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05.28.19

Links 28/5/2019: Chinese Microsoft Exit, MX Linux 18.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • When the future isn’t clear, don’t make a plan

    For the past two years at Red Hat Summit, I’ve argued that traditional planning is dead. The increasing speed of technological innovation, as well as the shift to more open styles of production and organization, are forcing everyone to rethink how we go about setting, executing on, and measuring performance against goals.

    Those who’ve heard me talk about this have been sympathetic—but also skeptical. “I see your point,” executives tell me, “but I still need to do something to prepare my organization for the future. And isn’t that planning?”

  • Events

    • OpenSouthCode 2019 recap and new information added to my site

      The event tool place this year in a new venue, significantly better than the previous one, in my opinion. More than 300 people were registered which is not bad at all for a free of charge event about Open Source that does not require pre-registration to participate.

      Some workshops and talks were packed, although not the majority of them. Some people has commented that there did not feel a “sense of packed” which is was due to the fact that, during 2 days, the event offered 2 to 4 tracks and workshops simultaneously. Saturday was busier than Friday, I think.

      I don’t feel that there is anything bad in having only a few people at your talk if they are truly interested. With such an interesting and diverse offering, motivated participants is almost guaranteed. I understand though that if you come from far away or your company send you to give a talk, having a full room is a good thing.

      The event is little by little growing. The organization in general goes smoother, the quality of the talks and the speakers is better every edition, the workshops, specially those for kids, are gaining traction, the venue is better, there were sponsors this year… All signs are positive.

      As a suggestion for the 2020 edition, I would organise a closing keynote so participants can get together afterwards for some drinks. This would improve the sense of community and would provide a good opportunity to thank the sponsors.

    • Linux Plumbers Conference: Distribution Kernels Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the Distribution Kernels Microconference has been accepted to the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference. This is the first time Plumbers has offered a microconference focused on kernel distribution collaboration.

      Linux distributions come in many forms, ranging from community run distributions like Debian and Gentoo, to commercially supported ones offered by SUSE or Red Hat, to focused embedded distributions like Android or Yocto. Each of these distributions maintains a kernel, making choices related to features and stability. The focus of this track is on the pain points distributions face in maintaining their chosen kernel and common solutions every distribution can benefit from.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • QMO: Firefox 68 Beta 6 Testday, May 31st

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, May 31st we are organizing Firefox 68 Beta 6 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Activity Stream and Pin Firefox shortcut to taskbar for Windows 10.

        Check out the detailed instructions via this etherpad.

        No previous testing experience is required, so feel free to join us on #qa IRC channel where our moderators will offer you guidance and answer your questions.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • What’s next on agenda for DataStax? APIs, Kubernetes, and *checks notes* a desktop distro?

      Data management biz DataStax chose the comfy surroundings of its annual user knees-up to open its kimono on near-future plans: a Kubernetes operator, a developer-focused API generator for Constellation – its newly minted database-as-a-service – and a desktop version of its flagship software suite.

      “DataStax Desktop is the easiest way to get started with DataStax Enterprise,” Jonathan Ellis, co-founder and CTO, said in a keynote.

      “With just a couple of clicks, you can download Docker containers – and DataStax Desktop will do that automatically. It pulls down the containers, it configures them to work together, so if you have DataStax Enterprise core, and DataStax Graph, and Developer Studio, it will configure all of those to work together seamlessly, and you don’t have to touch a single line of configuration files.”

  • LibreOffice

    • Best free Microsoft Office alternative software

      Thanks to the Open Document Format, you can easily access all files and edit and save them with no hassle.

    • LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Buzea Bogdan

      I am reporting bugs, verifying them, and helping with other bug reports. In addition, I created a channel on YouTube with short tutorials about LibreOffice.

      With the help of Xisco Fauli (LibreOffice’s QA engineer) and others in the LibreOffice groups on Telegram, I began to bibisect bugs. Also, with the help of others in the same direction, I may learn more about finding bugs and checking for fixes. I feel there are not so many technical videos about this.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Open Source Festival Congress 2019

      The event will feature exciting keynotes, inspiring panels and in-depth workshops on the main topics of Communities, New Work, Digital Transformation, Urban Development, and Sustainability.

    • Microsoft? Oh it’s just another partnership, insists GitHub CEO [Ed: GitHub is starting to understand that Microsoft is a liability, is scaring away users, and is likely to do to it what it did to Skype, Nokia, and LinkedIn (stagnation). Article by a decades-long Microsoft booster, who gets gifts from them.]

      “GitHub has to be both independent and neutral,” CEO Nat Friedman said at the company’s Satellite event in Berlin – despite its acquisition by Microsoft in October 2018.

      “We treat Microsoft as a partnership, we have great partnerships with Google and Amazon and we continue to do that because for developers choice comes first.”

    • Cloud remains a small percentage of IT spending, but its gravitation pull is huge [Ed: Mac Asay cannot stop promoting GAFAM surveillance complex and the outsourcing of company data and operations (worldwide) to the Pentagon (by proxy). Guess who employs him. He also sought a job at Microsoft.]
  • Programming/Development

    • Thoughts on how to start a PyData or Python meetup

      At PyConLT 2019 (Lithuania) we just had a 10-person meeting on “how to start a new PyData or Python meetup” with existing organisers and some potential new event organisers. The night before in the conference bar Radovan and I had spent an hour helping someone from Latvia figure out their plan to start a new Python meetup. Given that I’m a co-founder for PyDataLondon and after 6 years we’re at 9,500+ members, I have some opinions. Maybe sharing these will help others. All going well we’ll see a new PyDataVilnius start with what looks like a 7+ person volunteer group, all organised at PyConLT.

    • Click Through Rate Analysis using Spark

      In recent years, programmatic advertising is been taking over the online advertisement industry. To enable automatic selling and purchasing ad impressions between advertisers and publishers through real-time auctions, Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is quickly becoming the leading method.

      In contrast to the traditional online ad market, where a certain amount of impressions is sold at a fixed rate, RTB allows advertisers to bid each impression individually in real time at a cost based on impression-level features. Real-time Bidding (RTB) is a way of transacting media that allows an individual ad impression to be put up for bid in real-time. This is done through a programmatic on-the-spot auction , which is similar to how financial markets operate. RTB allows for Addressable Advertising; the ability to serve ads to consumers directly based on their demographic, psychographic, or behavioral attributes.

    • Analyzing the Stack Overflow Survey
    • How to Iterate Through a Dictionary in Python
    • Measuring API usage for popular numerical and scientific libraries
    • 5 Python Examples to Handle Exceptions using try, except and finally
    • A practical learning exercise for Git

      In an effort to get some practice using Git, I began reading the documentation and some articles here on Opensource.com, particularly Seth Kenlon’s introductions. Once I finished reading, it was time to do some actual practice.

      Like many undergraduate computer science students, I’ve done programming homework and labs. I saved all of this work, so why not use this code to create a practice Git repository? Then, I could run the code and fix any problems, which would let me practice making commits and creating branches. By doing so I could demonstrate basic Git proficiency.

      I’m not new to version control. I’ve used older tools, such as CVS and Subversion, and was once an administrator, many years ago, for Borland (now Micro Focus) StarTeam. However, my Git experience was limited to minor usage of Atlassian Bitbucket. I was not a Git Guru.

    • JupyterLab teaches Python developers magic

      The power of Jupyter projects comes in the form of kernels, which act as a “computational engine” to execute code contained in a document. The original kernel is for Python, called IPython, though there are many more available. As of today, 128 kernels are listed on the project wiki for everything from Ansible to Fortran.

    • How to Improve Efficiency by Testing Your Code with PyTest by Python

      Software Development has been a field that has grown over the period last few years, as with the improvement in the field of technology, it has become more important for the software development companies offering the latest and the best quality of software and application. Therefore, the software development companies are working very efficiently and putting their efforts to provide the best quality software compatible with the latest and updated version of the operating system to their clients and users.

      And for this, the python development companies started performing the testing of the software before launching them to the market. There was a time when testing the software was considered as an optional part of software development or we can say that testing of the software was not important in those days. But with the change in the many things changed, as the technology that is used to build or develop such software also improved and the competition among the companies also become that height which made the software development companies more concern about the quality and working of their software as every software company was working in way to get customer satisfaction with their work.

    • Python Software Foundation: The 2019 Python Language Summit [Ed: Microsoft staff there. Watch how they push Microsoft GitHub and also buy events to push Azure.]

      The Python Language Summit is a small gathering of Python language implementers, both the core developers of CPython and alternative Pythons, held on the first day of PyCon. The summit features short presentations from Python developers and community members, followed by longer discussions. The 2019 summit is the first held since Guido van Rossum stepped down as Benevolent Dictator for Life, replaced by a five-member Steering Council.

      LWN.net covered the proceedings from 2015 to 2018; this year the PSF has chosen to feature summit coverage on its own blog, written by A. Jesse Jiryu Davis.

    • Mariatta Wijaya: Let’s Use GitHub Issues Already! [Ed: Python is infiltrated by Microsoft now. Too late to salvage?

      Core developer Mariatta Wijaya addressed her colleagues, urging them to switch to GitHub issues without delay. Before she began, Łukasz Langa commented that the previous two sessions had failed to start any controversies. “Come on, we can do better!”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Industry, government need to embrace the power of open standards

      Contrary to OMB guidance and security recommendations, DoD and civilian departments often rely on proprietary technologies instead of open standard-based solutions. Proprietary technologies limit government agencies to specific vendors or brands with inflexible architectures, leading to higher accrued costs and reduced innovation.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • The Triggers That Make Us Check Our Phones Most Often… and How to Fight Them

      Reaching for your phone in moments of silence, or because you simply struggle to disconnect, can be socially rude and emotionally tiring (especially if you’re a news fan). University of Washington researchers believe they have identified four common triggers that prompt us to take our phones out, and they’re the same across all ages. So below we outlined what they are, how to anticipate them, and what you can do to change your habits and spend less time staring at a screen.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Megadonor’s threat wasn’t enough to stop Missouri abortion ban

      Wealthy Missouri businessman David Humphries on Thursday effectively threatened to pull financial support for Missouri Republicans if Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the bill that would criminalize abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, including in cases of rape or incest.

