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06.22.19

Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • You Can Now Buy Linux Notebooks Powered by Zorin OS from Star Labs

      The makers of the Zorin OS Linux operating system announced today that they partnered with a computer manufacturer to offer users notebooks powered by Zorin OS. The wait is over, as Zorin OS has partnered with Star Labs, a UK-based computer manufacturer specialised in selling Linux-powered notebooks, to offer you two new laptops running the latest version of Zorin OS, fully customized and optimised for these powerful and slick notebooks. “Creating a Linux desktop experience that’s accessible to everyone has always been our mission at Zorin OS,” reads today’s announcement. “Today we’re taking the next step in this mission by making Zorin OS easier for the masses to access: on new computers powered by Zorin OS.”

    • Star Labs Offering a range of Linux Laptops with Zorin OS 15 pre-installed

      Recent days many people are interested to buying a Linux pre-installed laptops because most of the developers are working in major applications which are running in Linux operating system. It’s not limited to only developers and many others are buying Linux pre-installed laptops because Linux desktop operating system are gaining more popularity in recent days. Hence, many computer manufactures are bundling flavours of Linux with their laptops. There are 20+ manufactures are currently offering a laptops with Linux pre-installed especially Ubuntu, LinuxMint, etc,. But Star Labs is not limited to offer only the above three distributions and you can install much more Linux distros in their hardwares.

    • Running Ubuntu on the One Mix Yoga 3 mini laptop (video)

      The One Mix Yoga 3 is a small laptop that features an 8.4 inch touchscreen display and a convertible tablet-style design. It ships with Windows 10, but one of the first things I tried doing with the tablet was to boot a GNU/Linux distribution. I posted some notes about what happened when I took Ubuntu 19.04 for a spin on the One Mix 3 Yoga in my first-look article, but plenty of folks who watched my first look video on YouTube asked for a video… so I made one of those too.

    • Google to Abandon Tablets in Favor of Chrome OS Laptops

      One reason that Google is moving away from tablets has to do with the fact that they are just not selling all that well.

  • Server

    • Top 500 Supercomputers of the World are Linux-Based, Reveals TOP500 53rd Edition

      The 53rd edition of Top500 is here with an interesting commonality among all the top 500 supercomputers.

    • Fedora BoF at Red Hat Summit

      Every year, Red Hat holds a conference for customers, partners, and open source contributors — Red Hat Summit.This year’s was last month, in Boston, Massachusetts, and of course Fedora was there. We had our booth in the “Community Central” area of the expo floor, and ran a birds-of-a-feather (BoF) session for open discussion with community members. I was joined by Brian Exelbierd, Ben Cotton, Adam Šamalík, and a dozen members of the Fedora community. We used a “lean coffee” format to drive the topics, letting the attendees propose and vote on what we discussed. (It’s basically the same format we use for Fedora Council’s open floor meetings, but in person rather than via IRC.) I expected a lot of questions about the new features of Fedora 30, which was released eight days before. But the community members who came to the BoF seemed pretty well-informed on this. Instead, the most-voted topic was Fedora Modularity.

    • Introducing Volume Cloning Alpha for Kubernetes

      Kubernetes v1.15 introduces alpha support for volume cloning. This feature allows you to create new volumes using the contents of existing volumes in the user’s namespace using the Kubernetes API.

    • How Dell EMC and Red Hat work together on joint solutions

      From virtualization and cloud to enterprise IT optimization and performance, Red Hat and Dell EMC deliver open, cost-effective and highly reliable solutions. Our jointly designed and architected solutions blend the best of Red Hat technology with Dell EMC’s customer-driven innovation to create solutions and services that address real-world needs.

    • Red Hat signs off last set of numbers before it is likely gobbled by IBM

      With the EU tipped to approve IBM’s $34bn slurp of Red Hat next week, the open-source software house started Q1 of fiscal ’20 with double-digit hikes in sales and profit, though its top line fell short of analyst estimates. The US regulatory authorities have already given Red Hat the thumbs-up to be consumed by something Big and Blue, but the EU is scheduled to make a decision on 27 June, the last day of Red Hat’s EMEA Partner knees-up. In what could be its last set of results before it is assimilated into IBM’s Hybrid Cloud unit, Red Hat said revenue for the quarter ended 31 May was up 15 per cent year-on-year to $934m, 0.3 per cent below consensus. Broken down, subscription was up 15 per cent to $815m and services were up 17 per cent to $119m. Subscription for infrastructure-related sales was $580m, up 11 per cent, and Application Development stuff was $235m, up 24 per cent. Deferred revenues rose 17 per cent to $2.8bn. “Our large deal momentum remained strong,” Eric Shander, exec veep and CFO, said in a statement. “We doubled the number of deals over $5m and saw 15 per cent growth in the number of deals over $1m.” The record also included Red Hat’s largest storage and hyperconverged sale – for more than $15m – and got sign-off for a $5m piece of OpenStack business.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Talk Python to Me: #217 Notebooks vs data science-enabled scripts

      On this episode, I meet up with Rong Lu and Katherine Kampf from Microsoft while I was at BUILD this year. We cover a bunch of topics around data science and talk about two opposing styles of data science development and related tooling: Notebooks vs Python code files and editors.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.13

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.13 kernel. All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at: git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser: https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Linux 5.1.14
    • Linux 4.19.54
    • Linux 4.19.55
    • Linux 4.14.129
    • Linux 4.9.183
    • Linux 4.4.183
    • ‘Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!’ Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev

      Linux kernel chieftain Linus Torvalds owes the swear jar a few quid this week, although by his standards this most recent rant of his is relatively restrained. Over on the kernel development mailing list, in a long and involved thread about the functionality and efficiency of operating system page caches, firebrand-turned-woke Torvalds described Aussie programmer Dave Chinner’s arguments in the debate as “bullshit,” “complete bullshit,” and “obviously garbage.” To be fair to the open-source overlord, this is a far less personal attack than previous outbursts, such as the time he slammed “some security people” as “just f#cking morons,” or that unforgettable straight-to-the-point detonation: “Mauro, SHUT THE F**K UP.”

    • It Looks Like PulseAudio 13.0 Will Be Releasing Soon

      It’s been a year since the release of PulseAudio 12 and even eleven months since the last point release but it looks like the next PulseAudio release will be out very soon. The next PulseAudio release has been under discussion with the sorting out of when the release will take place and any blocker bugs. As it stands now, there is just one blocker bug remaining and that is addressing a regression.

    • A One Line Kernel Patch Appears To Solve The Recent Linux + Steam Networking Regression

      As a follow-up to the issue reported on Friday regarding the latest Linux kernel releases causing problems for Valve’s Steam client, a fix appears pending that with changing around one line of code does appear to address the regression. Linus Torvalds got involved and pointed out a brand new kernel patch that may solve the issue. That patch was quickly reaffirmed by Linux gamers as well as prominent Valve Linux developer Pierre-Loup A. Griffais.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Important, but obscure, sysadmin tool osquery gets a foundation of its own

        But users think osquery’s founder, Facebook, has been neglecting osquery. Going forward, Facebook has turned osquery over to The Linux Foundation. There, engineers and developers from Dactiv, Facebook, Google, Kolide, Trail of Bits, Uptycs, and other companies invested in osquery, will support it under the new foundation: The osquery Foundation. That’s a good thing because while you may not have heard of osquery, many major companies, such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Netflix, Palantir, Etsy, and Uber, rely on it. This project needed a new lease on life. How does it work? Osquery exposes server operating system as a high-performance relational database. This allows you to write SQL-based queries to explore operating system data and low level system information. In osquery, SQL tables represent abstract concepts such as running processes, loaded kernel modules, open network connections, browser plugins, hardware events or file hashes.These are kept in a SQLite DBMS.

    • Graphics Stack

      • More AMD Navi GPUs show up in a Linux driver

        A since-deleted commit for a Linux driver update hints at 4 new AMD Navi GPUs.

      • Libdrm Picks Up Support For AMD Navi

        As another one of the prerequisites for landing the AMD Radeon RX 5000 series “Navi” support in Mesa, the libdrm bits have just been merged. Libdrm is the Mesa DRM library that is needed for sitting between the Linux kernel Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) interfaces and the user-space components (depending upon the driver, as is required by like RadeonSI). Libdrm also ends up being used by the DDX drivers like xf86-video-amdgpu and other components as well depending upon the driver. As of a short time ago, the Navi bits landed in libdrm Git. The Navi support here isn’t all that exciting and mostly boilerplate code for a new generation for a new family ID, a new member for a tile steering override for GFX10, GDDR6 as a new video memory type, and the largest addition is simply the new tests for VCN 2.0 video decode support.

      • Linux display driver code hints that more AMD Navi GPUs are coming

        Currently, only three have been revealed: the Radeon RX 5700, Radeon RX 5700 XT, and the 50th Anniversary Edition Radeon 5700 XT. The Linux code contains references to Navi 10, Navi 12, Navi 14, and Navi 21. All we know so far is that Navi 10 refers to the GPU found at the heart of the Radeon RX 5700 graphics cards. As such, the other Navi bits could be more upcoming variants of the new Radeon RX cards, or perhaps mobile or professional workstation cards. All we’ve got to go on at the moment is guesswork. There’s also another GPU spelt out in code as “NV_UNKNOWN = 0xFF”. Somewhat ironically, we also have no idea what the unknown card might be; perhaps it’s another Radeon GPU or something completely different.

      • Linux driver hints that more AMD Navi GPUs are on the way

        So far, AMD has only officially announced three Navi models, the Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700, along with a 50th Anniversary Edition of the former. It’s a safe bet there will be additional models, though, and perhaps soon, based on a breakdown of a recent Linux display driver update. Twitter user and frequent hardware leaker APISAK called attention to the updated driver code. The original reference has since been taken offline, though not before a screenshot was grabbed.

      • Mesa 19.1.1 release candidate
        Hello list,
        
        The candidate for the Mesa 19.1.1 is now available. Currently we have:
         - 27 queued
         - 0 nominated (outstanding)
         - and 0 rejected patch
        
        
        The current queue consists mostly in fixes for different drivers (RADV, ANV,
        Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g, ...)
        
        The queue also contains different fixes for different parts (Meson build, GLX,
        etc).
        
        Take a look at section "Mesa stable queue" for more information
        
        
        Testing reports/general approval
        --------------------------------
        Any testing reports (or general approval of the state of the branch) will be
        greatly appreciated.
        
        The plan is to have 19.1.1 this Tuesday (25th June), around or shortly after
        10:00 GMT.
        
        If you have any questions or suggestions - be that about the current patch queue
        or otherwise, please go ahead.
        
        
        Trivial merge conflicts
        -----------------------
        commit 25a34df61439b25645d03510d6354cb1f5e8a185
        Author: Kenneth Graunke 
        
            iris: Fix iris_flush_and_dirty_history to actually dirty history.
        
            (cherry picked from commit 64fb20ed326fa0e524582225faaa4bb28f6e4349)
        
        
        Cheers,
            J.A.
        
      • Mesa 19.1.1 Is Coming Next Week With A Variety Of Fixes

        Debuting two weeks ago was the Mesa 19.1 quarterly feature update while due out early next week is the first bug-fix point release. Mesa 19.1 is a huge update over 19.0 and earlier. Mesa 19.1 brought multiple new Gallium3D drivers as well as a new Vulkan driver (TURNIP), performance optimizations, new Vulkan extensions, mature Icelake support, and a variety of other features as listed in the aforelinked article.

  • Applications

    • Top 20 Best Linux Video Conferencing Software in 2019

      Technology has brought our world closer by curating out a continuous set of innovative tools. Video conferencing solutions are great examples of this fact. They allow individuals or businesses to conduct seamless communication across the globe without experience the limitation of geographical distance. They can be used for both one to one and group communications. The latter makes them a suitable choice for freelance business owners or corporations who have employees or agents all over the world. Linux, being the industry leader in powering corporate systems, offers a plethora of robust Linux video conferencing software that enables trouble-free video conferencing.

    • Stellarium v0.19.1 has been released!

      Thank you very much to community for bug reports, feature requests and contributions!

    • Stellarium 0.19.1 Released with A Large List of Changes

      Free-software planetarium Stellarium 0.19.1 was released today with numerous bug-fixes, updates, and improvements.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 4.11 Released With Its 800+ Patches On Top Of Wine

        Just hours after releasing Wine 4.11, the team maintaining the experimental/testing version of Wine — Wine-Staging — issued their release with more than 800 patches re-based on top. Wine-Staging 4.11 is at 818 patches on top of upstream Wine, which is lower than previous releases thanks to a number of patches getting upstreamed this month.

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 4.11 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Updated version of the Mono engine, including Windows.Forms.
          - More DLLs are built as PE files by default.
          - Faster implementation of Slim Reader/Writer locks on Linux.
          - Initial support for enumerating display devices.
          - Various bug fixes.
      • Whose Wine is it anyway? Wine 4.11 is out

        It’s not quite the the Wine o’clock news but it will do, Wine 4.11 is officially out. The Wine team continues progressing on and it’s looking tasty.

      • Wine 4.11 Brings Ability To Enumerate Display Devices, Updated Mono

        Wine 4.11 is out tonight as the latest bi-weekly development release for running Windows games/applications on Linux and other platforms. With Wine 4.11 is initial support for enumerating display devices. In particular, a Xinerama display device handler is added to the Wine X11 driver and the ability to handle display device changes. Wine 4.11 also ships with an updated version of the Mono engine, more DLLs are now built as PE files by default (continuing a recent trend), there is a faster implementation of slim reader/write locks on Linux, and various bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Play Ascii Patrol Game in Linux Terminal!

        Typing a command in the Linux terminal is one of the exciting things. We are like a king who is giving orders to his soldiers to do certain things. Terminal on Linux has many benefits when you understand the commands that exist. In addition to executing a command, we can play games at the terminal. Playing games on the Linux terminal is one of entertainment. There are many Terminal-based games that you can play on the Linux terminal, one of which is Ascii Patroll. This game is inspired by the classic game “Moon Patrol”, and we can run it on the CLI.

      • Steam Won’t Support Ubuntu 19.10 and Future Releases

        Do you use Steam on Ubuntu? You may have to switch to a new Linux distro in the future. A Valve developer announced that Steam won’t officially support Ubuntu 19.10 or future releases. Ubuntu-based Linux distributions are also affected. This is all because Canonical announced plans to drop 32-bit packages and libraries from Ubuntu 19.10. These packages enable 32-bit software to run on 64-bit versions of Ubuntu. While most Linux applications will get along just fine, this is a huge blow to Valve’s Steam. Many Linux games on Steam are only available in 32-bit form—they work on 64-bit Linux distributions, but only with the 32-bit libraries. As Phoronix recently pointed out, this also affects the Wine compatibility layer that allows running Windows software on Linux—Wine won’t be able to run 32-bit Windows software anymore. Steam’s compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux would also not work for 32-bit games.

