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06.24.19

Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And then suggesting/insinuating/saying that anyone unlike them is a terrorist

Bush visits Brussels

Summary: Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn’t a “true believer” in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a “fringe” and akin to terrorists

THE BIAS in media coverage about patents can be amusing at times (it’s composed by law firms). It’s only infuriating when they defame people, knowingly, as we explained one week ago. In Twitter, for example, people compare the likes of yours truly to “Taliban”. Apparently only the Taliban cares about patent quality then. We suppose SUEPO too is “Taliban” and lots of law professors are also “Taliban”. Even judges and Justices are “Taliban” (somebody, call the Marines! Raid SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit!). Sometimes they take it a step further and call voices of reason "Daesh". How truly ridiculous. At best, these are projection tactics. People who are unlike billionaire orthodoxy are all just ‘dangerous’ ‘radicals’. We wrote about that yesterday.

“So these radicals think that those bribed political figures don’t go far enough? Amazing. Truly amazing.”Consider for a moment who is actually breaking the law and burning things in protests. The new Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) already ‘disses’ and looks for ways to work around — or put another way, violate — 35 U.S.C. § 101 (even if courts rebuff). The litigation ‘industry’ is so ‘up in arms’ that it took this fight to the political arena. Look at Coons for example. What we have here are politicians paid by large law firms to buy laws. Bribery? Sure, but they don’t use the “B” word. That might upset many other politicians who receive bribes similarly. Who is the radical here? Who is actually breaking laws? The outlaws aren’t critics of this bunch, i.e. people who highlight the corruption.

Based on his weekend’s Watchtroll piece (“Inventors Must Oppose the Draft Section 101 Legislation”) Paul Morinville, who is a textbook radical (look what he did on USPTO premises!), is not happy because the stacked panels put together by Coons et al were not 100% stacked (maybe ‘just’ 90%). The outline: “When it was announced that I would be testifying to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on IP about Section 101, I was surprised. Not only did they grant a critic of the 101 roundtables a chance to speak, but not one inventor who used patents to fund a startup has testified in any patent-related hearing in decades. This gave me faith that Senators Tillis and Coons are serious about fixing 101 right by considering what inventors need.”

So these radicals think that those bribed political figures don’t go far enough? Amazing. Truly amazing.

The patent trolls’ think tank and Battistelli ally (funded by his PR firm, cited by him afterwards), namely IAM, is once again asking its patent maximalist/troll subscribers about the European Patent Office (EPO) and guess what they say, complimenting António Campinos in the process (e.g. for granting software patents in defiance of European law). From the outline (there’s a paywall there):

Boost for António Campinos as he ends the first year of his presidency; and good news, too, for USPTO head Andrei Iancu

There’s also this weekend outline that said “IAM readers once again make the European Patent Office their number one; and they have good news, too, for USPTO head Andrei Iancu.”

“Can a law school be led by a thug who breaks the law and is well known for it?”This comes from a propaganda rag that takes money from thugs to promote these thugs’ agenda. As for Campinos, over the weekend we wrote about his one year in Office. He has been terrible and he only narrowly dodged a massive strike by his workers. Campinos still breaks the law. But yeah… we’re “Daesh” because we point this out.

We’ve meanwhile noticed that Antonella Gentile, over at IP Kat, advertises jobs/openings/vacancies at CEIPI, an institution which is run by a literal criminal, Battistelli (and formerly Campinos, who swapped seats with him). Have many members of staff quit? Many were reportedly very upset (staff/teachers, maybe students as well). Can a law school be led by a thug who breaks the law and is well known for it?

“Where did you graduate from?”

“Ha! That school of Battistelli?” The man who 'made' Alexandre Benalla.

Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Hardware Review – The ZaReason Virtus 9200 Desktop
    • Chrome OS 76 will disable Crostini Linux backups by default

      Essentially, this is still a work in progress feature. And I shouldn’t be terribly surprised by that, even though in my experience, the functionality hasn’t failed me yet.

      That’s because we know that the Chromium team is considering on a way to backup and restore Linux containers directly from the Files app on a Chromebook. That proposal is targeted for Chrome OS 78, so this gives the team more time to work that out, as well as any other nits that might not be quite right with the current implementation.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.2-rc6
                    

      eally was hoping that we'd continue to have an increasingly quiet

      and shrinking rc series. But that was not to be.

      rc6 is the biggest rc in number of commits we've had so far for this

      5.2 cycle (obviously ignoring the merge window itself and rc1). And

      it's not just because of trivial patches (although admittedly we have

      those too), but we obviously had the TCP SACK/fragmentation/mss fixes

      in there, and they in turn required some fixes too.

      Happily we did pick up on the problem quickly - largely thanks to the

      patches making it into distro kernels quickly and then causing

      problems for the steam client of all things - but it's still something

      that doesn't exactly make me get the warm and fuzzies at this point in

      the release cycle.

      I'm also doing this rc on a Saturday, because I am going to spend all

      of tomorrow on a plane once again. So I'm traveling first for a

      conference and then for some R&R on a liveaboard, so I'm going to have

      spotty access to email for a few days, and then for a week I'll be

      entirely incommunicado. So rc7 will be delayed.

      I was thinking that I timed it all really well in what should be the

      quietest period of the release cycle for me, and now I obviously hope

      that last week really was a fluke.

    • Linux 5.2-rc6 Released With Steam Networking Fix – The Biggest Post-RC1 Release

      However, he did express optimism still over Linux 5.2 in today’s rc6 announcement, “With all that out of the way, I’m still reasonably optimistic that we’re on track for a calm final part of the release, and I don’t think there is anything particularly bad on the horizon.”

      One important fix merged last night was fixing the kernel issue that was causing Steam network connection issues. That fix has also already been back-ported to maintained stable kernel trees.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Sends In Navi Support & Other Remaining AMDGPU Changes For Linux 5.3

        On Saturday night AMDGPU/Radeon DRM maintainer Alex Deucher sent in the final batch of feature updates to DRM-Next that is targeting the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel.

        This final batch of changes is on top of multiple earlier rounds of work already queued in DRM-Next for vetting in the weeks until the Linux 5.3 merge window in early July. Most notable with this final batch of work is the Navi 10 (Radeon RX 5700 series) support.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam Will No Longer Support Ubuntu : Valve

        Ubuntu users are having a bad week as now Valve says that steam won’t support Ubuntu any more. Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais revealed this shocking news in this tweet.

      • EA calls loot boxes ‘surprise mechanics’ and compares them to Kinder Eggs

        Confusion was a theme—over language, games, the questions—with highlights including one MP asking if Epic can close down text messages. He meant chat, but for a moment Epic’s representatives struggled to explain that they don’t have control over SMS. Later, Fortnite gets compared to a casino.

      • Lutris is an excellent gaming platform!

        In Linux, typically, when there’s a solution to a problem, there are seven other solutions to the same problem. But not so when it comes to Linux gaming. Here, we only have several incomplete solutions to a rather big problem. Steam did massively improve the situation, and it looks like the most mature and likely technology slash software to bring parity to the Linux gaming scene. Still, it’s not a perfect fix.

        There are many Linux games that don’t quite fit the Steam category [sic]. You have old games, indie games with their distribution channels, Windows games that need WINE, and so forth. If you want to have all these under a single umbrella, there isn’t really a solution. Well. Maybe. A challenger appears: Lutris. Let’s have a review.

      • Valve looking to drop support for Ubuntu 19.10 and up due to Canonical’s 32bit decision (updated)

        Update: Canonical are now saying 32bit libraries will be “frozen” and not entirely dropped.

      • Rumour: Ubuntu NOT Dropping 32-bit App Support After All?

        That’s according to Canonical’s Steve Langasek, the author of the original “end of 32-bit support” mailing list post that led to a colourful parade of opinions from users, developers and software projects over the past few days..

        Reaction to the mailing list post’s implication that Ubuntu will no longer support 32-bit apps culminated in a dramatic decision by Valve, who say Steam for Linux will not support Ubuntu 19.10.

        Now, in a forum reply on the Ubuntu Discourse, Langasek appears to row back on the notion that 32-bit libraries will be removed wholesale in the ‘Eoan Ermine’, writing:

        “I’m sorry that we’ve given anyone the impression that we are ‘dropping support for i386 applications‘. It is simply not the case. What we are dropping is updates to the i386 libraries, which will be frozen at the 18.04 LTS versions.”

      • Would Steam Losing Ubuntu Support Make You Switch Distro? [Poll]

        Gamers the globe over were left open-mouthed by a Valve developer’s tweet that Steam for Linux is dropping support for Ubuntu as of the next release, Ubuntu 19.10.

        That snippet of shock followed an announcement by Canonical developers that there’d be no traditional access to 32-bit libraries in the next short-term release of the famed Linux distro.

        While confusion remains as to Canonical’s exact plans for the 32-bit Ubuntu archive — going away entirely? Just being frozen? Something else? — many Ubuntu users have taken to social media to state that if Steam goes from Ubuntu, so will they.

        Would a lack of official support for using the world’s biggest games distribution platform and shop store front on Ubuntu be enough to make YOU switch distro?

      • Ubuntu is dropping support for 32-bit apps and games, so Steam is dropping support for Ubuntu

        Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system is one of the biggest names in desktop GNU/Linux. But if you plan to play PC games on Linux, you might want to start looking around for a different Linux distro.

        Ubuntu developer Steve Langasek announced last week that starting with Ubuntu 19:10, which comes out in October, Canonical would no longer provide 32-bit builds of applications and libraries. This being Linux, there will be workarounds — but many existing apps may not work out of the box anymore.

        Case in point: a number of games from GOG cannot be installed on a pre-release version of Ubuntu 19:10. So it’s not all that surprising that a developer for Valve says that now that Canonical is dropping support for 32-bit software, Valve’s Steam game client is dropping support for Ubuntu.

      • Steam will stop supporting Ubuntu Linux over 32-bit compatibility
      • Canonical’s Decision To Drop 32-Bit Support In Ubuntu Upsets The Linux Gaming Community

        The future of Linux gaming sure is going to be interesting, as Canonical has announced this week that it’s going to be scrapping 32-bit support with Ubuntu 19.10. This was something considered last year, and clearly, even after all of the debate about whether or not it should happen, Canonical feels it’s best to pull the plug and look to the future.

        There are some problems with that, but before we go further, we do want to make clear that this decision is Canonical’s own. The myriad spins based on Ubuntu could take it upon themselves to continue supporting 32-bit libraries. For gamers, what this move means is that Ubuntu is no longer going to be the de facto “simple” choice for Linux gaming.

      • Steam will not support Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

        It is only a few days since Canonical announced that it was dropping support for 32-bit packages as of Ubuntu 19.10. The fall out from this is now being felt.

        While there were many developers who were not happy with the decision, Linux-based gamers are now likely to be more than slightly annoyed. Steam has announced that “Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users”.

      • Ubuntu Developer Talks Down Impact Of 32-Bit Changes For Ubuntu 19.10

        Following Valve saying they won’t be officially supporting Ubuntu 19.10 and Wine developers questioning their Ubuntu 32-bit builds following the announcement this week of not providing new 32-bit packages for new Ubuntu releases, longtime Ubuntu developer and Canonical employee Steve Langasek is trying to provide some clarity into the situation.

      • Steam Is About to Drop Official Support for Ubuntu

        Valve is dropping official support for Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases for its mega-popular Steam video game distribution platform, per Engadget, as the upcoming version of the OS will eliminate updates to 32-bit x86 components. According to Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais, the company will “evaluate ways to minimize breakage for existing users,” though it will also be focusing on “a different distribution, currently TBD.”

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars v3.3.1 is released

        KStars v3.3.1 is released for Windows, MacOS, and Linux on all platforms (Intel/AMD and ARM). This is yet another maintenance release with a few new experimental features and addons.

      • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 76

        Week 76 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative is here! This week’s progress report includes the first several says of the Usability & Productivity sprint, and as such, it’s absolutely overflowing with cool stuff!

      • KDE’s Night Color Feature Being Ported From Wayland To X11

        It’s another busy summer in the KDE space with a nice mixture of bug fixes and features being pursued for KDE Frameworks, KDE Plasma, and KDE Applications.

        One new feature coming is a back-porting of their night color feature from Wayland to X11. KDE, like many other desktops these days, has offered a “night color” option that adjusts the gamma ramp for the display output. This feature has just been supported on Wayland given that’s their focus moving forward, but with no major blockers in supporting the feature on X11, that is now being addressed. This X11 support for the night color feature is coming for Plasma 5.17.

      • Skrooge 2.20.0 released

        The Skrooge Team announces the release 2.20.0 version of its popular Personal Finances Manager based on KDE Frameworks.

      • New website for Konsole

        The content could probably still need some improvements, so if you find typos or want to improve the wording of a sentence, please get in touch with KDE Promo. The good news is that you don’t need to be a programmer for this.

        [...]

        The new website uses Jekyll to render static html. Because the layout and the design aren’t unique to konsole.kde.org, I created a special Jekyll located at invent.kde.org/websites/jekyll-kde-theme, so that only the content and some configuration files are located in the websites/konsole-kde-org repository. This make it easier to maintain and will make it easier to change others website in the future without repeating ourself.

        This was a bit harder to deploy than I first though, I had problem with installing my Jekyll theme in the docker image, but after the third or fourth try, it worked and then I had an encoding issue, that wasn’t present on my development machine.

      • Crazy Last Weeks

        Last weeks have been crazy for me. Since the GSoC began, I have been rushing everything related to university and my life to dedicate exclusively to the development. Besides the two classes I was taking, Static Code Analysis and Approximation Algorithms, I had my obligatory teaching internship in Project and Analysis of Algorithms for the postgraduate program, where I was responsible for creating and evaluating assignments for 50+ students and answering general questions.

        [...]

        I am using as my environment the Qt Creator, and I am focusing in the algorithm for creation of specific graph classes inside the generategraphwidget. I have already implemented algorithms for Paths, Complete and Complete Bipartite graphs, besides fixing some details here and there. These modifications are still only in my local machine, as I am having some problems pushing the commits (I must be doing something wrong in my configuration).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nordic Theme on Ubuntu Desktop GNOME 3

        Nordic is currently ranked #10 most popular GTK3 theme on OpenDesktop.org. This article exposes this theme beauty and explains how to install every component on Ubuntu 18.04. You can practice the installation procedures on other distros as long as it uses GNOME 3 as the user interface.

      • Andrei Lisita: Something to show for

        Unfortunately along with the progress that was made we also encountered a bug with the NintendoDS core that causes Games to crash if we attempt to load a savestate. We are not yet 100% sure if the bug is caused by my changes or by the NintendoDS core itself.

        I hope we are able to fix it by the end of the summer although I am not even sure where to start since savestates are working perfectly fine with other cores. Another confusing matter about this is that the Restart/Resume Dialog works fine with the NintendoDS core and it also uses savestates. This led me to believe that perhaps cores can be used to load savestates only once, but this can’t be the problem since we re-instantiate the core every time we load a savestate.

        In the worst case we might just have to make a special case for the NintendoDS core and not use savestates with it, except for the Resume/Restart dialog. This would sadden me deeply since there are plenty of NintendoDS games which could benefit from this feature.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • OSMC’s June update is here with Kodi v18.3

        Team Kodi recently announced the 18.3 point release of Kodi Leia. We have now prepared this for all supported OSMC devices and added some improvements and fixes. Here’s what’s new:

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • CERN Goes Open Source

    The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, is stopping using Microsoft products in favor of open-source.

  • CERN ditches Microsoft for open source

    The Large Hadron particle collider operator says no to Microsoft’s licensing fees increase.

  • A comparison of open source, real-time data streaming platforms

    A variety of open source, real-time data streaming platforms are available today for enterprises looking to drive business insights from data as quickly as possible. The options include Spark Streaming, Kafka Streams, Flink, Hazelcast Jet, Streamlio, Storm, Samza and Flume — some of which can be used in tandem with each other.

    Enterprises are adopting these real-time data streaming platforms for tasks such as making sense of a business marketing campaign, improving financial trading or recommending marketing messages to consumers at critical junctures in the customer journey. These are all time-critical areas that can be used for improving business decisions or baked into applications driven by data from a variety of sources.

  • Amphenol’s Jason Ellison on Signal Integrity Careers and His Free, Open Source PCB Design Software

    Ellison, Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC, gives his insight on the importance of networking, giving to the EE community, and his open-source signal integrity project.

    How does signal integrity engineering compare to other EE fields? What are open-source resources worth these days? What makes for a good work life for an engineer? Learn this and more in this Engineer Spotlight!

    Jason Ellison started down the path to becoming an electrical engineer because someone told him it was “fun and easy if you’re good at math.” In this interview with AAC’s Mark Hughes, Ellison—a Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC—describes how his career has grown from these beginnings into the rewarding and diverse work of signal integrity engineering.

  • Cruise open-sources Webviz, a tool for robotics data analysis [Ed: Releasing a little tool that's part of proprietary software so that it 'feels' more "open"]

    Cruise, the self-driving startup that General Motors acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2016, generates an enormous amount of data by any measure. It orchestrates 200,000 hours of driving simulation jobs daily in Google Cloud Platform, spread across 30,000 virtual cars in an environment running on 300,000 processor cores and 5,000 graphics cards. Both those cars and Cruise’s fleet of over 180 real-world autonomous Chevrolet Bolts make thousands of decisions every second, and they base these decisions on observations captured in binary format from cameras, microphones, radar sensors, and lidar sensors.

  • EWF launches world’s first open source blockchain for the energy industry

    The Energy Web Foundation this week announced that it has launched the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector: the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain).

    More than ten Energy Web Foundation (EWF) Affiliates — including utilities, grid operators, and blockchain developers — are hosting validator nodes for the live network, according to the company.

  • Pimcore Releases Pimcore 6.0, Amplifying User-Friendly Digital Experiences Through Open Source

    Pimcore, the leading open-source platform for data and customer experience management, has released the most powerful version of the Pimcore platform, Pimcore 6.0. The updated platform includes a new user interface that seamlessly connects MDM/PIM, DAM, WCM, and digital commerce capabilities to create more advanced and user-friendly experiences quickly and efficiently.

  • VCV Rack reaches version 1.0.0: free and open-source modular synth gets a full release

    VCV Rack is a free, open-source modular software synth that’s been gaining ground for a couple of years, but only now has it reached the significant milestone of version 1.0.

    Designed to replicate the feeling of having a hardware modular synth on your desktop, VCV Rack enables you to add both free and paid-for modules, and now supports polyphony of up to 16 voices. There’s MIDI Output, too with CV-Gate, CV-MIDI and CV-CC modules enabling you to interface with drum machines, desktop synths and Eurorack gear.

  • Flying Above the Shoulders of Giants

    Thanks to open-source platforms, developers can stand on the shoulders of software giants to build bigger and better things. Linux is probably the biggest…

  • MIT Researchers Open-Source AutoML Visualization Tool ATMSeer

    A research team from MIT, Hong Kong University, and Zhejiang University has open-sourced ATMSeer, a tool for visualizing and controlling automated machine-learning processes.

    Solving a problem with machine learning (ML) requires more than just a dataset and training. For any given ML tasks, there are a variety of algorithms that could be used, and for each algorithm there can be many hyperparameters that can be tweaked. Because different values of hyperparameters will produce models with different accuracies, ML practitioners usually try out several sets of hyperparameter values on a given dataset to try to find hyperparameters that produce the best model. This can be time-consuming, as a separate training job and model evaluation process must be conducted for each set. Of course, they can be run in parallel, but the jobs must be setup and triggered, and the results recorded. Furthermore, choosing the particular values for hyperparameters can involve a bit of guesswork, especially for ones that can take on any numeric value: if 2.5 and 2.6 produce good results, maybe 2.55 would be even better? What about 2.56 or 2.54?

  • Open-Source Cybersecurity Tool to Enhance Grid Protection

    A revolutionary new cybersecurity tool that can help protect the electric power grid has been released to the public on the code-hosting website GitHub.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Deeper into the data fabric with MongoDB

      However, to gain access to rich search functionality, many organisations pair their database with a search engine such as Elasticsearch or Solr, which MongoDB claims can complicate development and operations — because we end up with two entirely separate systems to learn, maintain and scale.

  • LibreOffice

    • Microsoft Office vs LibreOffice

      Microsoft Office and LibreOffice are both excellent office suites, but how can you be sure which is right for you? On the surface the two look very similar, but there are some important differences to bear in mind when making your decision.

    • Florian Effenberger: LibreOffice Adoption Is Growing Globally

      During the openSUSE Conference in Nuremberg, Germany, we sat down with the executive director of The Document Foundation. We talked about the evolution of LibreOffice to cater to new users and devices. We also talked about other activities of the foundation beyond managing the LibreOffice community. We also touched upon the importance of diversity and inclusion

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU APL 1.8 Released

      I am happy to announce that GNU APL 1.8 has been released.

      GNU APL is a free implementation of the ISO standard 13751 aka.

      “Programming Language APL, Extended”,

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • DoD’s Joint AI Center to open-source natural disaster satellite imagery data set

        As climate change escalates, the impact of natural disasters is likely to become less predictable. To encourage the use of machine learning for building damage assessment this week, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and CrowdAI — the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center (JAIC) and Defense Innovation Unit — open-sourced a labeled data set of some of the largest natural disasters in the past decade. Called xBD, it covers the impact of disasters around the globe, like the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti.

        “Although large-scale disasters bring catastrophic damage, they are relatively infrequent, so the availability of relevant satellite imagery is low. Furthermore, building design differs depending on where a structure is located in the world. As a result, damage of the same severity can look different from place to place, and data must exist to reflect this phenomenon,” reads a research paper detailing the creation of xBD.

        [...]

        xBD includes approximately 700,000 satellite images of buildings before and after eight different kinds of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Covering about 5,000 square kilometers, it contains images of floods in India and Africa, dam collapses in Laos and Brazil, and historic deadly fires in California and Greece.

        The data set will be made available in the coming weeks alongside the xView 2.0 Challenge to unearth additional insights from xBD, coauthor and CrowdAI machine learning lead Jigar Doshi told VentureBeat. The data set collection effort was informed by the California Air National Guard’s approach to damage assessment from wildfires.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open-source textbooks offer free alternative for UC Clermont students

        Some UC Clermont College students are avoiding paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks — and getting the content for free — thanks to online open-source textbooks, a growing trend among faculty at the college and throughout higher education.

        UC Clermont Dean Jeff Bauer, who is also a professor of business, said the benefits of open textbooks are many. “All students have the book on the first day of class, it saves them a lot of money, and the information can be accessed anywhere, anytime, without carrying around a heavy textbook,” Bauer said. “They don’t need to visit the bookstore before or after each semester to buy or sell back books, either.”

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Computer Controlled Loom Knits Pikachu For You

        The origin story of software takes us back past punch card computers and Babbage’s Difference Engine to a French weaver called Joseph Marie Jacquard.

      • Successful open-source RISC-V microcontroller launched through crowdfunding

        X-FAB Silicon Foundries, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, launched the first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V SoC reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from start of design to tape-out in less than three months employing the Efabless design flow produced on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations, the solution should operate at up to 150MHz.

      • Open Hardware: Open-Source MRI Scanners Could Bring Enormous Cost Savings

        Wulfsberg explore the possibilities of open source MRI scanning. As open-source technology takes its place around the world—everywhere from makerspaces to FabLabs, users on every level have access to design and innovation. In allowing such access to MRI scanning, the researchers realize the potential for ‘technological literacy’ globally—and with MRIs specifically, astronomical sums could be saved in healthcare costs.

        The authors point out that medical technology is vital to the population of the world for treating not only conditions and illnesses, but also disabilities. As so many others deeply involved in the world of technology and 3D printing realize, with greater availability, accessibility, and affordability, huge strides can be made to improve and save lives. Today, with so many MRI patents expiring, the technology is open for commercialization.

  • Programming/Development

    • What’s the Most Secure Programming Language?

      WhiteSource recently put out a report, taking a deeper dive into the security of the most popular programming languages.

    • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Plum UI Kit

      The mobile framework NativeScript team is releasing a new open-source project this week designed to help developers style their applications. The team calls the Plum UI Kit a “kitchen sink native app” meant to provide common app scenarios with copy-and-paste abilities.

    • Kedro Open Source library For Machine Learning

      A new open source development workflow framework for creating machine learning code has been released. Kedro has PySpark integration and an SDK for working with datasets.

      Kedro has been developed by QuantumBlack, an analytics firm acquired by McKinsey’s in 2015, and the name Kedro derives from the Greek word meaning center or core. Kedro helps structure your data pipeline using software engineering principles. It also provides a standardized approach to collaboration for teams.

    • Prisons Are Banning Books That Teach Prisoners How to Code

      According to public records obtained by the Salem Reporter, the Oregon Department of Corrections has banned dozens of books related to programming and technology as they come through the mail room, ensuring that they don’t get to the hands of prisoners.

    • Oregon prisons ban dozens of technology and programming books over security concerns

      Chan said he understands security concerns for books related to hacking, but they often see introductory or basic books disallowed.

    Leftovers

    • Yle ends Latin news service

      Latin teachers often harvest Nuntii Latini for teaching material, as audio and transcripts of shows dating back to 2011 are available online.

    • Science

      • Russian Academy of Sciences archive reopens after debts forced it to close in March

        The archive’s financial trouble began in 2018 when the umbrella agency above it, the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations, was liquidated, leaving ARAN to join the Education Ministry’s budget. That budget did not include funds for paying off the archive’s debts, including a large dept to the company Stroimonolit, which is designing a new building for the archive in St. Petersburg. The 1.064 billion-ruble ($16.9 million) contract for that project was signed in 2015, but the archive was unable to pay even for initial blueprints. Stroimonolit ultimately sued the archive and won.

    • Hardware

      • The U.S. blacklists five Chinese supercomputer firms, including AMD joint venture THATIC

        The U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for the entity list, which includes companies where the agency says there is “reasonable cause to believe…have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy of the United States.”

        U.S. companies are forbidden from doing business with and supplying components to companies placed on the entity list, although exceptions can be granted. Though China has developed its own microprocessors, that means U.S. companies would be forbidden to ship PCs and other components to members on the entity list. Many supercomputers, for example, use Nvidia GPUs.

      • U.S. Blacklists More Chinese Tech Companies Over National Security Concerns

        The Commerce Department announced that it would add four Chinese companies and one Chinese institute to an “entity list,” saying they posed risks to American national security or foreign policy interests. The move essentially bars them from buying American technology and components without a waiver from the United States government, which could all but cripple them because of their reliance on American chips and other technology to make advanced electronics.

      • Western Digital Freezes Out Huawei, Which Braces for Massive Sales Drop

        The damage to Huawei keeps on spreading. Last week, Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan announced his company had stopped doing business with the embattled Chinese manufacturer. It’s the latest blow to Huawei’s business after the US announced sanctions against the company last month.

        While Huawei accounts for less than 10 percent of Western Digital’s revenue, Milligan told Nikkei that the firm represents a “meaningful customer.” WD is apparently considering applying for permission to continue doing business with Huawei from the US government. In April, Huawei and WD had signed a declaration of intention to strengthen their partnership across hard drives and non-volatile storage technologies, but that partnership is now effectively on hold due to the US findings.

        In late May, I wrote a story exploring what CPU architectures Huawei might be able to use for future designs if it was cut off from chips by manufacturers like ARM. According to a discussion of this issue published by former US assistant secretary of export administration Kevin Wolf, this is a complex question. US export law forbids the export of any technology with more than a trivial amount (de minimis) of US-based technology built into it.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Air Pollution, the Invisible Enemy

        U.S. News & World Report spoke with Gardiner over the telephone to discuss what countries get right and wrong in tackling air pollution, and what the future of our air may look like. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

      • India’s Sixth-Largest City Is Almost Out of Water

        As much of India bakes in a deadly heat wave, the country’s sixth largest city is running out of water, Time reported Thursday.

        In Chennai, home to nearly 4.6 million people, four major reservoirs are running dry. The monsoon has been delayed, and rainfall has fallen 99 percent in the region from June 1 to 19, while temperatures have reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

      • This Indian City Is Running Out of Water, Impacting 4.6 Million People

        The sixth-largest city in India is running out of water for nearly 4.6 million people

      • Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food

        Food is not a commodity, it is not “stuff” put together mechanically and artificially in labs and factories. Food is life. Food holds the contributions of all beings that make the food web, and it holds the potential of maintaining and regenerating the web of life. Food also holds the potential for health and disease, depending on how it was grown and processed. Food is therefore the living currency of the web of life.

        As an ancient Upanishad reminds us “Everything is food, everything is something else’s food. “

        Good Food and Real Food are the basis of health .

        Bad food, industrial food, fake food is the basis of disease.

        Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine”. In Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of life, food is called “sarvausadha” the medicine that cures all disease.

      • Refusing to Comply With ‘Dehumanizing’ Rules Any Longer, Missouri’s Last Abortion Clinic Defies Regulators

        Days before Missouri’s Republican government is set to decide whether it will renew the license of the state’s only remaining abortion clinic, doctors at the facility have announced they will no longer comply with state restrictions and guidelines they deem “unethical,” harmful, and medically unnecessary.

        Planned Parenthood of St. Louis said Wednesday that it would stop performing pelvic exams on patients receiving abortion care 72 hours before the procedure, in addition to standard exams doctors perform at the time of an abortion. The extra pelvic exams were mandated by the state health department last month.

        Clinic medical director Dr. David Eisenberg told CBS News that he had determined in recent weeks that the exams were having a harmful effect on his patients.

        “[Patients] are being victimized by a state regulatory process that has gone awry. It is not making them healthier, it is not making them safer, it is only victimizing them,” Eisenberg said. “Over the last few weeks, I have new evidence to say that 100 percent of the patients who I’ve taken care of who’ve undergone this inappropriate, medically unnecessary, unethical pelvic exam have been harmed by that.”

      • Study Confirms GOP Medicaid Work Requirements Succeeded in Taking Away People’s Healthcare, But Did Nothing to Boost Employment

        The first major study of new Medicaid work requirements confirmed that the warnings of critics were correct: requiring program recipients to work serves only to take healthcare away from vulnerable communities, while doing nothing to promote employment.

        Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a report Wednesday on the work requirements, which went into effect in Arkansas in 2018. One of President Donald Trump’s signature healthcare policies, the program demanded that Medicaid recipients work at least 80 hours per month or participate in job training, or risk losing their health insurance.

        The program, which is now on hold following a federal judge’s decision in March, resulted in nearly 20,000 low-income Arkansas residents losing their health coverage.

      • The AMA Is on the Wrong Side of History on Medicare of All

        What does the American Medical Association (AMA) have in common with Sen. Mitch McConnell?

        Both refuse to support Medicare for All, the single-payer universal health care program proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal. On June 11, the AMA underscored that opposition, taking a formal vote at their annual conference in Chicago.

        A recent poll reveals that 70 percent of Americans favor Medicare for All, yet the AMA’s position suggests that a majority of doctors do not. In fact, 56 percent of doctors expressed support for single-payer health care in a separate poll.

        In response to the AMA, medical students and younger physicians are joining organizations like Physicians for a National Health Program, a leading organization in the single-payer movement for decades. The organization’s student affiliate, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), decided to confront the AMA directly at this year’s annual meeting.

        The AMA has a long record of being on the wrong side of history. They refused to admit Black physicians up until the civil rights era, effectively blocking their ability to get residency appointments and ensuring the maintenance of Jim Crow segregation in health care. They also voiced strong opposition before the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, calling those programs “socialized medicine.”

      • Organic California 2050: Bob Cannard’s Crusade for a Toxic Free State

        Crops begin with seeds and so do ideas. To thrive, they both need friendly environments and human beings who nurture them. Bob Cannard has been planting seeds and harvesting crops for the last four decades. So, it ought not to be surprising that he’s planted the seed of an idea that would transform farming and agriculture in California, where it’s a multi-billionaire-dollar-a year-industry dependent on toxic chemicals.

        Cannard wants California to ban all chemical pesticides and herbicides by the year 2050. With help from Karen Lee and Nellie Praetzel, he has just launched an organization and a movement to liberate the whole state from products like Roundup, which has been shown to cause cancer in human beings.

        Over the past decade, over one million pounds of chemicals have been used in Sonoma County. During the same time period, about 86 million pounds of chemicals have been used in California. The whole state has been poisoned, to say nothing about the nation and the globe itself.

      • The Movement to Expand Medicaid in Southern States Is Growing

        North Carolina activists held 22 simultaneous vigils across the state earlier this month to remember the thousands of people who have suffered and died in the state for lack of health care and to call on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to veto any state budget proposal passed by the Republican legislature that does not include Medicaid expansion. A few days later, at a summit on the opioid crisis, leaders with the state Department of Health and Human Services cited expanding Medicaid as the most important step to reduce opioid addiction and deaths.

        The calls show how the effort to expand Medicaid has continued in the 14 states — eight of them in the South — where Republican legislatures and governors have refused to extend health care access to more low-income people under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

        “People are dying across North Carolina each and every day we fail to expand Medicaid,” said attorney Jackie Kiger at a vigil in Asheville. “More than a thousand people die each year.”

        The benefits of Medicaid expansion are extensive and well-documented: more timely treatment of Black cancer patients, decreased infant mortality rates, fewer deaths from cardiovascular conditions, more accessible treatment for opioid addictions. Still, state legislatures refused federal money to expand Medicaid, leaving 2 million people nationwide in the coverage gap, meaning they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for ACA Marketplace premium tax credits.

        And 90 percent of those in the coverage gap live in the South, where just five states have expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Arkansas was one of the first to do so when then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, signed the state’s expansion plan into law in 2013, giving about 250,000 low-income residents access to insurance. Last year Arkansas implemented a work requirement for Medicaid recipients, but it has since been blocked twice by the federal government. Kentucky adopted its Medicaid expansion plan in January 2014 via an executive order by then-Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat. Like Arkansas, Kentucky attempted to implement a work requirement, but it was struck down by a federal judge. Current Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, has threatened to dismantle the entire expansion if Kentucky can’t impose a work requirement.

    • Security

      • [Attackers] Used Two Firefox Zero Days to Hit a Crypto Exchange

        Luckily, not only did Coinbase and an outside researcher notice the bugs, but Coinbase picked up on the attack before any money could be stolen or the network could be infiltrated.

      • Romanian hospitals, affected by ransomware attack [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

        Four hospitals in Romania have been affected by the BadRabbit 4 ransomware, the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) announced. One of the hospitals is the Victor Babeş Infectious Diseases Hospital in Bucharest. The other hospitals are located in Huşi, Dorohoi and Cărbuneşti.

      • Cyber-attacks on hospitals most likely come from China, SRI says

        The specialists with the Cyberint National Centre with the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) suspect that the recent attacks on hospitals in Romania come from China, service representatives say, quoted by digi24.ro.

        “Regarding the cyber-attacks on hospitals, the Cyberint National Centre suspect the attackers are of Chinese origin. The time interval was considered, when the Chinese hackers are active and the clues left along with the ransom requests,” SRI says in a release.

      • Five Romanian hospitals targeted by cyber attack [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

        Five hospitals in the Romanian capital Bucharest are the target of a cyber attack. Various Romanian media report this. Opposite the news platform Stiri Lazi, the Romanian Minister of Health has announced that patients will be affected by the attack.

      • Open source vs proprietary password managers [Ed: If it's proprietary software, then you can never trust what it's doing with all your passwords; it can compromise everything you have. Like putting a bandit in charge of guarding a neighbourhood]

        Nowadays, we all have huge numbers of subscriptions to online accounts and services. For those accounts to be secure, each one of them must have a unique, robust password. What’s more, truly strong passwords must be complicated, which means that they are extremely difficult to remember.

      • Cyber Militia Launches Non-Profit to Share Technology [Ed: The NSA uses the term "Cyber Militia"; what a bunch of thugs.]

        RockNSM is a network security monitoring platform that uses open source technologies, such as CentOS, which is an operating system derived from the RedHat enterprise-level open source system. RockNSM formed the basis for a Task Force Echo network anomaly detection system used for real-world cyber operations.

      • Linux Kernel “LOCKDOWN” Ported To Being An LSM, Still Undergoing Review

        It didn’t make it for the Linux 5.2 kernel and now it’s up to its 33rd revision on the Linux kernel mailing list… The “lockdown” patches for locking down access to various kernel hardware features has been reworked now and is a Linux Security Module (LSM) as it still tries to get enough endorsements to be mainlined.

        The Lockdown effort has been most recently led by Google’s Matthew Garrett and with this 33rd revision he reworked the code to serve as an LSM module. The Lockdown functionality prohibits writing to /dev/mem, restricts PCI BAR and CPU MSR access, doesn’t allow kernel module parameters that touch hardware settings, drops system hibernation support, and disables other functionality that could potentially change the hardware state or running Linux kernel image.

      • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 133 has been released

        This update brings many updates on the core libraries of the system. Various changes to our build system are also helping us to build a more modern distribution, faster. The toolchain is now based on GCC 8.3.0, binutils 2.32 and glibc 2.29 which bring various bugfixes, performance improvements and some new features.

        Although these might not be the most exciting changes, we recommend upgrading as soon as possible since this is essential hardening for backbone components of the user-space.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Rare Piece of Good News for the People of Yemen’ as UK Court Finds Weapons Sales to Saudis Unlawful

        The judgment (pdf) came in response to a judicial review brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)—joined by Amnesty International, Rights Watch U.K., and Human Rights Watch. Amnesty’s Lucy Claridge called the ruling “a rare piece of good news for the people of Yemen.”

        “We welcome this verdict,” CAAT campaigner Andrew Smith said in a statement, “but it should never have taken a court case brought by campaigners to force the government to follow its own rules.”

        “The Saudi Arabian regime is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world, yet, for decades, it has been the largest buyer of U.K.-made arms. No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the U.K.,” Smith added. “The arms sales must stop immediately.”

        Claridge celebrated the ruling as “a major step towards preventing further bloodshed,” and noted that “this is the first time that a U.K. court has acknowledged the risks of continuing to lavish Saudi Arabia with military equipment for use in Yemen.”

      • UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court rules as war in Yemen rages on

        The ruling will not halt British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is deeply involved in the civil war in Yemen, but it does mean the British government “must reconsider the matter,” the court ruled.

      • U.K. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Ruled Unlawful As Donald Trump Prepares to Veto Senate Resolutions Against Weapons Sales

        The judges accused Ministers Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, and Liam Fox of having illegally authorized weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in 2016 without assessing whether the sales would pose a risk to civilians or have other humanitarian consequences. The ruling requires the U.K. government to suspend all new arms sales to Saudi Arabia until it can review its processes.

      • US ‘launched cyber-attack on Iran weapons systems’

        The cyber-attack disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers, the Washington Post said.

      • After Drone Shootdown, U.S. Struck Iranian Computers

        Officials say U.S. military cyber forces earlier this week launched a retaliatory cyber strike against Iranian computer systems amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

        Three U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that the operation on Thursday evening disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled Iran’s rocket and missile launchers.

        The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Yahoo News first reported the cyber strike.

      • ‘These Are Huge Checks Being Written to Boeing and Lockheed’: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Rips Endless War Budget as House Passes $733B in Military Spending

        “These are huge checks being written to Boeing and Lockheed Martin, when we should be cutting checks to everyday people struggling to make ends meet,” said Tlaib, one of just seven Democrats to vote against the trillion-dollar spending measure.

        The other House Democrats who voted against the measure were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Denny Heck (Wash.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), and Ben McAdams (Utah). View the full roll call here.

        In a tweet following Wednesday’s vote, Tlaib wrote, “Giving our military industrial complex another $733B windfall doesn’t bring [Michigan's 13th congressional district] closer to economic opportunities we need.”

        “We deserve better than to come second to for-profit defense spending that doesn’t make our nation any safer,” the Michigan congresswoman wrote.

      • Because ‘Drums of War Are Beating,’ Bernie Sanders Says Everything Must Be Done to Prevent US Attack on Iran

        As Common Dreams reported on Friday, progressive anti-war critics have sounded the alarm over the Trump administration’s claim that it has outright authority to launch offensive strikes against Iran. While Trump admitted Friday that he called off a bombing raid just minutes before it was set to begin—a claim and timeline of events that new reporting has now called into question—Sanders argues that the U.S. Constitution is explicit in stating that the executive branch does not possess such power.

        “The constitution is very clear: it is Congress, not the president, who decides when we go to war,” wrote Sanders. “It is imperative that Congress immediately make it clear to the president that taking us into hostilities with Iran without congressional authorization would be both unconstitutional and illegal.”

      • Pentagon Releases, Then Deletes, Document Detailing Use of Nuclear Weapons to Restore ‘Strategic Stability’ for US Military

        The U.S. military appears to believe it can somehow prevail in a nuclear war, according to a Pentagon document that was briefly made public, and has plans for using atomic weapons in “small and limited” capacities in order to create “strategic stability” for itself in the world.

        The document, Nuclear Operations (pdf), describes the current political and military environment and the challenges faced by the Pentagon in strategizing how to most effectively deploy nuclear weapons in war. It was first reported on by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), which downloaded and released the document on June 19.

        The Pentagon published the document on June 11 and removed it earlier this week. In a statement to The Guardian, a Defense Department official said the document was made private “because it was determined that this publication, as is with other joint staff publications, should be for official use only.”

        “Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the document reads. “Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”

      • Peace Advocates Praise Senate for Voting to Block ‘Brazen Power Grab’ by Trump to Sell Saudis More Weapons

        The GOP-controlled Senate considered 22 resolutions of disapproval—one for each weapons contract the administration tried to push through.

        A small number of Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the measures: 20 that were voted on collectively passed 51-45, and the other two passed 53-45. See the full roll call votes here. The resolutions now head to the Democrat-held House, where they are expected to pass.

        Although President Donald Trump may veto the resolutions if they reach his desk—as he did in April with a War Powers resolution approved by Congress—critics of U.S. complicity in the Saudi and UAE coalition’s war in Yemen still welcomed the Senate votes as, in the words of Peace Action’s Paul Kawika Martin, “yet another rebuke to this administration’s reckless foreign policy in the Middle East.”

