’s response is to jack up the amount of herbicide and develop new poisons.

      Irrigation damages the environment from the points of source to delivery, and the bigger the project, the worse it is. Anytime water is diverted from one place to another, there is always at least one loser: the immediate locale from which it was taken. Whether it is a spring, river or lake, the effects of use will make their mark, sooner or later. In many cases, the crop being irrigated isn’t even be food. In northern California, rivers have been running too low for the Salmon because of the wine and Cannabis industries. In other words, we are prioritizing getting drunk and high over the lives of other creatures. Such trade-offs are emblematic of agriculture. That these acts are not considered theft or assault is demonstrative of mere cultural creed, not the honest administration of logic.

    • Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them

      What every American doesn’t know: Cancer is also helping some Americans become exceedingly rich. And these Americans will do most anything to keep their windfalls coming, even prey on the fragile psyches of the families cancer strikes.

      Top cancer treatment centers, the consumer group Truth in Advertising charges in a new report, are “deceptively promoting atypical patient experiences through the use of powerful testimonials.” Back in 2005, U.S. cancer centers spent $54 million showcasing these deceptive testimonials. By 2014, that annual outlay had more than tripled to $173 million.

      One typical testimonial in this advertising barrage features an effusively grateful patient named Carl, a pancreatic cancer survivor. The ad never mentions that pancreatic cancer five-year survival rates run just 8.5 percent.

      “Any cancer center can find a patient who has beat the odds,” notes the new Truth in Advertising report, The Deceptive Marketing of Hope. “But using that atypical experience to play on the hopes and fears of such a susceptible patient population has real consequences.”

  • Security

    • Recorded a substitution of the site Linux.org capture DNS

      According to the administrator of the website, the attackers gained access to the account of the owner of the site Registrar Network Solutions. Apparently, for the domain Linux.org via the Whois service display complete information about the owner and the attacker have used existing databases of breached accounts were able to access a mailbox in Yahoo, using previously fallen into the hands of zloumyshlennikov database with the password hashes. Then using the function to reset a forgotten password, the attacker could change the password for an account, Network Solutions, to which was attached a hacked Inbox in Yahoo. An obstacle could be to use two-factor authentication, but it has not been enabled for additional protection of your account.

    • CyptoJacking Campaign Used Two Malware Strains to Target IoT and Linux Devices
    • ‘Open-Source’ DarthMiner Malware Targets Adobe Pirates with Cryptominer [Ed: Sergiu Gatlan found a way to call malicious proprietary software with holes in it... something about "Open Source"]

      A slightly weird malware strain has been observed using the open source XMRig cryptominer and EmPyre backdoor utilities to target software pirates as reported by Malwarebytes Labs.

    • Bethesda blunders, IRS sounds the alarm, China ransomware, and more

      Linux boot management tool SystemD is once again getting the wrong kind of attention as researchers have spotted another security vulnerability.

      This time, it is an elevation of privilege vulnerability that would potentially let users execute system commands they would otherwise not be authorized to perform.

    • GSX, TZERO, +10 Others Form Open-Source Consortium Focused On Security Token Interoperability And Compliance
    • Iranians indicted in Atlanta city government ransomware attack

      Details leaked by City of Atlanta employees during the ransomware attack, including screenshots of the demand message posted on city computers, indicated that Samsam-based malware was used. A Samsam variant was used in a number of ransomware attacks on hospitals in 2016, with attackers using vulnerable Java Web services to gain entry in several cases. In more recent attacks, including one on the health industry companies Hancock Health and Allscripts, other methods were used to gain access, including Remote Desktop Protocol [attacks] that gave the attackers direct access to Windows systems on the victims’ networks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing

      During the late CST evening hours of January 17, 1991, the much-promised and anticipated fireworks began.

      For weeks prior NBC’s Lester Holt’s daily announcements were mortifyingly sinister. Much like a tease for a big event, the oft announced “Countdown to the war in Iraq” was repeated during NBC’s daily station breaks. And much like the media’s announcements about the countdown for a Super Bowl game or a national championship college playoff game, Holt’s promise came to fruition during the January 17, 1991 late evening hours.

      And for the first time in history war turned into a real time spectator sport, a mind-boggling atavistic frenzy of fiendish fire unleashed in sadistic synchronicity from the air, land, and sea.

      Glued to CNN’s first-ever live 24/7 reporting on the flaring fireworks illuminating the Baghdad skies, I was not sure whether our doorbell did indeed ring. As the second ring echoed in the hallway, I reluctantly detached myself from the screen to open the front door to our house.

    • Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds

      The turmoil is intrinsic to the nature of Colombian society. Nelson Lombrano Silva recently outlined characteristics. Writing for the Colombian Communist Party website, he castigated the Colombian state as “serving this filthy and immoral bourgeoisie.” Dominance of that sector signals “the inexorable decadence of capitalism in a state of extreme decomposition.” And “narco-trafficker number 82” is in charge. Lombrano is recalling Uribe’s place on an old U.S. list of Colombian drug traffickers.

    • Are we mishandling the war on terror in Africa?
    • The Khashoggi skeletons in America’s closet

      US officials are keen to condemn Jamal Khashoggi’s murder but remain silent on US crimes against journalists.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Manafort-Assange meeting that wasn’t: A case study in journalistic malpractice

      Furthermore, as FAIR (8/22/18, 9/25/18) has already catalogued, media giants such as Facebook are already working with governmental organizations like the Atlantic Council to control what we see online, under the guise of battling Russian-sponsored fake news. The Atlantic Council is a NATO offshoot whose board of directors includes neoconservative hawks like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger and James Baker; former CIA directors like Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden; as well as retired generals like Wesley Clark and David Petraeus.

    • New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!

      It’s tough to be an engineering student these days, with so many new developments in modern technology and technological knowledge. The course curricula are more crowded than ever and the impact of emerging technologies is monumental. Some engineering professors worry that their students’ busy course schedules prevents them from adequately exploring the liberal arts. Without exposure to the liberal arts, engineering students will lack the broad context that will help them approach their work as a profession, not just a trade.

      Pressed as they are now in their undergraduate and graduate courses, engineering students may not appreciate the pressures and challenges they will face in their work after graduation. More than handling the stress that comes from needing to meet commercial or governmental deadlines and standards, they will need to understand the ethical ramifications of their actions. Existing industry standards rarely measure up to the necessary health, safety and reliability requirements in the workplace, marketplace and the environment. Moreover, the news media and social media create an environment that shines a spotlight on the personal responsibility of the engineering professions and the obligation to blow the whistle on misdeeds.

      The core curriculum for engineering students must include courses and seminars that explore the ethical responsibility of engineering. Understanding economic and political pressures and, if necessary, whistleblowing obligations are all important matters for engineers. This is the subject of Ethics, Politics, and Whistleblowing in Engineering (CRC Press), a new book edited by Rania Milleron, Ph.D and Nicholas Sakellariou, Ph.D (Rania, my niece, is a microbiologist at the Texas Department of State Health Services and Nicholas is a lecturer at California Polytechnic State University).

    • WikiLeaks requests dismissal of DNC lawsuit, citing First Amendment rights: reports
    • Trump Campaign Calls DNC’s Russia Hacking Suit Sour Grapes

      President Donald Trump’s campaign organization told a judge that the Democratic National Committee made a specious attempt to “explain away” Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat by claiming in a lawsuit that there was a vast conspiracy with Russia and WikiLeaks to hack the DNC’s emails and tilt the election.

      The racketeering suit against dozens of individuals and entities, including Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence, also risks colliding with investigations by congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, raising the possibility that the case would need to be put on hold, the campaign said Friday in a court filing seeking dismissal of the suit.

      The Trump campaign argues the DNC’s conspiracy claim fails because the campaign is only accused of receiving advance notice of leaks, making political use of the revealed material and publicly encouraging more hacks.

      “The DNC does not claim the campaign had any role in hacking its systems and stealing the materials — it attributes that only to Russia,” according to the filing. “Nor does the DNC claim the campaign played any part in publishing the stolen materials — it attributes that only to Russia and WikiLeaks.”

    • ‘Biggest attack on freedom of speech in decades’ – WikiLeaks hits back against DNC lawsuit

      WikiLeaks is taking the fight to the Democratic National Committee, accusing the party of an unprecedented assault on the First Amendment in a legal filing that underlined both the absurdity and the overreach of its lawsuit.

      Prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing “truthful information of public interest” would have a disastrous effect on press freedom, opening the door to prosecution of any and all media organizations that dare to speak truth to power, the embattled publishers wrote.

    • Bush Nostalgia Gives W. a Pass. ‘Vice’ Should Wake Up Everyone.

