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06.05.19

Links 5/6/2019: Malware-Like Ads in Vista 10, Microsoft Layoffs, LibreOffice 6.3 Beta and OpenShift 4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • System76 Unveils Refreshed Gazelle Linux Laptop with Nvidia GTX 16-Series GPUs

      System76, the premium Linux computer manufacturer, announced the availability of the refreshed Gazelle laptop line-up featuring the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 16-series graphics and updated internals.

      Powered by 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 8TB storage, the Gazelle laptop has been turned into a workhorse machine as System76 now targets media creation, as well as general consumption. Coming in 15-inch and 17-inch variants, the Gazelle laptop now ships with either the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards.

      “The Gazelle’s trifecta of CPU, GPU, and Memory gives content creators, gamers, animators, and designers a machine that can keep up with their graphics-heavy workloads,” said System76. “Nvidia graphics are back on the Gazelle after a long hiatus, and we couldn’t be more excited. Just like on the Oryx Pro, users can now switch between Intel and NVIDIA graphics using a toggle in Pop!_OS.”

    • System76 has Announced New Gazelle Laptops

      System76 Launching Reborn Gazelle Laptops soon!

      System76 recently announced that a new Gazelle laptops will be released soon!

      It comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU by default and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16-series GPU 1650 or 1660 Ti.

      You have an option to choose either 15.3″ or 17.3″ screen. The resolution will be 1920×1080 IPS Matte Finish.

      System76 is a computer manufacturer, specializing in the sale of notebooks, desktops, and servers that running a Linux-based operating system.

    • Stop all* malware!

      Does Linux need an antivirus? I was asked this by a reader and didn’t quite know how to answer. They were moving from a Windows background where standard practice is to constantly run anti-malware, as generally everything can be seen as a threat to a Windows user. Never did we need any less of an excuse to throw Jonni once more into the deep end, let him flounder around for a bit and see what nuggets of useful information he can drag back to shore.
      So that’s what Jonni’s been doing, trying his best to get his Linux boxes infected with all manner of online nasties, without much luck as it turns out. You can read his guide to Linux malware this issue. As we’ve often alluded to, it’s more about good practice than running constantly outdated anti-malware software.
      The other big news for this issue is that Ubuntu 19.04 has been released. We have the full 64-bit release on the DVD alongside the equally exciting Fedora 30. If you’re looking to try Linux in a friendly form, or want a simple environment to play with some of the latest open source technology like the Wayland display server, either of these offers a friendly and stable system.

    • Microsoft’s native Windows apps are displaying scareware in ads

      Microsoft includes advertising on an increasing number of its services, which are automatically picked from an ad server based on all that lovely metadata you’ve been leaking. The problem is, Microsoft hasn’t set the throttle on what kinds of ads it will tolerate.

    • Ads in Windows 10 apps may open deceptive webpages

      Several core Windows applications, e.g. Microsoft News, that come with the operating system natively display advertisement, and it appears that several of these ad-powered applications are causing the issue for users currently.

    • Devs slam Microsoft for injecting tech-support scam ads into their Windows Store apps

      Application makers are crying foul after some of their programs distributed via the Windows Store popped open tech-support scam ads on users’ desktops.

      A thread in Microsoft’s support forum, active since April 28, details the scandal: programmers who use Redmond’s Advertising Software Development Kit (SDK) to display ads in their apps, available via the Windows Store, to generate revenue say bad banners are being forced open in their users’ browsers.

      According to the developers, netizens who downloaded their apps are being interrupted by their browsers opening up new tabs displaying an alarming message that wrongly claims their PC is infected or damaged, and are directed to a scammer-owned website that offers to fix the supposedly broken machine for cash. It even affects Xbox One owners who use software that employs the SDK, it is claimed.

  • Server

    • CentOS 8.0 Is Still Aiming To Be Out Hopefully In A Month Or Two

      This week marks one month since the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 while the community rebuild of RHEL 8.0 in the form of CentOS 8.0 will hopefully be out within a month or so.

      The CentOS project has been maintaining a status page on their Wiki but without any definitive timeline. Due to the many issues that could crop up while rebuilding the massive Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 package set, they go without having any firm timeline in place as it’s certainly subject to slipping. But based on their past track record and current beliefs, they generally get out new CentOS releases within a month or two following a RHEL update.

    • OpenShift 4: Streamlining RHEL as Kubernetes-native OS

      Been a while since I’ve blogged here, going to try to do so more often! For quite a while now in the CoreOS group at Red Hat I’ve been part of a team working to create RHEL CoreOS, the cluster-managed operating system that forms a base of the just-released OpenShift 4.

      With OpenShift 4 and RHEL CoreOS, we have created a project called machine-config-operator – but I like to think of it as the “RHEL CoreOS operator”. This is a fusion of technologies that came from the CoreOS acquisition (Container Linux, Tectonic) along with parts of RHEL Atomic Host, but with a lot of brand new code as well.

      What the MCO (machine-config-operator) does is pair with RHEL CoreOS to manage operating system updates as well as configuration in a way that makes the OS feel like a Kubernetes component.

      This is a radically different approach than the OpenShift 3.x days, where the mental model was to provision + configure the OS (and container runtime), then provision a cluster on top. With OpenShift 4 using RHCOS and the MCO, the cluster controls the OS.

    • Red Hat OpenShift 4 is Now Available

      As of today, Red Hat OpenShift 4 is generally available to Red Hat customers. This rearchitecting in how we install, upgrade and manage the platform also brings with it the power of Kubernetes Operators, Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS, and the Istio-based OpenShift Service Mesh. As transformational as our open hybrid cloud platform can be for managing software at scale, the more impressive transformation may lay ahead for your development and IT teams, as they can now offer more on-demand services in a more secure fashion.

    • Kubernetes is a dump truck: Here’s why

      As we approach Kubernetes anniversary on Friday, June 7 this week let’s start with this.

      Dump trucks are elegant. Seriously, stay with me for a minute. They solve a wide array of technical problems in an elegant way. They can move dirt, gravel, rocks, coal, construction material, or road barricades. They can even pull trailers with other pieces of heavy equipment on them. You can load a dump truck with five tons of dirt and drive across the country with it. For a nerd like me, that’s elegance.

      But, they’re not easy to use. Dump trucks require a special driver’s license. They’re also not easy to equip or maintain. There are a ton of options when you buy a dump truck and a lot of maintenance. But, they’re elegant for moving dirt.

      You know what’s not elegant for moving dirt? A late-model, compact sedan. They’re way easier to buy. Easier to drive. Easier to maintain. But, they’re terrible at carrying dirt. It would take 200 trips to carry five tons of dirt, and nobody would want the car after that.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Losing My Religion | LINUX Unplugged 304

      Adopting a distro like it’s a religion is stupid. That’s one of many hard lessons we take away from Texas Linux Fest this week; we’ll share some of the best.

      Plus some old friends visit the show, reading eBooks on Linux, and a new Ryzen handheld.

    • mintCast 310 – Mint
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.0.21

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.21 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

      Note, this is the LAST 5.0.y kernel to be released. It is now
      end-of-life. Please move to the 5.1.y kernel tree at this point in
      time.

      The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.0.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git;a=summary

    • Linux Kernel 5.0 Reaches End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.1
    • Linux 5.1.7

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.7 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

    • Linux 4.19.48

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.19.48 kernel.

    • Bug Fixed: Bad Things Could Happen Unplugging Your External Backlit Keyboard On Linux

      If you have an external keyboard that features a backlight, particularly on some gaming keyboards, some issues can come up with the current Linux stack if you unplug the keyboard.

      There is no shortage of LED backlit/illuminated keyboards in the gaming segment and fortunately laptop keyboards aren’t impacted but there was a rather awkward UPower bug that is now resolved in the latest Git code. UPower is the common power management abstraction layer on Linux systems used by most desktop distributions out there but had one oversight when it came to its keyboard backlight power management code.

    • Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5, update 2 plops from Oracle’s Linux-shaped orifice

      Oracle has emitted an update for release 5 of its modestly named Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Linux.

      Update 2 is based on the aging 4.14.35 kernel and Big Red was pleased to note the release included support for 64-bit Arm (aarch64) architectures and tweaks to support libpcap-based packet capture in DTrace.

      Upstream improvements from the 4.19 kernel aimed at virtualization have also been added, with KVM, Xen and Hyper-V all seeing changes. The kindly database giant reported that KVM had been given some major updates and security fixes, while Xen received fixes for the blkfront hotplug issue and the x86 guest clock scheduler.

      Storage has also received a tickle, with upstream changes from 4.18 to 4.21 for NVMe backported to enable functions in the latest set of drivers for Broadcom/Emulex and QLogic kit. There are also updates in the SCSI layer to enable NVMe within the SCSI/FC transport class.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 19.2 Punts AMD Register Descriptions Into JSON

        If you want an easy way to go through the AMD Radeon GPU register descriptions, they are now storing them in a JSON format within Mesa following more than ten thousand lines of code/headers being shifted around today.

        Rather than keeping the AMD register descriptions as raw headers and trying to parse that for other purposes like debugging tables, the open-source AMD developers are now storing the original register descriptions in a convenient JSON format and generating the headers at build time.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux beats Windows 10 v1903 at multi-threaded performance [Ed: Even Microsoft sites admit that GNU/Linux is better than Vista 10]

        The latest Geekbench results confirmed the Windows 10 May 2019 Update enhances single-core performance by 5%.

        We can see that the latest Windows 10 build is all set to overtake Linux. However, in terms of performance, Ubuntu 19.04 is currently better than the Windows 10 May 2019 Update with a difference of around 8%.

      • ClearFog ARM Workstation Speed Even More Compelling But Now Called HoneyComb LX2K

        ClearFog was the name for that 16-core mini-ITX workstation development board/platform that we’ve been eager to learn more about with its $500~750 USD price point, extensive networking connections, M.2, SATA, socketed DDR4 memory support, and other features we’ve been long desiring to see out of an affordable yet powerful ARM workstation. It turns out that dream board is being renamed to the HoneyComb LX2K and its performance is increasingly competitive with AMD/Intel x86 enthusiast offerings.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Sirgienko Nikita (sirgienko)

        Hello everyone! I’m participating in Google Summer of Code 2019, I am working on KDE Cantor project. The GSoC project is mentored by Alexander Semke – one of the core developers of LabPlot, Knights and Cantor.

        [...]

        Actually, it’s not my first contribution to Cantor. I am contributing to this project for roughly one year already. As a developer interested in C++, Qt and applications relevant for scientific purposes, I started to contribute to Cantor last year by working on smaller bug fixes first. With time and with more understanding about the overall architecture of Cantor I could work on bigger topics like new features, more complicated bug fixes and refactorings in the code and this year I’m happy to contribute yet another big and very important functionality to Cantor as part of GSoC.

  • Distributions

    • 10 Most Secured Linux Distros For Advanced Privacy & Security

      Alpine Linux is an independent, non-commercial, general purpose Linux distribution designed for power users who appreciate security, simplicity and resource efficiency. It is built around musl libc and busybox which makes it moreresource efficient than the traditional GNU/Linux distributions. In this distro, all uderland binaries are compiled as Position Independent Executable (PIE) with stack smashing protection which helps in preventing exploitation of entire classes of zero-day and other such vulnerabilities.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE may go independent from SUSE, reports LWN.net

        Lately, the relationship between SUSE and openSUSE community has been under discussion. Different options are being considered, among which the possibility of setting up openSUSE into an entirely independent foundation is gaining momentum. This will enable openSUSE to have greater autonomy and control over its own future and operations.

        Though openSUSE board chair Richard Brown and SUSE leadership have publicly reiterated that SUSE remains committed to openSUSE. There has been a lot of concern over the ability of openSUSE to be able to operate in a sustainable way, without being entirely beholden to SUSE.

      • Stichting Praktijkleren partners with the SUSE Academic Program to support local Dutch Academies

        In places like the Netherlands, SUSE relies on academic partners to share all of the free resources of the academic program with local educational communities. A newly established partnership with Stichting Praktijkleren will allow SUSE to reach more Dutch schools and students than ever before. Academy Support Centre (ASC) Praktijkleren is the support centre in the Netherlands that supports academies in promoting up-to-date skills in education. Stichting Praktijkleren has a strong network of academies that join together and bring teachers in contact with providers of relevant up-to-date ICT training courses to prepare students for their professional future in the field of ICT. Already working with a number of schools in the Netherlands, including the Avans Hogeschool and Drenthe College, we hope to see our footprint spread with support from Stichting Praktijkleren.

