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04.12.19

Links 12/4/2019: Mesa 19.0.2, Rust 1.34.0 and Flatpak 1.3.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • What do Linux system administrators need to know about the GDPR?

      The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union law that applies not only to EU companies, but also to all companies collecting and processing the personal data of EU residents. The sanctions for breaching the GDPR are enormous (up to $24 million or 4% of the annual global turnover, whichever is greater). It is not a coincidence that the U.S. top 500 companies are expected to spend $7.8 billion to comply with the GDPR.

    • Jenkins X To Improve Development Workflows For Kubernetes Applications

      So your development team has mastered continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) to traditional environments. Is it ready to do the same for Kubernetes apps?

    • Docker Platform Outlook: Anusha Ragunathan Talks Containers

      Docker software engineer Anusha Ragunathan talks about what the year ahead holds in store for the Docker platform and container technology.

    • An offer you Kata refuse: OSF accepts virty container wizards as ‘part of the family’

      Kata Containers, the open-source effort to marry the speed of application containers with security features of virtual machines, has become the first ever top-level project to be accepted by the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) – besides its cloud platform, of course.

      Since its inception in 2012, the OSF cared about one thing, and one thing only: modular software for cloud computing. But in 2018, it broke with tradition and launched two projects that were completely independent from OpenStack – Kata Containers for virtualization, and Zuul for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) of code at scale.

    • Best Linux Certifications [Ed: “More than 20 years after Linus Torvalds developed Linux," you say? You forgot GNU. More than 35 years ago.]

      More than 20 years after Linus Torvalds developed Linux, the operating system remains a force in the computing industry. While Linux is not widely used on desktops (making up just over 2.4 percent of the overall desktop operating system market share in January 2019, according to NetMarketShare), it is extraordinarily strong on the web server side, where it enjoys a market share of almost 54%.

      IT professionals invest considerable time learning about server computing for everything from installation, configuration, maintenance and virtualization to application support and security. This also means that many IT professionals are working with and around Linux operating systems daily, often alongside Windows and various UNIX OS brands as well.

    • European Commission tackles transformation challenges with cloud

      The European Commission (EC) is pressing ahead with its adoption of cloud computing as a means to tackle key challenges of its wider digital transformation plan.

      [...]

      Other cloud-based initiatives led by the EC include GNU machine translation and the creation of development environments.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • LHS [Linux in the Ham Shack] Episode #280: 1.21 Millimeters

      Welcome to the 280th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack! In this episode, the hosts discuss a wide variety of topics including AMSAT, encoded amateur radio transmissions, SSSUUUHF records, a new version of VIM, JS8Call, TWCW, FSQ and a whole lot more. Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoy the show.

    • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E01 – Bombjack

      We’ve been playing with PCI Express to SATA SSD adapters and we discuss UBPorts becoming a foundation, Ubuntu 14.04 entering ESM, Ubuntu 19.04 beta, Ubuntu MATE 18.04 for the Raspberry Pi and GPD Pockets. Plus we round up some community events and news headlines.

      It’s Season 12 Episode 01 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 804
    • Booking Jails | BSD Now 293

      This week we have a special episode with a Michael W. Lucas interview about his latest jail book that’s been released. We’re talking all things jails, writing, book sponsoring, the upcoming BSDCan 2019 conference, and more.

  • Kernel Space

    • U2F Zero Driver Coming To Linux 5.2 – USB Device For Two-Factor Authentication / HW RNG

      While the U2F Zero has already been superseded by the “Solo” FIDO2 security key, this USB-based U2F token for two-factor authentication is finally seeing mainline support come Linux 5.2.

      The U2F Zero is a USB-based open-source U2F token that can work with popular online platforms for two-factor authentication. A U2F Zero can be built for just a few dollars albeit requires a USB programmer/debug-adapter that costs around $35. Additionally, the U2F Zero has already been replaced by the open-source Solo Keys that offers FIDO2 protocol support for better security.

    • The Lima DRM/KMS Driver Is Ready For Introduction With Linux 5.2

      Beyond the Lima Gallium3D driver being merged into Mesa 19.1, the Linux 5.2 kernel will be introducing the DRM/KMS kernel open-source driver developed via reverse-engineering for these Arm Mali 400/450 graphics processors.

      Yesterday marked the merger of the big Lima Gallium3D driver for providing basic OpenGL support being merged into Mesa 19.1, which should be released as stable around the end of May. Last week meanwhile marked the acceptance of the Lima DRM driver into DRM-Next ahead of next month’s Linux 5.2 merge window.

    • Linux Foundation

      • LinuxBoot: A Linux Foundation Project To Replace UEFI Components

        UEFI has a pretty bad reputation among many in the Linux community. UEFI unnecessarily complicated Linux installation and distro-hopping in Windows pre-installed machines, for example. Linux Boot project by Linux Foundation aims to replace some firmware functionality like the UEFI DXE phase with Linux components.

      • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Announces Fluentd Graduation

        “In the two and a half years since Fluentd became a part of CNCF, we’ve seen it grow beyond a project to a full ecosystem of integrations and third party components,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO/COO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “With an active community of contributors and users, the CNCF TOC felt Fluentd was ready for graduation and we look forward to cultivating their community.”

        Fluentd was created in 2011 by Sadayuki “Sada” Furuhashi, co-founder of Treasure Data, Inc., as an open source data collector for building a Unified Logging Layer, which unifies the data collection and consumption for a better use and understanding of data. In November 2016, Fluentd was accepted as CNCF’s sixth hosted project after Kubernetes, Prometheus and OpenTracing.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Lima Driver Merged Into Mesa 19.1, Providing Open-Source OpenGL For Older Mali GPUs

        Seven years after Luc Verhaegen started the Lima driver project for open-source Mali graphics — one of the first reverse-engineered, open-source Arm graphics driver attempts in general — while he is no longer involved with the initiative, developer Qiang Yu picked it up and has successfully worked it into a functioning open-source OpenGL Gallium3D driver that has been merged into Mesa Git.

        Overnight the Lima Gallium3D driver was merged into the Mesa code-base for this quarter’s Mesa 19.1 release. Lima provides reverse-engineered driver support for the aging Mali 400/450 graphics processors. At this stage the driver is running the likes of GLMark2 or Kmscube or even the Kodi HTPC software in full-screen mode. The user-space driver is just under seventeen thousand lines of code.

      • mesa 19.0.2

        Hi list,

        I’m pleased to announce the availability of mesa 19.0.2. It’s a bit late, and I need to apologize for that, Dad duties have been trumping other things.

        On the release side it’s been a pretty tame cycle. Just a few fixes for radeon, a few for nir, a couple for radv, a couple for v3d, and a few other patches here and there.

        Dylan

      • Mesa 19.0.2 Released With A Few RadeonSI, RADV, V3D Fixes

        The belated Mesa 19.0.2 is now available as the newest stable release to these open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers.

      • AMDGPU Has FreeSync Improvements & PowerPlay Fixes For Linux 5.2

        Complementing the initial set of AMDGPU changes for Linux 5.2, Alex Deucher of AMD has sent in another pull request of new material for this next version of the Linux kernel.

        That initial pull request at the end of March presented the new SMU11 replacement code for PowerPlay with Vega 20, RAS support for Vega 20 workstation cards, BACO for Vega 12, xGMI interconnect fixes, and various other low-level changes/improvements.

      • X.Org To Join Forces With FreeDesktop.org While Foundation Elections Hit A Snag

        During this year’s X.Org Foundation elections there was the key ballot initiative on whether the X.Org Foundation should formally accept FreeDesktop.org into its umbrella. That measure, which required a super majority of members to approve, passed. But the X.Org Foundation Board of Directors voting hit an oops.

        During today’s X.Org Foundation board meeting, they confirmed the ballot for the bylaws change passed with 53 yes votes, 2 abstained, and 1 no vote. That’s all dandy and in reality just formally acknowledges the X.Org / FreeDesktop.org relationship while in reality little will change in practice. So that is all dandy.

      • NVIDIA DXR Ray-Tracing Support For Pascal GPUs Does Include Vulkan Support

        As has been expected the past several weeks, NVIDIA rolled out a driver update today providing DXR ray-tracing support going back to non-RTX Pascal GPUs. While NVIDIA has mostly been trumpeting the DirectX 12 ray-tracing abilities now with these older GPUs lacking RTX cores, their work does include enabling of Vulkan VK_NV_ray_tracing support on these graphics processors.

  • Applications

    • 6 Best Free Linux Task Managers

      A task manager is software which enables users to compile a list of tasks to be completed. This list is also known as a to-do list or things-to-do. For the purposes of this article, the term ‘task manager’ should not be confused with monitoring software which provides information about programs and processes running on a computer.

      The list of activities that may form a to-do list include chores, grocery lists, reminders for important events (such as purchasing wedding presents or birthday gifts), self management, software development, project / business management, and so on. Task managers help to organise your day, ensuring that you know in an instant what you need to do.

      Linux has a large range of open source task managers, in part because many of them have a limited feature set and hence are relatively quick to code. This feature selects our personal favorites, including both console based applications and software sporting an attractive graphical user interface. There are also many web based task managers available, which we will cover in a forthcoming article.

      To be productive, you may need more than a task manager. Our features on Productivity Tools and Personal Information Managers help to organize your day in other ways.

      To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 6 proficient task managers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to avoid that sinking feeling of remembering (albeit too late) something important that needs to be actioned. And this Group Test would not be complete without our legendary rating chart.

    • Daniel Stenberg: no more global dns cache in curl

      In January 2002, we added support for a global DNS cache in libcurl. All transfers set to use it would share and use the same global cache.

      We rather quickly realized that having a global cache without locking was error-prone and not really advisable, so already in March 2004 we added comments in the header file suggesting that users should not use this option.

      It remained in the code and time passed.

      In the autumn of 2018, another fourteen years later, we finally addressed the issue when we announced a plan for this options deprecation. We announced a date for when it would become deprecated and disabled in code (7.62.0), and then six months later if no major incidents or outcries would occur, we said we would delete the code completely.

    • 6 of the Best Apps for Creating and Recording Music on Linux

      When people think of typical Linux users, they probably think of programmers, system administrators, and other techies. While Linux operating systems can certainly be great for this type of user, that’s far from the only type of person they’re good for. Linux is just as good for creatives as it is technical types.

      If you’re a musician on a budget, Linux might be attractive as there is a wealth of music production apps available. Whether you’re composing a score or mixing an album, there is software available to help you out.

    • RSS Guard 3.5.7

      RSS Guard is a simple (yet powerful) feed reader. It is able to fetch the most known feed formats, including RSS/RDF and ATOM. It’s free, it’s open-source. RSS Guard currently supports Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian. RSS Guard will never depend on other services – this includes online news aggregators like Feedly, The Old Reader and others.

    • Proprietary

      • SoftMaker Office Celebrates 30th Anniversary With A Free Update [Ed: No, proprietary software is never ever free. Because you’re never in control (neither over the tool nor its cost down the line).]

        German software developer SoftMaker is celebrating its 30th anniversary. To mark the occasion, SoftMaker is releasing a free anniversary update of its Microsoft Office alternative SoftMaker Office.

        Besides bug fixes, it includes many new features and improvements. It is noteworthy here that SoftMaker Office 2018 already features a redesigned user interface, thus giving users the choice of working with the new ribbons interface or classic menus.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • 13 Best Linux Gaming Distros You Need To Use In 2019

        Gaming on Linux scene is improving each year with better hardware support and increasing support from game developers. There are tons of amazing games on Linux that one can install and play with ease.

        Apart from installing Wine and Steam in established distros, gamers are using Linux gaming distros like Steam OS to get a better experience. These dedicated gaming distros are specifically built to address your gaming needs, thanks to better hardware support and tons of preinstalled tools. To help you out, we’ve tested and prepared a list of the best gaming distros for Linux.

      • Action-RPG ‘Last Epoch’ to release a Beta on April 30th, also heading to Steam

        Eleventh Hour Games have announced that their impressive action-RPG ‘Last Epoch’ is getting a big update with the Beta release on April 30th, a Steam release will also happen then too.

        Funded originally thanks to almost three thousand people on Kickstarter, it’s already shaping up to be a pretty big and interesting game. It’s set to get a lot bigger with the Beta release including their first major end-game content, a whole lot more lore, two new character mastery classes with the Paladin and Druid, new skills and abilities for existing classes, UI updates and so on.

      • Retake your homeland from greedy goblins in the RTS ‘The Dwarves of Glistenveld’, coming to Linux

        The Dwarves of Glistenveld just recently popped up on Steam, a new RTS from Nysko Games that features a whole lot of digging. They’re aiming for what they say is a “fresh angle” on the RTS genre, with a “2.5D” style and elements mixed in from colony-building, RPG and Tower Defense games as well.

        Not one I had personally heard of before, although it has been in development for some time. Turns out it’s going to support Linux too, as confirmed on their official website and Steam also having “SteamOS + Linux” system requirements.

      • 18 Best Linux Games With Steam Support To Play In 2019

        Last time I checked there was no official list of ‘Best Linux Games’ anywhere, and it didn’t surprise me. The open source nature of Linux OS does not sit well with other companies like Nvidia, Epic Games, and even Microsoft.

        However, Valve is dedicated to making its Steam OS, which is also based on Linux, a mainstream product. That’s why Steam officially started supporting WINE developers for the new Proton API.

      • Roguelike fantasy-adventure Vambrace: Cold Soul delayed until May

        Devespresso Games and Headup have announced a short delay in the release of Vambrace: Cold Soul, which is now going to release on May 28th.

        From what I’ve been told, after it was shown off at both GDC and PAX East they had a lot of excitement and feedback resulting in the decision to spend a bit more time to give it some “fine-tuning”.

      • The Ultimate Nerd Game is now called ‘Logic World’, releasing this Summer with Linux support

        Remember The Ultimate Nerd Game (TUNG)? Well, it’s now called Logic World and it’s getting a massively expanded release this Summer with full Linux support.

        The aim of the game is to teach you about “digital logic”, with challenges that range from super simple logic gates to full complex machines of all kinds. There’s also going to be a full sandbox mode, allowing you to build and learn entirely at your own pace.