      Two of the most consequential pieces of journalism of that time did not involve any deep investigative journalism or any major funding: They were the release by Wikileaks of 720,000 secret documents from the State and Defense departments and the series of revelations from Edward Snowden about the massive reach of surveillance conducted by the NSA and CIA.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘Conceivably the Worst’: Groups, Lawmakers Blast Confirmation of Climate Denier to FERC

      Bernard McNamee, a climate change denier who helped write the Trump administration’s failed coal and nuclear bailout plan, was confirmed Thursday as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

      The Senate approved the nominee on a straight party-line vote of 50-49 after Sen. Joe Manchin, the pro-coal Democrat of West Virginia, withdrew his support due to his concerns about McNamee’s stance on climate change.

      President Trump’s nomination of the fossil fuel lawyer as one of the FERC’s five commissioners was strongly opposed by environmentalists, public health groups and elected leaders.

    • The Deathly Insect Dilemma

      Insect abundance is plummeting with wild abandon, worldwide! Species evolve and go extinct as part of nature’s normal course over thousands and millions of years, but the current rate of devastation is off the charts and downright scary.

      Moreover, there is no quick and easy explanation for this sudden emergence of massive loss around the globe. Yet, something is dreadfully horribly wrong. Beyond doubt, it is not normal for 50%-to-90% of a species to drop dead, but that is happening right now from Germany to Australia to Puerto Rico’s tropical rainforest.

      Scientists are rattled. The world is largely unaware of the implications because it is all so new. It goes without saying that the risk of loss of insects spells loss of ecosystems necessary for very important stuff, like food production.

    • Trump’s Great American Forest Liquidation Sale

      The millions of tourists cruising through North America’s last intact temperate rainforest in Southeast Alaska soak up dark green conifers as far as the eye can see. But a troubling side of this chilly landscape also comes into view. Swaths of Alaska yellow cedars have lost their needles and turned a deathly brown. Scientists say the cedar can’t handle the changing climate, placing it at an ever-increasing risk for extinction.

      On a recent ferry ride through Peril Strait, a narrow 40-mile-long passageway north of Sitka, two Cascadia Times reporters spot a gigantic brown bear foraging near stands of dead cedars, clearly oblivious to another emerging threat. Government bureaucrats want to let the timber industry liquidate its wild Chicagof Island habitat. Someday soon, the view from cruise ships could include clearcuts — but no bears.

      During its first two years in office, the Trump administration kept under wraps plans for federal forests — unlike its very public push to pump up the oil, gas, and coal industries and open disregard for climate change.

      But in August, the administration unveiled a proposal giving the timber industry access to ancient old-growth trees within the nation’s 50 million acres of wild, intact forests, known as roadless areas. The proposal came to life in January when Alaska Gov. Bill Walker petitioned the US Forest Service to remove protection from Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

      The idea is already controversial in ways reminiscent of the timber wars that roiled the Pacific Northwest 30 years ago. The scheme could extend to Utah, where Gov. Gary Herbert is seeking a similar exemption, and possibly all other national forests.

    • Climate Change Is Likely to Come Sooner and Be Worse Than Latest Worst-Case Forecasts Suggest

      Now, this is going to get a bit wonky, but hang in there—the future viability of the life support system you rely on may be at stake.

      First, let’s review the headlines from the recent reports, and then examine why warming is likely to be much worse, and come much sooner than even these grim reports suggest.

      The recent IPCC report told us that even a temperature increase of 1.5°C could be devastating and that we have very little time to act to avoid it. The Fourth National Assessment told us the U.S. is already experiencing the adverse effects of climate change and that flooding, droughts, fires, and disease would only get worse before it gets better, even if we act immediately.

    • Heavy Police Presence Accompanies March for Climate at Katowice UN Talks

      More than a thousand people marched amidst heavy police presence to demand negotiators and ministers attending the UN climate talks in the southern Polish city of Katowice take more ambitious action on climate change.

      Campaigners and activists from around the world took part in the March for Climate, which marked the end of the first of two weeks of global climate negotiations in Katowice.

      Protesters chanted “keep the coal in the hole”, urged negotiators to “wake-up”, and demanded “climate justice now” while waving colourful banners and flags. Some were also wearing pollution masks to highlight Katowice’s heavily polluted air due to local coal mining.

    • In Another Blow to Keystone XL, Judge Rules TransCanada Can’t Conduct Pre-Construction Work

      Opponents of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline—from indigenous and environmental groups to local farmers and ranchers—celebrated a win in court after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the fossil fuel giant cannot conduct pre-construction work on the pipeline until the full environmental review ordered last month is complete.

    • I went Dungeness crabbing in Washington for the first time this fall. Here’s why I’m concerned about increased shipping from Trans Mountain pipeline.

      Risking these abundant natural resources to fossil fuel shipping is reckless to coastal economies. It is why we should be concerned about the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline shipping expansion. We would see an estimated 700% increase in shipping traffic in the Salish Sea. With it would come increased risks to fishing families, coastal communities and our marine wildlife. The risk of oil and other pollutant spills, marine noise pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions and other disturbances pose a threat to our wildlife — and thus our ways of life.

    • Shaping New Climate Narratives: Why a Journalist/Historian Turned to Theatre for Climate Stories

      Earlier this year, taking a front row seat at a church in Gary, Indiana, I watched as a young rapper, local food leader and an arts educator beguiled a standing-room-only audience with a theatrical envisioning of their city in the year 2030.

      To the side of the stage, jazz legend Billy Foster and his trio added a lively soundtrack to the performance; a multi-media show reflected the images of their stories in the background.

      To be sure, this “Ecopolis” performance was no simple task. After a short period of training, developing the script and rehearsing, the actors had to transform the sanctuary into a pop-up theatre and a community of the future in the minds of the audience.

      Requiems for Gary’s demise have been written for years, where entrenched poverty and unemployment have left the city in ruins; where the strong scent of hydrocarbons still sting the cold night air. “The maw of that beast, the steel industry,” actor and urban farmer Walter Jones recounted, “takes up nine miles of lakefront.”

      “Love song to the scarred lungs, my people bare,” performance poet Krystal Wilson rapped, “because in my city glocks ain’t got nothing on poison and hostile air.”

    • Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution

      The Americanism that people will never voluntarily give up the consumption that is killing the planet represents the triumph of a long con. The problem that consumed (apologies) economists in the early twentieth century was how to get people to want the stuff that capitalism produces. Past the point of meeting basic needs, people really didn’t want consumer goods. Early on, capitalism was a method of economic production in search of a constituency.

      In the present, this most likely reads as being wildly counterintuitive. China and other recent entrants into mass consumer culture prove the universal character of the desire to consume, goes the argument. But the Chinese development of a consumer culture has been driven by top-down economic policies, not ‘demand’ from below. As a strategy for maintaining political control, it is easier to satiate manufactured wants than to cede power to truly democratic inclinations.

      In 1958 economist and advisor to presidents John Kenneth Galbraith wrote The Affluent Societyas an explanation of post-War political economy in the U.S. Prominent in his theory of ‘dependence’ are corporations that use commercial propaganda (advertising) to create demand for the products they produce. Mr. Galbraith, a committed capitalist, understood that Western consumption is a function of what is produced, not ‘consumer demand.’

    • Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent

      Thinking in siloes about the climate and about our planet’s people puts us at risk of increasing climate disruption and massive loss of life. COP 24 is a crucial test of whether the severity of the climate and human situation will finally be acknowledged and addressed.

      Several years ago I attended a meeting of major environmental organizations, brought together by the Climate Action Network to hear the results of a survey conducted on how to best inform the public about climate change. The consultants advised giving people something they can do, focusing on what they directly experience, and being positive. Climate solutions should be contextualized as lifestyle choices with a promised reward such as more free time; money back from carbon tax rebates; harmony with nature; and a society of high tech living based on “clean energy”.

      Glenn Greenwald describes how American leaders get away with murder and much else through a positivity of “moving forward” and leaving out the past. Paul Jay of the Real News Network speaks with alarm about the infantilization of the public when “we need to tell people the whole truth about the urgency of this historical moment… The existential threat of the current moment.” What sets Corbyn apart is his treating people as adults. [1}

      Three current climate news items leave out crucial realities: the October IPCC warning about the dangerous differences between 1.5C and 2C, advising greenhouse gas reductions of 45% by 2030; the Nobel economics prize awarded to William Nordhaus for his work on the carbon budget which would allow an additional 270 billion tonnes into the atmosphere; and the California forest fires.

    • ‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19

      “Get me outta here.”

      At the recent G20 meeting in Argentina, Donald Trump was on the world’s stage when he muttered this aside to an aide. He was supposed to be getting ready for a photo op with the other global leaders at the conclusion of the meeting. And, after some confusion, Trump eventually did come back to pose for the group shot.