    • Debian Family

      • Jonas Meurer: debian lts report 2019.05

        OpenPGP signature spoofing in evolution. On this issue I actually spent way more time than expected during April. I took over some of the remaining hours to May.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 19.10′s ZFS TODO List Goes Public – A Lot To Of Work Left

            We’ve been quite eager to see what happens around Ubuntu 19.10′s ZFS support with their plumbing this out-of-tree file-system into their new desktop installer and a lot of other Ubuntu happenings around ZFS. There is now at least a public TODO list/board outlining some of their ZFS work for the Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine cycle.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is GraphQL?

    GraphQL is an exciting, relatively new entrant into the open source API space. It couples a query language and execution engine with an open source specification that defines how GraphQL implementations should look and function.

    GraphQL has already started to change how companies think about building both client and API applications. With GraphQL as part of a technology stack, front-end developers are freed to query for the data they want, and back-end developers can decouple client application needs from their back-end system architectures. Often companies journey into GraphQL by first building a GraphQL API “layer” that sits on top of their existing back-end services. This allows the client applications to begin to gain the performance and operational efficiencies they seek, while allowing the back-end teams an opportunity to determine what, if any, changes they might want to make “under the hood,” behind their GraphQL layer. Often, those changes will be geared towards optimizations that will help ensure that applications using GraphQL can operate as performantly as possible. Because of the abstraction GraphQL provides, systems teams can make those changes while continuing to honor the GraphQL “contract” at their GraphQL API level.

    Because GraphQL is relatively new, developers are still finding new and exciting ways to leverage it to build better software solutions. How will GraphQL change how you build applications, and does it live up to the hype? There’s only one way to find out?go out there and build something with GraphQL!

  • Control, Freedom and Harm

    Control is the best measurement of both freedom and harm. If freedom can be summarized as not being under the control of another, harm can be summarized as being under the control of another.

    The darker side of “control vs. freedom” or “control + harm” casts a shadow on every facet of technology—and it is a digital civil rights issue, where control over you by corporations is causing you harm, all the time, on all your devices.

    The answer is rather simple: Don’t. Control. People.

  • Events

    • Using Eclipse as an IDE for SUSE Cloud Application Platform

      At the recent SUSECON conference in Nashville, RahulKrishna Gupta from SUSE demonstrated how to integrate the Eclipse IDE with SUSE Cloud Application Platform, showing how to easily develop, test, and deploy applications to the platform directly from Eclipse.
      SUSE has posted all recorded talks from SUSECON on YouTube. Check them out if you want to learn more about what SUSE has to offer. We’re not just Linux anymore! I’ll be posting more SUSE Cloud Application Platform talks here over the coming days. Watch RahulKrishna’s talk below:

    • g2k19 Hackathon Report: Andrew Fresh on portgen (1), coffee, and more
    • Linux Plumbers Conference: Containers and Checkpoint/Restore MC Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the Containers and Checkpoint/Restore Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! Even after the success of last year’s Containers Microconference, there’s still more to work on this year.

      Last year had a security focus that featured seccomp support and LSM namespacing and stacking, but now the need to look at the next steps and sets of blockers for those needs to be discussed.

      Since last year’s Linux Plumbers in Vancouver, binderfs has been accepted into mainline, but more work is needed in order to fully support Android containers.

    • Pogo Linux Announces Platinum Sponsorship of SouthEast LinuxFest

      Pogo Linux today announced it will be a Platinum sponsor of the 10th Annual SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF). The Southeast region’s longest-running Open Source event will be held June 14-16, 2019 at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport in Charlotte, NC. In addition, Pogo Linux will be giving away a 20TB storage system as the grand prize for the attendee raffle, which directly supports the non-profit organization.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Technology with respect and honesty. Here’s how we do it.

        Tech companies are using the word “privacy” a lot these days. What do they mean when they say it? To one company, privacy means keeping your information between you and your device. To another, it means knowing who in your social network can see the stuff you post. And to a third, it’s just a setting you can toggle while using their services. They all want you to think they can be trusted.

        Let’s be clear: the business success of many of these companies depends on using our personal information as their currency. The details of our lives fuel their growth. Like greenwashing, pretending to care about privacy doesn’t solve the underlying problem. It just muddies the truth.

        Here’s what we mean when we use the word “privacy”: we will never sell what little personal info we have about you. Our business doesn’t depend on abusing your trust. In fact, respecting your privacy is at the core of every Firefox product, and the heart of our mission.

      • Five ways joining Firefox can keep you safer and smarter online

        The word “privacy” gets thrown around a lot these days, but every tech company defines privacy differently. Respecting your privacy has been at our core from day one, with the Firefox Personal Data Promise baked into everything we make. Everyone who uses our products — from the browser and beyond — gets powerful privacy protection, and when you join Firefox, you get even more features.

      • Firefox Now Available with Enhanced Tracking Protection by Default Plus Updates to Facebook Container, Firefox Monitor and Lockwise

        It’s been several weeks since I was promoted to Senior Vice President of Firefox, responsible for overall Firefox product and web platform development. As a long-time employee with 10+ years, I’ve seen a lot of things within the tech industry from data breaches, net neutrality and the rise and fall of tech companies. I believe that Firefox has and will continue to make a big impact in building the necessary protections to keep people safe online.

        This past year, we’ve seen tech companies talk a big game about privacy as they’re realizing that, after several global scandals, people feel increasingly vulnerable. It’s unfortunate that this shift had to happen in order for tech companies to take notice. At Firefox, we’re doing more than that. We believe that in order to truly protect people, we need to establish a new standard that puts people’s privacy first. At Firefox, we have been working on setting this standard by offering privacy-related features, like Tracking Protection in Private Browsing, long before these issues were brought to light. With this new, increased awareness for privacy, we feel that the time is right for the next step in stronger online protections for everyone.

        Last year, we announced our new approach to anti-tracking, and our commitment to help people stay safe whenever they used Firefox. One of those initiatives outlined was to block cookies from known third party trackers in Firefox. Today, Firefox will be rolling out this feature, Enhanced Tracking Protection, to all new users on by default, to make it harder for over a thousand companies to track their every move. Additionally, we’re updating our privacy-focused features including an upgraded Facebook Container extension, a Firefox desktop extension for Lockwise, a way to keep their passwords safe across all platforms, and Firefox Monitor’s new dashboard to manage multiple email addresses.

      • The Mozilla Blog: When it comes to privacy, default settings matter!

        What if I told you that on nearly every single website you visit, data about you was transmitted to dozens or even hundreds of companies, all so that the website could earn an additional $0.00008 per ad! This is a key finding from a new study on behaviorally targeted advertisements from Carnegie Mellon University and it should be a wake-up call to all of us. The status quo of pervasive data collection in service of ad targeting is untenable. That is why we’re announcing some key changes to Firefox.

        Today marks an important milestone in the history of Firefox and the web. As of today, for new users who download and install Firefox for the first time, Enhanced Tracking Protection will automatically be set on by default, protecting our users from the pervasive tracking and collection of personal data by ad networks and tech companies.

        It seems that each week a new tech company decides to decree that privacy is a human right. They tout how their products provide people with “choices” to change the settings if they wish to opt into a greater level of privacy protection to exemplify how they are putting privacy first. That begs the question — do people really want more complex settings to understand and fiddle with or do they simply want products that respect their privacy and align with their expectations to begin with?

      • The Mozilla Blog: The web the world needs can be ours again, if we want it

        People everywhere are demanding basic consumer protections. We want our food to be healthy to eat, our water to be clean to drink, and our air to be safe to breathe.

        This year people have started to demand more of the internet as well, however, there persists an expectation that on the internet people are responsible for protecting themselves.

        You should not have to worry about trading privacy and control in order to enjoy the technology you love. Tech companies have put the onus on people to read through their opaque terms and conditions tied to your data and privacy to use their services. The average privacy policy from a tech company is thousands of words and written at a level that often requires legal training to interpret. As such the vast majority of people don’t bother to read, and just click through these agreements trusting that the companies have their interests at heart.

        This isn’t right, and it’s not where we stand. We aspire to put people back in control of their connected lives. To better equip people to navigate the internet today, we’ve built the latest version of our flagship Firefox browser with Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default. These protections work in the background, blocking third-parties from tracking your online activity while increasing the speed of the browser.

        We’re offering privacy protections by default as you navigate the web because the business model of the web is broken, with more and more intrusive personal surveillance becoming the norm. While we hope that people’s digital rights and freedoms will ultimately be guaranteed, we’re here to help in the interim.

      • Firefox Now Will Have Enhanced Tracking Protection On by Default, 5.0 Kernel Reaches End of Life, Apple Replacing Bash with zsh as Default Shell, IBM Announces Major Upgrade to Db2 and Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5 Update 2 Is Now Available

        Mozilla today announces that the Firefox browser will now have Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default. From Chris Beard’s blog post: “These protections work in the background, blocking third-parties from tracking your online activity while increasing the speed of the browser. We’re offering privacy protections by default as you navigate the web because the business model of the web is broken, with more and more intrusive personal surveillance becoming the norm. While we hope that people’s digital rights and freedoms will ultimately be guaranteed, we’re here to help in the interim.”

      • Firefox starts blocking third-party cookies by default
      • Firefox adds tracking protection by default

        The Mozilla blog announces a new Firefox feature…

      • Indicating focus to improve accessibility

        Focus indicators make the difference between day and night for people who rely on them. Let’s first look at what they are, and which people find them useful.

        Focus is something that happens between the interactive elements on a page. That’s the first thing you should know. (See the focusable elements compatibility table for a more detailed and nuanced definition.) Interactive elements are elements like links, buttons and form fields: things that users can interact with.

      • Mozilla Reps Community: New Council members – 2019 Spring elections

        In more detail here are the subjects that they will work on:

        Mayur Patil: Campaigns engagement and Newsletter work
        Yuliana Jimenez: improving the onboarding experience
        Prathamesh Chavan: Reaching out to external entities
        Shahid Farooqui: Reps value proposition
        Irvin Chen: will continue his work on bridging the local communities with the program

      • Firefox 68 Beta 6 Testday Results

        As you may already know, last Friday May 31st – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 68 Beta 6.

        Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: Rockstarprem007, Mohamed Bawas, Aishwarya Narasimhan and Aishu, noelonassis!

  • Databases

  • LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.3 Beta Is Up For Testing

      Following last month’s LibreOffice 6.3 alpha milestone, the first beta images of LibreOffice 6.3 are now up for testing.

      This next open-source office suite release is due out as stable in mid-August while out now is the first beta releases that will be followed by a few release candidates.

    • LibreOffice 6.3 Drops 32-bit Linux Builds

      First, you can continue to use LibreOffice on a 32-bit Linux desktops — this news only affects the next version.

      You won’t be able to download and upgrade to LibreOffice 6.3 when it’s released in early August 2019, but old versions remain available (some of which are still supported) for use.

      The pseudo-LTS version, LibreOffice 6.1, will continue to get updates for 32-bit Linux desktops for a while longer yet.

      Secondly, this is open source code. It’s possible that the wider Linux community could step in to maintain unofficial 32-bit builds which you can use on 32-bit Linux distros like Peppermint OS.

    • LibreOffice 6.3 Enters Beta Testing, Drops Support for 32-Bit Linux Distros

      The third major instalment in the LibreOffice 6 series, LibreOffice 6.3 is coming this summer with another layer of performance improvements, as well as cool new features and enhancements. Development on LibreOffice 6.3 kicked off last November, and the first beta version is now ready for public testing for Linux, macOS, and Windows.

      “LibreOffice 6.3 will be released as final in mid-August 2019, being LibreOffice 6.3 Beta 1 the second pre-release since the development of version 6.3 started in mid-November 2018,” reads the announcement. “Since LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha 1, 683 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 141 bugs have been set to FIXED in Bugzilla.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report – First Quarter 2019

      The FreeBSD CI team maintains continuous integration system and related
      tasks for the FreeBSD project. The CI system regularly checks the
      changes committed to the project’s Subversion repository can be
      successfully built, and performs various tests and analysis of the
      results. The results from build jobs are archived in an artifact
      server, for the further testing and debugging needs. The CI team
      members examine the failing builds and unstable tests, and work with
      the experts in that area to fix the code or adjust test infrastructure.