      Despite Humphries’ major financial support for Missouri Republican causes, Parson signed the bill Friday, adding Missouri to the growing list of states banning or restricting abortions.

      The Kansas City Star noted that Humphries has given more than $15 million to Missouri GOP causes since 2015, giving him serious clout with the party and making his threat a legitimate one. But that threat couldn’t stop a bill that passed the Missouri House 110 to 44, or stop the Governor from signing it. A source close to Humphries told the Star he would fund an effort to repeal the ban.

      Like most wealthy donors, Humphries exerts his influence at the federal level too. He and his wife Debra have given $8.6 million to Republicans and conservative groups since 1992.

      After supporting Josh Hawley’s run for Missouri Attorney General in 2015, Humphries was the guardian angel donor for Missouri Rising Action, providing nearly half of the funds for the super PAC that spent $2.3 million to support Hawley in his 2018 Senate bid. Hawley, for his part, said this month he has long believed Roe v. Wade is “wrongly decided.”

      Humphries was also a major donor to Marco Rubio, giving $2 million to the super PAC supporting Rubio’s failed 2016 presidential bid.

    • Why desperate Americans are driving to Canada in caravans for insulin

      She thought the U.S. Border Patrol would want to search her car. That she would be bombarded with questions. That they would demand she show her prescription for insulin.

      Worst of all, she was worried they would confiscate the small, cold vials of a life-saving drug that she had crossed the border to buy at a pharmacy in Fort Frances, Ont.

      But it didn’t happen. Not for Nystrom, not for anyone in her small group from Minnesota — calling themselves the Caravan to Canada — who were on a mission last weekend to buy insulin at one-tenth the price of what it’s listed in the United States.

      As the cost of insulin continues to skyrocket in the U.S., where pharmaceutical companies can dictate the price, people are making the trek north as an alternative to paying thousands of dollars to stay alive.

    • The new NAFTA’s assault on public health

      The negotiations were strained and at times it looked like it would be stillborn, but the USMCA (the new North American Free Trade Agreement linking the economies of the United States, Mexico and Canada) was signed in November 2018 and awaits ratification.

      Its future is still uncertain. Although U.S. President Donald Trump finally removed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada and Mexico, something both countries and even some congressional Republicans were demanding for the deal to be ratified, Democrats in the U.S. are unhappy with its costly monopoly protection for new pharmaceuticals and weak enforcement measures for labour and environmental protection.

      But beneath the political jockeying is a sleeper issue concerning public health that signals a bad agreement.

    • Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht (2019)

      Justice Thomas writes in his concurring opinion that he believes “physical impossibility” for compliance with state and Federal law should not be the standard for determining that these laws “directly conflict,” thus implicating pre-emption. Rather, he thinks the founders were more concerned with “logical contradiction[s]” in the law, because in some instances it may be physically possible to comply with a Federal law that permits an action that state law prohibits, merely by refraining from the action (reasoning from Wyeth). Justice Thomas further asserts that mere compliance with FDA regulations and the FDCA does not give Merck (or any drug maker) “an unconditional right to market [a] federally approved drug at all times with the precise label initially approved by the FDA,” again citing Wyeth. Justice Thomas believes that Merck’s assertion of “hypothetical future rejections” of their amended label did not constitute a pre-emptive “law” under the Supremacy Clause, and he concludes that “[b]ecause Merck points to no statute, regulation, or other agency action with the force of law that would have prohibited it from complying with its alleged state-law duties, its pre-emption defense should fail as a matter of law.”

      Justice Alito’s opinion concurring in the judgment emphasizes the “back and forth” between Merck and the agency regarding evidence that Fosamax® treatment was associated with risk of AFFs, and asserts that the majority’s pre-emption analysis was “a skewed summary” of the law. In particular, he believes that enactment of 21 U.S.C. § 355(o)(4)(A), which imposes a duty on the FDA to initiate a label change if presented with new information that supports the change, is something ignored by the Court that should be considered by the Third Circuit on remand.

  • Security

    • 9 List of Best Free Penetration Testing tools

      Things you need to know about Pentesting: Penetration Testing or often called PenTesting tools are basic utility applications for any Ethical Hacker job. To be clear we are not promoting any hacking crime or breaking digital security rules, this article is completely for educational purposes.

      In this article, we will be discussing Penetration Testing methods and about the needed useful utilities for that purpose.

    • Bug fest
    • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 132 is available for testing

      Two new types of vulnerabilities have been found in Intel processors. They cannot be fixed unless the hardware is changed, but can be somewhat mitigated through some changes in the Linux kernel (4.14.120) and an update microcode (version 20190514). Both is shipped in this release.

      Additionally, to mitigate this bug which cannot be fixed at all, SMT is disabled by default on all affected processors which has significant performance impacts.

      Please note, that Intel unfortunately is not releasing microcode for all processors any more and so you might still be vulnerable.

    • [Attackers] reportedly used a tool developed by the NSA to attack Baltimore’s computer systems

      Baltimore’s [Windows] computers were hit with the [Windows] ransomware attack earlier this month, and city officials have said that they won’t pay (via The New York Times) the $76,000 ransom demand. The city has begun to implement some workarounds, manually processing real estate transactions and setting up a Gmail system for city workers, which Google initially shut down, but has since restored. In the meantime, The Baltimore Sun reports that the city’s IT department is working to restore access to the city’s systems while improving their security while they do so.

    • Researcher Discovers Serious Vulnerability in Paper Crypto Wallet Site [Ed: This issue would not have been detected if it was proprietary software]

      A security researcher from MyCrypto.com, Harry Denley, has posted a detailed – and damning – analysis of paper wallet site WalletGenerator.net.

      The core of the analysis hinges on WalletGenerator’s original open-source code, available here. Until August 17, 2018 the online code matched the open-source code and the entire project generated wallets using a client-side technique that took in real random entropy and produced a unique wallet. But sometime after that date the two sets of code stopped matching.

    • Ransom.GandCrab

      Ransom.GandCrab is Malwarebytes’ detection name for a family of ransomware that encrypts important files and asks for a ransom to decrypt them. There are several versions of Ransom.GandCrab as the threat actors keep working on it. They all target Windows systems.

    • [Attackers] target MySQL databases to deliver the GandCrab ransomware [Ed: The headline says MySQL but actually it’s a Microsoft Windows issue (Windows has back doors, so nothing mission-critical should ever be put on it anyway)]

      Security experts at Sophos have detected a wave of attacks targeting Windows servers that are running MySQL databases with the intent of delivering the GandCrab ransomware

    • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.1

      Linux kernel v5.1 has been released! Here are some security-related things that stood out to me…

    • Headsup for those managing Windows 10 boxen: Microsoft has tweaked patching rules [Ed: Microsoft Windows/Vista 10 -- like all versions for 20 years now -- has got NSA back doors, so "patching" does not mean security]
    • The shortcomings of rootless containers

      In my previous articles on user namespace and rootless containers, I talked about how you can run and build containers using Podman and Buildah without becoming root.

      I showed how you could do some awesome stuff, including running containers with lots of different user IDs (UIDs), installing software, setting up networking, and running containers at Quay.io, Docker.io, or pretty much any other container registry.

      That said, rootless containers are not a panacea. There are a lot of shortcomings, and people need to understand what can go wrong.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Yes, My Fellow Soldiers Died in Vain

      Then he found a home in the army. He excelled, he loved it, and even made sergeant in record time. Most of all he was my friend. His story didn’t end well, of course. On January 25, 2007 his body was shattered by a massive improvised explosive device (IED) in East Baghdad, Iraq. He was 21. His 19-year-old wife was pregnant. His family buried him on Cape Cod. Such is life.

      We’re expected to honor such sacrifice each Memorial Day. At least that’s what tradition holds. But how best to do that? These days, most Americans, and especially their political leaders choose the vapid, simplistic path: “thanking” soldiers, flying flags, sticking yellow ribbons on car bumpers. There’s nothing inherently wrong with all this, of course, but let’s not pretend it helps anything. Stacy Fuller named Al’s daughter after him. My oldest son’s name is Alex. Many of us honor him with our memories, recollections, thoughts, and symbols such as memorial bracelets. But it’s not enough. It’s far from sufficient.

      This Memorial Day, spare us the flyover jets, flag-wielding honor guards, and other patriotic mush of 21st-century popular culture. Instead, I’d submit that now—after 18 years of endless, ineffective war—it’s a time for nuance, for a collective national self-assessment. What was it all for, Alex’s death and those of more than 7,000 others in uniform? Very little, it seems.

      Al died fighting Shia militiamen, who had nothing to do with 9/11, in a Baghdad ghetto. These largely impoverished and unemployed fighters only attacked my platoon because it was there, occupying their cities and inflaming nationalistic resentments. He died in a country that the United States only invaded as a result of lies, deceit, and intelligence mistakes. Al and the rest of us generally tried hard and mostly meant well, but in retrospect we brought not democracy and stability to Iraq, but chaos and civil war.

      Hundreds of thousands died, millions were displaced, and a once secular society became a theater for macabre sectarian murder. He died in a country that his commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, didn’t even understand. Most importantly, he and we did not, ultimately leave the place better than we found it. The Shia chauvinists the United States empowered only alienated the Sunnis, heightened Kurdish desires for autonomy, and led to the rise (in our prisons) of the Islamic State. Through it all our military is still there.

      Specialist James Smith was Texan to the core. He grew up just outside of Dallas, an all-American boy who played sports and raised hell throughout high school. Soon after, he enthusiastically joined the army, seeking the adventure of combat and the camaraderie of military life. Soon enough he became my Humvee driver.

