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04.13.19

Links 13/4/2019: Wine 4.6 and Emacs 26.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Thoughts from the Future of Linux

    So, “What do kids want to do with Linux?” And, “Where will the next generation take open-source computing?”

    I don’t have good answers to those questions either. I’m just too stinkin’ old. No, to get answers to those questions, we need to talk to the people that actually know the answers—the kids themselves.

    Specifically, I mean people still young enough to be “the next generation” while old enough, with sufficient experience, to understand Linux (and open source) and create well founded opinions, goals and dreams of where Linux goes from here—perhaps young adults nearing the end of high school or just beginning their college (or work) lives.

    Those are the people who will be running open source in 20 or 30 years.

    After Linus Torvalds officially retires, these kids will take over Linux kernel development. When Richard Stallman finally calls it quits, these kids will push the ideals of the Free Software movement forward. And, eventually, I (and the rest of the Linux Journal team) will retire—hopefully to somewhere with a nice beach. And these kids (and the rest of their generation) will be the ones reporting on and writing about Linux.

  • Desktop

    • 4 use cases for Linux desktops in the enterprise

      Access to specific applications. Organizations that run certain applications, such as high-end 3D graphics design and rendering, often choose Linux for desktops. Other specialized applications that may warrant a Linux desktop include financial modeling, data analytics, finite element design and other CPU-intensive tasks. In these scenarios, Linux offers improved performance, a common interface with related servers or supercomputers and an ongoing and data-intensive pipeline operation.

      User preference. Certain power users with specialized skills may simply demand Linux for their desktops. Software developers or system administrators may work on Linux-based systems on a daily basis. It often makes sense for these users to run Linux on their desktops as well.

      Some organizations adopt Linux for the desktop as a matter of preference and policy. Google, for example, provides and maintains its own Linux distribution, Goobuntu, for its staff to use.

      Security, privacy or confidentiality. Linux is generally regarded as easier to maintain and more secure than Windows. The U.S. Department of Defense, for example, developed Lightweight Portable Security Linux, a Linux-based OS that government staff can use to log into secure networks from external and untrusted PCs. Users can install the OS on any PC from plug-in media such as a USB flash drive. The OS establishes and maintains a secure connection into the organization’s networks and leaves no footprint behind when users shut it down.

      Other Linux distributions such as Tails, IprediaOS, Whonix, Discreete Linux and the Qubes OS are designed specifically to meet stringent security requirements. Some organizations may decide that such options are just what they need to establish and maintain the highest possible security levels.

    • Chrome 75 Dev brings USB support to Linux applications [Ed: Google reinventing the wheel here; it used Gentoo GNU/Linux to build ChromeOS and now it gradually 'gives back' what it took (or locked) away]

      Linux application support on Chrome OS was introduced last year, but because it runs in a protected container on top of the actual operating system, there were plenty of caveats. Sound support and graphics acceleration are still in the works, and we’re finally seeing progress on another crucial component — USB support.

      Currently, the Linux container in Chrome OS can’t access any USB devices. That means developers using Android Studio can’t debug phones over a USB connection, users can’t access files from flash drives, and so on. Input from external mice and keyboards work, but that’s about it.

    • Chrome OS 75 has full USB support in Linux apps
    • Chrome OS 75 brings full USB support for Linux apps

      Last year, Chrome OS received an update to add in official support for Linux applications. The initial support was very rough around the edges, to say the least, but since then the company has been working hard to fix things up and make it more user-friendly. With each update for this newly added support to the platform, we are seeing an increase in the number of Linux apps that can be used. The latest addition is full USB support for Linux applications on version 75 of Chrome OS.

      [...]

      Thankfully, this is changing as Chrome OS 75 will bring full USB support for Linux applications that you install. This information comes to us thanks to Keith I Myers and we can see from the screenshot above that he’s running the official developer build on his device. This is great news for those who have wanted to replace their desktop software with Chrome OS because this type of support isn’t limited to common devices like thumb drives. Keith says he went through and tested all sorts of things including a 3D Printer, Arduino, and even an Intel Movidius Compute Stick.

    • Switching From Mac to Linux? 5 Tips to Make Your Life Easier

      There are a lot of things to love about macOS, but there are definitely issues with using it. One of the bigger problems is that it’s exclusive to Apple computers. If you don’t like the hardware the company offers, you’re out of luck when it comes to using macOS.

      If you’re looking for a desktop operating system that runs on top of a solid Unix-based foundation, Linux can be a good alternative. To make it easier to get used to Linux, you might want to make your installation a little more Mac-like.

      [...]

      There are two types of Mac users: those who launch applications through Launchpad and those who use Spotlight. If you’re in the latter group, moving to Linux will be much easier for you, since you can replicate this very easily. Some Linux desktops will come with this type of behavior by default, but if not, it’s easy to install a Spotlight-style launcher.

      A few launchers for Linux will seem familiar to Mac users, but the most Spotlight-like is Cerebro. In addition to launching apps and searching files, it can function as a basic calculator, show maps, and add other functions with plugins. If you’re more familiar with the third-party launcher Alfred, you might want to look into Albert instead. Both apps are free.

      Those two are far from the only app launchers available. If neither is your cup of tea, we have a list of nine of the best app launchers for Linux. Chances are good you’ll find at least one that you really like among them.

    • Patch blues-day: Microsoft yanks code after some PCs are rendered super secure (and unbootable) following update

      A bunch of PCs running the wares of Sophos or Avast have been freezing or failing to start following the installation of patches emitted by Microsoft on 9 April.

      The afflicted are those running Windows 8.1, 7, Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012. Avast for Business and Cloudcare have been hit by the problem, as have PCs running Endpoint Protection managed by Sophos Central or Sophos Enterprise Console (SEC).

      Microsoft said this morning that it had “temporarily blocked devices from receiving this update if the Sophos Endpoint is installed”, a move which, sadly, had come a bit late for those afflicted.

  • Server

    • OpenStack Stein: A new cool drink of open-source cloud

      While OpenStack is concerned with more than just Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud these days, it’s still primarily an open-source cloud open-source consortium. In its latest release, OpenStack Stein, the cloud comes with significant network management, bare metal, and containers improvements.

      For its users, which include many telecoms, the network management part is the most tasty part. OpenStack Neutron, its networking-as-a-service component, now boasts Network Segment Range Management. This enables cloud administrators to manage network segment type ranges dynamically. It uses a new application programming interface (API) extension to do this. Previously, you were stuck with manually editing configuration files.

    • OpenStack Stein Saunters Closer to Kubernetes, 5G, and the Edge

      The OpenStack community is going for headlines with its latest platform release, which includes deeper integration with Kubernetes, 5G, and edge. That integration comes at a critical time as telecom operators increasingly focus on all three of those segments.

      The latest release is dubbed “Stein” and is the OpenStack Foundation’s 19th release. Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, in an email noted that the community is “focused on the needs of users,” thus it “naturally includes many Kubernetes-focused updates.” He cited the 2018 OpenStack user survey that found 61% of deployments included integration of the two platforms.

      Specific to Kubernetes, Stein includes the OpenStack Magnum certified Kubernetes installer, which is designed to slash Kubernetes cluster launch times in half to around five minutes regardless of the number of nodes. It also can work with the OpenStack cloud provider to the launch a fully integrated Kubernetes cluster with support for the Manila storage control plane, Cinder block storage service, and Keystone identity service tapping into the OpenStack cloud it’s created on.

    • Linux Server Hardening Using Idempotency with Ansible: Part 2

      You will need some Ansible experience before being able to make use of the information that follows. Rather than run through the installation and operation of Ansible let’s instead look at some of the idempotency playbook’s content.

      As mentioned earlier there might be hundreds of individual system tweaks to make on just one type of host so we’ll only explore a few suggested Ansible tasks and how I like to structure the Ansible role responsible for the compliance and hardening. You have hopefully picked up on the fact that the devil is in the detail and you should absolutely, unequivocally, understand to as high a level of detail as possible, about the permutations of making changes to your server OS.

    • Red Hat Satellite Ask Me Anything Q&A from March 2019

      We recently re-initiated the Red Hat Satellite Ask Me Anything (AMA) events. For anyone not familiar, the Satellite AMAs are an ask me anything-style event where we invite Red Hat customers to bring all of their questions about Satellite, drop them in the chat, and members of the Satellite product team will answer as many of them live as we can during the AMA and we then follow up with a blog post detailing the questions and answers.

    • Technologies on which the world of Instagram exist

      Ubuntu Linux 11.04 is run by Instagram’s engineers on Amazon EC2. This specific version is used because previous Ubuntu versions were found to be unpredictable. They were also freezing a lot on EC2 under high traffic.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • LHS Episode #281: The Weekender XXVII

      It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

    • Everyday ZFS | TechSNAP 401

      Jim and Wes sit down to bust some ZFS myths and share their tips and tricks for getting the most out of the ultimate filesystem.

      Plus when not to use ZFS, the surprising way your disks are lying to you, and more!

    • Linux Without Borders | User Error 63

      Where bad feeling and rivalry in the FOSS world actually originates, what we should be teaching our kids, and the violence that underlies everything around us.

      Plus Joe is a lazy swine, and dodgy VPN providers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Tenth Anniversary of AltOS

      In the early days of the collaboration between Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard that later became Altus Metrum, the software for TeleMetrum was crafted as an application running on top of an existing open source RTOS. It didn’t take long to discover that the RTOS was ill-suited to our needs, and Keith had to re-write various parts of it to make things fit in the memory available and work at all.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Plumbers Conference 2019 Call for Bird of a Feather (BoF) Session Proposals

        On the heels of the previous announcements, we are also pleased to announce the Bird of a Feather (BoF) Session Proposals for the 2019 edition of the Linux Plumbers Conference, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on September 9-11 in conjunction with the Linux Kernel Maintainer Summit.

        BoFs are free-form get-togethers for people wishing to discuss a particular topic. As always, you only need to submit proposals for BoFs you want to hold on-site. In contrast, and again as always, informal BoFs may be held at local drinking establishments or in the “hallway track” at your convenience.

      • O-RAN Open Source Community Launched

        The O-RAN Alliance has joined forces with the Linux Foundation to form the O-RAN Software Community (O-RAN SC).

        The O-RAN SC is aimed at providing open software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture. As a new open source community under the Linux Foundation, the O-RAN SC is sponsored by the O-RAN Alliance. They plan to together work on open source software enabling modular, open, intelligent, efficient, and agile disaggregated radio access networks.

      • LF Networking Widens OPNFV Verification Program

        LF Networking (LFN) has expanded its OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) to include Virtual Network Function (VNF) compliance testing.

        The expanded OVP is created in conjunction with the ONAP testing community. It now includes publicly-available VNF compliance test tooling based on requirements developed within ONAP, as well as a Verified Labs Program and the induction of the University of New Hampshire-Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL) as the first OPNFV Verified Lab.

      • LF Edge Announces New Blueprints From Akraino Edge Stack

        Linux Foundation’s edge computing project LF Edge has announced new blueprints from Akraino Edge Stack and four new general members. These include Alef Mobitech, HarmonyCloud, Section, and Marvell Semiconductor.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 19.0.2 Available to Install in Ubuntu 18.04 via PPA

        For those sticking to the open-source RadeonSI / RADV / Intel / Nouveau drivers, the latest Mesa 19.0.2 graphics libraries is now available to install in Ubuntu 18.04 via PPA.

        Mesa 19.0 was released a months ago with many features including Intel’s Vulkan driver transform feedback, soft FP64/INT64, RadeonSI FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync, AMD Zen thread optimizations, and more. Then Mesa 19.0.2 was released ago a few days with a handful of fixes.

        Canonical’s Timo Aaltonen has made Mesa 19.0.2 package into “Ubuntu-X” team PPA for Ubuntu 18.04.

      • The Current RADV/RadeonSI Performance With Mesa 19.1 + Linux 5.1

        Following this week’s testing of the Radeon Linux gaming performance between Ubuntu 18.10 and 19.04, I also ran some benchmarks on the Ubuntu 19.04 when manually switching over to the bleeding-edge Mesa 19.1 RADV/RadeonSI drivers paired with the Linux 5.1 Git kernel. Is that worthwhile for “Disco Dingo” users to gain better AMD Linux gaming performance?

        After finishing up the Ubuntu 19.04 benchmarks with its Linux 5.0 + Mesa 19.0 stack, I used the Oibaf PPA for Mesa 19.1-devel built against LLVM 8.0 and then also switched over to Linux 5.1 using the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. Sadly the Radeon VII graphics were still problematic at least for my card, but I figured it would be interesting to test with the other Polaris/Vega cards to see if those bleeding-edge drivers are worthwhile for those on Ubuntu 19.04 or other recent distros.

    • AMD

      • AMDVLK 2019.Q2.1 Driver Has Some Performance Enhancement & Fixes

        MD has volleyed their latest AMDVLK open-source Vulkan driver code, their first publish push in more than two weeks, making it their first push of the new quarter.

        AMDVLK 2019.Q2.1 is the new release and it’s been updated against the Vulkan 1.1.105 headers, allows shared memory to be CPU-visible, enables VK_EXT_memory_priority regardless whether it’s supported by all external queues, and offers a performance optimization for Total War: WARHAMMER II.

      • AMD EPYC Is Running Well On Linux 5.1 Too – Performance Wins

        Last week I passed along some initial benchmark results after finding Intel Cascade Lake offering up some performance improvements when using the in-development Linux 5.1 kernel. The exciting news is this doesn’t appear to be Cascadelake-specific or even Intel specific as with the Dell PowerEdge EPYC 2P server I am also seeing some nice performance improvements in the same benchmarks.

        I am still in the midst of conducting more Linux 5.1 kernel benchmarks albeit perpetually short on time but should have some additional Linux 5.1 data out next week. But in being curious whether Linux 5.1 is also looking up on AMD hardware, I ran some quick Linux 5.0.7 stable benchmarks against the latest Linux 5.1 Git kernel…

      • Radeon ROCm 2.3 Released With Many Improvements

        AMD today unexpectedly released Radeon Open Compute “ROCm” 2.3 as the newest feature release for this open-source Radeon GPU compute stack.