      Starting from this quarter, we started to publish CI weekly report at
      freebsd-testing@ mailing list. The archive is available at

      https://hackfoldr.org/freebsd-ci-report/

      We also worked on extending test executing environment to improve the
      code coverage, temporarily disabling flakey test cases, and opening
      tickets to work with domain experts. The details are of these efforts
      are available in the weekly CI reports.

      We published the draft FCP for CI policy and are ready to accept
      comments.

    • FreeBSD Had A Very Busy Q1-2019 As It Approaches Its 26th Birthday

      FreeBSD had a very busy first quarter with a status report out today providing a look at to all of the ongoing development activities for this leading BSD platform.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Why does macOS Catalina use Zsh instead of Bash? Licensing

      Yesterday, at its WWDC developer conference, Apple unveiled the latest version of the MacOS operating system. Codenamed Catalina, it’s a fairly significant update for the platform, not least because of the changes that have taken place under the hood. Take, for example, the default shell, which has been migrated from Bash to Zsh. Oh shit!

  • Licensing/Legal

    • CockroachDB Wants To Take A Bite Out Of Oracle [Ed: Missing the real news, which is CockroachDB becoming proprietary software and screwing FOSS after using that premise to capture users]

      Cockroach Labs has created a clone of Google’s Spanner geographically distributed database, and it looks like adoption of the CockroachDB database is starting to ride up the blade of the proverbial hockey stick and is moving quickly towards the much steeper handle.

      According to Spencer Kimball, one of the company’s co-founders and its chief executive officer and importantly one of the ex-Googlers that created Spanner, the company started selling CockroachDB support contracts last year, and in the first quarter of this year it did a little more business than it did in all of 2018, and in the second quarter it almost doubled the business it was doing in the first quarter. Companies that tried CockroachDB in a proof of concept and then a net new project are coming back and re-upping for 3X, 4X, 8X, and sometimes 40X the subscriptions, and at the same time the company has 50 paying customers out of tens of thousands who have downloaded and played with the software. That base of paying customers is growing very fast, too.

    • CockroachDB relicensed

      The CockroachDB database management system has been relicensed; the new license is non-free.

    • Why We’re Relicensing CockroachDB

      CockroachDB was conceived of as open source software. In the years since it first appeared on GitHub, we’ve tread a relatively typical path in balancing open source with creating a viable business. We’ve kept our core code under the Apache License version 2 (APL), launched a managed service, and gated some features for established companies under an enterprise license.

    • A roundup of recent updates to our licensing materials – November 2018 to June 2019

      We recently added two new licenses to our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them and we updated our comments on Creative Commons 0 (CC0). We cleaned up the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Licensing & Compliance Team page and refreshed the materials on it. What follows is a brief rundown on those changes, and how you can learn more about free software licensing.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Your Table Is Ready, Courtesy Of HackRF

        Have you ever found yourself in a crowded restaurant on a Saturday night, holding onto one of those little gadgets that blinks and vibrates when it’s your turn to be seated? Next time, bust out the HackRF and follow along with [Tony Tiger] as he shows how it can be used to easily fire them off. Of course, there won’t actually be a table ready when you triumphantly show your blinking pager to the staff; but there’s only so much an SDR can do.

        [...]

        Finally, he wrote a Python script which generates packets based on which pager he wants to set off. If he’s feeling particularly mischievous, he can even set them all off at once. The script outputs a binary file which is then loaded into GNU Radio for transmission via the HackRF. [Tony] says he’s not quite ready to release his script yet, but he gives enough information in the video that the intrepid hacker could probably get their own version up and running by the time he gets it posted up to GitHub anyway.

  • Programming/Development

    • Building and testing on multiple platforms – introducing minicoin

      While working with large-scale (thousands of hosts), distributed (globally) systems, one of my favourite, albeit somewhat gruesome, metaphors was that of “servers as cattle” vs “servers as pets”. Pet-servers are those we groom manually, we keep them alive, and we give them nice names by which to remember and call (ie ssh into) them. However, once you are dealing with hundreds of machines, manually managing their configuration is no longer an option. And once you have thousands of machines, something will break all the time, and you need to be able to provision new machines quickly, and automatically, without having to manually follow a list of complicated instructions.

      When working with such systems, we use configuration management systems such as CFEngine, Chef, Puppet, or Ansible, to automate the provisioning and configuration of machines. When working in the cloud, the entire machine definition becomes “infrastructure as code”. With these tools, servers become cattle which – so the rather unvegetarian idea – is simply “taken behind the barn and shot” when it doesn’t behave like it should. We can simply bring a new machine, or an entire environment, up by running the code that defines it. We can use the same code to bring production, development, and testing environments up, and we can look at the code to see exactly what the differences between those environments are. The tooling in this space is fairly complex, but even so there is little focus on developers writing native code targeting multiple platforms.

      For us as developers, the machine we write our code on is most likely a pet. Our primary workstation dying is the stuff for nightmares, and setting up a new machine will probably keep us busy for many days. But this amount of love and care is perhaps not required for those machines that we only need for checking whether our code builds and runs correctly. We don’t need our test machines to be around for a long time, and we want to know exactly how they are set up so that we can compare things. Applying the concepts from cloud computing and systems engineering to this problem lead me (back) to Vagrant, which is a popular tool to manage virtual machines locally and to share development environments.

    • GNU Gengetopt – News: 2.23 released

      New version (2.23) was released. Main changes were in build system, so please report any issues you notice.

    • Abolishing SyntaxError: invalid syntax …

      Do you remember when you first started programming (possibly with Python) and encountered an error message that completely baffled you? For some reason, perhaps because you were required to complete a formal course or because you were naturally persistent, you didn’t let such messages discourage you entirely and you persevered. And now, whenever you see such cryptic error messages, you can almost immediately decipher them and figure out what causes them and fix the problem.

    • Sending email with EZGmail and Python
    • Creating and Importing Modules in Python
    • Python Language Summit Lightning Talks, Part 2
    • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #371 (June 4, 2019)
    • Introduction to Git and GitHub for Python Developers [Ed: Git is not owned by Microsoft. Stop making it seem like it is. Don’t perpetuate a centralisation monopolist of proprietary software.]
    • The Python Language Summit

      Each year the Python core developers and a handful of Python community members have an exclusive one-day summit to discuss the future of the language. The presentations are not recorded and only one reporter is allowed—this year, I was the fortunate reporter invited to cover the summit for the Python Software Foundation’s blog.

      The event is just a nerdy little meeting of 40 or so people in a conference room. But this nerdy little meeting is consequential: Python is perhaps the most widely-used programming language, and the core developers’ decisions affect millions of programmers.

    • Python 3.8.0b1 is now available for testing

      This release is the first of four planned beta release previews. Beta release previews are intended to give the wider community the opportunity to test new features and bug fixes and to prepare their projects to support the new feature release. The next pre-release of Python 3.8 will be 3.8.0b2, currently scheduled for 2019-07-01.

Leftovers

  • Microsoft

    • What’s in store for Microsoft’s US pop-up shops? Not much, they’re being closed

      Microsoft has quietly swung the axe on a chunk of its retail operation, with “speciality stores” in America bearing the brunt of the blade.

      All 17 of Microsoft’s kiosk-sized stores were disappeared from the company’s website over the weekend, leaving some of the US states that had at least enjoyed a stub of retail presence from the Windows giant bereft of the limited line-up of stock available at the outlets.

      And, more importantly, somewhere to take their Surfaces to when the things break down.

      Disgruntled employees have taken to the usual social media outlets, with one posting on Reddit: “We had no notice beforehand by the way. They told us that on Sunday morning, we had a mandatory meeting Sunday night then told us we were all terminated. It’s horrible to be treated that poorly after years of work.”

    • UEFI 2.8 Specification Released With REST & Memory Cryptography [Ed: Intel continues its attacks, with Microsoft, on general-purpose computing, and it is disguised as a ‘forum’]

      The UEFI Forum today announced the release of the UEFI 2.8 specification.

      New to UEFI 2.8 for platform firmware is support for the REST software architecture as well as memory cryptography.

      The UEFI Forum is hoping the REST support will lead to better interoperability.

    • Open-Source ‘Great Satan’ No More, Microsoft Wins Over Skeptics [Ed: Dina Bass, who said Microsoft is “no Satan” this week (the Big Lie article many links to), has a long history with Microsoft. Dina Bass is no journalist. She’s like Microsoft PR and she works with Microsoft behind the scenes (internal documents exposed this). Now she helps sell lies like ‘Microsoft Loves Linux’ and ‘new Microsoft’ or ‘no Satan’. Watch out in the face of Microsoft PR. It looks like Bloomberg does a whole bunch of lies for them right now. Advertising as articles? That certainly matches their latest wave of PR campaigns. There’s more from Bloomberg this past week. A Microsoft public relations machine this month? Cui bono and who’s paying who? Now, for instance, it’s also Shira Ovide pretending Bing matters. Marketing as ‘news’. “Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.” They’re well known for Microsoft boosting and Google bashing because of their owner.]
  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Search Warrants in Flint Water Crisis Probe Raise Serious and Urgent Questions

      Activists reiterated demands for “accountability and justice” for the people of Flint, Michigan following reports Monday that the authorities investigating the city’s water crisis executed search warrants for the state-owned cell phones of former Gov. Rick Snyder and 65 other current and former officials.

      “The people of Flint deserve answers,” Mary Grant, public water for all director at Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. “Hopefully this investigation will yield them. And there needs to be accountability for those involved in creating this crisis, including former Governor Snyder.”

      The Associated Press reported Monday on search warrants (pdf) the outlet obtained through public records requests.

    • One Cardiac Arrest. Four 911 Callers. And a Tragic Outcome.

      When Rena Fleury collapsed in the stands during her son’s high school football game last August, there was reason to be hopeful.

      At 45, she was on the young side for a cardiac arrest, which improved her odds of surviving. And she was in a public place, which, studies show, also increased her chances. Plus, she was in Cumberland, a “heart safe” community where emergency medical personnel are among the most highly trained in the state.

      But despite four 911 emergency calls from people in the stands, two nearby automated external defibrillators and bystanders who tried to help, Fleury didn’t make it.

      The 911 call takers failed to recognize that Fleury was having a cardiac arrest. And they failed to provide CPR instructions over the phone.

      A review of EMS dispatch logs and interviews with first responders showed that Fleury didn’t receive CPR for the first few minutes after she collapsed, perhaps for up to five minutes. Every minute delay in performing CPR on people in cardiac arrest decreases their chances of survival as much as 10%, according to the American Heart Association.

    • Top UN Human Rights Expert Decries ‘Extremist Hate’ Campaign Behind Escalated Attack on Reproductive Rights

      A top United Nations official on human rights said Tuesday that the recent escalation in attacks on reproductive rights in the U.S. must be categorized in the same way as other many attacks on basic rights—as part of an “extremist hate” campaign.

      “We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate, but this is gender-based violence against women, no question,” Kate Gilmore, deputy high commissioner for human rights, told The Guardian.

      Denying women the right to abortion care is tantamount to “torture,” Gilmore added.

      “It’s a deprivation of a right to health,” she said, noting that a panel of nine U.N. human rights experts determined recently that prohibiting abortion amounts to a violation of fundamental rights.

      The human rights deputy commissioner is speaking out amid the passage of increasingly extreme anti-abortion restrictions in the U.S. In recent weeks, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and several other states have passed laws banning the procedure after fetal cardiac activity can be detected—in many cases, before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Louisiana and Alabama legislators refused to include exceptions for victims of rape or incest in their recent bans.

    • You Know Nothing John Delaney… About Medicare for All

      Before this week, you might not have heard of Rep. John Delaney, a moderate Democrat from Maryland who is running for President. In fact, he was technically the first Democrat to run for President (he announced just 7 months after the inauguration), but that doesn’t seem to be doing him much good.

      If you’ve heard of him recently, it’s probably because, over the weekend, he went to the California Democratic convention, said Medicare for All is “not good policy, nor is it good politics,” and claimed it would “kick 150 million Americans off their healthcare.”

      He then proceeded to be loudly booed non-stop for a minute and a half.

    • A Matter of Fact – Professor Refuses to Correct Errors in New Scientific Paper Finding Problems With Glyphosate

      The authors of a newly published paper examining the impacts of exposure to the world’s most widely used herbicide declared some shocking news.

      The team from Washington State University found that descendants of rats exposed to the chemical glyphosate developed prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities. The findings, published in April in the scientific journal Scientific Reports, added to the global debate about the safety of glyphosate and Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers.