    • North Korea Calls John Bolton a ‘War Maniac’ Who Is ‘Wrecking Peace and Security’ Across the Globe

      North Korea on Monday called U.S. national security adviser John Bolton a “war maniac” who is undermining global security and diplomacy after Bolton accused Pyongyang of violating international law with missile launches earlier this month.

      “Our military drill neither targeted anyone nor endangered the surrounding countries, but Bolton makes dogged claims that it constitutes a violation… impudently poking his nose into other’s internal matters,” a North Korean official said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

      “It is not a mere coincidence that criticisms are now being heard in the U.S. that Bolton is a warmonger whispering war to the president when he himself evaded military service,” the statement continued. “After all, it will be fit to call Bolton not a security adviser striving for security but a security-destroying adviser who is wrecking peace and security.”

      Bolton’s claim that North Korea’s missile launches violated United Nations Security Council resolutions came Friday in Tokyo, ahead of President Donald Trump’s state visit to Japan on Monday.

      South Korea was quick to question Bolton’s assessment, noting that it is still analyzing the North Korean missiles in partnership with U.S. officials.

      “There’s no way for us to know why national security adviser Bolton made such comments,” an anonymous South Korean presidential official told the Associated Press on Monday. “There’s no change in our official stance that the South Korean and U.S. militaries under coordination are continuing to analyze the missiles.”

      The exchange between Bolton and North Korea comes as Bolton continues to escalate military tensions and threaten regime change in Iran and Venezuela.

    • Ukraine: Was the Overthrow of Yanukovych a ‘Coup’?

      This question is important, because it concerns the validity, or not, of the rationale for the economic sanctions against Russia, and of the NATO military buildup against Russia on Russia’s borders (which latter buildup now threatens World War III).

      On the American/NATO side of this dispute, both the sanctions and the military buildup against Russia have been alleged to be justified responses to Russia’s ‘seizure’ of Crimea, from Ukraine.

      However, Russia contends that there was no such ‘seizure’ of Crimea, and that Crimeans’ separation from Ukraine and joining Russia was instead an entirely voluntary act by Crimeans — a fulfillment by Crimeans of their fundamental right of self-determination of peoples — and that it was precipitated by what Russia alleges to have been a “coup” in Ukraine that created not only an illegitimate regime in Ukraine but a suddenly intensified desire of Crimeans to break away from Ukraine, and to rejoin with Russia, of which Crimea had been a part until Crimea was involuntarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine by the Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.

      The Russian government claims that Russia has protected the right of Crimeans to make this crucial choice, and that Russia enabled Crimeans voluntarily to rejoin Russia, after Crimeans had been forced to become part of Ukraine in 1954 — and that, now, after the “coup” in Kiev, Crimeans intensely wanted to rejoin Russia.

      Russia contends that The West, not Russia, has been, and is, insisting upon dictatorship regarding the Crimean people, by The West’s refusing to respect the right of self-determination of peoples, to the Crimean population, whom Russia has protected and enabled peacefully to exercise that inalienable right, which any people possess the peaceful right to do.

      No one can deny that the overthrow of Victor Yanukovych — the democratically elected President of Ukraine, who had won 75% of the votes of the people of Crimea — led directly to the movement of the Crimean people to separate themselves from being ruled by the newly installed, post-overthrow, Ukrainian government.

      Without the violent overthrow of Yanukovych, there would have been no reason for Crimeans to have been in fear. But the question remains of whether the separation of Crimea from Ukraine was a legitimate act of self-determination of peoples, by the Crimeans, in response to a coup (such as Russia contends to have been the case), or was it instead a ‘seizure’ of Crimea by Russia — a seizure against which The West legitimately retaliated by economic sanctions, and now by sending arms (including nuclear weapons) and troops to Russia’s very borders?

    • No More Imperial War

      Commemorations, note Veterans For Peace, are “acts of choosing what to remember.” This Memorial Day, amidst the “hyperbolic salutations of soldierly valor – though valor there was,” they sought to present an honest accounting of the Vietnam War by delivering hundreds of “Letters to the Wall” from veterans, families, anyone touched by the carnage that killed at least 58,000 Americans and upward of three million Vietnamese. The letters are part of a “Vietnam Full Disclosure” project that began after Obama announced a 13-year, $65 million commemoration of the war in 2012 in tribute to “the valor of a generation that served with honor… fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans.” Yes, but, say many veterans and their families – including scores who responded last week to the Army asking what serving meant to them by documenting all the alcoholics and suicides and broken and sleepless who represent the true, grim reality of our wars.

      If every war is fought twice – once in fact, then in memory – many veterans argue we owe it to the dead and the living to remember their dark truth, despite the persistent attempts by those in power to hide it. In D.C. one Memorial Day, Vietnam Veteran for Peace Doug Rawlings saw too many Americans virtually wrapped in the American flag, “almost as if their willful ignorance of the real meaning of war, their silent acceptance of murder being committed in their name, was some kind of badge of honor.” He wore his own badge: A T-shirt with Eisenhower’s declaration, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can.” Quoting Francis Bacon – “Silence is the virtue of fools” – he argues that the “eerie moral silence,” if allowed to stand, “makes murderous fools of us all.” This year, every year, our commemoration needs to be a warning, say Veterans For Peace: “No more Vietnams, no more imperial war.”

    • U.S. Army: 0 — Internet: 1

      The U.S. Army tweeted a harmless rah-rah tweet and got hit with a burst of reality never encountered on corporate-controlled media. Score one for the internet.

      The Army asked: “How has serving impacted you?”

    • The Dismemberment of Yugoslavia 20 Years On

      Two decades ago Nato started it’s 78 day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Using the language of peace and humanitarianism Nato dismembered Yugoslavia killing more civilians than they did soldiers. A non-stop aerial assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia using more than a thousand Nato warplanes delivering 2,000 air-strikes in 40,000 sorties and with over 20,000 bombs dropped on the country.

      The rabid imperialists shed crocodile tears of humanitarian concern for Albanians in Kosovo. Or so the press and it’s organs told us. In just a few months President Clinton bombed four countries: Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yugoslavia. Of the four Yugoslavia was to take the most ferocious bombing. The United States was also involved in proxy wars in Angola, Mexico, Colombia and East Timor.

      This selective humanitarian concern did not extend to a number of European countries for its continued oppression of the Roma. Britain remained exempt despite having had death squads in the no0rth of Ireland.(Secret Death Squads Backed by Thatcher Gov’t Killed Hundreds in N. Ireland, Sputnik, 06/2015) The United States did not work itself into a panic over the Hutu for their slaughter of half a million Tutsi in Rwanda. The US did not drop bombs for 78 days and nights on the French who were complicit in that massacre. Neither did they bomb Guatemala for the military’s systematic slaughter of tens of thousands of Mayan villagers. They did not moralise to the Indonesian people whose military generals were engaged in mass murder in the summer of 1999.

      The United States did not concern itself with the Sri Lankan civil war which took 100,000 lives over a 25 year period.

      [...]

      Yugoslavia was built on an idea. With their own federation it was hoped the southern slavs would not remain isolated and weak and prey for imperialism. The idea then was to live together in harmony, forming a substantial territory capable of independent economic development. The achievements of Yugoslav socialism were a life expectancy of 72 years, almost full literacy and a rate of 7 percent annual growth in the 1960s. Along with free medical and education, a guaranteed right to an income, one month vacation with pay. Yugoslavia also offered it’s citizens affordable public transportation, housing and utilities. The economy was mostly publicly owned in a “market socialist” economy. This form of ‘market socialism’ was to prove it’s downfall.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pentagon Papers Whistleblower on Assange Indictment: “Freedom is at Stake”
    • Glam Shots for One, Not for the Other: Different Media Standard for Hope Hicks and Chelsea Manning Draws Backlash

      To journalist Soledad O’Brien, the photo choice and tone of the Times piece reflected “bias.”

      “A picture of a person who is considering not complying with a subpoena is basically a glam shot,” O’Brien said on Twitter, “and it’s framed as a thoughtful, perfectly equal choice.

      Critics pointed to the lack of glossy profiles and complimentary coverage for another woman who refused a subpoena: Army veteran Chelsea Manning. Manning has been held in federal custody for 75 of the past 82 days, with a brief seven day interlude.

      “Oddly, the NYT didn’t frame Chelsea Manning’s refusal to testify against Assange in the same way,” said journalist Dan Gilmor.

      The coverage contrast was pointed to by a number of journalists and activists, many of whom demanded that the paper treat Manning with the same respect as Hicks.

      Journalist Marcy Wheeler used her Twitter account to make the contrast clear, tweeting pictures of the relative coverage for each woman.

    • Assange’s Assault on Toxic Masculinist Militarism

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces U.S. extradition on computer hacking conspiracy and seventeen other Espionage Act charges, and no one knows what’s next except a series of state maneuvers and mind-numbing debates that say more about U.S. anti- imperialism’s stagnation than it does about him. A press freedom hero, a new technologies champion, a bizarre cult leader… you’ve heard it all. Across the political spectrum he’s called a misogynist driven by toxic masculinity. In Donald Trump’s Fortress America, Assange is the toxic one! The U.S. can’t tolerate WikiLeaks’ delivery of the documented cold hard truth: a direct assault on American militarism’s super-toxic hyper-masculinity.

      Regardless of which nation-state prison cell houses his body, Assange’s spirit resides in the center of resistance to U.S. Empire. This is why his possible precedent-setting U.S. trial reveals deep political divides. U.S. anti-imperialism’s unique imperial trappings have it big on anti-war appearances, but lacking in substance. To move past this stagnation, we have WikiLeaks’ dismantling toxic masculinist imperialism (and not just in the matter of Chelsea Manning’s transgender identity, either.)

      Assange’s case also helps shine light on the term “toxic masculinity,” which roundly condemns gender-based abuses. At issue here is who deserves the “toxic masculinity” charge. An individual accused of rape? Or an entire government performing routinely sanctioned militarist duties alongside dirty war actions, including rape, against civilian populations?