      • Steam will no longer support Ubuntu, say Valve

        The move, not unexpected, follows Ubuntu’s decision to stop providing 32-bit packages in its archives, beginning with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release. Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais, who works on the massively popular game distribution platform, says in his tweet that Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases “will not be officially supported by Steam”. And he adds that Steam will no longer recommend Ubuntu to its users. That’s a big deal as Valve has officially supported Ubuntu since the launch of Steam for Linux back in 2012. But going forward the company will instead advise would-be Linux gamers to switch to a different Linux distribution.

      • Valve Will Not Be Officially Supporting Ubuntu 19.10+

        The planned dropping of 32-bit support on Ubuntu saga continues… Well known Valve Linux developer Pierre-Loup Griffais has said they plan to officially stop supporting Ubuntu for Steam on Linux.

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

        Things are starting to get messy, after Canonical announced the end of 32bit support from Ubuntu 19.10 onwards, Valve have now responded. [...] I can’t say I am surprised by Valve’s response here. Canonical pretty clearly didn’t think it through enough on how it would affect the desktop. It certainly seems like Canonical also didn’t speak to enough developers first. Perhaps this will give Valve a renewed focus on SteamOS? Interestingly, Valve are now funding some work on KWin (part of KDE).

      • What are you playing this weekend and what do you think about it? It’s mostly Dota Underlords for me

        Let’s lighten the mood a bit shall we? It’s question time here on GamingOnLinux! Let’s have a talk about what you’ve been playing recently. I will of course go first: Dota Underlords. I have quite the sweet spot for it already, even though I’m absolutely terrible at it. This might be the game to finally get me to kick my unhealthy Rocket League obsession, which is amazing considering how radically different they are. I adore strategy games though and unlike normal Dota, I don’t need to think ridiculously quickly. Since you don’t need any kind of reflexes for it, sitting back and relaxing with the Steam Controller is another reason I quite like Dota Underlords. In the evenings on weekends especially, I can be quite the lazy-gamer, so anything that allows me to kick back with it is likely to get my vote. After only being out for a few days, it’s already annihilated the player record for Artifact. Artifact’s all-time high was only just over 60K whereas Underlords has sailed past 190K, although that shouldn’t be too surprising since Underlords is free and isn’t rammed full of micro-transactions (yet?) and it helps being on mobile as well of course (According to one of the SteamDB folk, the mobile players are being counted too).

      • Canonical Developer Tries Running GOG Games On 64-Bit-Only Ubuntu 19.10 Setup

        In response to the decision to drop 32-bit x86 support beginning in Ubuntu 19.10, Alan Pope of Canonical and longtime Ubuntu member decided to try running some GOG games under an Ubuntu 19.10 daily build that he configured to remove the 32-bit packages ahead of the actual removal. Unfortunately, his experience didn’t go so smoothly. While Valve has the resources to come up with an effective solution to bypass the Ubuntu archives doing away with 32-bit packages on Ubuntu 19.10, the smaller outfits like GOG may have a more difficult time especially with not being as centralized as Steam. Pains could be involved at least in the short-term for those wanting to enjoy their 32-bit-focused games on newer Ubuntu releases.

      • Results of testing games on 64-bit only eoan (19.10)

        These don’t seem to be true for the limited testing I did. I would urge more testing and feedback. I’m also keen to hear if my testing strategy is flawed in any way. Bear in mind I’m trying to approach this from a “normal user” point of view who wants to download and run a game they already had in their collection, or a new title they just bought. I have a few (50) games in GOG that I have purchased over the years. I only had time to select a few at ~random. I picked 5 which gave me a representative sample of relatively modern stuff mixed with retro games, and a good mix between native Linux and native Windows titles.

      • What deals Linux fans should look out for this weekend

        Here’s a little rundown of some good deals going for Linux users, if you’re after something new come and have a look. That is, if you can pull yourself away from the free Dota Underlords from Valve which is currently pulling in masses of players (over 150K right now!).

      • Streets of Rogue, one of my favourite games is leaving Early Access on July 12th

        I don’t know where to start with Streets of Rogue, it starts off pretty tame and as you get further into it the whole game just becomes mental. What is it? Well, it’s hard to properly pin it down to a genre because it’s such a tasty mix. It takes inspiration from games like The Binding of Isaac, Nuclear Throne and Deus Ex to create something entirely unique. It all takes place in a procedurally generated city, one where anything can happen. One minute you’re stick in the middle of rival gangs, another you’re being chased by cannibals. The AI interactions can be seriously amusing too, very fun to mess with them.

      • You can now try the pre-release demo of the brutal roguelike Jupiter Hell for the weekend

        ChaosForge are giving you a chance to play the demo of Jupiter Hell before everyone else, just for the weekend. What is it? A crowdfunded turn-based sci-fi roguelike with modern 3D graphics and an incredible atmosphere. Seriously, while it is turn-based it has the ferocious intensity of a real-time game, it’s pretty amazing. It’s one I personally pledged towards, although I’ve been given earlier access by the developer. I’ve had a seriously good time with it, as shown off before multiple times here on GamingOnLinux (like here and here).

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Latte and “Flexible” settings…

        Following Latte and a “Shared Layouts” dream, today I am going to present you all the new settings pages for upcoming v0.9 and the approach used for them. In following screenshots you can find Basic and Advanced pages for docks and panels.

      • Plasma Vision

        The Plasma Vision got written a couple years ago, a short text saying what Plasma is and hopes to create and defines our approach to making a useful and productive work environment for your computer. Because of creative differences it was never promoted or used properly but in my quest to make KDE look as up to date in its presence on the web as it does on the desktop I’ve got the Plasma sprinters who are meeting in Valencia this week to agree to adding it to the KDE Plasma webpage.

      • Day 26

        I’m in the end of my semester at college, so I need to split my time with GSoC and my college tasks, so now I’m going slowly but on the next month I have my vacation and I’ll have all of my time dedicated to it. My menthors have helped me a lot so far, and I would like to say thanks for the patience, and say sorry for KDE for my initial project and for waste the first weeks on a thing that didn’t produce anything.

      • LabPlot getting prettier and also support for online datasets

        Hello everyone! I’m participating in Google Summer of Code for the second time. I’m working on KDE’s LabPlot, just like last year. I’m very happy that I can work again with my former and current mentor Kristóf Fábián, and with Alexander Semke, an invaluable member of the LabPlot team, who is like a second mentor to me. [...] We had to create metadata files in order to record additional information about datasets, and also to divide them into categories and subcategories. We use a metadata data file which contains every category and subcategory and a list of datasets for every subcategory. Additionally there is a metadata file for every dataset containing various data about the dataset itself. In the “Datasets” section we highlight every dataset the metadata of which is locally available (in the labplot directory located in the user’s home directory). When the user clicks on the “Clear cache” button every file is deleted from the above mentioned directory. The “Refresh” button provides the possibility to refresh the locally available metadata file, which contains the categories and subcategories. In order to make possible the import of datasets into LabPlot, and saving them into Spreadsheets I had to implement a helper class: DatasetHandler. This class processes a dataset’s metadata file, configures the Spreadsheet into which the data will be loaded, downloads the dataset, processes it (based on the preferences present in the metadata file) then loads its content into the spreadsheet.

      • Valve Is Funding Improvements To KDE’s KWin & More Work On X.Org

        As some good news this week amid all the 32-bit Linux gaming drama this week and the networking snafu… Valve is now funding another developer to work on upstream open-source code, in particular on the KDE side this time with a developer who had been working for Blue Systems. Longtime open-source developer Roman Gilg is now working under contract for Valve. He will be focusing on “certain gaming-related XServer projects and improve KWin in this regard and for general desktop usage.” On the KDE side with KWin he’s working on some improvements for both X11/Wayland paths, including a reworking of the compositing pipeline. With the reworked compositing pipeline it could allow for separate CPU threads per display outputs, better vblank handling, and other benefits.

      • Support for Jupyter notebooks has evolved in Cantor

        Hello everyone, it’s been almost a month since my last post and there are a lot of changes that have been done since then. First, what I called the “minimal plan” is arleady done! Cantor can now load Jupyter notebooks and save the currently opened document in Jupyter format. Below you can see how one of the Jypiter notebooks I’m using for test purposes (I have mentioned them in previous post) looks in Jupyter and in Cantor.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Asia Summit 2019 Announced for GNOME 3.36 “Gresik” Desktop in Indonesia

        Every year, the GNOME developers and contributors gather together for the GUADEC (GNOME Users And Developers European Conference) and GNOME Asia Summit events to plan the next major release of their beloved, open-source desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems. While the GUADEC 2019 conference will kick off this summer between August 23rd and 28th, in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the upcoming GNOME 3.34 “Thessaloniki” desktop environment, the GNOME Asia Summit 2019 event will take place between October 11th and 13th, 2019, in Gresik, Indonesia.

      • Will Thompson: Rebasing downstream translations

        At Endless, we maintain downstream translations for an number of GNOME projects, such as gnome-software, gnome-control-center and gnome-initial-setup. [...] Whenever we update to a new version of GNOME, we have to reconcile our downstream translations with the changes from upstream. We want to preserve our intentional downstream changes, and keep our translations for strings that don’t exist upstream; but we also want to pull in translations for new upstream strings, as well as improved translations for existing strings. Earlier this year, the translation-rebase baton was passed to me. My predecessor would manually reapply our downstream changes for a set of officially-supported languages, but unlike him, I can pretty much only speak English, so I needed something a bit more mechanical. I spoke to various people from other distros about this problem.1 A common piece of advice was to not maintain downstream translation changes: appealing, but not really an option at the moment. I also heard that Ubuntu follows a straightforward rule: once the translation for a string has been changed downstream, all future upstream changes to the translation for that string are ignored. The assumption is that all downstream changes to a translation must have been made for a reason, and should be preserved. This is essentially a superset of what we’ve done manually in the past. I wrote a little tool to implement this logic, pomerge. Its “rebase” mode takes the last common upstream ancestor, the last downstream commit, and a working copy with the newest downstream code. For each locale, for each string in the translation in the working copy, it compares the old upstream and downstream translations – if they differ, it merges the latter into the working copy.

      • GNOME 3.33.3 Released, Kernel Security Updates for RHEL and CentOS, Wine Developers Concerned with Ubuntu 19.10 Dropping 32-Bit Support, Bzip2 to Get an Update and OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Now Available

        GNOME 3.33.3 was released yesterday. Note that this release is development code and is intended for testing purposes.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux sets out its roadmap for 2019/20

      Offensive Security, the team behind the security-focused, Debian-based, penetration testing Linux distro Kali Linux. has set out the roadmap for the operating system for the months ahead. This is the first time such a roadmap has been shared for Kali Linux, and it gives us a good idea of what to expect between now and 2020. The team says: “normally, we only really announce things when they are ready to go public, but a number of these changes are going to impact users pretty extensively so we wanted to share them early”.

    • Enso OS, A Desktop Mix between Xubuntu and elementary OS

      Enso OS is a relatively new GNU/Linux distro based on Ubuntu with XFCE desktop coupled with Gala Window Manager. Looking at Enso is like looking at a mix between Xubuntu and elementary OS. It features a Super key start menu called Panther and a global menu on its top panel, making the interface very interesting to try. This overview briefly highlights the user interface for you.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 30 Elections Results

        The Fedora 30 election cycle has concluded. Here are the results for each election. Congratulations to the winning candidates, and thank you all candidates for running in this election!

      • FPgM report: 2019-25

        Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. Elections have concluded. Congratulations to the newly-elected candidates. I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Pooja Yadav: Fedora Pune Meetup

        Last Saturday(June,15) , we had Fedora Pune Meetup with Fedora-30 release celebration. When I reached the venue, people were already present there and were ready to start the event. We started according to the agenda with our first talk from Pravin Satpute on Fedora-30 features which was great, as people were really interested in knowing the new features added.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian vs. Ubuntu: Best Linux Distro for Laptops, Desktops, and Servers

        There is a seemingly endless list of distributions to choose from if you’re interested in Linux. That said, one of the most popular distributions is Ubuntu. If you’ve heard of Linux, chances are you’ve heard of Ubuntu. You may have heard that Ubuntu is based on another distribution, Debian. Which one should you choose? Is it a matter of preference, or is easy distribution better suited to different use cases?

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 19.10 Dropping 32-bit Support Leaves Developers Fuming

            There will be no 32-bit support at all in Ubuntu 19.10. This is problematic for developers of Wine and Steam and gaming on Ubuntu might be in trouble.

          • Ubuntu is dropping i386 support and WINE developers are irked

            As of version 19.10, Ubuntu will no longer support i386. With the arrival of Eoan Ermine, Ubuntu is severing 32-bit ties, and some developers are concerned. The move is not entirely unexpected. The Ubuntu developers had previously said it would make an i386 decision in the middle of 2019. That time having rolled around, the Ubuntu engineering team says that it “has reviewed the facts before us and concluded that we should not continue to carry i386 forward as an architecture”. WINE developers are among those unhappy with the decision.

          • Ubuntu Officially Announced it’s Dropping Support for 32-bit Packages Going Forward

            Ubuntu has officially announced about dropping the support for 32-bit (i386) systems going forward, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release. The 32-bit architecture is used in many Intel and Intel-compatible CPUs. It’s refereed as i386 in Ubuntu, Debian and some other Linux distributions. Many peoples prefer to use the more generic name called “x86” for 32-bit. 32-bit packages were designed especially for legacy hardware’s that only runs a 32-bit operating system, which isn’t popular anymore. No manufacturers have produced any 32-bit computer hardware for desktop / laptop for last 10 years and it was made during the last decade. Most of the major Linux distributions (Red Hat) and software vendors (lack of support in the upstream Linux kernel, toolchains, and web browsers) were already dropped support for 32-bit.