      [...]

      Skinner’s research was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. He and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to glyphosate between their eighth and 14th days of gestation. The dose, which they said was half the amount expected to show no adverse effect, produced no apparent ill effects on either the parents or the first generation of offspring. But the researchers saw dramatic increases in “several pathologies affecting the second and third generations,” according to a press release promoting the study.

      The study has garnered quite a bit of attention. Several news outlets have reported on the study, quoting Skinner. Bayer AG, the German company that bought Monsanto last year, has said Skinner’s study wasn’t credible. But Skinner has defended the accuracy of the study, citing the fact it was peer-reviewed and published in an accredited scientific journal.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Email Still a Major Attack Vector: Security Research [Ed: And if they use Windows, it might be enough for them to just open a message]

      While modern cyber threats can take different forms and delivery methods, email continues to be one of the primary approaches cyber attackers are using to exploit organizations, according to multiple research reports released in May 2019.

      In this monthly roundup, eSecurity Planet summarizes findings from seven different research reports — and the key lessons that enterprises can learn to protect themselves against current and emerging security risks.

    • POC – EternalBlue and Doublepulsar in Kali[Ed: NSA back doors]

      On April 14, 2017, the ShadowBrokers team leaked a new hacking toolkit that has put many organizations in check; this is the five that is done by the hacking team called “Lost in Translation.” To better understand the situation, below we will see a summary of the leaks that have been occurring through this group of hackers.

      Shadow Brokers is a group of hackers that first appeared in the summer of 2016. They were responsible for making several leaks that contained some of the hacking tools that the National Security Agency (NSA) used internally, including several 0days. In this leak, the products that were affected were the firewall, antivirus products, and Microsoft products.

    • Meet Adafruit Founder Limor Fried: Open-Source Hardware Revolution

      In 2010, Adafruit offered a US$1,000 (equivalent to $1,149 in 2018) reward for whoever could hack Microsoft’s Kinect to make its motion sensing capabilities available for use for other projects. This reward was increased to $2000 and then $3000 following Microsoft’s concerns about tampering.

    • Coreboot Project Is Leveraging NSA Software To Help With Firmware Reverse Engineering

      It’s not often the National Security Agency (NSA) can be thanked for their contributions to society, but in the case of one of their public open-source projects it’s going to be used to help the Coreboot folks in reverse-engineering system firmware.

      Ghidra is an open-source project maintained by the National security Agency as a reverse engineering tool that was originally outed by WikiLeaks only to be declassified earlier this year by the agency. The code was just open-sourced earlier this year as an alternative to IDA Pro and other disassemblers/decompilers. Those interested in this NSA software reverse engineering suite can find it hosted at Ghidra-SRE.org.

    • Details of 100,000 Australians leaked through PayID

      The inherent weakness at the heart of the real-time payments platform PayID has been exposed, with the details of about 100,000 Australians being leaked through an attack on the Westpac bank.

    • Almost 100,000 Australians’ private details exposed in attack on Westpac’s PayID

      The private details of almost 100,000 Australian bank customers have been exposed in a cyber attack on the real-time payments platform PayID, which allows the instant transfer of money between banks using either a mobile number or email address.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Military Intelligence?

      For no important reason, I was thinking about the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS “Queen Elizabeth II”. This ship has been in the news, but for all the wrong reasons: her commander was recently removed by helicopter whilst anchored in the Forth, accused of having used the ship’s car for personal use whilst in the US (maybe he should have used a helicopter?).

      Even Lord West of Spithead (former head of the RN) expressed his bemusement at the style of management. But if this really is a question of misuse of public money, then it seems but a drop in several oceans compared with the bigger pictures – firstly of defence spending, secondly of defence strategy, and lastly of man-management.

      Firstly, the cost to build these two 65,000T aircraft carriers is currently about $10 Billion (when it comes to such eye-watering amounts of money, the figures always expand because defence spending is notoriously adrift). This is however a bargain compared with US super-carriers (100,000T) which are nuclear-powered, cost about $15 Billion to build (and $3 Billion to de-commission).

      The US fields about 10 such ships: they are quite defenceless (thus have to be escorted by various surface escorts and submarines) thus 5-6,000 men. The 2013 cost of clothing, training, feeding, paying such numbers put the daily running costs to USD $6.5 Million (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_R._Ford-class_aircraft_carrier). If the Royal Navy deems her Captain over-used the ship’s car, then money must be tight.

      But what of the aircraft the ship was built to carry? QEII is supposed to carry 36 F-35Bs (designed for US Marines) built by US firm, Lockheed-Martin.

      The F-35 programme was 7 years behind schedule and $150 Billion over-budget (perfectly acceptable in defence spending!). Lockheed-Martin are not Boeing – and any reference to their 737 Max would be inappropriate – but when half remain grounded for lack of spares, then one (for-the-price-of-two) costs $300 million.

    • My Father’s Hidden Weapon: Reflections on WW II

      It must have been late 1943 and I was about ten months old. A woman who hated my father told the Germans in the village that my father was hiding a pistol at his house. In the German-occupied Greece of World War II, this was an accusation that could lead to death, indeed the murder of my entire family.

      The Germans surrounded our home. They ordered my mother, two of my sisters, and an aunt to stand against the wall. A couple of soldiers started searching the home for the banned weapon.

      My family lived in the village Valsamata of the island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy. My peasant father had hidden a gun in the house.

      My oldest sister, Reggina, who was holding me, knew where the gun was located in the second floor of the house. She passed me to my aunt and, unnoticed, she disappeared into the house where, despite the searching Germans, she went straight to the secret place, hid the gun in her clothes, and jumped through the window to freedom with the forbidden pistol. The searching soldiers in the first floor heard a crack in the upper floor and one of them fired a shot. The bullet grazed Reginna’s left arm. However, Reggina fled to a nearby field of olive trees where she buried the gun. She then returned home. At that moment, Reggina heard our dog barking, a sure sign my father was on his way home. Once again, the eleven-year-old girl evaded the Germans, run out of the house, and warned my father of the German danger.

    • US Gears Up for War With Iran

      Can a state that condemns, without real justification, an international disarmament treaty it spent years negotiating then threaten a co-signatory with military aggression? Can it order other countries to fall into line with its capricious, bellicose stance or face punitive sanctions? The US can.

      It’s pointless trying to argue with the Trump administration’s claimed reasons for its escalation against Iran. One can even imagine National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling their diplomats and intelligence staff, ‘You come up with the pretexts; we’ll take care of the war.’

    • Bolton’s Dangerous Psychopathology

      For Bolton, these frank admissions classify as signs of force, should not be taken as reasons for alarm.

      He is a man without a sense of humor and, at least at the UN, he always seemed to think that he was the most intelligent person in the room. In 2006, he gave a conference at the United States mission to correspondents at the UN, on nuclear enrichment. Its objective was to convince the audience that Iran was close to having an atomic bomb despite a 2007 National Intelligence Calculation of the United States that Tehran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

      But arrogance may have finally defeated Bolton. At the top of that agenda has maintained the stated goal for years: bomb and overthrow the Iranian government.

      Bolton has a very high judgment on himself, rooted apparently in a sincere belief in the myth of American greatness. He always seems angry and one can never define if the reason for the dispute is personal or diplomatic. He personally takes on political or other differences with nations that disagree with the positions of the government of the country he represents. In this field, he links his sense of personal power with that of the United States as a nation.

      It is more than any ideology. It is fanaticism. Bolton believes that the United States is exceptional, indispensable and superior to all other nations … and is not afraid to say it in public. He is not the typical government official who moves from passivity to aggression. It is aggressive always. He is always willing to make intimidation personal in the name of the country he represents.

    • Duncan Hunter Admits His Marine Unit ‘Killed Probably Hundreds of Civilians’ in Iraq

      Rep. Duncan Hunter (D-CA) has come under fire after admitting during a podcast interview that his Marine Corps unit “killed probably hundreds of civilians” during the atrocity-laden First Battle of Fallujah in 2004.

      Hunter’s comments came during an interview on Barstool Sports’ “Zero Blog Thirty” podcast in which he voiced support for Edward Gallagher, a decorated Navy SEAL facing trial for alleged war crimes, including shooting unarmed civilians and stabbing a critically wounded prisoner of war to death.

      When asked about his support for Gallagher, Hunter doubled down. “I frankly don’t care if he was killed,” the congressman said, referring to the 17-year-old Islamic State fighter allegedly stabbed to death by the SEAL. “I just don’t care. And as a congressman, that’s my prerogative to help a guy out like that.”

      “Even if everything the prosecutors say is true in this case, then… Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break,” Hunter added.

      In addition to premeditated murder, military prosecutors accuse Gallagher, a SEAL Team 7 sniper, of crimes including photographing and staging a re-enlistment ceremony over his victim’s body, as well as “indiscriminate, reckless and bloodthirsty” conduct. Fellow snipers say he shot an unarmed old man, as well as a young girl who was walking with her friends. One SEAL said he saw Gallagher “fire into a crowd of what appeared to be noncombatants multiple times.” Gallagher also allegedly confessed that he “killed four women” and boasted that he killed “10 to 20 people a day or 150-200 people on deployment.” Other SEALs say Gallagher attempted to cover up his crimes by threatening to murder witnesses and by trying to identify, expose and destroy whistleblowers.

    • “One, Two, Three Strikes, You’re Out…”

      Just when those who think the situation vis-à-vis U.S. militarism and empire can’t get any worse, there are visible signs they are. Such was the visit to the militarized and right-wing government of Japan by Donald Trump. With new calls for impeachment—a grand waste of time at this point in Trump’s disastrous presidency—readers might think the visit might add up to something, but it ended as a debacle of Trump tweets and an attempt to hide a U.S. warship.

      The military and the Trump administration kept the USS John S. McCain hidden from view (with a gray tarp covering the destroyer’s name) during Trump’s trip because of the animus of Trump toward the late senator. The sophomoric nature of Trump’s attacks against McCain during his life and after the senator’s death are something for the record books. It defies logic to even go to where the arguments about the Vietnam War and what makes up so-called patriotism mean now. This has become such a militarized society since the 2001 attacks that logic and good sense are the second and third casualties of war following truth. The truth, however, seeks loudly to massive war profiteering and empire.

      In “White House Asked Navy to Hide John McCain Warship,”(New York Times, May 29, 2019), not only is the insanity of hiding such a weapon unmasked, but the readers’ comment section is so laden with militaristic rhetoric and taunts against Trump that a critical reader might think war is the best thing to happen since the invention of the wheel. Only one, yes one comment draws attention to the fact that the warship has something to do with the hundreds of military bases that the U.S. maintains around the world and the endless wars the U.S. now fights.

    • You Can Almost Count on Each New Mass Shooter Being a Veteran

      We’re supposed to overlook this bit of information. We’re supposed to focus on mental health questions or the inscrutable incomprehensible mystery of the inevitable human tragedy of mass shootings, which bizarrely and unfairly are inflicted by the universe on this particular 4 percent of humanity living in the United States, which quite irrelevantly has been glorifying violence through endless wars for many years.

      Is it relevant that Virginia and the United States bestow greater rights on guns than on human beings? Of course it is. In Charlottesville two years ago, the city refused to ban any weapons as armed fascists came to town, but a year later banned all weapons other than guns.

      If I could speak perfectly honestly, I’d probably blurt out something like this: Ban the damn guns. All of them. Everywhere. Do it now, you fucking idiots!

      But that would be inappropriate.

      Is it relevant that every mass shooter is male? Well, sort of. We can’t exactly ban males, but we could develop a culture that viewed proper manhood as opposing rather than celebrating violence.

      Is it relevant that you can just about count on each mass shooter having been trained in mass shooting at public expense by the U.S. military?

    • An Assault by Any Other Name

      The legal definition of assault: An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability.

      I believe it is time for some enterprising, forward-thinking attorneys to proceed to a class-action lawsuit against the President, the Attorney General, the Justice Department, and any other Cabinet members, affiliates, underlings, or other associated riff-raff that have been elevated to positions of power over people and are now, actively and in plain sight, committing assault on the public, the media, and individuals far and wide across the country and beyond.

      AG Barr now says that according to him; “As a matter of law. In other words, we didn’t agree with the legal analysis (of Mueller’s report)- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not reflect the views of the department.”

      HIS department, Trump’s department.