        “Most people have very little understanding of how their computer works,” said Jimmy Cushnie, founder of Mouse Hat Games. “Not at the most basic level where there are gates hooked up in complex patterns that can do math. I think the engineering behind it all is incredibly cool and incredibly beautiful. I want to make it easy for people to see that. I want people to play Logic World and come away feeling like they really understand what their computer is doing at the microscopic level.”

      • The action-RPG where you’re also a shopkeeper ‘Moonlighter’ sold 500K copies, new DLC announced

        Moonlighter from developer Digital Sun and publisher 11 bit studios seems to be doing well, as they’ve managed to sell over 500K copies. To keep it going, a new DLC named Between Dimensions has been announced.

        Five hundred thousand sounds like quite a lot but taking into account the game is available on PC (Linux, Mac and Windows), Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch it puts things into perspective a little. They’re not a tiny developer either, employing over twenty people.

      • Godot Engine awarded 50K USD from Mozilla, more exciting features planned for Godot Engine 3.2

        The Godot Engine team also recently announced some incoming improvements to the audio features available, they’re going to allow you to disable features to make it simpler if you want to, pseudo 3D support was added to their 2D engine and also support for convex decomposition are all coming to Godot Engine 3.2.

        Sounds like Godot Engine 3.2 and beyond are going to be huge for developers everywhere, it’s already an impressive free and open source game engine and all this sounds pretty awesome.

        You can find out more on the official site across various blog posts.

      • Epic Games Vs Steam: A Selfish Battle For Dominance

        The latest trending debate within the PC community is regarding Epic games vs Steam. Some people support the Epic Games’ fierce competition to Steam while most gamers hate the store’s existence.

      • 10 Best Linux Terminal Console Games

        Almost none of the games I’ve covered on FossMint are command line games and that’s not because there aren’t any that users can enjoy; the demand for GUI games is higher and that makes that for Command line games almost in-existent Or am I wrong?

        Command line games are fast, typically bug-free, and can be a lot of fun to play; especially when cruising through some of the most awesome retro games in history. Today, we bring you a list of the best Linux games you can play in your terminal ordered alphabetically.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Desktop Workspaces In Linux

      Desktop workspaces on Linux are like having a multi-monitor system on your single computer. Developers, artist, audio engineers, etc. would call this “workstation” because they prefer working on individual task concurrently through two or more display monitors, set up on their system.

      However, desktop workspaces quite vary with the “workstation” bit because all multiple displays are virtual and not physical. The desktops are simulated with software, usually your desktop environment.

      So you must be wondering how they might be beneficial for any ordinary user who is not familiar with it. OK, here’s my opinion. Desktop workspaces are useful for multi-tasking purpose. Let me run it down with an example, suppose you are interacting with virtual friends on a social media platform and sometime later you decide to upload an image to update your status. But the image isn’t quite right to your taste so you launch multiple image editing software on another workspace. You try them out by efficiently switching between windows while the social application is running on another workspace. Once you are done, you close all those image editing programs and finally upload the image to your social feed.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Updated Qt Installer Released

        We are happy to announce the new Qt Installer release, based on the Installer Framework 3.1. The main reason for a new installer was that we wanted to provide a more intuitive and streamlined user experience.

        We simplified the component tree view by introducing package categories. This has a significantly improved the metadata download performance, as there is no need to load the metadata of all the packages anymore. In addition, it is more intuitive for new users to pick up the right packages instead of selecting everything just in case.

      • Giving KDE developer docs some TLC

        Last month, I had the privilege of coming on board as a documentation specialist to take a closer look at KDE’s developer documentation and to later come up with strategies to make them better than ever. I have talked with some of the community’s developers to get their feedback on some of the areas that need updating or fixing when it comes to technical documentation. But that’s only one part of the story.

        Our dev docs are also meant for new developers. That applies to both new contributors in the KDE community as well as external developers who want to use our software, particularly our excellent KDE Frameworks. In that regard, we’re also looking for feedback on the areas where interested budding rockstar coders and passionate KDE contributors are having trouble getting into the community.

        Having clear, up-to-date, and relevant documentation goes a long way in encouraging and helping new developers get involved with the community with as little friction as possible. It even helps those already manning the ship become familiar with other parts of our software they may not have used before. I would love to hear some thoughts and suggestions, especially from interested KDE hackers, so let me know in the comments below.

      • [Krita] April Development Update

        It’s April already… We’re long overdue for a development update, especially since we haven’t had a new release for quite some time.

        The reason for both those facts is that our maintainer has had some health issues since December that seriously slowed down not just his part of the development work, but also made it really hard to create new releases — all releases are still prepared by one person, and if that person temporarily loses the use of one arm, things that should happen, don’t happen. The arm is back in action, but that wasn’t the only issue, and things are still a bit slowed down.

        Apart from that, we’re making quite good progress towards our next release, which should happen next month.

        In the first place, we’ve got a new full-time developer! Tiar, who is well known in Krita’s Reddit community, graduated from university just when the increased income from Steam made it possible to hire someone to help out with this year’s big goal: bug fixing! Tiar started March 1st, and has already fixed more than a dozen or so tough bugs. Krita now finally has a real Nearest Neighbour scaling method, for instance.

      • New features in Elisa

        I have been quiet for some months but during those months, Elisa has seen many improvements by existing and new contributors and a new stable version is planned in the coming weeks.

        I will publish some blog posts about the many new features implemented in the master branch.

      • KDE Elisa Music Player Picks Up Support For VLC Library

        Of the multiple choices for music/media players on KDE systems, Elisa has been one of the recent but promising contenders in this space. Thanks to recent improvements, Elisa is becoming quite a viable music player for the KDE desktop.

      • First look at the PinePhone dev kit running KDE Plasma Mobile & PostmarketOS

        The folks at Pine64 are working on a Linux-powered smartphone that could sell for as little as $149. It’s called the PinePhone, and the team unveiled the project and launched a development kit earlier this year.

        Now that developers are starting to work with that pre-release hardware, we’re getting our first look at what the phone could look like when it’s running GNU/Linux-based software.

        Photos of a dev kit booting PostMarketOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface were posted recently to the PinePhone developers Telegram group.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Proxmox VE 5.4 with with Ceph Installation Wizard via UI

        Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH today announced the availability of Proxmox VE 5.4, the newest release of its open-source platform for enterprise virtualization. Built on Debian 9.8 (“Stretch”) and a specially modified Linux Kernel 4.15, the Proxmox VE 5.4 introduces a new wizard for installing Ceph storage via the user interface, and brings enhanced flexibility with HA clustering, hibernation support for virtual machines, and support for Universal Second Factor (U2F) authentication.

      • Proxmox VE 5.4 Released With New Installation Bits, Powered By Debian 9.8 + Linux 4.15

        Proxmox VE 5.4 was released today as the server virtualization environment based on Debian and allows for easily deploying LXC containers and KVM-based virtual machines from a web-based interface.

        Proxmox VE 5.4 is derived from the latest Debian Stretch (9.8) packages while switching to the Linux 4.15 kernel for better support, hardware compatibility, and performance. Proxmox VE 5.4 introduces an installation wizard for Ceph from the web UI, suspend-to-disk/hibernation support for QEMU guests, support for universal U2F authentication, an improved ISO installation wizard, and new options around the QEMU guest creation wizard.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Fedora

      • Joe Doss: How Do You Fedora?

        Joe Doss lives in Chicago, Illinois USA and his favorite food is pizza. He is the Director of Engineering Operations and Kenna Security, Inc. Doss describes his employer this way: “Kenna uses data science to help enterprises combine their infrastructure and application vulnerability data with exploit intelligence to measure risk, predict attacks and prioritize remediation.”

        His first Linux distribution was Red Hat Linux 5. A friend of his showed him a computer that wasn’t running Windows. Doss thought it was just a program to install on Windows when his friend gave him a Red Hat Linux 5 install disk. “I proceeded to install this Linux ‘program’ on my Father’s PC,” he says. Luckily for Doss, his father supported his interest in computers. “I ended up totally wiping out the Windows 95 install as a result and this was how I got my first computer.”

      • Lennart Poettering Points Out That Fedora Workstation Could Lose Some Weight

        Well known open-source developer Lennart Poettering has shined some light onto Fedora Workstation’s packaging state that it could be beneficial reducing the set of packages installed by default.

        Lennart initiated a discussion this week entitled: Can we maybe reduce the set of packages we install by default a bit?

        In there he points out there are some packages installed by default that may not make sense for Fedora Workstation or at least if the user isn’t relying upon them… From a cursory examination on a new Fedora 30 Workstation beta install, he points out multipathd, dmraid, ATD, Crond, and Libvirtd. For most users not explicitly using them, it’s just wasted space that is there by default.

      • Internationalization test day report for Fedora 30

        In the preparation for Fedora 30 release, the Internationalization Team organized an Internationalization (i18n) Test Day on March 19. This test day like all the previous i18n test days, its seen that people came from all over the world to participate in this test event. Since the early morning, internationalization engineers were present in #fedora-test-day channel to help people testing on this day.

      • Paul Mellors [MooDoo]: Red Hat Brno Open House

        I don’t work for Redhat, I’m just a fan and a Fedora Ambassador, so with that in mind, if you’re in the area.

      • Systemd 242 Released With XBOOTLDR Support, Networkd L2TP Tunnels

        Red Hat developer Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek has just tagged the systemd 242 release, which is coming in with yet more features for this init system.

        Systemd 242 adds support to systemd-boot for the Extended Boot Loader “XBOOTLDR” specification, Networkd now supports L2TP tunnels, OCI runtime support for nspawn, a new USB gadget target, various new unit settings, and other changes and additions.

      • Flatpak

        • Flatpak Linux App Sandboxing Gets New FUSE-Based System-Wide Installation Method

          Flatpak 1.3.2 is now available and it contains a major change in how installation of Flatpak apps is done system-wide as a user. The developers decided to rewrite the setup process of a Flatpak app due to the fact that the previous method caused unnecessary I/O and used more disk space. The new setup process relies on a custom FUSE file system.

          “The new setup uses a new custom fuse filesystem which the user writes to, and then when this is done we can safely revoke any access to this from the user, meaning the files can be directly imported into the system repository without needing to make a copy,” explains Alexander Larsson in the GitHub announcement page.

        • Flatpak 1.3.2 Released – Now Makes Use Of A Custom FUSE File-System

          Red Hat’s Alexander Larsson released Flatpak 1.3.2 as the newest development release for this widely-used Linux application sandboxing/distribution tech. Flatpak 1.3.2 builds upon last month’s Flatpak 1.3 unstable release with more low-level changes to enhance the security and reliability of Flatpaks.

          A big change was made with Flatpak 1.3.2 affecting how system-wide installations are done as a user. Up to now Flatpak relied upon a process involving a temporary user-owned directory and copying from there, but that method involved unnecessary I/O and temporarily using more disk space.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Will You Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04? Vote In Our Poll!

            The Disco Dingo carries few major changes and only a handful of flat-out “new” features, like Tracker, a Livepatch menu indicator, and new desktop icons extension.

            Instead, performance is the beat this Disco Dingo dances to. The uplift to GNOME 3.32 brings an array of performance, animation and window manager improvements, resulting in a faster, responsive desktop UI.

            But is that enough to tempt you?

          • Make compelling videos with free software: Director’s Cuts

            Creating videos is easy. Creating great videos, not so much. A good production starts with an idea, but it also requires talent, time and tools. We cannot do much about the first two, but we sure can give you some nice ideas on the tools you want to make snappy videos.

            Typically, a video production will have three phases: the collection of content in the form of raw footage, recordings, audio clips, and screenshots for thumbnails; the processing of these materials into a unified project, including some embellishments and effects like color correction and grading, noise cancellation, volume gain, and similar; finally, the project is rendered and packaged inside a video container like AVI or MKV that can then be shown or shared to your audience. At each of these steps, you want reliable software that can help you manipulate your footage in a fast, convenient way. We’ve got some recommendations.

          • On the Case – High Resource Usage

            A customer recently submitted a case that Pedro Principeza, a Canonical Support Engineer, was able to solve using an interesting technique. Principeza was contacted to help pinpoint the processes that were generating a high rate of I/O operations, affecting server performance.

            Implementing a trace to pinpoint workload usage was the best solution, however, resources on its set up were minimal. In order to formulate a thorough manner of tracking activity tied to two specific parts of the kernel, Principeza researched and dived into the Linux kernel official documentation.

          • Rocket chat: How to install Rocket chat server & Client on Ubuntu 19.04

            It is self-hosted free and open source chat solution and best alternative to other open source chat software like Slack for team communication. It allows companies or any group to create their own online chat platform to communicate and collaborate using team chat, even video or audio calls with screen sharing can be possible with Rocket chat for more efficient teamwork.

          • How to Install Pacman in linux Ubuntu 19.04 to play this game easily

            You might not be a hardcore gamer, but it is worth keeping some small games on the devices that you use so that you can play them between work or to stimulate your mind before you start something afresh. If you are working on your smartphone, there are thousands of apps, which you can play no matter which platform you are using, and the same goes for Windows computers, as well. But when it comes to Linux, which is not that famous for the catalogue of games, you might feel left behind, when you want to play some small games. One of the most popular games that hit the market in the last century but is still popular among a big class of users is the Pacman game.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Vs Ubuntu: Which OS Is Better?

              Mint, as well as Ubuntu, are two of the most popular Linux distros which offer a high degree of usability to its users. Both of them have a great community and are easy to use. In this article, we will compare both the distros and find out why Mint is a better option to use.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How libraries are adopting open source

    Four years ago, I interviewed Nathan Currulla, co-founder of ByWater Solutions, a major services and solutions provider for Koha, a popular open source integrated library system (ILS). Since then, I’ve benefitted directly from his company’s work, as my local Chautauqua–Cattaraugus Library System in western New York migrated from a proprietary software system to a ByWater Systems’ Koha implementation.

    When I learned that ByWater is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, I decided to reach out to Nathan to learn how the company has grown over the last decade. (Our remarks have been edited slightly for grammar and clarity.)

  • What is enterprise open source?