      But the unscripted utterance perfectly captured the United States in the world today. With all eyes on him, the leader of the free world wandered away from the spotlight, whining like a six-year-old upstaged at his own birthday party. Trump, who lambastes his counterparts for being “weak,” was publicly incapable of manning up even when the stakes were so low. This is what passes for U.S. “leadership” at the moment.

      The moment also illustrates Trump’s paradox. He wants to be at the center of everything. And he wants to be teleported out of these international confabs as soon as possible. Psychologically speaking, this all-in, all-out approach corresponds to the publicly arrogant and privately insecure temperament of a world-class narcissist. It would all make for an amusing Dr. Phil show — if it didn’t have such a profound impact on global affairs.

      No doubt there were millions of people around the world who nodded their heads along with Trump at that moment: “Please, dear god, get him outta there. And send him somewhere he can’t do anyone any harm.”

  • Finance

    • Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff

      Nasser’s text is an economic and political history of the United States since the latter part of the nineteenth century. In narrating this history, Nasser does not separate the economic establishment from the nation’s political structure. Instead, each page provides greater proof in the intricate and intimate relationship between the two. It is the author’s contention that capitalism as an economic system is neither moral or immoral. Instead, it is without morals of any kind. Like the algorithms Wall Street whiz kids create, capitalism does not know right from wrong. However, those who apply those algorithms do. Likewise, argues Nasser, the politicians and administrators in Washington, DC know right from wrong. When they vote to increase social spending, these men and women are making a choice to use some of capitalism’s profits to help those left behind in the pursuit of those profits. When the politicians and administrators decide to remove so-called safety net spending, they are choosing to let the people affected by that spending suffer. In other words, they are making a moral choice no matter what decision they make.

      Of course, there are other machinations and motives at play in these decisions. For example, the pursuit of profit has blinded stronger men than Donald Trump. It is also true that that pursuit has created an economy that does not fill the needs of all the people. Instead, it creates unneeded products and uses marketing to convince folks that such products are needed. As part of this mechanism, the act of buying and owning certain products creates artificial needs and desires. This understanding, perhaps stated best by Herbert Marcuse in his book One Dimensional Man, is an operative and fundamental part of contemporary human society.

    • Bitmain, Roger Ver, Kraken Sued for Alleged Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Manipulation

      Florida-based United American Corp. (UnitedCorp) has purportedly filed a lawsuit against Bitmain, Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, and the Kraken Bitcoin Exchange, according to a press release published Dec. 6. UnitedCorp alleges that the defendants planned a scheme to take control of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network.

      Founded in 1992, UnitedCorp is a development and management firm with a focus on telecommunications and information technologies. The company manages a portfolio of patents and proprietary technology in telecoms, social media and blockchain. UnitedCorp also owns and operates BlockchainDomes stations, that provide heat for agricultural applications.

    • An important reform in antitrust law could be on the way

      Last week, the United States Supreme Court signaled that it was about to adopt a major change in antitrust law. In a delightful contrast to the political branches of government, justices appointed both by Democrats and Republicans appear ready to make the change, moving toward an outcome that none of the detractors of the recent appointees would have predicted. Justices Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Kagan, Sotomayer, Alito and Breyer indicated in their questioning at oral argument that each would favor the same point of view — expanding the right of consumers to sue companies that had, for the last 40 years, largely escaped antitrust scrutiny.

    • An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?

      An NYT article on the stock market’s plunge also noted that the yield curve, defined as the gap between the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds and two-year notes, is close to being inverted. The interest rate on 10-year bonds was just 0.12 percentage points higher than the interest rate on 2-year notes. The piece points out that an inverted yield curve has historically been associated with a recession in the near future.

      While I would not rule out a recession (we will have another recession someday), I am less impressed by this signal than the NYT. The longer-term rates tend to follow the expected path of the short-term rate with a longer yield providing a greater premium since the holder of a long-term bond suffers a substantial capital loss if the price goes down.

      For example, if I’m holding a 10-year Treasury bond and the interest rate increases from 3.0 percent to 4.0 percent in a relatively short period of time, the price would fall by close to 9.0 percent. To cover that risk, I will want a premium over the short-term rate. The same logic applies to a 2-year note, except that the potential loss from a rise in interest rates is much smaller so the necessary premium is much smaller.

      However, the risk in this story is that the Federal Reserve Board will raise interest rates. Currently, the federal funds rate is at 2.25 percent. While there is a good chance the Fed will raise rates by 0.25 percentage points at its meeting this month, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has made it clear that he thinks we are near the end of a cycle of rising rates. For this reason, holders of longer-term debt have less reason to fear that short-term rates will rise much from their current level. Therefore, they are not demanding large risk premiums.

      Historically, we have reached this point where investors no longer saw much risk of further rate hikes after a period of aggressive rate increases by the Fed. In 1989, the peak of the federal funds rate was almost 4.0 percentage points above its cyclical low. In the mid-1970s, it was more than 8.0 percentage points, and in 1980 the federal funds rate peaked more than 14.0 percentage points above the low for the cycle.

    • Can the Nation’s First Charter School Strike Transform the Industry?

      For the first time, charter school teachers are striking. Over the past week, a strike at Chicago’s largest unionized charter network gained steam, with 15 schools serving Acero’s 7,500 predominantly Latino students remaining closed since Tuesday.

      This week’s strike is the first in the nation against a charter operator, and comes only days after Acero released a financial audit showing that the nonprofit currently has at least $24 million in cash and brought in $89 million in revenue this year.

      Despite having $10 million more than it had at the end of 2017, Acero managed to spend $1 million less on salaries this year, only giving their teachers a “paltry” wage increase, according to the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), and no raise at all to the schools’ support staff.

      While charter teachers are typically paid $13,000 less than those in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), charter schools bring in 8 percent more per student in funding than CPS under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s so-called “student-based budgeting” scheme, which gives each school a fixed amount of money per student enrolled.

    • Charter School Lobby Silent as Charter Teachers Continue Strike

      For decades we’ve been told that these types of schools were all about innovation. They were laboratories where teachers and administrators could be freed from the stifling regulations at traditional public schools.

      Yet whenever wealthy operators stole money or cut services to maximize profits or engaged in shady real estate deals or collected money for ghost children or cherry picked the best students or fomented “no excuses” discipline policies or increased segregation or denied services to special education kids or a thousand other shady business practices—whenever any of that happened, we were told they were just unfortunate side effects. Malfeasance and fraud weren’t what charters were all about. They were about the children.

      And now when charter teachers speak out and demand a better environment for themselves and their students, these ideologues have nothing to say.

      Funny.

    • George H.W. Bush Was an Enemy of the Working Class

      In 1992, media reports claimed that then-president George H.W. Bush was “amazed” at the sight of a grocery store scanner. While the claim has since been debunked, the encounter says a lot about his presidency.

      Bush Sr., who died last week at the age of 94, appeared suspiciously wide-eyed about grocery scanner technology during a photo-op at a grocer convention. The episode was used as evidence during Bush’s re-election bid that he hadn’t been grocery shopping since the 1970s when scanners were first introduced.

      Later revealed to have been the product of a creative misreading by the New York Times’ Andrew Rosenthal (who hadn’t been present at the convention), the farce—and the fact that so many at the time bought it—nonetheless reveals a deeper truth about his presidency: Bush Sr. was out of touch with the plight of working and middle-class Americans.

      Bush was one of just five presidents in the 20th century to lose a re-election campaign. In 1994, he lost to Bill Clinton, the upstart governor from Arkansas, in the midst of a recession that swept the nation during the early 1990s. Bush had failed to recognize the simple truism of Clinton’s campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    • Bush Obsequies

      When taking stock of a life, especially one as extended as George H. W. Bush’s ninety-four years, it is the long view that is called for. The sights and sounds of Wednesday’s state funeral expanded the time frame far beyond the former president’s earthly sojourn of nearly a century.

      On surveying the knights and ladies of the realm arrayed in the gothic expanse of the Washington National Cathedral, a dignitary from another planet (one that, in order to secure the invitation, had deeded over the requisite terrain to American off-world military bases) might well have wondered whether medieval crusaders had pitched up in the District of Columbia and promptly built this unlikely edifice’s spires, vaults, and buttresses. “Damn Right!” came Wednesday’s resplendent response.

      Crusading General “Black Jack” Pershing had led the fundraising efforts to begin construction at the beginning of the last century, and it was meet and right that the body of the commander-in-chief of the international host that invaded the Arabian Peninsula in the First Gulf War should be hymned in the shadow of the cathedral’s high altar. Beyond all credulity Bush was lionized in the first eulogy by presidential historian Jon Meacham as “the last soldier statesman”—a Godfrey of Bouillon of the New World Order. A millennium on, the Christian crusades are still underway thanks in no small measure to St. George of Kennebunk.