      It seems that the “law”, according to Barr, is a fungible asset that can be agreed with or disagreed with dependent on the situation and the outcome that they, the Justice Department (and Trump) want to reach. Over one thousand past and present legal PROFESSIONALS (I use that word with intension) completely disagree with AG Barr and, in fact, in their reading of the Mueller Report can ONLY conclude that the President is a felon, a cheat, a liar, and an obstructionist by ANY accepted legal definitions…..except by the attorney general that HE appointed for the express purpose of containing the report and washing away as much of the taint of criminality as he can get away with. The rest of the Republican senate, the cabinet, the “acting” everybody else who now run our government (and keep in mind that these particular folks owe their livelihoods directly to the President) are therefore smeared with the same feces that contaminates anyone who has been installed by him. Full Stop.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Findings of Torture: The UN Rapporteur and Julian Assange

      Another crude and sad chapter, yet more evidence of a system’s vengeance against its challengers. Julian Assange, like they dying Roman emperor Vespasian, may be transforming into a god of sorts, but the suffering of his mortal physical is finding its mark. While some in the cynical, narcissistic press corps still find little to commend his case, the movement to highlight his fate, and the extra-territorial vengeance of the United States, grows.

      Often reviled and dismissed as ineffectual if not irrelevant, the United Nations has offered Assange some measure of protection through its articulations and findings. Ironically enough, powers happy to regard the UN as a mere bauble of international relations in not protecting human rights have dismissed it when action does take place.

      The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, for instance, found in 2016 that the publisher’s conditions of confinement in the Ecuadorean embassy amounted to arbitrary detention. “The Working Group considered that Mr Assange has been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth prison which was followed by house arrest and his confinement at the Ecuadorean embassy.”

      The Working Group took the long view: to suggest that he had a choice in leaving the embassy at any point was farfetched and myopic. Specific reference to the shoddy Swedish prosecution effort against Assange (“lack of diligence… in its investigations”) was also made, as it compounded the element of arbitrariness. Any request to question him in Sweden could hardly be seen as “benign”. How right they were.

      Notwithstanding that, a resounding sneer from the British authorities, a bevy of black letter lawyers, and newspapers followed. “He is not being detained arbitrarily,” The Guardian editorialised with its usual fair-friend weathered disposition. The Working Group’s finding, according to international law authority Philippe Sands, was “poorly reasoned and unpersuasive”. Assange best give up the ghost and face the music.

    • Why the US is Persecuting Assange

      I was in Kabul a decade ago when WikiLeaks released a massive tranche of US government documents about the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. On the day of the release, I was arranging by phone to meet an American official for an unattributable briefing. I told him in the course of our conversation what I had just learned from the news wires.

      He was intensely interested and asked me what was known about the degree of classification of the files. When I told him, he said in a relieved tone: “No real secrets, then.”

      When we met later in my hotel I asked him why he was so dismissive of the revelations that were causing such uproar in the world.

      He explained that the US government was not so naive that it did not realise that making these documents available to such a wide range of civilian and military officials meant that they were likely to leak. Any information really damaging to US security had been weeded out.

      In any case, he said: “We are not going to learn the biggest secrets from WikiLeaks because these have already been leaked by the White House, Pentagon or State Department.”

      I found his argument persuasive and later wrote a piece saying that the WikiLeaks secrets were not all that secret.

      However, it was the friendly US official and I who were being naive, forgetting that the real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.

      We have had two good examples of the lengths to which a government – in this case that of the US – will go to protect its own tainted version of events. The first is the charging of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Actfor leaking 750,000 confidential military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

    • Carmody, Assange details differ, but basic free-press questions the same

      About two weeks after San Francisco police went to freelance reporter Bryan Carmody’s home with a sledgehammer to look for leaked files, Trump administration prosecutors charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with conspiring to leak government secrets.

      The cases differ in many details but have at least one thing in common: Both men obtained confidential information from a government custodian in order to make it public — an action their accusers say was a crime. And whether Carmody and Assange are journalists or not, free-press advocates say their cases could set a dangerous precedent.

      “Sources are a journalist’s lifeblood,” said James Wagstaffe, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in First Amendment issues and teaches journalism at San Francisco State University. “When the government, as in these two cases, threatens reporters or their sources with criminal punishment for sharing confidential information, it has a clotting effect. We need the free flow of information to expose wrongdoing.”

      Carmody and Assange’s cases are “instances of deeply troubling government overreach that shows a disregard for the essential role that the press, and their sources, play in a healthy democracy,” said David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, a media-advocacy organization based in San Rafael.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Nearly 100 Animal Rights Activists Arrested for Protesting ‘Torturous Practices’ at Duck Slaughterhouse

      More than 600 animal rights activists descended on a massive duck slaughterhouse in California on Monday to protest rampant animal cruelty at the facility and demand accountability for those profiting off such “torturous” mistreatment.

      As over a dozen activists with the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) chained themselves together at the entrance of the Reichardt Duck Farm in Petaluma—which slaughters a million ducks annually—others entered the facility and came out with severely injured or dead birds, providing evidence that the slaughterhouse is engaged in cruel and unlawful practices.

      According to DxE, activists “removed 32 ducklings and rushed them to emergency veterinary treatment. They will then be transported to farm animal sanctuaries for lifelong care.”

    • FDA: Sampling finds toxic nonstick compounds in some food

      The Food and Drug Administration found substantial levels of a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to FDA researchers.

      The FDA’s food-test results are likely to heighten complaints by states and public health groups that President Donald Trump’s administration is not acting fast enough or firmly enough to start regulating the manmade compounds.

      A federal toxicology report last year cited links between high levels of the compounds in people’s blood and health problems, but said it was not certain the nonstick compounds were the cause.

    • FDA confirms PFAS chemicals are in the US food supply

      The US Food and Drug Administration confirmed that PFAS chemicals have made their way into the US food supply. On Monday, the FDA publicly acknowledged the initial findings of the agency’s investigation into how the “forever chemicals” have been detected in the foods we eat.

      PFAS is a family of nearly 5,000 synthetic chemicals that are extremely persistent in the environment and in our bodies. PFAS is short for perfluoroalky and polyfluoroalkyl substances and includes chemicals known as PFOS, PFOA and GenX, sometimes called forever chemicals. These chemicals all share signature elemental bonds of fluorine and carbon, which are extremely strong and difficult to break down in the environment or in our bodies.

    • PFAS Chemicals Contaminate U.S. Food Supply, FDA Confirms

      They were invented by DuPont in 1938, initially for non-stick cookware. But they are now used by a variety of industries to repel grease and water in items from packaging to carpets to outdoor gear, and they are also an important ingredient in firefighting foam, which is often used by the Defense Department to fight jet fires, The Associated Press reported.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives the safe level for certain PFAS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

    • Texas coastal flooding strands about 100 endangered turtles
    • ‘Blatant Attempt to Intimidate’: Trump Administration Proposal Threatens Pipeline Protesters With Up to 20 Years in Prison

      The new proposal, released by Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, was immediately denounced by environmentalists as a serious threat to the First Amendment.

      “This dangerous proposal threatens to undermine Americans’ right to peaceful assembly and free speech,” Kelly Martin, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fossil Fuels campaign, said in a statement. “It is a blatant attempt to intimidate those who would exercise their First Amendment rights to speak out against pipeline projects that put our clean water, communities, and climate at risk.”

      “Rather than focusing on shielding corporate polluters from public protest,” Martin said, “the administration should be working to ensure that communities are protected from dirty, dangerous fossil fuel projects.”

      As Politico reported Monday, the Transportation Department’s proposal would “treat some pipeline protests as a federal crime, mirroring state legislative efforts that have spread in the wake of high-profile demonstrations around the country.”

      The Trump administration, according to Politico, is “calling for Congress to expand a law that threatens fines and up to 20 years’ prison time for ‘damaging or destroying’ pipelines currently in operation. The expanded version would add ‘vandalism, tampering with, or impeding, disrupting, or inhibiting the operation of’ either existing pipelines or those ‘under construction.’”

    • 10 Democratic Candidates Support Fracking Ban. Biden Stays Mum.

      With climate disruption looming over the 2020 elections, 10 Democratic presidential candidates have announced that they support a nationwide ban on fracking.

      Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the oil and gas production technology that has positioned the United States as the global leader in fossil fuel production and caused environmental controversies across the country. While some Democrats have pushed for tougher regulation of the industry, fracking has generally enjoyed political support from politicians in both parties since the technology began unlocking massive oil and gas reserves well over a decade ago.

      The fact that nearly half the Democratic candidates — including several members of Congress — now support an outright ban represents a significant shift in the political status quo. It’s a clear sign that climate change, fossil fuels and the movement for a Green New Deal will dominate the primaries for months to come.

      Candidates Bernie Sanders, Jay Inslee, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Peter Buttigieg, Bill de Blasio, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Messam and Eric Swalwell all support a ban on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” according to a survey updated Monday by The Washington Post. Several other candidates, including Kirsten Gillibrand and Beto O’Rourke, would not ban fracking but support tougher environmental regulation of the oil and gas industry. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did not respond to the survey.

      John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado who famously boasted about drinking fracking fluid, is the only Democratic presidential candidate who has enthusiastically supported fracking and pushed back against increased federal oversight.

    • Biden’s Climate Plan Not Nearly Enough, Say Green Groups

      Progressive groups on Tuesday welcomed a new 22-page policy proposal to deal with the climate crisis from former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic presidential primary contender Joe Biden, but said that the plan still wasn’t enough.

      Biden’s proposal comes after the former vice president endured sustained pressure from grassroots organizations demanding he provide a clear path forward for solving the ongoing environmental catastrophe.

    • India Is Now Investing More in Solar Than Coal

      India needs power. Good thing it’s moving away from coal and honoring its commitment to use renewables. And now, for the first time, India’s 2018 investment in solar power outpaced coal, according to a report by the International Energy Agency.

      India is home to the world’s second largest population and uses more and more power as it grows in size and wealth. It’s also the third largest national contributor to greenhouse gasses, after China and the U.S. So what happens in India matters on a global scale, making its recent investments in renewable energy noteworthy.

    • New Drilling and Fracking in California Will Hurt Latino Communities

      Elizabeth Perez was only 10 years old when she moved with her family to the city of Bakersfield, in California. Almost immediately, she says, she began experiencing nosebleeds, headaches and difficulty breathing. Perez was in and out of a local health clinic for years, but doctors couldn’t quite pinpoint what was making her sick.

      [...]

      The move has raised red flags among community members and environmentalists in the state’s Central Valley region, which stretches north from around Bakersfield hundreds of miles through the Sacramento Valley. The area is already home to some of the nation’s largest producing oil fields and a growing number of natural gas wells.

    • This Farm on Wheels Provides Local, Eco-conscious Products at Every Income Level

      Audrey Berman burns some cedar in between meetings at Rolling Grocer 19 in Hudson, New York. Seated on colorful metal chairs around an office table made from a plank of wood, Berman (logistics) and her co-managers, Cece Graham (retail) and Michelle Hughes (purchasing and development), attempt to explain their sparse but thoughtfully stocked sliding-scale shop, which opened March 5, after three years in the making.

      Rolling Grocer 19 isn’t just a grocery store. “It’s a community-based food project,” says Hughes. It’s also a grant-funded, income-inequality education project with a strong social mission to tackle access to wholesome food for all who live in Columbia County.

    • Of Course This ‘Highly Biased Poll’ By Oil-Funded Koch Groups Claims that Americans Don’t Like Electric Cars

      Which would you trust: a poll commissioned by a nonprofit philanthropic group and conducted with academic partners, or a survey paid for by an advocacy group with financial ties to the industry in question and conducted by a for-profit lobbying firm with clients that are directly impacted by the issues discussed?

      Two conflicting opinion polls concerning electric vehicles have just been released, and — surprise! — the one tied to the oil refining billionaire Koch brothers claims that American voters don’t support electric cars or the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit.

    • Climate Change Is Making Animals Smaller

      Think little. It will have its advantages in the future. Researchers predict that climate change will cause animals to lose 25 percent of their size as small, quick animals that are able to adapt to many environments will thrive over the next 100 years, according to a new study from the University of Southampton and published in the journal Nature Communications.

      The researchers found that animals rest and eat less in extreme heat, which often stunts growth. And when small size means adaptability and survival, future generations will get smaller to meet their conditions. The research team also has some dire predictions for big animals with long life spans. Over the next century nearly 1,000 species will go extinct. These less adaptable animals often require unique environmental conditions will not be able to withstand climate change and habitat loss. Eagles, tigers, and rhinoceroses are particularly vulnerable species, according to a university press release.