    We already know what open source is, right? There’s a great deal written about open source from just about every angle, even a handy definition of what constitutes open source, but what about enterprise open source? While not necessarily exhaustive, here’s what we’re talking about when we say “enterprise open source.”

    First and foremost, it is open source. A product isn’t “enterprise open source” simply because it integrates a single permissively licensed open source library or “works with” or “runs on” open source.

  • Google’s open source partner play is good business, not “some sort of generous magical deal”

    Google does open source better than anyone, because it understands how to turn long-term open source value into long-term sustainable revenue.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Announcing Rust 1.34.0

        The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.34.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

  • Red hat

    • How Red Hat Helped Make Open Source A Global Phenomenon

      By the mid 90s, Microsoft ruled over the technology world. Through its Windows operating system, which ran roughly 95% of the world’s computers, it was able to leverage control over much of what other companies did and built commanding positions in productivity software and other facets of the industry.
      Yet even as the tech giant was at its peak, a danger loomed. Like barbarians at the gate, hordes of developers banded together in online communities to collaborate on their own software. Unlike Microsoft’s proprietary products, nobody owned these and anybody was able to alter or customized them as they pleased.
      Steve Ballmer would come to regard open source software as a cancer. Yet where Microsoft’s CEO saw danger, two entrepreneurs saw an opportunity. They created a company called Red Hat that was focused wholly on the Linux open source software, a seemingly crazy idea at the time. Today, however, it has grown into a major global enterprise. Here’s how they did it.

    • Vodafone Egypt Reboots Customer Experience with Red Hat’s Hybrid Cloud and Cloud-Native Technologies

      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Vodafone Egypt has deployed Red Hat Cloud Suite to advance its customer-first digital transformation initiative. The project includes rebuilding Vodafone Egypt’s website using a microservices-based architecture, and adopting DevOps methodology to better streamline operations and help boost productivity, offering a path for faster time-to-market for new innovations.

    • Managed, enabled, empowered: 3 dimensions of leadership in an open organization

      “Empowerment” seems to be the latest people management buzzword. And it’s an important consideration for open organizations, too. After all, we like to think these open organizations thrive when the people inside them are equipped to take initiative to do their best work as they see fit. Shouldn’t an open leader’s goal be complete and total empowerment of everyone, in all parts of the organization, doing all types of work?

    • Testing Small Scale Scrum in the real world

      Scrum is built on the three pillars of inspection, adaptation, and transparency. Our empirical research is really the starting point in bringing scrum, one of the most popular agile implementations, to smaller teams. As presented in the diagram below, we are now taking time to inspect this framework and principles by testing them in real-world projects

    • Announcing the evolution of the Red Hat Certified Engineer program
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Luxmeter Meets Linux

        The hardware in question was a PCE-174 luxmeter, which came with an uncooperative Windows application as standard. This simply wouldn’t do, so [ThePhil] set about developing a Linux version in Python. This was achieved through the aid of documentation, not of the PCE-174, but its sibling from another corporation – the Extech HD450. The two meters were similar enough that the Extech’s better documentation was able to fill in the gaps of [ThePhil]’s understanding.

  • Programming/Development

    • 2019 Stack Overflow survey: A quick overview

      The results of the 2019 Stack Overflow survey have just been published: 90,000 developers took the 20-minute survey this year. The survey shed light on some very interesting insights – from the developers’ preferred language for programming, to the development platform they hate the most, to the blockers to developer productivity.

      As the survey is quite detailed and comprehensive, here’s a quick look at the most important takeaways.

    • Linux Is The Most Popular & Loved Platform Among Devs: Stack Overflow Survey

      Just yesterday, we brought you the list of the most popular programming languages as per the Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey. Being the largest survey of its kind, it’s able to deliver some fascinating insights regarding the current software development landscape. We, unsurprisingly, discovered that JavaScript continues to be the most popular programming language with about 70% of respondents using it.

      In the second article of that series, we are going to tell you about the preferred platforms for development. The development platform is critical as it can either make you fall in love with your work or just drive you nuts. That’s why Stack Overflow asked developers about the platforms they love working for and the ones they’ve actually worked for in the past year.

    • Python Used to Take Photo of Black Hole

      Scientists have used a new algorithm to take a photo of a black hole. One of the most exciting parts about it to me is that they used a lot of Python libraries to do the magic.

    • Wing Tips: Auto-Editing in Wing Pro (Part 3 of 3)
    • Python String Formatting Tips & Best Practices
    • Flatten Binary Tree to Linked List (Python In-Depth Explanation)
    • Continuum Analytics Blog: The Human Element in AI
    • Report from the February 2019 ISO C++ meeting (Core Language working group)
    • REST API Jumpstart Guide with Python REST web-service Example

      It is an architectural style, set of rules to standardize the web, to maintain uniformity across web applications worldwide. It intends to enhance maintainability, scalability, reliability and portability of web applications.

    • Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones

      The most famous SBC is, of course, the Raspberry Pi, but there are many alternatives, each with their own different strengths and areas of focus. Warren explained that his aim was, “to build a $99 less complete SBC/computer, that can run YouTube, basic office software and be used to tinker”.

      The problem is Mu relies on other projects and some of this software doesn’t work on all platforms. For example, Mu uses the PyQt5 library to draw and control its user interface. However, the folks who make PyQt only release versions built for Windows, Mac and a limited number of Linux versions running on an even more limited selection of hardware. It soon became clear that Warren’s SBC wasn’t a supported platform.

      Here’s where Warren demonstrated epic technical problem-solving skills.

      Over the course of a few days he patiently, diligently and indomitably worked through a series of over obscure problems and trials to achieve success which he celebrated with a tweet and photographic proof.

    • We’re Eagerly Preparing for PyCon 2019!
    • LLVM 7.1 Is Being Released Soon Due To A Bug Breaking ABI Compatibility With GCC

      While LLVM 8.0 was released last month, LLVM 7.1 is set to come soon as an unusual update for this open-source compiler.

      LLVM 7.0.1 was released back in December with mostly the same changes as the soon-to-be-released LLVM 7.1.0, which by the modern LLVM versioning scheme is quite unusual and they don’t usually hit x.1.z versions under their Chrome-like versioning, but an ABI breakage happened.

    • Python Functions Defaults Explained
    • Summaries of the Python meetup in Amsterdam

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Recreating the First Color Photo Ever Made

      In the “Olden Days,” professional science was still in its infancy. People who trained in science and practiced science were using every ounce of creativity and imagination at their disposal to discover the nature of the world. They were scrappy and inventive. In this article, I will outline a modern replication of the experiment that produced the first color photograph ever made.

      As you will see, the method for making the original color photograph was itself a remix! It was made in 1861 by Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell working with the photographer Thomas Sutton (here’s a nice historical blog post). The image was of a tartan ribbon and based on ideas he had worked out and described in a scientific paper six years earlier, in 1855 (you can get Maxwell’s original paper here).

      [...]

      If you don’t have access to Photoshop, there are also good openSource image manipulation software packages, such as GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) for all platforms.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Consumer Drug Ads: 20 Years of Pushing Expensive Meds and Diseases People Probably Don’t Have

      In 2015, the U.S.’ American Medical Association (AMA) called for a ban on direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising. The ads make patients demand expensive treatments from their doctors, said the AMA, when less costly drugs are often more effective. The AMA’s efforts were unsuccessful.

      Most people realize that advertising directly to consumers has been a gold mine for big Pharma. But it has also been a gold mine for major media. Drug ads sponsor prime time TV shows including investigative news shows that might otherwise investigate dangerous drugs and Pharma tactics.(Instead they investigate non-prescription drugs.) In fact, Pharma representatives also sit on the board of major media outlets. No wonder media give dangerous and overpriced drugs a pass and want to hold on to their ads.

      Twenty years ago when DTC ads began in the U.S., Pharma found it could convince people who felt perfectly healthy (and were) that they were sick or “at risk” of being sick and needed to go to the doctor through cagey ads. Even more amazing, these impressionable consumers once at the doctor, would proclaim their self-diagnosis and ask for the drug they saw advertised. Ka-ching.

      Even more amazing that that, instead of resenting their demotion to order-taker, doctors often compliedwith the drug requests thanks to pressure from patients, from their for-profit institutions who want to keep patients coming back and drug salesmen. The pressure is so great, some medical institutions have had to teach doctors “refusal skills” for patients demanding drugs.

      And there are other influencing factors behind doctor compliance like Pharma’s free lunches, vacations, “speaker fees” and grants bestowed on them (One psychiatrist told me a drug rep sent her whole office to a Caribbean island.)

      Since the 1980s, Pharma money has also subtly shaped medical school education––many now believe the “serotonin” theory of depression which has never been proved, for example––and funded medical centers themselves. The 1980 The Bayh-Dole Act allowed medical institutions to partner and profit with Pharma from “drug discovery” observes Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, though the basic research was funded by public, the National Institutes of Health, which sees no profits. (And which pays the inflated drug prices.)

    • ‘We Will Pass It’: Sanders Expresses Support for Ditching ‘Arcane’ Senate Rules to Push Through Medicare for All

      “I would remind everyone that the budget reconciliation process, with 51 votes, has been used time and time again to pass major pieces of legislation and that under our Constitution and the rules of the Senate, it is the vice president who determines what is and is not permissible under budget reconciliation,” Sanders said. “I can tell you that a vice president in a Bernie Sanders administration will determine that Medicare for All can pass through the Senate under reconciliation and is not in violation of the rules.”

      [...]

      Sanders, who introduced his single-payer plan on Wednesday with 14 Senate co-sponsors, emphasized in his statement that any talk of ditching Senate rules is premature as long as Medicare for All doesn’t have 51 votes.

      “In terms of Medicare for All, before we even get to the issue of the filibuster, we need 51 senators who are prepared to do what the polls show that rank and file Democrats want—and that is a Medicare for All, single-payer system,” said the Vermont senator. “Currently, only 15 out of 47 Democrats have publicly stated their support for that legislation, and that has got to change.”

    • Medicare For All Is The Care Every Family Needs

      My name is Dr. Laura Kaplan-Weisman, and I am a family physician from Maryland. I provide primary care to people of all ages and all walks of life, and I feel strongly that what our country needs now is universal health care. That’s why I traveled to Washington to stand with Senator Bernie Sanders as he introduced the 2019 Medicare For All Act.

    • Texas GOP Bill Would Apply Death Penalty for Obtaining Abortion

      A Texas state House committee on Monday night devoted several hours to discussing potentially subjecting women to the death penalty if they obtain abortions.

      Apparently seeking to capitalize on a political moment in which states have passed some of the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the country since Roe vs. Wade passed in 1973, the state House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing that stretched into the early morning hours on House Bill 896. The proposed legislation would criminalize abortion in the state without exception and would classify the medical procedure as a homicide — making it possible for women who get abortion care to be executed by the state.

      Republican state Rep. Tony Tinderholt introduced the bill, saying it would make women more “personally responsible.”

      The proposal includes a specific attack on Roe vs. Wade, noting that state officials would be required to treat abortion as a crime “regardless of any contrary federal law, executive order, or court decision.”

    • Russia’s State Duma passes bill penalizing doping in sports with fines of up to 80,000 rubles

      The State Duma approved a new bill containing administrative penalties for athletes and coaches who commit or propagate doping. The bill passed its third, final vote on April 11.

      Using or attempting to use substances that produce an unfair advantage in sports events will be met with a fine of 30,000 – 50,000 rubles ($466 – $776). Giving such substances to others will be punishable by a fine of 40,000 – 80,000 rubles ($621 – $1,242) under the terms of the bill.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • How HTML5 Ping Is Used in DDoS Attacks
    • Coreboot News: New Script, Pre-built Binaries and PureBoot on Non-TPM Laptops
    • Purism Now Providing Pre-Built Binaries Of Coreboot For Their Laptops

      Purism’s Coreboot support for their laptops has evolved nicely over the past two years after initially not having support. While their devices have been shipping with Coreboot for some time now, Coreboot updates up until now have involved having to build them from source, but now they are offering pre-built binaries.

      Coreboot updates via source are nice if wishing to audit the code for security reasons, but even with their automated scripts can be time consuming. For those preferring the convenience of pre-built binaries, Purism is now offering them for their supported laptops. For installing the new Coreboot binary images is an improved setup/flashing script.

    • Your Android Phone Is Now A Physical Security Key — Here’s How To Use It
    • Emotet The Banking Trojan

      First identified in 2014, Emotet continues to infect systems and hurt users to this day, which is why we’re still talking about it, unlike other trends from 2014 (Ice Bucket Challenge anyone?).

      Version one of Emotet was designed to steal bank account details by intercepting internet traffic. A short time after, a new version of the software was detected. This version, dubbed Emotet version two, came packaged with several modules, including a money transfer system, malspam module, and a banking module that targeted German and Austrian banks.

    • ‘Dragonblood’ Flaw In WPA3 Lets Hackers Easily Grab Your Wi-Fi Passwords

      In late 2017, KRACK Attack crippled the popular 13-year-old WPA2 Wi-Fi standard used in our homes, offices, and public networks. The flaw allowed hackers to gain access to unencrypted traffic between the access point and the device — there were possibilities of breaking encryption as well.

      Months later, the Wi-Fi Alliance released the WPA3 protocol to bring improved wireless security to users as well as to those who didn’t meet the minimum password security requirements. Now, it seems that even WPA3 isn’t completely secure due to some inherent design flaws. The newly found flaws can help an attacker to crack the passwords and further access the encrypted traffic exchange taking place among the devices.

    • samd21-usb-fixed

      On Windows, it causes the driver to stop sending IN packets to the regular IN-Bulk endpoint after it receives one packet. “It’s inconceivable” I hear you cry, but then all can say is “It’s Windows”, where inconceivable becomes reality.

    • Be your own certificate authority

      The Transport Layer Security (TLS) model, which is sometimes referred to by the older name SSL, is based on the concept of certificate authorities (CAs). These authorities are trusted by browsers and operating systems and, in turn, sign servers’ certificates to validate their ownership.

      However, for an intranet, a microservice architecture, or integration testing, it is sometimes useful to have a local CA: one that is trusted only internally and, in turn, signs local servers’ certificates.

      This especially makes sense for integration tests. Getting certificates can be a burden because the servers will be up for minutes. But having an “ignore certificate” option in the code could allow it to be activated in production, leading to a security catastrophe.