          • Snappy Allow Users to Install Multiple Versions of the Same Snap App

            Portable packaging formats were gained lot of popularity in recent days. Snappy is one of the portable packaging format, which was created by Ubuntu. It brings new features called parallel install, which allow us to install multiple version of the same snap app on system. It could be very helpful for developers to test the difference between multiple version of the packages. You should enable this feature with snap to use, to enable this option is a fairly simple task. This option is available from version 2.36 on-wards.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Good List of 5 Open Source Remote Desktop Software

    First, you should know that in order for two machines to communicate together, they need what’s known as a “protocol”. A remote desktop protocol is a way of transferring the instructions from one computer to another so that you can graphically control the other system. There are many famous remote desktop protocols, such as RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) which is a proprietary protocol designed by Microsoft and implemented in its Windows operating system, and the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) protocol, which is a free and open source protocol to do the same task, and you can additionally connect to the remote host via SSH, NX protocols and others. Now, away from protocols, you’ll of course need a program to access the remote desktop. In general, people are using the proprietary TeamViewer program to do that. But there are many other open source alternatives to TeamViewer that you can use.

  • Welcoming the newest Collaborans!

    For many, June 21, day of the Solstice, is a day of celebrations. At Collabora, we’re also celebrating, as we take a moment to welcome all the newest members of our engineering and administration teams who’ve joined over the last year! Comprised of some of the most motivated and active Open Source contributors and maintainers around the world, Collaborans share an enduring passion for technology and Open Source, and these new joiners are no different.

  • Events

    • Montreal Python User Group: Montréal-Python 75: Funky Urgency

      The summer has started and it’s time for our last edition before the seasonal break. We are inviting you for the occasion at our friends Anomaly, a co-working space in the Mile-End. As usual, it’s gonna be an opportunity to discover how people are pushing our favourite language farther, to understand how to identify bad habit of most programmers and to have fun with data! Join us on Wednesday, there’s gonna be pizza and we’re probably gonna continue the evening to share more about our latest discoveries.

    • More foss in the north

      This year, midsummer is on June 21, which marks four months from the first foss-north event outside of Gothenburg. That’s right – foss-north is going to Stockholm on October 21 and the theme will be IoT and Security. Make sure to save the date! We have a venue and three great speakers lined up. There will be a CFP during July and the final speakers will be announced towards September. We’re also looking for sponsors (hint hint nudge nudge). Now I’m off to enjoy the last hour of midsummer and enjoy the shortest night of the year. Take care and I’ll see you in Stockholm this autumn!

    • Open Source, Digital Transformation And Grape Up: Roman Swoszowski

      We sat down with Roman Swoszowski, co-founder and VP of Cloud R&D at Grape Up to get a better grip of the problems companies face and how Grape Up help these companies using Open Source technologies.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR15b1 available

        In honour of New Coke’s temporary return to the market (by the way, I say it tastes like Pepsi and my father says it tastes like RC), I failed again with this release to get some sort of async/await support off the ground, and we are still plagued by issue 533. The second should be possible to fix, but I don’t know exactly what’s wrong. The first is not possible to fix without major changes because it reaches up into the browser event loop, but should be still able to get parsing and thus enable at least partial functionality from the sites that depend on it. That part didn’t work either. A smaller hack, though, did make it into this release with test changes. Its semantics aren’t quite right, but they’re good enough for what requires it and does fix some parts of Github and other sites.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Cockroach and the Source Available Future [Ed: The proprietary software giants-funded pundits like PedMonk on the openwashing agenda ("Source Available"... like "Shared Source" or "Inner Source"). What a crock.]

      Earlier this month, the database company Cockroach Labs relicensed its flagship database product. This is notable for two reasons. Most obviously, the company is following in the footsteps of several of its commercial open source database peers such as Confluent, Elastic, MongoDB, Redis Labs and TimescaleDB that have felt compelled to apply licenses that are neither open source nor, in most cases, traditionally proprietary. But the relicensing of CockroachDB is also interesting because this isn’t the first time the company has applied such a license. In January of 2017, Cockroach Labs announced the introduction of what it called the CockroachDB Community License (CCL). To the company’s credit, in the post announcing this new license, it took pains to make it clear that the CCL, while making source code available, was not in fact an open source license because it restricted redistribution. The CCL essentially enforced a two tier, open core-type business model, in which a base version of the database was made available under a permissive open source license (Apache) while certain enterprise features were made available under the CCL, which essentially requires users of these premium, enterprise-oriented features to pay for them. With its recent relicensing, the original dual core model has been deprecated. Moving forward, CockroachDB will be made available under two non-open source licenses – which, as an aside to Cockroach, presumably means that section 1B of the CCL probably needs to be updated. The CCL will continue to govern the premium featureset, but the original open source codebase will moving forward be governed by the Business Source License (BSL). Originally released by MariaDB, the BSL is a source available license; a license that makes source code for a project available, but places more restrictions upon its usage than is permitted by open source licenses.

    • Cloudflare’s random number generator, robotics data visualization, npm token scanning, and more news

      Is there such a thing as a truly random number? Internet security and services provider Cloudflare things so. To prove it, the company has formed The League of Entropy, an open source project to create a generator for random numbers. The League consists of Cloudflare and “five other organisations — predominantly universities and security companies.” They share random numbers, using an open source tool called Drand (short for Distributed Randomness Beacon Daemon). The numbers are then “composited into one random number” on the basis that “several random numbers are more random than one random number.” While the League’s random number generator isn’t intended “for any kind of password or cryptographic seed generation,” Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince points out that if “you need a way of having a known random source, this is a really valuable tool.”

  • Funding

    • Open Source Slack Alternative Mattermost Gets $50M Funding

      Mattermost, which presents itself as an open source alternative to Slack raised $50M in series B funding. This is definitely something to get excited for. Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration software that is mainly used for internal team communication. Enterprises, startups and even open source projects worldwide use it interact with colleagues and project members. Slack is free with limited features while the paid enterprise version has premium features. Slack is valued at $20 billion in June, 2019. You can guess the kind of impact it has made in the tech industry and certainly more products are trying to compete with Slack.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.3-RC2 Now Available
      The second RC build of the 11.3-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
      
      Installation images are available for:
      
      o 11.3-RC2 amd64 GENERIC
      o 11.3-RC2 i386 GENERIC
      o 11.3-RC2 powerpc GENERIC
      o 11.3-RC2 powerpc64 GENERIC64
      o 11.3-RC2 sparc64 GENERIC
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 BANANAPI
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 BEAGLEBONE
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD2
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 RPI-B
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 RPI2
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 PANDABOARD
      o 11.3-RC2 armv6 WANDBOARD
      o 11.3-RC2 aarch64 GENERIC
      
      Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
      console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
      freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
      the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
      to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
      system.
      
      Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
      
      https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/ISO-IMAGES/11.3/
      
      The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
      
      If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
      system or on the -stable mailing list.
      
      If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
      system, use the "releng/11.3" branch.
      
      A summary of changes since 11.3-RC1 includes:
      
      o Updates to the ixl(4) and ixlv(4) drivers.
      
      A list of changes since 11.2-RELEASE is available in the releng/11.3
      release notes:
      
      https://www.freebsd.org/releases/11.3R/relnotes.html
      
      Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
      updated on an ongoing basis as the 11.3-RELEASE cycle progresses.
      
      === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
      
      VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
      architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
      (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
      
      https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/11.3-RC2/
      
      The partition layout is:
      
          ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
          ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
          ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
      
      The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
      formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
      respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
      
      Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
      loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
      virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
      
      https://wiki.freebsd.org/arm64/QEMU
      
      To boot the VM image, run:
      
          % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
      	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
      	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
      	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
      	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
      	-netdev user,id=net0
      
      Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
      
      === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
      
      FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
      
        eu-north-1 region: ami-091a9d377d956c519
        ap-south-1 region: ami-0fa381eb7dd65b236
        eu-west-3 region: ami-0888c48fcbc7ec3b9
        eu-west-2 region: ami-01d9ee1b7ba0aaf87
        eu-west-1 region: ami-072313e0a896f9fc3
        ap-northeast-2 region: ami-081a9854f2575823e
        ap-northeast-1 region: ami-027ab7629095b2419
        sa-east-1 region: ami-0ed1e9346b072b7fa
        ca-central-1 region: ami-0effcf973bbde0b80
        ap-southeast-1 region: ami-06fc8fd0e39f4a6e8
        ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0e68f9d80df9828aa
        eu-central-1 region: ami-042016143d5bf5261
        us-east-1 region: ami-0ad4a06d874497067
        us-east-2 region: ami-0efb20b4a888c1bd1
        us-west-1 region: ami-0b5b96c925cec68fe
        us-west-2 region: ami-0f672651aa001cc97
      
      === Vagrant Images ===
      
      FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
      be installed by running:
      
          % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-11.3-RC2
          % vagrant up
      
      === Upgrading ===
      
      The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
      systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
      FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
      
      	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 11.3-RC2
      
      During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
      merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
      performed merging was done correctly.
      
      	# freebsd-update install
      
      The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
      continuing.
      
      	# shutdown -r now
      
      After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
      userland components:
      
      	# freebsd-update install
      
      It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
      especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
      FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
      other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
      into the new userland:
      
      	# shutdown -r now
      
      Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
      stale files:
      
      	# freebsd-update install
      
    • DragonFly BSD 5.6.0 released, which brings performance improvements and improved virtual memory system

      Improved UEFI framebuffer support. Major updates to the radeon and ttm (amd support code) drivers. Also, a major deadlock has been fixed in the radeon/ttm code. Hammer2 filesystem sync code has been rewritten to significantly improve performance. Also, improved sequential write performance. Improve umount operation. Added simple dependency tracking to prevent directory/file splits during create/rename/remove operations, for better consistency after a crash. Added MDS mitigation support for the Intel side-channel attack. It should be enabled by the user, and also requires an Intel microcode update to supports it.

    • OpenBSD Adds Initial User-Space Support For Vulkan

      Somewhat surprisingly, OpenBSD has added the Vulkan library and ICD loader support as their newest port. This new graphics/vulkan-loader port provides the generic Vulkan library and ICD support that is the common code for Vulkan implementations on the system. This doesn’t enable any Vulkan hardware drivers or provide something new not available elsewhere, but is rare seeing Vulkan work among the BSDs. There is also in ports the related components like the SPIR-V headers and tools, glsllang, and the Vulkan tools and validation layers.

    • SSH gets protection against side channel attacks

      Implementation-wise, keys are encrypted “shielded” when loaded and then automatically and transparently unshielded when used for signatures or when being saved/serialised.

      Hopefully we can remove this in a few years time when computer architecture has become less unsafe.

    • doas environmental security

      Ted Unangst (tedu@) posted to the tech@ mailing list regarding recent changes to environment handling in doas (in -current): [...]

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Programming/Development

      • Setting up dev environment for SciPy

        I got an email from someone pretty recently who wanted to setup a dev environment for SciPy. He had made changes to the source code of SciPy and now wanted to test if his changes were working or not. He had gotten so far without actually testing the code. In this post I will share details on how to setup a dev environment the right way. I will focus mainly on Mac OS. Firstly, go to the GitHub repo and try to figure out the dependencies for the project. Normally they are listed in the readme file. If they are not listed there then you just try installing the package/libary and the errors in the terminal will give you a clue as to what you are missing. I did that and figured out that I needed Fortran compiler, Cython and NumPy.

      • Peter Czanik: Insider 2019-06: Python; Google Stackdriver; elasticsearch-http(); a year of syslog-ng; Red Hat Summit;

        Sometimes getting log messages into the desired format can be a problem, but with syslog-ng you can use Python to get the exact format you need. The syslog-ng Python template function allows you to write custom templates for syslog-ng in Python. In this blog post, I will show you a simple use of the Python parser: resolving IP addresses to host names. I will also show you the logger method, a nice new feature that enables you to log to syslog-ng’s internal() log source instead of writing logs from Python to stdout. This way you can follow what your Python code is doing even if syslog-ng is running as a daemon in the background.

      • Creating a new Flask project with pipenv
      • Building Restful API with Flask, Postman & PyTest – Part 2
      • Segfaults and Twitter monkeys: a tale of pointlessness

        For a few years in the 1990s, when PNG was just getting established as a Web image format, I was a developer on the libpng team. One reason I got involved is that the compression patent on GIFs was a big deal at the time. I had been the maintainer of GIFLIB since 1989; it was on my watch that Marc Andreesen chose that code for use in the first graphics-capable browser in ’94. But I handed that library off to a hacker in Japan who I thought would be less exposed to the vagaries of U.S. IP law. (Years later, after the century had turned and the LZW patents expired, it came back to me.) Then, sometime within a few years of 1996, I happened to read the PNG standard, and thought the design of the format was very elegant. So I started submitting patches to libpng and ended up writing the support for six of the minor chunk types, as well as implementing the high-level interface to the library that’s now in general use. As part of my work on PNG, I volunteered to clean up some code that Greg Roelofs had been maintaining and package it for release. This was “gif2png” and it was more or less the project’s official GIF converter.

      • AArch64 support for ELF Dissector

        After having been limited to maintenance for a while I finally got around to some feature work on ELF Dissector again this week, another side-project of mine I haven’t written about here yet. ELF Dissector is an inspection tool for the internals of ELF files, the file format used for executables and shared libraries on Linux and a few other operating systems. [...] ELF Dissector had its first commit more than six years ago, but it is still lingering around in a playground repository, which doesn’t really do it justice. One major blocker for making it painlessly distributable however are its dependencies on private Binutils/GCC API. Using the Capstone disassembler is therefore also a big step towards addressing that, now only the use of the demangler API remains.

      • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxxiii) stackoverflow python report
      • denemo @ Savannah: Release 2.3 is imminent – please test.
      • Arguments | Another way to work with user inputs – Part 7
      • Call for setting up new obfs4 bridges

        BridgeDB is running low on obfs4 bridges and often fails to provide users with three bridges per request. Besides, we recently fixed a BridgeDB issue that could get an obfs4 bridge blocked because of its vanilla bridge descriptor: <https://bugs.torproject.org/28655>

        We therefore want to encourage volunteers to set up new obfs4 bridges to help censored users. Over the last few weeks, we have been improving our obfs4 setup guide which walks you through the process: <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/PluggableTransports/obfs4proxy>p>

    • Standards/Consortia

    Leftovers

    • Science

      • Selection for Facial Features in Domestic Dogs: The Evolution of Cuteness [Ed: This is an interesting article even though the author is a reckless, loud proponent of patents on life and nature (as if humans deserve monopolies on animals' DNA etc.) ]

        As explained in the paper, “[t]he AU101 movement causes the eyes of the dogs to appear larger, giving the face a more paedomorphic, infant-like appearance, and also resembles a movement that humans produce when they are sad” (P. Ekman, W. V. Friesen, J. C. Hager Facial Action Coding System: The Manual (Network Information Research, Salt Lake City, UT, 2002)). The authors’ (and others’) hypothesis is that these adaptations elicited caregiving from humans, resulting in a selective advantage. There is some modern evidence supporting this theory; for example, dogs that expressed this facial movement were more likely to be rehomed from shelters. There is also some support for the notion that this type of facial expression may be important in dog-human communication. The authors describe the results of their comparative anatomical studies between domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) and gray wolves (Canis lupus). These results included facial dissection and comparison of dogs and wolves and then the authors quantified wolves’ and dogs’ AU101 facial movements for frequency and intensity during social interactions. Generally, the facial musculature is the same between the two species, except for the area around the eye. In dogs, the levator anguli oculi medialis muscle (LAOM) was “routinely” present, whereas in wolves there were fewer muscle fibers and much more connective tissue in this area. In addition, wolves “sometimes” had a tendon where the LAOM was expected to be, and as a consequence the wolf was much less able to form expressions around the eyes than the dog. The authors specifically noted that “wolves have less ability to raise the inner corner of their brows independent of eye squinting relaxation—the anatomical basis for the difference in expression of the AU101 movement.”