    • Projected losses of global mammal and bird ecological strategies

      Species, and their ecological strategies, are disappearing. Here we use species traits to quantify the current and projected future ecological strategy diversity for 15,484 land mammals and birds. We reveal an ecological strategy surface, structured by life-history (fast–slow) and body mass (small–large) as one major axis, and diet (invertivore–herbivore) and habitat breadth (generalist–specialist) as the other. We also find that of all possible trait combinations, only 9% are currently realized. Based on species’ extinction probabilities, we predict this limited set of viable strategies will shrink further over the next 100 years, shifting the mammal and bird species pool towards small, fast-lived, highly fecund, insect-eating, generalists. In fact, our results show that this projected decline in ecological strategy diversity is much greater than if species were simply lost at random. Thus, halting the disproportionate loss of ecological strategies associated with highly threatened animals represents a key challenge for conservation.

    • ‘Social Breakdown and Outright Chaos’: Civilization Headed for Collapse by 2050, New Climate Report Warns

      The new assessment comes from the Melbourne, Australia-based think tank Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration and was written by Breakthrough’s research director David Spratt and former Royal Dutch Shell senior executive Ian Dunlop. The authors use the dire scenario outlined in the report to call for a massive international mobilization towards a zero-emissions economy on the scale of efforts seen during World War II.

      “A high-end 2050 scenario finds a world in social breakdown and outright chaos,” Spratt told Vice. “But a short window of opportunity exists for an emergency, global mobilization of resources, in which the logistical and planning experiences of the national security sector could play a valuable role.”

      The report authors have a major endorsement from that sector in the figure of retired Admiral and former Chief of the Australian Defence Force Chris Barrie, who wrote the paper’s foreword.

      “David Spratt and Ian Dunlop have laid bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way,” Barrie wrote.

  • Finance

    • Is Brexit Coming or Going?

      Brexit grabs the attention of much of the world, not least because Britain once had an Empire and ruled a great part of the world’s peoples. And it’s the caretaker of the English language, the Empire’s most important legacy.

      Add to that the BBC, the world’s favourite and most trusted radio and TV station, its top universities, its production of pop music, its numerous top-flight classical orchestras, its permanent membership of the UN Security Council, it being the world’s fifth largest economy and, alas, its possession of nuclear weapons.

      In terms of its soft non-military power, depending on which measurement is used, Britain is first or second in the world.

      It remains partly a mystery why something around half the electorate want Britain to leave the European Union. It’s mainly older people who voted that way in the referendum of three years ago. The very old who lived through World War 2 and younger people voted to remain.

      The very old did not need persuading that after a millennium of almost continuous war in Europe culminating in World War 2, the genocide against the Jews and being citizens of, historically, the most war-inclined country in the world that an organization that tied European nations together non-violently was both a clever and wonderfully visionary idea.

    • Illinois Is Poised to Become the Gambling Capital of the Midwest

      An 816-page bill introduced and passed by the General Assembly over the weekend will, if fully realized, transform Illinois into the gambling capital of the Midwest.

      The legislation legalizes sports gambling; sanctions six new casinos, including one in Chicago; increases the number of video gambling machines as well as the maximum bet; and transforms the state’s horse racing tracks into “racinos” by permitting casino operations at the state’s three existing tracks while allowing two more to open.

      The number of state-sponsored gambling “positions” — seats to place a bet inside a casino, bar or racino — will grow from almost 44,000 to nearly 80,000. That’s about four times the number of positions in any neighboring state, according to a review of gambling statistics by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ.

      Within two years, Illinois could have more than 7,000 video gambling establishments, 5,000 lotterylike sports betting kiosk locations, 16 casinos, five racinos and online sports gambling accessible on millions of mobile phones. The bill even allows video slot and poker machines at Chicago’s airports, O’Hare and Midway.

    • A look at Bitcoin’s timelocks
    • Business School Graduates—Don’t Work for Billionaires

      Congratulations, graduates, on your hard work over the last several years. By now, though, you’re surely feeling pressure about your next steps.

      You may have debt, parents that made big sacrifices, or well-off families that expect you to live like them. You may feel pressure to take a job that promises status or mobility—and not to mention a paycheck. Harvard Business school grads, for instance, are now landing jobs with starting pay of over $160,000.

      Even so, you’ll no doubt weigh ethical considerations as you make career choices. You may not want to work for a gun manufacturer or Big Pharma opioid peddler, for example.

      Allow me to make one more suggestion: Don’t work for billionaires.

      We’re living in a period of extreme wealth inequality. The richest 400 billionaires have nearly as much wealth as the bottom two-thirds of U.S. households combined. The lawyer and journalist Steven Brill, in his book “Tailspin,” argues that wealthy elites have become a “protected class” by deploying the best and the brightest—people like you—to defend and multiply their assets and privileges.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Cuomo and Lemon skewer Trump for attacks on UK figures
    • Idiocracy

      Science strives for predictability, questing for certainty it doubts exists. The frontiers of physical research probe realms of paradox currently far beyond human reason. Seismologists and volcanologists study temblors and eruptions avidly but can’t forecast events in real time.

      There is no science to predict devastating earthquakes in societies, though the symptoms that produce them are established and, in America, beyond dispute.

      A general outline would include the fact that a few men own half our wealth and a majority have nothing; that U.S. economic hegemony is based on killing people and the biosphere by weapons and debt; that our political system, the toy of financial criminals, is inaccessible to citizens.

      This butcher’s list of engineered malignity should have crashed a polity so viciously corrupted but, since it hasn’t, the explanation must be in the nature of its victims. The appalling capability of Americans to live simultaneously as abject slaves and complicit criminals in our putrefying Empire is baldly clear in three stunning recent examples.

    • If Democrats Can’t Win the Economic Debate, Trump Will Win in 2020

      Pundits and economic models predict that if nothing changes in the next two years on the economic front, Donald Trump will be re-elected in 2020 by a bigger margin than in 2016. To be sure, the economy is usually the top priority for voters heading into a presidential election, and the U.S. economy appears on paper to be doing well since Trump moved into the White House. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019 (real GDP grew by 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018), and the national unemployment rate is at a low 3.8 percent, with applications for unemployment benefits having declined to a 49-year low.

      Nonetheless, while the economy looks strong, the economic condition of most Americans is anything but rosy. And, according to a Federal Reserve’s “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018,” roughly 40 percent of households would not be able to cover a $400 “unexpected expense.”

      At the same time, the majority of Americans think that the economic system benefits mostly the wealthy, and want to see the government do something about this situation.

      As such, the question is whether Democratic presidential candidates have the vision and the boldness to put structural economic reforms on top of their pre-election campaign. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have already positioned themselves as the ideas candidates for fixing the economy, although Wall Street Democrats will clearly oppose both of them. In the absence of a plan to abolish capitalism, drastic reforms to make it more equitable are a necessary precondition for the economic well-being of the majority of people in the U.S. — reforms that would likely prove to be detrimental to the economic interests of the super-rich, who are intent on accumulating ever higher amounts of wealth. Yet, it is unclear what sort of reforms deserve top priority in today’s U.S. economy. To answer that question, we interviewed Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

    • Koch Network Alums Are Going Full On White Nationalist

      This article was produced in collaboration with Right Wing Watch, a nonprofit reporting outlet covering right-wing extremism in America. Right Wing Watch’s reporting can be found at rightwingwatch.org.
      At a 1976 libertarian conference funded by oil executive Charles Koch, conservative think-tanker Leonard Liggio presented a paper on the Nazis’ success at recruiting youth to their movement. Liggio urged the clandestine group of wealthy libertarians to embrace the Nazis’ approach as a way to strengthen their own movement to slash taxes and gut regulations.

      Now, decades later, multiple young men who have been affiliated with Koch’s powerful political network have been exposed as members of a white nationalist group.

      “Koch’s academic operations are intended to develop extreme anti-government ideas and actions in students by exposing them to the Austrian school of economics and its various offshoots,” Ralph Wilson, co-founder of the Corporate Genome Project and former research director of UnKoch My Campus, told Sludge/Right Wing Watch. “These ideologies make moral arguments for free markets using an overly individualistic notion of ‘freedom’ that has fed and capitalized on the anti-social impulses of frustrated youth for several generations, including white nationalists, paleo-conservatives, neo-confederates, and neo-Nazis.”

      Identity Evropa, which recently rebranded as the American Identity Movement, is a white nationalist group in the United States whose members appeared at the Unite the Right 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and have, in other instances, been convicted of criminal activity pertaining to their ideology. The group, based near Washington, D.C., favors secrecy over visibility; it opts for unannounced banner-drops and flash rallies, and it emphasizes propaganda production over public presence. The group’s membership rolls and day-to-day operations were closely guarded before its chat logs were published by independent media nonprofit Unicorn Riot.

    • Trump Has Written Himself Into US Mythology. We Can Write Him Out.

      The 75th anniversary of the Allied attack on Normandy Beach in France, the first vital step toward dismantling Nazi Germany’s “Fortress Europe” and ending Adolf Hitler’s reign of atrocity, is Thursday. Donald Trump will be there, probably. That old battlefield, considered hallowed ground by many, has become the scene of another fight. This time, the contest is between actual history and beloved mythology.

      Specifically, the argument centers around the 100-foot cliffs of Pointe du Hoc overlooking the landing zone of Omaha Beach, which U.S. Army Rangers scaled using ropes and ladders to assault a German gun battery and secure the high ground. The Rangers accomplished their mission under withering, lethal fire, taking scores of casualties. The 1962 film, “The Longest Day,” starring John Wayne, Richard Burton and Henry Fonda among other big names of the era, canonized the Pointe du Hoc assault for generations to come.

      The thing is, however, the whole assault may have been a glaring strategic error. Gary Sterne, a World War II historian, author and subject of a fascinating Washington Post piece from the weekend, discovered a much larger German gun battery — the “Maisy Battery” — three miles down the coast from Pointe du Hoc. After spending 10 years unearthing the battery, which had been buried by the U.S. Army after the Normandy landing, the historian found himself confronted by facts that profoundly contradicted the accepted Normandy Beach narrative.

      Sterne’s conclusions, according to The Post: “The [Pointe du Hoc] assault was unnecessary, the commander of the U.S. Army Ranger unit failed to follow orders, putting his men directly in harm’s way, and U.S. military leaders should have targeted Maisy and its battery of heavy artillery guns instead of Pointe du Hoc, which the Germans had largely abandoned by the time of the Normandy invasion.”

      Of course, Sterne has been bombarded by those who hold the accepted Normandy narrative dear as an example of American courage and self-sacrifice. “Pointe du Hoc is such sacred ground,” he says in The Post article, “it’s like bringing someone to Gettysburg and saying, ‘Actually, there was a much bigger battle fought just a few miles away.’” Sterne properly and correctly honors the soldiers who stormed Point du Hoc at great personal cost to themselves, but his critics take his new account of history deeply personally.

    • Tens of Thousands Flood Streets in UK to Protest Trump and ‘Everything He Stands For’

      Trump claimed in a tweet Monday that he had not “seen any protests yet,” but the demonstrations on Tuesday will be impossible to miss, with the 20-foot-tall Trump baby blimp flying over London and crowds of Britons pouring into the streets throughout the country.

      “We are here to take on misogyny, racism, fascism, and hatred,” Guardian columnist Owen Jones declared during a speech in London.

      Jones emphasized this point in a column ahead of Tuesday’s mass demonstrations, noting that the protests “aren’t just about Trump, they’re about everything he stands for.”

      “These protests won’t simply be about Trump and the perverse reality TV show he’s treated the world to,” Jones wrote. “The protests will be about Trumpism: about confronting a resurgent global far right, defending the rights of women and minorities, fighting the climate emergency, opposing the threat of war, and standing against an attempt to gut the NHS and trash hard-won rights and freedoms.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack [iophk: "And JA not included???"]

      Here is June’s list, ranked in order of urgency: [...]

    • Yekaterinburg cathedral protester faces criminal charges for insulting a police officer

      Yekaterinburg resident Stanislav Melnichenko, who took part in mass protests in the city of Yekaterinburg to prevent a new cathedral from being built in a central square, has been charged with insulting a government representative. Investigators claim that Melnichenko “used explicit language publicly and in an indecent manner and demonstratively, openly performed offensive gestures” toward a police officer. Legal penalties for insulting the government online were introduced in Russia only this year, but penalties of up to 40,000 rubles ($613), 360 hours of mandatory labor, or one year of corrective volunteer work were already in place for publicly insulting an on-duty government representative.