    • How to block SSH attacks on Linux with denyhosts

      Denyhosts is an open source, log-based intrusion prevention security program for servers, which allows you to whitelist servers you never want to be blocked and can even alert you, via email, of any possible intrusion detection.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Dictator: Media Code for ‘Government We Don’t Like’

      Let’s start with a quiz: Quick! Name some dictators!

      I’m willing to bet most of you responded with just a few of the same names: Assad, Putin, Castro, Kim Jong-un, Gaddafi, Maduro. This is not because they are the only dictators in the world (far from it), or that all of them even necessarily qualify for the title, but precisely because these are the figures most constantly labeled as such by our media.

      “Dictator” is a very powerful moniker to give someone. There is a hard-to-define but very important distinction between a government with authoritarian tendencies or a poor human rights record, on the one hand, and a full-blown dictatorship. The very name implies that dictatorial governments should, nay, must be resisted and overthrown, while the same action is not appropriate or justifiable for the former.

      Democracy is a supposedly sacred ideal for Americans. Politicians and media tell us that the United States “stands for” democracy and opposes dictatorships everywhere, one reason why the US must continue to involve itself diplomatically and militarily around the world.

    • How the Navy’s Top Commander Botched the Highest-Profile Investigation in Years

      Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Pollio could not believe what she was hearing from the Navy’s top officer.

      It was Jan. 25, 2018, and Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, was addressing an auditorium filled with Navy attorneys. One officer asked a question that touched on a sensitive topic: two collisions of warships in the Pacific in the summer of 2017 that left 17 sailors dead in the Navy’s worst maritime accidents in decades.

      The Navy had recently announced that it would criminally prosecute the captains of the vessels and several crew members for negligence leading to the fatal accidents. The questioner wanted to know whether officers now had to worry about being charged with a crime for making what could be regarded as a mistake.

      Richardson answered by saying that he could not discuss pending cases. As a bedrock principle of military law, commanders cannot signal a preferred outcome. But then, almost as an afterthought, he attempted to reassure the man that the collisions were no accidents.

    • How You Do It

      Still, their madness pales before ours. The US had nearly 13,000 gun homicides when New Zealand had eight; we have a mass shooting almost every day; we have more than one gun for every person; we have far more fatal crime thanks to our insane stockpile of weapons; and we can’t even pass basic background checks without enough loopholes to render them pointless. Most vitally, we have a rabid NRA that holds sway over spineless GOPers willing to do its lunatic bidding. This week, the NRA was super busy. They freaked out about an Illinois move to slightly tighten one gun law, sued Pittsburgh for a “crazy” measure making it illegal to publicly carry magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition, and blasted New Zealand’s enlightened new law as “oppressive,” “onerous,” and “a blank check for gun confiscation,” bloviating, “Officials can expect that their gun control measures will do little more than trample the natural rights of gun owners, drain the public treasury, and earn for themselves the meritless applause of an increasingly ignorant international civilian disarmament community.”

    • Sudan’s Military Ousts President in Face of Protests

      Sudan’s military ousted President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday, ending his 30 years in power in response to escalating popular protests. The defense minister announced military rule for two years, imposing an emergency clampdown that risks inflaming protesters who have demanded civilian democratic change.

      Al-Bashir’s fall came just over a week after similar protests in Algeria forced the resignation of that North African nation’s long-ruling, military-backed president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Together, they represent a second generation of street protests eight years after the Arab Spring uprisings that ousted a number of long entrenched leaders around the Middle East.

      But like those popular movements of 2011, the new protests face a similar dynamic — a struggle over the aftermath of the leader’s removal.

      After the military’s announcement Thursday, protest organizers vowed to continue their rallies until a civilian transitional government is formed. Tens of thousands of protesters were massed Thursday at a sit-in they have been holding outside the military’s General Command headquarters in Khartoum.

    • The F-35 Fighter Jet Will Cost $1.5 Trillion. It’s Time for New Priorities.

      U.S. taxpayers are no strangers to getting saddled with monstrously expensive weapons programs at the expense of basic needs like food, shelter and education. The Pentagon paid $44 billion for 21 very fragile B-2 stealth bombers, only one of which is still flying. The F-22 fighter, coming in at more than $350 million per plane, was built to combat Cold War adversaries who ceased to exist six years before the first jet rolled off the production line. The sticker price for Ronald Reagan’s harebrained “Star Wars” missile defense program stands at around $60 billion.

      Alas, there always seems to be more room at the Pentagon trough. Enter the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

      “Japan Air Self Defense Force Stands Up First F-35A Lightning II Fighter Squadron,” announced the April 1 headline in The Diplomat, a publication focusing on Asia-Pacific news. “Stands up” is military speak for weapons or personnel that are ready to fight. “This is a major milestone for the F-35 enterprise, as it marks the first F-35 IOC for an Indo-Pacific region customer,” said F-35 program executive director Vice Admiral Matt Winter, who went on to praise the “global nature of this program.”

      And then this happened, as explained by NPR 10 days after Japan’s first squadron of F-35A fighters was approved for active service: “Japan’s military has confirmed that one of its F-35A jet fighters has crashed in the Pacific Ocean during a training exercise.” As of this printing, the pilot remains missing

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Statement on Assange Indictment and Arrest

      While the indictment of Julian Assange centers on an alleged attempt to break a password—an attempt that was not apparently successful—it is still, at root, an attack on the publication of leaked material and the most recent act in an almost decade-long effort to punish a whistleblower and the publisher of her leaked material. Several parts of the indictment describe very common journalistic behavior, like using cloud storage or knowingly receiving classified information or redacting identifying information about a source. Other parts make common free software tools like Linux and Jabber seem suspect. And while we are relieved that the government has not chosen to include publication-based charges today, if Assange is indeed extradited, the government can issue superseding indictments. It should not do so. Leaks are a vital part of the free flow of information that is essential to our democracy. Reporting on leaked materials, including reporting on classified information, is an essential role of American journalism.

    • Center for Constitutional Rights Statement on Assange Arrest
    • Chelsea and Julian are in Jail. History Trembles.

      Tonight both Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are in jail, both over offences related to the publication of materials specifying US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and both charged with nothing else at all. No matter what bullshit political and MSM liars try to feed you, that is the simple truth. Manning and Assange are true heroes of our time, and are suffering for it.

      If a Russian opposition politician were dragged out by armed police, and within three hours had been convicted on a political charge by a patently biased judge with no jury, with a lengthy jail sentence to follow, can you imagine the Western media reaction to that kind of kangaroo court? Yet that is exactly what just happened in London.

      District Judge Michael Snow is a disgrace to the bench who deserves to be infamous well beyond his death. He displayed the most plain and open prejudice against Assange in the 15 minutes it took for him to hear the case and declare Assange guilty, in a fashion which makes the dictators’ courts I had witnessed, in Babangida’s Nigeria or Karimov’s Uzbekistan, look fair and reasonable, in comparison to the gross charade of justice conducted by Michael Snow.

    • Daniel Ellsberg on the Importance of Julian Assange

      In this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer interviews activist and former United States military analyst Daniel Ellsberg.

      Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, delves into his reasons for becoming a whistleblower and explains why Richard Nixon didn’t use nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War.

    • Free Julian Assange and All Political Prisoners

      The American war against Iraq was among the more idiotic and gratuitous slaughters in human history. It was premised on lies, prosecuted by criminals and fools, outsourced to professional murderers and it isn’t over. In addition to those murdered directly and indirectly in the war, several million refugees were scattered across the Middle East, including over a million into Syria. ISIS grew from the ranks of the disbanded Iraqi army. This fiasco appeared as it was to all the world, the gasp of a dying empire sunk under the weight of its ignorance and arrogance.

      Late in the war Julian Assange and his colleagues at Wikileaks published documents and videos allegedly leaked by Chelsea Manning that brought the gratuitous nature of American violence home for all to see. The most damning was this videothat shows American soldiers carefully and methodically slaughtering civilians, including Reuters staffers, outside of any determinable theater of war. The label ‘collateral murders’ was attached to the video, but those murdered were targeted— they weren’t ancillary to otherwise justifiable murders.

      Julian Assange has reportedly been charged by an American Grand Jury for his role in publishing this leaked video, among others. He will apparently be extradited to the U.S. where he is expected to stand trial for doing what reporters do— publishing true information in the public interest. The New York Times and other newspapers also published the leaked documents, but have as yet not been charged. This legal maneuvering appears to be a politically motivated vendetta against Julian Assange for embarrassing the War Criminals behind the Iraq war.

      National Democrats and the liberal press have spent the last 2.5 years demonizing Mr. Assange for his role in publishing leaked DNC emails in the run up to the 2016 Presidential race. As with the government’s case against him, the content of the leaked videos and documents is not in dispute. They are what they are purported to be. American soldiers did murder civilians and Reuters staffers who posed no immediate threat to them. Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff did screw Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination and she did give contradictory information about her political positions depending on what she thought her audience wanted to hear.

      Mr. Assange’s accusers are largely those responsible for the imperial decline that his reporting has illuminated. The leading Republicans and Democrats behind the Iraq war should have been charged with War Crimes. There is no statute of limitations on War Crimes. The national security officials among Mr. Assange’s accusers illegally spied on Americans and lied about doing so under oath to congress. The CIA illegally spied on the congressional committee charged with investigating illegal torture in the Iraq War after illegally destroying videotape evidence of its crimes. What is Julian Assange being charged with again?

    • Here’s the Interview With Glenn Greenwald About Julian Assange It Seems NPR Didn’t Want You To Hear

      After a “contentious” live on-air interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald during NPR’s “Morning Edition” morning was apparently scrubbed from its online version of the show, several people uploaded the deleted portion to the web so that people could hear what it seemed the public radio broadcaster did not want people to hear.

      “NPR bizarrely seems to have deleted their own lie-filled interview with me and replaced it with something else,” Greenwald tweeted on Thursday, “even as it still promotes the page as including its interview of me. Where is it, @MorningEdition?”

    • Julian Assange of WikiLeaks Arrested in London; Faces U.S. Charge Related to Chelsea Manning Leak

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London. Earlier today, British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living since 2012. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Assange was arrested on behalf of the United States authorities. The U.S. has charged Assange with helping Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning hack a government computer. The indictment was unsealed shortly after his arrest. We speak to Renata Ávila, a member of Assange’s legal team, as well as British human rights attorney Geoffrey Robertson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and former Justice Department attorney Jesselyn Radack.

    • Justice Department Charges Julian Assange With Computer Crime But Alleges Conspiracy To Abet Espionage

      The United States Justice Department dramatically escalated its political prosecution of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Their efforts are aimed at criminalizing a journalist—and more broadly, a media organization—for allegedly aiding and abetting the disclosure of classified information and publishing that information on the internet.

      Assange was expelled from the Ecuador embassy in the United Kingdom and arrested by British police on April 11. The expulsion and arrest was linked to an indictment and extradition request that was filed many months ago by the United States government.

      He was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012. His asylum was terminated, and the Ecuador government allowed the British police to enter the embassy to apprehend Assange and load him into a police van.

      When Assange was hauled out of the embassy, video captured him urging the UK to resist and fight President Donald Trump’s administration.

      The Justice Department’s grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks charged Assange with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.” It falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and a general part of the criminal code that can be used against individuals who conspire to defraud the United States.

    • The Martyrdom of Julian Assange

      The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.

      Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy—diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory—to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States?

      I am sure government attorneys are skillfully doing what has become de rigueur for the corporate state, using specious legal arguments to eviscerate enshrined rights by judicial fiat. This is how we have the right to privacy with no privacy. This is how we have “free” elections funded by corporate money, covered by a compliant corporate media and under iron corporate control. This is how we have a legislative process in which corporate lobbyists write the legislation and corporate-indentured politicians vote it into law. This is how we have the right to due process with no due process. This is how we have a government—whose fundamental responsibility is to protect citizens—that orders and carries out the assassination of its own citizens such as the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son. This is how we have a press legally permitted to publish classified information and a publisher sitting in jail in Britain awaiting extradition to the United States and a whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, in a jail cell in the United States.

    • While Much of US Media Plays Along, Critics Warn Assange Indictment an ‘Obvious’ Ploy With Deeper Dangers

      The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for a “computer hacking conspiracy,” a charge some corporate talking heads and reporters immediately touted as evidence that journalism is not under threat.

      “Indictment of Assange charges him with hacking, not publishing, a crucial difference for First Amendment concerns,” tweeted David Lauter, Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.

      But press freedom advocates, Assange’s attorneys, WikiLeaks staff, and other critics warned that the exact opposite is the case—and argued Assange’s extradition to the U.S. would set a dangerous precedent for journalists everywhere.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Chicago Commits to 100% Renewable Energy By 2040

      Chicago made history on Wednesday by becoming the largest U.S. city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy before the middle of the century.

    • Fatal Natural Gas Explosion Rocks Durham, NC

      One person was killed and 17 were injured after a natural gas explosion in Durham, North Carolina Wednesday morning.

      The explosion occurred at 10:07 a.m., about 30 minutes after firefighters responded to a 911 call reporting the smell of gas in the 100 block of North Duke Street, Fire Chief Robert J. Zoldos II told The Durham Herald-Sun. The firefighters had begun evacuating nearby buildings when the blast destroyed one building and damaged four others, sending up a plume of dark smoke.

    • Glaciers and Arctic Ice Are Vanishing. Time to Get Radical Before It’s Too Late

      Forget “early warning signs” and “canaries in coalmines” – we’re now well into the middle of the climate change era, with its epic reshaping of our home planet. Monday’s news, from two separate studies, made it clear that the frozen portions of the Earth are now in violent and dramatic flux.

      The first, led by the veteran Greenland glaciologist Jason Box, looked across the Arctic at everything from “increased tundra biomass” to deepening thaw of the permafrost layer. Their conclusion: “the Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.” To invent a word, the north is rapidly slushifying, with more rainfall and fewer days of hard freeze; the latest data shows that after a month of record temperatures in the Bering Sea, ocean ice in the Arctic is at an all-time record low for the date, crushing the record set … last April.