        ROCm 2.3 is a fairly hefty update and includes a lot of library improvements and other tooling enhancements for those using ROCm to provide GPU compute support on Linux systems. ROCm 2.3 offers per-GPU memory usage reporting via the rocm-smi utility, updated ONNX parser handling for MIVisionX, a new Python API and many other improvements to MIGraphX, multi-GPU support for Caffe2, Tensile optimizations for BLAS and other BLAS library improvements, and Int8 support for MIOpen.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Review: KDE Neon
      • Kate History – KDE 4 Porting

        During my web site upgrade, I reviewed the old stuff I had hosted on my long gone web sites but still archived here locally. An interesting thing I stumbled on are the KDE 3 -> 4 porting screenshots of Kate I saved in 2005.

        They actually show pretty nicely how far we have gone since 2005 with our development stack.

        The KDE 3 -> 4 transition was a large hassle. It did take weeks of work just to get Kate back into an usable state.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The Beauty of Dash to Dock Extension on GNOME 3.32

        You may find many articles on the net guiding you to install Dash To Dock extension on GNOME. But there are very few ones to speak more about experimenting with it. This article explores the features of this one Extension to show you possibilities it can give to your GNOME 3 desktop environment. You can enable click to raise/minimize window, change the icon size, color the dock or make it transparent, make the dock to mimic Unity Launcher, reposition it to any edge of your screen, etc. You will find my experiments below, like, make everything looks larger to help friends with vision impairments, using GNOME 3.32 desktop on GNU/Linux. Finally, happy tweaking!

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Q4OS and TDE: A Juicy Little Linux Secret

        Q4OS 3.6 has a cleaner and more modern appearance. Some of its core components are refreshed, not new. Other features are improved or expanded.

        Whether you adopt Q4OS to replace a Microsoft Windows experience or another Linux distribution, you will not have much of a learning curve. Its simplified interface is intuitive.

        Q4OS has a focus on conservatively integrating verified new features. This operating system is a proven performer for speed and very low hardware requirements. Its performance is optimized for both new and very old hardware. For small business owners and high-tech minded home office workers, Q4OS is also very applicable for virtualization and cloud computing.

        The freedom and ease of setting up the core system your way make Q4OS a viable alternative to other Linux options. It is a very inviting way to meet individual and small business computing requirements. One of the big values in using Q4OS Linux is the add-on commercial support the developer team offers for customizing the distro to meet specific user needs.

      • What’s New in Solus 4.0 Fortitude – Budgie Desktop Edition

        Solus 4.0 fortitude, the latest major release of solus linux distribution has been released and announced by Solus Project’s Joshua Strobl. This release ships with Budgie 10.5 desktop environment includes some minor changes and also comes baked in with the Plata (Noir) GTK Theme.

        New to the Budgie Desktop is a “Caffeine Mode” that ensures the system doesn’t suspend/lock/dim, and other minor tweaks to enhance the experience for those “hard at work” and trying not to be interrupted. Budgie 10.5 also brings an updated icon task-list applet, Raven widget/notification center improvements, improved notification management, and various styling improvements to its custom elements.

    • New Releases

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Bursary applications for DebConf19 are closing in less than 72 hours!

        If you intend to apply for a DebConf19 bursary and have not yet done so, please proceed as soon as possible!

        Bursary applications for DebConf19 will be accepted until April 15th at 23:59 UTC. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

        You can apply for a bursary when you register for the conference.

      • ntroducing Debian Trends: historical graphs about Debian packaging practices, and “packages smells”

        Following this blog post I did some work on setting up a proper framework to graph historical trends about Debian packaging practices. The result is now available at https://trends.debian.net/, and I’m confident that I will be able to update this on a regular basis (every few months).

        Additionally (and much more controversially I guess :-) ) I also added an analysis of “package smells”, such as “not using dh”, “not using a recent debhelper compat level”, “not using a 3.0 source format”, etc. I understand that in some cases there might be good reasons to keep those “smells”, but I find it valuable to have them presented in a more actionable way to fix the cases that should be fixed. So there’s a list of smells, sorted by maintainer/uploader.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) Enters Final Freeze Ahead of Its April 18th Release

            The Final Freeze stage is the final step in the development cycle of Ubuntu Linux, meaning that only release-critical bugs that affect the ISO images or the installers will be accepted from here on until the final release. It also means that Release Candidate (RC) images will soon be available for public testing.

            “We will shut down cronjobs and spin some RC images late Friday or early Saturday once the archive and proposed-migration have settled a bit, and we expect everyone with a vested interest in a flavour (or two) and a few spare hours here and there to get to testing to make sure we have another uneventful release next week,” said Adam Conrad.

          • Apollo Lake based network appliance runs Ubuntu

            Acrosser’s Linux-ready “AND-APL1N1FL” network appliance offers an Apollo Lake SoC, 6x GbE ports with 3x LAN bypass, and SATA III storage.

            Acrosser announced an “entry level” and “cost-effective” network appliance for small office network, UTM, mail server, and firewall applications. The AND-APL1N1FL runs Ubuntu 18.04 with Linux Kernel 4.4 and above or Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSB on an Intel Apollo Lake SoC.

          • Ubuntu Watch Face for the Samsung Galaxy Watch

            Does your wrist sport a shiny Samsung Galaxy Watch? If so, check out this new Ubuntu-inspired watch face now available on the Galaxy Store

            Designed for use on the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Samsung Watch Active lines (alas, not the earlier Gear S series), the new face features Ubuntu’s ubiquitous purple background and monospace terminal font.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Hackergram journey part 1- The journey Begins

      I’m excited to share that Hackergram has collaborated with Innovation for Change to organize a workshop in India this year. I’m writing to check your availability to attend the Hackergram Innovation Lab 2019 in Sattal, Uttarakhand, India. The theme of the workshop is “Safe Civic Spaces”. The aim of the event is to create a platform for learning and dialogue among participants (individuals, CSOs, communities) with a diverse background to increase collaboration and equip them with the innovative and creative force for expression, reflection, dialogue on safe civic spaces.

    • 5 Red Hat Summit sessions developers won’t want to miss

      Oh sure, like countless thousands of others you’re planning on attending Red Hat Summit in Boston this year. But you’re a little anxious that you might miss the best sessions at the show. In no particular order, here are five sessions (actually five sessions and a workshop) that will enrich your life, expand your horizons, and give you the knowledge you need to lead your team forward. Be sure to check them out.

    • Red Hat Summit 2019 Labs: Integration and APIs roadmap

      Red Hat Summit 2019 is rocking Boston, MA from May 7-9 in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Everything you need to know about the current state of open source enterprise-ready software can be found at this event. From customers talking about their experiences leveraging open source in their solutions, to the creators of open source technologies you’re using, and all the way down to hands-on lab experiences on these technologies.

    • GNU Hackers’ Meeting 2019 in Madrid

      Twelve years after it’s first edition in Orense, the GHM is back to Spain! This time, we will be gathering in the nice city of Madrid for hacking, learning and meeting each other.

      The event will have place from Wednesday 4 September to Friday 6 September, 2019.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • How to stay safe online while on vacation
      • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part 1

        If you want to block annoying ads or populate your new tab with sassy cats, you can do it…with browser extensions and themes. Users can download thousands of these “add-ons” from Firefox’s host site, addons.mozilla.org (“AMO”), to customize their browsing experience with new functionality or a dash of whimsy.

      • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part 2

        Now that we had our new content model, we needed to make it a reality for the extension developers creating product pages.

      • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part

        A content model is a useful tool for organizations to structure, future-proof, and clean up their content. But that content model is only brought to life when content authors populate the fields you have designed with actual content. And the quality of that content is dependent in part on how the content system supports those authors in their endeavor.

        We had discovered through user research that developers create extensions for a great variety of reasons — including as a side hobby or for personal enjoyment. They may not have the time, incentive, or expertise to produce high-quality, discoverable content to market their extensions, and they shouldn’t be expected to. But, we can make it easier for them to do so with more actionable guidelines, tools, and governance.

        An initial review of the content submission flow revealed that the guidelines for developers needed to evolve. Specifically, we needed to give developers clearer requirements, explain why each content field mattered and where that content showed up, and provide them with examples. On top of that, we needed to give them writing exercises and tips when they hit a dead end.

        So, to support our developer authors in creating our ideal content state, I drafted detailed content guidelines that walked extension developers through the process of creating each content element.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: Firefox Reality 1.1.3

        Firefox Reality 1.1.3 will soon be available for all users in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.

        This release includes some major new features including support for 6DoF controllers, new environments, a curved browser window option and some bug fixes.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: Wrapping up a week of WebVR experiments

        Earlier this week, we kicked off a week of WebVR experiments with our friends at Glitch.com. Glitch creator and WebVR expert Andrés Cuervo put together seven projects that are fun, unique, and will challenge you to learn advanced techniques for building Virtual Reality experiences on the web.

        If you are just getting started with WebVR, we recommend you check out this WebVR starter kit which will walk you through creating your very first WebVR experience.

  • BSD

    • DragonFly’s HAMMER2 File-System Picks Up More Performance Optimizations

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon who also created the HAMMER family of file-systems remains quite busy on filling out the remaining features for HAMMER2 and tuning its performance.

      Landing today within the DragonFlyBSD Git code has been the latest HAMMER2 file-system improvements.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming/Development

    • Cloud Native Programming Should Be Easy

      In this clip, Ben Sigelman, LightStep CEO and Cofounder discusses why he thinks cloud native programming should be easy

    • 10 Most Popular Programming Languages In 2019: Learn To Code

      For beginners in the world of programming, the biggest dilemma is to decide where to begin or which language one should master for career benefits. At times, professional coders also face a situation where learning a new language seems more fruitful.

      Whatever may be the reason, here is a list of the most popular programming languages across the world to know which languages are ruling the charts. This list of top programming languages is based on the data sourced from TIOBE Programming Community Index, which is a popular indicator of the popularity of programming languages.

    • Fedora 29 : Thonny editor for python.
    • VSCodium – An Open Source Visual Studio Code Without Trackers [Ed: When Microsoft makes something it calls "open source" it is still spying, it is technically spyware; even a mere calculator]
    • What Does Open Source Mean For Serveless? [Ed: Site called after buzzwords promotes a buzzword that is a lie, "serverless," in interview with Microsoft 'proxy' HashiCorp]
    • QElectroTech on the road to 0.7
    • Understanding when not to std::move in C++
    • Cleanup remote git repository of all branches already merged into master
    • LLVM Accepts NVIDIA’s “f18″ Fortran Compiler As An Official Fortran Compiler

      This week the LLVM Foundation formally accepted “f18″ as part of the LLVM project. This is the initiative led by NVIDIA in developing a modern LLVM-based Fortran compiler.

    • from dynaconf import settings

      Often when starting a new Python project we need to spend some time thinking about how to manage the settings, decide on which module the configuration manager will be written, decide which name to give to this module, create a class or function to store the configuration keys, create the conditions for multiple environments and still need to worry about where these keys will be stored and in which file format?

    • Determining if a String Contains a Substring in Bash
    • PyCon 2019 close to sell out! [Ed: This headline is a lie. PyCon already sold out. It sold out to Microsoft (advertising Azure in exchange for sponsorship). Not so hard to understand why PyCon sold out to Microsoft if one considers that the Board which manages it got partly bought by Microsoft as well.]
    • Using pytineye to automate searching for images.

      The TinEye API is ideally suited for image and profile verification, UGC moderation, copyright compliance and fraud detection.

    • Migrating Java applications to Quarkus: Lessons learned

      Migrating applications from a well-grounded framework to a completely new framework just a few days after its public release sounds crazy, right? Before doing so, I asked myself several questions, such as: Why should I do that? Is this new framework stable? What would be the gain? To me, the most important of these is: Why?

      To help answer that question, I started thinking about my application’s performance—in this case, the bootstrap time—and asked myself whether I was happy with the actual time my application took to start up. The answer was no. And, nowadays, this is one of the most important metrics to be considered when working with microservices, mainly on a serverless architecture.

      The goal of this article is to provide a point of reference for a basic migration of an existing Java EE application to Quarkus. For this reason, I’ll save a few lines of the article by not introducing Quarkus and focus mostly on the migration part. If you don’t know what Quarkus is, then I recommend reading this article and visiting the Quarkus homepage.

    • Linux C Programming tutorial Part 21: Character pointers, array of pointers, and pointer to pointer

      The concept of pointers is indeed one of the very important concepts in the C programming language. Up until now, we have discussed several aspects of pointers in C. Expanding on that, in this tutorial, we will be discussing a few more pointer concepts.

    • PostgreSQL security: a quick look at authentication best practices [Tutorial]

      Data protection and security are essential for the continuity of business. Data protection is not recommended, but it is required by the legal system. Sensitive data, such as user information, email addresses, geographical addresses, and payment information, should be protected against any data breach. There are several other topics related to data security, such as data privacy, retention, and loss prevention. In this article, we will look at authentication best practices in PostgreSQL including PostgreSQL host-based authentication, and proxy authentication strategies.

    • Test servers for curl

      curl supports some twenty-three protocols (depending on exactly how you count).

      In order to properly test and verify curl’s implementations of each of these protocols, we have a test suite. In the test suite we have a set of handcrafted servers that speak the server-side of these protocols. The more used a protocol is, the more important it is to have it thoroughly tested.

      We believe in having test servers that are “stupid” and that offer buttons, levers and thresholds for us to control and manipulate how they act and how they respond for testing purposes. The control of what to send should be dictated as much as possible by the test case description file. If we want a server to send back a slightly broken protocol sequence to check how curl supports that, the server must be open for this.

    • Using Rust Generics to Enforce DB Record State
    • Intel Prepares GCC Compiler Support For BFloat16

      Intel developers continue prepping the Linux support for next-generation Intel Xeon “Cooper Lake” processors, particularly around its addition of the new BFloat16 instruction.

      BFloat16 is a new floating-point format optimized for machine learning workloads. Besides being found in next-gen Cooper Lake processors, BF16 is also found within Intel’s Nervana neural network processors and FPGAs.

      Earlier this month Intel developers added BFloat16 support for GNU Gas while now they have sent out their latest patch enabling BFloat16 support within the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

  • Standards/Consortia

    • An online discussion about free standards

      The Sharia comment shocked me o_0

      I can recognize some trolling tone from me I probably should moderate. Anyway I strongly believe in the background arguments: legal and industrial standards should be, at least, open access.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • FAQ for Wingnuts, Librarians and Pundits Who Were Apparently Sick the Day They Taught “Critical Thinking” at School

      1) HOW CAN YOU HIPPIES TOLERATE BIRDIE SANDERS AND ELIZABETH WARREN BEING MILLIONAIRES?