    • On Equating BDS With Anti-Semitism: a Letter to the Members of the German Government

      I write to you regarding the motion recently passed by the Bundestag that equated BDS with anti-Semitism. I also write to you as Jew, a child of Holocaust survivors and as a scholar of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      My mother, Taube, and father, Abraham, survived Auschwitz among other horrors. My father was the only survivor in his family of six children and my mother survived with only one sister in a family that was larger than my father’s. I know, without question, that if they were alive today, the motion you are being asked to endorse would terrify them given the repression of tolerance and witness that it clearly embraces. I shall not restate what others have already written protesting your action, but I do have some thoughts I would like to share.

      In September 2014 I was invited to speak on Gaza at the Heinrich Boll Stiftung after the terrible events of that summer. During the question period, a gentleman stood up who was quite agitated. He argued quite strongly that given Germany’s history, it is difficult if not impossible for Germans to criticize Israel. Embedded in his statement was the belief that Germans should never engage in such criticism. He seemed to insist that I accept this. I do not. Nor would my parents.

    • Refinitiv blocks Reuters stories on Tiananmen from its Eikon platform

      Under pressure from China’s government, financial information provider Refinitiv has removed from its Eikon terminal Reuters news stories related to the 30th anniversary of the bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

    • In China, a Reuters Partner Blocks Articles on the Tiananmen Square Massacre

      A financial-information company partly owned by the news organization Thomson Reuters removed articles related to the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square massacre from the feeds of its data terminals in China last week. The move came under pressure from the Chinese government, Reuters reported Monday.

      The data firm that complied with the censorship demands, Refinitiv, is Reuters’s biggest customer. It prevented some articles that included mentions of the pro-democracy demonstrations from appearing on its Eikon software and mobile app in China.

      In a statement, Refinitiv pointed to legal realities in China, whose government previously blocked websites from publishing stories it deemed politically sensitive. The Chinese authorities have also denied visas to journalists working for news outlets that have published articles that were critical of the nation’s leaders.

    • Killing News Comments Only Solidified Google, Facebook Dominance

      We’ve talked a lot about how the trend du jour in online media circles is to ditch the news comment section, then condescendingly pretend this is because the website just really values user relationships. ReCode, NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg, Popular Science and more have all proclaimed that they just love their on-site communities so much, they’ll no longer allow them to speak. Of course what these sites often can’t admit is that they were too lazy or cheap to cultivate their communities, can’t seem to monetize quality discourse, and don’t really like people pointing out story errors in such a conspicuous location.

      Many of these same editors and outlets will (justly) complain how Google and Facebook have hoovered up online ad revenue to the point where operating an independent media outlet is a financial minefield. Only occasionally will you see somebody realize that the process of outsourcing all on-site discourse to social media by killing news comments contributed to the overall problem. Sure, outsourcing the hassles of moderation may have saved you a little time and money, but driving the on-site community away from your website to giant social media platforms contributed to the very dominance you’re now railing against.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Behavioral Ad Targeting Not Paying Off for Publishers, Study Suggests

      Are creepy advertisements really necessary to support the free web?

      A new academic study suggests they aren’t.

      Behavioral advertising, which involves collecting data about readers’ online behavior and using it to serve them specially tailored ads, often through bits of code called cookies, has become the dominant force in digital advertising in recent years.

      But in one of the first empirical studies of the impacts of behaviorally targeted advertising on online publishers’ revenue, researchers at the University of Minnesota, University of California, Irvine, and Carnegie Mellon University suggest publishers only get about 4% more revenue for an ad impression that has a cookie enabled than for one that doesn’t. The study tracked millions of ad transactions at a large U.S. media company over the course of one week.

      That modest gain for publishers stands in contrast to the vastly larger sums advertisers are willing to pay for behaviorally targeted ads. A 2009 study by Howard Beales, a professor at George Washington University School of Business and a former director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, found advertisers are willing to pay 2.68 times more for a behaviorally targeted ad than one that wasn’t.

      Much of the premium likely is being eaten up by the so-called “ad tech tax,” the middlemen’s fees that eat up 60 cents of every dollar spent on programmatic ads, according to marketing intelligence firm Warc.

    • New Study Shows That All This Ad Targeting Doesn’t Work That Well

      Just a couple months ago, I wrote a post saying that for all the focus on “surveillance capitalism,” and the claims that Facebook and Google need to suck up more and more data to better target ads, the secretive reality was that all of this ad this ad targeting doesn’t really work, and it’s mostly a scam pulled on advertisers to get them to pay higher rates for little actual return. And, now, a new study says that publishers, in particular, are seeing basically no extra revenue from heavily targeted ads, but some of the middlemen ad tech companies are making out like bandits. In other words, a lot of this is snake oil arbitrage.

    • Congress, Enforcement Agencies Target Tech

      Federal antitrust enforcers and lawmakers are poised to scrutinize the nation’s largest technology companies for potential anticompetitive practices, bringing a new regulatory focus to the vast markets for digital services and a new level of concern for investors.

    • Google, Facebook and Apple Fall on Antitrust Scrutiny

      Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. tumbled as the companies appear set to undergo U.S. antitrust probes after the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission agreed to split up oversight of technology giants.

      The DOJ’s preparations to investigate Google, first reported late Friday, mark the Trump administration’s first concrete step to scrutinize the potentially anti-competitive conduct of a large technology firm. On Monday, a person familiar with the matter said the FTC will oversee antitrust scrutiny into whether Facebook’s practices harm competition in the digital market. Reuters reported that the DOJ has been given jurisdiction over a potential probe of Apple.

    • Google and Amazon Are at the Center of a Storm Brewing Over Big Tech

      Politicians on the right and left are decrying the tech companies’ enormous power. President Trump and other Republicans have taken swipes at Amazon over taxes and at Google over search results they say are biased. Democrats have focused on whether the companies stifle competition.

      And now, the two federal agencies that handle antitrust matters have split up oversight of the two companies, with the Justice Department taking Google and the Federal Trade Commission taking Amazon, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

      The decisions do not mean that the agencies have opened official federal investigations, the people said. But by staking claims over the two tech giants, the agencies are signaling the potential for greater scrutiny.
      Regulators have struggled to keep pace with the growth of technology companies in recent years. With huge profits and work forces, the companies have come to dominate large swaths of the economy. Amazon is the de facto force in online retailing. Google is the starting point for many people searching online.

    • Your Smartphone’s Sensors Can Be Used To Track You [Ed: These are not phones; they're surveillance devices and they're viewed as such by those who really own them (governments and corporations)]

      In a world where companies are hungry for user data and are adopting different mechanisms to legally or illegally get hold of it, privacy is a big concern. Advertisers often use unique identifiers like MAC addresses and IMEI numbers to form a profile for you. A technique called ‘device fingerprinting’ is used to collect data from smartphones/computer for identification.

      It is the reason why companies provide you with options to limit such permissions. However, Android and iOS devices are full of components that could be used for ‘profiling.’ In a study published by Cambridge University titled “SensorID: Sensor Calibration Fingerprinting for Smartphones,” researchers have found that a smartphone’s sensors can be used to track users by advertisers.

    • Facebook, Not Microsoft, Is the Main Threat to Open Source

      Facebook is under a lot of scrutiny and pressure at the moment. It’s accused of helping foreign actors to subvert elections by using ads and fake accounts to spread lies—in the US, for example—and of acting as a conduit for terrorism in New Zealand and elsewhere. There are calls to break up the company or at least to rein it in.

      In an evident attempt to head off those moves, and to limit the damage that recent events have caused to Facebook’s reputation, Mark Zuckerberg has been publishing some long, philosophical posts that attempt to address some of the main criticisms. In his most recent one, he calls for new regulation of the online world in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability. The call for data portability mentions Facebook’s support for the Data Transfer Project. That’s clearly an attempt to counter accusations that Facebook is monopolistic and closed, and to burnish Facebook’s reputation for supporting openness. Facebook does indeed use and support a large number of open-source programs, so to that extent, it’s a fair claim.

    • Facebook Fails To Block EU Court Case That Could Rule Against Most Transatlantic Data Flows

      Last August, we wrote about the latest development in an important case moving through the EU’s legal system. At risk is the huge volume of data that flows from the EU to the US, currently authorized by the Privacy Shield scheme. The original complaint was brought by that indefatigable defender of privacy, Max Schrems. Given the importance of the outcome, the Irish High Court referred the case to the EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It posed eleven quite searching questions that it asked the CJEU judges to rule on.

      Schrems’s specific complaint concerns Facebook, which took the unusual step of appealing against the High Court’s decision. The received wisdom was that this was not an option, but the Irish Supreme Court disagreed, and said it would consider the appeal. Facebook alleged that the questions sent by the High Court to the CJEU contained factual errors that were serious enough to require the request to be thrown out. The Irish Supreme Court has now handed down its judgment (pdf) — against the appeal.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Education in the Service of Assimilation: The Founding Vision of Residential Schools in Canada

      Over the years I have written a number of scholarly historical articles on Indigenous education of both children and adults. Recently I have been reviewing some of the current scholarly writing on how Canadians might understand more profoundly why their government and churches treated First Nation’s peoples with such utter disregard for their education and well-being. Canadians, it seems to me, now know that “bad things” happened to Native children and youth in residential schools from around 1879 until the mid-1980s. But the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (active between 2008-2015) and the publications of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Affairs (2015-) have released stories and studies that have “unsettled the settler within” (Paulette Regan, Unsettling the settler within: Indian residential schools, truth telling, and reconciliation in Canada [2010]).

      These stories of abuse have crawled out of dark dungeons. Many of us can scarcely comprehend why a teacher might smack a child across the mouth with a ruler for “speaking Indian” (one of thousands of cruel acts perpetrated on Native children). They were stripped of their clothing and given a number upon entering the residential school. They were separated from their siblings by gender and removed from parental contact and community bonds. They were fed lousy food in lousy buildings. Around 6000 children died of various diseases, particularly tuberculosis. Their own spiritual traditions and practices were attacked mercilessly. Spiritual desolation awaited them down the road.

      Still, some might assume that these acts of violence were the work of “bad apples.” They were mere blots on the “good intentions” of government and churches. And that Canada, unlike its violent neighbour to the south, was basically benign and had good intentions to help native people to solve problems such as disease, hunger, loss of traditional economy and their unceded land. This judgment cannot be sustained.

    • 30 Years Since Tiananmen Square: The State of Chinese Censorship and Digital Surveillance

      Thirty years ago today, the Chinese Communist Party used military force to suppress a peaceful pro-democracy demonstration by thousands of university students. Hundreds (some estimates go as high as thousands) of innocent protesters were killed. Every year, people around the world come together to mourn and commemorate the fallen; within China, however, things are oddly silent.

      The Tiananmen Square protest is one of the most tightly censored topics in China. The Chinese government’s network and social media censorship is more than just pervasive; it’s sloppy, overbroad, inaccurate, and always errs on the side of more takedowns. Every year, the Chinese government ramps up VPN shutdowns, activist arrests, digital surveillance, and social media censorship in anticipation of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. This year is no different; and to mark the thirtieth anniversary, the controls have never been tighter.

    • Singapore’s Fake News Law Is Also An Internet Surveillance Law

      What this has to do with policing “fake news” is anyone’s guess. But “fake news” laws are never really about tracking down and removing fake news. They’re about controlling what people see online and providing a handy kill switch for anything governments don’t want to see passed around the internet.

      The law allows the government to demand removal of content that undermines the government’s official narratives. This isn’t a loophole or an unexpected side effect. It’s the point of the law. Any minister can issue a content removal demand if they see something they feel “undermines democratic processes or society.”