    • Hardware

      • Huawei Sues Over U.S.’s Seizure of Telecommunications Gear

        Huawei, China’s largest smartphone maker, said it’s been waiting for nearly two years for a decision by the U.S. Commerce Department on whether the unspecified equipment can be moved back to China. The hardware had been in the U.S. for testing, according to the company’s lawsuit.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • “No evidence” that fracking can be done without threatening human health: Report

        A group of doctors and scientists have released a report highlighting that 84 percent of studies published from 2009-2015 on the health impacts of fracking conclude the industry causes harm to human health. The report, published by two groups, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, sites an earlier literature review that found 69 percent of studies on water quality during the same time period found evidence of or potential for fracking-associated water contamination, and 87 percent of studies on air quality found “significant air pollutant emissions” associated with the industry. The new report looks at 1,778 articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals, investigative reports by journalists, and reports from government agencies on fracking. Fracking is another name for hydraulic fracturing, which is a process of extracting natural oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting liquid at high pressure. “When we first started issuing this report in 2014, we predicted we’d eventually see health impacts based on what we saw happening to air and water,” Sandra Steingraber, a professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College and one of the lead authors of the study, told EHN. “Now we’re beginning to see actual evidence of human harm.”

      • To Keep A Light On: First Responder Luis Alvarez Enters Hospice Care

        Luis Alvarez, the retired New York City cop and former 9/11 First Responder who last week joined Jon Stewart to testify before Congress the day before he was scheduled to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy, has entered hospice care for the Stage 4 liver cancer he developed working at Ground Zero. A former bomb squad detective and father of three sons, Alvarez evidently contracted his cancer as a member of the “bucket brigade,” trying to salvage the remains of other NYPD and FDNY members; he retired in 2010 and said he felt “blessed” he only got sick “16 years after the fact.” Alvarez traveled to D.C. last week with other First Responders and their families to urge Congress to provide longterm funding for the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, which is running short on money and declining new claims. Also testifying were Stewart, who raged at lawmakers to “do your job,” and John Feal, who’s attended 180 funerals for colleagues and who blasts years of unconscionable stalling by Mitch McConnell and the GOP that have required sick people to keep taking trips to D.C. that are “brutal” for them.

    • Security

      • CentOS 7 and RHEL 7 Get Important Linux Kernel Update to Patch SACK Panic Flaws

        The new Linux kernel security updates patch an integer overflow flaw (CVE-2019-11477) discovered by Jonathan Looney in Linux kernel’s networking subsystem processed TCP Selective Acknowledgment (SACK) segments, which could allow a remote attacker to cause a so-called SACK Panic attack (denial of service) by sending malicious sequences of SACK segments on a TCP connection that has a small TCP MSS value. “While processing SACK segments, the Linux kernel’s socket buffer (SKB) data structure becomes fragmented,” reads Red Hat’s security advisory. “Each fragment is about TCP maximum segment size (MSS) bytes. To efficiently process SACK blocks, the Linux kernel merges multiple fragmented SKBs into one, potentially overflowing the variable holding the number of segments.”

      • OpenSSH gets protection against attacks like Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer, and Rambleed
      • Ubuntu Linux Gets Intel MDS Mitigations for Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs, Update Now

        Canonical released another update for the intel-microcode firmware for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems to address recent Intel MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) security vulnerabilities. Last month on May 14th, Intel published details about four new security vulnerabilities affecting several of its Intel microprocessor families. The company released updated microcode firmware to mitigate these hardware flaws, which quickly landed in the software repositories of all supported Ubuntu releases, but only some of the processor families were supported.

      • Kiwi TCMS 6.10

        We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 6.10! This is a small security and improvement update.

      • Linux Cryptominer Uses Virtual Machines to Attack Windows, macOS [Ed: This is simply malware that people download and install on their machines, but hey, let's blame something else on "Linux"]

        A new cryptocurrency mining malware dubbed LoudMiner uses virtualization software to deploy a Linux XMRig coinminer variant on Windows and macOS systems via a Tiny Core Linux virtual machine.

      • Report confirms shift of botnet attack focus to Linux, IoT [Ed: A ‘report’ shifts focus from Microsoft Windows back doors (which are causing huge damage at the moment) to “Linux” (usually just machine with default password unchanged)]
      • Botnets shift from Windows towards Linux and IoT platforms [Ed: Microsoft money has poisoned and polluted corporate media (advertising money) to the point each time it covers "Linux" it's either a story about Linux being dangerous or a story about Vista 10 (WeaSeL)]
      • Free proxy service found running on top of 2,600+ hacked WordPress sites [Ed: Considering there are many millions of WordPress sites, many of which aren't patching properly, this is only expected and it's the fault of their administrators]
      • Four CVEs Describe SACKs of Linux and FreeBSD Vulnerabilities [Ed: When searching news for "Linux" these days almost half the results are about security because corporate media chooses to focus on nothing else, even obsessing over the same story for weeks]

         Four new CVEs present issues that have a potential DoS impact on almost every Linux user.

      • Remote Desktop Protocol

        As with any piece of software, bugs arise sooner or later. A critical security exploit allowing a man-in-the-middle- style attack was discovered in RDP version 5.2. In 2012, another critical vulnerability was discovered to allow a Windows computer to be compromised by unauthenticated clients. Version 6.1, found in Windows Server 2008, revealed a critical exploit that harvested user credentials. More recently, an exploit discovered in March 2018 allowed remote code execution attack and another credential- harvesting scenario.

      • Electronic Health Records at 26 Hospitals Hit by Two-Hour Outage [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

        Universal, which manages more than 350 health-care facilities in the U.S. and U.K., declined to specify the technical issues or say how many patient records were affected. The problem lasted for less than two hours and the affected hospitals have returned to normal operations, said Eric Goodwin, chief information officer of the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company.

      • DevSecOps: 4 key considerations for beginners

        Security used to be the responsibility of a dedicated team in the last development stage, but with development cycles increasing in number and speed, security practices need to be constantly updated. This has led to the rise of DevSecOps, which emphasizes security within DevOps. Companies need DevSecOps to make sure their initiatives run safely and securely. Without DevSecOps, DevOps teams need to rebuild and update all their systems when a vulnerability is found, wasting time and effort.

      • OpenSSH to Keep Private Keys Encrypted at Rest in RAM

        A commit for the OpenSSH project adds protection for private keys in memory when they are not in use, making it more difficult for an adversary to extract them through side-channel attacks leveraging hardware vulnerabilities. OpenSSH is the most popular implementation of the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol, being the default solution in many Linux distributions for encrypting connections to a remote system.

      • OpenSSH adds protection against Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer and RAMBleed attacks
      • GNU Bash Unsupported Characters Heap-Based Buffer Overflow Vulnerability [CVE-2012-6711]

        A vulnerability in the lib/sh/strtrans.c:anicstr function of GNU Bash could allow an authenticated, local attacker to execute code on a targeted system.The vulnerability is due buffer errors within the lib/sh/strtrans.c:anicstr function of the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by providing print data through the echo built-in function. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute code on the targeted system.GNU Bash has confirmed this vulnerability and released a software patch.

      • Daily News Roundup: Malware in Your Pirated Software

        Researchers at ESET and Malwarebytes have discovered crypto mining malware hidden in pirated music production software.

      • A Method for Establishing Liability for Data Breaches

        Last month, the First American Financial Corporation—which provides title insurance for millions of Americans—acknowledged a cybersecurity vulnerability that potentially exposed 885 million private financial records related to mortgage deals to unauthorized viewers. These records might have revealed bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and driver’s license images to such viewers. If history is any guide, not much will happen and companies holding sensitive personal information on individuals will have little incentive to improve their cybersecurity postures. Congress needs to act to provide such incentives. The story is all too familiar, as news reports of data breaches involving the release of personal information for tens of millions of, or even a hundred million, Americans have become routine. A company (or a government agency) pays insufficient attention to cybersecurity matters despite warnings that the cybersecurity measures it takes are inadequate and therefore fails to prevent a breach that could be remediated by proper attention to such warnings. In the aftermath of such incidents, errant companies are required by law to report breaches to the individuals whose personal information has been potentially compromised. Frequently, these companies also offer free credit monitoring services to affected individuals for a year or two.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Pentagon launched secret digital strike on Iranian spy group: report

        U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike Thursday night against an Iranian spy group responsible for last week’s bombings of two oil tankers, Yahoo News reported, citing two former intelligence officials.

      • Open Source Investigators Set Their Sights on Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen [iophk: "open source intelligence"]

        In Yemen, both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels have been accused of violating international law by targeting civilians. Thousands of civilians have been killed since war broke out in the country in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition, which is mainly supplied by the United States and the United Kingdom, has been accused of responsibility for the majority of those deaths.

    • Report: US Planning “Massive” Airstrike On An Iranian Facility

      According to a new article from English-language Israeli publication The Jerusalem Post, the Hebrew-language Israeli publication Maariv has reported that diplomatic sources in the UN are assessing a US plan to conduct a “massive” airstrike on “an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program” in response to alleged attacks on two sea vessels in the Gulf of Oman. “The sources added that President Trump himself was not enthusiastic about a military move against Iran, but lost his patience on the matter and would grant Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is pushing for action, what he wants,” The Jerusalem Post reports.

    • Gulf of Oman: International Context

      It is now clear that the US has manufactured a false case against Iran for the two-tanker sabotage incident in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June. Evidence of Iranian guilt so far offered by the US is flimsy and contestable: but Mike Pompeo does not seem to care, continuing to press for alliance solidarity no matter what. Of this solidarity there has been remarkably little, even five days later. The general refrain of ‘we would like to see more of the evidence’ is polite dipspeak for ‘we think you are lying’. Trump has reluctantly backed the false US story, but with evident lack of enthusiasm. He would no doubt like to sack his irresponsible lieutenants Pompeo and Bolton, but they currently seem invulnerable, with the power of the military-industrial –national security Deep State at their backs. Trump, a helpless passenger President, will have little room to move towards detente with Xi or Putin at Kyoto G20 (28-29 June). Both leaders have pretty much written the US off as a serious negotiating partner for now.

    • As Trump Claims Power to Bomb Iran at Whim, Anti-War Voices Say: ‘Where Is Congress?’ and ‘Peace Begins With Us’

      In response to Trump’s behavior, progressive Democrats running for president were among those denouncing the fact that he had come within just minutes of ordering a strike that would have sparked untold death and damage. “A war with Iran would be a disaster and lead to endless conflict in the region,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, on Friday morning. “Congress must assert its constitutional authority and stop Trump from going to war.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also running for president, tweeted: “Donald Trump promised to bring our troops home. Instead he has pulled out of a deal that was working and instigated another unnecessary conflict. There is no justification for further escalating this crisis—we need to step back from the brink of war.”

    • Here’s What Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Wants Him to do About Iran

      President Donald Trump is getting divergent views from the trusted members of his Fox News cabinet about how to respond to rising tensions between the United States and Iran — but almost all of them support some sort of military strike on Iranian targets. In recent months, an escalating pattern of tit-for-tat maneuvers has drawn the two nations closer to direct military confrontation. On Thursday night, in response to what the U.S. says was Iran downing an unmanned American surveillance drone in international waters, Trump reportedly ordered a retaliatory military strike on Iranian targets. He then reversed his decision while the operation was underway. Several senior administration officials, including national security adviser and former Fox News contributor John Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk, reportedly favored a military response. But top Pentagon officials (echoing many external national security experts) reportedly warned that even a limited U.S. military strike could trigger an Iranian escalation, leading to a wider conflagration that might spiral out of control. This reported divide among the president’s official advisers is being mirrored in the advice he is receiving through his television set. Fox’s hosts and guests are an important source of information for Trump, who watches hours of coverage each day and often tweets about segments that catch his eye, and their opinions can shape his worldview and actions.

    • After Approving Strike on Iran Backed by Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel, Trump Reportedly Called Off Attack at Last Minute

      That’s according to the New York Times, which reported that as late as 7 pm Thursday, “military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders.” “The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off,” the Times reported. “Planes were in the air and ships were in position.” Iranian officials told Reuters Friday that Tehran received a message from Trump “through Oman overnight warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent.” Citing anonymous senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the plan to attack Iran, the Times reported that it is “not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.”

    • ‘War Is Hell’: As Survivor of Conflict, Rep. Ilhan Omar Makes Impassioned Case Against US Attack on Iran

      “Mr. President, as a survivor of war, I want to tell you: going to war does not make you strong. It makes you weak,” Omar wrote in a series of tweets. “Sending teenagers to die, or return with lifelong wounds seen and unseen, does not make you a bigger person. It makes you smaller. Risking a regional or even global armed conflict does not strengthen our country. It weakens us.” Omar was among a chorus of progressive voices denouncing the Trump administration’s march to war, but the Minnesota Democrat’s personal story as the first Somali refugee ever elected to Congress made her opposition to war with Iran uniquely compelling. “I have seen firsthand the effects of war. Even in the best of cases, it never has the outcome you expect,” Omar wrote. “War is death, displacement, and terror. War is hell.”

    • Back from Iran War Brink: Trump wants to Walk back Iran Crisis that He created with Severe US Sanctions

      The warmongers on Trump’s national security team apparently convinced him to set in motion an aerial strike against Iran Thursday in retaliation for the downing of a US drone over waters claimed by Iran. Then at the last minute, Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman at the NYT report, Trump seems to have listened to generals who warned him that things could spiral out of control, even into war. He issued a stand down order. At least for now. It isn’t even clear that there was a casus belli. On domestic issues, the US press is locked into an one the one hand, on the other hand disastrous story-telling mode that has enormously benefited those pushing falsehoods such as that cigarettes don’t cause cancer or putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere does not cause global heating.