      “Toxic masculinity” rejects all patriarchal violence—from the more innocuously micro-focused “mansplaining” to harassment and rape. It is such an effective term because it communicates intolerance of all abusive behavior. More than describe, it rejectspatriarchal behavior institutionally expressed as aggressive masculinist militarism. To be sure, the term’s popularity is a refreshing change from a previous era lacking common anti-patriarchal language. This past rhetorical void results in today’s eager application of the new gender terminology, while nonetheless risking oversimplification.

    • We Must Defend Assange to Save Democracy from American Despotism

      On Thursday, the Department of Justice made an unprecedented move to file 17 Espionage Act charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This indictment was what Assange and his legal team have been warning about since 2010 and the risk of extradition was the sole reason why Assange sought and was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012.

      Free press defenders condemned this aggressive prosecution of Assange by the Trump administration as “the most significant and terrifying threat to the First Amendment in the 21st century”. This attack on free press as a pillar of democracy was predicted long ago by a leading figure in America’s early development. Thomas Jefferson feared that there would come a time when the American system of government would degenerate into a form of “elective despotism”.

      Assange echoed this warning from one of America’s founding fathers in his message to his supporters: “I told you so”, which he delivered through his lawyer after he was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy. He was not only aware of this unaccounted power inside this nation, but also through his work with WikiLeaks, he shed light on its shadowy activities, and provided ordinary people means to counter this force that has now become tyrannical.

      WikiLeaks by publishing truthful information about the US government, revealing its war crimes, corruption and human rights abuses, came head to head with the Pentagon and the US State Department. Long before Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, Assange alerted public about mass surveillance, informing people how the Internet “has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Australian rare-earth ore processor wants to build a plant in the US

      Though a Lynas/Blue Line processing plant in Texas could mitigate some of the threat associated with China’s hold on the rare-earths industry, such a plant would likely take a while to get up and running.

      Currently, the only rare-earths mine in the US is in Mountain Pass, Calif. But Trump administration tariffs, designed to protect US miners from competition with cheap Chinese raw materials, have actually been hurting Mountain Pass because its primary ore processing plants are in China. Mountain Pass must ship its ore to China to be processed, opening it up to retaliatory Chinese tariffs. According to the The Wall Street Journal, Mountain Pass currently pays a 10 percent tariff on rare-earth ore shipments to China, and on June 1, that’s set to increase to 25 percent.

    • What Would It Mean to Deeply Accept That We’re in Planetary Crisis?

      From 1996 until 2003 I climbed in Alaska’s mountains as a religion. My entire life revolved around training for, preparing around, and engaging in climbing trips and expeditions around Alaska’s mountains, the high volcanoes of Mexico, the Andes of South America and the Himalaya.

      During all those trips, I’d never fallen into a crevasse, despite having spent months of my life traveling across them en route to climbs. I’d even run crevasse rescue seminars in the Alaska Range, dutifully teaching others the tools they’d need for when they, or one of their rope-mates, punched through a snow bridge. Finally, it was my turn to take a fall, and I did so in style.

      During a trip in the Chugach Range of Alaska during April 2003, I punched through a fragile snow bridge I didn’t even know I was crossing, and fell into the depths. Call it fate, physics or just dumb luck: As I fell I dragged my rope mate, who was struggling to check my fall, across the surface of the glacier to just six inches from the edge of the crevasse, until the rope, having cut through the lip of the ice, pulled vertically rather than horizontally, and the weight of his body stopped my – or our – fall.

      Two hours later, he and our two other climbing mates managed to, very carefully, pull me, in a mild state of hypothermia, from the seemingly bottomless hole over which I’d hung. Once again atop the glacier, and acutely aware of how close I’d come to my death, everything had changed.

      The ruddy red alpenglow of the peaks in the setting sun, the wispy snow blowing off a nearby ridge, the smiles of my climbing partners, my boots atop firm ice and snow — every bit of it a gift. Deep gratitude for all of it was conveyed in the tears that streamed down my face as I howled and cried aloud and hugged each of them for saving my life.

      Near-death experiences, when we are aware of them, have this effect.

    • Tornadoes Cut Across Unusually Wide Swaths of US, Raising Alarm for Climate Scientists

      As the death toll in Oklahoma rose to six Monday amid an outbreak of nearly 200 tornadoes across the Midwest in recent days—as well as in areas far less accustomed to them—climate scientists said such patterns may carry warnings about the climate crisis and its many implications for extreme weather events.

      In Oklahoma, tornadoes touched down in at least two cities, including El Reno and Sapulpa, over the weekend, injuring dozens and leveling a number of homes. The tornado that hit El Reno, a suburb of Oklahoma City, was given an EF3 rating, with wind speeds up to 165 miles per hour. Only about five percent of tornadoes are given an EF3 rating or higher.

      The tornadoes hit after much of the state endured severe flooding last week, following powerful storms that overflowed the Arkansas River and damaged about 1,000 homes.

      Outside the Midwest, at least one twister touched down near Washington, D.C., with reports of tornadoes in Texas and Colorado, and Chicago facing a tornado watch on Monday.

      While tornadoes have long been a fixture in the Midwest, meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted last week that there is “reason to believe major outbreak days…are getting worse,” while climate scientists are examining links between the storms and the climate crisis.

    • Retired Oil Rigs Off California Coast Could Find New Lives as Artificial Reefs

      Offshore oil and gas drilling has been a contentious issue in California for 50 years, ever since a rig ruptured and spilled 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off Santa Barbara in 1969. Today it’s spurring a new debate: whether to completely dismantle 27 oil and gas platforms scattered along the southern California coast as they end their working lives, or convert the underwater sections into permanent artificial reefs for marine life.

      We know that here and elsewhere, many thousands of fishes and millions of invertebrates use offshore rigs as marine habitat. Working with state fisheries agencies, energy companies have converted decommissioned oil and gas platforms into manmade reefs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia.

      Californians prize their spectacular coastline, and there are disagreements over the rigs-to-reefs concept. Some conservation groups assert that abandoned oil rigs could release toxic chemicals into the water and create underwater hazards. In contrast, supporters say the submerged sections have become productive reefs that should be left in place.

      We are a former research scientist for the U.S. Department of the Interior and a scholar focusing on the fishes of the Pacific coast. In a recent study, we reviewed the history of rigs-to-reefs conversions and decades of published scientific research monitoring the effects of these projects. Based on this record, we conclude that reefing the habitat under decommissioned oil and gas platforms is a viable option for California. It also could serve as a model for decommissioning some of the 7,500 other offshore platforms operating around the world.

    • How Citizens’ Assemblies Could Be Used to Tackle Climate Change

      In one mad sunny week over the Easter weekend, Extinction Rebellion brought public attention to the problem of climate change in a way that had rarely been achieved before. The group’s most ambitious demand – to cut greenhouse gas emissions completely by 2025 – is unlikely to be met. But another – for governments to be led by the decisions of citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice – has a successful history in many parts of the world.

      Not to be confused with people’s assemblies (a more informal gathering, often of existing activists) citizens’ assemblies are a way of exploring public views on a particular topic and coming up with concrete solutions. They sit under the umbrella term ‘mini-publics’ as an example of deliberative democracy, alongside citizens’ juries, planning cells and consensus conferences.

      Sarah Allen, engagement lead at public participation charity Involve, is a big advocate of citizens’ assemblies as a tool for resolving complicated policy problems. She recently designed and ran assemblies on adult social care for a couple of House of Commons committees and on Brexit for a research project, and is now working on one for the National Assembly for Wales which will consider the main challenges facing the principality over the next 20 years.

      Citizens’ assemblies are a bit like focus groups, but usually larger and longer; they can take up a single weekend or up to a year in some cases. Allen explains on the phone that participants are chosen at random to represent the broader population and are paid for their time so that everyone can afford to take part.

      All citizens’ assemblies have three stages. The first involves learning about the problem, when everyone is given a primer in the subject and hears from people advocating different solutions. Then there is a period of consideration and discussion, often in small groups. The assembly as a whole then has to decide about what it would do to solve the problem at hand.

    • Football’s Euro finals will hurt the climate
    • The Bolsonaro Phenomenon May be Brief

      “Right now, there’s a good chance that the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, be very brief. The word impeachment is already part of the current language in the media and social networks in the South American giant.”

      At least that’s what Andrés Ferrari Haines, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil, wrote in an article published, on May 21, by the Argentinean newspaper “Página 12”.

      Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son, warned in Buenos Aires that an electoral victory of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s would represent the risk of turning Argentina into another Venezuela.

      Curiously, says the newspaper, his father is achieving in Brazil what mercenary Juan Guaidó could not achieve in Venezuela: to have protests everywhere promoting the rule of law and opposition to the President.

      An historic march took place on Wednesday, May 15, in which nearly two million people took to the streets in 200 Brazilian cities to protest against the budget cuts in education. It was a turning point in the rejection of President Jair Bolsonaro, his children and several personalities close to him.

      Those who, during his electoral campaign, thought that his violent and bellicose style was part of an electoral strategy to attack his opponents are realizing that this is a trait of his personality.

      It seems that his capacity for dialogue is zero, and he can only express himself aggressively –even if this might not be his intention.

    • Europe: Green Surges, Older Parties Erode, Far Right Gains

      Green parties made stunning gains in the European Elections, due to the strength of many younger voters, the grass roots insurgency of ecological school strikes and marches, and the tenacity of Green Party activists.

      The older mainstream parties, both center-right and social democratic, received a mix of drubbing demotions and eroding support.

      The far right nationalists also made gains, notably in France and Italy. The far right also gained less dramatically in Germany. I have added links and stories below from France 24 and The Guardian.

      There are lessons here not only for European Greens and socialists, but for class conscious popular resistance in the United States. Any left party that is not also a party of ecosocialism deserves the dustbin of history. As for the Green Party of the United States, some harsh home truths are in order.