        By approving these resolutions, Martin said Thursday, “Congress is forcing the president to either stop arming countries that are using U.S. weapons to starve the people of Yemen, or issue more vetoes and defend the indefensible. If Trump does veto these resolutions, Congress should vote to override in order to help bring the terrible war in Yemen to an end.”

      • US and Canada Back the White Supremist Minority in Venezuela

        Slavery was officially abolished in all of the Americas in the 19th century. The history of slavery in the Caribbean and Latin America has left a legacy of prejudice, discrimination and class conflict, which has largely gone unresolved.

        Different skin complexions of Latin Americans are due mostly to various mixtures of European, Spanish and Indigenous bloodlines.

        The darker the skin color, along with other ethnic features, the more there is of discrimination in education, employment, and opportunity.

        Discrimination against blacks and people of color perpetuates poverty and class conflict. In Venezuela, as elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America, political power, commerce and wealth is largely in the hands of a minority of upper-class elites, whom are mostly whiter and lighter than those with darker skin complexion.

        One can get a sense of how much class and race affect Latin American society by watching Spanish language movies and soap operas. Below are just two examples below: the setting for the TV series “The White Slave” is 19th century Columbia; and the setting for “Teresa” is contemporary Mexico.

        Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro are exuberantly despised by the elite white-supremacist minority. They still call Chavez negro, savage, monkey and ape. Maduro gets the same; and the media never fails to remind the public that he was a former bus driver, which is code for “low-class”.

        Maduro is proud of his humble beginning as a bus driver and his Afro-Indigenous ethnicity. Chavez was proud of his poor Afro-Indigenous background too, and his final resting place is in the barrio where he and Maduro came from.

      • Palestinians Dismiss Economic Portion of Kushner Plan as Dead-on-Arrival Failure

        The economic proposal purportedly designed to help foment Israeli-Palestinian peace and made public over the weekend by Jared Kushner, top advisor and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, fell predictably flat as Palestinians rejected it immediately as not tethered to reality and an insult to those who continue to struggle while living under the U.S.-backed military occupation of the Israelis.

        Part of what has become know as Kushner’s “Deal of the Century” proposal to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, it was treated as largely unserious by Palestinians and those who advocate for their liberation.

      • White House Unveils Palestinian Economic Plan

        The Trump administration on Saturday unveiled a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal intended to be the economic engine to power its much-anticipated but still unreleased “deal of the century” Middle East peace plan.

        The scheme, which calls for a mix of public and private financing and intends to create at least a million new jobs for Palestinians, was posted to the White House website ahead of a two-day conference in Bahrain that is being held amid heavy skepticism about its viability and outright opposition from the Palestinians.

      • Forget Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century.’ Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation

        When Israeli prime ministers are in trouble, facing difficult elections or a corruption scandal, the temptation has typically been for them to unleash a military operation to bolster their standing. In recent years, Gaza has served as a favourite punching bag.

        Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting both difficulties at once: a second round of elections in September that he may struggle to win; and an attorney general who is widely expected to indict him on corruption charges shortly afterwards.

        Netanyahu is in an unusually tight spot, even by the standards of an often chaotic and fractious Israeli political system. After a decade in power, his electoral magic may be deserting him. There are already rumblings of discontent among his allies on the far right.

        Given his desperate straits, some observers fear that he may need to pull a new kind of rabbit out of the hat.

        In the past two elections, Netanyahu rode to success after issuing dramatic last-minute statements. In 2015, he agitated against the fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinian asserting their democratic rights, warning that they were “coming out in droves to vote”.

      • No War With Iran

        We’re dangerously close to an all-out war with Iran — and it makes absolutely no sense.

        President Trump is waffling on whether to take military action against Iran in reaction to the downing of a U.S. drone in the Gulf of Oman this week, an incident about which not all the facts are known.

        This follows months of bellicose rhetoric by Trump’s war cabinet, which has been engaged in a cycle of escalation by imposing devastating economic sanctions and moving troops and ships toward Iran. Clearly, they’re grasping for any reason to keep escalating, even recycling the same unverified claims that were used to justify the Iraq invasion 16 years ago.

        Any military strike by the United States could quickly lead to a situation where no one is able to stop a full-blown war, even if we don’t want one.

        And today, we need you to take action: Can you call the White House to demand no military retaliation, and contact your representative to demand they speak out NOW to say NO WAR WITH IRAN?

        It should never be this easy for the White House to launch our country into war. But here we are.

        We’re now 18 years into seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have cost almost $6 trillion, killed at least 480,000 people already, and devastated entire communities for generations.

        At a time when the United States should be winding down our global military presence by deeply cutting Pentagon spending for a moral budget that works for all, starting a new war with Iran would be catastrophic.

        The best time for ordinary people to influence our government in moments like this is before the bombs start dropping.

      • Dear Trump: Iran doesn’t Have a Military Nuclear Program and Gave up Bomb-Making Potential

        Julian Borger at The Guardian reports that Trump said Saturday to reporters, “They’re not going to have a nuclear weapon. We’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon. When they agree to that, they’re going to have a wealthy country. They’re going to be so happy, and I’m going to be their best friend. I hope that happens.”

        Trump can’t get the conservative script right to save his life. The argument warmongers made for breaching the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was that it did not address a range of Iranian behavior beyond nuclear matters, such as its military intervention in Syria or (they allege) Yemen, or its ongoing work on ballistic missiles, or its support for Hizbullah in Lebanon.

        Few argued that the JCPOA was useless in deterring Iran from making a nuclear weapon. Some worried about a 15 year sunset provision to the deal, but it was envisioned the UN inspections would continue.

        Trump is now citing Iran’s non-existent bomb-making as the reason for his breach of the treaty and not mentioning any of the things the hawks mind.

        Iran isn’t making a bomb and gave up 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program in the JCPOA.

      • Trump Delays Nationwide Deportation Sweep

        Lawmakers are mulling whether to give $4.6 billion in emergency funding to help border agencies struggling to manage a growing number of migrants crossing the border. The measure passed committee on a 30-1 vote. The bipartisan vote likely means that the Senate will take the lead in writing the legislation, which needs to pass into law before the House and Senate leave for vacation next week.

        Pelosi called Trump on Friday night, according to a person familiar with the situation and not authorized to discuss it publicly. The person spoke on condition of anonymity.

      • Trolling America, Trump Pins Tweet Showing Him Staying in Power Until… Forever

        Amid actual fears that President Donald Trump would not cede the White House even if impeached, voted out in 2020, or following a second term—the president on Saturday was actively trolling the people of the United States with a tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter page suggesting that he would stay in power until the year… well, forever.

      • Common Dreams
        The Redeeming Power of Love

        She was a mentally challenged woman yelling and cursing at passersby. We were a group of children, teasing and yelling at her. Fortunately, she didn’t pay any attention to our bad behavior. That we were children being silly or that the incident happened a long time ago, however, doesn’t diminish my responsibility, or my sense of guilt. If anything positive came out of that experience, however, it is that it made me more aware of the suffering of others, particularly those suffering from mental illness.

        I thought about this incident that happened so long ago in my hometown in Argentina during a recent visit to my family. I had gone with my brother and two sisters for a short trip out of the city, just to relax and reaffirm our family bonds, so necessary after living apart for almost 50 years, despite yearly visits to my country.

        My brother had taken us to a dam located not far from the city, surrounded by beautiful hills where we could have our afternoon tea and chat at leisure. I treasured those moments because they are so rare as to make them very special to me.

      • Any Dem Who Wants to Be President Should Reject War with Iran, Not Hide Behind Process Criticisms

        On the evening of June 20, Donald Trump reportedly gave initial authorization to launch strikes on Iran, then revoked the order at the eleventh hour. The move—which was the latest action in a long-simmering campaign to wage war against Iran—was falsely framed by the Trump administration as retaliatory: Earlier on the same day, reports surfaced that a U.S. Navy surveillance drone violated Iran’s airspace border, prompting the Revolutionary Guard to shoot it down, which Trump called “a big mistake.”

        The previous week, shepherded by neocon National Security Advisor John Bolton, the administration alleged, with no conclusive evidence, that Iran was responsible for attacks on two commercial oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman on June 13. This occurred just over a year after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, putting the U.S. on a path to greater aggression towards Iran.

        Iran has denied the Trump administration’s oil-tanker claims, which remain unsubstantiated. On June 14, the U.S. military released indistinct video footage, which the U.S. military insisted showed an Iranian military patrol boat approaching one of the tankers. The Pentagon followed this with additional “clearer” photos meant to “prove” Iran’s involvement in the attack, and claimed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) removed an unexploded limpet mine from one of the ships, yet failed to prove that these mines were even attached to the ship. Further, the head of the Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo Co., which owns one of the ships, contradicted the U.S. military’s allegations.

        The crisis, fueled by the Trump administration’s bellicose rhetoric and dangerous provocations, has offered a glimpse into the foreign-policy platforms of some of the leading 2020 Democratic hopefuls. The responses of these candidates—Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders—ranged from expressing skepticism about the U.S. narrative on Iran’s actions and condemning “forever wars” to handwringing about whether Trump is following the right process for starting a war and reinforcing the White House narrative that Iran as a “threat.” While Sanders appears to adopt the strongest and most morally informed oppositional stance, Warren trails just behind him, owed to her slightly weaker legislative record on Iran. Meanwhile, candidates like Harris and Biden, who continue to espouse rhetoric about the supposed national security threat posed by Iran and focus more on procedural critiques, rank among the weakest.

      • Listening for Immigration at the Democratic Presidential Debates

        If you’ve been repelled by the family separations and other immigration-related cruelties perpetrated by the Trump administration, and if you plan to watch either or both of the upcoming Democratic presidential debates, please listen carefully – not just to what the candidates are saying, but how they’re saying it: how they frame the issues. Will they present immigration as a discrete set of concerns (“fixing our broken immigration system”), or will they describe it in relation to broader historical struggles, distinctly American struggles, for human rights? It’s possible that if any candidates are willing to articulate a broader story, they may find themselves in a stronger position against Trump – and, possibly, on a stronger footing for leading the nation.

        Consider, for example, the issue of voting rights and the current conflict over the 2020 census. For some time, the Trump administration has been trying to add a citizenship question to the census, and recently it was revealedthat a Republican strategist, Thomas B. Hofeller, played a significant role in urging this change as a way of giving a “structural electoral advantage” to Republicans and “non-Hispanic whites.” The Census Bureau’s own experts estimatedthat up to 6.5 million people, representing households that included noncitizens, would not respond to a census questionnaire that included a question about citizenship. The result would be significant shifts in electoral representation.

        This attempt to skew representation, based on the precarious status of millions of undocumented people in the U.S., is not unconnected to a larger effort to suppress votes, particularly of people of color. One can look, for example, to the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that states with histories of discriminatory practices would no longer need federal clearance to make changes in voting policies. Six years later, legal battles continue over Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election, battles in which allies of defeated Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams cite many practices (voter purges, precinct closures, absentee ballot cancellations) that they claim blocked many African-Americans from voting. The battle over the census is certainly an immigration battle, but as an electorally related issue, it is not a stand-alone concern.

        Or consider the issues of racism and xenophobia. Though many opponents of Trump’s immigration policies portray the U.S. as “a nation of immigrants,” such portrayals often don’t go very far in accounting for the racism and prejudice that have riven American immigration history since the nation’s founding. Nor do they acknowledge the work of countless activists who struggled in courts, in print, and in other venues to resist, for example, the racism of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, or the racially based immigration quotas of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, quotas not overturned until the mid-1960’s. If candidates are unwilling to acknowledge this history, they’ll be less able to describe the broader pattern of Trump’s statements and actions. This is a president who, in 2017, described white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia as including “some very fine people.” This is the same individual who declared his candidacy in 2015 by railing against Mexico for sending us “rapists,” drugs, and crime. The cruel effects of the administration’s policies (deaths in detention, family separation, children in cages) flow from an inexorable, dehumanizing logic of white supremacy.

      • Key Witness in Navy SEAL Case Stuns Court by Taking Blame

        When prosecutors called a special forces medic to testify, they expected him to bolster their case against a decorated Navy SEAL accused of stabbing an Islamic State fighter in his care.

        Corey Scott delivered in part, saying Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher unexpectedly plunged a knife into the adolescent detainee in 2017 after treating his wounds in Iraq.

        But the government was floored by what came next: Scott took the blame for the killing, saying he suffocated the boy in an act of mercy shortly after Gallagher stabbed him.

      • On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”

        In the United States, if one only stops to think about it, this contradiction is glaring. For instance, is human life’s alleged precious worth even relevant to the behavior of the “Defense” Department, which until 18 September 1947, was more accurately named the War Department? American military operations in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq—almost always sanctioned by sanctimonious leaders citing firsthand knowledge of God’s will—have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the post-9/11period, and of course, that is on top of previous episodes of 20th century mass slaughter in Southeast Asia and Central America. The assumption that all this bloodletting was and is carried on in defense of the USA is so far-fetched as to be beyond credence. Today the United States aids in the killing of civilians in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Palestine. Based on practice, Washington’s denial of life’s preciousness seems without end.

        I was about to add that this disregard for human life is expressed most readily when the victims are innocents of other nationalities. However, upon consideration, this simply is not the case. The U.S. has laws and a powerful lobby that insist on the American citizen’s right to possess the means to slaughter its own innocent population. The lobby we are speaking of here is the National Rifle Association (NRA).

      • Jon Gold – The Continuing Lies and Unanswered Questions of the 9/11 Attacks

        Then we air Jon Stewart’s June 10 speech to a House committee, shaming it for neglect of 9/11 first responders’ illnesses. Finally, “flag burner” Joey Johnson describes a new legal victory, and his underlying political philosophy.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Chelsea Manning Is a Political Prisoner. Release Her Right Now.

        Whistleblower and human rights advocate Chelsea Manning has now been imprisoned for 100 days, and faces outrageous fines that have already forced her to lose her apartment and will soon bankrupt her –– for mounting a principled opposition to testifying before a Grand Jury. Digital rights group Fight for the Future, which has long supported Chelsea and led many campaigns demanding her release from prison, issued the following updated statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her)…

      • Episode 33: Assange show as Spy or journalist?

        On this episode of Along the Line, Dr. Dreadlocks Nicholas Baham III, Dr. Nolan Higdon, and Janice Domingo outline Facebook’s history and analyze Julian Assange of Wikileaks and the ways in which he has been portrayed in the media. ATL’s Creative Director is Jorge Ayala. ATL’s Assistant Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga. Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo.

      • Is Socialism Possible in America?

        The U.S. government has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 (extended by the Sedition Act of 1918). The act targeted “whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States”; and to prohibit forms of speech that were judged “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States … or the flag of the United States.”

        The law was promoted by Pres. Woodrow Wilson to suppress growing resistance to U.S. entry into WW-I. The repression of dissent took two forms. One included blocking the mail distribution of allegedly subversive publications like the Socialist Party’s American Socialist, the IWW’s Solidarity and even a 1918 issue of The Nation. The second involved the arrest, trial and imprisonment of people who voiced opposition to the war effort, including the draft; the most notable arrest concerned Eugene V. Debs, the head of the Socialist Party, who received a 10-year sentence. At trial, he declared, “I believe in free speech, in war as well as in peace. If the Espionage Law stands, then the Constitution of the United States is dead.” Most troubling, the Espionage Act set the stage for theimplementation of the Red Scare and the Palmer Raids that led tothe deportation of suspected “aliens”; the U.S. government deported 250 aliens included Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman.

        In the century since the adoption of the Espionage Act, the U.S. government has repeatedly employed the act – and subsequent supplemental acts – to suppress dissent or activities claimed to be a threat to national security. During World War II, the U.S. government employed the act a number of times. One involved Elmer Hartzel, a World War I veteran who distributed pamphlets calling for the U.S. to stop fighting the Nazis and wage war against American Jews; the Supreme Court found that while the material were “vicious and unreasoning attacks on one of our military allies, flagrant appeals to false and sinister racial theories, and gross libels of the President,” it did not violate the Espionage Act. However, the act was used to censor the mailing permit of Father Charles Coughlin’s weekly – and anti-Semitic — magazine, Social Justice.

      • Lawyers Say 250 Migrant Children Being Held in Dangerous Conditions

        A traumatic and dangerous situation is unfolding for some 250 infants, children and teens locked up for up to 27 days without adequate food, water and sanitation, according to a legal team that interviewed dozens of children at a Border Patrol station in Texas.

        The attorneys who recently visited the facility near El Paso told The Associated Press that three girls, ages 10 to 15, said they had been taking turns watching over a sick 2-year-old boy because there was no one else to look after him.

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

      • When water demand rises, this Montana town invests in forests

        New York is the poster-city example in this country. Twenty years ago, the city engaged in a wrenching political battle over whether to build a $6 billion water filtration plant that would cost $300 million per year to filter water for the city. Instead it gambled and spent $2 billion to protect the forested watershed in the Catskill Mountains, 125 miles away, the source of 90% of the city’s water. It was a bold and controversial decision – and it worked.

        “Here we are, 20 years later they have been meeting the safe drinking water standards through tropical storms and superstorms,” says Paul K. Barten, one of the junior architects of the original Catskills program who now chairs a current National Academy review of the system. “It has become an international example of what watershed protection can accomplish.”

      • The Growing Case to Ban Fracking

        “There is no regulatory framework for fracking that will keep the toxins out of air and water, or will protect the climate from carbon and methane releases. It can’t be done. It can’t be made safe. Like lead paint, we finally have to ban it.”

        So concludes Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of New York in an interview. She is one of five authors of a newly released compendium of scientific and media findings on the dangers of shale gas development her group coauthored with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

        This report is the sixth in a series that looks at peer-reviewed scientific articles, as well as government reports and investigative stories, on the wide variety of harms created by the fracking industry. The reports examine the human rights implications of poisoning drinking water with fracking chemicals; the heavy climate impacts of methane release, in both the extraction and transportation of fracked natural gas for export; the industry’s weak record on worker safety; and increased earthquake activity in communities near fracking operations.

      • How the Media Misrepresents the Debate Over the Green New Deal

        A recent Politico article about the Green New Deal resolution put forward in February by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) features many grumblings from blue-collar union members about the potential economic disruption and the loss of jobs — even though the resolution calls for union rights and a federal jobs guarantee for workers. The article opens with Robbie Hunter, the president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which represents 450,000 construction workers and apprentices, who is leading a union-led advocacy campaign called #BlueCollarRevolution. A drastic shift away from oil industry jobs in California, Hunter contends, could “export our jobs, while doing nothing for the end game, which is the environmental.”

        The Green New Deal resolution calls for an economy-wide mobilization to achieve a national transition to a zero-carbon future within a decade. The proposal has sparked a vibrant conversation in Congress and throughout the country, resonating with grassroots environmental groups and challenging lawmakers to start talking seriously about decarbonization. Yet despite massive public support, the resolution was predictably stymied in Congress, and has faced skepticism within the Democratic Party and labor movement. Nor has the resolution been greeted with universal praise by the Democratic Party or labor unions. But while some unions express reluctance to hop on the green bandwagon, there’s more to the story than “environmentalists versus blue-collar workers.” Organized labor does not speak with a single voice on climate policy, though the whole movement has deep stakes in the politics of decarbonization, as working-class people’s lives and livelihoods are most vulnerable to climate change.

        Jessica Levinson, a law professor who serves on the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, warns in the Politico piece that the Green New Deal “really divides the Democrats on a fault line, which is more of the elites against the working class Democrats who are concerned about losing their jobs.” The article suggests that 2020 presidential hopefuls should be wary of alienating the working-class base — a segment that lost many voters to Trump in 2016, particularly white, working-class voters — by pushing too hard for the Green New Deal.

        So a policy agenda intended to address an existential crisis for the world’s environment is framed within the familiar dichotomy between burly blue-collar construction men and tree-hugging liberal elites. It’s a classic American trope that hearkens back to the faux populism of Nixon’s “hardhat” marches against “hippies” during the Vietnam War. Nevermind the fact that the labor movement today is driven by workers in the service industries, women, people of color and immigrants. The media regularly flattens the labor movement into a one-dimensional depiction of a Fordist industrial laborer, frozen in time.

      • In the Face of Climate Collapse, We Need the Wisdom of Elders

        I am steadily on the lookout for leveraging forces that can lift us out of heavy stuck loops, onto new ground. Often these are less obvious elements. One that has been underestimated is the presence of “elders,” whose presence calls us back to a bedrock sense of self and right relationship to the Earth.

        We are up against a systemic reality in the U.S. regarding older Americans as they are abandoned in policy and practice on a national scale. Attacks on Social Security, Medicare, etc. are attacks on elderly people. Turning our view of eldership on its end is a beginning place to shift this utter disregard.

        I am writing to those who are searching for a place from which to understand the disruption at hand and what is behind it, and also to those who want to respond in a way that provides a soft landing as systems collapse, while growing us into the human beings that we rightly are. Perhaps that “place” is under the wing of an elder who might offer shelter and inspiration, who has direct relationship with the spiritual reality that sits behind the concrete world, who is steadily available as a source of sanity and guidance.

        Western society has dishonored, colonized and often annihilated Indigenous cultures that revere true elders — people who know how to initiate successors into their full stature, whose communities revolve around their counsel. Largely bereft of this wisdom and direction, many of us are faced with the necessity of growing our own elders, and living into that potential ourselves. We are having to create our own pathways and initiations into this rightful alternative to simply getting old.

        Truthout’s Dahr Jamail will be writing the sequel to this piece, which will include the voices of several Indigenous elders who currently carry great weight. In recent months, I too, have been graced by the presence of Stan Rushworth, an elder of Cherokee heritage, author of Going to Water: The Journal of Beginning Rain, and Professor of Native American Literature at Cabrillo College in California. Stan maintains traditional ceremony, “which is for me, the root of it all.”

      • Cognitive Dissonance: Canada Declares a National Climate Emergency and Approves a Pipeline

        On June 18, the government of Canada declared a national climate emergency. The next day, the same government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), which will be able to move almost 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the Port of Burnaby in British Columbia.

        If this seems like a contradiction, you are not alone.

      • ‘Fund Climate Solutions, Not Endless War’: 22 Arrested Demanding US Build Windmills, Not Warships

        The protest took place outside the General Dynamics-owned Bath Iron Works (BIW) where some of the U.S. Navy’s most advanced and lethal warships are built. The group blocked traffic near the shipyard as buses carried guests to a ceremonial “christening” of a new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.

        Holding signs that read, “Tell Congress: Fund Climate Solutions, Not Endless War” and “Bring Our War Dollars Home,” supporters of the action stood on sidewalks nearby as those who risked arrest were taken into custody by local police.

        The protest in Bath was a much smaller direct action than what the world also witnessed on Saturday—when thousands of people from across Europe mobilized in Germany to shut down that nation’s coal industry, storming an open-pit and occupying railway tracks to a major power station—but the message was quite the same: a call for drastic and immediate action to end the world’s reliance on fossil fuels in order to build a more sustainable and peaceful world.

      • ‘Report the Urgency! This Is a Climate Emergency!’: 70 Arrested Outside New York Times Demanding Paper Treat Climate Like the Crisis It Is

        Hundreds of people descended on the headquarters of the New York Times on Saturday to demand the “paper of record” drastically improve its coverage of the global climate crisis and specifically demanded its reporters refer to the situation as a “climate emergency” in alignment with what the world’s scientific community is warning.

        Coordinated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, 70 people were reported arrested after the group staged a sit-in on Eight Avenue in midtown Manhattan in order to bring attention to the failure of the paper—and that of the journalism industry overall—to adequately report on the global urgency of skyrocketing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, rapidly warming oceans, and all the associated perils that result. The group hung banners in front of the Times building as well as from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the other side of the street.

        Standing on the street corner, scores of people repeated the chant: “Report the urgency, this is a climate emergency!’

      • Devastating Rain Spells Are on Their Way

        Canadian scientists have examined an exhaustive collection of rain records for the past 50 years to confirm the fears of climate scientists: bouts of very heavy rain are on the increase.

        They have measured this increase in parts of Canada, most of Europe, the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, northern Australia, Western Russia and parts of China.

        From 2004 to 2013, worldwide, bouts of extreme rainfall rain increased by 7%. In Europe and Asia, the same decade registered a rise of 8.6% in cascades of heavy rain.

        The scientists report in the journal Water Resources Research that they excluded areas where the records were less than complete, but analyzed 8,700 daily rain records from 100,000 stations that monitor rainfall worldwide. They found that from 1964 to 2013, the frequency of catastrophic downpours increased with each decade.

      • Facing the Climate Emergency: Grieving The Future You Thought You Had

        Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 20? Perhaps you plan to be advancing in your career, married, with children or retired, living near the beach, traveling often. Whatever it is—have you factored the climate crisis into it? In my experience, most people have not integrated the climate emergency into their sense of identity and future plans. This is, a form of climate denial. The vast majority of Americans—especially educated, successful, powerful, and privileged Americans—are still living their “normal” lives as though the climate crisis was not happening. They are pursuing their careers, starting families, and even saving for retirement. They know, intellectually, that the climate crisis is real, but they have not faced that reality emotionally, they have not grieved the future they thought they had, and consequently, they have not been able to act rationally or responsibility.

        Thankfully, this is starting to change. Thanks to the efforts of the School Strikers, The Climate Mobilization (the organization which I founded and direct), Extinction Rebellion, the Sunrise Movement, leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, authors like David Wallace Wells, and many more, people are increasingly confronting the terrifying reality of climate truth, and looking for help processing and making sense of what they find.

        After you acknowledge the apocalyptic scale and speed of the climate emergency, you must allow yourself time to grieve. There are so many losses: the people and species already lost, your sense of safety and normalcy.

      • From Galápagos to Guam: US Military Bases are a Threat to Local Communities

        I’m from Guam; one of the countless islands of the Pacific used by the United States military as a base. At just 8 miles wide and 30 miles long, about a third of our island is covered by military installations with more build-up expected. My family and my community know all too well what being used as an airfield means. 52,000 veterans have organized into the group Agent Orange Survivors of Guam to lobby for benefits related to their exposure to the infamous herbicide while serving in the Pacific.

      • Global Warming, Carbon Dioxide and the Solar Minimum

        Even before the UN-initiated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed in 1988, the common assumption was that carbon dioxide was thekey greenhouse gas and that its increases were the driving force solely responsible for rising climate temperatures.

        At that time, anthropogenic (human caused) GW was declared to be the existential crisis of our time, that the science was settled and that we, as a civilization, were running out of time.

        [...]

        As Earth’s evolutionary climate cycles observe the Universal law of the natural world, the Zero Point Field, which produces an inexhaustible source of ‘free’ energy that Nikola Tesla spoke of, is the means by which inter stellar vehicles travel through time/space. The challenge for ingenious, motivated Earthlings is to harness and extract the ZPF proclaiming a new planetary age of technological innovation with no rapacious industry, no pollution, no shortages, no gas guzzlers and no war.

      • US military is huge greenhouse gas emitter

        British scientists have identified one of the world’s great emitters of greenhouse gases, a silent agency which buys as much fuel as Portugal or Peru and emits more carbon dioxide than all of Romania: the US military.

        Ironically, this agency is acutely aware that the climate emergency makes the world more dangerous,

        increasing the risk of conflict around the planet. And simply because it is conscious of this risk, it is ever more likely to burn ever-increasing levels of fossil fuels.

        The US military machine, with a global supply chain and massive logistical apparatus designed to confront perceived threats in war zones around the world, if it were a nation state, would be 47th in the global league tables for greenhouse gas emissions from fuel usage alone.

      • Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing

        Spending time in natural environments can benefit health and well-being, but exposure-response relationships are under-researched. We examined associations between recreational nature contact in the last seven days and self-reported health and well-being. Participants (n = 19,806) were drawn from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2014/15–2015/16); weighted to be nationally representative. Weekly contact was categorised using 60 min blocks. Analyses controlled for residential greenspace and other neighbourhood and individual factors. Compared to no nature contact last week, the likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being became significantly greater with contact ≥120 mins (e.g. 120–179 mins: ORs [95%CIs]: Health = 1.59 [1.31–1.92]; Well-being = 1.23 [1.08–1.40]). Positive associations peaked between 200–300 mins per week with no further gain. The pattern was consistent across key groups including older adults and those with long-term health issues. It did not matter how 120 mins of contact a week was achieved (e.g. one long vs. several shorter visits/week). Prospective longitudinal and intervention studies are a critical next step in developing possible weekly nature exposure guidelines comparable to those for physical activity.

      • Two Hours a Week in Nature Can Boost Your Health and Well-Being, Research Finds

        New research has given credence to the age-old wisdom that spending time outside is good for you. A study recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature per week have higher odds of reporting better health and psychological well-being.

      • Spending minimum two hours weekly in nature tied to good health, wellbeing

        People who experience nature for at least 120 minutes per week are more likely to report good health and psychological wellbeing, a large UK study suggests.

        Researchers found that it didn’t matter how participants achieved their total time outdoors, whether in one long stretch or several short visits, but the greater the weekly “dose” of nature exposure up to about 300 minutes, the bigger the benefit.

        “Doctors (and patients) are often quite aware that spending time in natural environments might be good for people’s health, but the question that keeps coming up is, ‘How much is enough?’” said lead study author Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK.

      • A weekly goal of two hours of “nature time” improves health and wellbeing

        The idea that spending recreational time in natural settings is good for our health and wellbeing is hardly new. Parents have been telling their kids to “go play outside, it’s good for you” for generations. Now, colleagues and I have published a study in the journal Scientific Reports which suggests that a dose of nature of just two hours a week is associated with better health and psychological wellbeing, a figure that applies to every demographic we could think of (at least in England).

      • How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say

        It’s a medical fact: Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is good for you.

        A wealth of research indicates that escaping to a neighborhood park, hiking through the woods, or spending a weekend by the lake can lower a person’s stress levels, decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while boosting mental health and increasing life expectancy. Doctors around the world have begun prescribing time in nature as a way of improving their patients’ health.

        One question has remained: How long, or how frequently, should you experience the great outdoors in order to reap its great benefits? Is there a recommended dose? Just how much nature is enough?

        According to a paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, the answer is about 120 minutes each week.

        The study examined data from nearly 20,000 people in England who took part in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey from 2014 to 2016, which asked them to record their activities within the past week. It found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.

      • Thousands of Fossil Fuel “Observers” Attended Climate Negotiations – UNFCCC Data 2005-2018 COP1-COP24

        The collection of Global Climate Coalition (GCC) documents we compiled and released this April reveal that the organization had a singular focus, slowing down or derailing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations process and “tracking” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), undermining the scientists’ message of urgency. In the GCC meeting minutes and press releases we see numerous interventions at the UN meetings along with strategies, budgets and debriefs.

        Se we decided it would be interesting to compile every fossil fuel company and trade group delegate who ever attended UNFCCC meetings. This research debuted in an Agence-France Press AFP piece and on Yahoo News this week during a UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, Germany.

        Non-governmental organizations like the GCC (or Greenpeace) have to gain accreditation with the UN in order to send “observers” to the meetings. Both the individual corporate members of the GCC (like Exxon) and the trade association members of the GCC (like the American Petroleum Institute) sent large delegations to UNFCCC meetings. These employees of oil companies, electric utilities, auto companies and corporate trade associations wore UNFCCC badges that obscured their true corporate employers to attendees, national delegates and media at the meeting.

      • Because ‘Another World Is Possible,’ Tens of Thousands of Activists Stage Climate Mobilizations in Germany

        Chanting “we are unstoppable, another world is possible,” thousands of activists in Germany set off Friday to occupy a coal mine as tens of thousands of other demonstrators mobilized in a separate German city as part of the swelling “Fridays for Future” climate actions.

        Activists Organizers with Ende Gelände (EG) mobilization say that roughly 4,000 people departed their protest camp in the western city of Viersen to head to the Garzweiler surface mine, operated by energy company RWE, some 12 miles (20 kilometers) away.

        “Today we set out with thousands of people towards a future without fossil fuels, without exploitation, and without this destructive quest for infinite economic growth,” said EG spokesperson Sina Reis, in a statement.

      • Massachusetts Energy Secretary Engaged in Enbridge Facility Review While Negotiating Job With Project’s Consultant

        While still in office, Massachusetts’ former energy and environmental secretary Matthew Beaton, who recently left his post for the private sector, took part in discussions about a natural gas project involving his new employer, DeSmog has found.

      • After Oregon Republicans Scurry Off to Avoid Voting on Climate Bill, Governor Sends State Police to Bring Them Back

        The prospect of mitigating the climate crisis sent Oregon state Senate Republicans scurrying into hiding Thursday, fleeing a vote that would place strong restrictions on emissions in the state.

        On Friday, Governor Kate Brown ordered the Oregon State Police to locate the 11 senators and bring them back to do their jobs.

        “I am authorizing the state police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request,” said Brown in a statement. “It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their backs on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building. They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”

        State GOP lawmakers disappeared from the capital on Thursday rather than vote on the bill, denying the state Senate the 20 members it would need for a quorum. There are 18 Democrats in the chamber, 11 Republicans, and one vacant seat. The Republican flight came after Brown, on Wednesday, threatened to send police to force the senators into session.

        In response to Brown’s ultimatum, state Senator Brian Boquist, a Republican from Tillamook, appeared to threaten the lives of any police officers that might come to arrest him.

      • A Climate Bill Sets Off Tumult: Republicans Flee, Police Follow

        ensions boiled over in the Oregon Capitol this week as Republican state senators vanished in an effort to delay a vote on a climate change bill they oppose. On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, ordered the state police to find them and bring them back.

        It was only the latest chapter in a season of partisan division and frustration in the nation’s statehouses, where, for the first time in more than a century, all but one state legislature is dominated by a single party. In Oregon, where Democrats dominate both chambers, Republicans were unapologetic about their efforts to slow the state’s adoption of an emissions-reduction program by disappearing — and keeping the Democrats from having enough lawmakers present to call a vote.

        Brian Boquist, one of the Republican senators who went missing, issued what sounded like a warning to any police officer who might try to arrest him.

      • Oregon GOP lawmakers who fled capitol to avoid climate bill vote face $500 daily fines

        The Republican state lawmakers in Oregon who skipped town this week to avoid voting on a climate bill are reportedly facing fines if they don’t return to the state Legislature soon.

        According to a local NBC station, the state senators will be fined $500 for every day they don’t show to vote on the bill beginning Friday. Supporters have reportedly raised over $6,000 to help the Republican lawmakers cover the costs of the fines through a GoFundMe campaign.

        Although the bill has already passed the Democratic-controlled state House and is poised to pass the state Senate, where Democrats also hold the majority, a number of Republican lawmakers have fled the state to deny their colleagues a quorum in the upper chamber.

      • Governor sends police after GOP senators who fled Capitol

        Oregon Gov. Kate Brown deployed the state police Thursday to try to round up Republican lawmakers who fled the Capitol to block a vote on a landmark economy-wide climate plan that would be the second of its kind in the nation.

        Minority Republicans want the cap-and-trade proposal, which is aimed at dramatically lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to be sent to voters instead of being instituted by lawmakers — but negotiations with Democrats collapsed, leading to the walkout, Kate Gillem, a spokeswoman for Senate Republicans said Thursday.

      • Oregon Republicans Flee Climate Bill, Police Follow

        Oregon republicans fled their state rather than do anything to stop the climate crisis. The state republicans abrogated their duties as elected officials and ran away since they don’t have the votes to stop a landmark bill that would make Oregon the second state to adopt a cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as Vice News reported.

        Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a democrat, who will sign the bill into law once it is passed, ordered the state police to apprehend the Republican lawmakers who fled the Capitol. Although Oregon State Police can force any senators they find into a patrol car and bring them back to the Capitol, the police intend to use polite communication and patience rather than force, the agency said in a statement, according the AP.

      • Oregon Republicans Literally Fled the State Rather Than Vote on a Climate Bill

        And the governor sent the state police to drag them back to Salem.

      • People Are Wearing Data Charts to Visualize the Climate Crisis

        For Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, the solstice also provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about human-driven climate change.

        Hawkins is the lead scientist behind #ShowYourStripes, an interactive tool that enables users to generate colorful graphics representing over a century of temperature measurements. Colder years are color-coded blue, while hotter ones are red.

      • Elizabeth Warren thinks corruption is why the US hasn’t acted on climate change

        Warren, isn’t making climate change the centerpiece of her agenda nor placing it in a “environmental” silo. Instead, she is using different parts of her agenda address climate. She is making the policy case that climate change is a national security concern, an economic threat and opportunity, and the consequence of a violation of public trust.

        That’s because Warren doesn’t see climate change itself as the central problem; rather the problem is money in politics. “The reason the United States is where it is on climate is corruption,” Chris Hayden, a spokesperson for the Warren campaign, told Vox. “We need to rein in the economic and political power of Big Oil to get serious about addressing climate change – which is why the first thing Elizabeth would do as President is pass her anti-corruption bill which would end lobbying as we know it.”

      • In a bid to avoid climate vote, Oregon Republican Senators cross state lines, go into hiding, threaten to murder cops, as white nationalist paramilitaries pledge armed support

        Oregon’s legislature is about to vote on a piece of climate change cap-and-trade legislation that the Democratic majority are likely to win, so to avoid the vote, 12 Oregon state senators have gone into hiding, thus depriving the senate of the necessary quorum.

      • Oregon Republicans are on the lam to avoid voting on a major climate change bill

        Democratic Gov. Kate Brown authorized state police to find the lawmakers and bring them back. They are each being fined $500 for every day there aren’t enough senators for a vote. (So far, it’s been two days.) Oregon State Police said they are also coordinating with law enforcement agencies in nearby states to find the Republicans.

      • Oregon Police Working To Retrieve State GOP Lawmakers Avoiding Vote On Climate Change

        Well, let’s start with the fact that Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers here and the governor’s office. So, you know, they’ve been pretty successful this session at pushing through some very big bills. And now they are hoping to pass one of the more sweeping climate change policies in the country. It’s a cap and trade program that would make Oregon only the second state after California to do so. But Republicans feel like this could be really detrimental to their mostly rural districts. And they’ve been trying to do anything they can to keep the bill from passing, at least in its current form. Democrats needed two Republicans to conduct business in the Senate, so this walkout effectively freezes things.

      • Oregon Senate Republicans leave the state to avoid climate bill vote [iophk: "An apparent R sedition"]

        In response to the walkout, Senate President Peter Courtney formally requested Democratic Gov. Kate Brown to dispatch Oregon State Police troopers to round up the missing Republican Senators.

        Brown quickly granted that request. “It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their back on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building,” she said in a statement. “They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”

      • Oregon Governor Orders State Police to Find GOP State Senators Avoiding a Climate Vote

        On Thursday, the Democrat governor of Oregon ordered state troopers to find the 11 Republican state senators and take them back to the capitol. The senators went into hiding to stop the state’s senate from reaching the quorum needed to vote on a carbon cap and spend bill, the Oregonian reported. If passed, the bill would set statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and charge polluters for their emissions.

      • California Legislators Urge Caution, but Greenlight a Plan That Could Lead to the Widespread Use of Forestry Offsets

        California legislators gave regulators at the state’s Air Resources Board approval to endorse a plan that could lead to the widespread use of forest preservation offsets, but not without committing to “vigorous and proactive monitoring,” a note of caution inspired, in part, by a recent ProPublica investigation that showed how these carbon credits have not provided the emissions cuts they promised.

        In a letter from an ad-hoc workgroup to the board, four assembly members noted the scientific problems highlighted in the story, which make it hard to accurately quantify how much carbon is being offset by preserved forests.

        The Tropical Forest Standard — a blueprint for how carbon offsets could be awarded for intercontinental programs — would raise the stakes for such projects, allowing them to be used to fulfill government mandates. Experts say other countries will adopt the standard if the California board votes to endorse it later this year.

      • History Proves We Can’t Count on the Democratic Party for a Green New Deal

        In 1966, the civil rights movement, in ways similar to the climate justice movement today, was at an impasse, confronting vast societal disparities of wealth and power. “A Freedom Budget for all Americans,” issued by leaders of the civil rights movement, called on the federal government to implement programs that would eliminate poverty in 10 years through jobs, education, housing and health care programs.

        Today, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a Green New Deal, with similarly broad universal social and environmental justice ambitions — and the stakes for the U.S. and global working class and the planet are dire.

        To discuss the historical lessons from the 1966 Freedom Budget and prospects for a Green New Deal, Truthout spoke with historian and labor activist Paul Le Blanc, co-author (along with Michael Yates) of A Freedom Budget for All Americans: Recapturing the Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in the Struggle for Economic Justice Today. A lightly edited transcript follows.

      • Scientists Are Stunned by How Rapidly Ice Is Melting in the Arctic

        June has set a record low of Arctic sea ice, while the extent of melting across the Greenland Ice Sheet this early in the summer has never been seen before.

        Recently, temperatures in parts of Greenland soared to 40 degrees above normal, while open water (not covered by sea ice) is already being observed in places north of Alaska where it has seldom, if ever, been observed.

        The current sea ice coverage in the Arctic is the lowest ever recorded for mid-June.

        Rick Thoman, a Fairbanks-based climatologist, told The Washington Post that the loss of sea ice over the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of Alaska’s northern coast is now “unprecedented.”

        Scientists have long been warning that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Some liken the situation to what happens when a refrigerator door is left open. The cold air that is usually contained within the Arctic region of the planet is now often being displaced by high-pressure zones in the Arctic, all of which is then being augmented by human-caused climate disruption. This has resulted in lower-than-normal temperatures across much of the central and eastern United States in early June, while the Arctic was baking under abnormally high temperatures that have facilitated the unprecedented melting of ice across so much of the region.

      • Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early

        Fasten your seat belt! Global warming is on a rampage.

        As a consequence, many ecosystems may be on the verge of total collapse. In fact, recent activity in the hinterlands surely looks that way. Over time, the backlash for civilized society, where people live in comfort, could be severe, meaning extreme discomfort.