      The same way we tolerated Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt being millionaires. And Lyndon Johnson. And Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum.

      Most hippies don’t object to anyone having money. We object to people who have money either (1) behaving selfishly towards people who don’t or (2) trying to get more– at the expense of other people.

      People who object to public beaches spoiling the ocean view from their mansions piss us off.

      2) YOU DON’T THINK IT’S HYPOCRITICAL FOR MILLIONAIRES TO ATTACK THE WEALTHY?

      Nope. You’re just using identity politics to attack someone you don’t like.

      When Sanders and Warren weren’t millionaires, you said they were just envious because they were failures who didn’t have money. Now they have money, you claim they can’t complain.

      Tell me the income level where you consider it acceptable to complain about the behavior of the wealthy.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Abortion Wars Get Meaner

      At the end of March 2019, the legislatures of Georgia and Mississippi passed laws that would ban legal abortions after six weeks of a woman’s pregnancy; Georgia’s version was labelled the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act”. After the bill’s passage, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp proclaimed, “Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

      These states’ actions are part of a campaign by religious and social traditionalists to promote what is known as “fetal heartbeat” bills that would ban the legal abortion of a fetus after six weeks or when the fetal heartbeat is reportedly detected. On March 15th, two weeks before the two states acted, a federal judge blocked a similar action in Kentucky.

      These three states, along with a handful of others that will likely join the fray, are seeking to provoke a legal showdown over the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision, Roe v Wade. For nearly a half-century, U.S. law accepted a pregnant woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy during the first trimester. Conservatives are counting on Pres. Donald Trump’s two new appointments to the Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – to vote to either overturn or severely restrict the Roe decision.

      Every war begins with a series of first or opening “shots” and the culture wars is no exception. On January 20, 1973, Richard Nixon was inaugurated to his second term as president. His landslide victory over Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) — who had been labeled the candidate of “acid, amnesty, and abortion” — was driven by a “Southern strategy” that reconfigured the national political landscape for the following half-century. (On August 9, 1974, he resigned.)

    • Why Does the American Medical Association Have Such a Feeble Response to Our Health Care Crisis?

      In 1945, President Harry Truman campaigned for a national health insurance plan that was attacked as “socialized medicine” by the American Medical Association (AMA). Truman’s response was true then and resonates now:

      “Under the plan I suggest, our people would continue to get medical and hospital services just as they do now—on the basis of their own voluntary decisions and choices. Our doctors and hospitals would continue to deal with disease with the same professional freedom as now. There would, however, be this all-important difference: whether or not patients get the services they need would not depend on how much they can afford to pay at the time.”

      The AMA capitalized on the public’s fears of communism and even accused Truman’s administration of being “followers of the Moscow party line.” Lobbying and marketing efforts by the AMA defeated Truman’s plans for universal health care.

    • ‘I Felt Americans Needed to Know’: Insurance Industry Whistleblower Gives Glimpse of Effort to Crush Medicare for All

      “I felt Americans needed to know exactly who it is that’s fighting against the idea that healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” the anonymous whistleblower told the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein.

      During an employee town hall in February, Stein reported on Friday, UnitedHealthcare CEO Steve Nelson boasted about how much his company is doing to undermine Medicare for All, which is rapidly gaining support in Congress.

      “One of the things you said: ‘We’re really quiet’ or ‘It seems like we’re quiet.’ Um, we’ve done a lot more than you would think,” Nelson said. “We are advocating heavily and very involved in the conversation. Part of it is trying to be thoughtful about how we enter in the conversation, because there’s a risk of seeming like it’s self-serving.”

      According to the Post, which did not publish the video of Nelson’s remarks, the executive said his company “opposes Medicare for All because it excludes the private sector, which he said does a better job of delivering healthcare than the government, and said he doubted how a single-payer system could be funded or effectively administered.”

    • Mystery Killer Spans the Globe

      Public health experts have been warning for decades that overuse of antibiotics reduces the effectiveness of drugs that cure bacterial infections. At least 2,000,000 Americans get antibiotic-resistant infections per year.

      Notably, gluttonous overuse of antimicrobial drugs to combat bacteria and fungi via hospitals, clinics, and farms is backfiring and producing superbugs or “Nightmare Bacteria,” which is especially lethal for people with compromised immune systems and autoimmune disorders that use steroids to suppress bodily defenses.

      Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently labeled a fungus called Candida auris or C. auris an “Urgent Threat.” This Nightmare Bacteria is a brutal killer that’s unstoppable and flat-out travels fast.

      The CDC claims antibiotic resistance is “one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.”

    • Lay-Offs at Legacy Hospitals in Portland Oregon

      Legacy Emanuel Hospital is one of only two trauma Hospitals in Portland Oregon. Legacy Randall’s Children’s’ Hospital is one of the largest pediatric health centers in the city. They play a central role in the health of the communities in the 3 million large metro area. Consequently, the business of these hospitals is the business of these communities.

      It would be natural to expect that the decisions of Legacy’s leadership would reflect the values of Portland’s population when it comes to health care. That is, you would expect that the leadership would value patient safety and a positive experience for those who depend on the Hospitals for their care above all else.

      Recent decisions by the leadership, however, have revealed that they operate according to a very different set of priorities. Though the Emanuel and Randall’s Hospital’s staff is already stretched thin, damn near to the breaking point according to many who work there, the Hospitals are quietly carrying out serious cuts in the form of lay-offs and shortened hours. Over 300 positions have been eliminated and 100 loyal employees have been kicked to the unemployment office.

      Why this drastic action? According to letters sent to employees, the reason is that these Legacy Hospitals are not meeting the goal of a 3 percent operating margin (that is, profit margin.) These cuts are not about improving health care. They will certainly have a harmful impact. What matters to Legacy’s leadership, what matters above all else, is the bottom line. This should be no surprise since Legacy’s new CEO, Kathyrn Correia, regularly touts the merits of “lean healthcare” and “the Toyota Way”, both approaches to management that aim to maximize profits at workers’ expense.

    • The Failures of Farming and the Necessity of Wildtending

      Kollibri terre Sonnenblume came through Saint Paul late last year and I will never forget his eye contact. It was steady and intimate. He was unafraid of what judgements lay on the other side. I tried my best to keep it, but rather sheepishly, turned away more times than I would have liked. It is dismaying when you find out how much distance you have created in your modern world, when even the child’s act of looking upon another while in conversation presents itself as a trying practice. Kollibri had the ease of someone close to himself—he was never retreating into his iPhone screen, but instead letting his thoughts flow from the inside-out. If all of this sounds elementary, I am happy for the reader, for they have found some connection that is uninterrupted.

      I bring this up largely to tie it the larger theme of Kollibri’s book The Failures of Farming and the Necessity of Wildtending, both in its message and its tone. One glides through the cheerful prose with the ease of someone who has smoked the right amount of weed, even as Kollibri confronts the weed industry itself and its environmental impacts. The question the book begins with is a large one—and one much debated before. Are we happier, and better off now, then we ever have been? If we are, that is a little bit horrifying, and it should be no cause to celebrate our own dismal times, but to despair over the rest of time spent.

    • The Looming Healthcare Market of Big Tech: Why We Should All Be Worried

      In an ominous echo of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) last week, we learned how Amazon.com Inc. is placing Alexa, the company’s artificial-intelligence assistant, to track consumers’ prescriptions in addition to communicating personal health information. This is Amazon’s attempt to insert its technology into private, everyday health care as now Alexa is capable of transmitting personal healthcare information while allegedly keeping within the legal requirements for health-privacy. This after Amazon purchased the online pharmacy, PillPack, last summer and after its announcement in November to sell software that can read medical records. If you think Amazon has the public interest at heart, think again.

      Let’s not forget that the marketing of e-cigarettes, despite their health benefits for those quitting smoking, are still being sold on Amazon, skirting the rules that are in force to protect children. Also essential to this move by Amazon is that the rise of the e-cigarette market in which this corporation is cashing in, follows the same old rules of the traditional cigarette market. Or to quote Warren Buffett: “I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there’s fantastic brand loyalty.” While Buffett’s fortune didn’t come from the cigarette trade, this model represents a cynical approach to capitalism over human life.

      So keeping this ethos in mind, it should come as no surprise that Amazon alongside Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are planning to launch Haven, a health care venture, in an effort to lower health care costs for the employees of all three companies. It looks, on the surface, quite legitimate: two leftist leaning multi-billionaires teaming up with with a CEO of JPM, Jamie Dimon. But then, Dimon, who claims to have a heart of a democrat and a brain of a Republican, is merely a good liberal just as are Bezoz and Buffett. On the outside, they offer lefty-ish rhetoric steeped in gooey sentimentality that lays the claim that Haven will “save the healthcare free market.” But the inner core of this plan is where the Republican “brain” exerts its will: the grasping for money just like Buffett’s dream of the cigarette model. Keep them dying and make money until their last breath. Now Buffett will have this vision realized with the upside being that he can also sell life-saving technology and healthcare all the while looking to takeover a new list of companies, like Target, which pays barely over minimum wage. Who needs healthcare when you can barely survive? Having tapped Atul Gawande, a surgeon, public-health researcher and New Yorker writer who pushes for a Cheesecake Factory-style of healthcare, as Haven’s CEO, it looks like it’s business as usual with all the neoliberal key words evidenced for the media.

    • ‘Huge Victory’: French Court Finds Monsanto Guilty of Poisoning Farmer

      Monsanto was ordered to pay restitution to a French farmer who developed a neurological disease after using its weedkiller—the latest victory for the chemical giant’s former customers who want to hold the company accountable for selling poisonous pesticides.

      A court in Lyon, France, ordered Monsanto Thursday to immediately pay Paul François €50,000 ($56,000) for the legal fees he incurred as he fought the company, and said the full amount it would be required to pay him would be announced in an upcoming ruling. François is seeking €1 million ($860,000).

      François expressed relief at the news of his victory, which came 15 years after he first became ill and 12 years after he took action against Monsanto.

      “It’s a huge sigh of relief. It’s been a 12-year battle,” François told reporters. “Twelve years where my life had to be put on hold and my family had to suffer because they were subjected to this battle.”

    • French Court Rules Monsanto Liable for Farmer’s Health Problems

      Paul Francois, 55, said he suffered neurological damage after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso in 2004. He sued the company arguing that the labeling on the product had been inadequate. Courts ruled in his favor in 2012 and 2015, but France’s top court overturned those rulings and ordered a new hearing.

      “We are all happy to have won but it came at a heavy price,” Francois told reporters, according to Reuters. “It’s a big sigh of relief. It’s been 12 years of fighting, 12 years during which I had to put my whole life on hold.”

      Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, told BBC News it was considering options including an appeal.

    • After Baby’s Death, Rhode Island 911 Operators May Receive Enhanced Training

      Rhode Island’s state police superintendent is recommending that all of the state’s 911 call takers be trained to provide emergency medical instructions over the phone before first responders arrive.

      Col. James M. Manni on Friday confirmed that he is asking Gov. Gina Raimondo to have all 34 telecommunicators and eight supervisors in the 911 emergency center certified in emergency medical dispatch, or EMD.

      EMD certification is required for people who answer emergency medical calls in every other New England state.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Microsoft’s Windows XP Finally Dead: Last Embedded Version Reaches EOL

      Microsoft this week ended support for the very last Windows XP-based operating system, essentially marking the end of the platform and an era. Being one of the longest living consumer operating systems ever, Windows XP’s ‘official’ lifespan totaled 17 years, 7 months, and 16 days.

      The software giant on April 9, 2019, ended extended support for its for Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 OS, which was the last OS based on the Windows XP with SP3. Given the name, the operating system was aimed at Point of Service embedded applications and therefore was not intended for client computers. Meanwhile, the continuous support of Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 enabled some users to receive security updates on Windows XP Home and Professional SP3-based machines through the use of a registry hack.

    • Cyber-Security Incident Response Plans Lacking, IBM Reports

      Defending against potential cyber-attacks isn’t just about prevention; it’s also about having the resilience to respond and recover.

      Unfortunately, the majority of organizations aren’t properly prepared for cyber-security incident response, according to the 2019 Study on the Cyber Resilient Organization, released on April 11 by IBM Security. The report was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and is based on a global survey of 3,655 IT security professionals from around the world.

    • Key Differences in Security, Management for Serverless vs. Containers [Ed: Look what we have here; a “sponsored” article from Linux Foundation sponsor, in a site partly controlled by the Foundation. Press coverage for sale at this non-profit.]

      Serverless functions and containers are two of the hottest topics in the IT world today. They’re also two technologies that share a lot in common — after all, both are ways to deploy code inside isolated, discrete environments. They are by no means identical technologies, but in the abstract, they function in similar ways.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Nuclear Weapons Ruined My Life…and I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way

      I want to offer you something different than the barrage of facts and figures around nuclear weapons. But let’s establish the basics. There are nine countries that possess them: France, China, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and — of course — Russia and the United States. Together these nine countries possess a total of 14,575 nuclear weapons, with the United States and Russia accounting for 92 percent of them.

      Then there’s the outlandish nuclear weapons budgets and U.S. plans to modernize and upgrade current nuclear weapons stockpiles at egregious expense. According to a new government estimate, plans for modernizing and maintaining the nuclear arsenal will cost $494 billion over the next decade — an average of just under $50 billion per year.

      All of this is happening with Donald Trump in the White House. With his recklessness and overriding need to win — or appear to win — at all costs, he is more dangerous than his predecessors. And that’s despite the fact that every president of the nuclear age played a part in extending the nuclear nightmare and increasing the threat of global annihilation.

    • Washington’s Selective Sanctions

      On April 3 US Vice President Pence told Germany and Turkey to stop cooperating with Russia. In a speech in Washington marking the 70thAnniversary of the US-NATO military alliance he declared “If Germany persists in building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as President Trump said, it could turn Germany’s economy into literally a captive of Russia,” and warned Turkey that it “must choose — does it want to remain a critical partner of the most successful military alliance in the history of the world, or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?”

      One of Turkey’s “reckless decisions” was explained by Radio Free Europe, which noted that Pence “voiced US opposition to Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air-defense system . . . which he said ‘poses great danger to NATO’.” He also threatened that “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries”.