      The other study looked at the great mountain ranges of the planet, and found that their glaciers were melting much faster than scientists had expected. By the end of the century many of those alpine glaciers would be gone entirely; the Alps may lose 90% of their ice. From the Caucasus to the South Island of New Zealand, mountains are losing more than 1% of their ice each year now: “At the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century,” said Michael Zemp, who runs the World Glacier Monitoring Service from his office at the University of Zurich.

    • A Heat Wave in Australia Killed 23,000 Spectacled Flying Foxes

      Weighing up to two pounds and with wingspans approaching five feet, spectacled flying foxes are among the largest bats in the world. Now imagine what it would be like if 23,000 of them fell out of the trees and onto, say, your car or backyard pool.

      That’s what happened last November on the northern coast of Australia when a record-setting heat wave pushed temperatures past 107 degrees Fahrenheit for days on end. The spectacled flying foxes, which are accustomed to shady forest understories, tried to ride out the wave by fanning their wings, panting, and spreading saliva across their bodies, but these cooling measures can combat only so much heat. In the end, tens of thousands of these fruit bats fell to the ground dead. Hundreds more wound up in rehabilitation facilities.

    • 4,500+ Amazon Employees Call on the Company to Take Climate Action

      More than 4,500 Amazon employees have signed a letter calling on the company to take concrete action on climate change, with demands including a complete transition away from fossil fuels.

      The letter was posted on Medium Wednesday by a group calling itself Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and was addressed to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Board of Directors. The group called on the company to release an action plan on climate change based on the principles outlined in their letter.

    • 3 Massacres in 12 Days Suspected in Brazilian Amazon

      The most recent killings took place on April 3 in a landless peasant workers’ camp near the hamlet of Vila de Mocotó in the Altamira municipal district, in southwest Pará state, near the Belo Monte mega-dam. This is not far from Anapu, where Sister Dorothy Stang, an American nun who worked with Amazon landless peasant communities, was murdered in 2005.

      The squatters were campaigning for the area to be turned into an officially authorized agrarian land reform settlement. According to unconfirmed reports, military police were attempting to evict the settlers at the behest of a man claiming to own the land. The police were reportedly acting without a judicial order. The action ended with one confirmed death, a member of the military police, Valdenilson Rodrigues da Silva. Some witnesses say there were three other victims, all landless workers.

      These killings occurred just four days after four people are believed to have been killed in Seringal São Domingos, in Ponta do Abunã, a remote area in the Lábrea municipal district near the intersection of the borders of the states of Acre, Amazonas and Rondônia, about 150 kilometers (approximately 93 miles) upstream from the Jirau hydroelectric dam. Landless movement squatters, likely traumatized by the violence, remain too afraid to speak openly, but it is believed that many other people remain missing.

    • 28 Tons of Trafficked Pangolin Scales Seized in Singapore

      The National Parks Board, Singapore Customs and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority found 14.2 tons of pangolin scales in a beef shipment April 3, on its own a record-breaking haul. Then, on April 8, they found an additional 14 tons in 474 bags. That makes a total of more than 28 tons coming from more than 38,000 of the endangered mammals, the Associated Press reported.

      “The Singapore Government adopts a zero-tolerance stance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species and their parts and derivatives,” the agencies wrote in a joint press release Wednesday. “Our agencies will continue to collaborate and maintain vigilance to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.”

    • ‘A Win for Big Oil and a Gut Punch to Public Lands’: Conflict-Ridden Former Lobbyist Bernhardt Confirmed as Interior Secretary

      Climate action groups were angered but unsurprised Thursday when the Republican-led Senate confirmed former oil industry lobbyist David Bernhardt as the next Interior Secretary—seemingly abandoning the GOP’s stated goal of “draining the swamp,” considering Bernhardt’s background.

      By a 56-41 vote, the Senate named as the nation’s top official overseeing public lands and natural resources a fossil fuel industry insider with 26 known conflicts of interest—which Bernhardt lists on a notecard he regularly carries around, according to reports.

      See the final roll call here.

      “Friends of the Earth would like to congratulate Big Oil for securing another industry insider in Trump’s cabinet,” said Nicole Ghio, who manages Friends of the Earth’s (FOE) fossil fuels program. “The fossil fuel industry couldn’t ask for a better ‘thank you’ from the U.S. senators they bankrolled than David Bernhardt leading DOI.”

    • Greens to pledge to put land in communities’ hands at local election campaign launch

      The Green Party will promise to give local communities the first say on how land in their area is used as it launches its biggest ever local election campaign today.

      Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party, will pledge to give communities the first chance to buy local land that comes up for sale by extending Scotland’s Community Right to Buy policy [1] to England and Wales.

      She is expected to say Greens “believe local decisions should be made by the communities that know them best” and that Community Right to Buy would “help bring land back into use where it is being neglected and hoarded by people who are hanging on for profits”.

    • Greens: EU elections moment to define the Britain we want to be

      “This is the moment to tell the establishment what kind of Britain we want to be. The Green Party is ready to fight the EU elections, mobilise one of the strongest pro-EU movements anywhere and champion a fairer, greener more democratic EU.

    • Indigenous Peoples Go to Court to Save the Amazon From Oil Company Greed

      On Feb. 27, hundreds of Indigenous Waorani elders, youth and leaders arrived in the city of Puyo, Ecuador. They left their homes deep in the Amazon rainforest to peacefully march through the streets, hold banners, sing songs and, most importantly, submit documents to the provincial Judicial Council to launch a lawsuit seeking to stop the government from auctioning off their ancestral lands in the Pastaza region to oil companies. An eastern jungle province whose eponymous river is one of the more than 1,000 tributaries that feed the mighty Amazon, Pastaza encompasses some of the world’s most biodiverse regions.

    • Rapid warming deserves more than a lukewarm response

      Another week, another dramatic warning from scientists — met with shrugs all around. This time, a report commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada, “Canada’s Changing Climate Report,” warned that this country is warming at roughly twice the global average rate, even more in the North and on the Prairies. Some of that is from natural factors, but the report concludes most is from human activity, mainly burning fossil fuels and destroying carbon sinks like forests and wetlands.

    • ‘This Is Not Like a Fence in a Backyard’ — Trump’s Border Wall vs. Wildlife

      As I discussed recently on the Sciencentric podcast, the wall’s true impact becomes more evident when you envision all of the things that accompany it: Roads, vehicles, lights, and acres upon acres of cleared habitat. That’s bad news for jaguars, bears, birds, bees and hundreds, if not thousands, of other species.

      Check out the video interview below, where host Eric R. Olson and I also discuss The Revelator, my work on “Extinction Countdown,” and what technologies might work instead of a wall.

    • Why Oregon Needs More Wilderness

      In the recent Public Lands legislation that was passed by Congress, Oregon got some new protected landscapes including the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness, 250 miles of new Wild and Scenic River segments on the Rogue and Molalla rivers and measures such as a mining ban on the Chetco River. This legislation was a good but a small step in the right direction.

      Not to underestimate the positive effects of the legislation, it’s still important to note that Rep. Greg Walden eviscerated the bill. The original Oregon Wildlands Act included two large National Recreation Areas around the Rogue and Molalla rivers, plus a vital expansion of the Wild Rogue Wilderness. These protective measures were stripped out after objections from Walden.

      I’m usually an optimistic person, and generally, see the cup as half full not half empty. However, it’s hard to ignore how Oregon’s leaders have been thinking at the wrong scale. Our elected members of Congress need a bold vision that corrects the stark imbalance of abuses our public lands have suffered over the last century.

      Compared to neighboring states, Oregon has fallen behind in efforts to protect its outstanding wildlands. Washington has 10% of its lands designated as wilderness, Idaho is 8%, and California is 15% wilderness. California has more people than any other western state and yet has seen fit to protect nearly a fifth of its land area as wilderness and has nine national parks. Oregon has only managed to preserve 4% of its land as wilderness and has only Crater Lake National Park.

      The last time a comprehensive wilderness bill was enacted was in 1984 when the Oregon Wilderness Act protected 828,000 acres and designated 22 new wildernesses including many areas that Oregonians now enjoy like the Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Columbia Wilderness (now Hatfield Wilderness), Waldo Lake Wilderness and North Fork of the John Day Wilderness. Republican Senator Mark Hatfield championed the bill along with Democrat Rep. Jim Weaver, and it was signed into law by President Reagan.

    • Trees’ shade can cool cities by 5°C

      Tomorrow’s sweltering cities could be tamed, thanks to their trees’ shade. Leafy figs and magnolias, beeches and birches, planes and chestnuts in the sterile tarmac and cement world of the great modern city could deliver canopies that could bring temperatures down by more than 5°C in the hottest of the heatwave summers.

      And researchers now know this, not because they tested it with computer simulations, and not because they interpreted the radiation signal from satellite studies. They know it because one scientist fitted one bicycle with its own tiny weather station and took the temperature every five metres along 10 rides or transects, each along roughly seven kilometres of highly built-up city infrastructure.

      To make sure of her readings, Carly Ziter of the University of Wisconsin-Madison repeated each ride between three and 12 times at different times of the day

    • Trump Is Rewriting the Rules to Favor the Pipeline Industry

      Domestic oil and gas production is soaring, and nowdays, it’s not enough to simply pull the stuff from the ground. With the fossil fuel boom comes demand for new pipelines and refining infrastructure, putting the expanding industry on a collision course with communities across the country. Major pipeline projects are facing resistance from a public worried about accidents and climate disruption, so President Trump wants to rewrite the rules in the industry’s favor.

      On Wednesday, Trump announced two executive orders designed to speed up approvals for fossil fuel infrastructure and make it easier for energy firms to transport oil and gas from the nation’s booming fracking fields to domestic and international markets. One order seeks to limit the role of state governments in approving federal clean water permits, a move that environmentalists say undermines states’ ability to delay or block fossil fuel projects that threaten wetlands and waterways, as New York and Washington have done.

      “This executive order shows the administration’s commitment to states’ rights is hollow; once again, the administration is putting profit above all else,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of the Waterkeeper Alliance in a statement on Wednesday.

    • Arctic in trouble: Sea ice melt falls to record lows for early April

      When Arctic sea ice hit its maximum winter extent on March 13, the world paid little attention. 2019 wound up tying for seventh lowest winter extent in the 40-year satellite record — a forgettable statistic in a period of back-to-back record breakers.

      But as scientists noted at the time, the Bering Sea, separating Alaska and Russia, was abnormally ice-free. In the weeks since the underwhelming March headlines, the Arctic has surprised almost everyone: sea ice extent has plummeted by more than a million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) in an unusually sharp decline.

      The Arctic now has around 13.6 million square kilometers (5.3 million square miles) of ice cover, putting us firmly below any other year for the same date, and nearly two weeks ahead of previous early April records in 2017 and 2018. As we head into the summer melt season, the implications are concerning.

  • Finance

    • Average Rent for a Two-Bedroom in San Francisco Is $4,500

      Meet Curtis, a high school teacher, and Riley, a pregnant tech gig worker, in their micro-unit in San Francisco. They’ve just received a rent increase and need to figure out how to keep their growing family in the city.

    • Bolstered by Trump Tax Scam, Number of US Corporations Paying ‘Not a Dime’ in Federal Taxes Doubled in 2018

      A new analysis out Thursday shows that tax policy under the Trump administration is benefitting large corporations to such a degree that twice as many large companies will pay nothing in federal taxes for 2018 compared to previous years.

      The report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which comes less than a week before tax day in the United States on April 15, found that 60 companies—including Amazon, Netflix, Activision Blizzard, General Motors, and IBM—used “a diverse array of legal tax breaks” to bring their federal tax liability to zero.

      “For years, corporations have manipulated the system to avoid paying taxes, and it’s clear that the 2017 tax law did nothing to change this,” said Matthew Gardner, a senior fellow at ITEP and lead author of the report.

      See the complete list of U.S. companies which paid “not a dime” in federal taxes last year here.

      “In many cases, American taxpayers are subsidizing THEM,” writer David Beard noted on Twitter.

    • Moscow court releases American investor Michael Calvey from detention center to house arrest

      Moscow’s Basmanny Court has approved a petition for Michael Calvey, the founder of the investment firm Baring Vostok, to be placed under house arrest after spending almost two months in a pretrial detention center. Calvey has been charged with embezzling 2.5 billion rubles (almost $38,775,000). Interfax reported that Calvey was released from the control of his guards on the spot in the courtroom.

    • Michael Avenatti Charged With Embezzlement, Bank and Tax Fraud

      Attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged in a 36-count federal indictment alleging he stole millions of dollars from clients, did not pay his taxes, committed bank fraud and lied in bankruptcy proceedings.

      Avenatti, 48, was indicted late Wednesday by a Southern California grand jury on a raft of additional charges following his arrest last month in New York on two related counts and for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million.

    • Watch: Rep. Katie Porter Uses Basic Budget Math to Expose Jamie Dimon on Starvation Wages at JPMorgan Chase

      Porter, a Democrat from California, outlined the monthly expenses of her constituent, a single-mother working full-time as a JPMorgan Chase teller for $16.50 an hour.

      After paying for rent on her one-bedroom apartment, food, utilities, child care for her daughter, and other basic needs, Porter estimated that her constituent has a $567 budget shortfall each month.

      When Porter asked Dimon—who earns $31 million a year—how his employee should manage this shortfall while working 40 hours a week at his bank, the Wall Street CEO had no answer.

      “I don’t know, I’d have to think about that,” Dimon said three times after Porter asked whether her constituent should take out a JPMorgan Case credit card and run a deficit or overdraft at the bank.

      After Dimon said he would like to be “helpful,” Porter responded, “What I’d like you to do is provide a way for families to make ends meet, so that little kids who are six years old living in a one-bedroom apartment with their mother aren’t going hungry at night because they’re $567 short.”

    • What is Socialism?

      As the presidential election of 2020 approaches and socialism is used to characterize the ideas and platforms of some of the candidates, a relatively large number of explanations of the concept have appeared in the press.