        But still, nobody knows when or how bad it’ll get. As it happens, an ongoing climate catastrophe, like the show-stopping catastrophic collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic (more on this later) is hard evidence that climate scientists have been way too conservative for far too long. Evidently, they never expected climate change to hit with the force of a lightening bolt.

        Still in all, and in fairness, climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of global warming for decades. Now, it’s happening, in spades. It should be noted that America’s politicians are guilty of ignoring warnings by their own scientists. Those warnings officially started 31 years ago when Dr. James Hansen, then head of NASA Institute for Space Studies, testified before the Senate, “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate,” NY Times d/d June 24, 1988.

        The NYT article of 31 years ago went on to say: “If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes.” Hmm, that’s where the permafrost is located.

        Global warming is prominent throughout the North. Ergo, climate news doesn’t get much worse (well, actually, it could, and will) than the collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic’s extreme coldest region:

        “Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090.” (Source: Louise M. Farquharson et al, Climate Change Drives Widespread and Rapid Thermokarst Development in Very Cold Permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic, Geophysical Research Letters, June 10, 2019).

      • ‘Our Climate Is Breaking Down. Business As Usual Is Over’: Campaigners Interrupt Televised Speech of UK Treasury Official

        The Greenpeace UK activists targeted the speech being given MP Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Tory in the House of Commons representing Runnymede and Weybridge, at the annual dinner in which government officials offer their view of the nation’s economic outlook.

      • ‘We Are Unstoppable, Another World Is Possible!’: Hundreds Storm Police Lines to Shut Down Massive Coal Mine in Germany

        Hundreds of climate activists stormed a massive open-pit coal mine in Germany on Saturday, entering a standoff with police inside the mine while thousands of others maintained separate blockades of the nation’s coal infrastructure as part of a week-long series of actions designed to end Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels.

        Coordinated by the Ende Gelände alliance, the campaigners targeting the Garzweiler mine in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia as they evaded security forces across roads and fields before reaching the pit and descending its banks.

      • An EU proposal to slash carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 was blocked by four countries

        The European Union has failed to set a firm deadline to end its contribution to climate change, after a group of central and eastern European countries blocked a proposal to slash EU carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

        Leaders of the bloc’s 28 member states agreed instead on Thursday to start working on “a transition to a climate-neutral EU.”

        A majority of EU nations were hoping for a much more robust version of the plan. Earlier proposals envisioned a strict road map of how to reach net zero emissions, and a hard 2050 deadline. Such deal would have been notable for its sheer scale — more than 500 million people living in the EU would have been affected by it.

      • Four states block EU 2050 carbon neutral target

        Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Estonia prevented the EU from adopting a clear long-term climate neutrality goal at the summit in Brussels on Thursday evening (20 June).

        The central and eastern European leaders could not get behind a draft text which said the EU should take measures “to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral EU by 2050″ – a date too specific for them.

        Poland was leading the opposition, with support from the Czech Republic and Hungary.

      • E.U. Leaders Fail to Strengthen Climate Target

        European Union leaders failed to reach an agreement Thursday on a proposal to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

        Elections were held in the 28-member bloc in May, and leaders are in Brussels this week to set an agenda for the European Parliament’s next five-year term. The document will include broad guidelines on key issues facing the union, including migration, living standards and climate change.

      • EU Leaders Fail to Set 2050 Carbon Neutrality Deadline

        Western European leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron had wanted the bloc to agree to an ambitious target ahead of a major UN climate summit in September. But leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary refused to sign any document with a 2050 date. It was also unclear if Estonia would have committed to the deadline, the EU Observer reported. Poland gets around 80 percent of its electricity from coal, The New York Times reported, and the countries were concerned such a timeline would disproportionately impact their economies.

      • Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill

        In contrast with California where every bill to ban or impose a moratorium on fracking has been defeated under heavy political pressure by Big Oil, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a five-year ban on fracking for oil and gas exploration and production on June 17.

        HB 2623, sponsored by Rep. Julie Fahey and Sen. James Manning, received final approval by the state legislature on June 5. The bill previously banned fracking for 10 years, but the Senate reduced that ban to five years.

        The House concurred in Senate amendments and repassed the bill. The votes were: Ayes, 40; Nays, 19–Barker, Barreto, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Evans, Findley, Keny-Guyer, Leif, McLane, Nearman, Noble, Post, Reschke, Sanchez, Smith G, Sprenger, Stark, Wallan, Wilson; Excused for Business of the House, 1–Rayfield.

        The controversial process to extract oil and gas has poisoned drinking water and caused widespread health problems in other states, according to fracking opponents. It has has been banned in Vermont, New York, Maryland, and Washington.

      • Former Shale Gas CEO Says Fracking Revolution Has Been “A Disaster” For Drillers, Investors

        Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT as it expanded to become the nation’s largest producer of natural gas in 2017, arrived at a petrochemical industry conference in Pittsburgh Friday morning with a blunt message about shale gas drilling and fracking.

        “The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,” Schlotterbeck, who left the helm of EQT last year, continued. “In fact, I’m not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”

        “While hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to hundreds of millions of people, the amount of shareholder value destruction registers in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said. “The industry is self-destructive.”

      • Green MEP says community energy report demonstrates failures of government policy

        Alexandra said: “The report describes 2018 as “a year of uncertainty and challenge”.

        “There’s only one source of that uncertainty, the total failure of government policy to engage with the needs of this crucial part of the renewables sector that is also an essential part of strong, resilient local economies right across the country.

        “Community energy should be at the heart of the government’s policy, but like the whole renewables and energy efficiency sector it has been trapped in an uncertain policy environment, given limited encouragement then all too often had the rug pulled out from under its feet, as with the sudden ending of the feed-in tariff.”

      • Congressional Dems Investigating Why Big Oil Is ‘Only Winner’ in Clean Car Standard Rollbacks

        House Democrats in the Energy and Commerce Committee are actively investigating the oil industry’s role in shaping the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for cars and light duty trucks.

      • Climate action: Can we change the climate from the grassroots up?

        More and more people are demanding that investors, such as faith-based organizations and pension funds, withdraw their financial support from fossil fuel projects. The global divestment movement has convinced over 1,000 institutions to commit to divesting from oil, coal and gas companies. This translates to almost $8 trillion (€7 trillion) less in assets from fossil fuel investments.

        “The momentum has been driven by a people-powered grassroots movement, ordinary people on every continent pushing their local institutions to take a stand against the fossil fuel industry and for a world powered by 100% renewable energy,” the NGO 350.org says.

      • Clean Power Overtaking Fossil Fuels in Britain in 2019

        The milestone has been passed through the end of May this year. National Grid said that clean energy had slightly outpaced fossil fuels, 48 percent to 47 percent for coal and gas. The other five percent is chalked up to biomass burning, which has the potential to be carbon-neutral. The transformation reflects the growing unpopularity of coal energy, as the public increases its appetite for wind and solar power, according to the BBC.

        The UK has a long and storied history with coal, which was home to the world’s first coal-fueled power plant in the 1880s. Coal was the island nation’s dominant electricity source for the next century, which led to economic leaps, but also dangerous air quality.

        In a sign of the times, British politicians shunned coal and made the UK the first G7 country to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. That target compels Britain to invest heavily in low-carbon power and to make drastic reductions in fossil fuel use, according to Reuters.

      • Clean power to overtake fossil fuels in Britain in 2019

        Britain, the birth place of coal power, is set this year to use more electricity from zero-carbon sources such as wind, solar and nuclear than from fossil fuel plants for the first time, the country’s National Grid said on Friday.

      • Clean electricity overtaking fossil fuels in Britain

        The milestone has been passed for the first five months of 2019.

        National Grid says clean energy has nudged ahead with 48% of generation, against 47% for coal and gas.

        The rest is biomass burning. The transformation reflects the precipitous decline of coal energy, and a boom from wind and solar.

        National Grid says that in the past decade, coal generation will have plunged from 30% to 3%.

        Meanwhile, wind power has shot up from 1% to 19%.

        Mini-milestones have been passed along the way. In May, for instance, Britain clocked up its first coal-free fortnight and generated record levels of solar power for two consecutive days.

      • Another Reason to Protect Elephants: Frogs Love Their Feet

        Some of the tiniest creatures in Myanmar benefit from living near the largest species in the area.

        Newly published research reveals that frogs are laying their eggs in the rain-filled footprints of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), which then provide a safe home for growing tadpoles. The footprints eventually fade away, but they last for a year or more on the forest floor and can serve as important habitats during dry seasons and even as “stepping stones” between frog populations.

      • Water-filled Asian elephant tracks serve as breeding sites for anurans in Myanmar

        Elephants are widely recognized as ecosystem engineers. To date, most research on ecosystem engineering by elephants has focused on Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis, and the role of Elephas maximus is much less well-known. We here report observations of anuran eggs and larva in water-filled tracks (n=20) of E. maximus in Myanmar. Our observations suggest that water-filled tracks persist for >1 year and function as small lentic waterbodies that provide temporary, predator-free breeding habitat for anurans during the dry season when alternate sites are unavailable. Trackways could also function as “stepping stones” that connect anuran populations.

      • A Democratic Think Tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, Is Promoting Pushback Against Climate Lawsuits

        As part of a growing trend of lawsuits over climate change impacts, cities and states across the U.S. are seeking damages from oil, gas, and coal companies whose products drive the crisis and which for years evidently engaged in disinformation and denial campaigns to stall climate action.

        Now the fossil fuel industry is pushing back, taking a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook to rein in that liability litigation, and getting help from an unexpected source.

        Behind the scenes, politically affiliated groups are quietly providing support. One of the outfits promoting the efforts to counter the slew of climate lawsuits is none other than the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a center-left Washington, D.C.-based think tank with links to the Democratic party.

    • Finance

      • Libra, a Cyberpunk Nightmare in the Midst of Crypto Spring

        It’s an ELE, an Extinction Level Event for the old financial world order. When historians look back they may just point to this moment as the catalyst.

        But what does the future look like? How does it all play out?

        Are we racing towards a financial renaissance or a cyberpunk nightmare of oligarchical mega-corporations ripped from the pages of William Gibson?

      • Facebook’s Libra Crypto Coin: 5 Things We Know, and 5 We Don’t

        The world’s largest social media company published a 12-page white paper on Libra and has more than 20 partners for the project. But there are still many questions. After a week of analysis, here’s what Bloomberg reporters and editors know about Libra, along with key unknowns that remain: [...]

      • Green Party co-leaders reflect on third anniversary of Brexit referendum

        With tomorrow marking the third anniversary of the Brexit referendum, the co-leaders of the Green Party have reflected on two key aspects of the last three years.

        Sian Berry said: “Our politics has become entangled in what has been rightly described as Brexit chaos over the past three years.

        “We could, and should, have been dealing with the fast-rising issues of poverty and homelessness, with the collapse of bus services and the causes of the filthy air we breathe, with the state of our nature-deprived countryside and the struggles of our small farmers to survive.

      • Mobilizing the Poor People’s Campaign

        This week in Washington, the powers that be are hearing from a vital new democratic force in this country.

        For three days, the Poor People’s Campaign will bring poor and low-wage Americans to the nation’s capital to call for a moral renewal in this nation. They will question many of those who are seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Congressional hearings will showcase their Poor People’s Moral Budget.

        Their actions should be above the fold of every newspaper in America; they should lead the news shows and fill the talk shows. A movement for common sense and social justice is building, putting every politician on notice: lead or get out of the way, a new moral majority is building and demanding change.

        As the co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign, the Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, write in their forward, this movement is not partisan. It calls not for liberal or conservative reforms, but for a moral renewal. It is not a deep-pocket lobby. It is mobilizing the 144 million Americans who are poor or one crisis away from poverty into a “new and unsettling force” to “revive the heart of democracy in America.”

        This movement launched on Mother’s Day in May 2018. In 40 days, it triggered 200 actions across many states with 5,000 nonviolent demonstrators committing civil disobedience, and millions following the protests online. Forty states now have coordinating committees build a coalition of poor people and people of faith and conscience across lines of race, religion, region and other lines of division.

      • No Dare Call It Austerity

        Trump’s 2020 budget proposal reflects another significant increase in military spending along with corresponding cuts in spending by Federal agencies tasked with the responsibility for providing critical services and income support policies for working class and poor people. Trump’s call for budget cuts by Federal agencies is mirrored by the statutorily imposed austerity policies in most states and many municipalities. Those cuts represent the continuing imposition of neoliberal policies in the U.S. even though the “A” word for austerity is almost never used to describe those policies.

        Yet, austerity has been a central component of state policy at every level of government in the U.S. and in Europe for the last four decades. In Europe, as the consequences of neoliberal policies imposed on workers began to be felt and understood, the result was intense opposition. However, in the U.S. the unevenness of how austerity policies were being applied, in particular the elimination or reduction in social services that were perceived to be primarily directed at racialized workers, political opposition was slow to materialize.

        Today, however, relatively privileged workers who were silent as the neoliberal “Washington consensus” was imposed on the laboring classes in the global South — through draconian structural adjustment policies that result in severe cutbacks in state expenditures for education, healthcare, state employment and other vital needs — have now come to understand that the neoliberal program of labor discipline and intensified extraction of value from workers, did not spare them.

        The deregulation of capital, privatization of state functions — from road construction to prisons, the dramatic reduction in state spending that results in cuts in state supported social services and goods like housing and access to reproductive services for the poor — represent the politics of austerity and the role of the neoliberal state.

      • Facebook’s Authoritarian Money Grab

        “Don’t be surprised,” said Terence Ray, one of the hosts of the Whitesburg, Ky.-based podcast “The Trillbillies,” “if Mark Zuckerberg starts trying to pay his employees in ‘Facebook Bucks.’” Ray made that comment in late May during a Means TV segment on the history of company money, or scrip, which was used throughout the 19th and 20th centuries by mining and logging companies in the United States. In some cases, scrip was still changing hands decades after it was made officially illegal by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

        Lo and behold, not one week later, the business press began reporting that Facebook would, within the month, announce its own new proprietary cryptocurrency. What’s more, the tech giant would perhaps even “allow employees working on the project to take their salary in the form of the new currency,” a proposal of, at very least, dubious legality in the United States.

        The actual announcement came this week—and it was more banal, stupid and terrifying than I had imagined.

        This new currency, dubbed “Libra,” is, in the first place, not a currency. A consortium of investors—banks, credit card companies, venture capitalists, etc.—will pool millions or billions of dollars in order to purchase a “reserve” composed of “low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks.” While the Libra will not be “pegged” to any particular currency—set, for example, to a fixed rate against the dollar—this reserve will be structured to “minimize volatility, so holders of Libra can trust the currency’s ability to preserve value over time.” This scheme stands in sharp contrast to something like bitcoin, whose wildly fluctuating values are purely speculative and whose only supposedly intrinsic value is an enforced scarcity: There can never be more than 21 million of its units.

      • Sharia Law makes a comeback in Canada

        Two Muslim men – an activist turned Shariah mortgage seller and an Islamic cleric who sold his Islamic seal of approval on such mortgages – were acquitted on Friday of a dozen criminal charges by an Ontario Superior Court judge who validated aspects of Sharia law in reaching her decision. Justice Jane Ferguson described the trial as a “huge learning curve in Islamic finance.”

      • Elon Musk Is Gaslighting America

        “What we found was that, under pressure to meet its production goals, it was really leaving safety, worker safety, by the wayside, and had prioritized cranking out cars as fast as possible, and left its workers dealing with all kinds of serious injuries. And then was actually trying to hide those injuries in order to make its safety record look better.”

        The revelations should have jolted Musk and California officials to take a deeper look into the company’s operations, but quite the opposite took place. While state officials did in fact grill Tesla after the investigative reports were published, according to Evans, they are mostly afraid regulating the company could push Tesla—with its factory and the jobs it creates—out of the state. As for the CEO, he had a response that anyone reading any news about the arrogant tech baron might expect.

        “The company and its supporters, and Elon, sees this all as sort of an attack on him and on the company—that people want to see it fail,” Evans tells Scheer. “[Tesla] went as far as to say that [the Center for Investigative Reporting” is] an extremist organization … working on a disinformation campaign. [Musk] went on to attack journalists in general for being beholden to the fossil fuel industry because of advertisements, and gthat that’s why journalists are out to get Tesla.

        “When someone pointed out that, hey, over here at the Center for Investigative Reporting we don’t even have advertisements, we’re a nonprofit, he went on Twitter and he called us just a bunch of rich kids from Berkeley who took their political science professor too seriously. That was his diss.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • AOC Is the Trump-Era Hero We Need

        On Monday evening, President Trump pressed send on a tweet declaring that in the next week, ICE would begin removing “the millions of illegal aliens” who are in the United States. This, of course, was not true. ICE deports about 7,000 immigrants per month, which is rather short of the roughly 10.5 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. The tweet, coming two days before Trump’s big reelection rally, seemed tailor-made to send Democrats into paroxysms of rage and force us into a law-and-order debate in which we stand on the side of the lawbreakers.

        [...]

        The way that AOC pulled off this feat is worth examining. Her tactics actually were quite Trumpian. First, she expertly stoked the flames of outrage. Not only did she label detention centers as concentration camps but she added “never again” to underscore the Nazi connection. Republicans, who can never resist a chance to take AOC’s bait, predictably pounced. This controversy set the cable news trap, and soon political panels were debating the meaning of concentration camps instead of having to engage with Trump’s law-and-order framing. As David Rothkopf pointed out, if you are explaining why your policies aren’t as bad as Auschwitz, you are losing. AOC, for her part, doubled, tripled and then quadrupled down, offering scholarly articles on concentration camps and retweeting Jewish people who lauded her comparison.

        Some Democrats were comfortable with the comparison and some were not. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN, “I have not used that word.” But that’s not the point. Whether it was 4-D chess or just an instinctive knack for the modern media landscape, AOC forced the debate that she wanted to have — and it was a good debate for Democrats. After all, there is no Democrat who would not concede that the conditions in which we hold migrants are abhorrent.

      • Activists Step Up Trainings in Wake of Deportation Threats

        Ceci Garcia believes that if her husband had a better understanding of his rights, he would have avoided deportation to Mexico after telling a suburban Chicago police officer during a 2012 traffic stop that he was living in the U.S. illegally.

        “He failed to remain silent,” said the U.S. citizen mother of five. “He proceeded and told the truth.”

      • Yes, Liz Cheney, AOC is right that US is Running Concentration Camps for Refugees

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been under fire for an Instagram message she sent out in which she characterized the holding facilities for refugees and other undocumented entrants into the US run by ICE and by private companies (for which it is a $2 billion a year industry) as “concentration camps.”

        Human rights groups are speaking of a systematic violation of basic human rights of these immigrants. Note that it is perfectly legal for people to seek refugee status in the United States, and that the court system determines if they will be awarded that status. Trump is now trying to intimidate INS agents into not forwarding cases to the judges. It is illegal for people to simply migrate without documentation into the United States, but the US has been dealing successfully with that phenomenon for years, deporting some 400,000 people a year. In the past decade, more Mexicans have left the US than have come in, and Trump’s anxiety is one more appropriate to the 1980s and 1990s. A majority of Americans favor immigration and 70% say being welcoming of people of other cultures is key to their idea of America.

      • A Brief History of US Concentration Camps

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has ignited a firestorm of criticism, from both the left and the right as well as the mainstream media, for calling US immigrant detention centers “concentration camps.” To her credit, Ocasio-Cortez has refused to back down, citing academic experts and blasting the Trump administration for forcibly holding undocumented migrants “where they are brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.” She also cited history. “The US ran concentration camps before, when we rounded up Japanese people during World War II,” she tweeted. “It is such a shameful history that we largely ignore it. These camps occur throughout history.” Indeed they do. What follows is an overview of US civilian concentration camps through the centuries. Prisoner-of-war camps, as horrific as they have been, have been excluded due to their legal status under the Geneva Conventions, and for brevity’s sake.

      • 19 States Still Allow Schools to Beat Their Students

        Mississippi is one of 19 states that still allow corporal punishment in school, with more than 70 school districts still practicing it. Lafayette County, where I grew up, recently discussed the possibility of removing it. Not everyone supported the idea.

        “Just having it in the policy and some students knowing they might get paddled might keep them from doing things they shouldn’t,” said board member Mike Gooch at the meeting. “I know it did for me.”

        But the last 20 years of psychology (along with the American Academy of Pediatrics) says otherwise. No data have demonstrated a connection between corporal punishment and corrective behavior at all, other than an “increased immediate compliance” that also increases aggression and anti-social behavior, often to lifelong effects.

        Let’s not be misled by the language: Corporal punishment isn’t a euphemism for disciplinary action. It’s a euphemism for beating children.

        And in the case of Lafayette County, it’s not just children — it’s the youngest and most vulnerable children. According to Superintendent Patrick Robinson, Lafayette High School hasn’t used corporal punishment in over a decade, but the district’s elementary schools used it “about eight or nine times” last year.

        That’s actually pretty low for Mississippi, which sees about seven of its public school students paddled every year. That’s the highest rate in the 19 states that still practice it, altogether recording a total of 163,333 beatings in the 2011-12 school year.

        Our students already have to worry about AR-15s. Do we really need them worrying about wooden paddles, too?

      • At South Carolina Convention, Sanders Hammers Centrist Democrats

        Bernie Sanders is striking back at a centrist Democratic group he says is dismissing him as an “existential threat” to the party’s 2020 hopes.

        The Vermont senator and second-time presidential candidate hammered Third Way as a corporate-financed group as he spoke Saturday at the South Carolina Democratic convention.

        Some of the group’s members have garnered fresh attention for warming toward liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She is perhaps Sanders’ biggest threat for support on the Democrats’ left flank.

        Sanders argued Saturday that he can win a general election against President Donald Trump not by winning over the middle of the traditional electorate but instead by attracting millions of new voters. “We defeat Trump by running a campaign of energy and enthusiasm that substantially grows voter turnout … in a way we have never seen,” he said.

      • Brian Mier on Brazilian Political Scandal

        New revelations from Brazil: Whistleblower-leaked records show the anti-corruption crusade, called Car Wash or Lava Jato, that put popular ex-president Lula da Silva in prison and paved the way for fascist president Jair Bolsanaro—all while being celebrated in the US corporate press—was actually, as critics contended, less interested in corruption than in keeping Lula’s Workers Party out of power. It’s a story about what investigative journalism can reveal…and about how elite media can try and cover it right back up. Journalist Brian Mier has lived in Brazil for more than 20 years. He’s co-editor at Brasil Wire and author of the new book Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil.

      • Could ‘Deepfakes’ Help Swing the 2020 Election?

        Imagine, on the day before the 2020 presidential election, that someone posts a video of the Democratic candidate talking before a group of donors. The candidate admits to being ashamed to be an American, confesses that the United States is a malevolent force in the world, and promises to open borders, subordinate the country to the UN, and adopt a socialist economic system.

        The video goes viral. It doesn’t matter that it sounds a bit suspicious, a candidate saying such things just before the election. A very careful observer might note some discrepancies with the shadows in the background of the video or that the candidate makes some oddly uncharacteristic facial expressions.

        For the average credulous viewer, however, the video reinforces some latent prejudices about Democratic Party candidates, that they never thought America was all that great to begin with and are not ultimately interested in making the country great again. And hey, didn’t Mitt Romney make a similar mistake by dissing the 47 percent just before the 2012 elections?

        The video spreads across social media even as the platforms try to take it down. The mainstream media publish careful proofs that the video is fabricated. It doesn’t matter. Enough people in enough swing states believe the video and either switch their votes or stay home. It’s not even clear where the video came from, whether it’s a domestic dirty trick or a foreign agent following the Russian game plan from 2016.

      • Diary: Party of Quartz

        It’s 2019 and General Andrew Jackson is at it again, campaigning for American hearts, today more like a rough ghost riding the bodies of almost all Democrat contenders. There’s a problem, again, this time. Except for Bernie Sanders and his band of leftist and centrist catalysts being managed by mainstream Democrat Campaign Manager, which I have purposely caps locked, Faiz Shakir from Harry Reid’s old office the ACLU and Nancy Pelosi’s, the DNC has lost the ability to relate polis and politics to culture, and as many writers today exclaim, it is the main reason for its demise. For all its inabilities to organize around poverty, feminism, and other catastrophic realities, its biggest downfall is its inability to organize around catastrophic thought and the catastrophic imagination, that of most poor, working, and middle class Americans and one they share with many upper middle class and upper class Americans. It does this by, again, pushing aside classic and contemporary thought, making it an apoetic, aliterate party of glossy progression, a consolidation effort.

      • At European Parliament, PT accuses the US of coordinating Lava Jato

        On Thursday, June 18th, PT Congressional leader Paulo Pimenta accused the United States of coordinating the corrupt Lava Jato investigation which, as the Intercept has now revealed through publishing leaked social media conversations between task force members, actively worked to protect conservative politicians from the investigation while removing former President Lula from the 2018 elections and helping elect right wing extremist Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency.

        In a blatant quid pro quo, Lava Jato task force leader Sérgio Moro was given a key cabinet position by Bolsonaro.

        The Brazilian lawmaker presented European Union Parliament with 13 archives documenting illegal US collaboration in the investigation, saying that “there is already a strong suspicion, based on facts, that Operation Car Wash was politically instrumentalized in order to produce objectively harmful effects on Brazil.” The report is reproduced in its entirety here.

      • Why Jair Bolsonaro’s new security policy endangers the lives of black and marginalized women

        Today, Brazil is the highest ranked country in the world for homicides and murders by firearm and fifth for female homicides. Black women fall victim particularly often to gun murders: In 2016, 66% of all women killed by a firearm were of color.

        While Brazil’s militarized approach to public security has systemically contributed to civilian victimization in armed operations, justified through an “us or them” war rhetoric in the combatting of drug traffic, the Bolsonaro administration has introduced several modifications to the current public security policy which have the capacity to take the already alarming levels of violence against black women and favela residents to a new record level.

        These measures boil down to two significant changes in the current legislation: the flexibilization of the legal requirements for purchasing and carrying firearms, implemented through two presidential decrees, and the relaxation of the penalties for excesses committed by security agents, presented in the context of a measure package for public security and currently in progress in the Brazilian Congress.

      • Biden Is Being Biden. That’s a Risk.

        I get what Joe Biden was trying to say, but I’ll never understand how he tried—and utterly failed—to say it.

        Yes, there was a time when the Senate was a chummy men’s club whose members, on some issues, put collegiality ahead of ideology. Yes, I see how the Democratic front-runner might want to hold out the hope, however slim, of a return to the days of “civility” when political foes could find common ground. Yes, I know that Biden is still Biden, which means you never know what might come out of his mouth.

        But no, no, a thousand times no, you don’t name former senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia in your fond reminiscences of the good old days. There are plenty of conservative Republicans whom Biden might have cited. He didn’t have to dredge up two vicious Dixiecrat racists who devoted their long careers to denying African Americans basic civil and human rights.

        That’s what Biden did, however, at a fundraiser Tuesday in New York City. After recalling that he had served in the Senate with segregationists Eastland and Talmadge, Biden went on: “Guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

        When a passel of his opponents for the Democratic nomination pounced on the remarks and called for an apology, Biden was initially defiant. “Apologize for what?” he said to reporters Wednesday. “There’s not a racist bone in my body; I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”

      • A Lobbyist Raising Money for Biden Is Fighting Measures to Crack Down on Foreign Election Influence

        This article was produced by Sludge, an independent, ad-free investigative news site covering money in politics. Click here to support Sludge.

        As former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns to become the chief executive of the United States government, he is getting help from someone who is working to block reforms aimed at reducing the influence of foreign corporations on U.S. elections and policymakers.

        Biden’s first presidential campaign fundraiser this year, held in April at the Philadelphia home of Comcast’s top lobbyist, David Cohen, was hosted by a cast of Democratic Party high rollers including Ken Jarin, co-leader of government affairs at corporate lobbying firm Ballard Spahr. Among the clients of the lobbying team Jarin leads at Ballard Spahr is the Fair FARA Coalition, a mysterious trade group representing U.S. subsidiaries of major foreign companies. The coalition opposes proposals to make lobbyists for U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires far more rigorous disclosure than domestic lobbying reports demand.

        Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, special counsel in Ballard Spahr’s government relations and public policy division but not part of its Washington, D.C. lobbying team, also hosted the event. Cohen was formerly Rendell’s chief of staff and chair of Ballard Spahr.

        In an email to potential donors, Cohen said that Jarin, Rendell, and former Ballard Spahr partner Charisse Lillie, now a vice president at Comcast, are part of a new “Philadelphia finance leadership team” he put together. Cohen encouraged those attending the fundraiser to contribute the maximum allowed amount of $2,800. On the day of the fundraiser, Biden raised $6.3 million.

        In early January, Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr set up a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying shop, co-led by Jarin, and hired three lawyers and two lobbyists from Nossaman LLP who brought over the Fair FARA Coalition as a client.

      • Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting

        On a beautiful, breezy day last week, I spoke to a roomful of Congressional summer interns working in the House of Representatives. The subject was “Corporate Power, Congress and You.” (“You” referred to the interns as the citizenry).

        I noted that they were a special group because they were willing to spend an hour listening to a talk about corporate power. I told them about how small groups of ordinary citizens became leaders in the nuclear arms control movements, the anti-tobacco drives, and consumer rights movement. I also talked about the expansion of equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. I took note that many of them in the room – women and people of color— would not be there if not for their predecessors’ tireless efforts to advance civil rights.

        No more than one percent of Americans – sometimes far less – made the many advances in peace and justice take hold, backed by a growing public opinion.

      • Donald Trump Accused of Sexual Assault by 24th Woman

        Advice columnist and journalist E. Jean Carroll publicly accused President Donald Trump of sexual assault on Friday.

        Carroll is the 24th woman to accuse the president of assault, harassment, or molestation.

        In an excerpt from her upcoming book, “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” published on New York magazine’s website, Carroll described Trump pushing her into a dressing room at the department store Bergdorf Goodman 25 years ago, hitting her head against a wall, holding her against the wall, and forcibly penetrating her…

      • Donald Trump Is America’s Shadow

        We are a nation that elected a man who in less than two and a half years has sullied our reputation across the world while here at home enabling our baser instincts to mug and molest our better angels.

        The concept of decency is not one he knows or possesses within himself. His lack of it has helped reignite a contagion of hatred and intolerance, ratcheted up by Internet trollery, that largely lay dormant but now spreads once again like a toxin through the body politic.

        Because of him this is not an America made great. It is instead a nation struggling with basic human decency, whether at the camps and cages of our southern border or along the corridors of Congress, where too many once rational members have succumbed to the siren call of cynical opportunism and demagoguery.

        Conservative analyst and former White House adviser Peter Wehner writes in the New York Times, “… In their ferocious defense of the president, Trump supporters are signaling that decency is a form of weakness, that cruelty is a welcome and highly effective political weapon and that the low road is the preferred road. At one point, Republicans were willing to tolerate Mr. Trump’s brutish tactics and reprehensible character as the price of party loyalty; today many of them seem to relish it. They see the dehumanization of others as a form of entertainment.”

        Fortunately, the black hole in this president’s soul has not succeeded in sucking everyone into the void; a majority refuse to share his lawless disdain for doing the right thing or thinking of anyone but himself. Nor do we ascribe to the ends-justify-the-means sentiments of people like that Trump supporter who told MSNBC, “I think he’s a despicable human being. But he’s done a lot of good things for the country.”

      • Forget Bernie vs. Warren. Focus on Growing the Progressive Base and Defeating Biden.

        A few days ago, I shared what I thought was a fairly innocuous observation about a fundamental difference between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Warren spends most of her campaign unpacking and explaining detailed policy proposals, many of them excellent, while Sanders splits his emphasis between his own strong plans and his calls for the political revolution he has consistently said will be required for any substantive progressive policy wins.

        “Smart policies are very important,” I tweeted. “But we don’t lose because we lack smart policies, we lose because we lack sufficient power to win those policies up against entrenched elite forces that will do anything to defeat us.”

        Within seconds, I was in the grip of a full-on 2016 primary flashback. I was accused of being a shill for Bernie and an enemy of Warren (I’m neither). My feed filled up with partisans of both candidates hurling insults at each other: She gets things done, he is all talk; she’s a pretender, he’s the real deal; he has a gender problem, hers is with race; she’s in the pocket of the arms industry, he’s an easy mark for Donald Trump; he should back her because she’s a woman, she should back him because he started this wave. And much more too venal to mention.

        I immediately regretted saying anything (as is so often the case on that godforsaken platform). Not because the point about outside movement power is unimportant, but because I had been trying to put off getting sucked into the 2020 horserace for as long as possible.

        Liberals in the U.S. often say the Trump presidency is Not Normal. And yeah, it’s a killer-clown horror show. But the truth is that from most outsider perspectives, there is nothing about U.S. politics that is normal — particularly the interminable length of campaigns. Normal countries have federal elections that consume two, maybe three months of people’s political lives once every four to five years; Canada caps federal campaigns at 50 days, Japan at 12. In the U.S., on the other hand, there’s a total of about nine months in every four-year cycle when politics is not consumed by either a presidential or midterm horserace.

      • Here’s What Neoliberal Democrats Who View Bernie Sanders as an ‘Existential Threat’ Have Yet to Realize

        Over the past few days, the mainstream Democrats’ war on Bernie Sanders has come out of the closet. Recent articles in Politico and the Guardian, detail how centrist organizations like Third Way have been pushing the narrative that Sanders is unelectable. The reason, according to Third Way leaders and other neoliberals, is the dreaded label of “socialist.”

        There’s two things wrong with this premise.

        First, Sanders has been a nationally known figure since 2015, and the label hasn’t hurt him much. He still polls better against Trump than any Democrat except Biden—and they’re essentially tied at the moment in a race with Trump. And make no mistake, with Biden’s record of coddling Wall Street and big banks, backing the Iraq War, and a history of racist and sexist remarks, it’s Biden who is frighteningly unelectable. He’d face the same fate as Hillary Clinton in 2016 if he got the nomination, because the vast majority of voters hold more progressive views and a centrist candidate just can’t generate the turnout Democrats need to win.

        Yes, Republicans and a few older folks see the term “socialist” as a non-starter, but more people view capitalism negatively and many young people see socialism as a positive. Sanders himself has done a good job of defining exactly what democratic socialism is, and it lines up well with what voters say they want.

      • Primary challengers looking to repeat AOC magic face uphill battle in 2020

        After a midterm cycle featuring a number of high-profile upsets, a few House Democrats are already facing primary challengers in advance of 2020. But candidates looking to repeat the success of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) or Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) have a tough path forward.

        Incumbents nearly always have an advantage when it comes to fundraising, and a new policy from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee makes it more difficult for primary contenders to find consultants and contractors. Still, several challengers think they have what it takes to pull off upsets of their own.

        Justice Democrats, the group that propelled Ocasio-Cortez to power, is backing two candidates so far: middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, who declared his challenge to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, and 26-year-old lawyer Jessica Cisneros, who announced last week that she will challenge longtime Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

      • ‘Completely Horrific’: Journalist E. Jean Carroll Becomes 24th Woman to Accuse Trump of Sexual Assault

        The excerpt published in New York details numerous encounters Carroll had with “hideous men” during her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood—including one with former CBS executive Les Moonves—as she embarked on a career as a journalist and the author of the “Ask E. Jean” column at Elle.

      • Landmark Istanbul Mayoral Loss a Blow to Turkey’s Erdogan

        The opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul celebrated a landmark win Sunday in a closely watched repeat election that ended weeks of political tension and broke President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party’s 25-year hold on Turkey’s biggest city.

        “Thank you, Istanbul,” former businessman and district mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, 49, said in a televised speech after unofficial results showed he won a clear majority of the vote.

        The governing party’s candidate, former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, conceded moments after returns showed him trailing well behind Imamoglu, 54% to 45%. Imamoglu increased his lead from a March mayoral election by hundreds of thousands of votes.

        Erdogan also congratulated Imamoglu in a tweet.

        Imamoglu narrowly won Istanbul’s earlier mayor’s contest on March 31, but Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, AKP, challenged the election for alleged voting irregularities. He spent 18 days in office before Turkey’s electoral board annulled the results after weeks of partial recounts.

      • ‘For What?’ Joe Biden Refuses to Apologize After Praising Segregationist Senators

        Under pressure from rival 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and civil rights advocates to apologize for praising the “civility” of two notorious segregationist senators, former Vice President Joe Biden refused to do so on Wednesday, insisting that he has nothing to apologize for.

        “Apologize for what?” Biden asked after reporters called attention to Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) statement demanding an “immediate” apology.

        “Cory should apologize,” Biden said before attending a fundraiser in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”

      • Hope Hicks Rebuffs Questions on Trump White House

        Former top White House adviser Hope Hicks refused to answer questions related to her time in the White House in a daylong interview with the House Judiciary Committee, dimming Democrats’ chances of obtaining new or substantive information about President Donald Trump in their first interview with a person linked to his inner circle.

        Frustrated Democrats leaving the meeting Wednesday said Hicks and her lawyer rigidly followed White House orders to stay quiet about her time there and said they would be forced to go to court to obtain answers.

        House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Hicks’ lawyers asserted the White House’s principle that as one of Trump’s close advisers she is “absolutely immune” from talking about her time there because of separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Nadler said that principle is “ridiculous” and Democrats intend to “destroy” it in court.

        Nadler said the committee plans to take the administration to court on the immunity issue, and Hicks’ interview would be part of that litigation.

      • On the Morning Consult Poll, Margins of Error, and the Undecideds in the Democratic Primary

        Morning Consult regularly has Joe Biden a fair bit higher than every other polling firm at this point, and, as they usually have had throughout the 2020 Democratic primary cycle to date, also have Bernie Sanders a little higher than the average.

        Morning Consult also has, by far and away, the largest sample size each week, with a reported margin of error (MOE) of 1%. So, is Morning Consult or its MOE wrong? Or are all the other polling firms missing something that Morning Consult is onto with its large sample size and, per my diving into their full tables has sent to me over the course of three weeks around Biden’s entry into the race, fair weighting of a broad array of demographics?

        Based on data in the chart below and further explanation below, I think neither view is quite wrong. It’s just that Morning Consult is mishandling undecided voters in a way that over estimates Biden’s share and, to a lesser extent, Sanders’ share. (MC in the chart = Morning Consult; DK = Undecided or Don’t Know respondents.)

        I wrote about this problem (and proved absolutely correct) ahead of the UK General Election in 2017 here. And I spent a bit of time on it for this 2020 Democratic cycle in this article, but without the specific focus on Morning Consult.

        When polling firms simply flush “undecided” or “don’t know” voters from their sample and then report the findings without any other adjustments, they automatically boost the leader an extra amount, and where the lead is already big, the problem becomes even worse. Now, I am not sure if this is what Morning Consult is doing (they failed to respond when I asked, even though they’ve graciously sent along their cross tabs on two other occasions).

      • AMLO in Office: From Megaprojects to Militarization

        Many on the left, both in Mexico and abroad, welcomed the new president of Mexico, hoping that his progressive rhetoric of a “fourth transformation” augured a new era of positive change in Mexico. Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) even convinced a number of Indigenous resistance groups that his administration would be favorable to their struggles against the neoliberal extractivist megaprojects that are devastating their lands.

        Indigenous rights supporter Richard Gere recently met with AMLO in the National Palace, and even Noam Chomsky spoke up favorably after a meeting with AMLO during his campaign last year.

        Obrador’s “National Development Plan,” unveiled in January, reads like a leftist dream come true, criticizing neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus, promoting renewable energy and agricultural independence, and, of course, championing the poor and dispossessed. The plan was promoted as a moral regeneration, and even invoked the ethics of “leading by obeying” (mandar obedeciendo), a famous Zapatista phrase that encapsulates their dedication to self-government from below.

        Six months on, he has proven that nothing could be farther from the truth.

        In practice, AMLO’s presidency is a continuation of the neoliberal regime and of the clientelism that has characterized the Mexican government for ages. Like so many governments before it, the AMLO administration is using government handouts to divide communities and to undermine autonomous organizing efforts that threaten the capitalist class protected by AMLO.

        Groups that have been most vocal against AMLO include the Zapatistas, the National Indigenous Congress (the CNI), the Movement in Defense of Land and Territory, and the many local-led resistances that have so far stood in the way of dozens of destructive capital projects.

      • GOP Lawmakers Try to Squelch Voter Initiatives in 16 States

        Arkansas voters have been active in recent years, passing ballot initiatives that legalized medical marijuana, raised the minimum wage and expanded casino gambling.

        That hasn’t gone over well with Republicans.

        Arkansas’ GOP-dominated Legislature has taken steps this year that will make it harder to put such proposals before voters, and they are not the only ones.

        Florida, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah also have enacted restrictions on the public’s ability to place initiatives on the ballot. In Michigan, the state’s top election official is being sued over Republican-enacted requirements that make it harder to qualify proposals for the ballot.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Media freedom is almost over. Only one thing can save Julian Assange from dying in prison.

        Anyone who wants to uphold the right for journalists to expose the worst excesses of governments should be very concerned. The only way to uphold this right is if the public do not stand for the criminalisation of journalism.

        In order to do this, we must separate the man from the issue of press freedom. The US indictments are not about allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, which Assange should face separate proceedings for. They are specifically concerned with WikiLeaks publishing documents exposing war crimes that the US would have preferred to remain under wraps. Such as the US indiscriminately gunning down journalists in Iraq and tens of thousands of unreported civilian deaths. Whatever you think of Assange, what’s at stake is our ability to hold governments to account.

      • Ecuador Ends ‘Arbitrary’ Detention of Swede Linked to Assange

        The court will require Bini to periodically appear before authorities and banned him from leaving the country as investigations continue over his alleged [computer] attacks.

      • The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed

        Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.