      [...]

      Unlike his namesake son, who adopted the Methodism of his wife Laura, George Bush the elder was born and buried an Episcopalian—the rebrand of the Church of England undertaken after the American Revolution, with the newly independent branch remaining reliant on the musical traditions back in the Mother Country. Director of music at the National Cathedral, Canon Michael McCarthy, a leading Anglican church musician, is a musical immigrant to this country. He assuredly directed the anthems—syrupy and affecting—by twentieth-century American composers following in the English tradition.

      [...]

      The ceremony’s musical culmination came not with strains redolent of Westminster Abbey, however. Instead, Irish tenor Ronan Tynan belted out sickly-sweet patriotic sentiment in the form of Larry Grossman’s Lincolnian anthem, “Last Full Measure of Devotion.” Having sung “Silent Night” at Bush’s deathbed, Tynan was accompanied at the funeral by the red-coated marines delivering the cheesy harmonies with swelling strings, heroic brass, fearsome timpani, and snare drum’s martial lash that had all stepped directly off Broadway and into the solemn reaches of the National Cathedral. Grossman is the composer of, among other classics, the soundtrack for Disney’s Pocahontas II. It was fitting that such musical sensitivity to American history should be deployed to mark Bush’s passing. The effect of this upwelling of schlock was to swamp all the Anglican grandeur that had preceded it.

      With Grossman’s campy canticle echoing down the endless nave, George Bush’s body was heading to Texas for one last show.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Democrats Need a Clear Economic Vision. Here’s Where to Start.

      Budgets aren’t sexy and don’t get much airtime on the campaign trail, but the allocation of America’s financial resources is arguably the most important act in politics. As the newly Democratic-controlled House of Representatives enters office in January, the People’s Budget presents an immediate opportunity for Democrats to support a bold, concrete plan for creating living-wage jobs and rebuilding America’s corroded and unsustainable infrastructure.

      Crafted annually by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC)—the largest Democratic caucus in the House—the People’s Budget proposes to invest $2 trillion over 10 years (employing 2.5 million people in the first year) to “eliminate our lead-contaminated water system, address our overburdened mass transit system, and rebuild our schools, crumbling roads, and bridges.” That’s double what the Democratic Party leadership asks for in its “Better Deal” package of reforms. The CPC budget also provides money for worker re-training and apprenticeship programs to help workers transition to new green jobs.

      But, will Democratic Party leaders embrace this brick-and-mortar economic justice package, which could boost employment and wages for millions while bolstering the nation’s healthcare, education and infrastructure and expanding green jobs to mitigate climate crisis? And, crucially, how will Democrats hash out overlapping agendas in the People’s Budget and the newly ascendant Green New Deal?

    • Michigan Is the Latest Example of the Restaurant Lobby Subverting Democracy

      It’s been a bad week for democracy. While all eyes have been on a Republican power grab in Wisconsin, the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature quietly gutted its brand-new laws to increase the state’s minimum wage and provide residents with paid sick leave.

      Lawmakers initially passed the popular policies in September, after it became clear that ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022, phase out the tipped minimum wage, and guarantee 72 hours of paid sick leave were likely to be approved if they were put to the state’s voters in November. Concerned that they’d be unable to overturn a ballot initiative, which would require a three-fourths supermajority, Republican legislators took the extraordinary step of passing the law themselves — so they could come back and dismantle it with a simple majority in the current lame duck session.

      The new Republican bill delays the minimum wage increase by eight years, until the year 2030. Paid sick time is slashed in half, to just 36 hours per year. In addition, it maintains the tipped minimum wage, increasing it to just $4.58 by 2030, which earlier legislation would have phased out. The bill now heads to the desk of the outgoing Republican governor, Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign it into law.

    • A Requiem for Donald Trump

      I attended Donald Trump’s funeral today in a half-empty Washington Cathedral, curious to learn how the 45th president, who of course resigned in disgrace in 2019, would be remembered by those who came to mourn him. The only living former presidents, Mike Pence, Barack Obama and 100-year-old Jimmy Carter, were in attendance but did not speak to eulogize him. (Pence was scheduled to speak but was overcome by tears.) That task fell to Donald Trump, Jr., just out of prison after his early release following his conviction in 2019 for lying to Congress and the FBI.

      “He was a great dad,” said a tearful Don, Jr. “He set an example that made me into the man I am today.”

      Also speaking his praises was an elderly Rudy Giuliani, who said Trump had gotten a raw deal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and had nothing to be ashamed of. “I admire President Trump for many things, but most of all for never backing down. He did nothing wrong and he stood his ground. By the way, is this on live TV?”

      A parade of convicted felons followed Giuliani to the stage, all of them pardoned by Trump before he left office under the cloud of a pending impeachment for obstruction of justice and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Former Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, speaking from a wheelchair at age 93, praised Trump for his tough stance on immigration. (“He treated those criminal migrant families a lot better than I would have.”) Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort said the president had stood behind him through thick and thin before pardoning him on the eve of his own resignation. (“He and I were on the same page, even when the whole world thought I was lying.”)

    • The Progress of Fascism Over the Last Twenty Years

      In the 2001-2003 period, I was the first person anywhere to consistently apply the framework of fascism to try to understand unfolding events. Some among the commentariat dumped on me for using the term when clearly, according to them, we were in no such condition.

      In those years the publisher of a well-known progressive press responded to my proposal for a book on emergent fascism by wanting me to interrogate—in person, in their own lairs no less!—John Ashcroft, Viet Dinh, Donald Rumsfeld, and other leading Bush administration figures at the forefront of introducing fascism. The standard for veterans of the progressive press turned out to be considerably less rigorous; they continued their armchair reporting, using the same discredited old framework. The publisher’s absolute condition for the book was that I must not, under any circumstances, use the term “fascism”—I could call it anything else, just not that; presumably it would upset armchair revolutionaries.

      Naomi Wolf—always quick on the mark, she, as in recently discovering The Vagina—wrote several years after the fact a book called The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (2007), in which she listed the major symptoms of the fascist tendency, borrowed particularly from the Nazi model, elements of which I too had applied earlier in the decade. The problem is, Nazism is not as universal a model as Italian fascism, so the standards are too narrow. By the time Wolf wrote, fascism in America had shifted to an insidious corruption of bureaucratic institutions. It was evident that tanks weren’t going to march on the streets, and there wasn’t going to be a violent militia to enforce fascism. So Wolfe’s work was too little, too late, and in fact counterproductive because it distracted from the actual threat.

    • New Deals, From FDR’s to the Greens’

      Pearl Harbor was a national crisis and in times of crisis people quite often overreact, do and say things they may later regret and make bad decisions in the heat of the moment (9/11 is a more recent example). The highly charged atmosphere on the West Coast was satirized in the 1979 film, 1941, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, among others, which left out any mention of Japanese-American internment.

      I agree with Louis that European-American and specifically FDR’s own racism towards the Japanese were clearly a factor in the internment decision. Comparatively small numbers of German and Italian nationals and American citizens of German or Italian descent were also interned in camps, however, it was nothing like the experience of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast. But let’s examine this with more historical background.

      Japan underwent one of the most astonishing transformations in history in the late 19thcentury, from a feudal backwater to a modern, industrial, Capitalist-Imperialist state in less than thirty years. Japan’s new modernity was coupled with retention of key aspects of its ancient culture, such as the belief that its emperor was descended from the gods and was, in fact, a deity himself. Closely related was the idea that the Japanese were a chosen people, a superior race with the right to dominate East Asia and the Pacific. Coincidentally, Japan was poor in the resources necessary to fuel an industrial economy.

    • John Kelly Leaving as Trump’s Chief of Staff

      President Donald Trump said Saturday that chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job by year’s end amid an expected West Wing reshuffling reflecting a focus on the 2020 re-election campaign and the challenge of governing with Democrats reclaiming control of the House.

      Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, is Trump’s top choice to replace Kelly, and the two have held discussions for months about the job, a White House official said. An announcement was expected in the coming days, the president told reporters as he left the White House for the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.

      Kelly had been credited with imposing order on a chaotic West Wing after his arrival in June 2017 from his post as homeland security secretary. But his iron first also alienated some longtime Trump allies, and he grew increasingly isolated, with an increasingly diminished role.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Journal Times editorial: Facebook tries to bury bad news about itself
    • What Marc Lamont Hill’s Pro-Palestine Message Means to a Palestinian

      On November 29, CNN fired Professor Marc Lamont Hill, a prominent academic, author and activist, for having the audacity to step outside the spectrum of what is considered acceptable discourse on Israel and Palestine: Hill simply acknowledged that an oppressed population has the moral right to resist its oppressor.