      (We’ll pass over the fact that “the most successful military alliance in the history of the world” bombed and rocketed Libya in a nine-month blitz in 2011 and claimed a “model intervention” in a country it reduced to anarchy. On April 8 Stratfor noted that “An offensive against Tripoli by the Libyan National Army has bogged down in the capital’s outskirts, increasing the risk that the conflict will become protracted.” Thank you, NATO.)

      [...]

      In some fashion, India is different from Turkey and China when it comes to acquiring S-400 missile systems, and an explanation of sorts was offered by the Pentagon’s Assistant Secretary Randall Schriver to the House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee on March 27. He declared that the US-India “Major Defence Partnership” was prospering by “moving toward deeper security cooperation by increasing operational cooperation and availing key maritime security capabilities.” But then there was mention of the purchase for over five billon dollars by India from Russia of a world-beating air defense system, and Mr Schriver wasn’t comfortable with that.

      He was asked by Congressman Seth Moulton how India’s purchase of S-400 systems and the lease of Russian nuclear submarines would impact India-US relations and avoided any reply concerning the submarine lease while stating that purchase of S-400s has “not gone to contract or completed”, which, like so many official statements in Washington, was partly true. Certainly, delivery of the S-400s has not been completed; but for Mr Schriver to say that the matter “has not gone to contract” is a downright lie.

    • No, Bernie’s Not Anti-War

      The Democratic Party has an undeserved reputation for being anti-war. The last time the party ran an anti-war candidate for president was George McGovern in 1972. The 1980’s was the last decade when it was typical of candidates to pledge “defense” cuts or nuclear arms reductions. Dennis Kucinich has been the only exception to that rule this century. In fact, the most successful anti-war candidate of the last twenty years was a Republican: Ron Paul, who made a notable splash in both 2008 and 2012.

      Though he is not a member of the political party that writer Paul Street regularly refers to as the “dismal, dollar-drenched Dems,” Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders is once more seeking its presidential nomination and has signed the requisite “loyalty oath.” Sanders is often considered anti-war, but this is wishful thinking. His decades-long record in office demonstrates otherwise.

      It’s telling that Sanders has been more likely to cast a vote that could be deemed anti-war when a Republican is president. That betrays an allegiance more to partisanship than principle. Given this pattern, one can rightly wonder if he would have pushed his resolution against US support of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen if Hillary had been elected. (Also note that the resolution would not end the US’s role even if Trump does not veto it, as he is expected to do.)

    • Civil Rights Groups and Pro-war Republicans–An unholy Alliance in the Soft War Against China

      Last month, Mike Pompeo, amidst his soft war campaign to undermine the governments of Venezuela, Iran, and Lebanon, expressed concern for the ‘abhorrent’ allegations of Chinese Muslim internment.

      Pompeo, currently working to destabilize a number of Global South nations and groups, did not suddenly develop a moral consciousness for the plight of Muslims. Rather, his words revealed inclinations by the Trump administration to continue its soft war campaign against any economic or political opponent.

      The objective is evidently sanctions against China. This is reflected in recent legislation HR 649; The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, sponsored by Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey, aimed at sanctioning China over its “violation of human rights.”

      The bill cites the testimonies of a number of individuals and mainstream media news staples Kairat Samarkan, Omir Bekali, and Mihrigul Tursun as evidence of concentration camp-like centers. Each of the unverified testimonies, stories of detainment, torture, indoctrination, and even death were characteristic-most to all taking place 2017 or after, and ending with a thematic call to US congress to ‘take action’ against the Chinese state.

    • Putin says Russia’s draft will be canceled over time. He has been saying this since he took office.

      On April 12, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that the time has come for Russia’s nationwide draft to end, though “time and suitable funds will be necessary” to carry out the move. Many media sources quoted Putin’s statement. However, the president has been discussing a transition from mandatory to contractual military service in Russia since the beginning of his regime. In 2001, he even approved a government plan to shift to a contract army by 2010. Here’s what Putin has said about that option at various stages in his presidency.

    • Suspected ISIS terrorists reported killed in Siberian city

      During a search conducted on the night of April 12, the suspects attacked security agents, who returned fire and killed them. The number of deaths that resulted from the encounter has not yet been reported. An Interfax source previously mentioned that officials were searching for two suspects.

    • Russian federal agents lock down part of a Siberian city in search of suspected ISIS terrorists

      Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says a counter-terrorist operation is underway in Tyumen, a city on the Tura River, in the vast region of Siberia, a source in the agency told the news service Interfax. The FSB says it has information that armed members of the terrorist group ISIS are hiding at a private residence in Tyumen, allegedly plotting a terrorist attack.

    • Why the US AID to Venezuela was Not Real Aid and How False Western Humanitarianism is Used to Justify Imperialism

      A common misconception people have about Venezuela ever since the installation of the US-backed, interim self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido on the first week of January of this year, is that the “humanitarian aid” that the US had sent to Venezuela via USAID was meant to assist the Venezuelan population and that the Maduro government is rejecting all aid to the country.

      The reality is that the Maduro administration has accepted aid from numerous countries as well as working with United Nations organizations, and the USAID was indeed a trojan horse to use as a means of US military intervention. Venezuela has received aid from its allies such as Russia, Iran, China and Cuba, as well as from other nations such as Mexico. On February 13th, 2019, Russia had sent 300 tonnes of medicines to Venezuela. In addition to this, Cuba and China were the main countries that had sent over 60 containers with 933 tonnes of medicine to Venezuela within the same week. In the week of February 25th, 2019, Mexico had sent four shipments with a cargo of food and first aid necessity items which had arrived at the La Guaira port in Vargas state, Venezuela, as reported by the Governor of Vargas state, Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiro. Governor Carneiro elaborated that the aid delivered from Mexico would be distributed to different communities among the 11 municipalities of the Vargas state.

      What the Maduro government is rejecting is “humanitarian” aid from the Trump administration and its allies, given that these regimes have made it clear that they intend to overthrow the Maduro government and undemocratically install their hand-picked, right-wing candidate Juan Guaido. On January 24th, 2019, John Bolton, the current National Security Advisor of the U.S., had told Fox Business the following: “We’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela or, in the case of Citgo, here in the United States. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here. You know, Venezuela is one of the three countries I call the troika of tyranny. It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of the United States.” Likewise, it was revealed by former FBI Director Andrew McCabe in his new book “The Threat” that Trump had been privately discussing going to war with Venezuela since 2017, given that his book states: “Then the president talked about Venezuela. That’s the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.”

    • Following Trump Administration’s Bullying, ICC Judges Reject Probe Into War Crimes in Afghanistan

      Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested the investigation in 2017, a move which was praised by human rights organizations. At the time, Bensouda said there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that war crimes were committed by the Taliban, Afghan National Security Forces, U.S. armed forces, and the CIA.

      In retaliation for Bensouda’s action, the Trump administration last week revoked her entry visa.

      While the three-judge chamber acknowledged “there is a reasonable basis to believe that the incidents underlying the request have occurred,” it nonetheless rejected her petition.

    • World Court Judges Reject Afghanistan War Crimes Probe

      In a decision decried as “deeply flawed” and a “devastating blow for victims,” International Criminal Court judges on Friday rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan and alleged crimes by U.S. forces linked to the conflict.

      In a lengthy written ruling, judges said an investigation “would not serve the interests of justice” because an investigation and prosecution were unlikely to be successful, as those targeted, including the United States, Afghan authorities and the Taliban, are not expected to cooperate, the court said in a statement.

    • On Media and Rwanda

      A day after the 25th anniversary of when two Hutu presidents were blown out of the sky, the Star’s editorial board published “There’s no excuse for ignoring lessons of Rwanda’s genocide”. It claims, “on Jan. 11, 1994, Canadian Maj.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, at the time force commander with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, sent a chilling and urgent cable to UN Headquarters in New York. He had been informed of the details of a plan for the ‘extermination’ of ethnic Tutsis by Hutus.” After stringing together a few hundred more humane-sounding, though meaningless, words Star editorialists returned to their core liberal interventionist Canadian hero theme: “In his cable of January 1994 he urged UN leaders to act by telling them the obvious: Where there’s a will to prevent mass killing, there is a way.”

      The Star should check Dallaire’s fax more closely. Revealingly, the much-celebrated “genocide fax” the editorialistsreference is not titled “‘genocide’ or ‘killing’ but an innocuous ‘Request for Protection of Informant’”, reportsInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) lawyer Christopher Black in a 2005 story titled “View from Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication”. The two-page “genocide fax”, as New Yorker reporter Philip Gourevitch dubbed it in 1998, was probably doctored a year after the mass killings in Rwanda ended. In a chapter devoted to the fax in Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later Edward S. Herman and David Peterson argue two paragraphs were added to a cable Dallaire sent to Canadian General Maurice Baril at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York about a weapons cache and protecting an informant (Dallaire never personally met the informant). The added paragraphs said the informant was asked to compile a list of Tutsi for possible extermination in Kigali and mentioned a plan to assassinate select political leaders and Belgian peacekeepers.

    • Threatening ‘Swift’ Retaliation if US, Israel, or Allies Probed, Trump Celebrates ICC’s Rejected War Crimes Probe as ‘Major International Victory’

      As Common Dreams reported, the ICC’s decision to reject the request from ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to probe possible war crimes and crimes against humanity followed bullying efforts by senior members of the Trump administration—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton—who targeted ICC staff over the possible investigation. The administration even revoked Bensouda’s entry visa, it was reported last week.

      While welcomed by the Trump White House, the court’s decision drew outrage from a number of human rights organizations, including the U.K.-based group Reprieve.

      “Today’s decision,” sad the group’s deputy director Katie Taylor, “will be a grave disappointment for survivors of war-on-terror era torture who have waited nearly two decades for justice.”

    • Defendants say they were abducted and tortured at a ‘secret FSB prison’

      More than two years have passed since a terrorist attack in the St. Petersburg subway. The day before the second anniversary, the trial against the alleged perpetrators got underway. There are 11 suspects in the case, all of whom maintain their innocence. Some of the defendants also say they were tortured at a “secret FSB prison.” Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin explains how the case began, the allegations against federal agents, and how some have defended the government’s interrogation methods.

    • Disaster Music

      As historic Midwestern floodwaters receded, another “bomb cyclone” attacked the central U.S. this week. It is a time of extremes: to the south wildfire danger builds in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. So much for homeland security. Looking beyond the battered American interior and its borders, Cyclone Idai and its floods have brought far greater destruction and misery to southern Africa than that visited on America. Meanwhile, a large earthquake off the Indonesian coast prompts tsunami warnings in Asia.

      Reflecting on the bridges, dams and dwellings swept away by the Midwestern floods, cultural director of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Dwight Howe affirmed that “only God can do that.” Howe seemed not to be referring to the Christian God, but many believe that the present climactic afflictions are a harbinger of a second Great Flood. The high water bearing icy boulders of this spring were, as one distraught Nebraska rancher put it, a “sign from God.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Civil liberties groups condemn the Trump admin’s indictment of Julian Assange

      Today, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was arrested by British authorities after Ecuador terminated his asylum status. He has been charged for alleged conspiracy with whistleblower Chelsea Manning under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and faces potential extradition to the United States — a country with an extensive history of targeting whistleblowers with punitive sentences in prison. The details of the charge are fraught with press freedom implications and could potentially criminalize many common interactions journalists have with sources.

    • Julian Assange arrested in London

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who released documents that shamed the United States government, has beenWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who released documents that exposed human rights abuses by the United States military, has been arrested today in London by the British police, after he was evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had sought asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to the US to face charges over his publication of these abuses.

      Responding to the arrest of Julian Assange today, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

      “The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum rights. Ecuador has failed in its duty to protect its citizen.

      “Assange’s arrest will put him at risk of extradition to the US, where he will very likely face charges that could see him jailed for 30 or more years. A secret grand jury has been convened to prepare an indictment against Assange and key Trump officials have said that prosecuting Assange is a priority.

    • There Are Many Reasons To Be Concerned About The Impact On Press Freedoms In The Assange Indictment

      Yesterday, we wrote a bit about the Julian Assange indictment, noting that it was focused on CFAA and conspiracy arguments, rather than (what many people expected) Espionage Act claims. The CFAA charge of trying to help hack a hashed CIA password that Assange instructed Chelsea Manning to supply does raise some real legal questions. However, as we noted, there were still some significant press freedom concerns linked to the case (and we fully expect those concerns to grow as the inevitable superseding indictment is released).

      [...]

      But the very fact that it has spent all this time and the best thing it could come up with to charge Assange was an alleged attempt to hack a password, is pretty weak. The attempt to puff even that up into a “conspiracy” by describing common journalistic practices is a real worry, as is anything the DOJ later decides to throw on the pile with future charges.

    • The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History

      The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

      That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

      But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

      Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

    • Why Julian Assange’s Extradition Must Be Opposed at All Costs

      On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by the UK police inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted political asylum in 2012. This termination of asylum by Ecuador in violation of international law comes a week after WikiLeaks warned the public it had received information from two high-level Ecuadorian government sources about a US-backed plan for the Ecuadorian government to expel Assange from its embassy.

      Assange’s lawyer confirmed he has been arrested under a US extradition warrant for conspiracy to publish classified information with whistleblower Chelsea Manning revealing government war crimes in 2010. Specifically, this relates to WikiLeaks’ publication of the collateral murder video, documents concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the US Diplomatic Cables.

      In making a statement outside Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters that Assange’s arrest marks a “dark day for journalism”. This prosecution of Assange is recognized by experts on free speech rights as an attack on freedom of the media everywhere.

    • Assange’s ‘Conspiracy’ to Expose War Crimes Has Already Been Punished

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should never have been punished for working with a whistleblower to expose war crimes. Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower, has done more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than William Calley, a key perpetrator of the My Lai massacre. Remarkably, Manning is in jail again, failed by organizations that should unreservedly defend her, as the US tries to coerce her into helping inflict more punishment on Assange.

    • Jeremy Corbyn Denounces Efforts to Extradite Assange

      Key figures in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party are speaking out against the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the United States after British police arrested the WikiLeaks founder and forcibly dragged him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Thursday.

      “The extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party’s leader.