      • Analysts Skeptical of Turkey’s Vow to Protect Free Speech

        “More than 150 detained journalists are currently in prison, and more than 500 lawyers are in prison. If you want to start reform, your priority must be releasing these people who are arrested for doing their job,” Ok added.

      • Digital sleuths alarmed after Twitter cites Indian law violation

        It took Ryan Barenklau a few moments to figure out why Twitter was sending him an email saying he had violated Indian law.

        “My first thought was, ‘Huh? I’m an American citizen,’” the 21-year-old Texas resident said. “My company is an American LLC. How can Indian law apply to me inside the United States?’

        Barenklau, who tweets about geopolitics and international affairs from his company’s verified Twitter account, The Strategic Sentinel, is a part of the internet’s open source intelligence community. Better known as OSINT, it is made up of digital detectives who use online tools and public information for investigative purposes.

        It wasn’t long until others in Barenklau’s orbit started getting similar emails from Twitter. Six OSINT accounts either received warnings from Twitter about violating Indian law or were suspended.

        In recent years, some OSINT groups have emerged as respected investigative outfits. The best known group, Bellingcat, gained international attention for its investigations into the use of weapons in the Syrian civil war and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014. In February, OSINT sleuths descended on claims by India that it had shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet and poked holes in the government’s narrative by analyzing photos and videos posted online.

      • India forced Twitter to suspend open source intelligence handles: Report

        A popular US news website reported on Tuesday that the Indian government had forced Twitter to take action against a number of handles that disseminate ‘open source’ intelligence (OSINT).

        OSINT is information of a political or military nature gathered via commonly available tools such as travel trackers, social media or news media. At least four Twitter handles were suspended over the weekend, but restored following an outcry.

        Writing in the Daily Beast, journalist Kevin Poulsen claimed a student of a college in Texas had received a notice from Twitter after the Indian government complained his tweets were a “national security threat”.

      • Guardian Continues to Promote “Progressive” Censorship

        There’s a lot of talk about “free speech” being under threat these days, with reports of de-platforming at universities, academics losing their jobs because of their political opinions, artists and celebrities getting “cancelled” over an off-colour joke, an even vaguely non-PC opinion, or just supporting Donald Trump.

        The entire reason this website exists is the sheer amount of censorship in both corporate media and social media.

        We have an archive dedicated to it, that doesn’t include even half of 1% of the deleted comments on The Guardian alone.

        Rather notably the US is trying to extradite (and perhaps execute) a man for simply telling the truth.

        You’d be forgiven for thinking that free speech was, indeed, under attack.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Complainants call on ICO to take action against adtech sector

        “The ICO has clearly indicated that the sector operates outside the law, and that there is no evidence the industry will correct itself voluntarily. As long as it remains doing so, it undermines the operation and the credibility of the GDPR in all other sectors. Action, not words, will make a difference—and the ICO needs to act now.”

        Ravi Naik, solicitor for the complaints and for Dr Johnny Ryan’s simultaneous complaint before the Irish DPC, said:

        “Between the ICO’s report and the actions of the DPC, there can no longer be any question; AdTech cannot comply with the GDPR. We welcome the ICO’s findings and look forward to the Commissioner taking concrete steps to prevent further violations of individual rights. It is time for action.”

      • Age Verification delay is an opportunity to fix privacy in porn block

        “While it’s very embarrassing to delay age verification for the third time, this is an opportunity for the Government to address the many problems that this ill-thought through policy poses.

        “Age verification providers have warned that they are not ready; the BBFC’s standard to protect data has been shown to be ineffective.

        “The Government needs to use this delay to introduce legislation that will ensure the privacy and security of online users is protected.”

      • When AI-enhanced customer service is on the line, so is your privacy

        All the kinds of algorithmic analysis of personal data and voice patterns described above could be fed not to a human representative, but to a computer-based one along the lines of Google Duplex. Its voice, “character”, and approach could be exactly tailored to each individual, even their current mood, as indicated by continuous AI analysis of their voice patterns during a call. This kind of real-time personalization is likely to reinforce the well-known ELIZA Effect, whereby people already tend to ascribe human-like capabilities to computers. The fact that such an AI-based system would seem strangely sympathetic, and to know everything about us – even our deepest fears and unspoken secrets – is likely to reinforce that sense. As a result, some people may unconsciously trust such an interlocutor, and discuss their wants and needs more openly, without reserve. Views about whether that is a good thing are likely to vary…

      • [Compromise] of U.S. Border Surveillance Contractor Is Way Bigger Than the Government Lets On

        Even as Homeland Security officials have attempted to downplay the impact of a security intrusion that reached deep into the network of a federal surveillance contractor, secret documents, handbooks, and slides concerning surveillance technology deployed along U.S. borders are being widely and openly shared online.

        A terabyte of torrents seeded by Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOS)—journalists dispersing records that governments and corporations would rather nobody read—are as of writing being downloaded daily. As of this week, that includes more than 400 GB of data stolen by an unknown actor from Perceptics, a discreet contractor based in Knoxville, Tennessee, that works for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is, regardless of whatever U.S. officials say, right now the epicenter of a major U.S. government data breach.

      • Australian Internet pioneer says future does not look so bright

        “Today – let’s see, awesome compute power in my pocket, high-speed mobile communications, Wi-Fi in planes, driverless cars, cashless money, automated trading, death of newspapers, death of television networks, death of the telephone and telephone companies, death of the bricks and mortar shop, huge displacement of the labour force as we shift from primary and secondary production to a service-based economy, new forms of labour exploitation with the so-called gig economy, and an entire new economy based on surveillance capitalism.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Gig economy transforms Finnish labour

        The Finnish Construction Trade Union told Yle that the job Laura was offered could be classified as slave labour. The median wage for a painter is 16.81 euros per hour.

        Becoming a sole trader left Laura with 2,500 euros in debt which she plans to begin paying off in August.

      • Pakistani Christian couple facing death over ‘blasphemous texts’ to finally get court hearing

        He allegedly showed the text to two other mosque clerics before approaching his counsel for legal proceedings. Then, he and his lawyer claimed they both then received more blasphemous messages. However, the texts were alleged to have been written in English, and both Shafqat and Shagufta are illiterate and neither have a knowledge of English or its alphabet.

      • Qatari Shari’a Professor Ahmad Zayed: Christians Can Run For Office, But Muslims Forbidden From Voting For Them

        Ahmad Zayed, a professor of shari’a at Qatar University, said in a June 12, 2019 debate on Al-Araby TV (U.K.) that Islamic law permits non-Muslims to run for office, but that it is impermissible for Muslims to vote for non-Muslim candidates, since shari’a says the ruler must be a Muslim. Qatar-based Saudi academic Raed Al-Samhouri also participated in the debate.

      • Assange, the AFP and the crime of dissent

        And this Kafkaesque scenario leads us back to the undeniable truth about the press raids: they were designed to have a chilling effect, in a similar manner to that of Julian Assange’s incarceration. Indeed, these closely timed crackdowns are a warning to all that journalism is now a crime.

      • Facebook blocks ad for PES meeting in Paris to defend Assange

        Apart from the US government itself, the French government is among the most closely tied to Facebook censorship. Last November, as “yellow vest” protests against social inequality began in France, Macron hailed France’s World War II-era fascist dictator Philippe Pétain as a great soldier and launched an unprecedented collaboration on social media censorship with Facebook. Countless “yellow vest” social media posts have been deleted since, as police detained over 7,000 protesters in the largest wave of mass arrests in metropolitan France since the Nazi Occupation.

      • Poor treatment of Assange

        Egypt is a dictatorship and Britain a parliamentary democracy, but the treatment of each prisoner seems to be the same.

      • Hong Kong protests: “I’m witnessing the fall of the city I love”

        Minnie’s family, most of whom are members of the Communist Party, still live in Shanghai. She says her father didn’t worry when she moved to Hong Kong. “In the mainland we always imagined that people in Hong Kong and Taiwan were all together, that we are all brothers and sisters. No way that they would not love their country!” But Chinese students are watched when they travel. During the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests in 2014, she wrote two Facebook posts praising the discussions at one of the camps. “Hardly anyone ‘liked’ them. But months later my father told me, ‘I know what you did in Hong Kong.’” Two national-security officers had visited his home and shown him the posts. They told him that she was producing propaganda as part of the core group of protestors. “I wasn’t, but he believed them over me.” Minnie says Shanghai has changed since her childhood: “In recent years the space for free speech is tightening.” Since Xi Jinping became president in 2012, the Communist Party has stepped up its campaign against liberal values, and many people suspected of dissent have been arrested.

        This time she hasn’t told her family about the protests, although she has posted status updates on Facebook with images of the hunger strike. “I don’t want to make my family worried, and I don’t want to spend too much extra energy arguing with them.” Some of her old friends call her a traitor. “They say ‘don’t forget you are from the mainland.’ But in Hong Kong I am regarded as a brainwashed mainlander who has been civilised into Hong Kong ways!”

      • For this grandmother and grandson, speaking Ojibway is ‘an act of defiance’

        The pair’s first two-week Ojibway language course took place in May, a project jointly run by Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, an Indigenous education institute. About two dozen students from Ontario and Manitoba attended the immersion program, offered at introductory and intermediate levels.

        They spent much of their time outside in an open-air lodge, learning traditional activities, like how to catch, fillet and smoke a fish, to more mainstream ones, like driving a car, grocery shopping and arguing an opinion — all in immersive Ojibway.

      • Supreme Court Undermines Religious Neutrality In Permitting Giant Governmental Cross

        The decision ignores our constitutional commitment to official religious neutrality.

        Today, the Supreme Court announced that a governmental display of a 40-foot-tall Latin cross as a war memorial for all veterans does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The decision ignores our constitutional commitment to official religious neutrality and is a slap in the face to non-Christian veterans. There is, however, a small silver lining: The opinion itself was narrow, making clear that the ruling is not an invitation for government officials to erect new religious displays.

        In American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the court concluded that the Bladensburg Cross — originally built to honor a Maryland county’s World War I dead — is constitutional for a combination of reasons, including its nearly hundred-year history and the court’s belief that the cross has somehow taken on an “added secular meaning when used in World War I memorials.” But there are several flaws in the court’s reasoning.

        First, in his opinion for the majority, Justice Alito cites the rows of white crosses that memorialize fallen American service members in World War I cemeteries overseas. Yet those crosses are tied to the individual faith of each soldier. Notably, the graves of Jewish service members in those cemeteries are marked with the Star of David, not a Latin cross. That’s because the Latin cross is inextricably linked to the Christian belief in the crucifixion of Jesus, the resurrection, and the promise of eternal life—a point emphasized in friend-of-the-court briefs filed by both the Baptist Joint Committee and the American Jewish War Veterans for the United States of America. As Justice Ginsburg explains in her dissent, the Latin cross is an “exclusively Christian symbol.” It is “not emblematic of any other faith,” and it certainly has “never shed its Christian character.”

        Second, the Bladensburg Cross does not stand as a memorial to fallen World War I soldiers alone. Although the cross was erected in the 1920s on private land as a World War I memorial, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission went out of its way in 1961 to acquire the cross and the land on which it sits — for the purpose of preserving the monument and, purportedly, to address traffic-safety concerns. But the Commission wasn’t satisfied with merely maintaining the cross’s connection to World War I; instead, it spent $100,000 renovating the monument, and then, in 1985, held a religious ceremony featuring prayer by a Catholic priest to rededicate the cross to veterans of all wars.

      • Corporate Pride is Cheap

        The satirical website McSweeney’s recently published a piece called “My Coming Out Story, Sponsored by Bank of America.”

        Anyone who has been to an LGBTQ Pride celebration (or seen Pride-themed ads on Facebook) will immediately get it: Corporations are falling over themselves to wrap themselves in rainbows, because they see Pride as a corporate branding opportunity.

        Let me be clear: The greatest struggle of my life is not a corporate branding opportunity.

        A lifetime of feeling different and wrong and dating people I’m not attracted to because I think it’s the only way to live — and only getting to fully inhabit my true self starting in my late 30s after years of therapy — has nothing to do with selling toothpaste, beer, or bank accounts.

        Years ago, I got a degree in marketing. In our senior capstone class, we learned that you can either change your product so it’s more in line with what people want, or you can change people’s impression of your product so that they think it is.

        Slapping a rainbow on your brand constitutes the latter. I want to see more of the former.

      • As Trump Tweets Hateful Threats, States are Protecting Immigrant Rights

        This week, President Trump kicked off his re-election campaign by tweeting a threat to deport millions of immigrants, apparently referring to his administration’s plans for mass raids on families across the country. Meanwhile, news continues to break about what his administration is already doing, as dizzying as it is horrifying: A six-year-old girl dying in the Arizona desert on the way to seek asylum, a premature baby languishing at a border holding site, a trans woman dying from pneumonia after asking to be deported rather than remain in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention without proper medical care.

        What’s remarkable is that in the midst of the extreme rhetoric and reality, people across the country are finding common ground on immigration. In at least seven states, grassroots activists have quietly built coalitions necessary to enact pro-immigrant rights laws, many of which will limit the Trump administration’s ability to carry out its threats to deport millions.

      • American History for Truthdiggers: The Reagan Revolution

        It was no accident. Indeed, candidate Ronald Reagan knew exactly what he was doing. It was August 1980, at the height of presidential election fever. Visiting Mississippi, once a symbol of the solid Democratic South, Reagan chose the Neshoba County Fair for a key campaign speech. To beat incumbent President Jimmy Carter, he would have to turn the Deep South Republican. The fair was in the same county as Philadelphia, Miss., and only seven miles from that town, forever associated with the murder of three civil rights activists (one black and two white) just 16 years earlier. It was a bold move by Reagan. Stepping up for the occasion, he railed about big government and thundered in ever-so-coded language, “I believe in states’ rights.” In a state that still proudly flew the Confederate Battle Flag, no doubt the mostly white crowd of some 15,000 knew, and loved, the racial undertones of such a statement. The states’ rights mantra had long amounted to little more than a justification of racism by another name. The only right many states tended to focus on was their right to suppress black voting and maintain the segregation of public life.

        Reagan’s performance at the fair was an insult to the memory of the once vibrant civil rights movement. And it was understood as such.

        The tactic worked. Reagan all but swept the South in the 1980 race, and the region has essentially remained Republican ever since. (Among Southern states, only West Virginia and Georgia went for the Georgian who occupied the Oval Office.) The Sunbelt, that vast southern expanse from Florida to California, would prove to be a stronghold of Republican loyalty for decades to come. Though President Richard Nixon inaugurated the Republicans’ “Southern Strategy,” it was Reagan who perfected it.

        The presidency of Reagan, like that of many of the chief executives of the United States, was complex. He was undoubtedly conservative and had run to the right of his primary opponents in 1980. Political ideology aside, he was an astute politician, willing to compromise and never so doctrinaire as liberals feared. On foreign policy he could shift from hawk to dove on a dime, exuding “toughness” but also, at times, demonstrating restraint. He cut taxes and some social programs but was smart enough not to dismantle the highly popular Social Security and Medicare programs, held dear by liberals before and afterward. Though far more ideological than Dwight Eisenhower and—even—Nixon, he was at root a pragmatist. For the left, he was ultimately something much scarier than those two earlier Republican presidents: a charming, effective and highly popular figure of the right. He bent with the prevailing winds and harnessed their energy in continuing the gradual rightward policy shift that had been occurring since the end of the presidency of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.

      • America Was Never Great. Behind the Flag Is a Harrowing History.

        Arguing that “America was never great” is more than controversial in Trump’s United States: Disputing the idea that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth and has done only good has become a dangerous act.

        Krystal Lake — a Black woman who wore a hat with the words “America Was Never Great” at the Home Depot where she worked — received death threats on social media in response to her small symbolic act in defiance of Trump’s racist campaign. The online rage was triggered because she dared challenge the myth of American innocence — the idea that the U.S. has been a benevolent force in the world.

        In their new book, American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News — From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, authors Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong map the power of ideology. In 21 essays that span the media’s reaction to 9/11 to the multi-cultural patriotism of the Broadway show “Hamilton,” they show how American exceptionalism and innocence has warped our culture. It is a tour de force of scholarship that takes Karl Marx’s call for a “ruthless criticism of the existing order” and brings it up to the present.

        It also is a harrowing read. After the last essay, one sees the massive violence hidden by media. It is like peeling back a Band-Aid with the U.S. flag on it and seeing an ugly wound that never healed. Scraping off ideology leaves one face-to-face with reality and empowers us, the readers, to change it.

      • ‘Not On Our Watch’: Rights Groups Rally to Help Immigrant Communities Ahead of Reported Weekend Raids by ICE

        Ahead of raids the Trump administration is reportedly set to begin on Sunday, rights groups on Friday urgently circulated information to immigrant communities and families nationwide to ensure their rights are known and protections are in place.

        Three officials with knowledge of Trump’s directive to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told the Washington Post that up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders could be targeted in 10 major cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, San Francisco, Newark, and Washington, D.C.

        The news of the planned raids comes days after the president threatened that he would soon begin deporting “millions” of undocumented immigrants.

        To prepare communities, groups including United We Dream and Raices posted on social media information about immigrants’ rights.

        If ICE agents come to an immigrant’s home, one infographic made by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) read, he or she should not open the door. Instead, families should demand to see a warrant for arrest and exercise their right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer.

      • America Must Make Amends for the Horror of Slavery

        Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom. The name comes from a combination of the two words in the date, June nineteenth. On that day in 1865, 250,000 slaves in Texas were freed by a Union Army general who had arrived with troops in Galveston the day before. The Civil War had ended more than a month earlier, but word of the war’s end took time to reach parts of Texas. By the end of 1865, the 13th Amendment had been ratified, formally outlawing slavery across the United States.

        It was an incredible victory, but the trajectory of systemic racism in the United States did not end there, as we know all too well. Indeed, the real-world impacts of slavery on today’s African American population were front and center in Washington, D.C., this week, as historic hearings and public gatherings convened to discuss, debate and organize around reparations and poverty, and to offer a vision for a more just and equitable nation.

      • Ta-Nehisi Coates: Reparations Are Not Just About Slavery But Also Centuries of Theft & Racial Terror

        On the heels of Wednesday’s historic hearing on reparations, we speak with renowned writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on the lasting legacy of American slavery, how the national dialogue about reparations has progressed in the past five years and his testimony in favor of H.R. 40, which took direct aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Coates says, “It is absolutely impossible to imagine America without enslavement.”

      • Alabama Prisoners On Hunger Strike Demand Justice Department End Brutal And Inhumane Treatment

        Four Alabama prisoners are on hunger strike at the Limestone Correctional Facility in protest against corruption, abuse, and a lack of accountability for inhumane conditions in the state prison system.

        The hunger strike is a response to a call to action from a coalition of prisoner rights groups, including the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and Unheard Voices O.T.C.J., as well as incarcerated activists Kinetik Justice and Swift Justice.

        Five prisoners were on hunger strike initially. One prisoner, Kenneth Traywick Jr., began his strike on June 12 and ended it this week when the Alabama Department of Correction (ADOC) agreed to transfer him to another facility.

        The other four prisoners launched their strike on June 14. As of this report, they are still refusing meals.

        The prisoners issued a list of six demands. The first demand is for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to take action against Alabama for the Eighth Amendment violations they uncovered in an investigation published at the beginning of April.

        “As the DOJ has so far failed to pursue action by way of a lawsuit against the ADOC, those who have confined loved ones argue that their inaction is proof that the DOJ does not believe incarcerated individuals in the ADOC are worth protecting,” the activists declared in a statement to the press.

      • ‘Not One More Dollar’: Even as Trump Postpones Raids, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib Vow to Oppose All Funding for ‘Hateful Border Agenda’

        In a joint statement, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)—all freshman who have been outspoken in their criticism of both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agencies—denounced the president’s planned raids which reports indicated would take place in 10 major cities across the U.S. beginning on Sunday.

        “The Trump Administration would rather criminalize immigrants, separate families, and detain refugees than practice empathy and compassion,” the group of four lawmakers said. “Recent reports of a massive deportation operation, targeting thousands of immigrant families in major cities across the country are further evidence that this President will stop at nothing in order to carry out his hateful agenda.”

        As immigrant rights groups mobilized to provide resources to targeted communities ahead of the expected raids—and several mayors of the cities thought to be prime targets said they would not participate carrying them out—Trump took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to say that, “at the request of Democrats,” he was suspending the raids at least temporarily.

      • Beware of the “Easy” Way to Build Power. It Must Begin With Organizing.

        The sad outcome of the United Auto Workers campaign at Volkswagen reminded me of when I entered the labor movement 15 years ago.

        Back then the national leaders of the Service Employees (SEIU) had diagnosed labor’s big problem: we weren’t organizing fast enough. As the percentage of unionized workers in the U.S. slipped, so did unions’ influence.

        If only we could regain sufficient union density, these leaders said, we would have power. Then we could start winning gains for members and change the political climate.

        Their strategy to organize faster was to lower the bar—convince bosses to stay neutral, so that workers could win union recognition without a fight. Often this neutrality was bought by giving up rights and benefits in advance.

        But I always wondered, if you won a union without building enough workplace power to fight your boss, how much would you really be able to win going forward? And would workers want to join such a weak organization?

        Since then bosses have mostly lost interest in neutrality. Unfortunately, unions haven’t lost interest in shortcuts. The UAW counted on a speedy election instead of arming workers to fight.

      • Normalizing Atrocity

        This week President Trump vowed mass arrests and the removal of “millions of illegal aliens” by early next week. These proclamations have become increasingly normalized in an age where his absurdities are spouted daily, but this is the kind of rhetoric which often precedes atrocity. “Mass arrests” of millions of people is the kind of language that communicates the naked aggression of the state against the “other.” It permits a sweeping dehumanization of entire groups. That they are non-violent or paying taxes is of no consequence. They are “aliens” who must be “removed,” extracted from the so-called “legal” population by any means. In the last 20 years this has generally meant people of color, especially those with non-Anglo surnames. Yet, in response to this latest threat I saw a comment from one American liberal which read “meh, the logistics of doing something like this are enormous.” In other words, “it can’t happen here.” History begs to differ.

        Thousands of socialists and leftists were marched into stadiums in Chile in the 1970s and gunned down, tortured, or disappeared in a country with a much smaller military than the US. Between 1965 and 1966, at least a million communists, or those believed to be communists, were hunted down and brutally murdered in Indonesia by rightwing death squads and the police. And millions of Jews, Roma, communists, homosexuals and the disabled were persecuted, rounded up and sent to concentration camps in the 1930s and 40s in Germany and Nazi occupied countries, where most perished at a time when many ordinary people thought “the logistics” of doing something like that were too “enormous” to be fathomed, much less carried out. And each atrocity was preceded by the rise of a pernicious fascism and the language of dehumanization by leaders.

      • Police drug division chief in Moscow suburb arrested for drug possession and falsifying a criminal case

        Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Ponkratov, who leads the police anti-narcotics division in Ramensky, a suburb of Moscow, has been arrested on charges of falsifying a criminal case, possessing drugs, and overstretching his authority, Kommersant reported.

      • Putin says he’s against relaxing Russia’s drug laws

        During his annual televised call-in show on June 20, Vladimir Putin said he opposes an initiative to relax Russia’s criminal laws against illegal narcotics. At the same time, the president stressed the need to strengthen control over the actions of police in this area, to avoid more “cases like with the journalist,” referring to the recent arrest of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov.

      • Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate

        Several theories have been put forward to explain the schisms roiling American politics. The least contentious, meaning the one not obviously intended to produce a political result, is that a battle is underway within the oligarch class. Given the role of security and surveillance state officials, the precise alliances driving the split— if the term is accurate, aren’t clear. An alternate explanation is that a defense of the existing order is underway. The latter has been put forward in terms approximating a ‘redneck rebellion.’

        Class analysis— the search for economic explanations of political outcomes, is antithetical to the American conception of the social order. The redneck rebellion thesis— that hateful hillbillies too stupid to land jobs in the ‘knowledge economy’ are inflicting their own deficiencies on the hardworking and deserving classes through racist violence, has led the mainstream news (and left analysis) for three years now. Not spoken publicly is that blaming down absolves the powers-that-be for five decades of malgovernance.

        Most people don’t have the time or resources to make their own determinations regarding official claims. This creates ‘information asymmetry’ where the facts needed for critical analysis are often controlled by people with political agendas. And in less conspiratorial terms, newsrooms have been gutted by oligarchs for economic gain. When tied to psychological triggers, facts that are superficially plausible can be made into truths no matter how contrary to actual evidence they may be.

        The redneck rebellion thesis is particularly insidious in this way. It’s barely contentious today to point out that both mainstream political parties have been ‘captured’ by economic interests. And until 2016, it was broadly conceded that neoliberalism had created an economic divide between the few who benefited from it and the many whose lives had been diminished. The people on the losing end didn’t become loathsome racists and fascists until the political establishment needed to defend its realm.

      • Supreme Court Tosses Man’s Murder Conviction Over Racial Bias

        The Supreme Court on Friday threw out the murder conviction and death sentence for a black man in Mississippi because of a prosecutor’s efforts to keep African Americans off the jury. The defendant already has been tried six times and now could face a seventh trial.

        The removal of black prospective jurors deprived inmate Curtis Flowers of a fair trial, the court said in a 7-2 decision written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

        The long record of Flowers’ trials stretching back more than 20 years shows District Attorney Doug Evans’ “relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals,” with the goal of an all-white jury, Kavanaugh wrote.

      • Sweatshops Don’t Just Exist Overseas — They’re Here in the US Too

        New Labor Forum Editor’s Note: The more things change, the more they stay the same. To a surprising extent, the super exploitation of early 20th-century garment workers lives on, not just in Dhaka and Guangzhou, but also in the U.S., garment sweatshops continue to spring up in immigrant-dense, urban peripheries, perhaps nowhere as much as in L.A. County, the setting of this “Working-Class Voices” essay. Just as in the past, these mostly immigrant, female workers labor under the grind of the “piece rate” system rather than receiving hourly wages; they make clothes for big name brands but work for largely unregulated subcontractors; and often toil behind locked exits, under dire conditions. The decline in private-sector union density, entrenched obstacles to new organizing, and the underfunding of agencies charged with monitoring labor law compliance go a long way to explain this harrowing back-to-the-future scenario.

        I come from Indonesia, where I was a garment worker. In 2003 I traveled to Malaysia, because it was hard for me to find a job in Indonesia. There was upheaval with a lot of factories burning and demonstrations in my country. At first I had a three-year contract and worked as a garment worker for the same company I had worked with in Malaysia. Once my contract ended I began work as a domestic worker. For nearly five years I worked for one employer who, in 2007, sent me to L.A. to work with her daughter. But what that family promised — earnings of a thousand dollars a month, one bedroom, and one day off per week — never came true.

        In L.A. I worked the equivalent of thirty eighteen-hour days and was only paid $200 per month with no bedroom or paid days off provided. They said, “Hey, you have to pay for everything when you come here.” They took my passport and wouldn’t let me talk to anyone. At the time I didn’t speak English. The employer said, “Because you don’t speak English I’ll only give you $200.” I was very sad because it’s not what was promised. I left my son in Indonesia to come to the U.S. I thought it was a good opportunity for me, but when I came here I felt trapped.

        I decided to run away, but I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have no money. Nothing. I only had my clothes that I was wearing. I ran a mile away from her house to Bloomingdale’s to a pay phone and called Maria. Maria worked before me in my employer’s house. She’s the only person I knew. But Maria spoke Spanish, and I didn’t speak it at the time. It wasn’t clear to her when I said, “Hey help me, help me.” I didn’t understand what she said, and she didn’t understand what I said. She was afraid maybe the former employer would call the police to get her. So she called her brother Pedro, and he picked me up to go to Maria’s house. I started a new life in L.A. from Maria’s house and then in another host’s home.

      • Surviving the Mediterranean Sea Amid European Refugee Crisis

        Emmanuel Freedom is a refugee. He’s 22 years old and has been living in Malta for the last 18 months. As night falls on the island, he heaves a sigh of relief. He considers every day to be a victory, a promise for a brighter tomorrow.

        Although he looks far older than his years, his facial expression is soft, even fragile. He is constantly wary of his surroundings, but he smiles often with a faraway look in his eyes. An undocumented worker, he usually finds employment as a day laborer, working odd jobs in construction, painting or repairs.

        Shy at first, Freedom slowly recounts his story. He talks of fleeing persecution in his hometown back in Nigeria and of the dangers that he encountered on the journey to Europe. It’s a unique story, but also one that exemplifies a shared resilience amid untold suffering.

        As a refugee in Malta, Freedom belongs to a wider group of men, women and children. His story represents this community, one that has grown accustomed to living under the shadow of anonymity.

      • State-by-State the War on Cannabis is Ending

        Judging by its first six months, 2019 has been a banner year for marijuana policy reform.

        Most notably, lawmakers in Illinois legalized the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The state is the 11th to legalize the use of marijuana by those over the age of 21, and it’s the first to pass such a measure with a statehouse vote (rather than a public initiative).

        “Illinois is going to have the most equity-centric law in the nation,” Governor J.B. Pritzker announced. “For the many individuals and families whose lives have been changed — indeed hurt — because the nation’s war on drugs discriminated against people of color, this day belongs to you.”

        Illinois is far from alone. Several other states have also approved measures in recent weeks to significantly reduce marijuana penalties.

        In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation reducing first-time penalties for low-level possession from a criminal misdemeanor — punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a “penalty assessment,” punishable by a $50 fine. Similar decriminalization legislation in Hawaii awaits Governor David Ige’s signature.

        In North Dakota, lawmakers reduced penalties involving the possession of both cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction. In Colorado, they reduced felony marijuana penalties to misdemeanors.

      • Slamming ‘Corruption’ That Has Allowed Rampant Abuse, Warren Releases Plan to Ban Private Prisons

        Calling the federal government’s close ties with for-profit prison operators “corruption,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren released her plan to ban private prisons should she win the presidency in 2020.

        The Massachusetts Democrat’s proposal focused on the massive growth in the private prison industry over the last two decades. In that time, the government has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses within private detention centers, the price gouging companies like Core Civic and Geo Group subject inmates to, and as lawmakers have enriched their campaigns through their relationships with those companies—making the enforcement of any restrictions impossible.

        “We didn’t get here by chance,” Warren wrote in a Medium post. “Washington works hand-in-hand with private prison companies, who spend millions on lobbyists, campaign contributions, and revolving-door hires—all to turn our criminal and immigration policies into ones that prioritize making them rich instead of keeping us safe.”

        Warren explained how she would ban private, for-profit prisons; stop contractors from charging fees for essential services; and ensure oversight of how detention centers operate.

        The senator wrote that after ending all contracts between the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and other public entities with private prison operators, she would cut federal public safety funding for states and municipalities unless they agreed to use the money for publicly-run prisons only.

      • Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage

        He is all about being the romantic saboteur. He is destructive, hates the business of a steady vocation, and the idea of being desk bound. Little details trouble him; an indignant bigger picture is enthralling. Bomb throwers tend to be of such ilk, taking shots at the establishment, courting potential voters over a pint, and railing against non-representative elements in politics. But Nigel Farage and his recently arrived Brexit Party can unimpeachably claim to be vote getters.

        Along with others, some of whom have been resurrected in the stagnant pools of Brexit – take the near-dead and now very revived former conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe – he has animated the corpse people and zombie faithful keen to attack the satanic heart of the EU. Last month, in Peterborough, he told some 1,500 Brexiters about the broader mission at hand. “This fight now is far more than just leaving the European Union. This is a full-on battle against the establishment.” This battle has also struck a Trumpist note, with Farage reserving special salvos for the BBC.

        So far, the attack mounted by the collective that is the Brexit Party has worked; with a four-month old entity, Farage forged ahead in elections held by the very same entity he despises. In doing so, he also convinced many from the UK Independence Party, the right wing anti-immigration party he used to lead, to join in. In the European elections last month, the Brexit Party won a stonking 29 seats against the Liberal Democrats with 16, Labour 10, the Greens seven, the Tories four, the SNP three, and Plaid Cymru and the DUP with one each.

        Farage put the successes down to an elementary theme: “With a big, simple message – which is we’ve been badly let down by two parties who have broken their promises – we have topped the poll in a fairly dramatic style. The two-party system now serves nothing but itself.” Despite doing well, Farage was careful to avoid drawing attention to another result: 40 percent of the UK European vote went to parties who are against Brexit, with 35 percent favouring it.

        The reading from Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable was bound to be at odds with Brexiter enthusiasts. For Cable the result showed that there was “a majority of people in the country who don’t want to leave the European now”.

      • Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing

        In the early 1960s while a student at the University of British Columbia I became fascinated with the study of cultural anthropology. Anthropology, for me, held up a “mirror for man.” It challenged us to see ourselves in the experience of others of different colour, to respect different ways of seeing values, kinship systems and social organization. But, I soon discovered, it was not easy to grasp who Natives were and how they understood themselves in their world of constant change, upheaval and intense traumatic suffering.

        Indians had long filled a pathetic imaginative space for the dominant culture. Their cultures had been steadily eroding, at best hanging on in museum-like reservations or, perhaps worse, living only in anthropological displays. Anthropologists rushed out into the field to record the dying languages and capture fragments of once proud, beautiful but now vanishing people. Anthropologists were the saviours of non-western cultures.

        I moved out of the schoolbook world of the University of British Columbia in the summers of 1963 and 1964 to travel up the North West Coast to see for myself the magnificent cultures of the Tsimshian, Tlingit, Haida, Kwakiutl and Coast Salish. My teachers (famous scholars like Harry Hawthorn, Wilson Duff and Wayne Suttles) had taught me to appreciate the meaning of majestic totem poles, the wonders of North West Coast mythology and art, the mysteries of the potlatch and the profound native sensitivity to land and sea. They presented me with powerful images of cultures as integrated, meaningful wholes.

      • How a Russian lawmaker’s perceived arrogance provoked violent clashes outside Georgia’s Parliament building

        In Tbilisi late on June 20, several thousand people joined a protest at Georgia’s Parliament building. As many as 10,000 people filled the square outside the legislature. Activists protested against the “Russian occupation” of Georgia, demanding the resignation of Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, as well as the heads of Georgia’s Interior Ministry and State Security Service. After an hour, when their demands were not met, demonstrators started storming the Parliament building.

      • Photos from the June 20 protest outside Georgia’s Parliament in Tbilisi

        Late on June 20 in the center of Tbilisi, an unannounced protest broke out at the steps of Georgia’s Parliament building. Thousands of people took to the streets, following a speech by Russian State Duma deputy Sergey Gavrilov, who enraged the country’s opposition parties by sitting in the parliamentary speaker’s chair and speaking in Russian during a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy. After activists demands for the resignations of several top state officials went ignored, protesters tried to storm the Parliament building, prompting the police to resort to tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. Roughly 70 people were reported injured.

      • Putin temporarily blocks passenger flights to Georgia

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order forbidding passenger planes from flying between Russia and Georgia following an outbreak of mass unrest and anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi. Beginning on July 8, Russian airlines will not be permitted to transport passengers from Russia to Georgia.

      • A new documentary film shows the Ivan Golunov case through the eyes of those at its epicenter

        With his arrest in early June 2019, investigative journalist Ivan Golunov became a symbol in Russia of resistance to police misconduct. His case was perhaps the first time in the country’s modern history that civil society forced the law-enforcement system to retreat. Over the five difficult days it took to free Ivan, no one was closer to him, his family, and Meduza’s editorial staff than documentary filmmaker Sergey Erzhenkov and the camera crew who assisted him. In this new film from the “Black Flag,” we bring you the Golunov case through the eyes of those who were at the epicenter of these events.

      • Trump’s Persecution of His Investigators Follows Authoritarian Playbook

        The Justice Department’s decision to interview top CIA officials as part of an effort to investigate the reasons for looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election will alarm people who understand President Trump in the broader international context of authoritarians’ recent successes in undermining democratic governments.

        In functioning democracies with independent prosecutors, investigations occur when evidence of serious wrongdoing exists, not when powerful politicians wish to question conclusions they find politically damaging. No evidence exists of any wrongdoing by those investigating Russia’s support for Trump.

        Law enforcement officials have a responsibility to investigate evidence of foreign interference in U.S. elections. The investigation of the investigators sends a message that civil servants doing their job and uncovering evidence of foreign interference risk harassment and damage to their careers. This is alarming, as leading experts have shown that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made undermining Western democracy a major goal — a goal advanced by securing Trump’s election.

        The investigation reflects Trump’s frequently expressed desire to persecute his opponents. He signaled this desire during the campaign when he led chants of “lock her up” against Hillary Clinton, even though no law forbids use of a private email server and a government investigation found no basis for criminal prosecution.

        Since then, Trump and his associates have asked the Department of Justice to prosecute not only Clinton, but also James Comey, John Kerry, Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, and to investigate Joe Biden. Trump has also encouraged prosecutors not to go after Republicans committing crimes, lest their prosecution damage the Republicans’ electoral chances.

      • Putin’s 2019 ‘Direct Line,’ in a nutshell Russia’s president spoke on national TV for four hours, but you can read this summary in five minutes

        If someone says they’re earning below the minimum wage (by the way, we’ve raised it to the subsistence minimum), then you need to check if that person is working part time. A few years ago, earnings dropped because of economic shocks — not just the sanctions, but also because of falling prices on our raw materials. Falling earnings are primarily due to borrowed credit. We’ve already taken measures to raise wages, and the average pay is rising.

      • Putin’s ‘Direct Line’ earns lowest Moscow TV ratings in six years

        Moscow TV ratings for Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” event with Russian voters have fallen to their lowest level since 2013, preliminary data from the data firm Mediascope showed. 6.8 percent of the city’s population was found to have watched the program, and they accounted for 52.5 percent of TV viewers in that time slot.

      • Militia Threat Shuts Down Oregon Statehouse

        The president of the Oregon Senate ordered the state Capitol to close on Saturday due to a “possible militia threat” from right-wing protesters as a walkout by Republican lawmakers over landmark climate change legislation dragged on.

        Republican state senators fled the Legislature — and some, the state — earlier this week to deny the majority Democrats enough votes to take up the climate bill, which would dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions by 2050. It would be the second program of its kind in the nation after California if passed.

      • Migrant Children Imprisoned in Texas Detail Border Patrol’s “Level of Inhumanity”

        Warren Binford, a law professor at Williamette University who was part of the team that visited the facility, told AP that children her team interview were so tired they were falling asleep at the tables and chairs in the interview room.

        “We’ve seen the worst conditions that we’ve seen in the last three years of conducting these visits,” said Binford.

        “Many of them have not been bathed, many of them talk about how hungry they are,” she added.

        Binford also said that the conditions at the Ursula Detention Center in McAllen, Texas that her team visited the week before were no better for the children there.

        Children that the lawyers spoke to described how they were being forced to care for the young children in the center, including a two-year-old who was not speaking and being cared for by three young girls after an agent asked a group of children, “Who wants to take care of this little boy?”

      • Floridians Are Suing a Cop Fired for Planting Drugs in Their Vehicles

        In October 2017, Derek Benefield was driving in the Florida Panhandle’s Jackson County when he was pulled over for allegedly swerving into the opposite lane. Once at the car, sheriff’s deputy Zachary Wester claimed to smell marijuana and conducted a search of the vehicle, which, he reported, turned up methamphetamine and marijuana. Despite insisting the drugs weren’t his, Benefield, who was already on probation, was arrested, charged $1,100 in fines and court fees, and sentenced to one year in county jail.

        Benefield was seven months into his sentence when, in September 2018, the state attorney’s office dropped his case and those of 118 others. Largely thanks to the diligence of one assistant state attorney, Wester was suspected of routinely planting drugs during traffic stops over his two years in the department.

        Last month, Benefield and eight others filed a federal lawsuit accusing Wester and two other deputies of planting drugs and making illegal arrests, and the Jackson County sheriff’s office of negligence. The suit accuses all the defendants of violating the individuals’ civil and constitutional rights through illegal search, seizure, detention, prosecution, and incarceration. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Marie Mattox, told The Appeal the suit represents “only the tip of the iceberg,” and she plans to add another 18 to 20 plaintiffs. At least 37 people have filed lawsuits against Wester at the state level. The sheriff’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

        A criminal investigation into Wester’s behavior was opened last August by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but no charges have been filed. Mattox said that, for the first time, three of her clients were subpoenaed for interviews in connection with that investigation in early June.

      • Hong Kong Protests Flare Again Over Extradition Laws

        More than 1,000 protesters blocked Hong Kong police headquarters into the night Friday, while others took over major streets as the tumult over the city’s future showed no signs of abating.

        The latest protest came after a deadline passed the previous day for the government to meet demands over highly unpopular extradition bills that many see as eroding the territory’s judicial independence.

        Police called for the demonstrators to disperse but did not immediately take firm action to remove them.

      • Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem

        One country, two systems. One event, two interpretations. The crisis in Hong Kong was sparked by chief executive Carrie Lam’s efforts to champion an extradition bill that would allow both residents and visitors to be sent to China for trial.

        It backfired. Beijing is furious for two reasons. First the massive demonstrations it ignited and secondly the central government insists it gave no instruction or order concerning this issue. It looked, Beijing officials insist privately, that Lam was trying to curry favour and had overstepped the mark. This was not a prime example, according to this narrative, of Beijing again trying to stamp its authority on Hong Kong.

        The mountains are high and the emperor is far away. This is an old saying in southern China. But the reverse is also true. From Beijing, Hong Kong is far away. Antigovernment protests in the former British colony are not a cause for emergency meetings though Lam’s future is under serious discussion.

        At the time of the rain-drenched handover in the summer of 1997, Hong Kong accounted for about 20 percent of China’s GDP. Today it accounts for 3 percent. This statistic does not cause sleepless nights in Zhongnanhai, the leadership compound off Tiananmen Square. If anything, it provides reason for a good night’s sleep. It proves, from Beijing’s perspective, not Hong Kong’s decline, but the healthy development of the national economy. The Hong Kong economy has grown since the handover but China’s growth has been supercharged.