    • The Exceptionally American Historical Amnesia Behind Pompeo’s Claim of ‘40 Years of Unprovoked Iranian Aggression’

      Someone attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. The Trump administration wants the world to believe that Iran is the culprit. Yet there is no serious evidence that Tehran was behind the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese ships. Not only is there no proof of Iranian involvement, such an attack by Iran makes no sense at all. Japan and Iran are friends. Just last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who was visiting Tehran during the tanker incident — affirmed this friendship in the presence of Donald Trump during the US president’s recent state visit to Japan. Most importantly of all, the crew and owner of the Japanese tanker attacked in the gulf vehemently reject the US claim that the vessel was damaged by a mine, asserting instead that a “flying object” struck the ship. Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for what he called a “blatant assault” on the tankers. Pompeo also said that the attacks “should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression” against the US and other “freedom-loving nations” by Iran. There is no such history. Iran hasn’t started a war since the mid-19th century, when it was still the Persian Empire. The true context which must be understood is one of a century of US and Western exploitation of Iranian people and resources, and decades of US threats and aggression against Iran that once reportedly included a plan to stage a false flag attack very similar to last week’s tanker incident.

    • As Trump Says “You’ll Soon Find Out” About Attack on Iran, Congress Urged to Act Immediately to Avert War

      “Congress needs to grill the administration about how retaliatory strikes could spiral into lethal war,” Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, said in a statement. “As importantly, Congress needs to bar the door to war and make clear that there is no authorization for any military strikes against Iran.” “Donald Trump and [national security adviser] John Bolton can’t be trusted in such a dangerous situation and they may need to be pushed kicking and screaming towards deescalation,” Rainwater added. “We need to return to diplomacy to deescalate the situation and address the substantive issues behind this conflict. Many of us predicted that walking away from the Iran deal would lead us to the brink of war. The window for averting war is closing but it’s not too late to step back and pursue a more sober path.” Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, echoed Rainwater, saying in a statement that “Congress needs to step in and make clear that Trump does not have authorization to start a new war.” “There is still time for Trump to defuse tensions with Iran and put to rest this manufactured crisis,” Abdi said. “Rather than opt for the military options that Bolton will undoubtedly propose, Trump should seek out third party mediators who can help deescalate and bring the U.S. and Iran back to the negotiating table.” The anti-war groups’ warnings came after Trump told reporters in front of the White House that they will learn shortly whether he plans to launch a military strike against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone. Iran said the drone violated its airspace.

    • Iran Had the Legal Right to Shoot Down US Spy Drone

      The New York Times is reporting that on June 20, President Trump ordered military strikes against Iran to retaliate for its shootdown of a U.S. drone, but then pulled back and didn’t launch them. Officials told the Times that Trump had approved attacks on Iranian radar and missile batteries. Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.” Nevertheless, shortly after midnight on June 21, Newsweek reported that regional U.S. military assets have been put on 72-hour standby. On June 19, an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone. The White House claimed that its drone was at least 20 miles from Iran, in international airspace, while Iran maintains the drone was in Iranian airspace. Iran presented GPS coordinates showing the drone eight miles from Iran’s coast, which is inside the area of 12 nautical miles that is considered Iran’s territorial waters under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Iran has the legal right to control its own airspace. The United States has no lawful claim of self-defense that would justify a military attack on Iran.

    • Accusing US of ‘Intrusion’ Into National Airspace, Iran Shoots Down American ‘Spy’ Drone

      “There was no drone over Iranian territory,” Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, told The Associated Press. U.S. military officials claimed the drone was operating in international airspace when it was shot down, Gizmodo reported. The incident comes amid dangerous military tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as the Trump administration attempts—on the basis of flimsy evidence—to blame the Iranians for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. European nations have expressed skepticism about the U.S. narrative, as has the Japanese operator of one of the damaged tankers. As Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration is paving the way behind the scenes to launch an attack on Iran without congressional approval, sparking alarm and opposition from progressive lawmakers. Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, chief commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the “downing of the American drone was a clear message to America.” “Our borders are Iran’s red line and we will react strongly against any aggression,” Salami said. “Iran is not seeking war with any country, but we are fully prepared to defend Iran.”

    • U.S. Prepped for Iran Strike Before Calling It Off

      The United States made preparations for a military strike against Iran on Thursday night in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but the operation was abruptly called off with just hours to go, a U.S. official said. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.

    • Donald Trump Owns This Iran Crisis

      The warmongers on Donald Trump’s national security team apparently convinced him to set in motion an aerial strike against Iran on Thursday in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone over waters claimed by Iran. Then, at the last minute—according to reporting by Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times—Trump seems to have listened to generals who warned him that things could spiral out of control, even into war. He issued a stand-down order. At least for now. It isn’t even clear that there was a casus belli. On domestic issues, the U.S. press is locked into an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand, disastrous, story-telling mode that has enormously benefited those pushing falsehoods, such as that cigarettes don’t cause cancer or putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere does not cause global heating.

    • House Democrats Repeal 9/11 Authority for Forever Wars

      Three weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a law that gave the president the authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against “nations, organizations, or persons,” involved in the 9/11 attacks. The AUMF helped launch the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Wednesday, 18 years after it was passed, House Democrats passed an appropriations bill that includes a provision that would repeal the AUMF, HuffPost reports. Reporters Matt Fuller and Amanda Terkel note that three presidents have invoked the AUMF for more than three dozen military engagements in 14 countries. While some House members, notably Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., oppose the bill, it took a Democratic majority in the House and the possibility of the Trump administration using it as a justification for war with Iran for the repeal vote to succeed. The administration has launched attempts to demonstrate links between Iran and al-Qaida. As Charlie Savage writes in The New York Times, “In public remarks and classified briefings, Trump administration officials keep emphasizing purported ties between Iran and [al-Qaida].” They’ve done so “despite evidence showing their ties aren’t strong at all. In fact, even [al-Qaida’s] own documents detail the weak connection between the two,” Vox’s Alex Ward reports.

    • Iran Shoots Down U.S. Surveillance Drone, Heightening Tensions

      Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, marking the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million. Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the U.S. called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!”

    • War Begets War . . . And Nothing Else

      Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran . . . Thanks, John McCain! Let’s mix a little humor in with war. It’s so much easier to take when we do. By the way, have you noticed that we’re always on the verge of war? “The bombing will be massive, but will be limited to a specific target.” So said a U.N. diplomat recently, according to the Jerusalem Post. Guess which country he was referring to. An act of war is how we “send messages.” So the Trump hawks (this term may or may not include Donald himself) are thinking — if the paper’s sources have any credibility — of bombing an Iranian nuclear facility as an act of punishment because Iran “has announced that it intends to deviate from the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 and to enrich uranium at a higher level than the maximum it has committed to within the framework of the nuclear deal.” This is all hush-hush, of course. War has to be planned in secret. The public’s role is definitely not to be part of the debate in the lead-up process or to question the facts that justify taking action. Its role is to cheer loudly when the hostilities begin, fervently hating the specified enemy and embracing the new war as a necessary, last-resort action to protect all that we hold dear. Its role is definitely not to question war itself or to bring up the inevitability of unintended consequences, whether that be the death of babies or the poisoning of the environment. Its role is not to suggest that creating peace is essentially the opposite of waging war, or to cry out: “War-making must be renounced. It is past time for the paradigm shift. We have one planet and we must see ourselves as one and we must take a stand.” These are the words of Dud Hendrick of Veterans for Peace, and I pause here and let the words settle — in all their complexity — into the collective consciousness.

    • Iran ‘Violates’ Nuclear Deal, After US ‘Withdraws’

      Quick question: Does the US ever break, breach or violate its international agreements? Apparently not, according to US coverage of Iran’s recent announcement that it intended to go beyond the limits of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in enriching uranium for its civilian nuclear program (frequently mischaracterized as a nuclear weapons program in media coverage). Reading corporate media’s inversion of reality, it’s hard to escape the impression that while Iran betrays its international agreements, the US just leaves them behind. An Associated Press report carried by USA Today (6/17/19) was headlined: “Iran Says It Will Break Uranium Stockpile Limit in 10 Days,” and reported that Iran’s announcement indicated its “determination to break from the landmark 2015 accord,” while noting that “tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States,” partly because the US “unilaterally withdrew” from the landmark agreement. Note that the US rejection of its obligations under the deal is referred to in neutral terms—Washington “withdrew”—while Iran’s response to US nonobservance gets negatively characterized as a “break”—a pattern that persists throughout the coverage.

    • The Art of Shaping Memory

      How best to describe the recently completed allied commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France? Two words come immediately to mind: heartfelt and poignant. The aged D-Day veterans gathering for what was probably the last time richly deserved every bit of praise bestowed on them. Yet one particular refrain that has become commonplace in this age of Donald Trump was absent from the proceedings. I’m referring to “fake news.” In a curious collaboration, Trump and the media, their normal relationship one of mutual loathing, combined forces to falsify the history of World War II. Allow me to explain. In a stirring presentation, Donald Trump — amazingly — rose to the occasion and captured the spirit of the moment, one of gratitude, respect, even awe. Ever so briefly, the president sounded presidential. In place of his usual taunts and insults, he managed a fair imitation of Ronald Reagan’s legendary “Boys of Pointe Du Hoc” speech of 1984. “We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar,” Trump began — not exactly his standard introductory gambit. [...] If the purpose of Trump’s speech was to make his listeners feel good, he delivered. Yet in doing so, he also relieved them of any responsibility for thinking too deeply about the event being commemorated. Now, let me just say that I hold no brief for Josef Stalin or the Soviet Union, or Marxism-Leninism. Yet you don’t need to be an apologist for Communism to acknowledge that the Normandy invasion would never have succeeded had it not been for the efforts of Marshal Stalin’s Red Army. For three full years before the first wave of G.I.s splashed ashore at Omaha Beach, Russian troops had been waging a titanic struggle along a vast front in their own devastated land against the cream of the German military machine. One data point alone summarizes the critical nature of the Soviet contribution: in May 1944, there were some 160 German divisions tied up on the Eastern Front. That represented more than two-thirds of the armed might of the Third Reich, 160 combat divisions that were therefore unavailable for commitment against the Anglo-American forces desperately trying to establish a foothold in Normandy. As has been the custom for quite some time now the German chancellor, representing the defeated enemy, attended the D-Day anniversary festivities as an honored guest. Angela Merkel’s inclusion testifies to an admirable capacity to forgive without forgetting. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not, however, make the guest list. In liberal circles, Putin has, of course, made himself persona non grata. Yet excluding him obviated any need for Trump and other dignitaries in attendance to acknowledge, even indirectly, the Soviet role in winning World War II. Although the Red Army was never known for finesse or artfulness, it did kill an estimated four million of Merkel’s countrymen, who were thereby not on hand to have a go at killing Donald Trump’s countrymen. If war is ultimately about mayhem and murder, then the Soviet Union did more than any other belligerent to bring about the final victory against Nazi Germany. Without for a second slighting the courage and contributions of our Canadian, Polish, Norwegian, and Australian comrades — bless them all — it was the Red Army that kept General Dwight Eisenhower’s expeditionary command from being pushed back into the Channel. In other words, thank God for the godless communists. So, however heartfelt and poignant, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings was an exercise in selective remembering and convenient forgetting. It was, in other words, propaganda or, in contemporary parlance, fake news. The deception — for that’s what it was — did not escape the notice of Russian commentators. Yet members of the American media, otherwise ever alert to Trump’s sundry half-truths and outright deceptions, chose to ignore or more accurately endorse this whopper.

    • The Selling of the War on Iran

      But instead of ending on that note I’m going to bring up another event that directly relates to all of the above, and that is the tragedy of 9-11. Some have been conditioned to dismiss “conspiracy theories” and automatically switch off their cognitive functions but I’d encourage you to not hit that switch and read some of the links I’ve hyperlinked below. Over the past 18 years a great deal of new information has been gathered regarding 9-11 and where it points to is very chilling to say the least. The war that is about to be waged against Iran makes perfect sense if you bother to come up to speed regarding the latest evidence on 9-11. Take a few minutes and read the articles I’ve linked to. Make up your own mind. You will very quickly understand what’s been going on these past 18 years and why Iran is being targeted. Only through knowledge and dialogue can we bring about peace. Allowing ourselves to be manipulated is a recipe for war. Below is the conclusions I have reached. After you have read the articles I’ve linked to see if you agree with it or not. 9-11 was a Cheney-Bandar Bush-Netanyahu operation with Bin Laden as the patsy. The motivation was for the Project for Greater Israel, with “a request” for a “new Pearl Harbor” detailed in Project for a New American Century. With Libya, Syria, and Iraq destroyed now they are coming after Iran. Wake up people, before they get away with another tragic nightmare.

    • Trump Pulls Back from Iran Attack as Bolton & Pompeo Continue to Push for War

      After threatening to strike Iran in retaliation for shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone, President Trump reportedly approved, and then abruptly called off, military strikes. The move came after the operation was already underway in its initial stages, with warships and planes already being put into position. We go to Tehran to get response from Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran who was part of the nuclear deal negotiations in 2015. We also speak with CUNY professor and historian Ervand Abrahamian, author of several books about Iran. Whether or not Trump wants war with Iran doesn’t ultimately matter, says Abrahamian. “The long-term agenda in the White House” from Bolton, Pompeo and others is much more aggressive. “They want basically the destruction of the Islamic Republic.”

    • The US as Rogue Nation Number 1

      President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are saying that they have proof that Iran blew holes in two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, and so, we’re being told in a report in the Jerusalem Post and earlier in Newsweek magazine, they are considering, along with Pentagon brass, having the US launch an intense missile attack on Iran’s main uranium refining plant. There’s a lot of breathless, exciting reporting about this prospect in the US media, with some news organizations talking enthusiastically about the idea, and with others opposing it, but their opinions on the matter are in either event, based only upon the question of whether or not Iran can be proven to have been behind the attack on the tankers, or on whether or not Trump can launch such a war without advance Congressional approval. European countries’ leaders — with the exception of in Britain — are saying that there’s no solid evidence pointing to Iran. And many US news organizations appear to agree. So does Japan, whose flag one of the damaged ships flies and whose leader was in Iran meeting leaders there at the time of the alleged attacks (which seems rather unlikely as an Iranian strategy!). But none of them — critics or opponents of a US attack on Iran — are raising a more significant question: Does the US have any legal or even moral right to launch a war against Iran if Iran does not pose an “imminent threat” to the US, to US interests or to US allies whom it has an obligation to defend. The answer is a resounding “No!”

    • Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful

      The history of sanctions is grim, and it is generally acknowledged that they penalize ordinary people to an unjustifiable degree. It is difficult to forget the excruciating pronouncement by Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s Secretary of State, when she was ambassador to the UN and commented on their effects in Iraq in the 1990s, in the run-up to the US invasion. In a media interview her questioner said that in Iraq “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.” Her noxious statement was largely ignored by Western mainstream media which was being ramped up to support the invasion of 2003, by which time, the citizens of Iraq had been viciously punished by a bunch of foreign bigots who had reduced the country to a societal shambles. In his 2006 book ‘A Different Kind of War’ the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Hans Von Sponeck, wrote that “Communicable diseases in the 1980s not considered public health hazards, such as measles, polio, cholera, typhoid, marasmus and kwashiorkor, reappeared on epidemic scales.” The commentator Gilles d’Aymery warned that the book “is not for the faint-hearted reader. The wrenching suffering of the Iraqi people it recounts cannot be read without feeling ill to the point of nausea and experiencing a deep sense of anger and outrage, as well as immense sadness, by the unfathomable tragedy that befell this peaceful people — mere pawns sacrificed on the checkerboard of great gamesmanship between an authoritarian government fallen out of grace and the parochial interests of a few Western nations.” So one would think that the US Establishment might have realized the extent that sanctions inflict suffering on innocent people, and in one instance this was so, because President Obama began to relax sanctions on Cuba, whose people have been ferociously targeted by Washington’s Best and Brightest for almost sixty years. The anti-Cuba campaign began in 1959 when Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista, who was totally corrupt and supported by the US. Castro was regarded as an enemy, not because he was brutal, which he undoubtedly was, but because in 1960 he nationalized US-owned businesses, including casinos owned by Mafia mobsters. This sparked the April 1961 Bay of Pigs attack by CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles, authorized by President John F Kennedy. It took only three days for Castro’s forces to wipe out the would-be invaders, then, as the BBC records, “The CIA began to make plans to assassinate Castro as part of Operation Mongoose. At least five plans to kill the Cuban leader were drawn up between 1961 and 1963.” And to complement this righteous crusade, in 1962 Kennedy ordered sanctions prohibiting all trade and communication with Cuba.

    • Japanese and German Doubts on U.S. Drumbeat Towards Iran War

      Japan since 1945 has been the most abjectly deferential of U.S., even more so than the U.K. Tokyo rarely strays far from Washington’s line on any global issue. It notoriously supported the Iraq wars if 1991 and 2003-present, both based on lies. Japan’s loyalty, like Britain’s is strategic; while all alliances with the U.S. are promoted as based on “common values” they are mainly based on capital and global capitalists’ needs. Both the U.K. and Japan are for the time being part of the U.S. imperialist camp, under strong pressure to side with it when it decides to provoke war. When George W. Bush turned to Tony Blair’s Britain and asked for support for a war on Iraq, Blair became Bush’s poodle. The slavish cooperation with the U.S. in that disastrous, criminal war remains a matter of national shame. Germany and France avoided that by noting that the U.S.’s case was weak if not based on fabrications. They showed it is possible for major allies to defy the U.S., (although recall how enraged members of Congress were at France’s betrayal). Last week two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman and the U.S. immediately blamed Iran. Almost immediately British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt declared: “We are going to make our own independent assessment, we have our processes to do that, (but) we have no reason not to believe the American assessment and our instinct is to believe it because they are our closest ally.” The German foreign minister Heiko Maas on the other hand, responding to U.S. “evidence,” stated blandly, “The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me.” Maas visited Tehran last week to try to mediate between the U.S. (which wants conflict with Iran) and Iran (which wants to avoid conflict).

    • America’s Respectable War Criminals

      A Boston Globe story highlights Wellesley College alumnae Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton’s return to the College for their 60th and 50th respective reunions. The story states that “their early days at Wellesley College were marked by uncertainty and feeling out of place.” But they “overcame their trepidation and went on to illustrious careers including serving as the country’s top foreign diplomat under different presidents.” Wellesley College president Paula A. Johnson asked them questions for over an hour, with the audience giving “Albright and Clinton an enthusiastic reception, including three standing ovations.” What created the enthusiastic response? Albright and Clinton “urged the audience to speak up and take action to protect democracy from the threat of fascism under President Trump.” (“At Wellesley, Madeleine and Hillary Clinton encourage protest, political action.,” By Laura Crimaldi, June 9, 2019) “Speak up and take action to protect democracy.” Okay. The country certainly needs to be protected from “the threat of fascism under President Trump.” But such honoring of Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton’s “illustrious careers” is quite a commentary on The Boston Globe and Wellesley College and the selective morality of many Americans. Trump can serve to distract attention from war crimes committed by other, respectable, U.S. political leaders, among them Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. Consider Madeleine Albright. The U.N. imposed draconian sanctions on Iraq, pushed by the U.S. and Britain after it invaded Kuwait. Before that, in 1989 Iraq was reported to have “one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, as well as universal, free healthcare and education.” (“Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq,” johnpilger.com, 1-15-05) Iraq’s remarkable health was due to President Saddam Hussein nationalizing the country’s vast oil resources, and investing certain of its revenue in the Iraqi people. This policy did not set well with Western oil corporations, which saw Iraq’s bountiful oil reserves as a gold mine to be controlled and tapped.

    • Wake Up, Damn it!

      I see great cities like Homs in Syria, reduced to horrifying ruins. I see Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan, fragmented by enormous concrete walls intended to protect NATO occupation armies and their local puppets. I see monstrous environmental devastation in places such as Indonesian Borneo, Peruvian gold mining towns, or the by now almost uninhabitable atoll island-nations of Oceania: Tuvalu, Kiribati or Marshall Islands. I see slums, a lack of sanitation and clean drinking water, where the boots of Western empires have been smashing local cultures, enslaving people and looting natural resources. I work on all the continents. I never stop, even when exhaustion tries to smash me against the wall, even when there are hardly any reserves left. I cannot stop; I have no right to stop, because I can finally see the pattern; the way this world operates, the way the West has been managing to usurp it, indoctrinate, and enslave most of the countries of the world. I combine my knowledge, and publish it as a ‘warning to the world’. I write books about this ‘pattern’. My most complete, so far, being the 1,000 pages long Exposing Lies of The Empire. Then, I see the West itself. I come to ‘speak’, to Canada and the United States, as well as Europe. Once in a while I am invited to address Australian audiences, too. The West is so outrageously rich, compared to the ruined and plundered continents, that it often appears that it does not belong to the Planet Earth.

    • “Enlisted at 17”: Legend, Trope, or War Story?

      The idea that America sends its kids off to war caught my attention twenty years ago while working on a book. Then, it was common to hear or read that “the average of our soldiers in Vietnam was 18.” That never sounded right to me because one had to be 18 to be drafted and was not subject to call-up for six months. Allowing for some time lag between that date, draft-board proceedings, induction, basic training, leave time, and shipment to Vietnam, most of the youngest arrivals in Vietnam would have been 19 or older. Many draftees, like me, had years of deferment for college and teaching before induction. I was nearly 25 before being reclassified 1A for the draft and turned 26 while in Vietnam in 1969. More soldiers in Vietnam, officers, career NCOs, and Guard and Reservists among them, were still older—too old and too numerous for the average age of those serving in that war to be 18. And seventeen? A November 10, 1965 New York Times story headlined “Vietnam Duty at 17 Barred” reported that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the day before, had ordered military services to stop sending 17-year-olds to Vietnam and pull out those who were there.

    • The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?

      On April 7, 2018, a chlorine chemical attack reportedly left 43 people dead in Douma, a city of over 100,000 people in the Ghouta region to the east of Damascus. I use the word reportedly since Assad and Putin both denied a day later that anybody had died. Propaganda networks for the two leaders called the grizzly video evidence for such an attack as a carefully staged performance akin to how some conspiracy theorists describe the Apollo moon landing. Among the outlets arguing for a “false flag” incident was One America News Network, an ardently pro-Trump cable news station that was granted a permanent seat in the White House’s news briefing room and whose White House Correspondent, Trey Yingst, was one of the top five most called upon reporters covering the Trump Administration. Not to be outdone, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson opined: “All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don’t really know that. They’re making it up. They have no real idea what happened.” Was this false flag supposed to provoke a “humanitarian intervention”? Consider what happened after Khan Shaykhoun was subjected to a sarin gas attack just about a year earlier. Donald Trump ordered the navy to fire Cruise missiles at Shayrat air force base in Syria but only after alerting the Russians about the impending attack. The runway was not damaged—something that was never even part of the plans—and jets and helicopters took off a few hours afterward. According to Wikipedia, even the Russian defense ministry said that the “combat effectiveness” of the attack was “extremely low” and that only 23 missiles out of 59 fired hit the base, destroying six aircraft. It did not know where the other 36 landed. Russian television news, citing a Syrian source at the airfield, said that nine planes were destroyed by the strike but that they were inoperative at the time. This time Trump did not even bother with a slap on the wrist over the Douma attack. In July 2017, Trump had cut off aid to Syrian rebels entirely. He also ordered a freeze on funding to the White Helmets, the first responder group that Vanessa Beeley and Max Blumenthal regard as part of a Salafist terror network. So, any concerns about a false flag incident triggering a major regime change operation in Syria could only be raised by people who are not persuaded by facts or logic. On March 1, 2019, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued a report that concluded that a chlorine gas attack did take place but, as is customary in its investigations, did not place blame. Since it found evidence that two weaponized chlorine tanks penetrated a building from above, one might surmise that the regime was to blame, especially since it had been using chlorine bombs repeatedly in the past two years. Likely, the goal was not to kill people but to terrorize them. Chlorine gas can make you very sick in open spaces but generally will not kill you. It was the misfortune of the 43 people in a Douma tenement to be on the lower floors on April 7, 2018. They were trying to avoid conventional bombs, not a gas attack. When one of the tanks was detonated in a rooftop terrace, the chlorine gas seeped to the lower floors with a devastating effect. (Unlike most gases, chlorine is heavier than air and travels downward.)

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

      • Survey sees biggest US honeybee winter die-off yet

        Winter hit U.S. honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet, an annual survey of beekeepers showed.

      • ‘Governments and Corporations Were Figuring Out a Way to Behave With Impunity When It Comes to Oil’ – CounterSpin interview with Sandy Cioffi on oil in Nigeria

        Janine Jackson: A recent report in the Guardian, based on internal documents from the Mobil Foundation—the philanthropic arm of Mobil Oil Company—shows how the foundation named a certain Dr. David Page in its decision to fund a marine research lab at Bowdoin College, writing that it could “assure rapid response to any possible Mobil spill events.” Five years later, after a Mobil “spill event” in Nigeria, Dr. David Page was being quoted in the New York Times—identified as a professor and “American oil spill expert.”

      • What the ‘Fossil Fuel Economy Looks Like’: Demands for Climate Justice After Explosion Rocks Philly Oil Refinery

        The flames erupted at roughly 4am at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’s (PES) refinery complex, which triggered a temporary shelter-in-place order. Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy, speaking to the press at about 7am, said that a vat of butane had caught fire, though the company later said that it was “mostly propane,” that was burning. “PES said there were three separate explosions that ‘impacted’ a unit that produces alkylate, which is used to boost gasoline octane,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Four workers suffered mild injured and were treated on site, the company added. “The refinery processes approximately 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day (42 U.S. gallons per barrel), making it the largest oil refining complex on the U.S. Eastern seaboard,” the company website states, adding that the facility “strives to be a good neighbor in our surrounding community.” It is also “the largest single source of particulate pollution in the Philadelphia area even when there isn’t an emergency,” NBC10 reported.

      • Trump’s Plan to Save Coal Country Will Actually Hurt It

        The Trump administration has replaced President Obama’s signature climate effort with new rules for power plants that are widely seen as a lifeboat for the nation’s struggling coal industry. Environmentalists have promised to challenge the rollback in court, arguing that Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist President Trump installed at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is ignoring the growing climate crisis along with the deadly health impacts of burning coal for electricity. Analysts are already debating whether President Trump’s replacement will be enough to rescue the coal industry, because market forces and the public’s desire for cleaner energy are already pushing the energy sector away from coal at a rapid pace. Coal continues to be the largest source of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector. Thanks to the controversial fracking boom, coal is already struggling to compete with a glut of cheap natural gas — which the Trump administration has fully embraced, along with domestic oil. Renewable energy technology continues to improve and become more affordable nationwide, and with climate crisis looming, many observers see renewables as the future of energy. This explains why environmentalists and energy industry analysts — not to mention most Democratic presidential hopefuls — say Trump’s attempt to extend the life of the coal power industry with regulatory maneuvers is not only bad for the environment and public health, but also bad for workers and the economy. Trump has built a strong following in coal country, but his policies could actually hurt the same workers he claims to be helping. “Sadly, the Trump administration’s futile and cynical attempt to prop up the coal industry — instead of pushing for renewable energy investments in coal country — will hit coal miners and their families the hardest,” said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook, in an email. Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a nonpartisan group of clean tech business leaders, estimated last year that the Clean Power Plan could create 560,000 jobs and add $52 billion to the gross domestic product by 2030 while developing alternatives to coal. Trump’s policy, on the other hand, is largely aimed at keeping existing jobs in place. The health and climate benefits of the Clean Power Plan alone were projected to reach $55 billion to $93 billion by 2030, according to the Obama EPA. This dwarfs the annual “net benefit” of $120 million to $730 million projected for Trump and Wheeler’s replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE).

      • The Dangerous Methane Mystery

        The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (“ESAS”) is the epicenter of a methane-rich zone that could turn the world upside down. Still, the ESAS is not on the radar of mainstream science, and not included in calculations by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and generally not well understood. It is one of the biggest mysteries of the world’s climate puzzle, and it is highly controversial, which creates an enhanced level of uncertainty and casts shadows of doubt. The ESAS is the most extensive continental shelf in the world, inclusive of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, and the Russian portion of the Chukchi Sea, all-in equivalent to the combined landmasses of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan. The region hosts massive quantities of methane (“CH4”) in frozen subsea permafrost in extremely shallow waters, enough CH4 to transform the “global warming” cycle into a “life-ending” cycle. As absurd as it sounds, it is not inconceivable. Ongoing research to unravel the ESAS mystery is found in very few studies, almost none, except by Natalia Shakhova (International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks) a leading authority, for example: “It has been suggested that destabilization of shelf Arctic hydrates could lead to large-scale enhancement of aqueous CH4, but this process was hypothesized to be negligible on a decadal–century time scale. Consequently, the continental shelf of the Arctic Ocean (AO) has not been considered as a possible source of CH4 to the atmosphere until very recently.” (Source: Natalia Shakhova, et al, Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, Geosciences, 2019) Shakhova’s “until very recently” comment explains, in part, why the IPCC does not include ESAS methane destabilization in its calculations. Meanwhile, Shakhova’s research has unearthed a monster in hiding, but thankfully, mostly in repose… for the moment. Still, early-stage warning signals are clearly noticeable; ESAS is rumbling, increasingly emitting more and more CH4, possibly in anticipation of a “Big Burp,” which could put the world’s lights out, hopefully in another century, or beyond, but based upon a reading of her latest report in Geosciences, don’t count on it taking so long.