      Unlike how his words are being characterized, his statements were neither controversial nor radical; a quick skim of our history books would clearly suggest the contrary, and that it was not Hill’s message that led CNN to fire him, it was the result of the Palestinian exception to free speech and the subject of his criticism: Israel.

      That is not to say Israel is never criticized or discussed in the mainstream media. It’s just that when it is, the criticism needs to neatly fit into one of two pre-packaged positions. On one side, we have the Donald Trump-Benjamin Netanyahu camp that blames the Palestinians for all of Israel’s abuses and mistakes. On the other, we have the Democratic Party-liberal Zionist camp that acknowledges Israel’s unjust treatment of the Palestinians but excuses it under a web of “well-intentioned” justifications.

      Hill challenged this narrative unapologetically, and provided a rare voice of criticism outside this narrowly accepted spectrum of debate. As a result, his rhetoric, words and tone might have shocked people’s sensibilities, but he has nothing to apologize for, and CNN should reinstate him immediately. Here’s some context to the “controversial” statements he made, from the perspective of one member of the people Hill was fired for defending.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Apple to spy on your snoozing: Tech giant is set to make an iSheet woven with sensors

      Apple is set to make an iSheet woven with strange sensors that monitor people’s sleep, according to the firm’s latest patent.

      The multi-sensor sleep system includes a camera that analyses people as they snooze from above.

    • GCHQ boosts powers to launch mass data hacking

      The UK’s intelligence agencies are to significantly increase their use of large-scale data hacking after claiming that more targeted operations are being rendered obsolete by technology.

      The move, which has alarmed civil liberty groups, will see an expansion in what is known as the “bulk equipment interference (EI) regime” – the process by which GCHQ can target entire communication networks overseas in a bid to identify individuals who pose a threat to national security.

      A letter from the security minister, Ben Wallace, to the head of the intelligence and security committee, Dominic Grieve, quietly filed in the House of Commons library last week, states: “Following a review of current operational and technical realities, GCHQ have … determined that it will be necessary to conduct a higher proportion of ongoing overseas focused operational activity using the bulk EI regime than was originally envisaged.”

    • Epic Games Store Privacy Policy Conflicts With EU GDPR Laws, Sketchy Refund Policies

      Launched earlier this week during The Game Awards 2018, the Epic Games Store aims to take on Steam by offering numerous exclusive titles. The new game store’s revenue share policies gives developers 88% of the sales profit, which has already begun to attract games like Ashen and Hades. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as digging into Epic Games Store’s privacy policy has unearthed some very worrying details, some of which do not conform with the GDPR laws.

      Reddit users from r/pcgaming researched the privacy policy of the store and found that parts of it conflict with the GDPR laws implemented by the EU earlier this year. Several clauses of the text state that, by agreeing to privacy policy, you allow Epic Games to temporarily share your personal details with advertisers. While you can restrict Epic from sharing your personal information, you can only do so in “limited circumstances”. This goes directly against the GDPR laws, which call for increased privacy for consumers.

    • What’s going on with Huawei?
    • ‘Secretive Facebook could threaten democracy’: UK expert
    • The Dark Days Of Facebook, And The Light Ahead

      Facebook just suffered the ugliest few weeks in its history, and I’m not talking about its shares plunging over 40% in the last four months.

    • China’s Great Social Credit Leap Forward

      The data-driven system would help meet market objectives by effectively extending financing options to the country’s large unbanked population, and ideological objectives by addressing rampant corruption, profiteering, and mistrust in the country—or as early documents promised, to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

    • How China’s Social Credit Systems Are Shaping Travel

      Travel is a privilege, not a right — at least according to the Chinese government. The country’s expansive social credit system has been used as a justification to ban a substantial number, 15.39 million by the latest count, from traveling by air or high-speed rail.

      It isn’t just the government that’s rolling out these “credit” regimes, tech giants Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group, via its affiliate Ant Financial, have both released their own propriety credit systems integrated into their digital ecosystems, which serve a similar purpose to a credit score in the U.S. While these digital systems are designed to have substantial consumer applications in regards to finance, they have some major implications for travel.

    • The federal government and Labor have passed controversial new encryption laws. What do they actually mean?

      The government will have three levels of requests. The first stage is voluntary while the second stage is compulsory and includes fines up to $10 million and $50,000 for an individual. The third stage is also compulsory and demands companies proactively work to build mechanisms to help authorities collect information.

    • Split Key Cryptography is Back… Again – Why Government Back Doors Don’t Work

      Let’s cover some history of attempts to regulate cryptography and why they’ve failed, and then apply that knowledge to the current situation. This will help us understand why cryptographers around the world are universally against this kind of scheme.

    • The Week in Tech: Facebook Is in the News. Again.

      The documents revealed how Facebook treated user data as a bargaining chip. The social network had a “white list” agreemenhack://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/AA18-337At with companies it favored, including Airbnb, Lyft and Netflix. The arrangement involved sharing user data with those parties that other companies were restricted from obtaining.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition

      The time to resume using words like “resistance” and “revolution” in philosophically sound and historically accurate ways was long ago.

      [...]

      The situation is especially confusing because, for many decades now, most self-declared socialists have been social democrats under the skin. The ideas are distinct, however, even when the words are used in loose and misleading ways.

      From a more scrupulous standpoint, it would be fair to say that socialists and social democrats have been on different tracks at least since the Second (Socialist) International split in the aftermath of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution.

      From then on, social democracy, no matter how named, has functioned as an alternative to the Communism of the Soviet Union and its allies.

      Communists were socialists, not social democrats and, as political heirs of militants who actually made a socialist revolution, they enjoyed uncommon levels of prestige. Moreover, because their achievement was, or seemed to be, so monumental, their purchase on socialism, however flawed it might be, swamped all others.

      It was therefore natural for opponents of Bolshevism to drift over into the social democratic camp. There was, it seemed, nowhere else to go.

    • Lessons From South of the Border

      President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric hasn’t just infected U.S. politics. Now it’s made its way south of the border.

      As a caravan of hundreds of migrants arrive in Tijuana, some residents there have started taking up Trump’s ideology. Juan Manuel Gastélum, the mayor of Tijuana, has been seen wearing a red “Make Tijuana Great Again” baseball cap. In an interview with Milenio News, he painted the migrants as a dangerous threat.

      “Sure, there are some good people in the caravan, but many are very bad for the city,” Gastélum said.

      And on November 19, a few hundred protested against the migrant caravan in Tijuana chanting “Tijuana first.” In the days before the protest, locals even attacked some migrants with stones.

      These are the real effects of Trump’s rhetoric. Luckily, despite growing anti-immigrant sentiments, there are still many in Mexico who support and defend the migrants. This gives me hope.

      Thousands of migrants are facing a humanitarian crisis in Tijuana, after walking more than 2,500 miles. Many simply want their chance to seek asylum in the United States, which is their legal right. But they may have to wait months for their chance.

    • The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual

      In this work, Chomsky condemns intellectuals who lie. He notices that intellectuals have a unique right to not only speak their mind, but to seek the truth.

    • Spare me America’s tears for Jamal Khashoggi – this excuse for Trump-bashing ignores the CIA’s past crimes

      Can I be the only one – apart from his own sycophants – to find the sight of America’s finest Republicans and Democrats condemning the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for murdering Jamal Khashoggi a bit sickening? “Crazy”. “Dangerous”. A “wrecking ball”. A “smoking saw”. These guys are angry. CIA director Gina Haspel, who was happy to sign off on the torture of her Muslim captives in a secret American prison in Thailand, obviously knew what she was talking about when she testified about Mohammed bin Salman and the agony of Jamal Khashoggi.

    • The Conspiracy Against Refugees

      Watching the ongoing debate between liberal and right-wing pundits on US mainstream media, one rarely gets the impression that Washington is responsible for the unfolding chaotic situation in Central America. In fact, no other country is as accountable as the United States for the ongoing chaos and resulting refugee crisis. So why, despite the seemingly substantial ideological and political differences between right-wing Fox News and liberal CNN, are both media outlets working hard to safeguard their country’s dirty little secret?

      In recent years, state and gang violence — coupled with extreme poverty — have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras, among other countries in Central and South America. The mainstream media in the US, however, is rarely interested in the root cause of that reality.

    • Trump, the CIA and the future of torture

      Investigating claims of impeding justice, seventeen years after the worst attack on the US and ongoing rampant claims of prisoner abuse and torture.