        This is the crux. China’s economy has to keep growing, not just for the betterment of the people but to ensure stability.

        Human rights are viewed through a different prism in China than in the West. The imposition of, and here it gets complicated, what China considers the West considers as human rights, is feared. Support for the corrupt regimes of South Vietnam, the Philippines under Marcos and the so-called War on Terror are a small but telling sample and proof, in Beijing’s eyes, of a less than fully altruistic approach to human rights by Washington.

        Many in China believe that without strong central government the country would descend to mass violence and disintegration. This does not let the government off the hook. Chinese people want corruption to be tackled with greater determination and focus. They want to be rid of the scourge of pollution, linked to corruption through the bribing of officials. They want the ruling party to be more accountable. What they do want from the West is teachers, engineers, specialists and trade.

        The unwritten deal between the government and the people is you will be better off, leave the politics to us.

      • Federal police find violations in local counterparts’ handling of Golunov arrest

        Ivan Golunov was released on June 11 after the attempted drug distribution charges against him were dropped for lack of evidence, but the case under which he was charged lives on as a vehicle for police to investigate where the drugs came from. The case materials were transferred today to citywide prosecutors in Moscow for later transfer to the federal Investigative Committee.

      • My Grandmother’s 20-Year Fight for Prison Phone Justice

        Imagine having to choose between purchasing groceries or making a phone call to speak with your incarcerated loved one this week. That’s the dilemma facing thousands of families across the country bearing the burden of high-cost prison phone calls.

        In states like Arkansas, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, it can still cost up to $24 for a 15-minute phone call with someone detained at a jail — a plight poignantly dramatized in Ava DuVernay’s new series about the Central Park jogger case, “When They See Us.” In the series, DuVernay shows us how varied levels of contact and access impacted the now-exonerated men at the heart of the case differently over the course of their years of imprisonment.

        This continued injustice is why, for more than 20 years, my grandmother, Martha Wright-Reed, fought the prison phone industry for affordable phone rates. Now, I am working to keep up the fight.

        My own incarceration was the initial motivation for my grandmother’s struggle for phone justice. However, over time, we realized this fight was much bigger than us; it was about keeping families together across the United States. We also knew that lowering the price of long-distance calls was only one aspect of this ongoing battle.

        My grandmother’s perseverance and commitment finally bore fruit in 2013 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced they would cap long-distance prison phone rates. I couldn’t have been more proud of my grandmother, who, in her final years, achieved such tremendous change.

        This past week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act to continue my grandmother’s legacy by pushing for fairer prison phone rates across the country. This legislation would restore the FCC’s authority to regulate the prison phone industry and cap the rate of prison phone calls from state and local prisons.

      • “Willful Recklessness”: Trump Pushes for Indefinite Family Detention

        At the Greyhound bus station in San Antonio, Texas, you can easily spot the mothers and children who were released by immigration authorities from a facility run by the private prison company CoreCivic. The women wear what amount to prison uniforms: dark-wash jeans, pastel or red t-shirts or sweatshirts, and generic tennis shoes. Their sons and daughters, ranging from infants to tweens, all wear similar shirts and shoes with maroon sweatpants.

        One mother, named Corina, ran her fingers through her 10-year-old son’s hair as he leaned on her shoulder this past Saturday and waited for a bus to Oklahoma, where their sponsor lives. It was the next step of their journey to escape violence in Guatemala. Earlier in June they had been taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in South Texas, and crowded into an outdoor pen known as a perrera or “kennel,” where they were fed baloney sandwiches twice a day and slept on the ground. Then they were bussed to the sprawling 2,400-bed South Texas Family Residential Center in the small town of Dilley, and held 11 days in a room with two other families.

        “Compared to the border, it was much cleaner,” she said Saturday, through an interpreter. “We had food and we were able to sleep,” even though at night dozens of lights illuminate what is currently the largest family detention center in the United States.

        When pressed to describe what she might change about their time at the facility, she said only that she wished they had been held there for “menos tiempo”—“less time.”

    • DRM

      • Green Party co-leaders back call for ‘right to repair’

        Green Party co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley will today jointly be signing the Manchester Declaration calling for a “right to repair” for consumers.

        They will be joined by a representative from the Restart movement at the “Library of Things” – a community-focused lending library of useful appliances and tools – in the Upper Norwood Library.

        Jonathan Bartley said: “We all know how annoying it is when an appliance that we know used to last for decades dies after a few years, when a new computer won’t work with an older printer, when an expensive kitchen appliance becomes useless for the want of a minor part.

        “As consumers, we should have the right to goods made to last, designed so that if an element goes wrong it can be repaired (ideally at home or at a repair cafe), that parts will be available when needed and documentation available to assist the repairer.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • China introduces ‘intent to use’ to combat trade mark squatting in its recent law amendment

          For the first time, China introduces the concept of ‘intent to use’ into the trade mark application procedure. The new law requires that “Bad faith trade mark applications filed without intent to use shall be refused”. Procedurally, this clause becomes a legal ground for trade mark opposition and invalidation.

          It’s clear that the “intent to use” requirement is introduced to combat trade mark squatting, which has been a long-standing problem for brand owners. There is even plenty of ‘professional’ trade mark squatters, individuals and organisations alike, which scan the market and register trade marks in large quantities, without any intent to use them and rather sell them to brand owners for profit later on.

          China has acknowledged the problem since the third amendment of the China Trade Mark Law in 2014, and gradually increased the ease of opposing or invalidating such bad faith trade mark applications. However, non-use cancellation remains the best way to remove such trade marks from the Registrar. The problem is that it only applies to trade marks which have been registered for over 3 years.

          Therefore, the “intent to use” requirement is a significant step forward to deter trade mark squatting. Brand owners can now oppose any pending trade mark applications, or invalidate any registered trade mark that is less than 3 years old, based on the lack of intent of use. This means that trade marks can be challenged on the ground of ‘use’, either intent to use or actual use, at both the application and registration phase. Detailed guidelines are yet to be rolled out regarding, for example, what evidence satisfies intent to use. However, it’s likely that they will be based on and adapted from the ‘intent to use’ rules of other jurisdictions, including the USA.

      • Copyrights

        • RIAA Targets Large Polish File-Hosting Site Chomikuj

          The RIAA has obtained a subpoena from a court in the United States ordering Cloudflare to reveal the personal details of the operator of a large file-hosting site. In its native Poland, Chomikuj (hamster) is a hugely popular platform but according to Google the site is also ranked fifth in the world when it comes to DMCA complaints.

        • Rightsholders Want to Completely Delist ‘Pirate’ Domains From Search Results

          In a closed-door meeting this week to discuss the formation of a new anti-piracy law, rightsholders in Russia proposed that pirate sites should be completely delisted from search results, rather than just links to specified content. Internet companies are said to be against the measures, despite agreement on other fronts.

        • Spain’s Pirate Site Blocklist Expands Following Hollywood Complaint

          Following a complaint from major Hollywood studios including Disney, Paramount, Sony, and Universal, a Spanish court has ordered several ISPs to block several Spanish-language pirate sites. The MPA stresses that the ISPs are not accused of any wrongdoing, but their cooperation, voluntary or through the court, is needed to help deter piracy.

    06.23.19

    The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Older: What If Lionel Baranes Was EPO President?

    António Campinos and Judge Cuno Tarfusser

    Summary: Succession based on nepotism at Europe’s second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)

    IT wasn’t too long ago that Battistelli rigged the selection/coronation process in favour of António Campinos after Judge Cuno Tarfusser had applied for the job of European Patent Office (EPO) President. Next week Campinos ‘celebrates’ a year in the job. He has been utterly appalling and he has failed to demonstrate respect for the rule of law — the one thing the EPO needed most.

    We tried hard not too be so harsh on him, but he turned out to be everything we worried he’d become. He’s just a 'soft' face on dictatorship. Replacing Battistelli with Campinos is a lot like replacing Trump with Pence. It may look OK, but only on the surface. The same policies may persist and no matter how many impeachable scandals preceded (and crimes committed), nobody will be held accountable, definitely not arrested. Battistelli is still ‘in hiding’ at CEIPI and days ago he showed his face again at an EPO event. We hope that like his former boss Nicolas Sarkozy perhaps one day (perhaps a decade late when he’s nearly 80) justice will catch up with him. Because he himself will never catch up with justice. These are sociopaths.

    With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won’t Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Plastic fans of “innovation”!

    Pep water drinking

    Summary: A ‘paper economy’ is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)

    PATENT maximalism is a disease. It’s a very deadly disease, as we reminded readers a couple of hours ago in relation to the European Patent Office (EPO). Some software patents in Europe are being granted awards and one of the award recipients is a person who came up with a patent that prevents other people recycling (in a particular fashion). How is this beneficial to society? Battistelli was in the jury, so don’t expect sound rationale. António Campinos is the President, so it’s basically a banker running things (at the USPTO it’s law firms running the Office). Seeds, plants and even animals (including humans) are claimed to be ‘owned’ by few corporations — often corporations that aren’t even European! What is human kind doing to itself?

    “Seeds, plants and even animals (including humans) are claimed to be ‘owned’ by few corporations — often corporations that aren’t even European! What is human kind doing to itself?”As someone told me a few months ago, it won’t be long before lawyers claim that their clients or “inventors” ‘own’ air as well, claiming/insisting that the oxygen came from their trees, which are their “AYE PEE” (IP). Too many trees with too many owners to keep track of? Worry not, there will be a “patent pool” (for air). It can be a tax with different ‘tiers’ for those who cannot afford it.

    35 U.S.C. § 101 in the United States improved things a great deal, but Europe is going down the slippery slope of a ‘paper economy’ — an economy based on monopolies printed on a piece of paper rather than production (which these monopolies stifle). We certainly hope that patent examiners who read this site realise how self-harming patent maximalism really is. It’s a house of cards (cardboard/paper).

    Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed ‘Microsoft Haters’?

    Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    “Where are we on this Jihad?”

    Bill Gates

    Jihadi John

    Summary: Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)

    THE manager of Microsoft is Bill Gates. He was always the manager of Microsoft (and cofounder, the other one is dead). This narcissist created a sham ‘charity’ (the Gates Foundation) and he’s on top of the Board of Microsoft, which means he can fire Nadella if he wants to (nobody else in the Board has got the clout he has and there’s a cult-like worship, if not of the person then his money, which nearly doubled in less than a decade). A lot of people still choose to ignore that. Nadella is to Gates What Dmitry Medvedev was to Vladimir Putin (it’s a tandemocracy).

    “Bill Gates call call for a “Jihad” (his word), but we cannot use words like “bullshit”…”The chief of the Linux Foundation infamously said we need to “respect Microsoft” and that speaking negatively of Microsoft is like “kicking a puppy” (we’re not making this up, look it up!) and this is the kind of attitude that makes Microsoft more than happy with him being the boss of Linus Torvalds, whose face is far more familiar (he’s more popular and has more influence in general, so it threatens Bill Gates/Microsoft’s narrative). The same can be said about Richard Stallman, an atheist whose ‘beliefs’ (stances) on software are often compared, derogatorily, to religion.

    Can Torvalds still use “slurs” against Microsoft? Well, he has not done anything to that effect since the Code of Conduct was put in place. He had definitely done so beforehand, e.g. here. On Friday The Register published this article entitled “‘Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!’ Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev”. All this melodrama in the Microsoft-friendly rag is about Torvalds using the terms “bullshit,” “complete bullshit,” and “obviously garbage.” These aren’t sexist or racist or anything like that. But what we see here is corporate media playing the part of “language police”, trying to maintain Torvalds in a corporate-friendly ‘mode’ (like his boss, who poses for photo ops with Microsoft). This was the sole purpose of the article and even the headline alone makes Linux ‘stink’…

    Bill Gates can call for a “Jihad” (his word), but we cannot use words like “bullshit”…

    Microsoft executives, Gates included, have used far worse words (here’s a compilation from 12 years ago).

    Microsoft’s de facto PR people (for a decade) can anally rape children, but we in the FOSS community are “dangerous” and “zealots”.

    What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    Posted in Europe, Marketing, Patents at 12:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    EPO as a marketing agency

    I wanted to cure my patients but 'award-winning' patents stood in my way

    Summary: The EPO’s practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise

    Last year, after European Inventor Award 2018, we took a closer look at the winner Andane Remmal (3 parts [1, 2, 3]). Battistelli and his colleagues/friends in France made a fortune from that event and it was far from the first scandal associated with these events, which were typically hosted in France when Battistelli was President.

    “They’ve just awarded Frenchman and check what for.”European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos wants us to think that he does life-saving work that helps the environment, helps Europe etc. In the EPO’s own words (warning: epo.org link), these are “exceptional inventors” (actually patents do not always imply invention and these two terms are intentionally conflated by patent maximalists). As Law Professor Sarah Burstein (specialising in design patents) put it some hours ago in response to a video from EUIPO (former Campinos employer): “Because everyone knows human creativity & innovation did not exist until patents were invented in the 15th century [extreme sarcasm font]”

    “This is some next-level propaganda,” she later added. The EUIPO is managing to outclass even itself.

    The next comment said: “Accounts like that make me feel sick whenever I see an username with the word #EU in it, or the #EuropeanUnion flag as their avatar. Congratulations: You lobbyists managed to turn the EU into a symbol of tyranny and repression!”

    “So not only does he have a monopoly on it; now it’s a glorified (“award-winning”) patent monopoly. On an algorithm.”Kris Joseph wrote: “I read the film as an example of what you get when all IP is locked down and everything looks the same because nobody can create anything new without getting sued. The title for my version is “DisneyTopia.””

    And on it goes.

    We’ve meanwhile noticed the EPO retweeting INPI a lot throughout this event (or the event’s day), which quite frankly (or Franc-ly) happens a lot when almost all the Presidents are French.

    They’ve just awarded a Frenchman and check what for. Shades of Elizabeth Holmes using patents for false marketing of a fraud?

    It seems like a European software patent (I myself worked in this area of diagnostics, so I should know). In the EPO’s own words: “The French immunologist’s diagnostic tool assesses the risk of relapse in cancer patients. It uses digital images of tumour samples and advanced software to measure immune response. Galon’s invention is already in use at clinics around the world to improve the accuracy of prognosis for patients with colorectal cancer.”

    So not only does he have a monopoly on it; now it’s a glorified (“award-winning”) patent monopoly. On an algorithm. We’ve already covered why patents on cancer treatment may actually harm cancer patients, e.g. in [1, 2, 3].

    When the jury includes a nontechnical Frenchman like Battistelli no wonder winners are of questionable eligibility/merit.

    06.22.19

    Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Career-climbing nihilists or something more profound and even sinister?

    A sick EPO

    Summary: On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office

    THE more we speak to readers (and we often don’t quote them because it can give away their identities), the more we realise that leadership at the European Patent Office (EPO) is full of sociopaths. People are rewarded not for their skills or their compassion but for compatibility with sociopaths who already occupy top positions at the Office. Nothing illustrates this better than ENA graduate Battistelli and his friend Campinos, who is incapable of empathy but perfectly capable of emulating it (story-telling and PR).

    Source/full paper: Antisocial Personality Disorder: Treatment, Management and Prevention.

    Antisocial Personality Disorder: Treatment, Management and Prevention.

    Source/full paper: Antisocial Personality Disorder

    Antisocial Personality Disorder

    Source/full paper: Sociopathy as a human process. A viewpoint.

    Sociopathy as a human process. A viewpoint.

    Source/full paper: Sociopathy: genesis and development.

    Sociopathy: genesis and development.

    More: The backstabber. Do you have a sociopath in your workplace?

    “People were chatting all around but all backs turned to him [Battistelli]. He looked extremely alone, almost like a leper and maybe he also felt so. His body language showed enough: hunchbacked and looking down, avoiding eye contact with his staff.”

    Anonymous eyewitness

    Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    GNOME bluefish

    Contents

    GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • You Can Now Buy Linux Notebooks Powered by Zorin OS from Star Labs

        The makers of the Zorin OS Linux operating system announced today that they partnered with a computer manufacturer to offer users notebooks powered by Zorin OS. The wait is over, as Zorin OS has partnered with Star Labs, a UK-based computer manufacturer specialised in selling Linux-powered notebooks, to offer you two new laptops running the latest version of Zorin OS, fully customized and optimised for these powerful and slick notebooks. “Creating a Linux desktop experience that’s accessible to everyone has always been our mission at Zorin OS,” reads today’s announcement. “Today we’re taking the next step in this mission by making Zorin OS easier for the masses to access: on new computers powered by Zorin OS.”

      • Star Labs Offering a range of Linux Laptops with Zorin OS 15 pre-installed

        Recent days many people are interested to buying a Linux pre-installed laptops because most of the developers are working in major applications which are running in Linux operating system. It’s not limited to only developers and many others are buying Linux pre-installed laptops because Linux desktop operating system are gaining more popularity in recent days. Hence, many computer manufactures are bundling flavours of Linux with their laptops. There are 20+ manufactures are currently offering a laptops with Linux pre-installed especially Ubuntu, LinuxMint, etc,. But Star Labs is not limited to offer only the above three distributions and you can install much more Linux distros in their hardwares.

      • Running Ubuntu on the One Mix Yoga 3 mini laptop (video)

        The One Mix Yoga 3 is a small laptop that features an 8.4 inch touchscreen display and a convertible tablet-style design. It ships with Windows 10, but one of the first things I tried doing with the tablet was to boot a GNU/Linux distribution. I posted some notes about what happened when I took Ubuntu 19.04 for a spin on the One Mix 3 Yoga in my first-look article, but plenty of folks who watched my first look video on YouTube asked for a video… so I made one of those too.

      • Google to Abandon Tablets in Favor of Chrome OS Laptops

        One reason that Google is moving away from tablets has to do with the fact that they are just not selling all that well.

    • Server

      • Top 500 Supercomputers of the World are Linux-Based, Reveals TOP500 53rd Edition

        The 53rd edition of Top500 is here with an interesting commonality among all the top 500 supercomputers.

      • Fedora BoF at Red Hat Summit

        Every year, Red Hat holds a conference for customers, partners, and open source contributors — Red Hat Summit.This year’s was last month, in Boston, Massachusetts, and of course Fedora was there. We had our booth in the “Community Central” area of the expo floor, and ran a birds-of-a-feather (BoF) session for open discussion with community members. I was joined by Brian Exelbierd, Ben Cotton, Adam Šamalík, and a dozen members of the Fedora community. We used a “lean coffee” format to drive the topics, letting the attendees propose and vote on what we discussed. (It’s basically the same format we use for Fedora Council’s open floor meetings, but in person rather than via IRC.) I expected a lot of questions about the new features of Fedora 30, which was released eight days before. But the community members who came to the BoF seemed pretty well-informed on this. Instead, the most-voted topic was Fedora Modularity.

      • Introducing Volume Cloning Alpha for Kubernetes

        Kubernetes v1.15 introduces alpha support for volume cloning. This feature allows you to create new volumes using the contents of existing volumes in the user’s namespace using the Kubernetes API.

      • How Dell EMC and Red Hat work together on joint solutions

        From virtualization and cloud to enterprise IT optimization and performance, Red Hat and Dell EMC deliver open, cost-effective and highly reliable solutions. Our jointly designed and architected solutions blend the best of Red Hat technology with Dell EMC’s customer-driven innovation to create solutions and services that address real-world needs.

      • Red Hat signs off last set of numbers before it is likely gobbled by IBM

        With the EU tipped to approve IBM’s $34bn slurp of Red Hat next week, the open-source software house started Q1 of fiscal ’20 with double-digit hikes in sales and profit, though its top line fell short of analyst estimates. The US regulatory authorities have already given Red Hat the thumbs-up to be consumed by something Big and Blue, but the EU is scheduled to make a decision on 27 June, the last day of Red Hat’s EMEA Partner knees-up. In what could be its last set of results before it is assimilated into IBM’s Hybrid Cloud unit, Red Hat said revenue for the quarter ended 31 May was up 15 per cent year-on-year to $934m, 0.3 per cent below consensus. Broken down, subscription was up 15 per cent to $815m and services were up 17 per cent to $119m. Subscription for infrastructure-related sales was $580m, up 11 per cent, and Application Development stuff was $235m, up 24 per cent. Deferred revenues rose 17 per cent to $2.8bn. “Our large deal momentum remained strong,” Eric Shander, exec veep and CFO, said in a statement. “We doubled the number of deals over $5m and saw 15 per cent growth in the number of deals over $1m.” The record also included Red Hat’s largest storage and hyperconverged sale – for more than $15m – and got sign-off for a $5m piece of OpenStack business.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Talk Python to Me: #217 Notebooks vs data science-enabled scripts

        On this episode, I meet up with Rong Lu and Katherine Kampf from Microsoft while I was at BUILD this year. We cover a bunch of topics around data science and talk about two opposing styles of data science development and related tooling: Notebooks vs Python code files and editors.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.1.13

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.13 kernel. All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at: git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser: https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.1.14
      • Linux 4.19.54
      • Linux 4.19.55
      • Linux 4.14.129
      • Linux 4.9.183
      • Linux 4.4.183
      • ‘Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!’ Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev

        Linux kernel chieftain Linus Torvalds owes the swear jar a few quid this week, although by his standards this most recent rant of his is relatively restrained. Over on the kernel development mailing list, in a long and involved thread about the functionality and efficiency of operating system page caches, firebrand-turned-woke Torvalds described Aussie programmer Dave Chinner’s arguments in the debate as “bullshit,” “complete bullshit,” and “obviously garbage.” To be fair to the open-source overlord, this is a far less personal attack than previous outbursts, such as the time he slammed “some security people” as “just f#cking morons,” or that unforgettable straight-to-the-point detonation: “Mauro, SHUT THE F**K UP.”

      • It Looks Like PulseAudio 13.0 Will Be Releasing Soon

        It’s been a year since the release of PulseAudio 12 and even eleven months since the last point release but it looks like the next PulseAudio release will be out very soon. The next PulseAudio release has been under discussion with the sorting out of when the release will take place and any blocker bugs. As it stands now, there is just one blocker bug remaining and that is addressing a regression.

      • A One Line Kernel Patch Appears To Solve The Recent Linux + Steam Networking Regression

        As a follow-up to the issue reported on Friday regarding the latest Linux kernel releases causing problems for Valve’s Steam client, a fix appears pending that with changing around one line of code does appear to address the regression. Linus Torvalds got involved and pointed out a brand new kernel patch that may solve the issue. That patch was quickly reaffirmed by Linux gamers as well as prominent Valve Linux developer Pierre-Loup A. Griffais.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Important, but obscure, sysadmin tool osquery gets a foundation of its own

          But users think osquery’s founder, Facebook, has been neglecting osquery. Going forward, Facebook has turned osquery over to The Linux Foundation. There, engineers and developers from Dactiv, Facebook, Google, Kolide, Trail of Bits, Uptycs, and other companies invested in osquery, will support it under the new foundation: The osquery Foundation. That’s a good thing because while you may not have heard of osquery, many major companies, such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Netflix, Palantir, Etsy, and Uber, rely on it. This project needed a new lease on life. How does it work? Osquery exposes server operating system as a high-performance relational database. This allows you to write SQL-based queries to explore operating system data and low level system information. In osquery, SQL tables represent abstract concepts such as running processes, loaded kernel modules, open network connections, browser plugins, hardware events or file hashes.These are kept in a SQLite DBMS.

      • Graphics Stack

        • More AMD Navi GPUs show up in a Linux driver

          A since-deleted commit for a Linux driver update hints at 4 new AMD Navi GPUs.

        • Libdrm Picks Up Support For AMD Navi

          As another one of the prerequisites for landing the AMD Radeon RX 5000 series “Navi” support in Mesa, the libdrm bits have just been merged. Libdrm is the Mesa DRM library that is needed for sitting between the Linux kernel Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) interfaces and the user-space components (depending upon the driver, as is required by like RadeonSI). Libdrm also ends up being used by the DDX drivers like xf86-video-amdgpu and other components as well depending upon the driver. As of a short time ago, the Navi bits landed in libdrm Git. The Navi support here isn’t all that exciting and mostly boilerplate code for a new generation for a new family ID, a new member for a tile steering override for GFX10, GDDR6 as a new video memory type, and the largest addition is simply the new tests for VCN 2.0 video decode support.

        • Linux display driver code hints that more AMD Navi GPUs are coming

          Currently, only three have been revealed: the Radeon RX 5700, Radeon RX 5700 XT, and the 50th Anniversary Edition Radeon 5700 XT. The Linux code contains references to Navi 10, Navi 12, Navi 14, and Navi 21. All we know so far is that Navi 10 refers to the GPU found at the heart of the Radeon RX 5700 graphics cards. As such, the other Navi bits could be more upcoming variants of the new Radeon RX cards, or perhaps mobile or professional workstation cards. All we’ve got to go on at the moment is guesswork. There’s also another GPU spelt out in code as “NV_UNKNOWN = 0xFF”. Somewhat ironically, we also have no idea what the unknown card might be; perhaps it’s another Radeon GPU or something completely different.

        • Linux driver hints that more AMD Navi GPUs are on the way

          So far, AMD has only officially announced three Navi models, the Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700, along with a 50th Anniversary Edition of the former. It’s a safe bet there will be additional models, though, and perhaps soon, based on a breakdown of a recent Linux display driver update. Twitter user and frequent hardware leaker APISAK called attention to the updated driver code. The original reference has since been taken offline, though not before a screenshot was grabbed.

        • Mesa 19.1.1 release candidate
          Hello list,
          
          The candidate for the Mesa 19.1.1 is now available. Currently we have:
           - 27 queued
           - 0 nominated (outstanding)
           - and 0 rejected patch
          
          
          The current queue consists mostly in fixes for different drivers (RADV, ANV,
          Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g, ...)
          
          The queue also contains different fixes for different parts (Meson build, GLX,
          etc).
          
          Take a look at section "Mesa stable queue" for more information
          
          
          Testing reports/general approval
          --------------------------------
          Any testing reports (or general approval of the state of the branch) will be
          greatly appreciated.
          
          The plan is to have 19.1.1 this Tuesday (25th June), around or shortly after
          10:00 GMT.
          
          If you have any questions or suggestions - be that about the current patch queue
          or otherwise, please go ahead.
          
          
          Trivial merge conflicts
          -----------------------
          commit 25a34df61439b25645d03510d6354cb1f5e8a185
          Author: Kenneth Graunke 
          
              iris: Fix iris_flush_and_dirty_history to actually dirty history.
          
              (cherry picked from commit 64fb20ed326fa0e524582225faaa4bb28f6e4349)
          
          
          Cheers,
              J.A.
          
        • Mesa 19.1.1 Is Coming Next Week With A Variety Of Fixes

          Debuting two weeks ago was the Mesa 19.1 quarterly feature update while due out early next week is the first bug-fix point release. Mesa 19.1 is a huge update over 19.0 and earlier. Mesa 19.1 brought multiple new Gallium3D drivers as well as a new Vulkan driver (TURNIP), performance optimizations, new Vulkan extensions, mature Icelake support, and a variety of other features as listed in the aforelinked article.

    • Applications

      • Top 20 Best Linux Video Conferencing Software in 2019

        Technology has brought our world closer by curating out a continuous set of innovative tools. Video conferencing solutions are great examples of this fact. They allow individuals or businesses to conduct seamless communication across the globe without experience the limitation of geographical distance. They can be used for both one to one and group communications. The latter makes them a suitable choice for freelance business owners or corporations who have employees or agents all over the world. Linux, being the industry leader in powering corporate systems, offers a plethora of robust Linux video conferencing software that enables trouble-free video conferencing.

      • Stellarium v0.19.1 has been released!

        Thank you very much to community for bug reports, feature requests and contributions!

      • Stellarium 0.19.1 Released with A Large List of Changes

        Free-software planetarium Stellarium 0.19.1 was released today with numerous bug-fixes, updates, and improvements.

      • Instructionals/Technical

      • Wine or Emulation

        • Wine-Staging 4.11 Released With Its 800+ Patches On Top Of Wine

          Just hours after releasing Wine 4.11, the team maintaining the experimental/testing version of Wine — Wine-Staging — issued their release with more than 800 patches re-based on top. Wine-Staging 4.11 is at 818 patches on top of upstream Wine, which is lower than previous releases thanks to a number of patches getting upstreamed this month.

        • Wine Announcement
          The Wine development release 4.11 is now available.
          
          What's new in this release (see below for details):
            - Updated version of the Mono engine, including Windows.Forms.
            - More DLLs are built as PE files by default.
            - Faster implementation of Slim Reader/Writer locks on Linux.
            - Initial support for enumerating display devices.
            - Various bug fixes.
        • Whose Wine is it anyway? Wine 4.11 is out

          It’s not quite the the Wine o’clock news but it will do, Wine 4.11 is officially out. The Wine team continues progressing on and it’s looking tasty.

        • Wine 4.11 Brings Ability To Enumerate Display Devices, Updated Mono

          Wine 4.11 is out tonight as the latest bi-weekly development release for running Windows games/applications on Linux and other platforms. With Wine 4.11 is initial support for enumerating display devices. In particular, a Xinerama display device handler is added to the Wine X11 driver and the ability to handle display device changes. Wine 4.11 also ships with an updated version of the Mono engine, more DLLs are now built as PE files by default (continuing a recent trend), there is a faster implementation of slim reader/write locks on Linux, and various bug fixes.

      • Games

        • Play Ascii Patrol Game in Linux Terminal!

          Typing a command in the Linux terminal is one of the exciting things. We are like a king who is giving orders to his soldiers to do certain things. Terminal on Linux has many benefits when you understand the commands that exist. In addition to executing a command, we can play games at the terminal. Playing games on the Linux terminal is one of entertainment. There are many Terminal-based games that you can play on the Linux terminal, one of which is Ascii Patroll. This game is inspired by the classic game “Moon Patrol”, and we can run it on the CLI.

        • Steam Won’t Support Ubuntu 19.10 and Future Releases

          Do you use Steam on Ubuntu? You may have to switch to a new Linux distro in the future. A Valve developer announced that Steam won’t officially support Ubuntu 19.10 or future releases. Ubuntu-based Linux distributions are also affected. This is all because Canonical announced plans to drop 32-bit packages and libraries from Ubuntu 19.10. These packages enable 32-bit software to run on 64-bit versions of Ubuntu. While most Linux applications will get along just fine, this is a huge blow to Valve’s Steam. Many Linux games on Steam are only available in 32-bit form—they work on 64-bit Linux distributions, but only with the 32-bit libraries. As Phoronix recently pointed out, this also affects the Wine compatibility layer that allows running Windows software on Linux—Wine won’t be able to run 32-bit Windows software anymore. Steam’s compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux would also not work for 32-bit games.

        • Steam will no longer support Ubuntu, say Valve

          The move, not unexpected, follows Ubuntu’s decision to stop providing 32-bit packages in its archives, beginning with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release. Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais, who works on the massively popular game distribution platform, says in his tweet that Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases “will not be officially supported by Steam”. And he adds that Steam will no longer recommend Ubuntu to its users. That’s a big deal as Valve has officially supported Ubuntu since the launch of Steam for Linux back in 2012. But going forward the company will instead advise would-be Linux gamers to switch to a different Linux distribution.

        • Valve Will Not Be Officially Supporting Ubuntu 19.10+

          The planned dropping of 32-bit support on Ubuntu saga continues… Well known Valve Linux developer Pierre-Loup Griffais has said they plan to officially stop supporting Ubuntu for Steam on Linux.

        • Valve looking to drop support for Ubuntu 19.10 and up due to Canonical’s 32bit decision

          Things are starting to get messy, after Canonical announced the end of 32bit support from Ubuntu 19.10 onwards, Valve have now responded. [...] I can’t say I am surprised by Valve’s response here. Canonical pretty clearly didn’t think it through enough on how it would affect the desktop. It certainly seems like Canonical also didn’t speak to enough developers first. Perhaps this will give Valve a renewed focus on SteamOS? Interestingly, Valve are now funding some work on KWin (part of KDE).

        • What are you playing this weekend and what do you think about it? It’s mostly Dota Underlords for me

          Let’s lighten the mood a bit shall we? It’s question time here on GamingOnLinux! Let’s have a talk about what you’ve been playing recently. I will of course go first: Dota Underlords. I have quite the sweet spot for it already, even though I’m absolutely terrible at it. This might be the game to finally get me to kick my unhealthy Rocket League obsession, which is amazing considering how radically different they are. I adore strategy games though and unlike normal Dota, I don’t need to think ridiculously quickly. Since you don’t need any kind of reflexes for it, sitting back and relaxing with the Steam Controller is another reason I quite like Dota Underlords. In the evenings on weekends especially, I can be quite the lazy-gamer, so anything that allows me to kick back with it is likely to get my vote. After only being out for a few days, it’s already annihilated the player record for Artifact. Artifact’s all-time high was only just over 60K whereas Underlords has sailed past 190K, although that shouldn’t be too surprising since Underlords is free and isn’t rammed full of micro-transactions (yet?) and it helps being on mobile as well of course (According to one of the SteamDB folk, the mobile players are being counted too).

        • Canonical Developer Tries Running GOG Games On 64-Bit-Only Ubuntu 19.10 Setup

          In response to the decision to drop 32-bit x86 support beginning in Ubuntu 19.10, Alan Pope of Canonical and longtime Ubuntu member decided to try running some GOG games under an Ubuntu 19.10 daily build that he configured to remove the 32-bit packages ahead of the actual removal. Unfortunately, his experience didn’t go so smoothly. While Valve has the resources to come up with an effective solution to bypass the Ubuntu archives doing away with 32-bit packages on Ubuntu 19.10, the smaller outfits like GOG may have a more difficult time especially with not being as centralized as Steam. Pains could be involved at least in the short-term for those wanting to enjoy their 32-bit-focused games on newer Ubuntu releases.

        • Results of testing games on 64-bit only eoan (19.10)

          These don’t seem to be true for the limited testing I did. I would urge more testing and feedback. I’m also keen to hear if my testing strategy is flawed in any way. Bear in mind I’m trying to approach this from a “normal user” point of view who wants to download and run a game they already had in their collection, or a new title they just bought. I have a few (50) games in GOG that I have purchased over the years. I only had time to select a few at ~random. I picked 5 which gave me a representative sample of relatively modern stuff mixed with retro games, and a good mix between native Linux and native Windows titles.

        • What deals Linux fans should look out for this weekend

          Here’s a little rundown of some good deals going for Linux users, if you’re after something new come and have a look. That is, if you can pull yourself away from the free Dota Underlords from Valve which is currently pulling in masses of players (over 150K right now!).

        • Streets of Rogue, one of my favourite games is leaving Early Access on July 12th

          I don’t know where to start with Streets of Rogue, it starts off pretty tame and as you get further into it the whole game just becomes mental. What is it? Well, it’s hard to properly pin it down to a genre because it’s such a tasty mix. It takes inspiration from games like The Binding of Isaac, Nuclear Throne and Deus Ex to create something entirely unique. It all takes place in a procedurally generated city, one where anything can happen. One minute you’re stick in the middle of rival gangs, another you’re being chased by cannibals. The AI interactions can be seriously amusing too, very fun to mess with them.

        • You can now try the pre-release demo of the brutal roguelike Jupiter Hell for the weekend

          ChaosForge are giving you a chance to play the demo of Jupiter Hell before everyone else, just for the weekend. What is it? A crowdfunded turn-based sci-fi roguelike with modern 3D graphics and an incredible atmosphere. Seriously, while it is turn-based it has the ferocious intensity of a real-time game, it’s pretty amazing. It’s one I personally pledged towards, although I’ve been given earlier access by the developer. I’ve had a seriously good time with it, as shown off before multiple times here on GamingOnLinux (like here and here).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Latte and “Flexible” settings…

          Following Latte and a “Shared Layouts” dream, today I am going to present you all the new settings pages for upcoming v0.9 and the approach used for them. In following screenshots you can find Basic and Advanced pages for docks and panels.

        • Plasma Vision

          The Plasma Vision got written a couple years ago, a short text saying what Plasma is and hopes to create and defines our approach to making a useful and productive work environment for your computer. Because of creative differences it was never promoted or used properly but in my quest to make KDE look as up to date in its presence on the web as it does on the desktop I’ve got the Plasma sprinters who are meeting in Valencia this week to agree to adding it to the KDE Plasma webpage.

        • Day 26

          I’m in the end of my semester at college, so I need to split my time with GSoC and my college tasks, so now I’m going slowly but on the next month I have my vacation and I’ll have all of my time dedicated to it. My menthors have helped me a lot so far, and I would like to say thanks for the patience, and say sorry for KDE for my initial project and for waste the first weeks on a thing that didn’t produce anything.

        • LabPlot getting prettier and also support for online datasets

          Hello everyone! I’m participating in Google Summer of Code for the second time. I’m working on KDE’s LabPlot, just like last year. I’m very happy that I can work again with my former and current mentor Kristóf Fábián, and with Alexander Semke, an invaluable member of the LabPlot team, who is like a second mentor to me. [...] We had to create metadata files in order to record additional information about datasets, and also to divide them into categories and subcategories. We use a metadata data file which contains every category and subcategory and a list of datasets for every subcategory. Additionally there is a metadata file for every dataset containing various data about the dataset itself. In the “Datasets” section we highlight every dataset the metadata of which is locally available (in the labplot directory located in the user’s home directory). When the user clicks on the “Clear cache” button every file is deleted from the above mentioned directory. The “Refresh” button provides the possibility to refresh the locally available metadata file, which contains the categories and subcategories. In order to make possible the import of datasets into LabPlot, and saving them into Spreadsheets I had to implement a helper class: DatasetHandler. This class processes a dataset’s metadata file, configures the Spreadsheet into which the data will be loaded, downloads the dataset, processes it (based on the preferences present in the metadata file) then loads its content into the spreadsheet.

        • Valve Is Funding Improvements To KDE’s KWin & More Work On X.Org

          As some good news this week amid all the 32-bit Linux gaming drama this week and the networking snafu… Valve is now funding another developer to work on upstream open-source code, in particular on the KDE side this time with a developer who had been working for Blue Systems. Longtime open-source developer Roman Gilg is now working under contract for Valve. He will be focusing on “certain gaming-related XServer projects and improve KWin in this regard and for general desktop usage.” On the KDE side with KWin he’s working on some improvements for both X11/Wayland paths, including a reworking of the compositing pipeline. With the reworked compositing pipeline it could allow for separate CPU threads per display outputs, better vblank handling, and other benefits.

        • Support for Jupyter notebooks has evolved in Cantor

          Hello everyone, it’s been almost a month since my last post and there are a lot of changes that have been done since then. First, what I called the “minimal plan” is arleady done! Cantor can now load Jupyter notebooks and save the currently opened document in Jupyter format. Below you can see how one of the Jypiter notebooks I’m using for test purposes (I have mentioned them in previous post) looks in Jupyter and in Cantor.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Asia Summit 2019 Announced for GNOME 3.36 “Gresik” Desktop in Indonesia

          Every year, the GNOME developers and contributors gather together for the GUADEC (GNOME Users And Developers European Conference) and GNOME Asia Summit events to plan the next major release of their beloved, open-source desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems. While the GUADEC 2019 conference will kick off this summer between August 23rd and 28th, in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the upcoming GNOME 3.34 “Thessaloniki” desktop environment, the GNOME Asia Summit 2019 event will take place between October 11th and 13th, 2019, in Gresik, Indonesia.

        • Will Thompson: Rebasing downstream translations

          At Endless, we maintain downstream translations for an number of GNOME projects, such as gnome-software, gnome-control-center and gnome-initial-setup. [...] Whenever we update to a new version of GNOME, we have to reconcile our downstream translations with the changes from upstream. We want to preserve our intentional downstream changes, and keep our translations for strings that don’t exist upstream; but we also want to pull in translations for new upstream strings, as well as improved translations for existing strings. Earlier this year, the translation-rebase baton was passed to me. My predecessor would manually reapply our downstream changes for a set of officially-supported languages, but unlike him, I can pretty much only speak English, so I needed something a bit more mechanical. I spoke to various people from other distros about this problem.1 A common piece of advice was to not maintain downstream translation changes: appealing, but not really an option at the moment. I also heard that Ubuntu follows a straightforward rule: once the translation for a string has been changed downstream, all future upstream changes to the translation for that string are ignored. The assumption is that all downstream changes to a translation must have been made for a reason, and should be preserved. This is essentially a superset of what we’ve done manually in the past. I wrote a little tool to implement this logic, pomerge. Its “rebase” mode takes the last common upstream ancestor, the last downstream commit, and a working copy with the newest downstream code. For each locale, for each string in the translation in the working copy, it compares the old upstream and downstream translations – if they differ, it merges the latter into the working copy.

        • GNOME 3.33.3 Released, Kernel Security Updates for RHEL and CentOS, Wine Developers Concerned with Ubuntu 19.10 Dropping 32-Bit Support, Bzip2 to Get an Update and OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Now Available

          GNOME 3.33.3 was released yesterday. Note that this release is development code and is intended for testing purposes.

    • Distributions

      • Kali Linux sets out its roadmap for 2019/20

        Offensive Security, the team behind the security-focused, Debian-based, penetration testing Linux distro Kali Linux. has set out the roadmap for the operating system for the months ahead. This is the first time such a roadmap has been shared for Kali Linux, and it gives us a good idea of what to expect between now and 2020. The team says: “normally, we only really announce things when they are ready to go public, but a number of these changes are going to impact users pretty extensively so we wanted to share them early”.

      • Enso OS, A Desktop Mix between Xubuntu and elementary OS

        Enso OS is a relatively new GNU/Linux distro based on Ubuntu with XFCE desktop coupled with Gala Window Manager. Looking at Enso is like looking at a mix between Xubuntu and elementary OS. It features a Super key start menu called Panther and a global menu on its top panel, making the interface very interesting to try. This overview briefly highlights the user interface for you.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 30 Elections Results

          The Fedora 30 election cycle has concluded. Here are the results for each election. Congratulations to the winning candidates, and thank you all candidates for running in this election!