    • Noam Chomsky: We Must Confront the “Ultranationalist, Reactionary” Movements Growing Across Globe

      On Thursday night, hundreds of people packed into the Old South Church in Boston to hear the world-renowned dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky speak. He looked back at the rise of fascism in the 20th century and the growing ultranationalist movements of today, from Brazil and the United States to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    • Chomsky: Arrest of Assange Is “Scandalous” and Highlights Shocking Extraterritorial Reach of U.S.

      Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are vowing to fight his possible extradition to the United States following his arrest in London, when British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he had taken asylum for almost seven years. On Thursday night, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman spoke to Noam Chomsky about Assange’s arrest, WikiLeaks and American power.

    • The U.S. Government’s Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom

      The indictment of Julian Assange unsealed today by the Trump Justice Department poses grave threats to press freedoms, not only in the U.S. but around the world. The charging document and accompanying extradition request from the U.S. government, used by the U.K. police to arrest Assange once Ecuador officially withdrew its asylum protection, seeks to criminalize numerous activities at the core of investigative journalism.

      So much of what has been reported today about this indictment has been false. Two facts in particular have been utterly distorted by the DOJ and then misreported by numerous media organizations.

      The first crucial fact about the indictment is that its key allegation — that Assange did not merely receive classified documents from Chelsea Manning but tried to help her crack a password in order to cover her tracks — is not new. It was long known by the Obama DOJ and was explicitly part of Manning’s trial, yet the Obama DOJ — not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms — concluded that it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom. In sum, today’s indictment contains no new evidence or facts about Assange’s actions; all of it has been known for years.

    • Assange’s Indictment Treats Journalism as a Crime

      After living under a grant of asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy for nearly seven years, WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was forcibly ejected and arrested by British police on April 11. Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, accused Assange of “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.” After an anonymous source revealed the “INA Papers,” a dossier that implicated Moreno in money laundering and contained personal photos of his family, WikiLeaks tweeted about it but denied any connection to the hacking.

      Rafael Correa, who was president of Ecuador until 2017, had granted Assange asylum in 2012 to protect him from extradition to the United States to answer for WikiLeaks’s publication of evidence of U.S. war crimes. Ecuador’s foreign minister at the time, Ricardo Patino, said that without this protection, Assange could suffer “political persecution” or extradition to the U.S. where he might face the death penalty.

      In 2010, WikiLeaks published classified documentation of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning had provided. It included the “Collateral Murder Video” that showed U.S. soldiers in an Army helicopter gunship kill 12 unarmed civilians walking down a street in Baghdad.

      Sweden investigated Assange in fall 2010 for allegations of sexual assault. Assange was living in Britain at the time. Sweden issued an extradition warrant so Assange could face questioning about the investigation in Sweden. Assange fought extradition but lost in Britain’s Supreme Court in June 2012. He sought and received refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • Daniel Ellsberg On Assange Arrest: The Beginning of the End For Press Freedom
    • Citing Assange’s Work Exposing US ‘Atrocities,’ UK Labour Leaders Speak Out Against Extradition Effort

      Key figures in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party are speaking out against the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the United States after British police arrested the WikiLeaks founder and forcibly dragged him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Thursday.

      “The extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party’s leader.

    • Shredding Asylum: the Arrest of Julian Assange

      The man seemed like a bearded emissary, a holy figure nabbed in his sleep. He looked similarly pale as to how he did in 2013, but he cut a more shocking figure. Most prisoners would have had room to move in a compound. The Ecuadorean embassy in London only offered modest space and access to sun light. Hospitality of late was in short supply.

      Julian Assange had been ill. His advocates had bravely insisted that he needed treatment. “As a journalist who has worked as media partner of @Wikileaks since 2009,” reflected a near grieving Stefania Maurizi, “it has been so painful to watch Julian Assange’s health completely declining in the last 9 years as a result of confinement with no end in sight, tremendous stress, threats.” Sir Alan Duncan of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was happy to offer it, provided Assange step out of the embassy.

      But Assange’s time had finally come. The embroiling of the Moreno administration in the INA Papers affair suggested that the president needed an out. Images of Moreno’s family skirting around the internet in various fora during days of plenty, and the suggestion that he had been profiting from a Panama offshore account, put Assange back in the picture. Who better to blame than a man in confinement, whose communications had been restricted, whose health was failing? WikiLeaks duly received a tipoff from a “high level source within the Ecuadorean state” that the offshore scandal would be used “as a pretext” to remove difficult tenant.

      The writ and run of asylum has been shredded, and the conduct of Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno is worth noting. In his address explaining the abrupt termination of Assange’s stay, Moreno was a dissembling picture. Assange, he had been assured by UK authorities, would come to no harm. He would not be facing torture or the death penalty (a reassuring red herring, given that the death penalty is off the table in extradition matters dealing with the UK in any case).

    • After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for Its First Media Rendition

      For seven years, from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

      For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and “experts” telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a “mainstream” voice was raised in his defence in all that time.

      From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of Wikileaks – a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States – was erased from the record.

      Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books – to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.

    • Free Julian Assange! Stand Up for Press Freedom!

      The arrest by British Metropolitan Police of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, dragged unceremonially out of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London on a charge of failure to appear for a court hearing on an expired (and trumped-up) accusation in Sweden of sexual assault, is a grave and terrible threat to independent journalism and to the US Constitution’s First Amendment promise of freedom of the press.

      Make no mistake. This arrest, made at the UK government’s insistence, for “failure to appear” in court for a no longer required hearing on an expired Swedish extradition request to “question him” about a bogus charge of sexual assault, is all a gigantic fraud.

      At the same time as the arrest was made, and that the Ecuadorian government shamelessly invited UK police into their Embassy to arrest and remove Assange, London Police revealed what has long been known by Assange and his attorneys: that behind it all is the US government, which has for nine years had a secret sealed indictment waiting, an indictment charging Assange with a conspiracy with Army veteran Chelsea Manning to steal and disseminate classified US military documents related to conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A US warrant requesting Assange’s extradition from the UK to the US was also reportedly issued in 2017.

      As Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept, who worked with Assange and Wikileaks in reporting on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to help Snowden escape US arrest and win asylum in Russia, tweeted early this morning, “If you’re cheering Assange’s arrest based on a US extradition request, your allies in your celebration are the most extremist elements of the Trump administration, whose primary and explicit goal is to criminalize reporting on classified docs & punish (Wikileaks) for exposing war crimes.

    • Pardoning Assange Would be the First Step Back Toward Rule of Law

      On April 11, the ongoing saga of journalist and transparency activist Julian Assange took a dangerous turn. Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, revoked his asylum in that country’s London embassy. British police immediately arrested him — supposedly pursuant to his “crime” of jumping bail on an invalid arrest warrant in an investigation since dropped without charges but, as they admitted shortly thereafter, actually with the intent of turning him over to US prosecutors on bogus “hacking” allegations.

      The US political class has been after Assange for nearly a decade.

      In 2010 WikiLeaks, the journalism/transparency service he founded, released information revealing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as State Department cables exposing — among other things — Hillary Clinton’s attempts to have American diplomats plant bugs in the offices of their UN counterparts (Clinton, at one point, tried to raise the possibility of having him murdered for embarrassing her so).

      In 2016, WikiLeaks released Democratic National Committee emails — provided by an as yet unidentified whistleblower — exposing the DNC’s attempts to rig the Democratic presidential primaries in Clinton’s favor.

      At no point has Assange been credibly accused of a crime. He’s a journalist. People provide him with information. He publishes that information. That’s an activity clearly and unambiguously protected by the First Amendment.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Glaciers’ global melt may leave Alps bare

      Many of the planet’s most scenic – and most valued – high-altitude landscapes are likely to look quite different within the next 80 years: the glaciers’ global melt will have left just bare rock.

      By the century’s end, Europe’s famous Alps – the chain of snow- and ice-covered peaks that have become a playground of the wealthy and a source of income and pleasure for generations – will have lost more than nine-tenths of all its glacier ice.

      And in the last 50 years, the world’s glaciers – in Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa and the sub-Arctic mountains – have lost more than nine trillion tonnes of ice as global temperatures creep ever upwards in response to profligate combustion of fossil fuels.

      And as meltwater has trickled down the mountains, the seas have risen by 27mm, thanks entirely to glacial retreat.

    • Deadly Bomb Cyclone Brings ‘Historic’ Snowfall to Central U.S.

      One person died and tens of thousands lost power as the second “bomb cyclone” in a month brought snow and wind to the central U.S. Wednesday and Thursday.

    • A Former Oil Lobbyist Is Now Officially in Charge of America’s Public Lands

      The confirmation vote was 56-to-41, making Bernhardt—who has so many conflicts of interests he has to write them on an index card to make sure he doesn’t deal with former clients—the least popular Interior Secretary in 40 years, the Center for American Progress (CAP) told The Washington Post. The second least popular was Ryan Zinke, President Donald Trump’s first pick to lead the Department of Interior (DOI), who resigned last year amidst a series of ethics investigations. A CAP analysis showed that Bernhardt bested his former boss in another respect: he has the most conflicts of interests of all 31 Trump cabinet-level nominees.

      “It still amazes me,” New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said of Bernhardt’s nomination, as The New York Times reported. “Donald Trump campaigns on cleaning up the swamp and he does exactly the opposite when in office. An oil and gas lobbyist as head of the Department of Interior? My God. That’s an example of the swampiness of Washington if there ever was one. And when are Donald Trump’s supporters going to understand this?”

    • Politics, Democracy and Environmental Rebellion

      A question worth asking is: what conceivable national electoral outcome would resolve the political dysfunction that currently prevents much-needed programs such as solving climate change and mass extinction, national health care, and an end to militarism from being enacted? While setting aside for a moment the national / international divide that facilitated post-War liberalism, class struggle has reemerged to redraw political alignments that lack formal institutions from ‘below’ to move them forward. Would a Democratic sweep in 2020 really change this political landscape?

      Focus on elected officials rather than the systemic levers of class control support the carefully crafted posture of great difference between the governing Parties. Political marketing posits the locus of power within personal traits that suborn the class relations the candidates support to a passive role. In the realm of diversions, the passion of anti-Trumpism has been temperedsomewhat since the 2018 mid-term elections by actual Democrats regaining control of the House. As enthusiastically despised as Mr. Trump is, all it takes is a gander at the ‘opposition’ to illuminate the political role that manufactured constraints play.

      The near-term political success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is likely attributable to the distance she has kept from the much-despised political establishment. She said so herself. To paraphrase, her constituents are the people who elected her, not her colleagues in congress. This return to politics, to taking one’s case to the people, 1) is the only way forward for left politics and 2) illustrates how institutional constraints are political in the sense that they preclude only those acts and policies that are inconvenient to official interests. Radical policies that benefit the rich are normalized as necessary— e.g. the U.S. war against Iraq and the Wall Street bailouts.

    • Why Every City Needs a Climate Storyteller

      Biggers, a journalist, playwright and historian, has written hundreds of articles and eight books, including Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition and Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland. He’s spent decades deeply entrenched in movements for environmental protection and justice, but says he still felt we were falling short on inspiring the change needed to meet the scale of the problem.

      So in 2014 he started the Climate Narrative Project, which works with high schools, universities and communities across the country to fuse science and art into new narratives about climate change and solutions that cut across disciplines and media.

      We spoke with Biggers about his work helping to train climate storytellers and how it’s changing communities.

    • Idaho’s Wolf Bounty: a Return to the Dark Ages of Wildlife Management

      I sometimes feel like I am going back in time when I visit Idaho. The attitudes of Idaho lawmakers and some citizens seems like a time warp. A step backward to the “good old days” is represented by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission who voted to spend $23,069 to help fund a $1000 wolf bounty.

      The funds will be given to the Foundation for Wildlife Management, a non-profit group which has been paying trappers and hunters a bonus of $1000 for killing wolves. The foundation also receives funding from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as well as other donors.

      Apparently, the fact that a hunter/trapper in Idaho can legally kill up to 20 wolves a year is not enough incentive for the state’s goal of reducing wolves. It is now reverting to the use of bounties.

      Wolf bounties have a long and sordid history in this country, often aligned with discriminatory attitudes towards minorities.

    • DeGrowth, the Green New Deal and This Island Earth

      Back in the early 1970s, the Socialist Workers Party was well on its way to becoming the largest group on the left in the USA. To a large part, Peter Camejo’s speeches were responsible for this. He was not only good at explaining why you should become a socialist but doing so in an entertaining manner. One of the jokes that never failed to get a laugh was his description of an abundant life under socialism. Money wouldn’t be necessary. You’d go to a state-owned grocery store and be able to walk out with a shopping cart overflowing with filet mignons. This would not prompt an arrest but a referral to a psychiatrist because who in the world would do such a thing.

      Although Peter would eventually adopt an ecosocialist outlook that would have made such a joke obsolete, he was reflecting a certain kind of techno-optimism that characterized our movement. Its prophet Leon Trotsky wrote an article in 1926 titled “Radio, Science, Technique and Society” that exclaimed: “The atom contains within itself a mighty hidden energy, and the greatest task of physics consists in pumping out this energy, pulling out the cork so that this hidden energy may burst forth in a fountain. Then the possibility will be opened up of replacing coal and oil by atomic energy, which will also become the basic motive power.”

    • ‘Virtually No Risk of Drilling Restrictions,’ West Virginia Official Tells Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Industry

      This week, at an industry conference focused on wooing petrochemical producers to West Virginia, officials from the state and federal government made clear their support for continuing fracked shale gas extraction and petrochemical industry development near the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale.

      Why should petrochemical companies build in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio? For one thing, don’t expect regulation of shale gas drilling, Michael Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, predicted in his presentation.

    • EPA Chief: Climate Change Is Not Top Priority

      In an in-depth interview with Reuters Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Andrew Wheeler repeated claims that climate change is not the biggest environmental threat facing the world and shed some light on the agency’s plans to help the Trump administration boost fossil fuel development.

      The interview came a day after President Donald Trump signed two executive orders designed to speed up pipeline approvals and other fossil fuel projects. Wheeler told Reuters that the EPA was working on proposals to speed state approvals, focusing on clarifying section 401 of the Clean Water Act that lets states block projects, Reuters reported.

    • What if We Treated Our Oceans as if They Matter?

      Under the restless surface of our seas, hundreds of miles from land, there’s a world of giants and hunters; ancient lifeforms and lost cities.