    • The Psychological Impact Of The US Torture Program

      The report concludes that the company facilitated these flights and delivered detainees to black sites where many received further enhanced interrogation approved by a post-9/11 administration. The report also details the abuses suffered by the detainees and the lingering psychological impacts on survivors’ health. It also points to the need for greater accountability from federal and state officials for their involvement in this program.

      Host Frank Stasio is joined by two experts to review the report “Torture Flights: North Carolina’s Role in the CIA Rendition and Torture Program,” which was released in September. Joe Margulies, a professor of law and government at Cornell University, talks about his work representing detainee Abu Zubaydah. Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in CIA custody, according to the report, and still remains at Guantanamo Bay. Katherine Porterfield joins the conversation to talk about the psychological impact of the CIA torture program. Porterfield is a senior psychologist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City who has worked for the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture since 1999 and interviewed some of the detainees.

    • The morality of torture: A toxic legacy

      An investigation into the covert CIA programme of torture outlawed by former President Obama and favoured by the Trump administration.

    • Family sues CIA to find body of post-9/11 detainee

      The family of an Afghan man detained and allegedly tortured to death by the Central Intelligence Agency in the wake of the 9/11 attacks sued Thursay to find out what happened to his body.

      The lawsuit says that Gul Rahman and his family were living in a refugee camp in Peshawar when he was kidnapped by the U.S. spy agency on suspicion of being a jihadist militant on November 5, 2002 and transferred to a CIA prison for interrogation.

      “Over the next two weeks, CIA personnel subjected Mr. Rahman to extensive and systematic torture and abuse,” the lawsuit said, until he died of hypothermia on November 20, the lawsuit said.

      His death was not reported until 2010 and not officially confirmed until 2014.

      “To date, the CIA has not officially informed Mr Rahman’s family of his death, nor returned his body to his family,” the lawsuit said.

      The suit, brought in the federal district court in Washington, demands the release of records regarding his death and his body under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    • The CIA Tortured An Afghan Suspect To Death But Refuses To Say Where His Body Is

      October 2002 was the last time Gul Rahman’s family ever saw their father, dead or alive. Little did they realize that the Afghan citizen, who was residing in a refugee camp in Peshwar, Pakistan, at the time with his family, was taken by Central Intelligence officers to a secret prison over 40 miles away near the Afghanistan capital.

      It was inside this clandestine facility, also known as the Salt Pit, where Rahman was chained up, interrogated and tortured for three weeks. He was also deprived of food and sleep, made to stand for days and was drenched with freezing water until he showed signs of hypothermia. For the almost the entire time he was held, Rahman was either fully naked, naked below the waist, or naked except for a diaper he wore.

    • Obama Banned Torture Years Ago but Its Replacement Is Still Brutal

      Hanns Scharff was already a legend when Allied forces captured him at the end of World War II. A businessman conscripted into the Nazi war machine in 1939 and assigned to interrogate captured Allied pilots, Scharff quickly earned a reputation in the Luftwaffe for his uncanny ability to elicit valuable intelligence from his subjects—without laying a hand on them. “He could get a confession of infidelity from a nun,” one of his former prisoners later quipped. Like Wernher von Braun, the Nazi rocket scientist who got a second chance with the Pentagon’s ballistic missile program, Scharff had expertise that was recognized after the war’s end by the U.S. Air Force, which in 1948 invited him to lecture on his techniques and adopted many of his methods for its interrogation school curriculum.

      Scharff’s ideas gained currency over the decades but never completely won over the front-line intelligence agencies, especially after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Panicking over the possibility of another devastating assault, the CIA in particular ignored the evidence produced by Scharff and other like-minded interrogation veterans and opted for what amounted to the movie version of questioning suspects: threats and torture.“

      Important lessons learned about the usefulness of non-coercive, ‘strategic interrogation’ techniques,” wrote one expert in a 2006 historical study of U.S. interrogation methods, “were forgotten.”

    • The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left

      According to our nation’s paper of record, the New York Times, the Nicaraguan Contras re-activated some time ago in order to take on their old foe, Daniel Ortega, who had been re-elected in 2007 after a long hiatus of 17 years. One may recall that it was the pressure of the Contras, and their brutal terrorist tactics, which were critical to unseating Ortega from office the first time back in 1990.

      Just as a refresher, the Contras (short for “counterrevolutionaries”) were made up largely of the National Guardsmen of the US-backed dictator, Anastasio Somoza. After the successful 1979 revolution against Somoza – a revolution led by Ortega and the FSLN (or, Sandinistas) — the CIA organized the Guardsmen into the Contras and trained, armed and directed them for the purpose of undermining the fledgling Sandinista government. The Contras, with the direct encouragement of the CIA, carried out various terrorist acts which included the torture, rape and murder of civilians and the destruction of key civilian infrastructure. All told, around 30,000 Nicaraguans died in the 1980’s as a result of the US-backed Contra War.

    • Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front

      Rwanda has served as an important metaphor in American foreign policy for the failure to act to intervene in genocide. Presidents ordering bombing attacks or Special Forces operations have frequently said that they could not allow another Rwanda on their watch.

      According to Samantha Power’s Pulitzer-prize winning book, A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide (2002), a veritable bible for policy-makers in the era of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the Clinton administration had foreknowledge of the April 1994 disaster, and failed to save the Tutsi from slaughter carried out by Hutu extremists.

      [...]

      The Bush and Clinton administrations, with their British counterparts, supported Kagame and the RPF because Habyarimana, though originally installed in a CIA supported coup in 1973, had become a proxy of the French. After Habyarimana’s killing Clinton urged the removal of UN forces so the RPF would win Rwanda’s civil war.

      The RPF instigated the war in October 1990 by invading Rwanda from Uganda in an attempt to reclaim the Tutsis former privileged status. (The Tutsi were favored by the Belgian colonialists and then subjugated and many expelled following Rwanda’s Hutu Power revolution in the early 1960s). The U.S. and British trained the RPF in counterinsurgency and helped to turn the refugee army into a military powerhouse. Kagame was trained in psychological warfare methods at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

    • American History for Truthdiggers: The Decade That Roared, and Wept

      era, it seems, has the United States been able to overcome its original sin of slavery, racism and racial caste. It most certainly failed to do so in the ’20s. There were, of course, early signs that the renaissance of black culture following the First World War had strict geographic and temporal limitations. Indeed, the hundreds of thousands of African-American soldiers who deployed overseas during 1917-18 found that the racial and social norms in France were far more open and accepting than those of the United States—especially those in the American South. Some never left France, forming a robust and creative black expatriate community in Paris. Then, when most black soldiers did return home, proudly adorned in their military uniforms, they faced political violence and the threat of lynching at record levels. A number were lynched while still in uniform.

      Still, for all these grim intonations, the 1920s was a vibrant era for black culture. Jazz, made popular in the period, is arguably the only true, wholly American art form. The Harlem Renaissance formed by black writers, musicians, poets and critics in New York City would become legendary. The 1920s, in the wake of World War I, was also the start of the First Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North—one of the largest and fastest internal movements of a population in modern history. This shift created the racial pattern and mosaic that modern Americans take for granted. In 1900, 90 percent of American blacks still lived in the South. They left to seek war-industry jobs and postwar urban industrial work. Others hoped to escape the racism, violence and suffocating caste system of the South. Most settled in urban centers in the Midwest and Northeast. Detroit, for example, counted some 6,000 black residents in 1910, but more than 130,000 in 1930.

    • We and the Uighurs

      In the United States, there is great concern for the plight of the Uighurs. It was well described in an editorial that appeared in the New York Times on Dec. 1. It was titled: “Who Will Speak Up for the Uighurs?” The editorial writer described the “urgent need to address at the highest levels of the American government what have been described as China’s worst human rights abuses in decades.” The need for the editorial seems obvious.

      The Uighurs, and members of other Muslim minority groups are being held in China’s far northwestern Xinjiang region, in what are described by outside observers as beyond deplorable conditions. The number of Uighurs detained may be in excess of one million and the inhabitants of the camps are reportedly subject to torture, and food deprivation. There have reportedly been countless deaths resulting from the treatment of the Uighurs by the Chinese authorities.

      It comes as no surprise to learn that the Chinese do not have the same perception of life in the camps as outside observers, former inhabitants of the camps and the editorial board of the Times.

      Explaining the treatment of the Uighurs, the Chinese say it is necessary to crackdown on them to “combat extremism and terrorism on its western frontier. Mimicking Trump, who says the same things about immigrants in the United States on its southern border, the Chinese say, “many of those detained are common criminals.”

      The Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups detained in the camps represent the largest number of Chinese citizens detained since the days of the Cultural Revolution. According to the Chinese government, their detention is needed in order to crackdown on religious extremism. Thanks to reporting from a Chinese government spokesman, we have learned that the camps are not nearly as bad as the editorial writers of the Times and others would have us believe.