        • FPgM report: 2019-25

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. Elections have concluded. Congratulations to the newly-elected candidates. I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Pooja Yadav: Fedora Pune Meetup

          Last Saturday(June,15) , we had Fedora Pune Meetup with Fedora-30 release celebration. When I reached the venue, people were already present there and were ready to start the event. We started according to the agenda with our first talk from Pravin Satpute on Fedora-30 features which was great, as people were really interested in knowing the new features added.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian vs. Ubuntu: Best Linux Distro for Laptops, Desktops, and Servers

          There is a seemingly endless list of distributions to choose from if you’re interested in Linux. That said, one of the most popular distributions is Ubuntu. If you’ve heard of Linux, chances are you’ve heard of Ubuntu. You may have heard that Ubuntu is based on another distribution, Debian. Which one should you choose? Is it a matter of preference, or is easy distribution better suited to different use cases?

        • Derivatives

          • Canonical/Ubuntu

            • Ubuntu 19.10 Dropping 32-bit Support Leaves Developers Fuming

              There will be no 32-bit support at all in Ubuntu 19.10. This is problematic for developers of Wine and Steam and gaming on Ubuntu might be in trouble.

            • Ubuntu is dropping i386 support and WINE developers are irked

              As of version 19.10, Ubuntu will no longer support i386. With the arrival of Eoan Ermine, Ubuntu is severing 32-bit ties, and some developers are concerned. The move is not entirely unexpected. The Ubuntu developers had previously said it would make an i386 decision in the middle of 2019. That time having rolled around, the Ubuntu engineering team says that it “has reviewed the facts before us and concluded that we should not continue to carry i386 forward as an architecture”. WINE developers are among those unhappy with the decision.

            • Ubuntu Officially Announced it’s Dropping Support for 32-bit Packages Going Forward

              Ubuntu has officially announced about dropping the support for 32-bit (i386) systems going forward, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release. The 32-bit architecture is used in many Intel and Intel-compatible CPUs. It’s refereed as i386 in Ubuntu, Debian and some other Linux distributions. Many peoples prefer to use the more generic name called “x86” for 32-bit. 32-bit packages were designed especially for legacy hardware’s that only runs a 32-bit operating system, which isn’t popular anymore. No manufacturers have produced any 32-bit computer hardware for desktop / laptop for last 10 years and it was made during the last decade. Most of the major Linux distributions (Red Hat) and software vendors (lack of support in the upstream Linux kernel, toolchains, and web browsers) were already dropped support for 32-bit.

            • Snappy Allow Users to Install Multiple Versions of the Same Snap App

              Portable packaging formats were gained lot of popularity in recent days. Snappy is one of the portable packaging format, which was created by Ubuntu. It brings new features called parallel install, which allow us to install multiple version of the same snap app on system. It could be very helpful for developers to test the difference between multiple version of the packages. You should enable this feature with snap to use, to enable this option is a fairly simple task. This option is available from version 2.36 on-wards.

    • Devices/Embedded

    Free Software/Open Source

    • Good List of 5 Open Source Remote Desktop Software

      First, you should know that in order for two machines to communicate together, they need what’s known as a “protocol”. A remote desktop protocol is a way of transferring the instructions from one computer to another so that you can graphically control the other system. There are many famous remote desktop protocols, such as RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) which is a proprietary protocol designed by Microsoft and implemented in its Windows operating system, and the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) protocol, which is a free and open source protocol to do the same task, and you can additionally connect to the remote host via SSH, NX protocols and others. Now, away from protocols, you’ll of course need a program to access the remote desktop. In general, people are using the proprietary TeamViewer program to do that. But there are many other open source alternatives to TeamViewer that you can use.

    • Welcoming the newest Collaborans!

      For many, June 21, day of the Solstice, is a day of celebrations. At Collabora, we’re also celebrating, as we take a moment to welcome all the newest members of our engineering and administration teams who’ve joined over the last year! Comprised of some of the most motivated and active Open Source contributors and maintainers around the world, Collaborans share an enduring passion for technology and Open Source, and these new joiners are no different.

    • Events

      • Montreal Python User Group: Montréal-Python 75: Funky Urgency

        The summer has started and it’s time for our last edition before the seasonal break. We are inviting you for the occasion at our friends Anomaly, a co-working space in the Mile-End. As usual, it’s gonna be an opportunity to discover how people are pushing our favourite language farther, to understand how to identify bad habit of most programmers and to have fun with data! Join us on Wednesday, there’s gonna be pizza and we’re probably gonna continue the evening to share more about our latest discoveries.

      • More foss in the north

        This year, midsummer is on June 21, which marks four months from the first foss-north event outside of Gothenburg. That’s right – foss-north is going to Stockholm on October 21 and the theme will be IoT and Security. Make sure to save the date! We have a venue and three great speakers lined up. There will be a CFP during July and the final speakers will be announced towards September. We’re also looking for sponsors (hint hint nudge nudge). Now I’m off to enjoy the last hour of midsummer and enjoy the shortest night of the year. Take care and I’ll see you in Stockholm this autumn!

      • Open Source, Digital Transformation And Grape Up: Roman Swoszowski

        We sat down with Roman Swoszowski, co-founder and VP of Cloud R&D at Grape Up to get a better grip of the problems companies face and how Grape Up help these companies using Open Source technologies.

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • TenFourFox FPR15b1 available

          In honour of New Coke’s temporary return to the market (by the way, I say it tastes like Pepsi and my father says it tastes like RC), I failed again with this release to get some sort of async/await support off the ground, and we are still plagued by issue 533. The second should be possible to fix, but I don’t know exactly what’s wrong. The first is not possible to fix without major changes because it reaches up into the browser event loop, but should be still able to get parsing and thus enable at least partial functionality from the sites that depend on it. That part didn’t work either. A smaller hack, though, did make it into this release with test changes. Its semantics aren’t quite right, but they’re good enough for what requires it and does fix some parts of Github and other sites.

    • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Cockroach and the Source Available Future [Ed: The proprietary software giants-funded pundits like PedMonk on the openwashing agenda ("Source Available"... like "Shared Source" or "Inner Source"). What a crock.]

        Earlier this month, the database company Cockroach Labs relicensed its flagship database product. This is notable for two reasons. Most obviously, the company is following in the footsteps of several of its commercial open source database peers such as Confluent, Elastic, MongoDB, Redis Labs and TimescaleDB that have felt compelled to apply licenses that are neither open source nor, in most cases, traditionally proprietary. But the relicensing of CockroachDB is also interesting because this isn’t the first time the company has applied such a license. In January of 2017, Cockroach Labs announced the introduction of what it called the CockroachDB Community License (CCL). To the company’s credit, in the post announcing this new license, it took pains to make it clear that the CCL, while making source code available, was not in fact an open source license because it restricted redistribution. The CCL essentially enforced a two tier, open core-type business model, in which a base version of the database was made available under a permissive open source license (Apache) while certain enterprise features were made available under the CCL, which essentially requires users of these premium, enterprise-oriented features to pay for them. With its recent relicensing, the original dual core model has been deprecated. Moving forward, CockroachDB will be made available under two non-open source licenses – which, as an aside to Cockroach, presumably means that section 1B of the CCL probably needs to be updated. The CCL will continue to govern the premium featureset, but the original open source codebase will moving forward be governed by the Business Source License (BSL). Originally released by MariaDB, the BSL is a source available license; a license that makes source code for a project available, but places more restrictions upon its usage than is permitted by open source licenses.

      • Cloudflare’s random number generator, robotics data visualization, npm token scanning, and more news

        Is there such a thing as a truly random number? Internet security and services provider Cloudflare things so. To prove it, the company has formed The League of Entropy, an open source project to create a generator for random numbers. The League consists of Cloudflare and “five other organisations — predominantly universities and security companies.” They share random numbers, using an open source tool called Drand (short for Distributed Randomness Beacon Daemon). The numbers are then “composited into one random number” on the basis that “several random numbers are more random than one random number.” While the League’s random number generator isn’t intended “for any kind of password or cryptographic seed generation,” Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince points out that if “you need a way of having a known random source, this is a really valuable tool.”

    • Funding

      • Open Source Slack Alternative Mattermost Gets $50M Funding

        Mattermost, which presents itself as an open source alternative to Slack raised $50M in series B funding. This is definitely something to get excited for. Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration software that is mainly used for internal team communication. Enterprises, startups and even open source projects worldwide use it interact with colleagues and project members. Slack is free with limited features while the paid enterprise version has premium features. Slack is valued at $20 billion in June, 2019. You can guess the kind of impact it has made in the tech industry and certainly more products are trying to compete with Slack.

    • BSD

      • FreeBSD 11.3-RC2 Now Available
        The second RC build of the 11.3-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
        
        Installation images are available for:
        
        o 11.3-RC2 amd64 GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC2 i386 GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC2 powerpc GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC2 powerpc64 GENERIC64
        o 11.3-RC2 sparc64 GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 BANANAPI
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 BEAGLEBONE
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD2
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 RPI-B
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 RPI2
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 PANDABOARD
        o 11.3-RC2 armv6 WANDBOARD
        o 11.3-RC2 aarch64 GENERIC
        
        Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
        console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
        freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
        the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
        to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
        system.
        
        Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
        
        https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/ISO-IMAGES/11.3/
        
        The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
        
        If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
        system or on the -stable mailing list.
        
        If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
        system, use the "releng/11.3" branch.
        
        A summary of changes since 11.3-RC1 includes:
        
        o Updates to the ixl(4) and ixlv(4) drivers.
        
        A list of changes since 11.2-RELEASE is available in the releng/11.3
        release notes:
        
        https://www.freebsd.org/releases/11.3R/relnotes.html
        
        Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
        updated on an ongoing basis as the 11.3-RELEASE cycle progresses.
        
        === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
        
        VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
        architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
        (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
        
        https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/11.3-RC2/
        
        The partition layout is:
        
            ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
            ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
            ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
        
        The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
        formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
        respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
        
        Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
        loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
        virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
        
        https://wiki.freebsd.org/arm64/QEMU
        
        To boot the VM image, run:
        
            % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
        	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
        	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
        	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
        	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
        	-netdev user,id=net0
        
        Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
        
        === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
        
        FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
        
          eu-north-1 region: ami-091a9d377d956c519
          ap-south-1 region: ami-0fa381eb7dd65b236
          eu-west-3 region: ami-0888c48fcbc7ec3b9
          eu-west-2 region: ami-01d9ee1b7ba0aaf87
          eu-west-1 region: ami-072313e0a896f9fc3
          ap-northeast-2 region: ami-081a9854f2575823e
          ap-northeast-1 region: ami-027ab7629095b2419
          sa-east-1 region: ami-0ed1e9346b072b7fa
          ca-central-1 region: ami-0effcf973bbde0b80
          ap-southeast-1 region: ami-06fc8fd0e39f4a6e8
          ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0e68f9d80df9828aa
          eu-central-1 region: ami-042016143d5bf5261
          us-east-1 region: ami-0ad4a06d874497067
          us-east-2 region: ami-0efb20b4a888c1bd1
          us-west-1 region: ami-0b5b96c925cec68fe
          us-west-2 region: ami-0f672651aa001cc97
        
        === Vagrant Images ===
        
        FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
        be installed by running:
        
            % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-11.3-RC2
            % vagrant up
        
        === Upgrading ===
        
        The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
        systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
        FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
        
        	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 11.3-RC2
        
        During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
        merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
        performed merging was done correctly.
        
        	# freebsd-update install
        
        The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
        continuing.
        
        	# shutdown -r now
        
        After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
        userland components:
        
        	# freebsd-update install
        
        It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
        especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
        FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
        other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
        into the new userland:
        
        	# shutdown -r now
        
        Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
        stale files:
        
        	# freebsd-update install
        
      • DragonFly BSD 5.6.0 released, which brings performance improvements and improved virtual memory system

        Improved UEFI framebuffer support. Major updates to the radeon and ttm (amd support code) drivers. Also, a major deadlock has been fixed in the radeon/ttm code. Hammer2 filesystem sync code has been rewritten to significantly improve performance. Also, improved sequential write performance. Improve umount operation. Added simple dependency tracking to prevent directory/file splits during create/rename/remove operations, for better consistency after a crash. Added MDS mitigation support for the Intel side-channel attack. It should be enabled by the user, and also requires an Intel microcode update to supports it.

      • OpenBSD Adds Initial User-Space Support For Vulkan

        Somewhat surprisingly, OpenBSD has added the Vulkan library and ICD loader support as their newest port. This new graphics/vulkan-loader port provides the generic Vulkan library and ICD support that is the common code for Vulkan implementations on the system. This doesn’t enable any Vulkan hardware drivers or provide something new not available elsewhere, but is rare seeing Vulkan work among the BSDs. There is also in ports the related components like the SPIR-V headers and tools, glsllang, and the Vulkan tools and validation layers.

      • SSH gets protection against side channel attacks

        Implementation-wise, keys are encrypted “shielded” when loaded and then automatically and transparently unshielded when used for signatures or when being saved/serialised.

        Hopefully we can remove this in a few years time when computer architecture has become less unsafe.

      • doas environmental security

        Ted Unangst (tedu@) posted to the tech@ mailing list regarding recent changes to environment handling in doas (in -current): [...]

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Setting up dev environment for SciPy

          I got an email from someone pretty recently who wanted to setup a dev environment for SciPy. He had made changes to the source code of SciPy and now wanted to test if his changes were working or not. He had gotten so far without actually testing the code. In this post I will share details on how to setup a dev environment the right way. I will focus mainly on Mac OS. Firstly, go to the GitHub repo and try to figure out the dependencies for the project. Normally they are listed in the readme file. If they are not listed there then you just try installing the package/libary and the errors in the terminal will give you a clue as to what you are missing. I did that and figured out that I needed Fortran compiler, Cython and NumPy.

        • Peter Czanik: Insider 2019-06: Python; Google Stackdriver; elasticsearch-http(); a year of syslog-ng; Red Hat Summit;

          Sometimes getting log messages into the desired format can be a problem, but with syslog-ng you can use Python to get the exact format you need. The syslog-ng Python template function allows you to write custom templates for syslog-ng in Python. In this blog post, I will show you a simple use of the Python parser: resolving IP addresses to host names. I will also show you the logger method, a nice new feature that enables you to log to syslog-ng’s internal() log source instead of writing logs from Python to stdout. This way you can follow what your Python code is doing even if syslog-ng is running as a daemon in the background.

        • Creating a new Flask project with pipenv
        • Building Restful API with Flask, Postman & PyTest – Part 2
        • Segfaults and Twitter monkeys: a tale of pointlessness

          For a few years in the 1990s, when PNG was just getting established as a Web image format, I was a developer on the libpng team. One reason I got involved is that the compression patent on GIFs was a big deal at the time. I had been the maintainer of GIFLIB since 1989; it was on my watch that Marc Andreesen chose that code for use in the first graphics-capable browser in ’94. But I handed that library off to a hacker in Japan who I thought would be less exposed to the vagaries of U.S. IP law. (Years later, after the century had turned and the LZW patents expired, it came back to me.) Then, sometime within a few years of 1996, I happened to read the PNG standard, and thought the design of the format was very elegant. So I started submitting patches to libpng and ended up writing the support for six of the minor chunk types, as well as implementing the high-level interface to the library that’s now in general use. As part of my work on PNG, I volunteered to clean up some code that Greg Roelofs had been maintaining and package it for release. This was “gif2png” and it was more or less the project’s official GIF converter.

        • AArch64 support for ELF Dissector

          After having been limited to maintenance for a while I finally got around to some feature work on ELF Dissector again this week, another side-project of mine I haven’t written about here yet. ELF Dissector is an inspection tool for the internals of ELF files, the file format used for executables and shared libraries on Linux and a few other operating systems. [...] ELF Dissector had its first commit more than six years ago, but it is still lingering around in a playground repository, which doesn’t really do it justice. One major blocker for making it painlessly distributable however are its dependencies on private Binutils/GCC API. Using the Capstone disassembler is therefore also a big step towards addressing that, now only the use of the demangler API remains.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxxiii) stackoverflow python report
        • denemo @ Savannah: Release 2.3 is imminent – please test.
        • Arguments | Another way to work with user inputs – Part 7
        • Call for setting up new obfs4 bridges

          BridgeDB is running low on obfs4 bridges and often fails to provide users with three bridges per request. Besides, we recently fixed a BridgeDB issue that could get an obfs4 bridge blocked because of its vanilla bridge descriptor: <https://bugs.torproject.org/28655>

          We therefore want to encourage volunteers to set up new obfs4 bridges to help censored users. Over the last few weeks, we have been improving our obfs4 setup guide which walks you through the process: <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/PluggableTransports/obfs4proxy>p>

      • Standards/Consortia

      Leftovers

      • Science

        • Selection for Facial Features in Domestic Dogs: The Evolution of Cuteness [Ed: This is an interesting article even though the author is a reckless, loud proponent of patents on life and nature (as if humans deserve monopolies on animals' DNA etc.) ]

          As explained in the paper, “[t]he AU101 movement causes the eyes of the dogs to appear larger, giving the face a more paedomorphic, infant-like appearance, and also resembles a movement that humans produce when they are sad” (P. Ekman, W. V. Friesen, J. C. Hager Facial Action Coding System: The Manual (Network Information Research, Salt Lake City, UT, 2002)). The authors’ (and others’) hypothesis is that these adaptations elicited caregiving from humans, resulting in a selective advantage. There is some modern evidence supporting this theory; for example, dogs that expressed this facial movement were more likely to be rehomed from shelters. There is also some support for the notion that this type of facial expression may be important in dog-human communication. The authors describe the results of their comparative anatomical studies between domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) and gray wolves (Canis lupus). These results included facial dissection and comparison of dogs and wolves and then the authors quantified wolves’ and dogs’ AU101 facial movements for frequency and intensity during social interactions. Generally, the facial musculature is the same between the two species, except for the area around the eye. In dogs, the levator anguli oculi medialis muscle (LAOM) was “routinely” present, whereas in wolves there were fewer muscle fibers and much more connective tissue in this area. In addition, wolves “sometimes” had a tendon where the LAOM was expected to be, and as a consequence the wolf was much less able to form expressions around the eyes than the dog. The authors specifically noted that “wolves have less ability to raise the inner corner of their brows independent of eye squinting relaxation—the anatomical basis for the difference in expression of the AU101 movement.”

      • Hardware

        • Huawei Sues Over U.S.’s Seizure of Telecommunications Gear

          Huawei, China’s largest smartphone maker, said it’s been waiting for nearly two years for a decision by the U.S. Commerce Department on whether the unspecified equipment can be moved back to China. The hardware had been in the U.S. for testing, according to the company’s lawsuit.

      • Health/Nutrition

        • “No evidence” that fracking can be done without threatening human health: Report

          A group of doctors and scientists have released a report highlighting that 84 percent of studies published from 2009-2015 on the health impacts of fracking conclude the industry causes harm to human health. The report, published by two groups, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, sites an earlier literature review that found 69 percent of studies on water quality during the same time period found evidence of or potential for fracking-associated water contamination, and 87 percent of studies on air quality found “significant air pollutant emissions” associated with the industry. The new report looks at 1,778 articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals, investigative reports by journalists, and reports from government agencies on fracking. Fracking is another name for hydraulic fracturing, which is a process of extracting natural oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting liquid at high pressure. “When we first started issuing this report in 2014, we predicted we’d eventually see health impacts based on what we saw happening to air and water,” Sandra Steingraber, a professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College and one of the lead authors of the study, told EHN. “Now we’re beginning to see actual evidence of human harm.”

        • To Keep A Light On: First Responder Luis Alvarez Enters Hospice Care

          Luis Alvarez, the retired New York City cop and former 9/11 First Responder who last week joined Jon Stewart to testify before Congress the day before he was scheduled to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy, has entered hospice care for the Stage 4 liver cancer he developed working at Ground Zero. A former bomb squad detective and father of three sons, Alvarez evidently contracted his cancer as a member of the “bucket brigade,” trying to salvage the remains of other NYPD and FDNY members; he retired in 2010 and said he felt “blessed” he only got sick “16 years after the fact.” Alvarez traveled to D.C. last week with other First Responders and their families to urge Congress to provide longterm funding for the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, which is running short on money and declining new claims. Also testifying were Stewart, who raged at lawmakers to “do your job,” and John Feal, who’s attended 180 funerals for colleagues and who blasts years of unconscionable stalling by Mitch McConnell and the GOP that have required sick people to keep taking trips to D.C. that are “brutal” for them.

      • Security

        • CentOS 7 and RHEL 7 Get Important Linux Kernel Update to Patch SACK Panic Flaws

          The new Linux kernel security updates patch an integer overflow flaw (CVE-2019-11477) discovered by Jonathan Looney in Linux kernel’s networking subsystem processed TCP Selective Acknowledgment (SACK) segments, which could allow a remote attacker to cause a so-called SACK Panic attack (denial of service) by sending malicious sequences of SACK segments on a TCP connection that has a small TCP MSS value. “While processing SACK segments, the Linux kernel’s socket buffer (SKB) data structure becomes fragmented,” reads Red Hat’s security advisory. “Each fragment is about TCP maximum segment size (MSS) bytes. To efficiently process SACK blocks, the Linux kernel merges multiple fragmented SKBs into one, potentially overflowing the variable holding the number of segments.”

        • OpenSSH gets protection against attacks like Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer, and Rambleed
        • Ubuntu Linux Gets Intel MDS Mitigations for Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs, Update Now

          Canonical released another update for the intel-microcode firmware for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems to address recent Intel MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) security vulnerabilities. Last month on May 14th, Intel published details about four new security vulnerabilities affecting several of its Intel microprocessor families. The company released updated microcode firmware to mitigate these hardware flaws, which quickly landed in the software repositories of all supported Ubuntu releases, but only some of the processor families were supported.

        • Kiwi TCMS 6.10

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 6.10! This is a small security and improvement update.

        • Linux Cryptominer Uses Virtual Machines to Attack Windows, macOS [Ed: This is simply malware that people download and install on their machines, but hey, let's blame something else on "Linux"]

          A new cryptocurrency mining malware dubbed LoudMiner uses virtualization software to deploy a Linux XMRig coinminer variant on Windows and macOS systems via a Tiny Core Linux virtual machine.

        • Report confirms shift of botnet attack focus to Linux, IoT [Ed: A ‘report’ shifts focus from Microsoft Windows back doors (which are causing huge damage at the moment) to “Linux” (usually just machine with default password unchanged)]
        • Botnets shift from Windows towards Linux and IoT platforms [Ed: Microsoft money has poisoned and polluted corporate media (advertising money) to the point each time it covers "Linux" it's either a story about Linux being dangerous or a story about Vista 10 (WeaSeL)]
        • Free proxy service found running on top of 2,600+ hacked WordPress sites [Ed: Considering there are many millions of WordPress sites, many of which aren't patching properly, this is only expected and it's the fault of their administrators]
        • Four CVEs Describe SACKs of Linux and FreeBSD Vulnerabilities [Ed: When searching news for "Linux" these days almost half the results are about security because corporate media chooses to focus on nothing else, even obsessing over the same story for weeks]

           Four new CVEs present issues that have a potential DoS impact on almost every Linux user.

        • Remote Desktop Protocol

          As with any piece of software, bugs arise sooner or later. A critical security exploit allowing a man-in-the-middle- style attack was discovered in RDP version 5.2. In 2012, another critical vulnerability was discovered to allow a Windows computer to be compromised by unauthenticated clients. Version 6.1, found in Windows Server 2008, revealed a critical exploit that harvested user credentials. More recently, an exploit discovered in March 2018 allowed remote code execution attack and another credential- harvesting scenario.

        • Electronic Health Records at 26 Hospitals Hit by Two-Hour Outage [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

          Universal, which manages more than 350 health-care facilities in the U.S. and U.K., declined to specify the technical issues or say how many patient records were affected. The problem lasted for less than two hours and the affected hospitals have returned to normal operations, said Eric Goodwin, chief information officer of the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company.

        • DevSecOps: 4 key considerations for beginners

          Security used to be the responsibility of a dedicated team in the last development stage, but with development cycles increasing in number and speed, security practices need to be constantly updated. This has led to the rise of DevSecOps, which emphasizes security within DevOps. Companies need DevSecOps to make sure their initiatives run safely and securely. Without DevSecOps, DevOps teams need to rebuild and update all their systems when a vulnerability is found, wasting time and effort.

        • OpenSSH to Keep Private Keys Encrypted at Rest in RAM

          A commit for the OpenSSH project adds protection for private keys in memory when they are not in use, making it more difficult for an adversary to extract them through side-channel attacks leveraging hardware vulnerabilities. OpenSSH is the most popular implementation of the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol, being the default solution in many Linux distributions for encrypting connections to a remote system.

        • OpenSSH adds protection against Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer and RAMBleed attacks
        • GNU Bash Unsupported Characters Heap-Based Buffer Overflow Vulnerability [CVE-2012-6711]

          A vulnerability in the lib/sh/strtrans.c:anicstr function of GNU Bash could allow an authenticated, local attacker to execute code on a targeted system.The vulnerability is due buffer errors within the lib/sh/strtrans.c:anicstr function of the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by providing print data through the echo built-in function. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute code on the targeted system.GNU Bash has confirmed this vulnerability and released a software patch.

        • Daily News Roundup: Malware in Your Pirated Software

          Researchers at ESET and Malwarebytes have discovered crypto mining malware hidden in pirated music production software.

        • A Method for Establishing Liability for Data Breaches

          Last month, the First American Financial Corporation—which provides title insurance for millions of Americans—acknowledged a cybersecurity vulnerability that potentially exposed 885 million private financial records related to mortgage deals to unauthorized viewers. These records might have revealed bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and driver’s license images to such viewers. If history is any guide, not much will happen and companies holding sensitive personal information on individuals will have little incentive to improve their cybersecurity postures. Congress needs to act to provide such incentives. The story is all too familiar, as news reports of data breaches involving the release of personal information for tens of millions of, or even a hundred million, Americans have become routine. A company (or a government agency) pays insufficient attention to cybersecurity matters despite warnings that the cybersecurity measures it takes are inadequate and therefore fails to prevent a breach that could be remediated by proper attention to such warnings. In the aftermath of such incidents, errant companies are required by law to report breaches to the individuals whose personal information has been potentially compromised. Frequently, these companies also offer free credit monitoring services to affected individuals for a year or two.

      • Defence/Aggression

        • Pentagon launched secret digital strike on Iranian spy group: report

          U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike Thursday night against an Iranian spy group responsible for last week’s bombings of two oil tankers, Yahoo News reported, citing two former intelligence officials.

        • Open Source Investigators Set Their Sights on Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen [iophk: "open source intelligence"]

          In Yemen, both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels have been accused of violating international law by targeting civilians. Thousands of civilians have been killed since war broke out in the country in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition, which is mainly supplied by the United States and the United Kingdom, has been accused of responsibility for the majority of those deaths.

      • Report: US Planning “Massive” Airstrike On An Iranian Facility

        According to a new article from English-language Israeli publication The Jerusalem Post, the Hebrew-language Israeli publication Maariv has reported that diplomatic sources in the UN are assessing a US plan to conduct a “massive” airstrike on “an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program” in response to alleged attacks on two sea vessels in the Gulf of Oman. “The sources added that President Trump himself was not enthusiastic about a military move against Iran, but lost his patience on the matter and would grant Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is pushing for action, what he wants,” The Jerusalem Post reports.

      • Gulf of Oman: International Context

        It is now clear that the US has manufactured a false case against Iran for the two-tanker sabotage incident in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June. Evidence of Iranian guilt so far offered by the US is flimsy and contestable: but Mike Pompeo does not seem to care, continuing to press for alliance solidarity no matter what. Of this solidarity there has been remarkably little, even five days later. The general refrain of ‘we would like to see more of the evidence’ is polite dipspeak for ‘we think you are lying’. Trump has reluctantly backed the false US story, but with evident lack of enthusiasm. He would no doubt like to sack his irresponsible lieutenants Pompeo and Bolton, but they currently seem invulnerable, with the power of the military-industrial –national security Deep State at their backs. Trump, a helpless passenger President, will have little room to move towards detente with Xi or Putin at Kyoto G20 (28-29 June). Both leaders have pretty much written the US off as a serious negotiating partner for now.

      • As Trump Claims Power to Bomb Iran at Whim, Anti-War Voices Say: ‘Where Is Congress?’ and ‘Peace Begins With Us’

        In response to Trump’s behavior, progressive Democrats running for president were among those denouncing the fact that he had come within just minutes of ordering a strike that would have sparked untold death and damage. “A war with Iran would be a disaster and lead to endless conflict in the region,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, on Friday morning. “Congress must assert its constitutional authority and stop Trump from going to war.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also running for president, tweeted: “Donald Trump promised to bring our troops home. Instead he has pulled out of a deal that was working and instigated another unnecessary conflict. There is no justification for further escalating this crisis—we need to step back from the brink of war.”

      • Here’s What Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Wants Him to do About Iran

        President Donald Trump is getting divergent views from the trusted members of his Fox News cabinet about how to respond to rising tensions between the United States and Iran — but almost all of them support some sort of military strike on Iranian targets. In recent months, an escalating pattern of tit-for-tat maneuvers has drawn the two nations closer to direct military confrontation. On Thursday night, in response to what the U.S. says was Iran downing an unmanned American surveillance drone in international waters, Trump reportedly ordered a retaliatory military strike on Iranian targets. He then reversed his decision while the operation was underway. Several senior administration officials, including national security adviser and former Fox News contributor John Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk, reportedly favored a military response. But top Pentagon officials (echoing many external national security experts) reportedly warned that even a limited U.S. military strike could trigger an Iranian escalation, leading to a wider conflagration that might spiral out of control. This reported divide among the president’s official advisers is being mirrored in the advice he is receiving through his television set. Fox’s hosts and guests are an important source of information for Trump, who watches hours of coverage each day and often tweets about segments that catch his eye, and their opinions can shape his worldview and actions.

      • After Approving Strike on Iran Backed by Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel, Trump Reportedly Called Off Attack at Last Minute

        That’s according to the New York Times, which reported that as late as 7 pm Thursday, “military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders.” “The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off,” the Times reported. “Planes were in the air and ships were in position.” Iranian officials told Reuters Friday that Tehran received a message from Trump “through Oman overnight warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent.” Citing anonymous senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the plan to attack Iran, the Times reported that it is “not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.”

      • ‘War Is Hell’: As Survivor of Conflict, Rep. Ilhan Omar Makes Impassioned Case Against US Attack on Iran

        “Mr. President, as a survivor of war, I want to tell you: going to war does not make you strong. It makes you weak,” Omar wrote in a series of tweets. “Sending teenagers to die, or return with lifelong wounds seen and unseen, does not make you a bigger person. It makes you smaller. Risking a regional or even global armed conflict does not strengthen our country. It weakens us.” Omar was among a chorus of progressive voices denouncing the Trump administration’s march to war, but the Minnesota Democrat’s personal story as the first Somali refugee ever elected to Congress made her opposition to war with Iran uniquely compelling. “I have seen firsthand the effects of war. Even in the best of cases, it never has the outcome you expect,” Omar wrote. “War is death, displacement, and terror. War is hell.”

      • Back from Iran War Brink: Trump wants to Walk back Iran Crisis that He created with Severe US Sanctions

        The warmongers on Trump’s national security team apparently convinced him to set in motion an aerial strike against Iran Thursday in retaliation for the downing of a US drone over waters claimed by Iran. Then at the last minute, Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman at the NYT report, Trump seems to have listened to generals who warned him that things could spiral out of control, even into war. He issued a stand down order. At least for now. It isn’t even clear that there was a casus belli. On domestic issues, the US press is locked into an one the one hand, on the other hand disastrous story-telling mode that has enormously benefited those pushing falsehoods such as that cigarettes don’t cause cancer or putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere does not cause global heating.

      • The Exceptionally American Historical Amnesia Behind Pompeo’s Claim of ‘40 Years of Unprovoked Iranian Aggression’

        Someone attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. The Trump administration wants the world to believe that Iran is the culprit. Yet there is no serious evidence that Tehran was behind the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese ships. Not only is there no proof of Iranian involvement, such an attack by Iran makes no sense at all. Japan and Iran are friends. Just last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who was visiting Tehran during the tanker incident — affirmed this friendship in the presence of Donald Trump during the US president’s recent state visit to Japan. Most importantly of all, the crew and owner of the Japanese tanker attacked in the gulf vehemently reject the US claim that the vessel was damaged by a mine, asserting instead that a “flying object” struck the ship. Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for what he called a “blatant assault” on the tankers. Pompeo also said that the attacks “should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression” against the US and other “freedom-loving nations” by Iran. There is no such history. Iran hasn’t started a war since the mid-19th century, when it was still the Persian Empire. The true context which must be understood is one of a century of US and Western exploitation of Iranian people and resources, and decades of US threats and aggression against Iran that once reportedly included a plan to stage a false flag attack very similar to last week’s tanker incident.

      • As Trump Says “You’ll Soon Find Out” About Attack on Iran, Congress Urged to Act Immediately to Avert War

        “Congress needs to grill the administration about how retaliatory strikes could spiral into lethal war,” Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, said in a statement. “As importantly, Congress needs to bar the door to war and make clear that there is no authorization for any military strikes against Iran.” “Donald Trump and [national security adviser] John Bolton can’t be trusted in such a dangerous situation and they may need to be pushed kicking and screaming towards deescalation,” Rainwater added. “We need to return to diplomacy to deescalate the situation and address the substantive issues behind this conflict. Many of us predicted that walking away from the Iran deal would lead us to the brink of war. The window for averting war is closing but it’s not too late to step back and pursue a more sober path.” Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, echoed Rainwater, saying in a statement that “Congress needs to step in and make clear that Trump does not have authorization to start a new war.” “There is still time for Trump to defuse tensions with Iran and put to rest this manufactured crisis,” Abdi said. “Rather than opt for the military options that Bolton will undoubtedly propose, Trump should seek out third party mediators who can help deescalate and bring the U.S. and Iran back to the negotiating table.” The anti-war groups’ warnings came after Trump told reporters in front of the White House that they will learn shortly whether he plans to launch a military strike against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone. Iran said the drone violated its airspace.

      • Iran Had the Legal Right to Shoot Down US Spy Drone

        The New York Times is reporting that on June 20, President Trump ordered military strikes against Iran to retaliate for its shootdown of a U.S. drone, but then pulled back and didn’t launch them. Officials told the Times that Trump had approved attacks on Iranian radar and missile batteries. Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.” Nevertheless, shortly after midnight on June 21, Newsweek reported that regional U.S. military assets have been put on 72-hour standby. On June 19, an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone. The White House claimed that its drone was at least 20 miles from Iran, in international airspace, while Iran maintains the drone was in Iranian airspace. Iran presented GPS coordinates showing the drone eight miles from Iran’s coast, which is inside the area of 12 nautical miles that is considered Iran’s territorial waters under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Iran has the legal right to control its own airspace. The United States has no lawful claim of self-defense that would justify a military attack on Iran.

      • Accusing US of ‘Intrusion’ Into National Airspace, Iran Shoots Down American ‘Spy’ Drone

        “There was no drone over Iranian territory,” Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, told The Associated Press. U.S. military officials claimed the drone was operating in international airspace when it was shot down, Gizmodo reported. The incident comes amid dangerous military tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as the Trump administration attempts—on the basis of flimsy evidence—to blame the Iranians for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. European nations have expressed skepticism about the U.S. narrative, as has the Japanese operator of one of the damaged tankers. As Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration is paving the way behind the scenes to launch an attack on Iran without congressional approval, sparking alarm and opposition from progressive lawmakers. Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, chief commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the “downing of the American drone was a clear message to America.” “Our borders are Iran’s red line and we will react strongly against any aggression,” Salami said. “Iran is not seeking war with any country, but we are fully prepared to defend Iran.”

      • U.S. Prepped for Iran Strike Before Calling It Off

        The United States made preparations for a military strike against Iran on Thursday night in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but the operation was abruptly called off with just hours to go, a U.S. official said. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.

      • Donald Trump Owns This Iran Crisis

        The warmongers on Donald Trump’s national security team apparently convinced him to set in motion an aerial strike against Iran on Thursday in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone over waters claimed by Iran. Then, at the last minute—according to reporting by Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times—Trump seems to have listened to generals who warned him that things could spiral out of control, even into war. He issued a stand-down order. At least for now. It isn’t even clear that there was a casus belli. On domestic issues, the U.S. press is locked into an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand, disastrous, story-telling mode that has enormously benefited those pushing falsehoods, such as that cigarettes don’t cause cancer or putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere does not cause global heating.

      • House Democrats Repeal 9/11 Authority for Forever Wars

        Three weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a law that gave the president the authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against “nations, organizations, or persons,” involved in the 9/11 attacks. The AUMF helped launch the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Wednesday, 18 years after it was passed, House Democrats passed an appropriations bill that includes a provision that would repeal the AUMF, HuffPost reports. Reporters Matt Fuller and Amanda Terkel note that three presidents have invoked the AUMF for more than three dozen military engagements in 14 countries. While some House members, notably Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., oppose the bill, it took a Democratic majority in the House and the possibility of the Trump administration using it as a justification for war with Iran for the repeal vote to succeed. The administration has launched attempts to demonstrate links between Iran and al-Qaida. As Charlie Savage writes in The New York Times, “In public remarks and classified briefings, Trump administration officials keep emphasizing purported ties between Iran and [al-Qaida].” They’ve done so “despite evidence showing their ties aren’t strong at all. In fact, even [al-Qaida’s] own documents detail the weak connection between the two,” Vox’s Alex Ward reports.

      • Iran Shoots Down U.S. Surveillance Drone, Heightening Tensions

        Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, marking the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million. Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the U.S. called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!”

      • War Begets War . . . And Nothing Else

        Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran . . . Thanks, John McCain! Let’s mix a little humor in with war. It’s so much easier to take when we do. By the way, have you noticed that we’re always on the verge of war? “The bombing will be massive, but will be limited to a specific target.” So said a U.N. diplomat recently, according to the Jerusalem Post. Guess which country he was referring to. An act of war is how we “send messages.” So the Trump hawks (this term may or may not include Donald himself) are thinking — if the paper’s sources have any credibility — of bombing an Iranian nuclear facility as an act of punishment because Iran “has announced that it intends to deviate from the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 and to enrich uranium at a higher level than the maximum it has committed to within the framework of the nuclear deal.” This is all hush-hush, of course. War has to be planned in secret. The public’s role is definitely not to be part of the debate in the lead-up process or to question the facts that justify taking action. Its role is to cheer loudly when the hostilities begin, fervently hating the specified enemy and embracing the new war as a necessary, last-resort action to protect all that we hold dear. Its role is definitely not to question war itself or to bring up the inevitability of unintended consequences, whether that be the death of babies or the poisoning of the environment. Its role is not to suggest that creating peace is essentially the opposite of waging war, or to cry out: “War-making must be renounced. It is past time for the paradigm shift. We have one planet and we must see ourselves as one and we must take a stand.” These are the words of Dud Hendrick of Veterans for Peace, and I pause here and let the words settle — in all their complexity — into the collective consciousness.

      • Iran ‘Violates’ Nuclear Deal, After US ‘Withdraws’

        Quick question: Does the US ever break, breach or violate its international agreements? Apparently not, according to US coverage of Iran’s recent announcement that it intended to go beyond the limits of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in enriching uranium for its civilian nuclear program (frequently mischaracterized as a nuclear weapons program in media coverage). Reading corporate media’s inversion of reality, it’s hard to escape the impression that while Iran betrays its international agreements, the US just leaves them behind. An Associated Press report carried by USA Today (6/17/19) was headlined: “Iran Says It Will Break Uranium Stockpile Limit in 10 Days,” and reported that Iran’s announcement indicated its “determination to break from the landmark 2015 accord,” while noting that “tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States,” partly because the US “unilaterally withdrew” from the landmark agreement. Note that the US rejection of its obligations under the deal is referred to in neutral terms—Washington “withdrew”—while Iran’s response to US nonobservance gets negatively characterized as a “break”—a pattern that persists throughout the coverage.

      • The Art of Shaping Memory

        How best to describe the recently completed allied commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France? Two words come immediately to mind: heartfelt and poignant. The aged D-Day veterans gathering for what was probably the last time richly deserved every bit of praise bestowed on them. Yet one particular refrain that has become commonplace in this age of Donald Trump was absent from the proceedings. I’m referring to “fake news.” In a curious collaboration, Trump and the media, their normal relationship one of mutual loathing, combined forces to falsify the history of World War II. Allow me to explain. In a stirring presentation, Donald Trump — amazingly — rose to the occasion and captured the spirit of the moment, one of gratitude, respect, even awe. Ever so briefly, the president sounded presidential. In place of his usual taunts and insults, he managed a fair imitation of Ronald Reagan’s legendary “Boys of Pointe Du Hoc” speech of 1984. “We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar,” Trump began — not exactly his standard introductory gambit. [...] If the purpose of Trump’s speech was to make his listeners feel good, he delivered. Yet in doing so, he also relieved them of any responsibility for thinking too deeply about the event being commemorated. Now, let me just say that I hold no brief for Josef Stalin or the Soviet Union, or Marxism-Leninism. Yet you don’t need to be an apologist for Communism to acknowledge that the Normandy invasion would never have succeeded had it not been for the efforts of Marshal Stalin’s Red Army. For three full years before the first wave of G.I.s splashed ashore at Omaha Beach, Russian troops had been waging a titanic struggle along a vast front in their own devastated land against the cream of the German military machine. One data point alone summarizes the critical nature of the Soviet contribution: in May 1944, there were some 160 German divisions tied up on the Eastern Front. That represented more than two-thirds of the armed might of the Third Reich, 160 combat divisions that were therefore unavailable for commitment against the Anglo-American forces desperately trying to establish a foothold in Normandy. As has been the custom for quite some time now the German chancellor, representing the defeated enemy, attended the D-Day anniversary festivities as an honored guest. Angela Merkel’s inclusion testifies to an admirable capacity to forgive without forgetting. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not, however, make the guest list. In liberal circles, Putin has, of course, made himself persona non grata. Yet excluding him obviated any need for Trump and other dignitaries in attendance to acknowledge, even indirectly, the Soviet role in winning World War II. Although the Red Army was never known for finesse or artfulness, it did kill an estimated four million of Merkel’s countrymen, who were thereby not on hand to have a go at killing Donald Trump’s countrymen. If war is ultimately about mayhem and murder, then the Soviet Union did more than any other belligerent to bring about the final victory against Nazi Germany. Without for a second slighting the courage and contributions of our Canadian, Polish, Norwegian, and Australian comrades — bless them all — it was the Red Army that kept General Dwight Eisenhower’s expeditionary command from being pushed back into the Channel. In other words, thank God for the godless communists. So, however heartfelt and poignant, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings was an exercise in selective remembering and convenient forgetting. It was, in other words, propaganda or, in contemporary parlance, fake news. The deception — for that’s what it was — did not escape the notice of Russian commentators. Yet members of the American media, otherwise ever alert to Trump’s sundry half-truths and outright deceptions, chose to ignore or more accurately endorse this whopper.