      These waters beyond national borders are home to creatures even more varied than in the tropical rainforests. They contain the highest and longest mountain range anywhere on our planet, and trenches deep enough to hold Mount Everest. They’re the highways for whales, turtles, albatross and tuna on their cross-planet migrations.

    • With Youth Climate Actions Backed by Leading Experts, Latest Round of Protests Highlights Call for Bold and Urgent Action

      The latest round of weekly climate strikes took place in cities across the globe on Friday as a group of experts said that the youthful protesters deserve the support of the international community, and backed their call for “rapid and forceful action.”

      London was among dozens of U.K. cities where #FridaysforFuture actions took place. One of the protesters there was 21-year-old Cameron Joshi, who told the Guardian: “The global system of trade benefits them, not us, it’s built for consumption. But they’re fucking afraid of us.”

      And they should be, he said.

      “They fear us because they know if we get our shit together we can change the world. We’re at an absolutely seminal point in history, years of consumerism, capitalism, and environmental murder, and we can change it all if we want it all, and we do.”

  • Finance

    • Lordstown Sketch

      GM management offered the typical reasons for the closure. The Cruze, the automobile produced at the plant for years, was alleged to be underperforming in sales and the company needed to close the plant to save a few billion.

    • Foxconn’s Wisconsin ‘Factory’ Is An Even Bigger Joke Than Everybody Thought

      We’ve been covering for a while how Paul Ryan’s once-heralded Foxconn factory deal in Wisconsin quickly devolved into farce. The state originally promised Taiwan-based Foxconn a $3 billion state subsidy if the company invested $10 billion in a Wisconsin LCD panel plant that created 13,000 jobs. But as the subsidy grew the promised factory began to shrink further and further, to the point where nobody at this point is certain that anything meaningful is going to get built at all.

      Last October, reports emerged clearly illustrating the ever-shrinking nature of the deal. They also highlighted how Foxconn was effectively just using nonsense to justify its failure to follow through, showing that while the company hadn’t built much of anything meaningful in the state, it was still routinely promising to deploy a “AI 8K+5G ecosystem” in the state to somehow make everything better. Shockingly, that mish-mash of buzz words is effectively meaningless.

      Fast forward to this week, and reporters who’ve been visiting the state to determine the progress of the project continue to find its even lamer than everybody had initially worried. One local politician effectively compares the scandal directly to the Fyre Festival, and the piece is littered with disappointment by locals who say the company is being aggressively secretive and often misleading.

      [...]

      Something will come from the massive subsidies being thrown in Foxconn’s general direction, but whether it’s more than glorified set dressing remains an open question.

    • On False Dichotomies, Real and Fake, at MSDNC

      Antonio Gramsci would be impressed by the “liberal” Democratic Party broadcast network MSNBC, whose function is to advance the political hegemony of finance capital between drug, car, business consulting, insurance, and financial services commercials for affluent Baby Boomers.

      Last Wednesday the discussion became spirited on an “expert panel” convened by MSDNC morning host Stephanie Ruhle, a former leading global derivatives trader. The topic that animated Ruhle and her guests was America’s need to “get over the false dichotomy between socialism and capitalism” and to focus instead on moving from an insufficiently regulated to a more properly controlled capitalism. The point, the MSDNC know-it-alls agreed, is not to transcend capitalism but to reform it – to “change the rules of capitalism” in Ruhle’s words. The goal for Ruhle and her fellow Wall Street reformers is to make capitalism work like it is supposedly supposed to: for the broad populace, the common good, and democracy, not just the wealthy Few like JPMorgan Chase’s billionaire CEO Jamie Dimon.

    • A Moscow court fines Facebook about 50 bucks for refusing to store user data inside Russia

      A small claims court in Moscow’s Tagansky District has fined Facebook 3,000 rubles (roughly $47) for failing to store Russian users’ personal data on servers located inside Russia.

    • Shop Stopped: Grocery Store Strike of 31K Workers Receives Support From Warren, Sanders

      Some 31,000 workers walked off the job at Stop & Shop stores across New England Thursday in response to the company cutting wages and benefits, a strike that prompted the support and praise of prominent Democrats and left wing activists.

      The strike is the result of a March vote by store union members to walk off the job if a fair contract between the union and the grocery corporation could not be reached during negotiations.

      Even though the labor action was not unexpected, the size of the strike was notable, as HuffPost reporter Dave Jamieson pointed out.

    • McDonald’s Retreat on Fighting Wage Increases Shows the Tide Is Turning

      In March, the McDonald’s Corporation announced that it would no longer actively lobby against local, state and federal efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The move comes as Democrats in the U.S. House have thrown their weight behind a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2024.

      The decision by McDonald’s was made public in a recent letter sent from Genna Gent, vice president of U.S. government relations for McDonald’s, to the National Restaurant Association, an industry group that represents more than 500,000 restaurant businesses across the country.

      According to the corporate watchdog group, SourceWatch, the National Restaurant Association is a key lobbying group that has fought hard in recent years to block worker-friendly issues such as paid sick days and increases in the minimum wage. As Politico reporter Rebecca Rainey explained, losing McDonald’s as an ally in the fight against wage hikes serves as a “serious blow to the trade group.”

      Despite the decision, however, the National Restaurant Association has stood by McDonald’s and recently called the company a “valued member” of its organization.

    • So Who Really Gets a Tax Cut This Year?

      Tax Day is here. What’s in your return?

      According to a new poll, only 17 percent of Americans say they’re paying less in taxes this year, despite the GOP’s promises that the huge tax cuts they passed were for the middle class. Tax returns due April 15 are the first to be filed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which passed Congress and was signed by President Trump about 16 months ago.

      It was their signature achievement, a tax cut package costing nearly $2 trillion that was supposed to rev up the economy, produce jobs and investment, and give every family a $4,000 raise.

      It hasn’t worked out that way. In fact, multiple polls show that a plurality of voters opposed the tax law from the beginning — and still do. In fact, nearly two-thirds now favor its outright repeal. Those same polls show that the public strongly believes our tax system favors the wealthy and big corporations, who aren’t paying their fair share.

      How did a major tax cut plan that promised happy-days-are-here-again prosperity for most working families fall so flat with taxpayers?

      Because most of us aren’t seeing benefits from the tax cuts in our paychecks or tax returns. But we’re seeing the real results in newspaper headlines.

    • Test Taker Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Bribery Scam

      A former Florida prep school administrator pleaded guilty Friday to taking college entrance exams for students in exchange for cash to help wealthy parents get their kids into elite universities across the country.

      Mark Riddell admitted to secretly taking the SAT and ACT for students, or correcting their answers, as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme, which has ensnared celebrities, business executives and athletic coaches at sought-after schools such as Stanford and Yale.

      Riddell, who has been cooperating with authorities since February in the hopes of getting a lesser sentence, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges.

      The 36-year-old, wearing a dark suit and glasses, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen explained that prosecutors will seek a sentence at the low end of the guidelines, which call for 33 to 41 months in prison. Riddell’s lawyer declined comment.

      The Harvard graduate oversaw college entrance exam preparation at IMG Academy, a Bradenton school founded by renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri that bills itself as the world’s largest sports academy. Riddell has since been fired.

      Authorities say the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme, Rick Singer, bribed test administrators to allow Riddell to pretend to proctor the exams for students so he could cheat on the tests. Singer typically paid Riddell $10,000 per test to rig the scores, prosecutors said.

    • Yellow Vest Movement Struggles to Reinvent Democracy as Macron Cranks Up Propaganda and Repression

      After five months of constant presence at traffic circles, toll-booths and hazardous Saturday marches, the massive, self-organized social movement known as the Yellow Vests has just held its second nationwide “Assembly of Assemblies.” Hundreds of autonomous Yellow Vest activist groups from all over France each chose two delegates (one woman, one man) to gather in the port city of St. Nazaire for weekend of deliberation (April 5-7).

      After weeks of skirmishing with the municipal authorities, the local Yellow Vests were able to host 700 delegates at the St. Nazaire “House of the People,” and the three-day series of general meetings and working groups went off without a hitch in an atmosphere of good-fellowship. A sign on the wall proclaimed: “No one has the solution, but everybody has a piece of it.”

      Their project: mobilize their “collective intelligence” to reorganize, strategize, and prolong their struggle. Their aim: achieve the immediate goals of livable wages and retirements, restoration of social benefits and public services like schools, transportation, post offices, hospitals, taxing the rich and ending fiscal fraud to pay for preserving the environment, and, most ambitious of all, reinventing democracy in the process. Their Declaration ends with the phrase “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” I often wonder if they know who coined it.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hungary Is Lost

      Viktor Orbán is destroying Hungary’s democracy. The institutions, the legal system and the social fabric are nothing but a pile of rubble. And the EU let it happen.

    • An Open Letter to the Bastards in the Democratic Party Who I Keep Foolishly Supporting

      All we get is politics all the time. One election ends and the next immediately begins, with endless email requests for money to support both Democratic and Republican candidates. Is that all these people do? The folks in Washington do little for the common man. They certainly do not represent me, or people like me. I frequently write my Democrat representatives – Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez and recently elected Congressman Antonio Delgado – and I hear nothing back.

      Meanwhile I get requests for financial support from Democrats beyond New York, and have given money to many, but when it comes to assisting taxpaying citizens and donors to do something for the broad public interest, these folks report I am not a “constituent” and therefore they will not help me, not even listen to or read my letters or emails. How can they expect to get non-constituents to support their election efforts?

    • Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics

      Keith Olbermann’s spectacular rant in January 2017 defined the core narrative and exemplified the Trump Derangement Syndrome that powered it: an emotional, visceral hatred of Donald Trump wrapped in the fantasy—insisted upon as “elemental, existential fact”—that he was “put in power by Vladimir Putin.” A projection and deflection, I would say, of liberals’ self-hatred for creating the conditions—eight years of war and wealth transfer capped off by a despised and entitled candidate—that allowed a vapid clown like Trump to be elected. It couldn’t be our fault! It must have been Putin who arranged it!

    • To Be or Not to be a Zionist?

      Jewish American progressives are falling for the oldest trick in the Zionist playbook: the conflation of Zionism with Judaism. The ultimate victims of this propaganda ploy are always Palestinians.

    • Progressive Leaders Condemn Netanyahu’s Vow to Annex West Bank as Unlawful ‘Moral Catastrophe’

      “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s campaign threat to annex the West Bank signals an alarming and unprecedented violation of human rights and international law,” Jayapal and Pocan said in a statement. “This move to entrench Israeli control over disenfranchised Palestinians would be a moral catastrophe.”

      The House Democrats’ statement comes just days after Netanyahu won reelection this week by a razor-thin margin over his centrist opponent, Benny Gantz, following a campaign brimming with anti-Arab racism and voter suppression tactics.

      Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition won 65 of the 120 seats in Israel’s Parliament, according to the final election results released Thursday.

      “In the wake of his narrow reelection, we urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to reverse course from his provocative campaign rhetoric,” the U.S. progressive leaders said. “Elected leaders should be advancing the cause of peace—not undermining it. We will make clear that Congress firmly rejects the unilateral annexation of West Bank territory.”

    • Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection underlines Israel’s apartheid reality
    • What Ivanka Told Us About Trump’s Meeting With el-Sisi

      Ivanka Trump, daughter of the US president and wife of Middle East “expert” Jared Kushner – he who has supposedly produced a Middle East “peace plan” to be revealed after Benjamin Netanyahu wins the Israeli elections – has just given her support to a regime which has locked up women political prisoners, “disappeared” others, and whose army forcibly carried out virginity tests on female protesters during the Tahrir Square revolution. Well, what more do you expect from the Trump menagerie?

      Her tweeted praise, encouragement and support went to Egypt – and especially to its president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who gained a presidential victory last year with the support of 97.08 per cent of the Egyptian electorate. Ivanka obviously drew the necessary conclusions: this was a free and fair election and showed only how much President Sisi’s people loved him after his military coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2013. By extraordinary chance, the very same Sisi (just four days after Ivanka’s tweet) is in Washington today – yes, today: Tuesday – to meet with her father, Donald Trump.

      And why should she not have tweeted forth, when she had read Sisi’s speech on Women’s Day, in which the Egyptian president promised to protect Egyptian women from physical violence, help them achieve “greater participation” in the labour market and “technological empowerment”. He ended with the words: “Egypt is in the process of building its renaissance and it is in need of the efforts of its daughters, side by side with its sons.”

      And so say all of us. The Sisi speech was obviously good reading in the White House office where The Ivanka decides policy. It was, she enthused, “important” because it called “for major reforms aimed at empowering Egyptian women”. And she added: “We look forward to working with the Egyptian government to advance these efforts.”

    • Chomsky: Trump Radically Interfered with Israel’s Election to Help Re-elect Netanyahu

      Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is headed to a record fifth term in office after narrowing defeating former military chief Benny Gantz. In a discussion with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky talks about how President Trump directly interfered with the Israel election by repeatedly helping Netanyahu, from moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem to recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in defiance of international law.

    • Madonna Plays Apartheid

      It may be difficult for some to understand the impact that a pop icon has on social and political events, but these cultural figures possess enormous psychological sway in the minds of millions. Their actions make a difference. So it can be quite jarring when one of those icons goes against the justified demands of an entire people, especially when they have been oppressed and persecuted for decades.

      This May Madonna is set to perform two songs at Eurovision in Tel Aviv. She will reach an estimated 180 million viewers. She has moneyed backing too. Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams has pledged to pay $1 million dollars for her performance at Eurovision. And she will simultaneously flip the bird to millions of Palestinians who languish under a brutal system of colonial oppression, ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Madonna is no stranger to this controversy. In 2012 she launched her MDNA tour in Tel Aviv against the urging of BDS activists.

      There is a dark legacy of pop icons who play in places where there is rampant oppression or injustice. In the 1980s scores of artists played Sun City, a resort in the Bantustan state of Bophuthatswana. A state with limited autonomy created by the racist regime of apartheid South Africa in order to forcibly displace Black South Africans from their lands. Dolly Parton, Elton John, Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli were among the big headliners there and reportedly received millions for their performances. In 2009, Sting reportedly got £1 million playing for Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the notorious repressive leader of Uzbekistan. He was unrepentant about that gig.