    • The Dead End of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”

      “La lucha obrera no tiene frontera.” “The working class struggle has no borders.”

      That’s a chant you’ll often hear on an immigrant rights protest. But for too long, this sentiment has been absent from the mainstream debate around immigration.

      That’s because the movement for immigrant justice and equality has been damaged politically for over a decade by its support for the pro-corporate framework known as “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR).

      Comprehensive immigration reform takes as its starting point the need to offer enhanced border security and enforcement against “bad” immigrants as the precondition for winning some sort of limited relief for “good” immigrants who are willing to pay the price and atone for being “illegal” in the first place. (Most versions of CIR also include “guest worker” provisions to ensure a continued supply of cheap immigrant labor, though this aspect is often downplayed by advocates.)

      [...]

      As Justin Akers Chacón documents in his book No One is Illegal, this criminalization led to a drop in pay for undocumented workers, who had previously made similar wages to their US-born counterparts. IRCA thus became a major milestone in the creation of a pool of hyper-exploited undocumented labor.

      Since then, the government has only gained more tools to control and repress immigrants. In the 1990s Bill Clinton combined vague promises of relief to the undocumented population with harsh anti-immigrant legislation that increased border security, expanded the grounds for deporting immigrants with legal status and cut noncitizens off of many federal benefits.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rapper Sues Video Game Maker Over Fortnite Dance Move

      Fortnite is free to download and play, but gamers can spend real money to purchase costumes and other virtual additions to their digital avatars. And they do: Fornite has made Epic Games more than $1 billion dollars. Those add-ons include dance moves (known as “emotes”) like Swipe It, which was added to the game in July.

      “They took my craft and they sold that,” 2 Milly told TMZ, adding that he wasn’t familiar with Fortnite before hearing rumors his dance appeared in the game. “Whatever they made off the specific emote, Swipe It, that’s what I want.”

      The lawsuit asks the court to prevent Epic Games from continuing to display that dance in Fortnite, and for 2 Milly to be compensated financially for its use.

    • Rapper sues Epic Games over “unauthorized” Fortnite dance use

      The Milly Rock dance move traces its roots back to 2014, when it was popularized in a video for a song of the same name that currently has over 18 million YouTube views. The extremely similar “Swipe It” emote in Fortnite is currently sold for 500 V-Bucks (about $5) or as part of a Season 5 Battle Pass for 950 V-Bucks (About $9.50).

      “Epic uses the Milly Rock, and other dances, to create the false impression that Epic started these dances and crazes or that the artist who created them is endorsing the game,” the lawsuit argues. “Indeed, players have posted thousands of videos of themselves performing the ‘Swipe It’ emote with the hashtag, #fortnitedance, without referencing the Milly Rock or crediting Ferguson as the dance’s creator and owner.”

    • 285, Claim Construction and Lessons from Fee Awards [Ed: David Hricik on the situation where patent aggressors need to compensate their victims]

      The accused infringer, rather than seeking fees caused by judge shopping, sought all of its fees incurred early in the case, before consolidation, rather than those that were the extra fees caused by the judge shopping: $590,000. It got nothing, but from the court’s order had it segregated out the fees reasonably, it might have received around $59,000.

      It is hard to tell whether the billing records were insufficiently clear to allow for this, or that the strategy was to seeking it all without recognizing the need to show causation of additional fees. Either way, there are good lessons to learn both during litigation (write good work records as they may be used for, or against, you) and in seeking fees, be reasonable.

      With respect to the fees after Markman, the accused infringer sought all of the fees from the date of the Markman ruling onward: “every single item” as the court noted. The court again applied a reasonableness standard and looked to causation. It first reasoned that it was absurd to suppose the lawyer instantly could have determined the court’s order rendered further prosecution unreasonable, consulted with its client, and dismiss the case. The court reasoned that about six weeks was enough time for the patentee’s lawyers to have done that work, so immediately lopped off fees for that time period. Then, because work records showed duplicative work, the court lopped off an additional 10% as a rough cut. The first step took the amount sought from $430,000 to $340,000, and then down to $310,000.

      [...]

      Finally, the accused infringer sought $157,000 for seeking fees (i.e., for preparing and filing the 285 motion. The accused infringer had made five arguments to support an award, and the court found 2 meritorious (above), and so lopped of 3/5 of the amount sought, taking it to $94,000. Then, exasperated, the court stated it could not understand how it took nearly 300 hours to prepare the motion when the accused infringer had not, as noted above, gone through the billing to show which were actually caused by the misconduct. It awarded $6800.

    • More on Fee Awards and Competent Billing and Motion Practice

      Of course, there are reasons at time not to be very explicit: once, for example, I was involved in a case where the opposing lawyers were required to submit their fee statements monthly in a related bankruptcy case. We monitored that, and as a result we were able to see what issues opposing counsel were examining in almost real-time. But, the rise of Section 285 fee shifting is good reason to make clear and precise time entries a habit.

    • POP! – Precedential Opinion Panel takes on Late-Joinder Attempt

      In September 2018, the USPTO rewrote several Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Revised SOP2 creates the Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) to be convened to rehear issues of “exceptional importance” as well as for re-designating prior opinions as precedential, when deemed appropriate. According to SOP2, the Precedential Opinion Panel will “typically” include the PTO Director, Commissioner for Patents, and the PTAB Chief Judge.

    • Standing to Appeal IPR Judgments: When does a Statute Create Injury-in-Fact?

      In 2016, JTEKT (Toyota) an inter partes review (IPR) petition challenging GKN’s Patent No. 8,215,440 (2wd/4wd dual drive-train). During the IPR, GKN disclaimed the broadest claims, and the PTO confirmed validity of the remaining claims. Here, the key difference from the prior art was a negative limitation – that the system coupling is “without a differential gearing.” Wanting to also cancel those claims, JTEKT appealed. Although JTEKT and GKN are competitors, JTEKT has not yet developed a competing product — arguing (without real evidence) that the ‘440 patent was a roadblock to its development project.

      [...]

      The question here is substantially the same as the petition found in the pending case of RPX Corp. v. ChanBond LLC (17-1686) (awaiting input from the Solicitor General). There is a good chance that briefing in JTEKT will be complete before the Solicitor submits the government brief in RPX. JTEKT would be a good companion case to RPX because it presents the added element of competitor challenge.

    • Pharmaceutical and Technology Industry Innovation Growth at Stake in Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva

      Today’s oral arguments in Supreme Court case Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva illustrate the power that a successful appeal could have to change a longstanding doctrine and significantly impact how businesses handle intellectual property transactions. The issue at hand is whether secret sales will still be considered prior art despite their potential to invalidate claims.

      In concrete terms, this could have a large impact on several industries. In the pharmaceutical industry, companies often identify potential drug candidates but may choose not to further develop every candidate because of the time or money required. Similarly, in the software and high technology fields, employees often develop inventions that may be highly innovative, but peripheral to the core business of the employer.

      But because the time between identifying a potential invention and bringing a product to market may be long, it is risky to purchase early-stage drug candidates or software concepts since this triggers the start of the patent clock. The first round of patents could expire before marketing is possible, reducing potential profits. A change in law could result in more transactions involving early-stage innovations.

    • Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Helsinn v. Teva

      The Court heard oral argument in this case on Tuesday. It is impossible to know, and even more foolhardy to guess, what the members of the Court are thinking from their questions during oral argument, but that cannot stop an attempted analysis of the aspects of the issues before them that naturally arises when reviewing an oral argument transcript.