      • The Selling of the War on Iran

        But instead of ending on that note I’m going to bring up another event that directly relates to all of the above, and that is the tragedy of 9-11. Some have been conditioned to dismiss “conspiracy theories” and automatically switch off their cognitive functions but I’d encourage you to not hit that switch and read some of the links I’ve hyperlinked below. Over the past 18 years a great deal of new information has been gathered regarding 9-11 and where it points to is very chilling to say the least. The war that is about to be waged against Iran makes perfect sense if you bother to come up to speed regarding the latest evidence on 9-11. Take a few minutes and read the articles I’ve linked to. Make up your own mind. You will very quickly understand what’s been going on these past 18 years and why Iran is being targeted. Only through knowledge and dialogue can we bring about peace. Allowing ourselves to be manipulated is a recipe for war. Below is the conclusions I have reached. After you have read the articles I’ve linked to see if you agree with it or not. 9-11 was a Cheney-Bandar Bush-Netanyahu operation with Bin Laden as the patsy. The motivation was for the Project for Greater Israel, with “a request” for a “new Pearl Harbor” detailed in Project for a New American Century. With Libya, Syria, and Iraq destroyed now they are coming after Iran. Wake up people, before they get away with another tragic nightmare.

      • Trump Pulls Back from Iran Attack as Bolton & Pompeo Continue to Push for War

        After threatening to strike Iran in retaliation for shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone, President Trump reportedly approved, and then abruptly called off, military strikes. The move came after the operation was already underway in its initial stages, with warships and planes already being put into position. We go to Tehran to get response from Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran who was part of the nuclear deal negotiations in 2015. We also speak with CUNY professor and historian Ervand Abrahamian, author of several books about Iran. Whether or not Trump wants war with Iran doesn’t ultimately matter, says Abrahamian. “The long-term agenda in the White House” from Bolton, Pompeo and others is much more aggressive. “They want basically the destruction of the Islamic Republic.”

      • The US as Rogue Nation Number 1

        President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are saying that they have proof that Iran blew holes in two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, and so, we’re being told in a report in the Jerusalem Post and earlier in Newsweek magazine, they are considering, along with Pentagon brass, having the US launch an intense missile attack on Iran’s main uranium refining plant. There’s a lot of breathless, exciting reporting about this prospect in the US media, with some news organizations talking enthusiastically about the idea, and with others opposing it, but their opinions on the matter are in either event, based only upon the question of whether or not Iran can be proven to have been behind the attack on the tankers, or on whether or not Trump can launch such a war without advance Congressional approval. European countries’ leaders — with the exception of in Britain — are saying that there’s no solid evidence pointing to Iran. And many US news organizations appear to agree. So does Japan, whose flag one of the damaged ships flies and whose leader was in Iran meeting leaders there at the time of the alleged attacks (which seems rather unlikely as an Iranian strategy!). But none of them — critics or opponents of a US attack on Iran — are raising a more significant question: Does the US have any legal or even moral right to launch a war against Iran if Iran does not pose an “imminent threat” to the US, to US interests or to US allies whom it has an obligation to defend. The answer is a resounding “No!”

      • Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful

        The history of sanctions is grim, and it is generally acknowledged that they penalize ordinary people to an unjustifiable degree. It is difficult to forget the excruciating pronouncement by Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s Secretary of State, when she was ambassador to the UN and commented on their effects in Iraq in the 1990s, in the run-up to the US invasion. In a media interview her questioner said that in Iraq “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.” Her noxious statement was largely ignored by Western mainstream media which was being ramped up to support the invasion of 2003, by which time, the citizens of Iraq had been viciously punished by a bunch of foreign bigots who had reduced the country to a societal shambles. In his 2006 book ‘A Different Kind of War’ the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Hans Von Sponeck, wrote that “Communicable diseases in the 1980s not considered public health hazards, such as measles, polio, cholera, typhoid, marasmus and kwashiorkor, reappeared on epidemic scales.” The commentator Gilles d’Aymery warned that the book “is not for the faint-hearted reader. The wrenching suffering of the Iraqi people it recounts cannot be read without feeling ill to the point of nausea and experiencing a deep sense of anger and outrage, as well as immense sadness, by the unfathomable tragedy that befell this peaceful people — mere pawns sacrificed on the checkerboard of great gamesmanship between an authoritarian government fallen out of grace and the parochial interests of a few Western nations.” So one would think that the US Establishment might have realized the extent that sanctions inflict suffering on innocent people, and in one instance this was so, because President Obama began to relax sanctions on Cuba, whose people have been ferociously targeted by Washington’s Best and Brightest for almost sixty years. The anti-Cuba campaign began in 1959 when Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista, who was totally corrupt and supported by the US. Castro was regarded as an enemy, not because he was brutal, which he undoubtedly was, but because in 1960 he nationalized US-owned businesses, including casinos owned by Mafia mobsters. This sparked the April 1961 Bay of Pigs attack by CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles, authorized by President John F Kennedy. It took only three days for Castro’s forces to wipe out the would-be invaders, then, as the BBC records, “The CIA began to make plans to assassinate Castro as part of Operation Mongoose. At least five plans to kill the Cuban leader were drawn up between 1961 and 1963.” And to complement this righteous crusade, in 1962 Kennedy ordered sanctions prohibiting all trade and communication with Cuba.

      • Japanese and German Doubts on U.S. Drumbeat Towards Iran War

        Japan since 1945 has been the most abjectly deferential of U.S., even more so than the U.K. Tokyo rarely strays far from Washington’s line on any global issue. It notoriously supported the Iraq wars if 1991 and 2003-present, both based on lies. Japan’s loyalty, like Britain’s is strategic; while all alliances with the U.S. are promoted as based on “common values” they are mainly based on capital and global capitalists’ needs. Both the U.K. and Japan are for the time being part of the U.S. imperialist camp, under strong pressure to side with it when it decides to provoke war. When George W. Bush turned to Tony Blair’s Britain and asked for support for a war on Iraq, Blair became Bush’s poodle. The slavish cooperation with the U.S. in that disastrous, criminal war remains a matter of national shame. Germany and France avoided that by noting that the U.S.’s case was weak if not based on fabrications. They showed it is possible for major allies to defy the U.S., (although recall how enraged members of Congress were at France’s betrayal). Last week two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman and the U.S. immediately blamed Iran. Almost immediately British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt declared: “We are going to make our own independent assessment, we have our processes to do that, (but) we have no reason not to believe the American assessment and our instinct is to believe it because they are our closest ally.” The German foreign minister Heiko Maas on the other hand, responding to U.S. “evidence,” stated blandly, “The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me.” Maas visited Tehran last week to try to mediate between the U.S. (which wants conflict with Iran) and Iran (which wants to avoid conflict).

      • America’s Respectable War Criminals

        A Boston Globe story highlights Wellesley College alumnae Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton’s return to the College for their 60th and 50th respective reunions. The story states that “their early days at Wellesley College were marked by uncertainty and feeling out of place.” But they “overcame their trepidation and went on to illustrious careers including serving as the country’s top foreign diplomat under different presidents.” Wellesley College president Paula A. Johnson asked them questions for over an hour, with the audience giving “Albright and Clinton an enthusiastic reception, including three standing ovations.” What created the enthusiastic response? Albright and Clinton “urged the audience to speak up and take action to protect democracy from the threat of fascism under President Trump.” (“At Wellesley, Madeleine and Hillary Clinton encourage protest, political action.,” By Laura Crimaldi, June 9, 2019) “Speak up and take action to protect democracy.” Okay. The country certainly needs to be protected from “the threat of fascism under President Trump.” But such honoring of Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton’s “illustrious careers” is quite a commentary on The Boston Globe and Wellesley College and the selective morality of many Americans. Trump can serve to distract attention from war crimes committed by other, respectable, U.S. political leaders, among them Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. Consider Madeleine Albright. The U.N. imposed draconian sanctions on Iraq, pushed by the U.S. and Britain after it invaded Kuwait. Before that, in 1989 Iraq was reported to have “one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, as well as universal, free healthcare and education.” (“Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq,” johnpilger.com, 1-15-05) Iraq’s remarkable health was due to President Saddam Hussein nationalizing the country’s vast oil resources, and investing certain of its revenue in the Iraqi people. This policy did not set well with Western oil corporations, which saw Iraq’s bountiful oil reserves as a gold mine to be controlled and tapped.

      • Wake Up, Damn it!

        I see great cities like Homs in Syria, reduced to horrifying ruins. I see Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan, fragmented by enormous concrete walls intended to protect NATO occupation armies and their local puppets. I see monstrous environmental devastation in places such as Indonesian Borneo, Peruvian gold mining towns, or the by now almost uninhabitable atoll island-nations of Oceania: Tuvalu, Kiribati or Marshall Islands. I see slums, a lack of sanitation and clean drinking water, where the boots of Western empires have been smashing local cultures, enslaving people and looting natural resources. I work on all the continents. I never stop, even when exhaustion tries to smash me against the wall, even when there are hardly any reserves left. I cannot stop; I have no right to stop, because I can finally see the pattern; the way this world operates, the way the West has been managing to usurp it, indoctrinate, and enslave most of the countries of the world. I combine my knowledge, and publish it as a ‘warning to the world’. I write books about this ‘pattern’. My most complete, so far, being the 1,000 pages long Exposing Lies of The Empire. Then, I see the West itself. I come to ‘speak’, to Canada and the United States, as well as Europe. Once in a while I am invited to address Australian audiences, too. The West is so outrageously rich, compared to the ruined and plundered continents, that it often appears that it does not belong to the Planet Earth.

      • “Enlisted at 17”: Legend, Trope, or War Story?

        The idea that America sends its kids off to war caught my attention twenty years ago while working on a book. Then, it was common to hear or read that “the average of our soldiers in Vietnam was 18.” That never sounded right to me because one had to be 18 to be drafted and was not subject to call-up for six months. Allowing for some time lag between that date, draft-board proceedings, induction, basic training, leave time, and shipment to Vietnam, most of the youngest arrivals in Vietnam would have been 19 or older. Many draftees, like me, had years of deferment for college and teaching before induction. I was nearly 25 before being reclassified 1A for the draft and turned 26 while in Vietnam in 1969. More soldiers in Vietnam, officers, career NCOs, and Guard and Reservists among them, were still older—too old and too numerous for the average age of those serving in that war to be 18. And seventeen? A November 10, 1965 New York Times story headlined “Vietnam Duty at 17 Barred” reported that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the day before, had ordered military services to stop sending 17-year-olds to Vietnam and pull out those who were there.

      • The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?

        On April 7, 2018, a chlorine chemical attack reportedly left 43 people dead in Douma, a city of over 100,000 people in the Ghouta region to the east of Damascus. I use the word reportedly since Assad and Putin both denied a day later that anybody had died. Propaganda networks for the two leaders called the grizzly video evidence for such an attack as a carefully staged performance akin to how some conspiracy theorists describe the Apollo moon landing. Among the outlets arguing for a “false flag” incident was One America News Network, an ardently pro-Trump cable news station that was granted a permanent seat in the White House’s news briefing room and whose White House Correspondent, Trey Yingst, was one of the top five most called upon reporters covering the Trump Administration. Not to be outdone, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson opined: “All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don’t really know that. They’re making it up. They have no real idea what happened.” Was this false flag supposed to provoke a “humanitarian intervention”? Consider what happened after Khan Shaykhoun was subjected to a sarin gas attack just about a year earlier. Donald Trump ordered the navy to fire Cruise missiles at Shayrat air force base in Syria but only after alerting the Russians about the impending attack. The runway was not damaged—something that was never even part of the plans—and jets and helicopters took off a few hours afterward. According to Wikipedia, even the Russian defense ministry said that the “combat effectiveness” of the attack was “extremely low” and that only 23 missiles out of 59 fired hit the base, destroying six aircraft. It did not know where the other 36 landed. Russian television news, citing a Syrian source at the airfield, said that nine planes were destroyed by the strike but that they were inoperative at the time. This time Trump did not even bother with a slap on the wrist over the Douma attack. In July 2017, Trump had cut off aid to Syrian rebels entirely. He also ordered a freeze on funding to the White Helmets, the first responder group that Vanessa Beeley and Max Blumenthal regard as part of a Salafist terror network. So, any concerns about a false flag incident triggering a major regime change operation in Syria could only be raised by people who are not persuaded by facts or logic. On March 1, 2019, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued a report that concluded that a chlorine gas attack did take place but, as is customary in its investigations, did not place blame. Since it found evidence that two weaponized chlorine tanks penetrated a building from above, one might surmise that the regime was to blame, especially since it had been using chlorine bombs repeatedly in the past two years. Likely, the goal was not to kill people but to terrorize them. Chlorine gas can make you very sick in open spaces but generally will not kill you. It was the misfortune of the 43 people in a Douma tenement to be on the lower floors on April 7, 2018. They were trying to avoid conventional bombs, not a gas attack. When one of the tanks was detonated in a rooftop terrace, the chlorine gas seeped to the lower floors with a devastating effect. (Unlike most gases, chlorine is heavier than air and travels downward.)

      • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

        • Survey sees biggest US honeybee winter die-off yet

          Winter hit U.S. honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet, an annual survey of beekeepers showed.

        • ‘Governments and Corporations Were Figuring Out a Way to Behave With Impunity When It Comes to Oil’ – CounterSpin interview with Sandy Cioffi on oil in Nigeria

          Janine Jackson: A recent report in the Guardian, based on internal documents from the Mobil Foundation—the philanthropic arm of Mobil Oil Company—shows how the foundation named a certain Dr. David Page in its decision to fund a marine research lab at Bowdoin College, writing that it could “assure rapid response to any possible Mobil spill events.” Five years later, after a Mobil “spill event” in Nigeria, Dr. David Page was being quoted in the New York Times—identified as a professor and “American oil spill expert.”

        • What the ‘Fossil Fuel Economy Looks Like’: Demands for Climate Justice After Explosion Rocks Philly Oil Refinery

          The flames erupted at roughly 4am at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’s (PES) refinery complex, which triggered a temporary shelter-in-place order. Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy, speaking to the press at about 7am, said that a vat of butane had caught fire, though the company later said that it was “mostly propane,” that was burning. “PES said there were three separate explosions that ‘impacted’ a unit that produces alkylate, which is used to boost gasoline octane,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Four workers suffered mild injured and were treated on site, the company added. “The refinery processes approximately 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day (42 U.S. gallons per barrel), making it the largest oil refining complex on the U.S. Eastern seaboard,” the company website states, adding that the facility “strives to be a good neighbor in our surrounding community.” It is also “the largest single source of particulate pollution in the Philadelphia area even when there isn’t an emergency,” NBC10 reported.

        • Trump’s Plan to Save Coal Country Will Actually Hurt It

          The Trump administration has replaced President Obama’s signature climate effort with new rules for power plants that are widely seen as a lifeboat for the nation’s struggling coal industry. Environmentalists have promised to challenge the rollback in court, arguing that Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist President Trump installed at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is ignoring the growing climate crisis along with the deadly health impacts of burning coal for electricity. Analysts are already debating whether President Trump’s replacement will be enough to rescue the coal industry, because market forces and the public’s desire for cleaner energy are already pushing the energy sector away from coal at a rapid pace. Coal continues to be the largest source of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector. Thanks to the controversial fracking boom, coal is already struggling to compete with a glut of cheap natural gas — which the Trump administration has fully embraced, along with domestic oil. Renewable energy technology continues to improve and become more affordable nationwide, and with climate crisis looming, many observers see renewables as the future of energy. This explains why environmentalists and energy industry analysts — not to mention most Democratic presidential hopefuls — say Trump’s attempt to extend the life of the coal power industry with regulatory maneuvers is not only bad for the environment and public health, but also bad for workers and the economy. Trump has built a strong following in coal country, but his policies could actually hurt the same workers he claims to be helping. “Sadly, the Trump administration’s futile and cynical attempt to prop up the coal industry — instead of pushing for renewable energy investments in coal country — will hit coal miners and their families the hardest,” said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook, in an email. Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a nonpartisan group of clean tech business leaders, estimated last year that the Clean Power Plan could create 560,000 jobs and add $52 billion to the gross domestic product by 2030 while developing alternatives to coal. Trump’s policy, on the other hand, is largely aimed at keeping existing jobs in place. The health and climate benefits of the Clean Power Plan alone were projected to reach $55 billion to $93 billion by 2030, according to the Obama EPA. This dwarfs the annual “net benefit” of $120 million to $730 million projected for Trump and Wheeler’s replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE).

        • The Dangerous Methane Mystery

          The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (“ESAS”) is the epicenter of a methane-rich zone that could turn the world upside down. Still, the ESAS is not on the radar of mainstream science, and not included in calculations by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and generally not well understood. It is one of the biggest mysteries of the world’s climate puzzle, and it is highly controversial, which creates an enhanced level of uncertainty and casts shadows of doubt. The ESAS is the most extensive continental shelf in the world, inclusive of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, and the Russian portion of the Chukchi Sea, all-in equivalent to the combined landmasses of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan. The region hosts massive quantities of methane (“CH4”) in frozen subsea permafrost in extremely shallow waters, enough CH4 to transform the “global warming” cycle into a “life-ending” cycle. As absurd as it sounds, it is not inconceivable. Ongoing research to unravel the ESAS mystery is found in very few studies, almost none, except by Natalia Shakhova (International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks) a leading authority, for example: “It has been suggested that destabilization of shelf Arctic hydrates could lead to large-scale enhancement of aqueous CH4, but this process was hypothesized to be negligible on a decadal–century time scale. Consequently, the continental shelf of the Arctic Ocean (AO) has not been considered as a possible source of CH4 to the atmosphere until very recently.” (Source: Natalia Shakhova, et al, Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, Geosciences, 2019) Shakhova’s “until very recently” comment explains, in part, why the IPCC does not include ESAS methane destabilization in its calculations. Meanwhile, Shakhova’s research has unearthed a monster in hiding, but thankfully, mostly in repose… for the moment. Still, early-stage warning signals are clearly noticeable; ESAS is rumbling, increasingly emitting more and more CH4, possibly in anticipation of a “Big Burp,” which could put the world’s lights out, hopefully in another century, or beyond, but based upon a reading of her latest report in Geosciences, don’t count on it taking so long.

      • Finance

      • Chip stocks fall after Commerce Dept bars 5 more Chinese companies from buying US parts
      • The Paywall Conundrum: Even Those Who Like Paying For News Don’t Pay For Much News

        For years, we’ve tended to mock newspaper paywalls — not because we don’t want to see news publishers get paid (that would actually be good!), but because it just doesn’t seem like a really sustainable way to build a news product for nearly every publication. In other words, nearly all media paywalls are destined to fail — often spectacularly — because they can’t generate nearly enough paying subscribers. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. Large general interest news sites like the NY Times and the Washington Post seem to have made it work. Small, narrowly focused sites can sometimes get by as well — if their content is unique and special enough. But most general interest news sites are unlikely to be able to make it work — and a new study drives home that point. Even for people who like paying for news, they tend to only pay for one news subscription. Really.

      • Have you heard about Silicon Valley’s unpaid research and development department? It’s called the EU.

        Today, the EU acts like an unpaid research and development department for Silicon Valley. We fund startups, which, if they’re successful, get sold to companies in Silicon Valley. If they fail, the European taxpayer foots the bill. This is madness.

      • Walmart Got a $2.2 Billion Tax Cut. Now It’s Laying Off Workers

        Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth. The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report. Layoffs are expected to begin in September and continue into 2020. “This was a difficult decision that affects friends and associates we care about deeply,” the company said in a statement to the Charlotte Business Journal. “We appreciate their important contributions, and we’re committed to handling every transition over the next seven months smoothly and respectfully. We are maintaining a corporate presence in Charlotte. As our company continues evolving, we’ve said we must strike the right balance between managing the needs of our business, our associates and our customers.” The layoffs come as Walmart reaps billions in tax cuts thanks to the 2017 Republican tax cuts. Walmart saved $1.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2018, The New York Times reported in December, and experts say the tax law will save the company $2.2 billion in taxes per year, roughly a 40 percent cut from past years.

      • Trump Administration Wants to Redefine the Poverty Line, Shrinking Public Aid

        In early May, the Office of Management and Budget announced that it was seeking public comments on a proposal to change how inflation and the consumer price index are calculated, and, by extension, how poverty rates in the United States are estimated. The federal poverty line measure was developed in the early 1960s by a Social Security Administration economist named Mollie Orshansky. It has gone through numerous tweaks over the 56 years since then, but the basic premise has always held: it is calculated assuming particular spending patterns on goods, ranging from food to housing to fuel to clothing, that a family needs to purchase to have even a modicum of economic security. The poverty line is modified depending on the size of the family. In the U.S., the line isn’t varied by geographic region, but it is updated yearly based on changes in the Consumer Price Index — basically, the rate of inflation. So ingrained is the poverty measure in our discussion of politics, of inequality, of economic vibrancy, that we have, over the decades, come to think of the statistic as something absolute; when we say that 12.3 percent of Americans, or nearly 40 million people, currently live below the poverty line, we assume that means something incontrovertible; that 40 million of us are poor and the rest of us aren’t. But of course, in reality, there’s no such absolute divide. Poverty measures are inherently impressionistic, based on a series of assumptions about how people spend their money and what constitutes basic need, and, as importantly, how they substitute one good for another when there are selective price spikes affecting certain goods and services. There are economists who spend their entire careers crafting their own estimates of how consumers behave as these prices subtly shift. But amid the din of competing data, one thing stands out: Experts on poverty, from organizations as diverse as the Center for American Progress to the National Academy of Sciences believe that the measure is actually far too conservative. They say the “basic needs” that the poverty line considers are outdated — not fully factoring in things such as recent increases in the costs of housing and medical care, or the importance of access to technologies such as the internet and cell phones in the modern era. As a result, they say, the real poverty rate in America is actually considerably higher than the official numbers suggest. Now, however, the Trump administration looks set to head off in the exact opposite direction. It has come up with a proposal to measure inflation by a “chained consumer price index,” which will most likely take millions of people who were previously considered by the government to be living in poverty, and declare that suddenly, magically, they are no longer poor.

      • Facebook co-founder: Libra coin would shift power into the wrong hands

        Regulators should not underestimate the digital currency’s disruptive potential

      • Facebook Co-Founder Says Libra Project Will Have A ‘Frightening’ Impact

        Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, thinks that the newly unveiled cryptocurrency Libra will have a “frightening” impact on the economy — by shifting power from central banks to corporations. Earlier this week, Facebook unveiled its global digital coin, which will be managed by the Libra Association and circulated through a wallet named Calibra.

      • There Is No Green Revolution Without Tax Justice

        The “green wave” recorded during the European elections on 26 May should give Europe momentum. It is now time we oppose our determination to build a social, democratic and ecological Europe, against the withdrawal desires of nationalists and Eurosceptics, or the temptations of the status quo offered by Conservatives and Liberals. The strong mobilisation of young people for the climate gives me particular hope for the future. In France and Germany, the Greens were the highest-ranked party among the 18-34 demographic in this election. And though high school students cannot yet vote, they are already expressing their willingness to defend their future on the streets during the climate marches. As my mandate as a European MP ends after ten years of fighting, I want to tell these young mobilised people that it is up to them to take up the torch. I also want to convince them that for a greener Europe, we need more tax justice.

      • Thus Spoke the Bond Market

        The titles of a few recent articles give some idea about what has been going on in the bond market lately: “The Bond Market Is Giving Ominous Warnings about the Global Economy” (Irwin 2019), “History Tells Us Why the Fed Should Take the Inverted Yield Curve Seriously” (Coppola 2019), “Donald Trump’s Beautiful Economy is Now on Full Recession Alert” (Evans-Pritchard 2019), and “Investors Could Tip the US Economy against Themselves: There’s Risk for a Self-fulfilling Cycle of Market Instability and Economic Disruptions” (El-Erian 2019). It is likely that Friday, 31 May 2019 will be considered to be one of the milestones of the ongoing global financial crisis that started in the summer of 2007. It is because, in a sequence of two tweets on Twitter, President of the United States (US) Donald Trump declared that 5% tariffs would be imposed on all goods coming into the US from Mexico, until the time the inflow of illegal Mexican migrants stopped. This, as the ongoing US–China trade war that started early in 2018 had already escalated in May 2019. On the same day, although there was no mention of the “r-word,” JP Morgan economist Michael Feroli said that he expected the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), to lower key lending rates two times later this year: one quarter-point cut in September, followed by another quarter-point cut in December. And on the same day, citing the same expectation because of growing risks to the economy from trade tensions, JP Morgan analysts revised down their year-end targets on 2-year Treasury yields to 1.40% from 2.25% and on 10-year Treasury yields to 1.75% from 2.45%. On Sunday, 2 June 2019, President Trump summarised the current state of the trade war in a sequence of three tweets. Also, on 2 June 2019, Morgan Stanley released a research note in which its chief economist Chetan Ahya argued that a recession could begin in nine months if President Trump pushes to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese exports and China retaliates with its own counter-measures. He wrote: “With the latest developments suggesting that trade escalation is still in play, the impact of trade tensions on the global cycle should not be underestimated.” Recall that only three months ago (Öncü 2019), while many had been admitting the possibility of a global slowdown, there had been a near consensus that a global recession was nowhere near the horizon. So the Morgan Stanley research note was a major change of mind by a major global financial player.

      • What the US Women’s Soccer Team Wants

        The Women’s World Cup is now underway. Taking place in France, the tournament features 24 of the best women’s national teams throughout the world. It’s also a stage for widespread gender discrimination. Prior to the tournament, the distribution of tickets was absolutely botched by the infamously incompetent folks at FIFA. And here in the United States, a lawsuit by our women’s national team marked the run-up to the tournament. That lawsuit, filed by 28 players and the union that represents them, alleges widespread discrimination against women players by the United States Soccer Federation, even after a recently ratified collective bargaining agreement. Players say they’re consistently denied equal pay, promotion, and playing and travel conditions compared to the men’s team. Their suit comes on the heels of a 2016 complaint by five members of the women’s team — Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Alex Morgan — with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which detailed similar complaints. Elsewhere, the reigning World Female Player of the Year, Ada Hegerberg of Norway, elected not to play for her national team in this World Cup because of mistreatment by the Norwegian Football Federation that left her mentally broken and depressed. That’s even after Norway became the first country to pay men and women players the same amount. [...] Women are still only paid around 81 percent of what men make for comparable work. And a lack of access to parental leave, reproductive health care, and affordable child care puts them at a further disadvantage. The members of the women’s national team are lucky enough to be a part of a union. Studies show that unionization helps narrow the gender gap by giving workers more leverage against discrimination and other abuse. The U.S. women’s team is fighting the same battle as millions of workers. The rest of us should support their lawsuit, their union, and others like it across the country.

      • The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?

        President Trump is a villain, almost cartoonish in his malignance. He’s a heel. He might as well be tying kidnapped maidens to train tracks and twirling his wispy mustache. He’s the antagonist whose death later in the movie you hope will be epic, horrifically brutal, and deeply satisfying. And, so, we carry over our emotional responses to this Oval Office carbuncle into our politics. We root against Trump because we want to see him burn. We expect his policies to be failures because they’re concocted by oily ghouls in expensive suits who often have little understanding of anything beyond their own enrichment. And yet, as political observers, we must also confront the unsettling truth that sometimes Trump’s tactics can be successful. Indeed, in some ways he has rewritten what success can look like for a US president. Rather than being measured in stability and capable stewardship of the US Empire in service to the ruling class, Trump has used confrontation and destabilization on the global stage to enrich those sectors of capital that rely on him for survival – Big Oil being the prime example – while charting a path toward the prize he lusts after above all others: recognition as a legitimate and successful president. And this confrontational, and perhaps somewhat successful, approach is best exemplified by his trade war with China. [...] Some might argue that the trade war is equally impacting the US, and that Trump will pay a political price for doing so. And, indeed, that seems to make sense on its face. Recent figures released by the US Department of Labor show signs that the US economy is also taking a hit with payroll increases missing forecast targets and wages remaining stagnant despite historically low unemployment figures, including real unemployment which stands at 7.1% (lowest since December 2000). But the trade war with China is not about these minor skirmishes, it’s a siege. Trump thinks he can outlast the Chinese, force them to blink, and translate that into political currency. He might not be wrong. As US companies begin to feel the true impacts of the tariffs, their response could be a bad sign for Beijing. In May, a NY Times op-ed cited Kelly A. Kramer, chief financial officer for telecom equipment giant Cisco, as telling investors that the company had “greatly, greatly reduced” its exposure to China. Similarly, the President and CEO of a large electronics supplier for outdoor equipment indicated that the increase to 25% tariffs has forced him to look at Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea for potential replacement suppliers. “I was thinking this is a short-term issue that will go away…[but] I don’t think you can rationally think that any more [sic],” he explained. Trump may be correctly relying on the fact that the US economy can withstand whatever pain China can dish out longer than China’s economy can withstand Trump’s policies. Call it the Deer Hunter approach to global economic hegemony.

      • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

        • The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce

          But what, then, explains Labour governments also falling in line with US foreign policy? In the case of Tony Blair, it was simply a matter of him being a right-wing infiltrator who hijacked the Labour Party to serve the same interests represented by the Conservative Party. But for previous Labour leaders, the answer to this question is a bit more complex. As both the sole remaining superpower and the largest economy in the world, the US has had huge economic as well as political influence over Europe since the end of the Second World War. The US’s huge import market has given it immense buying power that exerts enormous economic pressure on European exporters. They need their governments to be on friendly terms with the US government, which largely acts as the political wing of corporations and financial capital, in order to maintain access to the huge North American market. Furthermore, European governments have been subservient to Washington via its preferred international organizations, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 1976, for instance, the Labour government of James Callaghan was offered a loan from the IMF on the condition of enacting austerity measures. In spite of fierce opposition from the labor movement his party was founded to represent, he followed IMF dictates. (Ironically, this was the direct cause of the “Winter of Discontent” of the late 1970s – not, as is often falsely claimed, his initial (mildly) left-wing policies.) Washington has used this imbalanced economic relationship to demand obedience to its foreign policy. And European government have, for the most part, been too scared to ever test whether or not Washington is bluffing. In short, successive UK governments have seen themselves as having two options vis-a-vis relations with the US – either to kowtow to Washington and stay afloat in the global economy or else sink. Whether the choice was actually this binary is, of course, somewhat of an academic question at this point. Perhaps it was a necessity of the power structure of the Cold War era or perhaps it was a case of an overly meek Labour Party failing to stand up to Washington. But either way, in the here and now there is a huge opportunity for a change of course. Though the Cold War is over, US power is also in decline. Any remaining lipstick on the ugly face of US neoliberal imperialism was washed away by the election of Donald Trump, who personifies the fascist trajectory that it had long been taking. Though the US has long been one of the most hated countries in the world, his presidency has plunged its image and reputation to new depths of acrimonious scorn across the globe. Furthermore, several developments in global affairs have brought the primacy of US power into question. From the failure of the US-instigated coup attempt in Venezuela (supposedly the US’s “backyard”) to the refusal of European governments to cooperate with the Iran nuclear deal withdrawal, there are growing signs that US power might be on the wane. Above all, the rise of Russia and China as major players on the world stage who are consistently willing to take an independent approach signals a seismic shift in global power relations. In Latin American and Africa, they have proven themselves as more neutral actors who, unlike the US, will happily invest without attaching political strings – as has so long been Washington’s modus operandi.

        • The Intellectual Origins of the Trump Presidency and the Construction of Contemporary American Politics

          It is foolish to think that Trumpism and Trumpistas are merely a product of personality. To believe that is to assume that Donald Trump is sui generis, elected under unique circumstances and that the politics and polices produced under him are tied to him. Believing that means also that once Trump leaves office, be in 2020 or beyond, Trumpism will end. Yet the reality is that Donald Trump is merely the figurehead for Trumpism and Trumpistas. All three are the product of a series of forces that made his presidency and policies possible. The roots of Trumpism are long and deep, and contrary to what some sarcastically may think, there are the intellectual foundations that set the conditions for Trump’s election and his subsequent presidency. The intellectual roots of Trumpism need to be distinguished from other social forces that have made Trump a persona of the times. A Freudian social psychological analysis of Trumpism would perhaps explain the misogynist and hyper-masculine nature of the movement whereas theories of spatial geography and sociobiology could uncover the roots of the nativism and racism. Neo-liberal economic theory amply would capture the way global and state restructuring of the economy since the 1970s have contextualized the anxieties of Trumpistas, making the racist, protectionist, and misogynist rhetoric of the president so appealing to them. All these are antecedent causes for the movement known as Trumpism. But there are also intellectual theories that underpin the Trump presidency and the political power which he leverages, and which precludes the constitutional concepts of checks and balances and separation of powers from doing their job. Unlike during the Nixon presidency when constitutional norms prevailed over partisanship, the Trump presidency is defined by the failure of these norms to work. When candidate Trump proclaimed that: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” he might as well have said he would not lose any Republican support in Congress. Despite overwhelming evidence in the Mueller Report that Trump has abused his authority, as well as other clear instances where he has run roughshod on congressional and constitutional norms, the Republicans in both Houses stand firmly behind, making impeachment an impractical check upon him.

        • The Pope is Wrong on Argentina

          When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the new Pope after the resignation of his German predecessor, a wave of euphoria shook Argentina. He was not only the first Latin American Pope but also a beloved member of the Argentine Catholic Church. Bergoglio was well-known and respected because of his work as cardinal. At present, however, his indirect participation in Argentina’s politics has tarnished his image to some extent. Bergoglio had a difficult relationship with former Argentine presidents Néstor Kirchner and his wife, Cristina. In one of his homilies, he questioned “the exhibitionism and the strident announcements of the rulers,” in a message that indirectly pointed at Néstor. Later, he was frequently at odds with Cristina Kirchner, who succeeded her husband after his death. Bergoglio’s and Cristina’s relationship continued to deteriorate when Bergoglio supported the country’s farmers, who opposed a government levy against their exports. The confrontation between Bergoglio and Cristina Kirchner reached its climax in 2010 with a same-sex marriage bill. Argentina was the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage, a decision which the Catholic Church strongly opposed. Government criticism was swift after his appointment to the Papacy in March 2013, going so far as disseminating stories about his alleged collaboration with the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Government opponents, on the other hand, joyously celebrated his appointment, not only because an Argentine had been elected Pope but also because he was seen as a powerful government antagonist in a country where Catholicism is the predominant religion.

        • Trump’s Russian Problem

          In two and a half years, Donald Trump and his national security team have managed to worsen virtually every aspect of American national security policy. Trump has bullied and harangued our traditional West European allies and, as a result, bilateral relations with Britain, France, and Germany have become more difficult. France, Germany, and even Japan have begun to rethink their security policies because of the uncertainty that surrounds dealing with the Trump administration. President Barack Obama left Trump a path for dealing with traditional foes in Cuba and Iran, but the president has made these issues far more problematic and, in the case of Tehran, raised the specter of confrontation. The most bizarre development has been the contradictory handling of the Russian problem, which finds Russian-American relations returning to a Cold War paradigm. Trump campaigned on the basis of stabilizing and strengthening relations with Russia. Nevertheless, he appointed national security teams devoid of experience in conceptualizing and implementing diplomacy. General officers dominated his first national security team; key figures opposed to Russia and to arms control were appointed national security adviser, secretary of defense, and director of homeland security. Only former secretary of state Rex Tillerson had a resume that suggested an interest in a conciliatory relationship with Russia, but Trump and Tillerson were at odds from the start, and the role of the Department of State is severely limited in the Trump administration. The second round of national security appointments produced greater mediocrity. National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have no appreciation for the importance of diplomacy; they would have been far more comfortable in the Cold War era. Civilian leadership at the Pentagon has never been weaker, and whoever is in command will lead an organization that has never promoted better relations with Russia or the pursuit of arms control, which was central to creating stable bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow in the 1970s and 1980s. The Trump administration, moreover, walked away from two seminal arms control agreements (e.g., the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Iran nuclear accord), and has no plans for pursuing disarmament.

        • The Biden Question

          Perhaps because it is easy to spell and comprehensible even to toddlers, the word “sad” turns up often in our president’s tweets. The word has lately become useful too in descriptions of the political scene in the Trump era. Here it is in a sentence: “It is sad that the question ‘why not Biden?’ has to be asked.” The answers are so numerous and so obvious that in a happier political environment, no one would ever bother to ask. However, in our political environment, it is urgent that the question be addressed, and that even obvious answers be made explicit. This makes it easier to identify what actually is of interest in Biden’s entry into the 2020 presidential race. For a start, remember the old saw, sometimes attributed to Einstein, that insanity is making the same mistake over and over, thinking, for no good reason, that the result will be different the next time around. If the idea is to elect Democrats, then doing the same thing over and over isn’t always as much of a mistake as might appear; representatives of the party’s dead center do sometimes get their candidates elected, and the donors behind them do often get what they want. However, for Democratic voters and others whose goals include halting and, whenever possible, reversing the rush towards nuclear and environmental catastrophes, advancing liberty, justice, and social solidarity on a domestic and international scale, and promoting democracy — governance of, by, and for the people – at all the interstices of social and political life, it is a different story. For them, insanity is everywhere. It practically defines Clintonite politics. Biden would never have gotten anywhere without it.

        • “So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden

          A common media narrative on Donald Trump is that he foolishly fails to run on his greatest strength, the economy. Instead of smartly trumpeting his leading political asset, the “booing” economy, the story runs, Trump stupidly rails against immigrants. Trump has often seemed to (well) trump what would seem to be his best political card with wild Bad Grandpa rants against diverse targets and enemies, immigrants above all.

        • When Putin was asked about today’s ‘gang of patriots,’ he went after the ‘gang’ that governed Russia before him (forgetting his own résumé)

          During his latest “Direct Line” call-in TV show, Vladimir Putin noticed a question displayed on screen that read, “Where is this gang of patriots from United Russia [the country’s ruling political party] leading us?” The president decided to answer the question, telling viewers, “So there’s no impression that we’re avoiding tough political questions.” In his response, however, Putin spoke mainly about the difficulties Russia endured in the 1990s, arguing that some people in power during that era should be held responsible for this.

        • Time to Drop Out? Poll Shows 72% of Democratic Voters Think There Are Too Many Candidates Running for President

          With the first 2020 presidential primary debate less than a week away, new survey data released Friday suggests the vast majority of Democratic voters believe at least some of the candidates in their party’s crowded 24-person field should drop out of the race. According to a Hill-HarrisX poll, 72 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters feel there are “too many” candidates vying for their party’s presidential nomination. Just 16 percent of respondents said the number of candidates is “about right,” and 12 percent said there are “too few” candidates in the race. [...] The new Hill-HarrisX poll comes as Democratic candidates struggling to crack one percent in national polls are facing pressure from fellow Democrats to quit the race and possibly mount a run for Senate. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told The Hill that the “clock is running out for people who have not demonstrated any ability to mount a serious presidential bid to help make a real difference in their country by helping to turn the Senate.” According to reporting from The Hill earlier this month, “Democrats facing a steep uphill climb to win back the Senate want Beto O’Rourke to reconsider his long-shot bid for president and take another look at running for the Senate in Texas, especially if his White House bid fails to pick up momentum.”

        • The White Man’s Biden

          The Democrats have a problem. Some unreconstructed ghosts from the party’s gruesome racist past are rattling their chains, thanks to yet another very public blunder by former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden, the seeming frontrunner in the 2020 presidential race. Biden, who apparently hasn’t met a vicious conservative he doesn’t like and respect, stepped on a whole series of rakes over the last several days, and his standing as the establishment pick for the nomination is setting the party up for another calamity at the polls. Biden attended a big-dollar fundraiser at the Carlyle hotel in New York on Tuesday, one of several he graced with his presence that day. While unspooling his boilerplate spiel about “civility” and working with hidebound Republicans who are really great you guys, trust me, Delaware’s erstwhile favorite son got lost in the weeds of history, white supremacy and institutional racism. “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” said Biden in an ersatz Southern accent. “He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son.’ Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished.” There is quite a bit to unpack here, so let’s take it from the top. Sen. James Eastland (D-Mississippi) was an unvarnished racist and white supremacist, born to wealth, who lived on a massive cotton plantation and devoted his life to maintaining Jim Crow. With his fat cigar and benighted views, Eastland was for many long years the living essence of institutionalized, violent white power in the U.S. “He often appeared in Mississippi courthouse squares,” wrote The New York Times in its obituary for Eastland after his passing in 1986, “promising the crowds that if elected he would stop blacks and whites from eating together in Washington. He often spoke of blacks as ‘an inferior race.’” Biden apparently hasn’t met a vicious conservative he doesn’t like. The Times obituary was a polite rendering of some very bleak history. “The South will retain segregation,” Eastland proclaimed in 1956. “The governor of a sovereign State can use the force at his command, civil and other, to maintain public order, and prevent crime and riots. He can use these forces to prevent racial integration of schools if this is necessary, under the police power of the State, to prevent disorder and riots.” Biden’s own staff even thought praising Eastland was an incredibly bad idea. “Aides said they had urged Biden to find a less toxic example,” reports The Washington Post. And then, there is the matter of “boy.” When used against Black men, “boy” is a racist pejorative slur meant to insult and diminish their standing as a free adult. When used against white men like Biden, “boy” is merely a noun with no ghastly history attached. Joe Biden missed the point completely, again.