      Removal demands are supposed to be the last resort. The first response to alleged fake news is the issuance of a correction notice — again, as demanded by the Singaporean government. This is far less draconian than demanding removal of content, but this response method has its own set of problems. The law requires more than the appending of a correction to alleged fake news. It also requires tech companies to ensure everyone who viewed the alleged fake news is informed of the correction. This will result in the creation and maintenance of web tracking infrastructure solely for the benefit of the government.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A Legal Fight Against The SEC May Represent Our Last Hope For An Open, Distributed Internet

      Let’s get this out of the way up top: yes, many cryptocurrencies and “Initial Coin Offerings” (ICO’s) were complete scams, designed to dupe people out of billions of dollars. It’s entirely reasonable to call those out, and to argue that there should be some significant regulatory oversight of such scams. However, it is also possible to believe that an overreaction to such scams could kill off a nascent attempt to rebuild a truly open and distributed internet. For years now, I’ve been talking about why we could better fulfill the dream of an open, distributed internet if we were to move to a world of protocols, not platforms, and in a more recent post, I’ve discussed some policy proposals to help the world move in that direction — with the final one concerning the SEC, and getting it to stop looking at cryptocurrencies solely as a financial instrument nearly identical to a security. This is not to avoid all scrutiny of cryptocurrencies. But having a working cryptocurrency system in which the success of a protocol can be driven by its actual usage and development, rather than ads or “surveillance capitalism”, would benefit massively from more freedom to experiment.

      While it does not appear that, by itself, it will be that successful, a few years back the social network/messaging app Kik started an experiment in this space, raising $100 million with an ICO and designing it so that its “Kin” tokens could be used to reward developers who build services. The company has put some effort into encouraging developers to build within its ecosystem, and for others to use the Kin tokens as currency.

    • Facebook, Google stocks fall on imminent antitrust probes
    • If ‘Big Tech’ Is a Huge Antitrust Problem, Why Are We Ignoring Telecom?

      Over the last week or so, Google, Amazon, and Apple have all taken a significant beating on Wall Street amidst rumblings of looming antitrust investigations by the DOJ and FTC. Google, we’re told, is subject of a looming antitrust probe by the DOJ. Amazon, we’ve learned, is facing growing scrutiny from the FTC. Apple stock also did a nose dive on the news that it too may soon be subject to a significant new antitrust probe.

      On its surface, many of these actions aren’t all that surprising. After all, experts have noted for a decade than US antitrust enforcement has grown toothless and frail, and our definitions of monopoly power need updating in the Amazon era. Facebook’s repeated face plants on privacy (and basic transparency and integrity) have only added fuel to the fire amidst calls to regulate “big tech.”

      Oddly missing from coverage from these probes is the fact that much of this behavior by the Trump administration may *gasp* not be driven by a genuine interest in protecting markets and consumer welfare. For one, it’s hard to believe that an administration that has shown it’s little more than a rubber stamp for sectors like telecom is seriously worried about monopoly power. Two, it’s hard to believe an administration obsessed with partisan fever dreams of nonexistent censorship is going to come at these inquiries with integrity, and not, say, as a vessel to pursue a pointed partisan agenda.

      [...]

      If you were remotely serious about addressing the US’ monopoly and antitrust problems, there’s no way you’d simply ignore telecom. Giants like AT&T and Comcast already enjoy natural monopolies over the on ramp to the internet. They’ve then increasingly hoovered up countless media companies as they also position themselves to dominate the media flowing over those connections. This conflict and the potential for anticompetitive behavior sits at the heart of the net neutrality debate. Now, giants like AT&T want to become the next Google, with data harvesting plans every bit as problematic if not more so.

      Yet again, notice how telecom gets a free pass by the Trump administration? Notice how Silicon Valley is demonized, but telecom’s surveillance and anti-competitive gambits see zero backlash? I don’t think it’s happenstance that this new Trump “big tech” antitrust push comes as big telecom has asked for just such a push to aid its own competitive agenda. A lot of folks on both sides of the political aisle who’d like to see more done to rein in “big tech” seem a touch oblivious to the possibility that this new antitrust push may not be entirely in good faith.

      There’s a good chance these antitrust inquiries into Google, Facebook, and Apple are little more than partisan fever dreams co-driven by telecom lobbyists, yet a lot of outlets and experts are acting as if market health and consumer welfare are genuine motivators. It’s entirely unclear what the Trump administration did to suddenly earn this blanket trust, but as the net neutrality fracas made pretty clear, it sure as hell isn’t its several year track record on coherent tech policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Government considers amendment to automatic injunction law

      The German government is considering an amendment to the automatic injunction in patent law, following a meeting between the Federal Ministry of Justice and representatives of industry and professional associations. The purpose was to discuss automatic injunctions in patent law and the so-called injunction gap. Although a complete abolition is currently not on the cards, an alternative is in sight. The Ministry of Justice intends to simplify and modernise the Patent Act and other intellectual property laws.

      [...]

      It is clear, however, that the ministry and some experts are unwilling to do away with the automatic injunction. So German patent judges have compromised. Only a patent being found valid would enforce a first instance infringement judgment. This means the patent owner must first win opposition proceedings at the German Patent and Trademark Office or the EPO.

      A further prerequisite would be if the Federal Patent Court were to dismiss a nullity suit. It is unclear whether a positive interim decision in a nullity suit would have the same effect.

      Another source told JUVE Patent that the experts debated whether to lift the blocking of nullity suits during the opposition period. This would intend to speed up the Federal Patent Court’s decision on validity. As long as patent oppositions can be filed, third parties cannot file a nullity suit.

      [...]

      “We’re now evaluating the opinions. Then we’ll decide the next steps,” said the ministry’s spokesperson. They added that the ministry was planning a legislative project to simplify and modernise the Patent Act and other intellectual property laws.

      The discussion surrounding the automatic injunction and the injunction gap will undoubtedly continue in the coming months. It touches on important pillars of the German patent system, especially when viewed through an international lens.

    • A lawsuit named DodoCase: Contractual Bars to Challenging Patents

      For its part, the Federal Circuit opinion held that the generic forum selection clause did indeed prevent an AIA petition brought by the licensee and assumed that the clause was enforceable – not even considering the impact of Lear.

      Two groups have now filed amicus briefs supporting the petition.

      Law Professors: A group of 21 law professors signed-on to a brief drafted by Stanford’s IP Clinic run by Phillip Mallone. The brief explains that Lear, Inc. v. Adkins, 395 U.S. 653 (1969), should apply with equal strength (if not more) to contracts barring AIA Trial Challenges by the licensee.

      [...]

      The Brief also explains that the licensing parties already knew and understood at the time of drafting that the terms restricting validity challenges by the licensee were not enforceable.

    • Trademarks

      • OED Disciplines Lawyer for not Personally Signing TM Documents

        Trademark regulations require that the lawyer sign — even type in the electronic signature — all documents. A lawyer had been letting non-practitioner legal assistants sign various documents. She realized that this was improper, but waited several months before doing anything. As a result, she was publicly reprimanded and placed on a year’s probation. The decision in In re Sapp is here.

      • Caterpillar Inc. Bullies Cat And Cloud Coffee Shop Over Its Store’s Apparel

        One of the more frustrating aspects of the intersection of trademarks and business is how blind the law seems to be when it comes to recognizing the primary market in which a company operates. This is specifically an issue when it comes to merch and apparel, as many companies build up brand loyalty in their primary markets and then also move to sell clothing to those loyal fans. This all makes sense until these same companies get the USPTO to grant overly-broad trademarks for those ancillary markets, which are then used to bully smaller companies with the excuse being, “Hey, we have to protect our marks, or we lose them.”

        [...]

        First, a trademark on the the acronym “CAT” is plainly insane if it’s going to be used against apparel that uses the word “cat.” I would hope that is obvious to everyone. Such a generic trademark is simply not justified. On top of that, the coffee shop’s use of the word is a reference to a literal cat. The CAT mark, on the other hand, is a reference to a caterpillar. So we’re not even in the same taxonomic family. As you might expect, the branding on Cat & Cloud’s apparel looks nothing like Caterpillar’s.

    • Copyrights

      • When Congress Cancelled State Immunity for Copyright Infringement, Did it Violate the U.S. Constitution? [Ed: “IP” maximalist Dennis Crouch pretends that preventing scams is “Violat[ing] the U.S. Constitution” (as before)]

        The case has a few interesting parts. First off, the underlying issue stems from the discovery of the Blackbeard’s Pirate Ship Queen Anne’s Revenge off the North Carolina Shore where it sank in 1718. Intersal found the wreckage and hired Allen to document the salvage operation. Allen registered the copyrighted works. Later, the State of North Carolina uploaded the videos online without Allen’s permission. In order to insulate itself from infringement liability, the state passed Blackbeard’s Law,” which purported to place the uploaded videos in the public domain. (It’s not piracy if legal).

        Allen then sued the State for copyright infringement — naming various individuals in their official elected capacity, including ROY A. COOPER, III, as Governor of North Carolina. The question in the case – is whether the State can be sued for copyright infringement.

        [...]

        In its decision here, the 4th Circuit held that, although Congress does have power to create a copyright regime, it does not have power to abrogate state sovereign immunity for copyright infringement. I’ll say that there is a good chance that the court will side with Allen against the State — holding that Congress has power to abrogate here because of the need for a “carefully crafted copyright regime.”

      • KOL267 | Sal the Agorist Interview: Bitcoin, Copyright, Craig Wright

        Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 267. I was a guest today on Sal Mayweather’s “The Agora” podcast, ep. 48 (Soundcloud version below). From his shownotes: We discussed Craig’s copyright application of the Bitcoin White Paper and whether they lend any credence to his claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto. Does a copyright application imply that CSW is actually Satoshi? Stephan also breaks down some of the torts Craig has filed against against various individuals who have said he isn’t Satoshi and/or referred to him as a fraud. Can he use the courts to force individuals to recognize him as Satoshi? This is a great opportunity to learn the standard libertarian position on IP, the difference between a copyright and a patent & how it all applies to current crypto-community from the world’s leading expert!

      • “Unexpected” Polish EU copyright complaint may lack support: lawyers [Ed: Think tank of "IP" extremists only speaks to lawyers in order to belittle this complaint and prop up copyright censorship in the EU]

        Lack of clarity over the complaint and pending European Commission proceedings against Poland may deter nations from joining forces with the country to oppose the EU Copyright Directive

        Poland’s legal challenge against the EU Copyright Directive may not be backed by other member states that are opposed to the directive, according to lawyers, who describe the decision to take legal action as unexpected and surprising.

      • Former MEP welcomes Polish complaint over new EU copyright directive

        Poland has submitted a complaint to the ECJ against copyright rules adopted by the EU in April which Parliament says will protect Europe’s creative industries.

        In its complaint, Poland says the copyright legislation may result in preventive censorship.

        Under the newly-adopted copyright directive, Google will have to pay publishers for news snippets and Facebook will be required to filter out protected content.

      • Ranks aftermath, or TomKabinet reference versus reality

        Back in 2016, the CJEU examined the question of whether backup copies of software could be resold, following the exhaustion of the right of distribution pursuant to the judgment in C-128/11 UsedSoft. In C-166/15 Ranks (Microsoft), the Court ruled that, although the initial acquirer of software can resell that copy and his licence, he cannot provide his backup copy to the subsequent acquirer without the authorisation of the right holder. As reported previously on this blog, the overall outcome has been that the backup copies cannot be resold. However, an even more fascinating question raised by the judgment is how a lawful acquirer could resell his copy of the software if the acquired original copy is lost, damaged or stolen, as suggested by the Court in para. 53 of the Ranks judgment.

      • UNESCO OER Recommendation: One Step Closer to Adoption

        The global open education community works collectively to create a world in which everyone has universal access to effective open education resources (OER) and meaningful learning opportunities as defined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4 (SDG4): Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. UNESCO continues to work with national governments to help them better support open education (content, practices, policy) in their countries. CC is an active leader and contributor to this work, alongside our many partners.

        On May 28, 2019, UNESCO member state representatives took an important step for open education by adopting the 2019 UNESCO OER Recommendation, providing unanimous approval to bring it to the next General Assembly. UNESCO has a strong history in open education, having coined the term OER in 2002, passed the 2012 Paris OER Declaration, and co-hosted (with Slovenia) the 2017 OER Global Congress.

        Member states and observer organizations, including CC, provided multiple edits including: improved OER and open license definitions; calling on member states to support the linguistic translation of open licenses; adopting high standards for privacy in OER, platforms, and services; and a call to facilitate open procurement. The final text of the document, with all of the approved edits, will now be created by UNESCO and will be published (TBD) prior to the UNESCO 40th General Conference in November. We expect the OER Recommendation to be approved and adopted by UNESCO member states at that time.

      • YouTube Ordered to Hand Over Identities of Manga Pirates

        Publishing giant Shogakukan has obtained a DMCA subpoena compelling YouTube to hand over the personal details of several alleged manga pirates, including their names, addresses, IP logs, and financial information. However, significant details in the subpoena could have even broader consequences.

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