      The Green Party here has a solid program of peace, economic democracy, and ecological sanity. Howie Hawkins is a fine representative of the strongly socialist wing of this party, and deserves support as a presidential candidate.

      However, the Green Party must put its house in order. At the national level, there must be living wages for working members who have the job of getting the message out to the public and staffing the bigger campaigns. Donated labor can go only so far, and in electoral politics amateurism is fatal.

    • ‘Blatant Attempt to Politicize the Science’: Trump Reportedly Moving to End Long-Term Studies of Climate Crisis

      In what environmental experts warned could be President Donald Trump’s most dangerous assault on science yet, the White House is reportedly moving to end long-term assessments of the impacts of the climate crisis while pushing a polluter-friendly agenda that is making the planetary emergency worse.

      As the New York Times reported late Monday, “the White House-appointed director of the United States Geological Survey, James Reilly, a former astronaut and petroleum geologist, has ordered that scientific assessments produced by that office use only computer-generated climate models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century, as had been done previously.”

      [...]

      In addition to attempting to severely limit the government’s climate science methodology, the Times reported, the Trump administration is also working “to question its conclusions by creating a new climate review panel” led by physicist William Happer, who once said the “demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”

      Happer was brought on to the National Security Council by John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser.

      “Mr. Happer and Mr. Bolton are both beneficiaries of Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the far-right billionaire and his daughter who have funded efforts to debunk climate science,” the Times reported. “The Mercers gave money to a super PAC affiliated with Mr. Bolton before he entered government and to an advocacy group headed by Mr. Happer.”

    • Under Massive Extinction Threat, Recreational Trapping Must End

      One million animal and plant species are at imminent risk of extinction.

      “The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” notes Professor Josef Settele, a contributor to the recent report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services. “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”

      It is clear that if we continue on our path of profit at any cost, consumerism, and massive trapping of wild animals for ‘recreation and profit,’ Montana will contribute to pushing some animal species over the cliff of no return.

      The United Nationa report urged “transformative changes needed locally and globally to restore and protect nature.”

  • Finance

    • New York City Moves Forward With Paid Vacation Measure

      This week New York’s city council will begin to consider a measure put forward by Mayor Bill de Blasio that would guarantee workers in the city at least 10 days of paid time off per year. This proposal is an important step toward bringing the United States inline with the other rich countries in guaranteeing its workers some amount of paid vacation.

      As a new report from Adewale Maye at the Center for Economic Research shows, the United States is very much an outlier from its peer countries in not guaranteeing its workers any paid vacation days or holidays. Countries in the European Union all guarantee workers at least four weeks of paid vacation (it’s a condition of EU membership). Many provide five weeks, in addition to an average of 10 paid holidays.

      Canada guarantees workers 10 days of paid vacation in addition to nine paid holidays. Even Japan, which has a reputation as being a workaholic country, guarantees workers 10 paid vacation days and 15 paid holidays. The 10 days of paid time off proposed by de Blasio would still be at the bottom of the list among wealthy countries, but it would at least be a step in the right direction.

      In the US, it is those at the bottom who are least likely to get paid vacation or holidays on the job. More than 90 percent of workers in the top quartile of the wage distribution get both paid vacation and paid holidays. Just over 50 percent of workers in the bottom quartile get these benefits.

      The United States was not always an outlier in the amount of time people worked in the course of a year. If we go back to 1970, the average number of hours people worked in a year in the United States was pretty much typical for wealthy countries. The average worker put in somewhat more time than people in Denmark and the Netherlands, but less than people in France, Finland, and much less than workers in Japan.

      However, over the next five decades, the average length of the work year fell sharply in all of these countries, while just edging down by 5.0 percent in the United States. As a result, workers in the United States now put in more time than workers in any other wealthy country, including Japan.

    • Former Coinbase CTO: “I don’t think any crypto can compete with Bitcoin”
    • Illinois Video Gambling Tax Hike Will Be Decided by Lawmakers With Financial Ties to the Industry

      With the Illinois General Assembly poised to consider a tax hike on video gambling, some key lawmakers and their family members have developed previously undisclosed financial connections to the industry, meaning the fate of any proposal could lie in part on votes of legislators with a stake in the outcome.

      They include two of the General Assembly’s most powerful figures, Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, and Chicago Democrat Antonio Muñoz, the Senate assistant majority leader, according to Illinois Gaming Board records obtained by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ.

      These ties, coupled with robust campaign giving by the industry, reveal how video gambling operators are building political influence at a time when the state is desperate to identify much-needed revenue to fund a capital program and balance the budget. Those operators hope to block a tax increase, pushing instead to raise the maximum bet from $2 to $4 and increase the number of machines allowed in each location from five to six.

      The video gambling industry has spent lavishly on a lobbying campaign to stave off Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s February budget proposal to raise $89 million for a capital campaign through a tax increase on video slot and poker machines. Last week, the governor’s office followed up with a plan, Rebuild Illinois, which calls for $90 million in funding from video gambling but doesn’t specify how it would be raised.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Americans Don’t Need Deepfakes to Believe Lies About Nancy Pelosi

      President Trump tweeted a video of House speaker Nancy Pelosi that was altered to make her look and sound drunk, with the speed slowed down to 75 percent.

    • Nihilist-in-Chief

      Last week, the House Intelligence Committee released transcripts of testimony by Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to Donald Trump and current guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In it, Cohen describes how one of his tasks as an employee of the future president was to stiff people who had done work for the Trump Organization, on his boss’ personal instruction. “Some of the things that I did was reach out to individuals, whether it’s law firms or small businesses, and renegotiate contracts after the job was already done, or basically tell them that we just weren’t paying at all, or make them offers of, say, 20 cents on the dollar,” he said. Cohen expressed remorse for his involvement in this combination of scam and strongarming, saying that as a result of Trump’s refusal to pay people who didn’t have the wherewithal to fight a wealthy developer, “many of these folks, you know, lost everything.”

      [...]

      In fact, what becomes more clear all the time is not just that Trump is lacking in principles or morals, let alone a vision of a better world he’s trying to create. It’s precisely his rejection of the idea of principles or morals that he believes gives him strength and makes him a winner.

      The world, then, is an ongoing zero-sum competition where all that matters is winning. And from where Trump stands, it is his willingness to do what others refuse to do that leads him to victory. Are his business competitors willing to engage in a massive tax fraud worth hundreds of millions of dollars? If not, they won’t be as successful as him. Are his political competitors willing to tell 10,000 lies in a little over two years? If not, they won’t be able to control the news agenda like he will. Were previous presidents bound by a respect for the office that prevented them from tossing out juvenile insults on Twitter? Did they have enough respect for the law and the Constitution not to act like they could simply refuse to comply with every congressional subpoena? What a bunch of losers.

      As for Donald Trump’s party, they had spent years preparing themselves for a leader like Trump. They too have been willing to go to nearly any length to win, whether it was refusing to allow Barack Obama to fill a Supreme Court seat or engaging in all manner of vote suppression to keep African Americans from getting to the polls. Try to imagine someone proposing a bit of procedural radicalism or a tactic that contradicts core democratic values, and ask yourself if leading Republicans would say, “We don’t care if that might help us; it’s simply wrong and we shouldn’t go that far.” The very idea is ludicrous.

    • Populists fall short of expectations in the European elections

      THAT RIGHT-WING populism has gained ground in Europe in recent years is a well-established fact. A glance at the continent’s recent electoral history shows that much: the Lega dominates Italy’s politics, Marine Le Pen made it to the run-off of the French presidential election in 2017, Law and Justice (PiS) runs Poland and elsewhere smaller parties from Alternative for Germany to the Danish People’s Party and Vox in Spain are shaping their countries’ politics. All of which is a far cry from the settled European party landscape of 15 or 20 years ago. But that much is known. The question now is: in what direction is European politics moving and at what pace?

      This evening’s result in the European elections provides some answers to that, and caveat the more excitable commentaries about the rise of nationalists in Europe. Turnout is up for the first time ever, and at 51% higher than in any European election since 1994. And yes, the right-populists have done well again. The Lega is first in Italy, Ms Le Pen’s National Rally has narrowly beaten Emmanuel Macron to first place in France, PiS came first in Poland despite running against a mostly unified opposition ticket. But it is also clear that the mighty, breakneck populist surge of a couple of years ago—with Britain voting to leave the EU, populists topping polls all over the continent and a cataclysmic nationalist takeover threatening—is over. Nationalists are now consolidating their gains and settling into a much broader pattern: that of fragmentation.

    • Thoughts on UK Politics

      3.1% of those eligible to vote bothered to go to a polling station and vote Tory in an important UK wide election last week. That’s 1 voter in every 33. Yet the Tory Party is shortly going to choose internally, from within its despised ranks, the next Prime Minister of the UK, even though that Tory Party does not even command a majority at Westminster. That is how dysfunctional the UK constitution has become.

      Meantime the SNP were runaway victors in Scotland and Sinn Fein topped the poll on first preferences in Northern Ireland. The UK is disintegrating before our eyes. I pray the SNP leadership finally discovers the courage to seize the moment.

      There is a huge amount of wishful thinking in the popular twitter meme that SNP, Libdem, Change plus Green votes just outweigh Brexit plus UKIP votes. This wilfully ignores the fact that a very high percentage of the residual Tory vote are Brexiteers- their Remainers have, like Heseltine, decamped their vote to the LibDems. Any Remainer voting Tory would be certifiable.

      The figures are also distorted by adding in Scotland. In Scotland the SNP, Green and Lib Dem vote outweighed the Brexit and Ukip vote by a massive four to one. Scotland being 11% of the total vote in this election, that tilts the overall calculation towards Remain by a full net 5% (duly allowing for the small Tory and Labour votes in Scotland). If you do the figures for England alone, it is absolutely plain that the people of England wish to Brexit. Nobody has the right to stop England from Brexiting as it wishes. What is needed is a mature and friendly acceptance that this means the UK must split.