      Most of these explanations are really non-explanatory. Whether written as a list or in a more discursive form, they are little more than descriptions of some social democratic order, usually in a Northern European country such as Sweden. Their “explanations,” in other words, are not explanatory, they do not go beyond portraying how, for example, health care, education, public transport and similar institutions work in these countries, mostly as state organizations. Political theorists who have contributed to discussions of socialism have avoided its philosophical grounds and instead given an account of its history and, depending on their own political views, its successes or failure.

      Most of these non-explanatory articles draw on familiar tropes in the American political imaginary about socialism, describing it, for example, as a form of redistributionism through state institutions to undo inequalities. Or, they define socialism as public ownership of the means of wealth. However, the state, as the agency of equality, and collective ownership of the means of production are only instruments of socialism. They do not explain its underlying philosophy. To understand socialism, one has to go beyond descriptions of its agencies and engage its philosophical principles.

    • Warren’s Bold New Tax Plan Would Raise Over $1 Trillion From ‘Richest, Biggest’ US Corporations

      “Some of the biggest corporations in the country make huge profits but pay zero federal corporate income taxes on those profits,” the Democrat from Massachusetts explained in a Medium post about the proposal. “Our corporate tax code is so littered with loopholes that simply raising the regular corporate tax rate alone is not enough.”

      To ensure that major corporations are paying their fair share, the Real Corporate Profits Tax would impose a 7 percent tax on American companies for all annual profits beyond $100 million—which would have applied to  about 1,200 public firms last year, according to Team Warren.

      The presidential hopeful, in February, vowed to build her campaign on “ideas and principles” rather than through “fancy receptions” and “big money fundraisers.” Her new tax plan follows detailed proposals to establish universal healthcare in the United States, help families farmers who are struggling to compete with Big Ag, and break up tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

    • Treasury Department fails to meet April 10 deadline to hand over Trump’s tax returns to Congress

      Donald Trump’s treasury secretary informed the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee he would not meet the Wednesday’s deadline to hand over the president’s tax returns.

      In a politically-charged letter informing Chairman Richard E. Neal the Treasury Department would not finish its review of his request for Trump’s private tax return information by April 10, Secretary Steve Mnuchin attacked House Democrats for demanding the president’s “confidential” information and cited the previous Republican leaders of the Ways and Means Committee to justify not fulfilling their request.

      “In the last Congress, the Committee on Ways and Means issued a formal report concerning a House resolution of inquiry seeking information substantially similar to the information you request,” Mnuchin wrote. “The Committee determined that such a request would be an ‘abuse of authority’ and ‘set a dangerous precedent by targeting a single individual’s confidential tax returns and associated financial documents for disclosure’ for political reasons.”

      Mnuchin argued the law being cited by House Democrats, according to the previous Congress, “may not be used ‘for purposes of embarrassing or attacking political figures of another party.’” Mnuchin also quoted Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, as describing the requests for Trump’s tax returns as “lacking the requisite ‘legitimate political purpose’ and as ‘Nixonian to the core.’”

    • Report Offers ‘Bleak Picture’ as Rising Inequality and Soaring Costs Drive Young People Out of Global Middle Class

      Millennials are major drivers of world economies, yet the world’s wealthiest countries are failing to ensure that people in their 20s and 30s are able to live the comfortable, middle-class lives many of their parents and grandparents enjoyed at the same age.

      A report released by the OECD Wednesday shows how slowed or halted income growth as well as the rapidly growing costs of education and housing are keeping young people out of the middle class as they attempt to begin their adult lives, buy homes, and raise families.

      “Our analysis delivers a bleak picture and a call for action,” said Gabriela Ramos, chief of staff for the OECD, in a statement. “The middle class is at the core of a cohesive, thriving society. We need to address their concerns regarding living costs, fairness, and uncertainty.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie Has to Do Better Than This

      On a Sunday in early April, your favorite grumpy Jewish uncle and mine, Bernie Sanders, opened himself up to a renewed line of attack from those within the Democratic Party (and on the political left more broadly) who feel he is out of touch with issues of race and identity. At a public appearance in Oskaloosa, Ia., a member of the audience asked him about the logistics of so-called open borders, apparently under the mistaken belief that Sanders supported an open borders policy.

      The candidate quickly corrected his questioner. “I do not think that’s something we can do,” he said. Instead, Sanders favors “comprehensive immigration reform.” As to open borders, he continued, the world is too full of extreme poverty, implying the United States could not afford to open its doors to the global poor.

      It was inelegantly put and poorly framed, although as a matter of policy, it’s not necessarily different from any of the other major candidates’ in the ever-growing Democratic presidential field. Many of the hopefuls have remained deliberately vague on the issue, preferring high-flown rhetoric that focuses on Donald Trump’s stupid wall (which Beto O’Rourke, for example, said he’d tear down), on the gratuitous cruelty of family separation and on the plight of the “Dreamers,” who were brought into the U.S. as young children, and whose condition is therefore considered more sympathetic because they did not willfully violate any American laws.

    • Anti-corruption bill #HR1 can fix the US’ broken democracy

      Recently, the House of Representatives passed the most significant democracy reform bill in generations: The For The People Act (HR 1). This omnibus bill tackles virtually all aspects of our broken democracy—from the corrosive influence of money in politics to out-of-control gerrymandering to widespread voter suppression—with practical, proven-to-work solutions such as public financing of elections, automatic and same-day voter registration, and independent redistricting commissions, writes Adam Eichen, the author of Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want. He is also an Advisor to EqualCitizens.US.

      True to form, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put a damper on the historic occasion by pledging to kill HR 1. His rationale was terrifying in a democracy: “Because I get to decide what we vote on,” he explained.

    • Absence of Proof: the Approval Process for Adani

      Much hot air is coming out from the public relations unit of Adani, and the language used is that of a hostage taker seeking to earn a rich and ill-deserved ransom. With the date for the Australian federal election looming, the Indian mining giant received a boost in its flagging fortunes. And flagging they had been: banks reluctant to supply credit; scientists concerned about environment credentials; activists worried that Australia was inviting the creation of a dinosaur. But the Morrison government needed some distracting good news and announced with speedy excitement that the company had met various scientific requirements on the protection of local waterways. There are seats to be retained in Queensland, and timing is everything.

      The speed of it has all the markings of electoral expediency. The environment minister, Melissa Price, continues to remain an invisible member of the Morrison government, but she briefly manifested in making the announcement. Bullying and hectoring have also been part of the process, and Senator James McGrath was growling for her resignation if the seal of approval was refused. Other members of the coalition, including National MPs Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan, have been breathing heavily down the minister’s neck favouring Adani’s cause.

      The effect of such pressure does much to take away the appearance of volition on Price’s part. Jo-Anne Bragg, CEO of the Environmental Defenders Office in Queensland, smells a legal case testing the nature of minister’s discretion. “Such a political threat puts a cloud over Minister Price’s possible decisions on Adani.”

    • The Man Who Saw Trump Coming a Century Ago

      Distracted daily by the bloviating POTUS? Here, then, is a small suggestion. Focus your mind for a moment on one simple (yet deeply complex) truth: we are living in a Veblen Moment.

      That’s Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of (or forgot). His working life — from 1890 to 1923 — coincided with America’s first Gilded Age, so named by Mark Twain, whose novel of that title lampooned the greedy corruption of the country’s most illustrious gentlemen. Veblen had a similarly dark, sardonic sense of humor.

      Now, in America’s second (bigger and better) Gilded Age, in a world of staggering inequality, believe me, it helps to read him again.

      In his student days at Johns Hopkins, Yale, and finally Cornell, already a master of many languages, he studied anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and political economy (the old fashioned term for what’s now called economics). That was back when economists were concerned with the real-life conditions of human beings, and wouldn’t have settled for data from an illusory “free market.”

      Veblen got his initial job, teaching political economy at a salary of $520 a year, in 1890 when the University of Chicago first opened its doors. Back in the days before SATs and admissions scandals, that school was founded and funded by John D. Rockefeller, the classic robber baron of Standard Oil. (Think of him as the Mark Zuckerberg of his day.) Even half a century before the free-market economist Milton Friedman captured Chicago’s economics department with dogma that serves the ruling class, Rockefeller called the university “the best investment” he ever made. Still, from the beginning, Thorstein Veblen was there, prepared to focus his mind on Rockefeller and his cronies, the cream of the upper class and the most ruthless profiteers behind that Gilded Age.

    • The Israeli Election Put the Bigotry of Its Political Class Front and Center

      Israeli elections have come and gone, delivering Benjamin Netanyahu a fifth term that soon will make him Israel’s longest serving prime minister. The toxic rhetoric that defined the weeks-long campaign, with candidates seeking to outdo each other in demeaning Palestinians and dismissing rights, will most likely endure.

      It starts with Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Netanyahu last month said on Instagram, “Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the Nation-State Law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People — and them alone.” His comments came in response to an issue that the Israeli actress Rotem Sela raised on social media: “When the hell will someone in this government broadcast to the public that Israel is a country for all its citizens? And every person was born equal. Arabs, too, God help us, are human beings.”

      Leading chants of “Bibi or Tibi” (a reference to a Palestinian-Israeli Knesset member Ahmed Tibi), Netanyahu repeatedly claimed that his rivals want to join a coalition with parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel (as though this were a disqualifying prospect).

    • The American Public Deserves to See the Mueller Report With as Few Redactions as Possible

      Considering the “extraordinary public interest” in the Mueller report, any redactions made by Attorney General Barr must be limited and defensible.
      Few matters are of greater public interest than the contents of the report produced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his recently completed investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, alleged collusion with the Trump administration, and any interference with the Mueller investigation. Attorney General William Barr has conceded that there is extraordinary public interest in the report. Yet there remain grave concerns that he will redact significant facts from the report, denying the public access to information. At a House hearing, Barr said Tuesday that he intends to release a redacted version of Mueller’s report “within a week” and that he plans to explain his rationale behind each redaction.

      The ACLU is committed to transparency and accountability in government, and therefore we have called on Attorney General Barr to transmit the full, unredacted report to Congress for its use in oversight, including determining whether a congressional investigation of possible obstruction of justice by Trump and his associates is warranted. We’ve also called for public release of the report with minimal redactions that are based only on legitimate and lawful justifications.

      Politico reported that Barr said lawmakers will be getting a redacted version of the report, saying Congress does not have a right to view sensitive grand jury information. But Congress must be able to read the full report and underlying documents since it is fundamental to its mission, rooted in the Constitution itself, to carry out oversight of the executive branch in our system of checks and balances. This is essential to determine whether there is a need to investigate if the standard for impeachment of the president has been met. According to multiple media reports, the Mueller report has detailed descriptions of evidence related to alleged obstruction of justice, but it does not allegedly conclude whether that obstruction of justice occurred. On Wednesday, Barr said that he would work with Congress to provide access to redacted information as necessary.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • EU Tells Internet Archive That Much Of Its Site Is ‘Terrorist Content’

      We’ve been trying to explain for the past few months just how absolutely insane the new EU Terrorist Content Regulation will be for the internet. Among many other bad provisions, the big one is that it would require content removal within one hour as long as any “competent authority” within the EU sends a notice of content being designated as “terrorist” content. The law is set for a vote in the EU Parliament just next week.

      And as if they were attempting to show just how absolutely insane the law would be for the internet, multiple European agencies (we can debate if they’re “competent”) decided to send over 500 totally bogus takedown demands to the Internet Archive last week, claiming it was hosting terrorist propaganda content.

    • Grandstanding GOP Senators Continue To Mislead About Social Media Bias, Demand A ‘Fairness Doctrine’ For The Internet

      We’ve talked for a while about the sheer silliness of (mainly) Republican politicians whining about supposed “anti-conservative bias” on social media platforms. As we’ve pointed out, the actual evidence hasn’t shown any evidence of bias. The random anecdotal examples of badly moderated content have mostly just shown how difficult it is to do content moderation at scale. The “bad” moderation decisions impact lots of folks across the political spectrum — it’s just that some grandstanding Republicans like to engage in confirmation bias (the only actual bias that seems to be occurring here) to suggest the moderation mistakes are politically motivated. We’ve pointed out multiple times now that crying wolf on this issue is not a good look for conservatives — on multiple levels.

      Beyond the fact that the evidence seems to disprove the claims of bias (oh, and yet another study has shown no evidence of bias), for years these very same Republicans kept attacking the idea of the “fairness doctrine,” which was an FCC rule in place for a few decades, demanding “equal representation” of political views on the public airwaves. It hasn’t been in place for a while, but for a few years, this same group of Republicans grandstanded about false claims that Democrats were trying to bring it back. And yet, what they seem to be demanding now is the return of the fairness doctrine, but in an even more ridiculous way. Rather than on the public airwaves — where at the very least there was some legitimate claim to the government being able to set some conditions — these Senators now seem to want to force private companies to run businesses the way they want them to. What a bunch of hypocrites.

      And the largest of the hypocrites is Senator Ted Cruz, who has continued to repeat this myth, holding multiple hearings on the topic, including a new one yesterday, with representatives from Facebook and Twitter in attendance. Someone from Google was supposed to be there but (get this), Ted Cruz rejected the Google witness, likely after discovering that Google was sending a former Ted Cruz staffer, who would have done a nice job debunking his former boss’s nonsense. Kinda ironic, in a hearing on platforms supposedly blocking conservatives from speaking, the Senate itself decided to block a conservative from speaking.

    • Russian lawmakers have adopted the final version of new ‘Internet isolation’ legislation. Here’s how it’s supposed to work.

      On Thursday, April 11, the State Duma adopted the second reading of draft legislation designed to “ensure the safe and sustainable functioning” of Internet service in Russia. Lawmakers say the law will defend the country against foreign aggression, serving as insurance, in case Russia’s global Internet access is shut off from abroad. The legislation effectively lays out how Russia’s Internet infrastructure would work in isolation from the outside world. Meduza reviews the project’s key features.

    • Russian censorship agency blocks news site that refused to delete story about graffiti insulting Putin

      Representatives for the Yaroslavl-based news site Yarcube wrote on the site’s Telegram channel that the site has been blocked in Russia. The country’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, added the site to its blacklist, the journalists wrote.

      Yarcube employees contacted their hosting provider and discovered that the website had become inaccessible because Roskomnadzor disapproved of a news story describing a young man who had attempted suicide. However, the Yaroslavl agency accused Roskomnadzor of “scrambling to find a reason to punish us for our position regarding the story on graffiti about Putin that was left on the walls of the local Internal Affairs Ministry building.”