    • Senators Take Step Forward on Voting Rights Restoration

      Maryland Senator Ben Cardin introduced on Tuesday the Democracy Restoration Act (or DRA), which would restore federal voting rights to Americans who are not in prison but are nevertheless denied the right to vote because of prior criminal convictions. The Senate bill follows the historic passage of the For the People Act in the House of Representatives last month, which included a similar provision to restore voting rights.

      “We are in a moment where Americans are demanding free, fair, and accessible elections,” the Brennan Center’s Myrna Pérez said at a Capitol Hill briefing marking the introduction of the bill. “We are in a moment where folks on both sides of the aisle can see that our criminal justice system is broken. And we are in a moment where people’s desire for progress and growth is palpable.”

      Currently, only 14 states and the District of Columbia automatically restore voting rights upon release from prison (Maine and Vermont have no criminal disenfranchisement laws). Among the remaining states, a confusing patchwork of laws restricts the right to vote based on type of conviction, parole or probation status, or payment of legal financial obligations. Confusion and misinformation about these complicated provisions can lead to de facto disenfranchisement. The DRA seeks to simplify these policies, ensuring that any American who is living in the community has the right to vote in federal elections. The bill also provides notice to Americans with past convictions about their right to vote in federal elections.

    • Thus Spake the Soul: It’s Time To Re-libidinize the Left

      By 1980, the more right U.S. society accepted the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-3 proclamation that defiance in children and teenagers was a mental illness that is called oppositional defiant disorder”(ODD) … While ODD kids can produce significant tension in families and schools, many of these young people are the exactly the kind of kids who mature into anti-authoritarian adults who have the courage to challenge and resist illegitimate authority. Ibid

      I admit this title is weird. But nonetheless, it is deliberate because my intention is to speak on behalf of and to the imaginative soul that exists in every one including in secular progressive liberals who discount its real existence. Normally inspired/comforted by beauty and nature, and capable of depth of feeling from whence comes its power to heal, the creative soul is not liberal in the way Phil Ochs famously described: “ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.” Imagined as a woman in western mythic tradition, the soul is each person’s onboard, fail-proof bullshit-detector, un des miserables, outcast, discontent, “working class,” organically non-conformist. She is each person’s finest hope for finding her/his singular way to challenge the societal order that is, as psychotherapist Bruce Levine points out, making us sick. The soul is the fountain of ODD, the dandelion root of impudence, misbehavior and mischief. She is the key to individuality which is more than simply “non-conformity” as in blue hair and tattoos; because a working relationship with the soul is foundational for revolution, I wish to agitate Her multitude into a John Brown-type revolt against neoliberal enslavement.

    • ‘There’s Increased Hunger for Diverse Stories That Represent All of America’ – CounterSpin interview with Shireen Razack and Tawal Panyacosit Jr. on inclusion in TV writing

      TV, for many of us, is a place where, at the end of the working day, you can experience places and circumstances far from your own, where human lives can be shown more three-dimensionally than on the nightly news, and where people who are marginalized, and worse, in “real life” can be the star, and speak in their own voice.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The praxis and prospects of communicative peace in tackling hate speech within the context of peace paradigms

      Hate speech can be conceptualized as any utterance that evokes negative sentiments or wrong opinion, degrading prejudice and misguided hatred towards a person or a group.

    • Nancy Pelosi Joins Ted Cruz And Louis Gohmert In Attacking CDA 230

      This is wrong on so many levels. Section 230 is not a “gift” to the tech companies. It’s a gift to the public and their ability to speak freely on the internet. Section 230 is what enables all of these websites out there that allow us to speak out without having to get what we want to say approved.

      And to argue that companies don’t “respect” Section 230 is weird, given that internet companies have spent basically the past 20 years fighting for Section 230 and explaining why it was so important, while almost everyone else downplayed it, didn’t care about it, or didn’t understand it. The only internet company right now that doesn’t seem to “respect” Section 230 would be Facebook, which caved in and supported chipping away at Section 230′s important protections.

      Look, it is completely fair to argue that the big internet companies have lots of very real problems — including questions about how they treat their users, and about privacy. But the focus on Section 230 is bizarre and misguided. And attacking it in this way will literally do the opposite of what Pelosi seems to think it will. Removing Section 230 won’t help bring about more competition. It won’t help make the companies “act better.” Rather, stripping 230 protections means that you won’t get smaller companies building competing services to Facebook and Google, because it will be way too risky on the liability side. Facebook and Google can afford the fight. Others cannot.

    • Letter to Members of the European Parliament: Reject Mass Censorship

      Yesterday, La Quadrature du Net sent the following letter to the 751 members of the European Parliament (also in PDF).

      We urge them to reject the Anti-terrorism Regulation, which is useless and will only open the gates to mass censorship, leading to political censorship and to the destruction of the Internet we are fighting for. In the event that the Regulation is not fully rejected, we urge them to fix at least the worst parts of it.

      After the LIBE Committee adopted its report last Monday (read our reaction), the Regulation will be voted in first reading by all members of Parliament on 17 April around 17:00 (see the draft agenda).

      After that, if the text was to be adopted in Parliament, the debate would continue probably in a few months after the European elections: the Council of the EU (gathering governments of all Members States) and the European Parliament would try to reach a compromise between the texts each of them adopted in first reading (read our reaction to the text adopted by the Council last December).

    • Platform Liability Doesn’t — And Shouldn’t — Depend On Content Moderation Practices

      In April 2018, House Republicans held a hearing on the “Filtering Practices of Social Media Platforms” that focused on misguided claims that Internet platforms like Google, Twitter, and Facebook actively discriminate against conservative political viewpoints. Now, a year later, Senator Ted Cruz is taking the Senate down the same path: he lead a hearing earlier this week on “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.”

      While we certainly agree that online platforms have created content moderation systems that remove speech, we don’t see evidence of systemic political bias against conservatives. In fact, the voices that are silenced more often belong to already marginalized or less-powerful people.

      Given the lack of evidence of intentional partisan bias, it seems likely that this hearing is intended to serve a different purpose: to build a case for making existing platform liability exemptions dependent on “politically neutral” content moderation practices. Indeed, Senator Cruz seems to think that’s already the law. Questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year, Cruz asserted that in order to enjoy important legal protections for free speech, online platforms must adhere to a standard of political neutrality in their moderation decisions. Fortunately for Internet users of all political persuasions, he’s wrong.

    • What Will Happen When Governments Disagree Over Who Is A Terrorist Organization… And Who Needs To Be Blocked Online?

      You may have heard the recent news that President Trump has decided to label the the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a “foreign terrorist organization.” The IRGC is Iran’s powerful military/security/law enforcement apparatus — that also owns a ton of businesses. As the White House itself admits, this is the first time a foreign government agency has been referred to as a foreign terrorist organization. This is big news in a huge variety of ways — in large part because it could end up criminalizing lots of people and businesses who unwittingly do business with the IRGC including (checks notes) a firm called The Trump Organization.

      But, leaving that aside, it raises some other issues as well. We’ve been talking about the impact of the terrible EU Terrorist Content Regulation that the EU Parliament will soon be voting on. But, as we’ve discussed in the past, there are lots of questions about who decides just what is “terrorist” content. Daphne Keller tweeted about the IRGC decision, wondering what happens when one country’s laws demand the removal of content from another country’s government and suggests (accurately) this is going to lead to a huge mess.

    • Defense attorney explains what’s changed in case against top Russian theater directors

      On April 8, the Moscow City Court released three defendants in the “Seventh Studio” case from house arrest. Kirill Serebrennikov, Sofia Apfelbaum, and Yury Itin were instead permitted to sign a pledge not to leave Russia until their cases are concluded. On April 11, Moscow’s Meshchansky Court was scheduled to issue a sentence for Seventh Studio’s former accountant, Nina Masliayeva. Special procedures were applied to her trial because she had confessed to embezzlement, reached a plea deal, and given testimony against the case’s other defendants. However, a judge has decided to refer Masliayeva’s case back to prosecutors due to “violations in the plea agreement” and violations of Masliayeva’s right to legal defense. Irina Poverinova, the attorney for Russian Academic Youth Theater (RAMT) director Sofia Apfelbaum, told Meduza about what this new development in Masliayeva’s case could mean for her own client.

    • Don’t Force Web Platforms to Silence Innocent People

      The U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week to discuss the spread of white nationalism, online and offline. The hearing tackled hard questions about how online platforms respond to extremism online and what role, if any, lawmakers should play. The desire for more aggressive moderation policies in the face of horrifying crimes is understandable, particularly in the wake of the recent massacre in New Zealand. But unfortunately, looking to Silicon Valley to be the speech police may do more harm than good.

      When considering measures to discourage or filter out unwanted activity, platforms must consider how those mechanisms might be abused by bad actors. Similarly, when Congress considers regulating speech on online platforms, it must consider both the First Amendment implications and how its regulations might unintentionally encourage platforms to silence innocent people.

      When considering measures to discourage or filter out unwanted activity, platforms must consider how those mechanisms might be abused by bad actors.

    • Author of ‘Crude’ Op-ed Yanked from Boston Globe Defends Sarcastic Take on Unaccountable Trump Officials

      It was one of his favorite lines he ever wrote.

      That’s what Massachusetts freelance writer Luke O’Neil thought of the opening to an opinion piece he penned for The Boston Globe, published Wednesday night.

      The op-ed began with O’Neil, who also writes the newsletter Hell World, expressing his regret over not urinating in Iraq War cheerleader Bill Kristol’s salmon dinner when O’Neil waited on him a decade ago.

      “One of the biggest regrets of my life is not pissing in Bill Kristol’s salmon,” wrote O’Neil.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ‘A More Just and Equitable Future’: Advocates Welcome Markey’s Privacy Bill of Rights

      Markey, a longtime privacy advocate and member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, charged that his legislation is needed because “America’s laws have failed to keep pace with the unprecedented use of consumers’ data and the consistent cadence of breaches and privacy invasions that plague our economy and society.”

      “It is increasingly clear that a true 21st century comprehensive privacy bill must do more than simply enshrine notice and consent standards,” the senator said. “That’s why my Privacy Bill of Rights Act puts discriminatory data uses out of bounds and tells companies that they can only collect the information that is necessary to provide the product or service requested by the consumer.”

      While the new proposal from the Massachusetts Democrat would apply both online and offline, Free Press Action policy counsel Gaurav Laroia celebrated that “Senator Markey’s bill will help enable people to use the internet without fear of exploitation or discrimination from companies intent on mining their private data.”

      “People must have the right to safely choose who they give their personal information to,” Laroia said, “and need enforceable rules over how it can be used.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • His Name Was Ozzy and He Was Murdered by the Police

      His name was Osaze Osagie, but everyone who loved him just called him Ozzy and everyone who knew him seemed to love him. He had such a peaceful way with the world around him. I rarely saw him without that gentle smile on his face. You could tell he was not like ‘normal’ people and not just because he was far kinder than those bestowed with that loaded label. Like me, Ozzy was different, the ‘normal’ world calls it mental illness. I got to know him at my local psych rehab and quickly found myself enchanted by his easy-going sense of humor and borderline Zen-like demeanor. He looked like a hybrid of Hannibal Buress and the Dalai Lama, which isn’t to say he didn’t have his bad days. When he did, it was well understood that he liked to be left alone, to sit quietly in another room until his calmer qualities overcame his demons. But even at his worst, Ozzy couldn’t harm a fly, he might hurt himself, but no one else.

      Ozzy was my friend, and two weeks ago Ozzy was murdered, the latest mentally ill person of color to be senselessly slaughtered by our increasingly trigger-happy police state. They claimed it was ‘self-defense’, but don’t they always. There’s a lot of things that are still unknown about my friend’s murder and sadly many of those things will likely remain unknown, lost in the fog of a murder investigation in which the investigators are fellow murderers. But here is what we do know; Ozzy’s father called the police to check in on his son’s apartment after he came to believe he was off his meds and may be a threat to himself or others. The police, plural, kicked in his door and put four bullets into his fucking body. The coroner has ruled his death a homicide.

      Among other dangerous weapons, the police were armed with a mental health warrant, a sheet of paper that rendered Ozzy’s rights to privacy irrelevant because of his second class status as a mentally ill person. The police claim he had a knife, even if this is true, they had guns, they had tasers, they had training in dealing with mentally unstable individuals and they had him outnumbered and surrounded. They invaded his property and they shot to kill. There appears to have been little attempt to talk with Ozzy or to just give him the fucking space he needed while checking in on him. The very fact that the police were awarded the right to invade his property and call anything they did afterward ‘self-defense’ is absurd. If Ozzy had a knife, he was standing his ground against a state-sanctioned invasion of his basic rights as a human being. But Ozzy’s rights didn’t fucking matter because Ozzy was mentally ill. Ozzy wasn’t ‘normal’ like the fucking animals in blue who lynched him, so Ozzy was disposable.

    • In Trump’s America, Even Nielsen Wasn’t Cruel Enough

      Kirstjen Nielsen’s cruelty toward immigrants over the past year was apparently not enough for President Donald Trump. Nielsen, the Department of Homeland Security secretary who resigned under pressure Monday after holding her position for just over a year, left behind a legacy stained by the forced separation of thousands of migrant families. Under her watch at least 2,654 children were removed from their parents’ care.

      What’s worse, Nielsen refused to acknowledge the reality of what she had done. After protesters confronted her with cries of “shame” at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., she tweeted that she would “work tirelessly until our broken immigration system is fixed, our borders are secure and families can stay together,” as if circumstances beyond her control were forcing her to take children away from their loved ones and all she was interested in was helping immigrant families. She repeatedly denied that DHS was separating families, saying, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

      After an audiotape of a child crying for her parents was released to the public last summer, Nielsen claimed no knowledge of it. And when reporters asked her whether she wanted the U.S. to be known by images of kids in cages, she again shamelessly responded, “The image I want of this country is an immigration system that secures our border and upholds our humanitarian ideals.”

    • Devin Nunes Admits That His Bogus Defamation Lawsuits Are Really About Phishing For Journalists’ Sources

      So, first of all, the issue with the NRA and Michael Cohen aren’t even the subject of the lawsuit he’s filed, so that’s a bizarre thing to raise unless the intent of the lawsuit is purely performative for an idiotic base who wants to build up some big conspiracy. Second, he’s flat out admitting that the intent of his lawsuit is an attack on basic press freedoms like source protection. Remember, this is a Congressman who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, and that includes the 1st Amendment he is attacking with these lawsuits.