      I stood twice for election in Parliamentary elections in England as an independent anti-war candidate. The first time, in Blackburn in 2005, the BBC broadcast a radio debate between the candidates but excluded me on the basis that I had “no evidence of popular support.” I polled 5.0%.

      When I stood later in Norwich, the same thing happened again, and I pointed out that I had obtained 5% in Blackburn. The BBC told me that 5% was not enough public support to be given airtime.

      I shall be fascinated to see if they apply that to Change UK and their 3%. Don’t hold your breath. I am rather proud that just on my own, with a few blog readers helping, I am more popular with the electorate than this massively hyped new political party.

    • Maduro: Glimmering Brake on Rhinoceritis

      Ignacio Ramonet, French author and journalist, former editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, sat recently with Nicholas Maduro.[1] Ramonet has known four Venezuelan presidents. In Miraflores, Caracus, seat of government, people converse, debate, talk on the phone and wait. All is normal.

      Visitors, business folk, journalists, civil servants, ministers and their aides pass through the corridors. Ramonet has not met Maduro since December. Since then, the US has attacked Venezuela more aggressively than in the country’s history.

      Maduro is calm. He has shown himself to be a tranquil leader. No minister has left his government. No commanding general has deserted. No rupture has occurred in the civic-military alliance. Ramonet and Maduro discuss all this. Maduro says: “Only dialogue can resolve the crisis. … Between Venezuelans of good will, we can find solutions without violence”.

      We expect Maduro to be a raving tyrant. We may dismiss Ramonet.

      Occasionally, precisely the unexpected creates imagination. It happened to Leroy Jones in 1960. He went to Cuba and returned politicized. In his widely reprinted “Cuba Libre”, he credits a “thin crust of lie we cannot even detect in our thinking”.

      He noticed it because of surprise. People were normal, tranquil, interesting, like Maduro. Jones looked for explanations, not just for why Cubans were as they were, but why he’d expected otherwise. He discovered the “thin crust of lie”.

    • Theresa May Was a Bad PM, But Her Resignation Will do Nothing to Arrest Britain’s Long-Term Decline

      There is a story about an enthusiastic American who took a phlegmatic English friend to see the Niagara Falls.

      “Isn’t that amazing?” exclaimed the American. “Look at that vast mass of water dashing over that enormous cliff!”

      “But what,” asked the Englishman, “is to stop it?”

      My father, Claud Cockburn, used to tell this fable to illustrate what, as a reporter in New York on the first day of the Wall Street Crash on 24 October 1929, it was like to watch a great and unstoppable disaster taking place.

      I thought about my father’s account of the mood on that day in New York as Theresa May announced her departure as prime minister, the latest milestone – but an important one – in the implosion of British politics in the age of Brexit. Everybody with their feet on the ground has a sense of unavoidable disaster up ahead but no idea of how to avert it; least of all May’s likely successors with their buckets of snake oil about defying the EU and uniting the nation.

      It is a mistake to put all the blame on the politicians. I have spent the last six months traveling around Britain, visiting places from Dover to Belfast, where it is clear that parliament is only reflecting real fault lines in British society. Brexit may have envenomed and widened these divisions, but it did not create them and it is tens of millions of people who differ radically in their opinions, not just an incompetent and malign elite.

    • Trump’s Upcoming Yankee Doodle Disaster

      Years ago, I was interviewing the college roommate of a famous politician who told the story of being sent to a shop by the pol to pick up a large impressive trophy. It would be presented at an official school dinner that night. Is this for the university president, the roommate asked? No, the politician replied, without missing a beat, it’s for me.

      That kind of 24-karat self-worth came to mind this Memorial Day weekend as I was watching Donald Trump present the first ever US President’s Cup, a four-foot high, 60-pound hunk of metal, at a sumo wrestling championship in Tokyo, part of his state visit. He violated several protocols of the highly formalized sport in the process and I distinctly got the impression that he would have preferred giving the prize to himself.

      As The New York Times’ Katie Rogers reported, “a large Trump 2020 sign greeted the president as he approached the arena. And Mr. Trump seemed to make an entrance similar to those at any ‘Make America Great Again’ rally—he clapped, fist-pumped and waved, greeting the attendees as if they had assembled on his behalf.”

      It was said of Teddy Roosevelt that he wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral, a supreme sense of self that has been far exceeded by Trump’s. (Although you have to wonder what TR might have been like in this age of social media: “Charge at San Juan Hill a cakewalk. Horses barely broke sweat. Cuba full of losers. #BigStick #Bully.”)

    • Nuanced Readings of the Politics of the Indian National Congress in the Wake of Elections in India

      About a year ago, I wrote an article on majoritarianism in South Asia, which is feared as much as monarchism. Several well-meaning people—academics, writers, intellectuals, and opinion makers—are worried, rightly so, about the overwhelming victory of the BJP in the recent general elections in India. But wouldn’t it behoove those opinion makers and intellectuals, some of whom are my friends, to hold the Indian National Congress (INC) just as accountable for having, historically, given short shrift to constitutional checks and balances, particularly in terms of center-state relations?

      We need more nuanced readings of national politics if we are invested in invigorating the very well written Constitution of India with the dignity and vigour that it deserves.

      Since Independence in 1947, the Indian polity has undergone dislocation and restructuring, with, as Aijaz Ahmad tells us, “contradictory tendencies towards greater integrative pressures of the market and the nation-state on the one hand, greater differentiation and fragmentation of communities and socioeconomic positions on the other” (191).

      [...]

      As I’ve said before, national parties will need to reconceptualize their politics in order to pay attention to the emergence of peace, political liberty, socioeconomic reconstruction, and egalitarian democratization, good governance, and resuscitating democratic institutions.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China’s robot censors crank up as Tiananmen anniversary nears

      Censors at Chinese internet companies say tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.

      [...]

      Two employees at the firm said censorship of the Tiananmen crackdown, along with other highly sensitive issues including Taiwan and Tibet, is now largely automated.

    • Chinese Authorities Have Detained an Activist Filmmaker for Posting a Picture Referencing the Tiananmen Square Massacre

      Chinese authorities have detained Deng Chuanbin, an independent filmmaker and activist also known as Huang Huang, for tweeting a photo alluding to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

      Early on the morning of May 17, just hours after posting the photo, authorities arrived at the filmmaker’s home in the Sichuan province with an arrest warrant. They confiscated his electronics—cell phones, computers, cameras, and memory cards—and escorted him to the Nanxi District Detention Center, where he has been held since, according to ArtAsiaPacific.

      Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a grassroots activist group, reported that authorities returned to Deng’s home at least one additional time after the arrest to collect more of his belongings.

    • In Memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

      Since the Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 4 has been considered a “sensitive” date for the Party. There has been steady pressure on the Chinese regime to correct the label of “riot” that was given to the 1989 student movement.

    • Photographer Releases Never-Before-Seen Tiananmen Protest Photos

      Liu was a 19-year-old university student at the time. As a professional photographer, he took 60 rolls of film of the students’ protest and citizens’ support, and washed them by himself—a process in developing film.

      Liu, however, didn’t print the photos and just kept the developed film. But recently, he printed and shared them exclusively with the Chinese-language editions of The Epoch Times and NTD television, a U.S.-based uncensored Chinese media outlet.

      While cameras weren’t uncommon in China in 1989, Liu said most of the film of the incident disappeared after the photographers sent them to photo studios for washing and printing, because the Chinese regime forced the studios to hand over any film with images of the protest and massacre.

      He said 80 percent of film capturing the Tiananmen Square protests was destroyed by the Chinese regime, making his photos even more precious.

    • Tiananmen Square: Why China’s Leaders Want to Erase ‘May 35’

      No government likes to be reminded of its atrocities. Within the Great Firewall, terms that are placeholders for June 4—including “May 35” and the concatenated Roman numerals “VIIV”—are scrubbed from the web by Chinese censors. Anyone who invokes the massacre in public discussion can be punished, even jailed.

    • China’s internet censors are on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests

      Two employees at a Chinese firm said censorship of the Tiananmen crackdown, along with other highly sensitive issues including Taiwan and Tibet, is now largely automated.

    • Inflatable ‘Tank Man’ appears in Taiwan ahead of Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary

      Outside China, “Tank Man” has become one of the 20th century’s most iconic images. After the initial standoff, famously captured by American photographer Jeff Widener from the balcony of a nearby hotel, the unknown man was filmed climbing up to the tank’s turret and speaking to a soldier inside, before dismounting.

      The image Widener shot for the Associated Press soon spread around the world, and is now the most recognized symbol of the bloody crackdown. It was taken the day after the so-called “June Fourth Incident,” in which China’s military cleared Tiananmen Square of protesters who had gathered to call for democratic reforms.

      The incident remains a sensitive topic in China, and the “Tank Man” image — along with recreations and parodies of it — are regularly subjected to online and media censorship.

    • Tiananmen Square a topic that still can’t be studied

      Since she conducted her research, “the control over history and memory has only tightened” in China, Lim said during an 8 May ‘Tiananmen at 30’ panel organised by Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Even private reminiscences are increasingly being penalised, she said.

      The Chinese leadership is going even further than controlling its own population. “We are increasingly seeing attempts to export that amnesia,” Lim said, pointing to attempts to censor content by overseas publishers, and include, for example, pressure on companies such as Apple which removed Tiananmen related songs from iTunes or the refusal by Columbia University’s CV Starr East Asian Library to host a donated bust of Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was one of the last to leave Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Liu died in custody in China in July 2017.

      [...]

      Government censors are particularly active in the weeks before 4 June and delete any combination of the numbers 6 and 4, as well as any reference to Tiananmen, a major Beijing landmark. This year all language versions of Wikipedia have been blocked in China, not just the Chinese language version.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Apple-Google Silent Fight Has Started [Ed: Both companies violate your privacy, so this is just a perceptions/PR game]

      Needless to say, privacy is one of those areas where recently tech companies are willing to give whatever it takes to maintain an image of a trustworthy company.