    • Correa Says Moreno INA Papers Probe Led to Facebook Page Block

      The INA Papers alleges Moreno’s link to a firm which deposited millions to an offshore company,whose owner put money in Moreno’s brother’s shell company.

      Early Friday, former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa confirmed that his Facebook account had indeed been blocked, just one day after the ex-head of state publicly criticize Lenin Moreno for the withdrawal of asylum previously granted to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Government Fights to Trap EFF’s NSA Spying Case in a Catch-22

      The U.S. government admits—and, of course, it’s common knowledge—that the NSA conducts mass, dragnet surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans’ communications. It has done so via a series of different technical strategies and legal arguments for over 18 years. Yet the Justice Department insists that our legal fight against this spying is bound by a Catch-22: no one can sue unless the court first determines that they were certainly touched by the vast surveillance mechanisms of the NSA, but the court cannot decide whether any particular person’s email, web searches, social media or phone calls were touched by the surveillance unless the government admits it. Which, of course, it will not do.

      At a federal court hearing last month in Oakland, California for our Jewel v. NSA case, we took on this circular argument. EFF Special Counsel Richard Wiebe reviewed the vast trove of direct and circumstantial evidence showing our clients’ communications likely swept up by the NSA dragnet surveillance—this establishes legal “standing.” The interception of communications was first revealed in 2006 by a whistleblower working for AT&T in San Francisco, Mark Klein. Klein demonstrated, with expert assistance, that AT&T tapped into the high-capacity fiber optic cables that carry Internet traffic and copied all of the data flowing through those cables for the NSA. A 2009 draft NSA Inspector General’s report confirms that telecom companies including AT&T gave the NSA access to customers’ communications. Justice Department officials and government agencies have acknowledged its existence going back a decade. Ex-NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents describing the spying and authenticated a key document for the court when the government refused. And just this past year, an additional whistleblower and several other experts have submitted statements explaining that the surveillance program likely touched our clients’ communications.

      We also noted that it’s not necessary to absolutely establish that our client’s communications were touched by the surveillance to prevent dismissal. We must only demonstrate that it is more likely than not that our clients’ communications were touched by the NSA’s three programs of telephone record collection, Internet metadata collection, and Internet backbone surveillance. Given the mountain of evidence that we have presented and the admitted scope of the program, there is almost no chance that our clients’ communications—like the communications of millions of innocent Americans—weren’t touched by the government’s programs.

    • California’s Attorney General Wants to Empower People to Protect Their Privacy. Sacramento Legislators Should Listen.

      California’s lawmakers took a much-needed step last year by passing the California Consumer Privacy Act as a foundation for consumer privacy rights. Now they need to step up to make sure it can work as intended. One of the major issues identified by the California Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra is that the limited resources the legislature has provided the AG to protect consumer privacy means the CCPA’s goals — and the privacy rights Californians want and deserve — will be undercut before the law goes into effect next year.

      In response, California’s Senate Judiciary Committee this week passed Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s bill, S.B. 516, which would give the AG’s office much-needed support to enforce the law, including by allowing every Californian to act as their own privacy enforcer with the right to challenge companies that violate their privacy in court. 94 percent of Californians want the right to take a company to court if they violate their privacy rights, according to polling from the American Civil Liberties Union. S.B. 516 also eliminates the 30-day “right to cure” in the CCPA that gives companies that have already violated people’s privacy rights a grace period to clean up their act after the fact. It also eliminates any taxpayer subsidies for compliance with the law as originally written into the bill as a favor to industry.

    • Microsoft worked with Chinese military university on AI

      Microsoft has been working with a Chinese military-run university on artificial intelligence research that could be used for surveillance and censorship.
      Three papers, published between March and November last year, were co-written by academics at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing and researchers with affiliations to China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDR), which is controlled by China’s top military body, the Central Military Commission.
      Samm Sacks, a senior fellow at the New America think-tank and a China tech policy expert, said the papers raised “red flags because of the nature of the technology, the author affiliations, combined with what we know about how this technology is being deployed in China right now”.
      “The [Chinese]government is using these technologies to build surveillance systems and to detain minorities [in Xinjiang],” she added.

    • Is Your Smart Speaker Listening in on You?

      Almost a third of American households have a smart speaker, according to a study from National Public Radio and Edison Research. These devices play music, turn on lights, set alarms and perform numerous household tasks, all with a simple voice command.

      The Google Home, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo, among other smart speakers, are like having a personal assistant that happens to be inanimate. But for every voiced request, it’s difficult not to wonder if anyone is listening. As Matt Day, Giles Turner and Natalia Drozdiak write in Bloomberg, for users of Amazon’s Echo speaker, with its digital assistant, Alexa, thousands might be.

      Amazon, as Day, Turner and Drozdiak report, employs thousands of voice reviewers, people around the world who help refine Alexa’s responses. As they explain: “The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.”

      Bloomberg points out that Google and Apple also use human reviewers, but their processes appear to less robust.

      For iPhone’s Siri assistant, Bloomberg says the recordings “Lack personally identifiable information and are stored for six months tied to a random identifier, according to an Apple security white paper. After that, the data is stripped of its random identification information but may be stored for longer periods to improve Siri’s voice recognition.”

    • Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa

      Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out of concern that someone might be listening.

      Sometimes, someone is.

      Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

    • This Is What Amazon Alexa Does With Your Voice Recordings

      People usually ask their Amazon Echo devices, ‘Alexa, is someone else listening to us?’ Well as it turns out, the answer is yes.

      Amazon Alexa, the digital home assistant, gets smarter every day using your voice recording. It happens with the help of an Artificial Neural Network (ANN), human workers, and a non-disclosure agreement.

    • Amazon Employees Listen To Your Alexa Conversations

      The team uses voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices to transcribe, annotate and then feed back into the software. This ultimately helps in making Alexa’s understanding of human speech better, the report added.

      “We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously. We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order [to] improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone,” an Amazon spokesperson was quoted as saying.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Calling All Xenophobes! (Video)

      The great spring purge at the White House is under way. President Trump has been slashing and burning his minions and now has a cabinet loaded with “acting” secretaries. The famed baby-torturer, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is out.

      Apparently Nielsen and others weren’t tough enough for Trump. Maybe the migrant families fleeing violence in their home countries will soon be extra-extra separated again? There is plenty of other cruelty Stephen Miller and his henchman Trump can throw at the border.

    • Calls for Probe Into White Supremacy and Domestic Terrorism After Arrest for Arson Attacks on Black Churches

      Civil rights advocates on Thursday called for a serious examination of racist hate crimes and domestic terrorism in the wake of arson attacks on three black churches in Louisiana.

      Authorities announced that they had arrested Holden Matthews, a 21-year-old suspect accused of setting fire to three historically black churches in southern Louisiana over the course of 10 days. Matthews, who is white and the son of the deputy sheriff of St. Landry Parish, was charged with three counts of arson.

      The NAACP argued that the church burnings, which are reminiscent of several similar incidents which took place throughout the South in the civil rights era, should be investigated as a racist hate crime.

      “This is the same domestic terrorism that has been the hammer and chisel used to chip away at the humanity of Black Americans and the suppression of our political power,” the group said in a statement.

      The group noted that crimes linked to white supremacy have been on the rise since President Donald Trump took office and called on the federal government to lead in the fight against domestic terror attacks…

    • Chicago’s Inspector General Finds the City’s Gang Database Is Riddled With Errors

      Gang data collected by the Chicago Police Department has been accessed more than 1 million times over the last decade by immigration officials, the FBI, the Chicago Public Schools and scores of other agencies.

      Yet the Police Department has done little to make sure the information is accurate and has no clear rules for how it can used by those outside entities, according to a 159-page report released Thursday morning by the office of Joe Ferguson, Chicago’s inspector general.

      The department’s failure to ensure the accuracy or fairness of its gang database, Ferguson concluded, has caused lasting damage. In lawsuits and at public hearings, dozens of people have reported being targeted by federal immigration enforcement or losing out on job opportunities after being wrongly included in the database.

      And at a time of tension between police and many community residents, especially on the city’s South and West sides, the database “potentially undermines public confidence in the Department’s legitimacy and effectiveness in the service of its public safety mission,” the report says.

    • FBI Cyber Crimes Division Not So Great About Passing Info To Victims Of Cyberattacks

      The FBI wanted in on the cyberwar. The problem was recruits. Years of treating Americans and their rights like garbage have turned the young ones against the feds. The FBI struggled to find enough willing and able youthful whitehats to send to the frontlines of the The Great War (Internet Edition).

      The FBI had the budget, the permission, the power… but not the personnel. It also probably wasn’t the best agency for the job. The FBI knows investigations, but its part in the CyberWar included sharing info with private sector hacking targets. Sharing isn’t in the FBI’s nature. It’s appears to enjoy the sneakier parts of its cyber work, but when it comes to protecting companies and their customers, the FBI apparently isn’t up to the task.

      A recently-released Inspector General’s report [PDF] shows the FBI is an unorganized mess when it comes to notifying victims of cyberattacks and data breaches. The FBI’s Cyber Guardian system received a purpose (notifying victims of cyber intrusions) and a nifty logo (a lion wielding a sword), but not much internal guidance or outside assistance.

    • Alleged accomplice in Baring Vostok case confesses guilt, testifies against other defendants

      As the American investor Michael Calvey was transferred today from jail to house arrest, news broke that another defendant in the case against Calvey has confessed to the charges against him. Alexey Kordichev, the former head of Vostochny Bank…

    • Republicans Twist White Nationalism Hearing Into Islamophobic Forum

      A long overdue congressional hearing on white nationalism and technological platforms on Tuesday turned into an ugly forum for Islamophobia and right-wing denialism of hate violence. The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee hearing could have offered a powerful rejoinder to the growing problem of white supremacist violence in the wake of the New Zealand shooting as well as the suspected arson by white supremacists of three churches in Louisiana and the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee. Instead, Republican Congress members and conservative panelists used the hearing to push Islamophobic narratives.

      Throughout the hearing, anti-Semitic and racist comments flooded the comments section of the event’s live stream. Meanwhile, in the chamber itself, powerful lawmakers went about echoing many of the myths that fuel the persistence of hate violence. In his opening comments, Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Georgia) laid out Republicans’ pre-emptive defense against accusations that GOP Congress members are implicitly or explicitly supporting white supremacist and far-right groups. There were two key components to this defense: reviving the outrage over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments on Israel and shielding far-right language behind free speech. Collins and his colleagues attempted to equate Omar’s comments with the growing problem of white supremacist violence that spurred the hearing.

      The Republicans relied on two witnesses to bring this strategy to life, both equally provocative figures in their respective circles. One was conservative commentator Candace Owens, who gained notoriety through the social media channels at issue. Even though Owens experienced anti-Black death threats in high school, she proved an invaluable guest to question hate violence, accusing Democrats of “fear-mongering, power and control” and calling the well-documented Republican Southern strategy a “myth.” Her inclusion at the hearing demonstrated the Republicans’ “free speech” strategy that protects controversial figures on the right.

    • Policing Worsens Public Safety for Puerto Rico’s Most Vulnerable

      In Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico, author Marisol LeBrón describes how policing in Puerto Rico deepens racial and economic inequalities that stem from failed development and ongoing colonial domination by the United States. Her new book also upholds the voices of the marginalized who suffer most from punitive governance and shows how they are resisting. In this excerpt, LeBrón explains her approach to understanding the role of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) in the archipelago.

      When existing political economic structures are faltering or being called in question, political elites have strategically mobilized fears about crime and violence to increase their reach and consolidate power. Stuart Hall and his colleagues outlined this process in the foundational text Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order, in which they noted that when society seems to be “slipping into a certain crisis,” panic over crime and violence can “serve as the articulator of the crisis, as its ideological conductor.” Panic about crime allows for the existing social order, and the unequal power dynamics that it produces, to be stabilized or strengthened throwing the “slow build-up to a ‘soft’ law-and-order society.” Under the guide of public safety, political elites are able to promote repressive policies that would normally receive tremendous pushback from various sectors of society. The Puerto Rican state strengthened its security apparatus and promoted a punitive common sense that treated violent crime as the central problem confronting the archipelago in order to elide the role of colonial capitalism in producing the insecurity experienced by many Puerto Ricans.

      Accepting the colonial lie of Puerto Rico’s “nonviability,” the Puerto Rican government did not challenge the model of continued incorporation within the United States. Rather, left with the ruins of a failed development model and few options to affect political and economic change, the Puerto Rican state turned to punitive governance to suture the ruptures of colonial capitalism. In particular, the state has turned it punitive apparatus against racially and economically marginalized Puerto Ricans, who are the most likely to suffer the effects of Puerto Rico’s social and economic crises.

    • Police Delayed Review of Tactics for Controlling Fracking Protest as Conflict Escalated, Leaked Emails Show

      Police have been criticised for repeatedly delaying a review of official guidance for policing fracking protests after a cache of leaked correspondence highlighted ongoing problems with the consultation process. More than two years after the review was first promised, DeSmog and the Guardian can exclusively reveal it has now been delayed for a fifth time.

      Dozens of leaked emails between the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Lead on Shale Gas and Oil Exploration — Lancashire Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods — and Green MEP Keith Taylor show how the process has been repeatedly delayed, with the review’s remit changing without any prior warning.

    • Progressives Call on House Democrats to Probe ‘Sham Confirmation Process’ for Brett Kavanaugh

      A coalition of 26 progressive groups on Thursday urged House Democrats to investigate the GOP-controlled Senate’s “sham confirmation process” for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

      “Many issues went unresolved during last year’s confirmation process, when Senate Republicans jettisoned all procedural norms and abandoned any sense of fairness, and they must be investigated,” the groups wrote in a letter (pdf) to members of the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Reform.

    • With Release of More Detectives’ Names, Entire Smollett Investigation Called Into Question

      After writing about the three detectives listed on Jussie Smollett’s initial police report, more detectives’ names were released when Chicago police rushed investigation records to the media after Jussie’s charges were dropped. The media has not reported on these detectives’ backgrounds, but they are certainly newsworthy – and call the entire investigation into question.