      Furthermore, in the video Nunes suggests he’s not done yet, saying “we’re actually going to go after several media outlets.” Apparently, he’s decided going to war with the First Amendment is a good idea. Also in the video, Nunes claims that he sued Twitter for shadow-banning him, which (1) it did not do, and (2) it legally could if it wanted to, and (3) the shadow-banning, while talked about in the lawsuit, is not actually part of any of the actual claims in the lawsuit.

    • ‘Despicable’: Treating Human Beings as Political Pawns, Trump Reportedly Pushed to Drop Asylum Seekers in Democratic Sanctuary Cities

      In what critics and rights groups condemned as further evidence that the Trump administration views asylum seekers as mere political pawns rather than vulnerable human beings, the White House reportedly considered dropping migrants off in Democratic districts as a supposed “punishment” for their opposition to the president’s anti-immigrant agenda.

      “The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” said Ashley Etienne, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose district was reportedly floated as a “target” by the White House. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”

      According to the Washington Post, which first reported on the White House plan late Thursday, “Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months—once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.”

      Anna Griffin, news director at Oregon Public Broadcasting, pointed out that an “unmentioned irony” of the Trump administration’s cynical ploy is that, if it had been carried out, “folks in Portland and other sanctuary cities would have been very welcoming and probably looked for ways to make their guests feel at home.”

    • As Deadlines Loom, Immigrants Seek Escape From “Temporary” Status

      As a bartender working on the freewheeling Las Vegas strip, Nery Martinez has always played by the rules. But more than two decades after risking everything to migrate to the U.S. from El Salvador, his future in a city that helped fuel Donald Trump’s fortune now hangs in legal jeopardy.

      “It’s like you’re giving food to your kids, and then once they’re about to eat it, you take it [away]. That’s how I feel right now,” Martinez says. “They gave me a piece of bread, and now they take it back again.”

      After fleeing violence and chaos in El Salvador in the 1990s, he scraped by as an undocumented worker for a while. Under the George W. Bush administration, he qualified for a special humanitarian program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Finally, he was able to obtain proper work papers, got a union job with UNITE HERE, and started a new family, with his wife, also a TPS holder, and two US-born children.

      But the former casino mogul in the White House has turned Martinez’s family into a poker chip in Washington’s border politics: Last year, Trump moved to cancel an array of humanitarian relief programs covering hundreds of thousands of immigrants nationwide. They included TPS relief for six countries — El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan — along with the Obama-era reprieve for youth, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and a program for migrants from post-civil war Liberia, Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED). By refusing to extend the programs, the Trump administration put the programs on track to lapse within months.

    • Echoes of history: Trump’s “movement” now has a uniform and membership cards

      Donald Trump is not the president of all Americans. He only cares about himself, his voters and other sycophants. Public service is anathema to him. Patriotism is inconceivable to him as well. Democracy and the common good are antithetical to his personal values, morals and beliefs. In total, Donald Trump believes he is above the rule of law and, like a king or queen, is the literal embodiment of the state.

      Donald Trump does not represent a political party so much as a social and cultural movement which seeks to destroy America’s multiracial democracy and fully reinstate American apartheid.

      Given his politics it is no coincidence then that Donald Trump refers to his “movement” rather than the Republican Party when speaking to his supporters: this emphasis on “movement” above party was used by the Nazis and the Third Reich to mobilize their base and its destructive energies.

    • Deborah Vagins on Gender Pay Gap, Nusrat Choudhury on the New COINTELPRO

      Also on the show: We’ve just passed the April 4 anniversary of the 1968 killing of Martin Luther King Jr., hounded for years, listeners will know, by the FBI, which sought to disrupt and discredit the powerful protest of King and other black activists with a program called COINTELPRO. What for many is a shameful episode in US history seems to be a source of inspiration for today’s FBI, whose fabrication of a category of domestic threat dubbed “Black Identity Extremism” seems to have eerily similar goals. We’ll talk with Nusrat Choudhury, deputy director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program, about efforts to expose and resist the FBI’s dangerous ideas.

    • Reaction to Viking Sky Incident Highlights West’s Indifference to Plight of Refugees

      On Saturday, March 23, the engines of the cruise ship Viking Sky lost power during stormy weather off the west coast of Norway. After a distress signal was sent, the Norwegian authorities immediately dispatched several rescue ships (who had to be called back because of the weather) as well as five helicopters, who airlifted 479 passengers to safety. The ship made it to the Norwegian port of Molde under its own power the following day. Ambulances awaited the ship’s arrival in case of injuries, and twenty people were treated at local facilities. Passengers were taken to local hotels, where evacuee centers had been established.

      The incident received a great deal of attention in the western media; CNN, BBC, New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde all featured stories on the day the ship arrived in Molde.

      In the following days, the above news organizations included several lengthy and well-researched articles about various aspects of what occurred—the rescue efforts of local authorities, the terror experienced by the passengers, the heroic actions of the crew, the reactions by medical teams in the host port, an investigation of the cause of the mishap.

    • The Case for Stacey Abrams

      To run or not to run, that is the question Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has pondered aloud as she makes the rounds promoting the reissue of her 2018 book. Abrams has a number of options to consider. She could run for Senate in 2020. She could wait and take another crack at governor in 2022. Or, she could jump into the already swirling pool of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

      Only Abrams knows what is the right decision for her, but the more I see, the more I hope she takes the big plunge. A Stacey Abrams presidential run could dent a whole lot of American myths about race, gender and class. And while she’s at it, she just may have a shot at being the disruptive candidate America needs.

      Abrams is the living embodiment of the idealized notion of the American Dream. She grew up one of six children in a family that she describes as the “genteel poor.” They didn’t have money, but they had big aspirations and a love of learning. Abrams worked her way through college; she earned a bachelor of arts at Spelman, master’s degree at the University of Texas-Austin, juris doctor degree at Yale — and went on to make history as the first black woman to be minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. She was the first black woman to be nominated for governor by a major party in any state in the country.

    • Bernie Sanders Wants Incarcerated People to Vote. Here’s Why He’s Right.

      Bernie Sanders’ suggestion that all states should allow incarcerated people to vote, instead of re-enfranchising them one-by-one after incarceration, is a constructive way of bypassing the voting rights debate and getting right down to the idea that one remains a citizen even after being convicted of a crime. (Elizabeth Warren wasn’t opposed to the idea a week before.)

      Disenfranchising people is a form of “civil death” — stripping live people of civil rights, almost as if they had died, just because they’ve been convicted of a crime. Certain rights have been restored in some states for prisoners, making their conditions more like a civil vegetative state; the right to marry, the right to free speech, the right to access the court and the right to religious freedom have been granted, sometimes under court order and occasionally with exceptions. The most basic right in a democracy though — and the one that could bring them back to civil life— is the right to vote, and it remains elusive for prisoners in 48 states (as well as for many formerly incarcerated people in 35 states).

      Currently, only two states – Vermont and Maine – allow prisoners to vote from behind bars, regardless of their conviction status. But Utah allowed it until 1998 and Massachusetts prisoners could vote until 2000, when the state rescinded that right after a few of them formed a PAC and stated their intention to both vote and influence local elections. In other words, the disenfranchisement of people upon conviction is hardly a universal or required practice.

    • Who is Sovereign?

      The standard response to the question “Who is sovereign in the modern world?” is that the “people” through their “representatives” are both the ultimate source and practical reflection of that sovereignty.

      Would that it were so.

      Imagine if you will a world where networks of influence operate internationally cutting across class, nation, and ethnicity held together by the enormous power and privileges such cooperation brings as well as establishing collective discipline through the literally deadly consequences of defection. Unfortunately you won’t have to try too hard; for this is the world that we live in currently.

      “Conspiracy” would be too primitive a word to describe both the scope, depth, and abilities of such interlocking regimes of collective interest.

      Historically, these varied interests developed over time and patiently expanded their range of action first nationally and then, especially after the Second World War, internationally.

      If such interlocking collectivities can be said to have an executive location then it would be the financial and political power centers of the United States.

    • Democratic Candidates Say They Support Reparations. Do They Mean It?

      The 2020 presidential primary season is just beginning, but it’s clear already that the Democratic contenders are mapping a route to the White House that runs smack dab through Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) told reporters in February that she supports reparations for African Americans.

      “We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences including undermining the ability of Black families to build wealth in America for generations,” said Warren, who is white, in a press statement. Citing legislation she has introduced in Congress to help racial minorities buy a home, she continued, “Black families have had a much steeper hill to climb, and we need systemic, structural changes to address that.”

      California Sen. Kamala Harris has championed reparations, as have the writer Marianne Williamson and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

      “It is interesting to me that under our Constitution and otherwise, that we compensate people if we take their property,” Castro told MSNBC recently. “Shouldn’t we compensate people if they were property sanctioned by the state?”

      New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has touted his plan to provide newborns with annuities or “baby bonds” as a form of reparations. And while initially reluctant to embrace the idea, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this month said he endorsed a bill to study reparations. Speaking at a National Action Network convention in New York — a civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton — Sanders, the presumptive frontrunner among declared candidates, said that if elected president, he would sign a bill introduced in the House to create a commission to study reparations. Harris and two other Democratic candidates attending the event — former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — also voiced support for the bill.

      It’s been more than a generation since a presidential candidate named William Jefferson Clinton sought to distance the Democratic Party from its most loyal constituents, African Americans, with a public rebuke of the hip-hop artist Sista Souljah. It’s been more than 30 years since Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign championed both universal and race-specific policies to curb poverty. And it’s been more than a half-century since a leading white contender for the party’s presidential nomination, Robert F. Kennedy, aggressively courted the Black vote.

    • Bully Donald’s Firings: Why Do They Slink Away & Stay Silent?

      Snarling Donald Trump, after being selected as President by the Electoral College, brought one undeniable quality to the office – a lifetime of bullying people below him. During his career as a failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, deceitful Donald bullied his employees, (many of whom are undocumented), consumers, and creditors (profitably jumping ship before he bankrupted his shareholders).

      He honed his bullying skills through his television program – The Apprentice – where he dramatically kicked participants off the show each week using his catchphrase, “You’re fired!”

      Donald has fired many of the officials he appointed. He was, however, too cowardly and discourteous to fire his appointees directly or privately. He would fire them by tweets or have someone on his staff perform the deed, while he would publicly degrade and humiliate the same people he had often flattered.

      Past Presidents have privately expressed unhappiness with a subordinate official and let officials resign “to spend more time with the family” or use some other face-saving explanation.

    • He Helped Wrongfully Convict a Vegas Man. Two Decades Later, His Daughter Worked on a Law to Make Amends.

      If all goes as expected, this summer, the governor of Nevada will sign a bill that will compensate men and women wrongfully convicted in the state for the years they spent behind bars and grant them certificates of innocence.

      Inspired by recent high-profile exonerations — including that of Fred Steese, whose case was detailed in 2017 by ProPublica and Vanity Fair — the groundbreaking bill will bring Nevada in line with 33 other states that now compensate exonerees.

      But it’s the story behind the bill that’s the real showstopper.

      It involves a nudge from a state Supreme Court justice, an impassioned college student outraged by the fate of the state’s exonerees and finally her dad, a district judge, who was one of the prosecutors involved in the wrongful conviction of Steese more than two decades earlier.

    • As Trump Threatens to Ship Undocumented Immigrants to Sanctuary Cities, Those Cities Say: We Will Welcome Them

      Confirming Friday that his administration is considering sending undocumented immigrants en masse to sanctuary cities, President Donald Trump framed the proposal as a threat—but several politicians and rights advocates replied that immigrants would be welcome in those communities.

      The president announced that the White House is weighing the proposal hours after the Washington Post reported that it had been considered and then rejected last year.

      “Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted.

    • How a Beacon of NYC English Language Schools Left Immigrants and Staff in the Lurch

      On Tuesday, April 2, American Language Communication Center, an English school for immigrants which has been in existence for forty-four years, announced that it was closing, the last day of operations to be Friday, April 5.

      The news came as a shock to everyone including teachers, staff and even the school’s three directors.

      I was a teacher at ALCC but didn’t hear about the closure until I received an email on Wednesday from a Russian student who’d been with me for several years. Although I’d been out of school for three months, first with a respiratory infection, then with indecision about whether I wanted to go back, I’d recently seen this girl, along with some former students, at a gathering organized by one of them, a French lawyer who’d flown in to sit for the New York State Bar exam.

      I raced down to the school which was in an uproar with students, teachers and staff in tears.

      The students feared for their status. Those on F-1 visas need to be enrolled in a school or risk being “out of status,” in effect, illegal. One student from Latin America had been with his girlfriend in her country, also in Latin America, celebrating his birthday. A friend sent him a photograph of crime tape cordoning off the cashiers’ area. “You’ve got to get back here immediately,” his friend said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC to Hold Big 5G Auction, Spend $20 Billion for Rural Internet

      The U.S. government will hold a massive auction later this year to bolster 5G service, the next generation of mobile networks. President Donald Trump showcased the announcement Friday, declaring that the race to set up these faster, more powerful networks is a competition “America must win.”

      “We cannot allow any other country to outcompete the United States in this powerful industry of the future,” Trump said at the White House. “We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen.”

      Trump also announced a $20 billion plan to expand broadband access to rural areas currently without it, a decade-long extension of an existing program.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • AB/InBev, Jealous Protectors Of Trademark, Pretty Blatantly Committing Trademark Infringement

        Even if you haven’t read through our previous stories about giant beer brewer AB/InBev being very much into protecting its intellectual property to the extreme, you probably would have guessed that to be the case as a matter of instinct. With a large legal war chest and an equally large legal team, the company has had no problem with gobbling up questionable trademarks and then wielding them as a weapon against even the smallest of non-competitors. With such a strict view on its own IP rights and such an expansive view on trademark law, you would think that InBev would be super into making sure it’s own actions fell well within the bounds of trademark law.

        You’d be wrong. Patagonia, the rather well known clothier, has sued InBev over how it’s used a trademark it received in 2012 for “Patagonia”. While you’re sure to be wondering how there could be customer confusion, as the apparel and beer markets are quite different, the details in this case definitely matter. We can start with what InBev did in the early days of holding the trademark, which mounts to essentially: not a thing.

    • Copyrights

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