      Now, Apple and Google are possibly the strongest pillars of the smartphone industry. It’s expected from both the companies to harbor a positive attitude towards the privacy and security of users. But generally speaking, Apple is regarded as a better company when it comes to privacy.

    • Google Invests $670 Million to Expand Its Data Center in Finland

      Google will pay about 600 million euros ($670 million) to build a data center in Finland amid a push by its parent Alphabet Inc. to invest heavily in servers and feed demand for faster access to files and media.

      The new construction will add to Google’s existing data-center complex in Hamina on the south coast of Finland, taking the company’s total investment there to 1.4 billion euros, it said in an emailed statement on Monday.

    • Google to invest €600m in new data centre in Finland

      The new data centre will be located on the premises of the former Summa paper factory lot, just like the first data centre in Hamina that Google opened in 2011. This brings Google’s total investments in Hamina to 1.4 billion euros.

      Hamina, a town and municipality, is located about 145 kilometres east of the Finnish capital Helsinki and has a population of slightly over 20,000 people.

    • All the Ways Google Tracks You—And How to Stop It

      It’s worth emphasizing first that we’re really dealing with two topics: The amount of data Google collects on you, which is a lot, and what Google then does with it. Google would say its data collection policies improve its services—helping you find a restaurant similar ones you’ve liked previously, say—whereas users might disagree.

    • Exclusive: Behind Grindr’s doomed hookup in China, a data misstep and scramble to make up

      After taking full control of Grindr in January 2018, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd stepped up management changes and consolidated operations to cut costs and expand operations in Asia, one former employee familiar with the decision said.

      In the process, some of the company’s engineers in Beijing got access to the Grindr database for several months, eight former employees said.

    • The FBI Went to Microsoft, not Trump Organization, for Emails Incriminating Individual-1

      That means Microsoft — and not (just) Trump Organization — controlled access to these accounts.

      This is something that has long been an unrecognized problem. If the government wants your email and your business or university has Microsoft or Gmail host email for them, the tech giants will get and respond to a law enforcement request, not the entity that might make privilege or First Amendment legal challenges to the subpoena. For example, the government would have gotten Xiaoxiang Xi and Ally Watkins’ Temple University email from Google, not the University, preventing both from making a First Amendment challenge to the warrant.

    • Facebook says Zuckerberg and Sandberg will defy Canadian subpoena, risking contempt vote

      Zimmer sent both executives summonses earlier this month. He said the company had submitted alternate names of people to attend in their place, but that he wants to hear directly from the social network’s top two executives. Their presence is important, he said, because, “Knowing the structure of Facebook and how it is micro-managed right from the top, any change on the platform is done through Mr. Zuckerberg or through Ms. Sandberg.”

    • Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Sandberg reportedly refuse Canadian hearing summons

      Zuckerberg and Sandberg were reportedly asked earlier this month to appear at an international committee meeting examining Silicon Valley’s impact on privacy and democracy.

      Facebook is sending Kevin Chan, its head of public policy for Facebook Canada, and Neil Potts, its director of public policy, the social media giant confirmed to The Hill.

    • London, Ont., court to decide if police can access Facebook messages

      But the social media giant says it doesn’t have to abide by Canadian production orders because it’s an American company that stores its data in the United States.

      Instead, it wants Canadian authorities to go through the so-called mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) process, usually used for physical evidence, which requires Canadian authorities to request that American authorities ask the FBI to compel Facebook to give up data. The American part of that process takes at least 10 months.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • San Francisco Police Union Demands Chief’s Resignation Over Raid Of Journalist’s Home

      In a statement, the union said, “Chief Scott not only followed every twist and turn of the investigation, but he knew every element of the investigation, directed the investigation and has clearly either come down with the most debilitating case of amnesia or is flat-out not telling the truth about his direct involvement and the horribly flawed direction he gave to find the leak of the police report.”

    • The Jeremy Kyle Factor

      If you saw him in the street, you might not notice him. You might not even give him a second glance. For Jeremy Kyle is non-descript now; a grey, withered middle-aged man somewhere in his fifties. But he is also centuries old. In him we detect all the things we thought we had left behind. The hunting of witches. The pelting of vagrants in stocks. The ritualised and public persecution of the poverty-stricken and wretched. The rising miasma of age-old medievalism, carried by shrieking, puritanical rants, belted out by a sinister figure, and set against the backdrop of a baying and enflamed mob. Jeremy Kyle is part of our modern cultural landscape, it is true; he is a symptom of austerity Britain, and its class hatred – the visceral loathing of ‘chavs’ and ‘benefit scroungers’ and single-mothers, the vulnerable and the isolated. But he is also a product of something much older.

      The witch finder general of yore was a specific and fascinating psychological proposition. A rigid ascetic with a military bearing, someone whose austere protestant morality was only ever capable of registering the one emotional tone, that of self-righteous rage. And yet, there was something else at work, something more. Behind the layers of righteous indignation and the religious spiel about preserving the community from the sinful and the wicked – behind the whole philosophy of purity and purification – one could always detect a long submerged sensuality. Deep down, always that repressed, sexualised demand whose energies had been sublimated into the furious drive to lay sin bare, to strip someone of all their defences, to reveal the guilt and corruption which lurks within.

      Watching Kyle berate his ‘guests’ – the beetle-browed host, his puckered face swollen in a sneer of contempt, barking out raw recriminations; behind all that manufactured moralism – all that contrived shock and outrage – you can’t help but feel he is enjoying it all a little too much. Look past his military-drill-style hectoring, and you can glimpse a strange, dark pleasure in the dull shine of Mr Kyle’s glinting, beady eyes. A modern day Matthew Hopkins, albeit one who has exchanged pulpit for TV studio.

    • Cruel and Unusual: A Guide to California’s Broken Prisons and the Fight to Fix Them

      A decade ago, so many inmates were crammed into California’s prisons that the sprawling system had reached a breaking point. Prisoners were sleeping in gyms, hallways and dayrooms. Mentally ill prisoners were jammed into tiny holding cells. There were dozens of riots and hundreds of attacks on guards every year. Suicide rates were 80% higher than in the rest of the nation’s prisons.

      The California prison population peaked at more than 165,000 in 2006 — in a system designed to house just 85,000. That dubious mountaintop came after years of tougher and tougher laws like mandatory sentences, juveniles prosecuted as adults and a “Three Strikes” initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in 1994.

    • Diary: Hate / La Haine and the Hummingbird

      See that man over there, that woman, the dead black man and woman with a wooden cross in hand, one headed out to sea, the other to the mountains: they are ghosts of a life past, southern in character, pushed out of LA and onto the streets until only 9 percent of the city is still black, making up 39 percent of the unhoused.

      The hummingbird being the working class, beautiful, always tired from seeking food. As Anthropologist Alain Bertho writes in The Age of Violence, the roots of violence are found in concrete social and political situations. This was the case in 1992 in Los Angeles, during the LA Riots, as it is the case today in France with the Gilets Jaunes. Years before the Gilets Jaune, in 1995, Mathieu Kassovitz released La Haine about a different kind of working class violence, one not grounded in class struggle. Despite the police killings, despite the lack of human rights, the absence of black political violence is not a new political ethos (unfortunately) in Los Angeles, but a product of gentrification and of homelessness. The new infra-citizen of this politea Los Angeles is the black person and hanging on is what remains.

      Like in many other societies in the world, the coming to power of the French left through Francois Mitterand’s winning the popular vote over Giscard-D’estaing would slowly dissolve the potency of the dreams of leftists. Historians and political scientists, such as the conservative Fukuyama often argue that it is the fall of the Berlin Wall that dramatically gave way to hegemonic neo-liberalism but this is not true: internal contradictions and broken promises eroded the ranks of the international left around the world. From Jamaica to Hanoi, the dream was waning. As Alain Bertho argues in his book The Age of Violence, class struggle banlieu (working class neighborhoods) gave way to banlieu tout court or working class neighborhoods focused on survival and not on leftism.

      [...]

      Let us not romanticize political violence. Let us use it as a marker of something, a “phenomenon”. Watching La Haine, reading Alain Bertho, and thinking of two historical urban rebellions in LA and how they could possibly happen in much more globalized Los Angeles, it becomes obvious that the community necessary to revolt, the Gilets Jaunes of LA, no longer lives in LA. No, black persons are today jailed, pushed out, are part of the massive number of community members who are unhoused (53,000 as per not accurate LAHSA count). However, some, especially brown, remain often grandfathered into a living arrangement or living from paycheck to paycheck. The violence about black life would come from blackness but it does not, because the city of LA has reached a critical mass of in-existence that guides political culture.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Patent Court Specialization

      A central issue in administrative law is how to balance power between executive-branch agencies and the courts that review their decisions, both to preserve separation of powers and ensure good decisionmaking. In patent law, however, such a balance does not exist. When Congress created the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) in 1982, it intended for the court to be a generalist institution that heard appeals from a variety of agencies. But since that time, the Federal Circuit has become a specialized court, with patent-related matters now comprising the overwhelming majority of its docket. Over the years, this specialization has led to various problems, including disregard for the Patent and Trademark Office’s (“PTO’s”) autonomy, political activism, and judicial legislating. The Federal Circuit has consolidated power to the point that no other branch of government serves as an effective check, raising separation-of-powers concerns. Consequently, it is important that Congress act to restore a balance of power in patent law. This could be accomplished by granting the PTO greater rulemaking authority to limit the Federal Circuit’s ability to engage in judicial legislation, to facilitate public participation, and to generally serve as a counterbalance to the powerful court.

    • Lawsuit alleges recycling equipment patent violation

      Optical sorting technology is at the center of a patent infringement lawsuit between equipment suppliers Green Machine and Machinex.