      13 officers are listed on the CPD reports. Two have no civilian allegations. The remaining 11 detectives have 177 civilian allegations against them. The city of Chicago also paid to settle the cases of four of these detectives when they were sued for misconduct. This can be found in the Chicago Reporter’s database. Though neither the officers nor city of Chicago openly admits to the allegations, it remains true that the city of Chicago paid to settle these specific cases.

      One of the detectives sued for misconduct is Morad Haleem, the supervisor who approved the investigation documents recently released to the media. In the case, which the city of Chicago paid to settle, plaintiff Derrick Thrasher was pulled over for driving a car with tinted windows, then pressured by Haleem to confess to a crime he didn’t commit. When Thrasher refused, Haleem began choking him and slammed his head into a wall allegedly. Thrasher was admitted to the hospital at least twice as a result of his injuries. Haleem does not appear to have been disciplined for this, and in fact went on to allegedly falsely arrest two Black women in 2015.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • House Passes Net Neutrality Bill, McConnell Promises It Won’t Survive Senate

      As I noted over at The Verge some of those statistics are a bit shaky, and there’s zero evidence any of them had anything to do with killing net neutrality. The 35% bump in broadband speeds, for example, is pretty well in line with past growth, and is courtesy of a lot of things, ranging from relatively inexpensive Cable DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades, to the rise of community broadband efforts (which the Trump FCC opposes). And the “record fiber” growth that the White House credits to “light touch regulatory” policies was courtesy of fiber build out merger conditions affixed on the AT&T DirecTV merger by the previous FCC.

      There’s some hope among activists that the bill passes the Senate, then avoids a Trump veto by appealing to his “populist” streak (whatever that means any more), given that the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support. That’s always seemed like a long shot given Trump’s blind fealty to these companies so far. Still, even if the vote fails, the loss will provide a voter scorecard ahead of the 2020 elections, making it abundantly clear which politicians actively respect the will of the public and the need for level internet playing fields, and which prioritize the revenues of giant natural telecom monopolies.

    • Investor Lawsuit Accuses AT&T Of Downplaying Streaming Video Losses

      o we’ve noted how AT&T’s latest round of merger mania isn’t providing quite the returns the company expected. After spending $67 billion to buy DirecTV and another $86 billion to acquire Time Warner, AT&T had hoped to become a juggernaut in the internet video and online advertising space. But those efforts haven’t gone quite according to plan. The company has been losing both traditional TV (DirecTV, IPTV) and streaming video (DirecTV Now) customers at an alarming rate, thanks largely due to AT&T price hikes imposed to try and recoup the massive debt load AT&T acquired during its fit of merger mania.

      A new lawsuit (pdf) is now complicating AT&T’s ambitions further. The lawsuit, filed last week in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses AT&T executives like CEO Randall Stephenson of violating the US Securities Act by “knowingly or recklessly” making false statements to investors by failing to disclose that the company’s DirecTV Now streaming platform wasn’t doing all that well.

      More specifically, the lawsuit accuses AT&T of issuing press releases, filings, and other public statements that actively downplayed or omitted the fact that the company’s streaming customers were headed for the exits (267,000 in Q4 alone), in large part thanks to several rounds of rate hikes on the company’s DirecTV Now streaming platform.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Delrahim Out Of Step With FTC, Industry, Academics On FRAND/SEP

      In the U.S., antitrust laws are typically enforced by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). For example, the DOJ and FTC share the authority to enforce the Clayton Act and the Robinson-Patman Act, while the DOJ has exclusive authority to enforce Sherman Act § 1 and § 2. Under § 5 of the FTC Act, the FTC can regulate some of the conduct that the DOJ regulates under the Sherman Act. Over the years, the two agencies have developed expertise in particular industries or markets. The FTC’s expertise, for example, encompasses health care, pharmaceuticals, and certain high-tech industries, while the DOJ focuses on the financial services and telecommunications industries.

      While work by the FTC and DOJ is usually complementary, one area of law in which there may be growing divergence is in intellectual property (IP) rights, and more specifically, IP licensing. The voice driving this divergence is that of Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Makan Delrahim. Since being confirmed in September 2017, AAG Delrahim has indicated that he believes owners of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) who refuse to license on “Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory” (FRAND) terms should not be subject to antitrust scrutiny. On the other hand, the FTC and the courts have recognized that in some situations, antitrust cases can be brought against SEP holders under § 2 of the Sherman Act or § 5 of the FTC Act. For example, the FTC sued Qualcomm in January 2017 for violation of § 5, alleging Qualcomm refused to license its alleged SEPs according to FRAND terms.

    • Munich I Regional Court lifts Qualcomm’s deceptive-advertising injunction against Apple (indirectly related to patent injunction)

      After this week’s news of an EU General Court ruling against Qualcomm (related to the European Commission’s enforcement of compliance with a couple of antitrust information requests) I also checked again with the Munich I Regional Court, mostly because I was curious about Qualcomm’s recent contempt motion against Apple, alleging non-compliance with the injunction Apple has meanwhile worked around. Please check out my mid-February post on that matter because it summarizes the unusual circumstances (procedural shenanigans) under which an agnostic patent injunction came down and explains the workaround, which involved replacing an Intel baseband processor with a Qualcomm chip even though the accused component was a Qorvo envelope tracker chip.

      Not only did Qualcomm bring a contempt motion, which a spokeswoman for the court tells me hasn’t been adjudicated yet, but in January it also became known (as I once mentioned in passing) that Qualcomm obtained a preliminary injunction from a different chamber (= panel of judges) of the same Munich court against Apple’s public statements that the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 would remain widely available in Germany notwithstanding Qualcomm’s enforcement.

      Meanwhile the court has confirmed to me that the deceptive-advertising injunction was based in the UWG (Germany’s unfair competition law). I also have a case number now (1 HK O 257/19; the “HK” means it’s a commercial dispute). And I learned that just on Tuesday the court lifted the competition law-based injunction, but hasn’t stated the reasons yet.

    • Invitation to Join Amicus Brief in Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo [Ed: The patent maximalists are still really desperate to change Section 101 at SCOTUS to facilitate patents on mere thoughts and on nature]

      Athena Diagnostics filed a Petition for Rehearing of the CAFC decision in Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo on April 8, 2019. Amicus Briefs are due April 22, 2019. Patent Docs has reported on this decision, which continues to apply U.S. Supreme Court-created common law to the analysis of 35 U.S.C. § 101.

      Knowles IP Strategies LLC (Sherry M. Knowles) and AddyHart (Meredith Addy) intend to file an Amicus Brief in support of neither party but requesting that the CAFC carry out its constitutional duty to apply strict statutory construction of the literal words of 35 U.S.C. § 101 to decide the case (see “Unconstitutional Application of 35 U.S.C. § 101 by the U.S. Supreme Court,” 18 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 144 (2018), which was discussed and can be accessed here).

    • Invitation to Join Amicus Brief in Federal Circuit Rehearing of Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo [Ed: Funny to see how the patent microcosm wants to leverage this to legitimise patents on nature and life]
    • What was the “promise of the patent doctrine”?

      What was the “promise of the patent doctrine”? The short answer is: a controversial doctrine that originated in English law and that, until recently, was applied in Canadian patent law to invalidate patents that made a material false promise about the utility of the invention. A common example would be a claim to therapeutic efficacy in a specification that is not born out.

      Warning: the content of this doctrine this may seem bizarre to those familiar with U.S. patent law.

    • Federal Circuit Overrules PTAB Again in ATI Technologies ULC v. Iancu [Ed: Watchtroll is also leveraging ATI Technologies ULC v. Iancu to give the false impression that PTAB and CAFC are often not in agreement; the very opposite is true. Meanwhile, patent extremists’ front groups Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) has lost its Executive Director.]
    • Reasonably Continuous Diligence vs. Continuous and Reasonable Diligence

      On appeal, the Federal Circuit has sided with the ATI — finding the patentee’s Unifed Shader claims patentable over the prior art. U.S. Patents 7,742,053, 6,897,871, and 7,327,369 (Graphics processing architecture employing a ‘unified shader’).

      These patents are pre-AIA and the patentee is claiming that its invention pre-dates the prior art. The PTAB agreed that ATI’s conception was early enough, but concluded that the patentee lacked diligence.

      One problem with the PTAB opinion was its statement requiring “continuous reasonable diligence” in reducing the invention to practice while the actual traditional standard is “reasonably continuous diligence.”

    • Trademarks

      • City Councilman Who Really Wants His Town To Trademark Its Seal Trademarks It Himself As A Stunt

        It’s always struck me as a little odd when cities and townships go out and trademark their logos and official seals. On the one hand, I get it. A city wants to control its branding so others can’t abuse it, even if those methods for abuse could probably be combated by laws against fraud and so on. On the other hand, far too many city governments tend to wield these trademarks to stamp out criticism, parody, and political challengers.

        That said, the rush to trademark city logos and seals also isn’t universal. Florida’s Marathon City, for instance, has a logo that has not been registered as a trademark. Marathon City Councilman Mark Senmartin has been making all kinds of noise about how the city should absolutely codify its logo as a trademarked city seal. But when the larger city government examined the issue, it found no reason to do so.

    • Copyrights

      • Trump Campaign Uses ‘Dark Knight’ Music In Campaign Ad, Warner Bros. Says It’s Looking At Legal Options

        Every political campaign season, which now apparently perpetually overlap and place us all in a never ending and hellish new reality, we always end up hearing about supposed copyright infringement by political campaigns. These claims typically involve music that accompanies candidates at public events, and the claims typically are misguided, as campaigns usually get a blanket license for this music. Still, more recently, we’ve also seen the occasional use of music by a campaign that actually does appear to be infringement, as both Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have found themselves having to defend their use of music on the trail. As you keep that history in your head, place it directly next to the rather infamous view Donald Trump has taken on intellectual property in general, and even on how his campaign has used it jealously in particular.

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  5. Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

    Links for the day



  6. Edward as a Nodder to Team UPC Kool-Aid

    Bristows LLP is at it again and it's getting pathetic, not just dishonest as usual



  7. Guest Post: António Campinos' European Patent Office Redefines Modern Slavery in the Heart of Europe in 2019

    The European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos — like his predecessor Battistelli — emulates Chinese labour practices



  8. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead

    "This strategy is not far from when Microsoft talked about "de-commoditizing protocols" in the late 90s, as part of their plans to control, dominate, and end Open Source and Free software."



  9. EPO Cannot Handle Patent Justice With a Backlog of About 10,000 Cases at the Boards of Appeal

    The EPO's long war on judges and on the law has proven to be costly; it's difficult to pretend that the EPO functions like a first-world legal framework



  10. The European Patent Office Increases Surveillance: Can't Get Food Without Being Spied on

    The infamous "War on Cash" has been 'won' at Europe's second-largest institution, where people's diet can now be monitored and indefinitely retained on the system



  11. To GNU/Linux, the Operating System, GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) is Not the Threat. Microsoft is.

    Don't let Microsoft get away with its bogus narration; GNU/Linux is primarily under attack from Microsoft, whereas Software Freedom in general is under attack from many directions



  12. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Has the Full Support of Techrights

    Our support for the FSF is strong enough that we want to occasionally suggest improvements; there are growing frictions designed to isolate the FSF and cause self-restraint/censorship



  13. Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

    Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the 'bad boy' of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there



  14. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing

    "AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won't be followed all the time."



  15. Links 20/8/2019: DragonFlyBSD Developing DSynth

    Links for the day



  16. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community

    "Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important."



  17. Breaking the Law Has Become the Norm at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office’s ongoing practice of destroying critics/whistleblowers and crushing unions, judges, examiners etc. — as well as threats and bribery of the media — ultimately mean a perpetual state of lawlessness that, if it prevails, will let patent trolls raid the European economy and stall innovation



  18. Links 20/8/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.6, Kdenlive 19.08

    Links for the day



  19. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education

    "If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages."



  20. Links 19/8/2019: Another Linux 5.3 RC, OpenSUSE's Richard Brown Steps Down, Slackware Creates Patreon Page, Qt 6 Initiated

    Links for the day



  21. Speaking Truth to Monopolies (or How to Write Guest Posts in Techrights)

    We need to have more articles tackling the passage of all power — especially when it comes to software — to few large monopolies that disregard human rights or actively participate in their abolishment in the digital realm



  22. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free as in Speech

    "While a new breed of so-called anarchists campaign against expression that even the state allows, people are also foolishly overplaying the relevance of the state to free speech issues -- as if it's not a freedom issue when a project is increasingly thought-policed, because the thought-policing isn't on a state level."



  23. Toxic Culture at Microsoft

    Racism, intolerance, sexism and bullying are rampant at Microsoft; but Microsoft would rather deflect/divert/sidetrack to Google and so-called 'GAFA'



  24. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction

    "The FSF isn't just threatened, it will hit a large iceberg in the future that changes it permanently."



  25. Linux Journal and Linux.com Should Have Been Kept Going

    There's apparently no good explanation for the effective shutdown of Linux Journal and Linux.com; London Trust Media Holdings (LTMH), owner of Linux Journal, saw numbers improving and the Linux Foundation, steward of Linux.com, is loaded with money



  26. 2019 Microsoft Glossary

    How Microsoft internally interprets words that it is saying to the public and to the press



  27. 2019 Surveillance Glossary

    Distortion of technical and nontechnical terms in this day and age of '1984'



  28. Openwashing Report: It's Getting Worse, Fast. Everything is Apparently 'Open' Now Even Though It's Actually Proprietary.

    The latest examples (this past week's) of openwashing in the media, ranging from 5G to surveillance



  29. GitHub is a Dagger Inside Free/Open Source Software (FOSS); This is Why Microsoft Bought It

    A year later it seems pretty evident that Microsoft doesn’t like FOSS but is merely trying to control it, e.g. by buying millions of FOSS projects/repositories at the platform level (the above is what the Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin said to Microsoft at their event while antitrust regulators were still assessing the proposed takeover)



  30. Microsoft Grows Within and Eats You From the Inside

    Microsoft entryism and other subversive tactics continue to threaten and sometimes successfully undermine the competition; Microsoft is nowadays doing that to core projects in the Free/Open Source software world


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