      Kannon K. Shanmugam argued for Petitioner Helsinn; William M. Jay argued for Respondent Teva; and Malcolm L. Stewart, Deputy Solicitor General, argued for the Government. The Chief Justice posed the first question to Mr. Shanmugam, noting that Helsinn’s interpretation of the word “sale” in the statute (to mean sales to the general public) is not necessarily consistent with the plain meaning of the word (Mr. Shanmugam attempted to distinguish on the basis of their being a linguistic difference between “sale” and the statutory language “on sale”). New Justice Kavanaugh jumped on Mr. Shanmugam’s hypothetical (regarding a purported private sale of Mr. Shanmugam’s overcoat to Mr. Jay), disputing why that wouldn’t be a sale (“it’s pretty hard to say something that has been sold was not on sale”). Justice Breyer, referring to Helsinn’s argument in the brief, questioned whether Helsinn’s contentions that its position was supported by the Court’s precedents (“we only have Justice Story, Learned Hand, and I guess various others, maybe John Marshall for all I know”, which in vacuo seem pretty solid), and opined that “the purpose of this on-sale rule including private sales is to prevent people from benefiting from their invention prior to and beyond the 20 years that they’re allowed.” Mr. Shanmugam countered that “the predominant purpose of the on-sale bar was preserving the public’s access to inventions that have entered the public domain.” Justice Kavanaugh mentioned “commercial exploitation” as another aspect of the bar, and Justice Breyer interjected that such sales (like the one here) can be secret sales. Mr. Shanmugam, attempting to provide clarification to Justice Ginsberg, said that Congress intended to “clarify” the scope of what would be considered to be “on sale” with, inter alia, the catchall phrase “or otherwise available to the public,” which Justice Kavanaugh opined was “a terrible clarification,” stating that there were many efforts during debate over the AIA to “actually change the ‘on sale language, and all those failed.” Mr. Shanmugam countered by suggesting that the way Congress had revised the statute was appropriate to its purpose, which included “abrogating some of the outlying lower court decisions that had extended both the on-sale bar and the public use bar to cases where there was not public availability.” Mr. Shanmugam responded directly to Justice Kavanaugh’s citation of an amicus brief by Mark Lemley (and other legal academics) that the on-sale bar always included secret sales, a statement challenged by Justice Breyer based on the Court’s citation in its Bonito Boats case of Learned Hand’s dichotomy that a patentee “has to go ahead and patent [her invention] or keep it a secret forever.” To Justice Breyer’s accompanying hypothetical of an inventor selling her invention to multiple parties under confidentiality agreements, Mr. Shanmugam says his “submission is a much more modest one,” to “correct the Federal Circuit’s error, which is to say that public availability is not required.”

    • News from Abroad: Canada’s New Patent Rules — Twelve Notable Changes and Tips

      On December 1, 2018, the Canadian government released its proposed new Patent Rules in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This is one of the last steps necessary for implementing significant changes to Canada’s patent law, which are expected to come into force in 2019.

      There will be many changes to Canadian patent law and practice. In this article, we discuss the most notable changes expected, and some tips for safe and effective practice under the new rules.

    • Nasdaq ISE Files Motion to Disqualify Fish & Richardson at PTAB Over Prior Representation

      On October 11th, electronic options exchange provider Nasdaq ISE, a subsidiary of the Nasdaq stock market entity, filed a motion to disqualify counsel representing trading service provider Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIAX), in a covered business method (CBM) review proceeding being conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Nasdaq ISE argued that counsel from Fish & Richardson representing MIAX should be disqualified because Fish & Richardson formerly represented Nasdaq in intellectual property matters for 13 years and the firm is now representing an adverse party in a substantially related matter.

      Between 1998 and 2011, Fish & Richardson prosecuted patents on behalf of Nasdaq related to inventions in electronic trading technology and was provided with information regarding Nasdaq’s strategic approach to IP. After Nasdaq and its subsidiaries filed a patent infringement suit in 2017 against MIAX, in which Nasdaq asserted four patents prosecuted by Fish & Richardson, MIAX hired both Fish & Richardson as well as Reed Smith LLP as defense counsel. Although Fish & Richardson made claims that it wouldn’t participate in the portion of the suit involving the Nasdaq patents it helped to prosecute, Nasdaq successfully moved to disqualify Fish & Richardson in the district court proceeding after a magistrate judge held that MIAX’s defense was a collaborative effort and that Nasdaq and MIAX’s interests were materially adverse.

    • CAFC Overturns Preliminary Injunction on Generic Suboxone Film Over Newman Dissent

      On Tuesday, November 20th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential decision in Indivior Inc. v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, S.A., which vacated a preliminary injunction handed out by the District of New Jersey in a Hatch-Waxman patent infringement case brought by British pharmaceutical firm Indivior. The majority panel of Circuit Judges Alan Lourie and Kara Stoll found that the district court erred in the interpretation of the scope of patent claims asserted by Indivior. Circuit Judge Pauline Newman authored a dissenting opinion in which she explained she would have found the district court’s preliminary injunction grant sustained on appeal.

    • Personal Jurisdiction is Not Established by Prior Lawsuit or Sending Infringement Notice Letters

      Wok & Pan, Ind., Inc. (“Wok”) competes with Maxchief in the plastic folding table industry. Wok, also headquartered in China, is the owner of four patents directed to folding tables. In February 2015, Wok filed suit in the Central District of California against Staples alleging infringement of its patents by selling tables manufactured by Maxchief. Staples, in turn, requested indemnity by Meco, and Meco requested indemnity by Maxchief.

    • Reasonable Royalty Cannot Include Activities That Do Not Constitute Patent Infringement

      The Federal Circuit vacated a $4 million damages award to Seoul Semiconductor Co. (“Seoul”), holding that the district court erred when it denied Enplas Display Device Corp.’s (“Enplas”) motion for judgment as a matter of law that the damages award was not supported by substantial evidence. See Enplas Display Device Corp. v. Seoul Semiconductor Co., No. 2016-2599, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 19, 2018) (Before Newman, Hughes, and Stoll, J.) (Opinion for the court, Stoll, J.) (Concurrence-in-part and Dissent-in-part, Newman, J.).

    • To Shift or Not to Shift: Burden Shifting Framework and the PTAB

      Looking at Magnum Oil and Dupont v. Synvina, in the IPR that led to Magnum Oil, the Board shifted the burden of producing proof of patentability to the patentee when it should not have done so. Conversely, in the IPR that led to Dupont v. Synvina, the Board failed to shift the burden when it should have done so. It is noteworthy that in each case, the Board was following what it believed was the Federal Circuit precedent. This article sheds light on the issues underlying the confusion over burden shifting in Magnum Oil and Dupont v. Synvina. Magnum Oil is considered first.

    • IP Australia launches guide for digital businesses

      IP Australia has unveiled a guide for start-ups to help them understand intellectual property in the digital age.
      Dubbed IP for Digital Business, the guide is aimed at helping entrepreneurs avoid the pitfalls of starting a company, including copyright, ownership, licenses and infringement.
      The guide has five categories which cover protecting concepts and solutions, turning ideas into reality, avoiding pitfalls when going to market, keeping IP secure and going international.

    • Abbott faces suit from FlexStent over stent patent

      FlexStent alleged in a lawsuit this week that Abbott infringes a vascular stent patent with its Xience line of drug-eluting devices.

      The suit, filed Nov. 26 in the U.S. District Court for Central California, accused Abbott’s Xience stents of infringing on U.S. Patent 6,187,035. The Xience devices infringe Claim 1 of the ‘035 patent, which specifies a stent with specific width and thickness ranges for its vertical and horizontal branches.

      The FlexStent patent calls for vertical branches with thicknesses between 0.09mm and 0.12mm, horizontal branch thickness of 0.05mm to 0.09mm and branch thickness ranging from 0.08mm to 0.12mm. The Xience device cited in the lawsuit has vertical branches of 0.09906mm to 0.1016mm, horizontal branch width of 0.0762mm and thickness 0.08128mm – all within the range specified in the FlexStent patent, according to the lawsuit.

    • IP Disputes Among Private Business Co-Owners Dominate Three Recent Cases

      Last month gave us three noteworthy post-trial decisions in three different cases from three different states, all centering on disputes among business co-owners over the ownership and exploitation of the businesses’s core intellectual property. While each case stems from a unique set of facts, they all have in common failures to allocate IP ownership by means of clear contractual undertakings ex ante and/or failures to exercise due diligence at inception or during the life of the business.

    • Qualcomm fears being required to renegotiate patent license agreements with Samsung, many others

      This is the first post, and probably not the last, in which I’ll discuss some interesting information I found in the Federal Trade Commission’s and Qualcomm’s proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law with a view to next month’s San Jose trial. Qualcomm’s filing is more than twice as long (157 pages) as the FTC’s submission (71 pages), but Judge Lucy H. Koh will decide strictly based on the law and the facts, so this antitrust case is not going to turn into a battle of matériel. The litigation departments of government agencies are outnumbered by private-sector litigants’ armies of lawyers all the time, but quite often they prevail nevertheless.

    • Netherlands: Tomra v. Kiremko, District Court of Midden-Nederland

      The Court confirmed that a District court, not specialised in patent matters, does have relative jurisdiction to decide a motion to produce exhibits for determining patent infringement. In order to positively decide a motion to produce exhibits, (threat of) infringement should be made plausible, but the threshold for plausibility is relatively low. F

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  23. Librethreat Database Updated

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  24. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  25. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  26. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  27. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')



  28. Links 17/7/2019: VirtualBox 6.0.10 and Mageia 7.1 Releases, Mint Betas

    Links for the day



  29. Links 16/7/2019: Btrfs Gets 'Cleaned Up', Clonezilla Live 2.6.2-15

    Links for the day



  30. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow

    Assuming that he was informed, then it seems fair to say that Battistell’s little “joke” at the expense of the Boards was in very bad taste


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