      New Hampshire-headquartered Green Machine on April 24 filed a civil suit against Machinex Industries and Machinex Technologies, claiming the companies incorporated technology into optical sorting equipment in violation of a patent held by Green Machine. Machinex Industries and Machinex Technologies are part of the wider Quebec-based Machinex Group, which was not named in the suit.

      The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Machinex, which has its U.S. office in High Point, N.C., has not yet filed a response, but the company offered its take in an interview with Resource Recycling.

      The allegations relate to technology used in the Green Eye Optical Sorter, a Green Machine sorting system. The company claims Machinex is using the same features, despite Green Machine holding a patent to the technology. Although the disagreement has been going on for four years, it ramped up when Machinex introduced into the U.S. market an optical sorter that uses the technology in dispute, according to the lawsuit.

    • Trump’s Trade War With China and “Our” Intellectual Property

      Some events give extraordinary insights into the biases of the economics profession. The trade war with China clearly fit the bill.

      The origins of the trade war can be traced to campaign promises Trump made to go after China over its large trade surplus with the United States, which he attributed to “currency manipulation.” The argument was that by intervening in currency markets (buying up U.S. dollars), China was propping up the value of the dollar against its own currency.

      This makes Chinese goods and services relatively cheaper to U.S. consumers and makes U.S. goods more expensive to Chinese purchasers. The net effect is to increase U.S. imports of Chinese goods and reduce U.S. exports to China, thereby leading to a large trade deficit.

      While most economists now acknowledge that China was intervening in currency markets in the last decade (they did not acknowledge the currency intervention at the time), they insist that this is no longer an issue. China is no longer a large net buyer of dollar denominated assets, so the argument goes, therefore it is not currently keeping down the value of its currency against the dollar.

      As I have argued elsewhere, this argument ignores the effect of China holding well in excess of $3 trillion worth of dollar denominated assets. Its decision to hold a massive stock of dollar assets depresses the value of the Chinese yuan against the dollar, thereby maintaining the competitive advantage from a lower valued currency.

      This is the same logic that applies with the Fed’s decision to hold trillions of dollars worth of assets that it acquired as part of its quantitative easing program. Even though the Fed is not currently buying assets, most economists argue that its holding of assets still works to keep down interest rates. Perhaps in the next decade they will acknowledge that the same relationship holds with China’s massive stock of dollars and the relative value of the dollar and the yuan, but for now they insist that currency intervention was only an issue in the past.

    • Trademarks

      • Not quite “One in a Million”, says Court of Appeal

        A short but sweet judgment from Lord Justice Floyd in Media Agency Group Limited and Transport Media Limited v Space Media Agency Limited and Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 712 has overturned a rather generous first instance finding of passing off through cybersquatting.

        The Claimants (and Respondents in the appeal) are part of a successful outdoor media planning and buying group, trading under the name “Transport Media”, among others, since c. 2009. The First Claimant owns the domain transportmedia.co.uk and has owned a UK trade mark for TRACCOUNTABLE in class 35 since March 2014. The Defendants included a former employee of the First Claimant, Mr Shafiq. In October 2016 Mr Shafiq, together with Mr Buksh (the sole Appellant), incorporated the First Defendant, in which they were the sole shareholders. The First Defendant began to use the trading style “Transport Media Agency”, and Mr Buksh acquired several domain names for the business, including transportmwediaagency.co.uk [sic.] and trackaccountableadvertising.com.

        [...]

        dmission by the Defendants.

        This, said the Court of Appeal, was incorrect. The Particulars of Claim did not allege that the Claimants had acquired goodwill in “Traccountable”. The trial judge appeared to treat the fact of cybersquatting as proof in itself of passing off. This finding departed significantly from the leading case on this topic, British Telecommunications plc and Ors v One In A Million Ltd and Ors [1999] 1 WLR 903. Even if, as seemed to be the case here, the domain name in question was an instrument of fraud, this did not dispense with the requirement to prove a complete case in passing off (i.e. goodwill, misrepresentation and damage).

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Subpoenas Target Yet Another Huge YouTube-Ripping Site

        The RIAA has obtained DMCA subpoenas designed to uncover the identity of the individuals behind yet another huge YouTube-ripping site. The subpoenas order Cloudflare and domain registrar NameCheap to hand over all relevant information about the operator of Y2Mate, a site with almost 64 million monthly visits.

Linux Foundation and the Big Surveillance Industry, Media Industry, Microsoft Azure

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, OSDL at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

James Clapper

Summary: The Linux Foundation has become a complex creature with intricate corporate ties and government ties as well (especially the US government); these relationships need to be better understood

IT HAS BEEN a while since we last wrote about the Linux Foundation. We habitually post links to news about it (in our daily links), but we haven’t had time to write articles on the subject. Partly because affairs at the European Patent Office (EPO) are heating up again, culminating in a likely strike next month.

“That undoubtedly disputes claims that the PAC exists merely to pay Mr. Torvalds his salary.”Quite a few things have happened at Zemlin’s PAC this past month. First of all, we came to discover that Amanda McPherson no longer works there. She was receiving about as much money (salary at around half a million dollars per year) as Linus Torvalds. For marketing. That undoubtedly disputes claims that the PAC exists merely to pay Mr. Torvalds his salary. More curious, however, is the background of her successor/replacement. It’s a former spokesperson of James Clapper, best known for lying and perjury (he is deeply connected to Edward Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, and US spying operations at a Federal level too, but to the public he is known as a famous liar because the media focused on it for years). About a week ago the somewhat crypic press release (lacking context) revealed that Huawei connections got the PAC in trouble with the US government, which possibly put direct pressure on the PAC. Here’s how this press release started: “Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling.[1] While statements in the Executive Order prompting the listing used language granting a broader scope of authority, the Huawei Entity List ruling was specifically scoped to activities and transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulation (EAR).”

Who did the Linux Foundation speak to when it said “Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling”?

Did some fellow members complain? The final words: “If there is a unique situation of concern, we encourage you to reach out directly to legal@linuxfoundation.org.”

Earlier today we wrote about the increasing likelihood of China's adoption of GNU/Linux at a much larger scale. What might the US government do next? It certainly has a lot of control over the PAC and ways to punish/blackmail it (e.g. removal of the non-profit status or revocation of licence to operate).

This post is a bit of a preview or a look behind the scenes; it’s the subject of ongoing research into the PAC’s strands of work, including the new initiative for “surveillance capitalism” in an ‘urban’ context (companies like Uber and Google, along with “smart cities” and “edge”). We posted many links about this in recent days, weeks and even months (when it was first announced with little additional details). We are also studying the PAC’s media ties (connections to external sites), which do exist but are difficult to decipher (especially money flow, if any, not just staff moves that are simpler to detect). More about training partners ought to be known too; it’s no secret that the PAC nowadays promotes Microsoft Azure at some capacity.

“There are many interests and various powerful corporations in the mix; it’s only rational to attempt to figure out what they want and what they do to their PAC.”We are still not sure why McPherson left (or was pushed out) and Clapper’s former spokesperson became the Linux Foundation’s. McPherson seems to be working in academia now; some colleagues of hers (also alumni of the PAC) moved to media companies. There’s growing suspicion and some evidence of a connection. The Linux Foundation (LF) links to sites of its alumni and these alumni, in turn, write many articles about Linux Foundation projects and sponsors. “I’m trying to find out why the push for Yocto,” one reader told us, “what push does LF have with members for involvement with these projects no one uses? The recent Forbes article about Clear Linux… is that paid for too? The push to use LF projects by partners/members, I guess is understandable. Buying magazine space to promote… seems shady. Need facts.”

We are certainly going to write more about these subjects in weeks or months to come. We also depend on readers’ input, however meager, so we welcome feedback if not leaks (the latter is rare). There are many interests and various powerful corporations in the mix; it’s only rational to attempt to figure out what they want and what they do to their PAC. Microsoft is only one of several [1, 2], so it would be wrong to focus only on this one company.

First South Korea and Now China: The Move Away From Microsoft Windows

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obviously North Korea as well, straining the monoculture Microsoft heavily relies on

Terracotta Army

Summary: East Asia is putting Microsoft’s monopoly on desktops/laptops at great risk; there might be more discussion about this in days/weeks to come

THE Linux Foundation has said nothing about this (not even a link), but Microsoft’s predatory pricing and collusion with the NSA (new incidents related to this in Baltimore) may be costing it the biggest businesses and largest clients (governments). South Korea may already be yesterday's news; now it’s China. It’s not just about Huawei and about Android, either. There was an impact on Microsoft and Windows as well (mentioned in our daily links last week).

“China already has several of its own distributions and they are pretty well maintained. Some are RHEL based and in recent years Debian- and Ubuntu-based (Deepin and Kylin) distributions emerged as well.”China has, over the years, adopted GNU/Linux, but Bill Gates soob came there to sabotage such initiatives, under the auspices of his fake ‘charity’ (lobbying and tax evasion).

Perhaps we’ll know more about it in the coming days (it was a long weekend in the US). It seems like the world’s second-largest military (even largest based on some criteria) may be moving to GNU/Linux. Turkey’s military reportedly did something similar about a decade ago. Now China’s (but this goes beyond that, based on the report “Chinese Military Will Replace Windows Operating System“). They know that reliance on Free software isn’t just cost-saving but also a matter of national security. The article speaks of UNIX, which we assume means proprietary old UNIX, not GNU/Linux. To quote: “The group does not trust the “UNIX” multi-user, multi-stroke operating system either, which is used in some of the servers within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Kanwa reported. Therefore, Chinese authorities ordered to develop an operating system dedicated to the Chinese military.”

Will it be based on GNU/Linux? It does not say, but that seems rather probable. China already has several of its own distributions and they are pretty well maintained. Some are RHEL based and in recent years Debian- and Ubuntu-based (Deepin and Kylin, respectively) distributions emerged as well. There’s no lack of manpower.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates about Chinese people

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