        • There Are No Democratic Adults in the Room

          “It’s 2016 All Over Again.” So claims the title of a recent column by Peter Nicholas in The Atlantic. By “2016 all over again,” Nicholas means that Donald Trump, now president, has expressed a willingness to accept campaign help from a foreign power in the 2020 election. The president’s comments upset Nicholas. “A simple idea,” he writes, “underpins the nation’s democratic tradition: Americans elect America’s leaders. But that notion at times seems lost on Trump. His comments to ABC, for one, echoed remarks he made almost three years ago, when he famously called on Russia to help recover 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s private server.” [...] That proved a decent forecast for the Obama administration. The party continued its drift rightward, Republicans exploited the public’s broader feelings of abandonment and betrayal, and Democrats managed to depress and demobilize their own base. Hillary Clinton’s listless 2016 campaign then added insult to the injury of financial globalization and deindustrialization by casting white, flyover voters as culturally backward “deplorables.” Clinton neglected public policy to a shocking degree, eschewing even the pretense of progressivism. It was a doomed strategy in an anti-establishment election year shaped by widespread popular alienation and anger. The masses were in no mood for centrist equivocation amid a weak recovery from a Great Recession caused by financial sector culprits who were opulently bailed out by a Democratic administration that had little to offer the working-class majority. The progressive-populist Bernie Sanders, running in accord with majority progressive opinion, would have defeated Trump. But the Clinton machine and its allies in corporate media and the Democratic National Committee rigged the primary campaign against Sanders, the party’s best hope.

        • Sergey Gavrilov, the Russian lawmaker who sparked outrage and protests in Tbilisi, says he was framed by ‘radical liberals’ and ‘fake news’

          It’s completely obvious that this is a prearranged provocation by Georgia’s radical liberal anti-patriotic forces. The attacks on the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy were used as a pretext to try to discredit Orthodoxy, seize the Parliament, and launch a coup d’état. We conducted the assembly meeting correctly. I sat where the hosts invited me to sit. I can work from side stool if need be — I’m a modest man, and I’m not seeking any honors here. We have witnessed extremist activity. Dozens of people took to the streets with earlier prepared banners against Russia, its president, and Orthodoxy. Many Georgian media outlets systematically disseminated fake news that I took part in the fighting in Abkhazia.

        • The Race for the White House

          With an approaching election, we will start with the Democrats. No less than twenty current or former elected officials have tossed their hats into the crowded ring, each, apparently, feeling that he or she is the natural leader to usher the nation out of the dark days of Donald Trump. [...] In any normal society, any one of the above-mentioned candidates could be selected by drawing straws, and would be expected to soundly defeat the current incumbent. Donald Trump’s record as president is hardly sterling: he has withdrawn from several international treaties, thus violating both international and domestic law (things he seems to hold in complete disdain), thus reducing the security not just of the U.S., but of the entire world. He has rolled back environmental protections; given enormous tax breaks to the people and corporations that least need them, while basically ignoring those that do; he has made racism fashionable again, and endorsed misogyny, Islamophobia and homophobia. He has alienated the U.S. closest and oldest allies (not necessarily a bad thing in the big picture), and brought the world closer to war than it’s been in recent memory. Would not the average person vote for ANYONE to rid the nation and the world of such a menace? One might possibly be excused for electing him in 2016; Clinton is one of the most polarizing candidates since the days when George Washington was accused of chopping down a cherry tree. But after two years, surely, even Joe Biden is a better choice for president (disclosure: this writer has no intention of voting for any of the candidates currently vying for the Democratic nod; he is more than happy to find a third-party candidate to support with his time, money and vote). In an ideal world, some Democrat would capture the imagination of the Party. He or she would boldly discuss policies the people want: domestically, he/she would propose sensible gun control; health care for all; racial equality; significant investment in schools and infrastructure. On the world stage, this imaginary candidate would promise an end to support of apartheid Israel; the closing of the nearly 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world; an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan; the rejoining of the Paris Climate Accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the nuclear missile treaty with Russia (INF).

        • The Staggering Frontrunner Status of Clueless and Shameless Joe Biden

          Joe Biden just put a spotlight on his mindset when he explicitly refused to apologize for fondly recalling how the Senate “got things done” with “civility” as he worked alongside some of the leading racist lawmakers of the 20th century. For Biden, the personal is the political; he knows that he’s virtuous, and that should be more than good enough for African Americans, for women, for anyone. “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” Biden exclaimed Wednesday night, moments after demanding: “Apologize for what?” His deep paternalism surfaced during the angry outburst as he declared: “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career, period, period, period.” [...] Said Biden at a New York fundraiser Tuesday night: “Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished.” To Biden, any assessment of his past conduct that clashes with his high self-regard is unfair; after all, he really means well. On the campaign trail now, his cloying paternalism is as evident as his affinity for wealthy donors. Biden shuttles between the billionaire class and the working class—funded by the rich while justifying the rich to everyone else. His aspirations are bound up in notions of himself as comforter-in-chief. “I get it, I get it,” Biden said during his brief and self-adulatory non-apology video in early April to quiet the uproar over his invasive touching of women and girls. He was actually saying: I get it that I need to seem to get it.

        • The Mad King in His Time

          The country is divided as to whether President Donald J. Trump is a mad king. If he is indeed mad, then this even divide is more than scary. What is the reasoning that accommodates madness? What sort of times can we be living in? Perhaps his madness doesn’t matter if your stock portfolio is doing well. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as president and any other candidate “gone left” seem not to be as favorably inclined to the amassing of wealth as the madman now in office. This madman, after all, will not push the private health care industry, along with the obscenely and immorally lucrative Big Pharma, aside nor the global warming fossil fuel industry. When the opportunity arises President Trump will not appoint Liberals/Progressives/”Socialists” to the Supreme Court. He’s not going to raise taxes to save, I mean “reform,” anything with the word “public” in it. And he’ll require professional vitae from any immigrant seeking asylum. In short, he may be a mad king, but he’ll keep private enterprise, privatization and all things private private. He’ll keep the country white, safe, armed and great again. He’ll keep the phenomenal wealth piling up at the top out of the hands of The People, meaning all those not able to afford the $200,000 for Mar- a- Lago membership. If you don’t have a stock portfolio loaded with fossil fuel and health care stock, you may still warm to the private not public view of things. Private is you, personally. Your personal freedom grounded in personal choice, your choice grounded in your total individual autonomy. Your fight for individual freedom is a fight to hold on to your guns, your own personally chosen doctors, your own freedom to be charitable when and to whom you choose rather than allow the Federal Government to financially aid those outside your field of choice.

        • The Last White House Press Secretary

          It is a Washington, D.C., custom that a flak jacket be hung in the closet of the White House press secretary’s office. A relic of the Vietnam War era, the jacket is one of those Beltway affectations delightful to those in power’s orbit and largely incomprehensible to the rest of us slobs. Such is the battle the White House press secretary must wage each day, the jacket tells those who’d take the job; it’s like withstanding anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam, dealing with these unceasing journalistic hacks who make your life hell just because they can’t do anything else for a living. What a scream. Never mind that much of the press secretary’s job is spent doing things like lying about putting actual soldiers in real flak jackets over real enemy fire, to kill or be killed. That’s not so cute to think about. The tradition that an outgoing press secretary leave a note in one of the flak jacket’s pockets for the incoming press secretary is similarly and infuriatingly detached from reality. As with so many American political norms, it reveals that bipartisanship is alive and well, despite furious argument to the contrary—that the defining self-identification for successful political hacks is not “Republican versus Democrat,” but “us versus them.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been something of a relief. As odd as it is to admit, I will miss her after her departure as Trump’s press secretary at the end of June, ahead of a likely run for governor of Arkansas. But in the same way that surviving a near-death experience can foster great personal growth and a newfound appreciation for life, so too has Sanders done the country a great service. By being the very best press secretary a president has ever had, Sanders has revealed just how worthless the position is—and how unceasingly evil the job must be, by its very nature. With the possible exception of Ari Fleischer, who served under George W. Bush, Sanders may be the single most loathsome human being to ever occupy the position. She possesses a fundamental disdain for the truth, an outright contempt for the journalists ranged before her and an uncanny ability to never break the character of a cold, uncaring cipher, bored with whatever question has been posed to her.

        • THE “CENTER” OF AMERICAN POLITICS IS ON THE LEFT

          Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.” Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand: On the economy,76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends. What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. 60 percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare. 92 percent want lower prescription drug prices. Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada. On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave. 79 percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans.

        • Impeach Trump

          A year ago I referred to Donald Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia and the possibility that he has been compromised by his financial and commercial ties to Moscow. As a matter of fact, at that time some well-informed people did call it treason. He’s acting like “a Russian mole,” wrote conservative columnist Max Boot. “America is under attack and its president absolutely refuses to defend it. Simply put, Trump is a traitor and may well be treasonous,” argued New York Times op-ed writer Charles M. Blow. The former CIA director, John Brennan, tweeted that “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.” And John McLaughlin, former acting director of the CIA, called Trump an “agent of influence” for Russia in an interview with MSNBC. But Trump survived these charges, and many others that, over the course of his campaign and presidency, many of us thought would prove his undoing: the Hollywood video on groping women, the racist comments on Mexican-Americans and Muslims, the payoffs to cover up affairs, the unwillingness to outright condemn neo-Nazis, the invitation to the Russians to get Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, the mass incarcerations of migrants, the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, and the constant deference to Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian leaders. Still Trump stands, damaged but capable of inflicting great damage and even getting reelected.

        • That Mark Field Feared a Terrorist Attack is Clearly a Lie – or He Is Dangerously Insane

          There is zero history in the UK of personal violence or terrorist attack by climate change protestors and nobody could claim they had a reasonable fear that a climate change protestor was carrying a weapon – something which has simply never happened. I could equally rationally grab Mark Field by the throat any time I saw him, and claim he might have been carrying a concealed weapon because he is a Tory MP. His excuse is a complete and utter nonsense, a post hoc effort at justification. He only had a genuine fear of her carrying a weapon if he is suffering from a serious psychological derangement, and one dangerous to the public. Unlike Mark Field, I happen to have led a life involving real danger, and had guns pointed at my head in both Uzbekistan and Liberia, whilst in the service of the UK. But in my sixty years I have never once raised my hand in anger to a woman. Field’s unprovoked attack was cowardly and ungentlemanly in the extreme (and I really do not care if you find my attitude outdated or not).

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Facebook Reverses Ban on Led Zeppelin ‘Houses of the Holy’ Art: Exclusive

          Over the years, the art from Led Zeppelin’s 10-times platinum-selling fifth studio project has been used as a feature photo with more than 30 UCR stories. This was the first time Facebook has intervened.

        • Tech journalists troubled by Assange computer intrusion charge

          The Trump administration’s decision to charge Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act has generated significant controversy. One legal expert described it as “crossing a “constitutional Rubicon.” CPJ warned that the indictment could be the opening salvo in a broader attack on First Amendment journalistic protections. The 18th charge against Assange–of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)–has garnered far less attention. Yet technology journalists and legal experts interviewed by CPJ since the charge was first publicized in April shared significant concerns about the law, and their growing fear that it could be used to implicate journalists in the criminal activities of their sources.

        • Ecuador judge frees Swedish programmer close to Assange; probe continues

          But Ola Bini, a 36-year-old software developer who has lived in Ecuador for five years, remains under investigation in the case and will be barred from leaving the country, according to the court ruling.

        • ‘Self censorship is a bigger sin than censorship’ – veteran Singapore print editor PN Balji

          In an interview with Mumbrella’s Ravi Balakrishnan, PN Balji – a veteran of Singapore print media and author of the recently launched book ‘Reluctant Editor’ – discusses journalism in the city state

        • How Ethiopia Controls the Internet

          A week later, internet service reportedly returned, but such moves by the Ethiopian government are not new, according to a report on internet freedom in the East African country and in dozens of other countries. The government has several strategies it employs when it wants to silence people online, according to the report, titled “Freedom on the Net 2018″ and published by Freedom House, a nonprofit based in Washington that advocates for democracy and releases an annual analysis on internet freedom around the world.

        • Ethiopia’s bid to become an African startup hub hinges on connectivity

          The country of 105 million with the continent’s seventh largest economy is revamping government policies, firing up angel networks, and rallying digital entrepreneurs.

          Ethiopia currently lags the continent’s tech standouts—like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa—that have become focal points for startup formation, VC, and exits.

          To join those ranks, the East African nation will need to improve its [Internet] environment, largely controlled by one government owned telecom. Last week Ethiopia’s government shut down the internet for the entire nation.

        • Why the internet’s most important law exists and how people are still getting it wrong

          Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is one of the internet’s most important and most misunderstood laws. It’s intended to protect “interactive computer services” from being sued over what users post, effectively making it possible to run a social network, a site like Wikipedia, or a news comment section. But in recent years, it’s also become a bludgeon against tech companies that critics see as abusing their power through political bias or editorial slant. Just this week, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a major (and highly unpopular) amendment, claiming Section 230 was designed to keep the internet “free of political censorship.”

          But that’s just not what happened, says US Naval Academy professor Jeff Kosseff, author of the recent book The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet. Twenty-Six Words is a nuanced and engaging look at the complicated history of Section 230, which was put forward as an alternative to heavy-handed porn regulation and then turned into a powerful legal shield through a series of court rulings.

        • Guy Pushing Hawley’s ‘Viewpoint Neutrality’ Concept In The Media Used To Write For White Supremacist Site

          Senator Josh Hawley’s law to wipe out CDA 230 protections for internet platforms unless they apply to the FTC for a special certificate, which they can only get if they show ‘clear and convincing evidence” that their moderation practices are “politically neutral,” is dumb in many, many ways. But one of the most ridiculous parts is that it literally requires internet platforms to give extra weight to Nazis, and to punish any site that does not give the Nazis a platform.

        • Sen. Hawley’s “Bias” Bill Would Let the Government Decide Who Speaks

          Despite its name, Sen. Josh Hawley’s Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act (PDF) would make the Internet less safe for free expression, not more. It would violate the First Amendment by allowing a government agency to strip platforms of legal protection based on their decisions to host or remove users’ speech when the federal government deems that action to be politically biased. Major online platforms’ moderation policies and practices are deeply flawed, but putting a government agency in charge of policing bias would only make matters worse. The bill targets Section 230, the law that shields online platforms, services, and users from liability for most speech created by others. Section 230 protects intermediaries from liability both when they choose to edit, curate, or moderate speech and when they choose not to. Without Section 230, social media would not exist in its current form—the risks of liability would be too great given the volume of user speech published through them—and neither would thousands of websites and apps that host users’ speech and media. Under the bill, platforms over a certain size—30 million active users in the U.S. or 300 million worldwide—would lose their immunity under Section 230. In order to regain its immunity, a company would have to pay the Federal Trade Commission for an audit to prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that it doesn’t moderate users’ posts “in a manner that is biased against a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint.”

        • Before Demanding Internet Companies ‘Hire More Moderators,’ Perhaps We Should Look At How Awful The Job Is

          While it was a powerful and wonderfully written piece, as we noted in February, this wasn’t new to people following the space closely. There had been previous academic papers, a documentary, and even a big guest post here at Techdirt that highlighted some of the working conditions concerns of those in content moderation jobs. Well, now, Newton is back with another powerful and heartbreaking story of more (former) Facebook moderators revealing the truly awful working conditions they faced. It opens with the story of a content moderator who died on the job of a heart attack at 42 years of age. And then discusses details revealed by many more content moderators, all of whom broke NDAs they signed to tell this story (good for them in doing so — such NDAs should not be allowed)…

        • UK May Have Finally Ditched Its Absurd Porn Filter Plan

          As we’ve noted for years, internet filters don’t work, routinely censor legitimate content by mistake, and implementing them is a massive waste of money, time, resources, and precious calories. In the UK, that’s been a lesson that has been painfully difficult to learn. The UK has long implemented porn filters in a bid to restrict anybody under the age of 18 from accessing such content. New age verification controls were also mandated as part of the Digital Economy Act of 2017. But as we’ve previously noted, the UK government has seen several fits and starts with its proposal as it desperately tries to convince the public and business sectors that the ham-fisted effort was going to actually work. Back in April, the UK government announced that after numerous delays the program would effectively be taking effect July 15. Under the proposal, websites that failed to comply with the country’s age verification program face fines up to £250,000, risk being taken offline, or may lose access to payment services. Randy folks who wanted to view some porn were to be redirected to a special subsite where they’d be prompted for an email address and a password, before verifying your age using a driving license or a passport. They’d then, theoretically, happily be passed off to compliant porn websites.

        • Explainer: How Letting Platforms Decide What Content To Facilitate Is What Makes Section 230 Work

          There seems to be some recurrent confusion about Section 230: how can it let a website be immune from liability for its users’ content, and yet still get to affect whether and how that content is delivered? Isn’t that inconsistent? The answer is no: platforms don’t lose Section 230 protection if they aren’t neutral with respect to the content they carry. There are a few reasons, one being constitutional. The First Amendment protects editorial discretion, even for companies. But another big reason is statutory, which is what this post is about. Platforms have the discretion to choose what content to enable, because making those moderating choices is one of the things that Section 230 explicitly gives them protection to do. The key here is that Section 230 in fact provides two interrelated forms of protection for Internet platforms as part of one comprehensive policy approach to online content. It does this because Congress actually had two problems that it was trying to solve when it passed it. One was that Congress was worried about there being too much harmful content online. We see this evidenced in the fact that Section 230 was ultimately passed as part of the “Communications Decency Act,” a larger bill aimed at minimizing undesirable material online.

        • Google CEO Admits That It’s Impossible To Moderate YouTube Perfectly; CNBC Blasts Him

          Over the weekend, Google CEO Sundar Pichai gave an interview to CNN in which he admitted to exactly what we’ve been screaming over and over again for a few years now: it’s literally impossible to do content moderation at scale perfectly. This is for a variety of reasons: first off, no one agrees what is the “correct” level of moderation. Ask 100 people and you will likely get 100 different answers (I know this, because we did this). What many people think must be mostly “black and white” choices actually has a tremendous amount of gray. Second, even if there were clear and easy choices to make (which there are not), at the scale of most major platforms, even a tiny error rate (of either false positives or false negatives) will still be a very large absolute number of mistakes. [...] Of course, what no one will actually discuss is how you would solve this problem of the law of large numbers. You can break up Google, sure, but unless you think that consumers will suddenly shift so that not too many of them use any particular video platform, whatever leading video platforms there are will always have this general challenge. The issue is not that YouTube is “too big to fix,” but simply that any platform with that much content is going to make some moderation mistakes — and, with so much content, in absolute terms, even if the moderation efforts are pretty “accurate” you’ll still find a ton of those mistakes. I’ve long argued that a better solution is for these companies to open up their platforms to allow user empowerment and competition at the filtering level, so that various 3rd parties could effectively “compete” to see who’s better at moderating (and to allow end users to opt-in to what kind of moderation they want), but that’s got nothing to do with a platform being “too big” or needing “fixing.” It’s a recognition that — as stated at the outset — there is no “right” way to moderate content, and no one will agree on what’s proper. In such a world, having a single standard will never make sense, so we might as well have many competing ones. But it’s hard to see how that’s a problem of being “too big.”

        • E-Commerce review: Opening Pandora’s box?

          The next important battle for our rights and freedoms in the digital sphere is looming on the horizon. While the public debate has recently focused on upload filters for alleged copyright infringements and online “terrorist” content, a planned legislative review will look more broadly at the rules for all types of illegal and “harmful” content.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • As The DOJ Continues To Complain About Encryption, Cellebrite (Again) Announces It Can Crack Any IPhone

          It was announced very publicly. This wasn’t a press release sent only to government agencies or the byproduct of leaked internal documents. It was announced on the company’s Twitter account, letting everyone know Cellebrite is apparently beating almost every device maker at their own encryption game. Like GrayKey’s offering, Cellebrite’s updated encryption-breaker is hardware that can be used on site by purchasers, allowing law enforcement agencies to perform their own cracking and extraction. Sure, the flaws used to bypass device security will be patched, and Cellebrite and its competitors will keep digging around in device hardware/software to find holes to exploit. The security vs. insecurity war will continue. But for all the weak arguments made by the head of the FBI — especially the ones about Apple, etc. “profiting” from locking out law enforcement — it would seem companies like Cellebrite are more likely to directly profit from device encryption. Encryption on phones is a standard offering, not a selling point. Tools that break encryption? Now, that’s where the real money is.

        • California’s ISP Deregulation Law Allows Recording VoIP Calls without Consent

          The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been opposing A.B. 1366, legislation by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, which would renew a law that effectively shields a huge part of the telecommunications industry from state and local regulation. Comcast and AT&T law backed this law, Public Utilities Code Sec. 710, in 2012—and are backing its renewal now. Renewing this law would reaffirm that state and local governments cannot regulate VoIP—a term used to refer to any technology that allows you to use the Internet for voice communication or receive telephone calls over the Internet—for another decade. We oppose A.B. 1366, largely because of the damage the existing law has done to the state and local government’s ability to promote competition and access for broadband access, but many other problems are present due to this law. Religious groups and human rights groups have also raised concerns with how deregulating VoIP will harm inmates in prison who need to stay in contact with their families. AT&T has asserted it is not subject to state oversight when building our Next Generation 911 emergency system, simply because it uses broadband. And it now appears that the law also makes it legal for Internet companies to record your calls without your permission, as long as they use VoIP.

        • Amazon gets U.S. patent to use delivery drones for surveillance service

          Amazon.com Inc is exploring using drones not just to deliver packages but also to provide surveillance as a service to its customers, according to a patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The delivery drones can be used to record video of consented user’s property to gather data that can be analyzed to look out, say for example, a broken window, or a fire or if a garage door was left open during the day, the patent described. According to the patent, the surveillance function of the drone can be limited through geo-fencing, a technology used to draw a virtual boundary around the property under surveillance. Any image or data that the drone captures outside the geo-fence would be obscured or removed.

        • On Edward Snowden’s birthday, know how he became NSA’S ‘whistleblower’

          And on June 5, 2013, The Guardian published the secret documents obtained from Snowden. After this, The Guardian and The Washington Post published the information on PRISM (an NSA program that allows real-time information collection electronically).

        • Minnesota Cop Awarded $585K After Colleagues Snooped on Her DMV Data

          When Krekelberg asked for an audit of accesses to her DMV records, as allowed by Minnesota state law, she learned that her information—which would include things like her address, weight, height, and driver’s license pictures—had been viewed nearly 1,000 times since 2003, even though she was never under investigation by law enforcement. In fact, Krekelberg was law enforcement: She joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 2012, after spending eight years working elsewhere for the city, mostly as an officer for the Park & Recreation Board. She later learned that over 500 of those lookups were conducted by dozens of other cops. Even more eerie, many officers had searched for her in the middle of the night.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Maryland ‘peace cross’ can stand on public land, U.S. high court rules

        A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state. The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.

      • On the ground during violent clashes with police at Tbilisi’s anti-Russian protest

        On the evening of June 20, on Shota Rustaveli Avenue in central Tbilisi, just outside the Georgian Parliament building, at least 10,000 people gathered for a protest. They didn’t leave until after midnight. The cause of the unrest was a speech in Parliament by Russian State Duma deputy Sergey Gavrilov, who sat in the speaker’s chair and spoke Russian, before he was interrupted by Georgia’s opposition. Demonstrators later burned Russian flags and called Russia an occupier. When activists tried to seize the Parliament, police responded harshly, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Hundreds of people, including dozens of police officers, were injured. On special assignment for Meduza, journalist Maria Latsinskaya explains what happened that night in Tbilisi, and how there’s now talk of another revolution on the horizon.

      • Anti-Russian protest erupts in Tbilisi, after Russian delegation addresses Georgian Parliament

        The television station Rustavi-2 reports that police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd of protesters, causing multiple severe injuries. According to the Russian news service Interfax, several dozen people have been injured in clashes with the police.

      • Years Ago, the Border Patrol’s Discipline System Was Denounced as “Broken.” It’s Still Not Fixed.

        Perhaps the most far-reaching idea was to reclassify the more than 40,000 Border Patrol agents and customs officers as “national security employees,” just as all FBI agents and employees at a number of other Homeland Security agencies currently are. Taking away their status as civil servants, the thinking went, would make it easier to fire corrupt and abusive employees. It was, to be sure, an extreme measure. But the panel, a subcommittee of a larger Homeland Security advisory council, had been created late in President Barack Obama’s second term because U.S. Customs and Border Protection seemed in crisis, and the panel subsequently determined that the agency was plagued by a system that allowed bad actors to stay on the payroll for years after they’d engaged in egregious, even criminal, misconduct. Because of civil service protections, a Border Patrol agent who’d been disciplined for bad behavior could challenge his or her punishment through four rounds of escalating appeals before taking the case to an arbitrator or a federal hearing board. And the panel — headed by William Bratton, who had run police departments in Boston, New York City and Los Angeles — was deeply concerned about the persistent strain of lawlessness among CBP employees. In a preliminary 2015 report, the panel had noted that “arrests for corruption of CBP personnel far exceed, on a per capita basis, such arrests at other federal law enforcement agencies.” CBP, the panel’s members concluded, was “vulnerable to corruption that threatens its effectiveness and national security.”

      • Women’s Group Responds to New Trump Rape Accusation

        Earlier today, reports surfaced that Donald Trump sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll in a dressing room at the New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman over two decades ago.

      • E. Jean Carroll: “Trump attacked me in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman.”

        The Elle advice columnist says the assault took place in Bergdorf Goodman.

      • Hundreds picket in Moscow for three sisters facing up to 20 years in prison for killing their violent, abusive father

        On June 19, Muscovites took to the streets to support the Khachaturyan sisters, who were 17, 18, and 19 years old when they were arrested in July 2018. The three young women killed their father, and they do not deny it. Maria, Angelina, and Krestina took that step because Mikhail Khachaturyan abused them verbally, physically, and sexually for years on end. Investigators are framing the case as a conspiracy to commit murder, but the defense has countered that the sisters had to act in self-defense. Meduza special correspondent Kristina Safonova was on the scene of the pickets against the case.

      • A conversation with Chechen human rights leader Oyub Titiev, now released on parole following a dubious drug conviction

        Oyub Titiev, who leads the Chechen branch of the human rights center Memorial, was released from prison on June 21. In March 2019, he was sentenced to four years in a penal colony for drug possession. Titiev has denied the charges and said the case against him was fabricated. In early June, a defense petition for Titiev to be released on parole was approved. Meduza special correspondent Sasha Sulim spoke with Titiev shortly after his release.

      • Trump Prepares to Open New ‘Captured Children’ Facility in Texas as Hundreds of Rights Groups Call for Decriminalizing Migration

        A facility to house over 1,000 undocumented children is set to open Monday in Carrizo Springs, Texas—just days after almost 250 groups called on Congress to decriminalize migration and chart a new course for the country’s border policies. The Carrizo Springs concentration camp, which was initially built by Stratton Oilfield Systems as worker housing, will be run by Texas non-profit BCFS Health and Human Services for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BCFS runs child detention centers for the federal government in Tornillo, Texas, roughly 489 miles from the Carrizo Springs facility. HHS spokesperson Victoria Palmer confirmed to Common Dreams that the agency was using Carrizo Springs as a camp to hold children. “All children will be sheltered in hard-sided structures at the Carrizo Springs facility,” said Palmer. “Semi-permanent soft-sided structures will be used for support operations.”

      • They Are Concentration Camps — and They Are Also Prisons

        The words “Holocaust” and “concentration camp” were trending on Twitter on Tuesday. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had referred to the prison camps that migrant children are being kept in as “concentration camps,” and a virtual war erupted. The feigned outrage of conservatives was loud. Some argued that the Holocaust was a singular event, to which no parallel should be claimed. Meanwhile, many historians and people personally connected to the Holocaust insisted that the comparison was valid. As a Native writer and a Jewish writer, respectively, whose ancestors and cultures were subject to attempted state-sanctioned annihilation, we are not opposed to people using the words “concentration camps” to describe the camps in which migrant children, teens and adults are being caged. The words accurately apply, and we should not hesitate to use Holocaust comparisons in appropriate situations like this one. However, if we stop at analogies that are suggestive of a faraway time and place, we are disregarding a wide web of interconnected atrocities that impact millions of people right now in the United States. We have both spent many years struggling, organizing and writing against the prison-industrial complex, a many-tentacled system of death and destruction. It’s a system that extends well beyond the walls of the buildings formally known as “prisons” and “jails,” where over 2 million people are trapped, some of them spending decades and even lifetimes behind bars. It extends to the estimated 200,000 people shackled with electronic monitors, imprisoned in their homes. It extends to the euphemistically named “juvenile detention centers” — really, youth jails and prisons — where children are abused, locked in solitary confinement, and torn from those they love. (Family separation is a longstanding feature of the prison system.) The prison-industrial complex extends to the people indefinitely incarcerated in “civil commitment centers” and psychiatric hospitals, and in military prisons; and it extends to the youth trapped in the punitive and racially biased “child protective services” net. It extends to policing, a violent practice of capturing, harming and sometimes directly killing large numbers of disproportionately Black, Brown, trans and/or disabled people. The prison-industrial complex also extends to another immense punitive, violent institution: the U.S. immigration system, which hosts its own wide network of jails (usually labeled “detention centers”). The migrant camps in which children are being incarcerated are concentration camps — and they are also prisons. We must hold these dual, overlapping realities in our minds, as we strive to comprehend the interrelated horrors to which the United States — not just Trump, but the United States — subjects millions of people every day.

      • The Redemptive Essence of History

        Many people think they have no use for history. Too often this is because the history people are taught in schools and the media just doesn’t ring true. History does not tell the truth; at least not the whole truth. Nor is history only in the telling. It is also in who is doing the telling. Traditionally, those doing the telling have been the rulers and their sycophants. Despite this, there is a people’s history that somehow gets handed down through the generations. In recent years, there have been numerous attempts to make that people’s history available to the broader public. Naturally, those attempts are under constant attack. Consequently, attempting to tell the story of those who are oppressed is not only a challenge to compile, it is often also a challenge to publish. Ben Dangl is a historian and journalist. His work focuses mostly on Latin America. More specifically, he reports on the role of social movements in that region, most often those movements in Bolivia. Bolivia is a nation currently governed by a government that came to power because of certain social movements among its people. In the years since the rise of that government, Bolivians and others around the globe have watched as the Bolivian people engage in an ongoing experiment in popular rule. This experiment has been mostly successful despite interference from the United States, other nations, and the entitled right wing of the country. Dangl’s previous books—Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia and Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America—examine the Bolivian experience and related movements in other nations in the region.

      • Their Father Speaks Spanish. Their Foster Parents Raised Them to Speak Slovak.

        For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care. WHEN HIS SON WAS BORN IN 2014, Jorge Matias held the infant in the hospital and sang him the lullabies he had learned as a child in Guatemala. He teased the boy’s mother that he would raise their son to speak Spanish, and one day the two of them would talk in secret around her. But the boy was born with heroin in his system and, when it cleared from his body, Illinois child welfare officials placed him in a foster home. To get his son back, Matias had to complete a long list of requirements, including ending his relationship with the boy’s mother, a heroin addict. Matias visited the boy at his caseworker’s office, changed diapers and learned to prepare a bottle. He documented his son’s growth with photos and videos on his cellphone.

      • Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes the Case for Reparations at Historic Congressional Hearing

        On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary held a historic hearing on reparations for slavery—the first of its kind in over a decade. Wednesday’s hearing coincided with Juneteenth, a day that commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the transatlantic slave trade. Lawmakers are considering a bill titled the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.” It was introduced by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, after former Congressmember John Conyers had championed the bill for decades without success. The bill carries the designation H.R. 40, a reference to “40 acres and a mule,” one of the nation’s first broken promises to newly freed slaves. Ahead of the hearing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea.” Award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates testified at the historic congressional hearing on reparations and took direct aim at McConnell.

      • The Danger of Poeticizing Horror While Bearing Witness

        Poet Carolyn Forché first visited El Salvador in 1978 when, in the words of her self-ascribed mentor Leonel Gómez Vides, its peace was “the silence of misery endured.” The country was on the precipice of a deadly civil war during which more than 65,000 people were killed or “disappeared” by a regime supported by the United States. Forché opens her recent memoir, “What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance,” which reflects on those visits (she traveled there repeatedly between 1978 and 1980), with a description of finding the dismembered body of a man: “The parts are not quite touching, there is soil between them, especially the head and the rest. […] Why doesn’t anyone do something? I think I asked.” Forché was in El Salvador on a Guggenheim fellowship to work with Amnesty International. The resulting eight poems, published in the collection “The Country Between Us” (1981), are brutal in their stark depictions of rape, mutilation, torture, and horror. “Go try on / Americans your long, dull story / of corruption, but better to give / them what they want: Lil Milagro Ramirez […] who fucked her, how many times and when,” she writes in “Return,” in which she tries to explain to her friend Josephine something of what she learned in El Salvador. In “The Colonel,” a colonel empties a bag of human ears “like dried peach halves” onto the dinner table, then ironically tells her, “Something for your poetry, no?”

      • I’M A JOURNALIST BUT I DIDN’T FULLY REALIZE THE TERRIBLE POWER OF U.S. BORDER OFFICIALS UNTIL THEY VIOLATED MY RIGHTS AND PRIVACY

        I SHOULD HAVE kept my mouth shut about the guacamole; that made things worse for me. Otherwise, what I’m about to describe could happen to any American who travels internationally. It happened 33,295 times last year. My work as a journalist has taken me to many foreign countries, including frequent trips to Mexico. On May 13, I was returning to the U.S. from Mexico City when, passing through immigration at the Austin airport, I was pulled out of line for “secondary screening,” a quasi-custodial law enforcement process that takes place in the Homeland Security zone of the airport. Austin is where I was born and raised, and I usually get waved through immigration after one or two questions. I’m also a white man; more on that later. This time, when my turn came to show my passport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was more aggressive than usual in his questioning. I told him I’d been in Mexico for seven days for work, that I was a journalist, and that I travel to Mexico often, as he could see from my passport. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He wanted to know the substance of the story I was currently working on, which didn’t sit right with me. I tried to skirt the question, but he came back to it, pointedly. [...] A bespectacled supervisor named Lopez made an appearance. In a polite back-and-forth, I learned that I was not under arrest or suspected of any crime, and my citizenship was not in doubt, but if I didn’t answer the question asked by the “incident officer,” I wouldn’t be allowed into the United States. He handed me some brochures and left the room. Moncivias was joined by an Anglo officer named Pomeroy, who had a shaved head and looked a little older. They stared at me expectantly. “Fine,” I said. “For the last six months, I’ve been doing an investigative journalism project to determine which restaurant has the best guacamole in all of Mexico.” Moncivias didn’t miss a beat. “And what restaurant is that?” “El Parnita, on Avenida Yucatán in Mexico City,” I told him, truthfully. The flippancy would cost me. From then on out, the officers made it clear that I was in for a long delay. When I saw how mad they were, I lost interest in the principle of the thing. In reality, I didn’t care if they knew what the story was about. The draft was done, and my editors had a copy. All I cared about was getting home to a cup of coffee, a sandwich, a shower, and my bed. In an effort to smooth things over, I said that if they really had to know, I was finishing up a story for Rolling Stone about some guys from Texas and Arizona who sold helicopter machine guns to a Mexican cartel and that I’d been in Mexico City to interview a government official who, for understandable reasons, didn’t want his name bandied about. I apologized for my grouchiness, blaming it on the stress of travel. Cooperation didn’t earn me any leniency. Next up was a thorough search of my suitcase, down to unscrewing the tops of my toiletries. That much I expected. But then a third officer, whose name was Villarreal, carefully read every page of my 2019 journal, including copious notes to self on work, relationships, friends, family, and all sorts of private reflections I had happened to write down. I told him, “Sir, I know there’s nothing I can do to stop you, but I want to tell you, as one human being to another, that you’re invading my privacy right now, and I don’t appreciate it.” Villarreal acknowledged the statement and went back to reading. That was just the beginning. The real abuse of power was a warrantless search of my phone and laptop. This is the part that affects everyone, not just reporters and people who keep journals.

      • Intellectual Monopolies

        • Fed. Cir. Spots Weak Claim Construction Arguments

          Activision won its inter partes review (IPR) challenge that ended with the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) finding obvious claims 1-11 of GAT’s U.S. Patent 8,253,743. The patent here covers a method for customizing game characters. The method begins with shopping for an avatar – via an “avatar shop”; then, a set of “game item functions” are combined with the avatar (via layers). A game item function might be “a function for attacking or defending other gamers” or perhaps “a function for charging cyber money.” Once these “game functions” are added to the avatar, it becomes a “GAMVATAR.” Figure 5 of the patent (below) explains the equation: Avatar + Item (function) = Gamvatar. The infringement lawsuit involving the ‘743 was administrative closed after the PTAB decision here. [...] So, obviousness affirmed. Everyone keep making your characters (I mean gamvatars).

        • Heightened Written Description Standard for Reissue Patents

          The courts agreed that, in this situation, the broadened scope that includes an arbor-less device was not apparent from the “face of the instrument” — i.e., in the text of the original patent application. A written description requirement: The patentee had presented expert testimony that a person of skill in the art would understand that the arbors were optional components of the assembly. Taking that evidence as true, the Federal Circuit found it insufficient to save the claims because the test is whether the new claim scope is written down in the specification. In essence, this is a heightened written description test, not a test of enablement. Query: How would our patent system adjust to applying this written description standard in all cases, not just reissues?

        • After Decades Of Demanding China ‘Respect’ US Patent Law, Senator Rubio Pushes Law That Says US Can Ignore Huawei Enforcing Patents

          For well over a decade we’ve discussed the short-sightedness of the US repeatedly demanding that China “respect” US intellectual property, because China has only turned that around on the US, and used Chinese patents as a way to block American competitors from entering the Chinese market. Things seemed to go up a notch recently, after the US government expanded its attempts to block Huawei from the US market, and Huawei suddenly remembered it owned a shit ton of patents and started demanding Verizon pay on the order of a billion dollars or face patent infringement claims. As we discussed, Huawei was just following the established playbook of using the US’s bizarrely stupid obsession with “patents” against the US itself. Hilariously, Huawei’s CEO was just recently quoted as insisting that the company would not “weaponize” its patents, at the same time that it was clear that that’s exactly what Huawei is doing. Of course, as we’ve learned over the years, patents are designed to be weaponized and are frequently used as weapons against innovation. In response to all of this, rather than recognizing that our over emphasis on patents (and our demands that China “respect” those patents) might be a big part of the problem, Senator Marco Rubio, has submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would literally block Huawei from enforcing its patents in US courts.

        • Trademarks

          • Caterpillar Now Going After All The Cats For Trademark Cancellations

            A couple of weeks back, we discussed the story of Caterpillar Inc., famous manufacturers of tractor equipment, deciding to bully Cat & Cloud Coffee, makers of you’ll-never-guess-what, all because the former had long ago trademarked “CAT” as a truncated brand. At issue specifically is Cat & Cloud’s use of the word “cat” on clothing and merchandise it sells, with Caterpillar claiming there is the potential for public confusion with its own clothing and merch lines. This is, of course, plainly ridiculous. There is no overlap in the branding and nobody is going to confuse the tractor folks with the coffee folks. Others pointed out that there are tons of other companies out there that sell apparel and/or merch while holding trademarks that incorporate the word “cat.” If those other companies are allowed to exist, why not Cat & Cloud? Caterpillar Inc. heard you dear friends, but its response is probably not the one you were hoping for.

          • Battle brewing between independent coffee shop & construction giant heats up

            The battle brews on against a small coffee shop and the construction giant Caterpillar, over the name “cat”. Jared Truby, co-owner of Cat & Cloud Café in Santa Cruz has been in a state of disbelief since last August when their independent shop was slapped with a legal petition to cancel their trademark by heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.

        • Copyrights

          • Mexico first to ratify USMCA trade deal, Trump presses U.S. Congress to do same

            By a vote of 114 in favor to 4 against, Mexico’s Senate backed the deal tortuously negotiated between 2017 and 2018 after Trump repeatedly threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he could not get a better trade agreement for the United States.

          • Mexico becomes first country to ratify USMCA trade deal via Senate vote

            Mexico on Wednesday became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) agreed last year by the three countries to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

          • Court Orders Danish ISPs to Block Copyright-Infringing News Site

            For the first time ever, a Danish court has ordered a local ISP to block access to a news site. ‘The World News’ republishes hundreds of thousands of articles from third-party news sites. The website aims to combat ‘fake news,’ but according to publishers and the court, it infringes the publishers’ copyrights in the process.

          • Book review: Copyrighting God

            The rise and growth of artificial intelligence has revived discussions on copyright in content produced by non-humans. Andrew Ventimiglia, author of Copyrighting God, reminds us that non-human creations, such as those attributed to supernatural spirits, have held a long-standing place in the landscape of copyright (here). Going further, the author argues that claims to copyright in religious texts have actively shaped American copyright law, not least because of the Church of Scientology’s courtroom activism. Read on for more. As hinted by its snappy title, the book focuses on a specific type of non-human creation: texts claimed to have been transmitted to humans by God or other transcendent beings. Ventimiglia tracks the copyright strategy of four American religious organisations: the Urantia Foundation, the Christian Science Church, the Worldwide Church of God and the Church of Scientology.

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