    • Finance

    • Chip stocks fall after Commerce Dept bars 5 more Chinese companies from buying US parts
    • The Paywall Conundrum: Even Those Who Like Paying For News Don’t Pay For Much News

      For years, we’ve tended to mock newspaper paywalls — not because we don’t want to see news publishers get paid (that would actually be good!), but because it just doesn’t seem like a really sustainable way to build a news product for nearly every publication. In other words, nearly all media paywalls are destined to fail — often spectacularly — because they can’t generate nearly enough paying subscribers. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. Large general interest news sites like the NY Times and the Washington Post seem to have made it work. Small, narrowly focused sites can sometimes get by as well — if their content is unique and special enough. But most general interest news sites are unlikely to be able to make it work — and a new study drives home that point. Even for people who like paying for news, they tend to only pay for one news subscription. Really.

    • Have you heard about Silicon Valley’s unpaid research and development department? It’s called the EU.

      Today, the EU acts like an unpaid research and development department for Silicon Valley. We fund startups, which, if they’re successful, get sold to companies in Silicon Valley. If they fail, the European taxpayer foots the bill. This is madness.

    • Walmart Got a $2.2 Billion Tax Cut. Now It’s Laying Off Workers

      Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth. The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report. Layoffs are expected to begin in September and continue into 2020. “This was a difficult decision that affects friends and associates we care about deeply,” the company said in a statement to the Charlotte Business Journal. “We appreciate their important contributions, and we’re committed to handling every transition over the next seven months smoothly and respectfully. We are maintaining a corporate presence in Charlotte. As our company continues evolving, we’ve said we must strike the right balance between managing the needs of our business, our associates and our customers.” The layoffs come as Walmart reaps billions in tax cuts thanks to the 2017 Republican tax cuts. Walmart saved $1.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2018, The New York Times reported in December, and experts say the tax law will save the company $2.2 billion in taxes per year, roughly a 40 percent cut from past years.

    • Trump Administration Wants to Redefine the Poverty Line, Shrinking Public Aid

      In early May, the Office of Management and Budget announced that it was seeking public comments on a proposal to change how inflation and the consumer price index are calculated, and, by extension, how poverty rates in the United States are estimated. The federal poverty line measure was developed in the early 1960s by a Social Security Administration economist named Mollie Orshansky. It has gone through numerous tweaks over the 56 years since then, but the basic premise has always held: it is calculated assuming particular spending patterns on goods, ranging from food to housing to fuel to clothing, that a family needs to purchase to have even a modicum of economic security. The poverty line is modified depending on the size of the family. In the U.S., the line isn’t varied by geographic region, but it is updated yearly based on changes in the Consumer Price Index — basically, the rate of inflation. So ingrained is the poverty measure in our discussion of politics, of inequality, of economic vibrancy, that we have, over the decades, come to think of the statistic as something absolute; when we say that 12.3 percent of Americans, or nearly 40 million people, currently live below the poverty line, we assume that means something incontrovertible; that 40 million of us are poor and the rest of us aren’t. But of course, in reality, there’s no such absolute divide. Poverty measures are inherently impressionistic, based on a series of assumptions about how people spend their money and what constitutes basic need, and, as importantly, how they substitute one good for another when there are selective price spikes affecting certain goods and services. There are economists who spend their entire careers crafting their own estimates of how consumers behave as these prices subtly shift. But amid the din of competing data, one thing stands out: Experts on poverty, from organizations as diverse as the Center for American Progress to the National Academy of Sciences believe that the measure is actually far too conservative. They say the “basic needs” that the poverty line considers are outdated — not fully factoring in things such as recent increases in the costs of housing and medical care, or the importance of access to technologies such as the internet and cell phones in the modern era. As a result, they say, the real poverty rate in America is actually considerably higher than the official numbers suggest. Now, however, the Trump administration looks set to head off in the exact opposite direction. It has come up with a proposal to measure inflation by a “chained consumer price index,” which will most likely take millions of people who were previously considered by the government to be living in poverty, and declare that suddenly, magically, they are no longer poor.

    • Facebook co-founder: Libra coin would shift power into the wrong hands

      Regulators should not underestimate the digital currency’s disruptive potential

    • Facebook Co-Founder Says Libra Project Will Have A ‘Frightening’ Impact

      Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, thinks that the newly unveiled cryptocurrency Libra will have a “frightening” impact on the economy — by shifting power from central banks to corporations. Earlier this week, Facebook unveiled its global digital coin, which will be managed by the Libra Association and circulated through a wallet named Calibra.

    • There Is No Green Revolution Without Tax Justice

      The “green wave” recorded during the European elections on 26 May should give Europe momentum. It is now time we oppose our determination to build a social, democratic and ecological Europe, against the withdrawal desires of nationalists and Eurosceptics, or the temptations of the status quo offered by Conservatives and Liberals. The strong mobilisation of young people for the climate gives me particular hope for the future. In France and Germany, the Greens were the highest-ranked party among the 18-34 demographic in this election. And though high school students cannot yet vote, they are already expressing their willingness to defend their future on the streets during the climate marches. As my mandate as a European MP ends after ten years of fighting, I want to tell these young mobilised people that it is up to them to take up the torch. I also want to convince them that for a greener Europe, we need more tax justice.

    • Thus Spoke the Bond Market

      The titles of a few recent articles give some idea about what has been going on in the bond market lately: “The Bond Market Is Giving Ominous Warnings about the Global Economy” (Irwin 2019), “History Tells Us Why the Fed Should Take the Inverted Yield Curve Seriously” (Coppola 2019), “Donald Trump’s Beautiful Economy is Now on Full Recession Alert” (Evans-Pritchard 2019), and “Investors Could Tip the US Economy against Themselves: There’s Risk for a Self-fulfilling Cycle of Market Instability and Economic Disruptions” (El-Erian 2019). It is likely that Friday, 31 May 2019 will be considered to be one of the milestones of the ongoing global financial crisis that started in the summer of 2007. It is because, in a sequence of two tweets on Twitter, President of the United States (US) Donald Trump declared that 5% tariffs would be imposed on all goods coming into the US from Mexico, until the time the inflow of illegal Mexican migrants stopped. This, as the ongoing US–China trade war that started early in 2018 had already escalated in May 2019. On the same day, although there was no mention of the “r-word,” JP Morgan economist Michael Feroli said that he expected the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), to lower key lending rates two times later this year: one quarter-point cut in September, followed by another quarter-point cut in December. And on the same day, citing the same expectation because of growing risks to the economy from trade tensions, JP Morgan analysts revised down their year-end targets on 2-year Treasury yields to 1.40% from 2.25% and on 10-year Treasury yields to 1.75% from 2.45%. On Sunday, 2 June 2019, President Trump summarised the current state of the trade war in a sequence of three tweets. Also, on 2 June 2019, Morgan Stanley released a research note in which its chief economist Chetan Ahya argued that a recession could begin in nine months if President Trump pushes to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese exports and China retaliates with its own counter-measures. He wrote: “With the latest developments suggesting that trade escalation is still in play, the impact of trade tensions on the global cycle should not be underestimated.” Recall that only three months ago (Öncü 2019), while many had been admitting the possibility of a global slowdown, there had been a near consensus that a global recession was nowhere near the horizon. So the Morgan Stanley research note was a major change of mind by a major global financial player.

    • What the US Women’s Soccer Team Wants

      The Women’s World Cup is now underway. Taking place in France, the tournament features 24 of the best women’s national teams throughout the world. It’s also a stage for widespread gender discrimination. Prior to the tournament, the distribution of tickets was absolutely botched by the infamously incompetent folks at FIFA. And here in the United States, a lawsuit by our women’s national team marked the run-up to the tournament. That lawsuit, filed by 28 players and the union that represents them, alleges widespread discrimination against women players by the United States Soccer Federation, even after a recently ratified collective bargaining agreement. Players say they’re consistently denied equal pay, promotion, and playing and travel conditions compared to the men’s team. Their suit comes on the heels of a 2016 complaint by five members of the women’s team — Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Alex Morgan — with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which detailed similar complaints. Elsewhere, the reigning World Female Player of the Year, Ada Hegerberg of Norway, elected not to play for her national team in this World Cup because of mistreatment by the Norwegian Football Federation that left her mentally broken and depressed. That’s even after Norway became the first country to pay men and women players the same amount. [...] Women are still only paid around 81 percent of what men make for comparable work. And a lack of access to parental leave, reproductive health care, and affordable child care puts them at a further disadvantage. The members of the women’s national team are lucky enough to be a part of a union. Studies show that unionization helps narrow the gender gap by giving workers more leverage against discrimination and other abuse. The U.S. women’s team is fighting the same battle as millions of workers. The rest of us should support their lawsuit, their union, and others like it across the country.

    • The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?

      President Trump is a villain, almost cartoonish in his malignance. He’s a heel. He might as well be tying kidnapped maidens to train tracks and twirling his wispy mustache. He’s the antagonist whose death later in the movie you hope will be epic, horrifically brutal, and deeply satisfying. And, so, we carry over our emotional responses to this Oval Office carbuncle into our politics. We root against Trump because we want to see him burn. We expect his policies to be failures because they’re concocted by oily ghouls in expensive suits who often have little understanding of anything beyond their own enrichment. And yet, as political observers, we must also confront the unsettling truth that sometimes Trump’s tactics can be successful. Indeed, in some ways he has rewritten what success can look like for a US president. Rather than being measured in stability and capable stewardship of the US Empire in service to the ruling class, Trump has used confrontation and destabilization on the global stage to enrich those sectors of capital that rely on him for survival – Big Oil being the prime example – while charting a path toward the prize he lusts after above all others: recognition as a legitimate and successful president. And this confrontational, and perhaps somewhat successful, approach is best exemplified by his trade war with China. [...] Some might argue that the trade war is equally impacting the US, and that Trump will pay a political price for doing so. And, indeed, that seems to make sense on its face. Recent figures released by the US Department of Labor show signs that the US economy is also taking a hit with payroll increases missing forecast targets and wages remaining stagnant despite historically low unemployment figures, including real unemployment which stands at 7.1% (lowest since December 2000). But the trade war with China is not about these minor skirmishes, it’s a siege. Trump thinks he can outlast the Chinese, force them to blink, and translate that into political currency. He might not be wrong. As US companies begin to feel the true impacts of the tariffs, their response could be a bad sign for Beijing. In May, a NY Times op-ed cited Kelly A. Kramer, chief financial officer for telecom equipment giant Cisco, as telling investors that the company had “greatly, greatly reduced” its exposure to China. Similarly, the President and CEO of a large electronics supplier for outdoor equipment indicated that the increase to 25% tariffs has forced him to look at Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea for potential replacement suppliers. “I was thinking this is a short-term issue that will go away…[but] I don’t think you can rationally think that any more [sic],” he explained. Trump may be correctly relying on the fact that the US economy can withstand whatever pain China can dish out longer than China’s economy can withstand Trump’s policies. Call it the Deer Hunter approach to global economic hegemony.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce

        But what, then, explains Labour governments also falling in line with US foreign policy? In the case of Tony Blair, it was simply a matter of him being a right-wing infiltrator who hijacked the Labour Party to serve the same interests represented by the Conservative Party. But for previous Labour leaders, the answer to this question is a bit more complex. As both the sole remaining superpower and the largest economy in the world, the US has had huge economic as well as political influence over Europe since the end of the Second World War. The US’s huge import market has given it immense buying power that exerts enormous economic pressure on European exporters. They need their governments to be on friendly terms with the US government, which largely acts as the political wing of corporations and financial capital, in order to maintain access to the huge North American market. Furthermore, European governments have been subservient to Washington via its preferred international organizations, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 1976, for instance, the Labour government of James Callaghan was offered a loan from the IMF on the condition of enacting austerity measures. In spite of fierce opposition from the labor movement his party was founded to represent, he followed IMF dictates. (Ironically, this was the direct cause of the “Winter of Discontent” of the late 1970s – not, as is often falsely claimed, his initial (mildly) left-wing policies.) Washington has used this imbalanced economic relationship to demand obedience to its foreign policy. And European government have, for the most part, been too scared to ever test whether or not Washington is bluffing. In short, successive UK governments have seen themselves as having two options vis-a-vis relations with the US – either to kowtow to Washington and stay afloat in the global economy or else sink. Whether the choice was actually this binary is, of course, somewhat of an academic question at this point. Perhaps it was a necessity of the power structure of the Cold War era or perhaps it was a case of an overly meek Labour Party failing to stand up to Washington. But either way, in the here and now there is a huge opportunity for a change of course. Though the Cold War is over, US power is also in decline. Any remaining lipstick on the ugly face of US neoliberal imperialism was washed away by the election of Donald Trump, who personifies the fascist trajectory that it had long been taking. Though the US has long been one of the most hated countries in the world, his presidency has plunged its image and reputation to new depths of acrimonious scorn across the globe. Furthermore, several developments in global affairs have brought the primacy of US power into question. From the failure of the US-instigated coup attempt in Venezuela (supposedly the US’s “backyard”) to the refusal of European governments to cooperate with the Iran nuclear deal withdrawal, there are growing signs that US power might be on the wane. Above all, the rise of Russia and China as major players on the world stage who are consistently willing to take an independent approach signals a seismic shift in global power relations. In Latin American and Africa, they have proven themselves as more neutral actors who, unlike the US, will happily invest without attaching political strings – as has so long been Washington’s modus operandi.

      • The Intellectual Origins of the Trump Presidency and the Construction of Contemporary American Politics

        It is foolish to think that Trumpism and Trumpistas are merely a product of personality. To believe that is to assume that Donald Trump is sui generis, elected under unique circumstances and that the politics and polices produced under him are tied to him. Believing that means also that once Trump leaves office, be in 2020 or beyond, Trumpism will end. Yet the reality is that Donald Trump is merely the figurehead for Trumpism and Trumpistas. All three are the product of a series of forces that made his presidency and policies possible. The roots of Trumpism are long and deep, and contrary to what some sarcastically may think, there are the intellectual foundations that set the conditions for Trump’s election and his subsequent presidency. The intellectual roots of Trumpism need to be distinguished from other social forces that have made Trump a persona of the times. A Freudian social psychological analysis of Trumpism would perhaps explain the misogynist and hyper-masculine nature of the movement whereas theories of spatial geography and sociobiology could uncover the roots of the nativism and racism. Neo-liberal economic theory amply would capture the way global and state restructuring of the economy since the 1970s have contextualized the anxieties of Trumpistas, making the racist, protectionist, and misogynist rhetoric of the president so appealing to them. All these are antecedent causes for the movement known as Trumpism. But there are also intellectual theories that underpin the Trump presidency and the political power which he leverages, and which precludes the constitutional concepts of checks and balances and separation of powers from doing their job. Unlike during the Nixon presidency when constitutional norms prevailed over partisanship, the Trump presidency is defined by the failure of these norms to work. When candidate Trump proclaimed that: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” he might as well have said he would not lose any Republican support in Congress. Despite overwhelming evidence in the Mueller Report that Trump has abused his authority, as well as other clear instances where he has run roughshod on congressional and constitutional norms, the Republicans in both Houses stand firmly behind, making impeachment an impractical check upon him.

      • The Pope is Wrong on Argentina

        When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the new Pope after the resignation of his German predecessor, a wave of euphoria shook Argentina. He was not only the first Latin American Pope but also a beloved member of the Argentine Catholic Church. Bergoglio was well-known and respected because of his work as cardinal. At present, however, his indirect participation in Argentina’s politics has tarnished his image to some extent. Bergoglio had a difficult relationship with former Argentine presidents Néstor Kirchner and his wife, Cristina. In one of his homilies, he questioned “the exhibitionism and the strident announcements of the rulers,” in a message that indirectly pointed at Néstor. Later, he was frequently at odds with Cristina Kirchner, who succeeded her husband after his death. Bergoglio’s and Cristina’s relationship continued to deteriorate when Bergoglio supported the country’s farmers, who opposed a government levy against their exports. The confrontation between Bergoglio and Cristina Kirchner reached its climax in 2010 with a same-sex marriage bill. Argentina was the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage, a decision which the Catholic Church strongly opposed. Government criticism was swift after his appointment to the Papacy in March 2013, going so far as disseminating stories about his alleged collaboration with the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Government opponents, on the other hand, joyously celebrated his appointment, not only because an Argentine had been elected Pope but also because he was seen as a powerful government antagonist in a country where Catholicism is the predominant religion.

      • Trump’s Russian Problem

        In two and a half years, Donald Trump and his national security team have managed to worsen virtually every aspect of American national security policy. Trump has bullied and harangued our traditional West European allies and, as a result, bilateral relations with Britain, France, and Germany have become more difficult. France, Germany, and even Japan have begun to rethink their security policies because of the uncertainty that surrounds dealing with the Trump administration. President Barack Obama left Trump a path for dealing with traditional foes in Cuba and Iran, but the president has made these issues far more problematic and, in the case of Tehran, raised the specter of confrontation. The most bizarre development has been the contradictory handling of the Russian problem, which finds Russian-American relations returning to a Cold War paradigm. Trump campaigned on the basis of stabilizing and strengthening relations with Russia. Nevertheless, he appointed national security teams devoid of experience in conceptualizing and implementing diplomacy. General officers dominated his first national security team; key figures opposed to Russia and to arms control were appointed national security adviser, secretary of defense, and director of homeland security. Only former secretary of state Rex Tillerson had a resume that suggested an interest in a conciliatory relationship with Russia, but Trump and Tillerson were at odds from the start, and the role of the Department of State is severely limited in the Trump administration. The second round of national security appointments produced greater mediocrity. National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have no appreciation for the importance of diplomacy; they would have been far more comfortable in the Cold War era. Civilian leadership at the Pentagon has never been weaker, and whoever is in command will lead an organization that has never promoted better relations with Russia or the pursuit of arms control, which was central to creating stable bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow in the 1970s and 1980s. The Trump administration, moreover, walked away from two seminal arms control agreements (e.g., the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Iran nuclear accord), and has no plans for pursuing disarmament.

      • The Biden Question

        Perhaps because it is easy to spell and comprehensible even to toddlers, the word “sad” turns up often in our president’s tweets. The word has lately become useful too in descriptions of the political scene in the Trump era. Here it is in a sentence: “It is sad that the question ‘why not Biden?’ has to be asked.” The answers are so numerous and so obvious that in a happier political environment, no one would ever bother to ask. However, in our political environment, it is urgent that the question be addressed, and that even obvious answers be made explicit. This makes it easier to identify what actually is of interest in Biden’s entry into the 2020 presidential race. For a start, remember the old saw, sometimes attributed to Einstein, that insanity is making the same mistake over and over, thinking, for no good reason, that the result will be different the next time around. If the idea is to elect Democrats, then doing the same thing over and over isn’t always as much of a mistake as might appear; representatives of the party’s dead center do sometimes get their candidates elected, and the donors behind them do often get what they want. However, for Democratic voters and others whose goals include halting and, whenever possible, reversing the rush towards nuclear and environmental catastrophes, advancing liberty, justice, and social solidarity on a domestic and international scale, and promoting democracy — governance of, by, and for the people – at all the interstices of social and political life, it is a different story. For them, insanity is everywhere. It practically defines Clintonite politics. Biden would never have gotten anywhere without it.

      • “So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden

        A common media narrative on Donald Trump is that he foolishly fails to run on his greatest strength, the economy. Instead of smartly trumpeting his leading political asset, the “booing” economy, the story runs, Trump stupidly rails against immigrants. Trump has often seemed to (well) trump what would seem to be his best political card with wild Bad Grandpa rants against diverse targets and enemies, immigrants above all.

      • When Putin was asked about today’s ‘gang of patriots,’ he went after the ‘gang’ that governed Russia before him (forgetting his own résumé)

        During his latest “Direct Line” call-in TV show, Vladimir Putin noticed a question displayed on screen that read, “Where is this gang of patriots from United Russia [the country’s ruling political party] leading us?” The president decided to answer the question, telling viewers, “So there’s no impression that we’re avoiding tough political questions.” In his response, however, Putin spoke mainly about the difficulties Russia endured in the 1990s, arguing that some people in power during that era should be held responsible for this.

      • Time to Drop Out? Poll Shows 72% of Democratic Voters Think There Are Too Many Candidates Running for President

        With the first 2020 presidential primary debate less than a week away, new survey data released Friday suggests the vast majority of Democratic voters believe at least some of the candidates in their party’s crowded 24-person field should drop out of the race. According to a Hill-HarrisX poll, 72 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters feel there are “too many” candidates vying for their party’s presidential nomination. Just 16 percent of respondents said the number of candidates is “about right,” and 12 percent said there are “too few” candidates in the race. [...] The new Hill-HarrisX poll comes as Democratic candidates struggling to crack one percent in national polls are facing pressure from fellow Democrats to quit the race and possibly mount a run for Senate. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told The Hill that the “clock is running out for people who have not demonstrated any ability to mount a serious presidential bid to help make a real difference in their country by helping to turn the Senate.” According to reporting from The Hill earlier this month, “Democrats facing a steep uphill climb to win back the Senate want Beto O’Rourke to reconsider his long-shot bid for president and take another look at running for the Senate in Texas, especially if his White House bid fails to pick up momentum.”

      • The White Man’s Biden

        The Democrats have a problem. Some unreconstructed ghosts from the party’s gruesome racist past are rattling their chains, thanks to yet another very public blunder by former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden, the seeming frontrunner in the 2020 presidential race. Biden, who apparently hasn’t met a vicious conservative he doesn’t like and respect, stepped on a whole series of rakes over the last several days, and his standing as the establishment pick for the nomination is setting the party up for another calamity at the polls. Biden attended a big-dollar fundraiser at the Carlyle hotel in New York on Tuesday, one of several he graced with his presence that day. While unspooling his boilerplate spiel about “civility” and working with hidebound Republicans who are really great you guys, trust me, Delaware’s erstwhile favorite son got lost in the weeds of history, white supremacy and institutional racism. “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” said Biden in an ersatz Southern accent. “He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son.’ Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished.” There is quite a bit to unpack here, so let’s take it from the top. Sen. James Eastland (D-Mississippi) was an unvarnished racist and white supremacist, born to wealth, who lived on a massive cotton plantation and devoted his life to maintaining Jim Crow. With his fat cigar and benighted views, Eastland was for many long years the living essence of institutionalized, violent white power in the U.S. “He often appeared in Mississippi courthouse squares,” wrote The New York Times in its obituary for Eastland after his passing in 1986, “promising the crowds that if elected he would stop blacks and whites from eating together in Washington. He often spoke of blacks as ‘an inferior race.’” Biden apparently hasn’t met a vicious conservative he doesn’t like. The Times obituary was a polite rendering of some very bleak history. “The South will retain segregation,” Eastland proclaimed in 1956. “The governor of a sovereign State can use the force at his command, civil and other, to maintain public order, and prevent crime and riots. He can use these forces to prevent racial integration of schools if this is necessary, under the police power of the State, to prevent disorder and riots.” Biden’s own staff even thought praising Eastland was an incredibly bad idea. “Aides said they had urged Biden to find a less toxic example,” reports The Washington Post. And then, there is the matter of “boy.” When used against Black men, “boy” is a racist pejorative slur meant to insult and diminish their standing as a free adult. When used against white men like Biden, “boy” is merely a noun with no ghastly history attached. Joe Biden missed the point completely, again.

      • There Are No Democratic Adults in the Room

        “It’s 2016 All Over Again.” So claims the title of a recent column by Peter Nicholas in The Atlantic. By “2016 all over again,” Nicholas means that Donald Trump, now president, has expressed a willingness to accept campaign help from a foreign power in the 2020 election. The president’s comments upset Nicholas. “A simple idea,” he writes, “underpins the nation’s democratic tradition: Americans elect America’s leaders. But that notion at times seems lost on Trump. His comments to ABC, for one, echoed remarks he made almost three years ago, when he famously called on Russia to help recover 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s private server.” [...] That proved a decent forecast for the Obama administration. The party continued its drift rightward, Republicans exploited the public’s broader feelings of abandonment and betrayal, and Democrats managed to depress and demobilize their own base. Hillary Clinton’s listless 2016 campaign then added insult to the injury of financial globalization and deindustrialization by casting white, flyover voters as culturally backward “deplorables.” Clinton neglected public policy to a shocking degree, eschewing even the pretense of progressivism. It was a doomed strategy in an anti-establishment election year shaped by widespread popular alienation and anger. The masses were in no mood for centrist equivocation amid a weak recovery from a Great Recession caused by financial sector culprits who were opulently bailed out by a Democratic administration that had little to offer the working-class majority. The progressive-populist Bernie Sanders, running in accord with majority progressive opinion, would have defeated Trump. But the Clinton machine and its allies in corporate media and the Democratic National Committee rigged the primary campaign against Sanders, the party’s best hope.

      • Sergey Gavrilov, the Russian lawmaker who sparked outrage and protests in Tbilisi, says he was framed by ‘radical liberals’ and ‘fake news’

        It’s completely obvious that this is a prearranged provocation by Georgia’s radical liberal anti-patriotic forces. The attacks on the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy were used as a pretext to try to discredit Orthodoxy, seize the Parliament, and launch a coup d’état. We conducted the assembly meeting correctly. I sat where the hosts invited me to sit. I can work from side stool if need be — I’m a modest man, and I’m not seeking any honors here. We have witnessed extremist activity. Dozens of people took to the streets with earlier prepared banners against Russia, its president, and Orthodoxy. Many Georgian media outlets systematically disseminated fake news that I took part in the fighting in Abkhazia.

      • The Race for the White House

        With an approaching election, we will start with the Democrats. No less than twenty current or former elected officials have tossed their hats into the crowded ring, each, apparently, feeling that he or she is the natural leader to usher the nation out of the dark days of Donald Trump. [...] In any normal society, any one of the above-mentioned candidates could be selected by drawing straws, and would be expected to soundly defeat the current incumbent. Donald Trump’s record as president is hardly sterling: he has withdrawn from several international treaties, thus violating both international and domestic law (things he seems to hold in complete disdain), thus reducing the security not just of the U.S., but of the entire world. He has rolled back environmental protections; given enormous tax breaks to the people and corporations that least need them, while basically ignoring those that do; he has made racism fashionable again, and endorsed misogyny, Islamophobia and homophobia. He has alienated the U.S. closest and oldest allies (not necessarily a bad thing in the big picture), and brought the world closer to war than it’s been in recent memory. Would not the average person vote for ANYONE to rid the nation and the world of such a menace? One might possibly be excused for electing him in 2016; Clinton is one of the most polarizing candidates since the days when George Washington was accused of chopping down a cherry tree. But after two years, surely, even Joe Biden is a better choice for president (disclosure: this writer has no intention of voting for any of the candidates currently vying for the Democratic nod; he is more than happy to find a third-party candidate to support with his time, money and vote). In an ideal world, some Democrat would capture the imagination of the Party. He or she would boldly discuss policies the people want: domestically, he/she would propose sensible gun control; health care for all; racial equality; significant investment in schools and infrastructure. On the world stage, this imaginary candidate would promise an end to support of apartheid Israel; the closing of the nearly 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world; an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan; the rejoining of the Paris Climate Accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the nuclear missile treaty with Russia (INF).

      • The Staggering Frontrunner Status of Clueless and Shameless Joe Biden

        Joe Biden just put a spotlight on his mindset when he explicitly refused to apologize for fondly recalling how the Senate “got things done” with “civility” as he worked alongside some of the leading racist lawmakers of the 20th century. For Biden, the personal is the political; he knows that he’s virtuous, and that should be more than good enough for African Americans, for women, for anyone. “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” Biden exclaimed Wednesday night, moments after demanding: “Apologize for what?” His deep paternalism surfaced during the angry outburst as he declared: “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career, period, period, period.” [...] Said Biden at a New York fundraiser Tuesday night: “Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished.” To Biden, any assessment of his past conduct that clashes with his high self-regard is unfair; after all, he really means well. On the campaign trail now, his cloying paternalism is as evident as his affinity for wealthy donors. Biden shuttles between the billionaire class and the working class—funded by the rich while justifying the rich to everyone else. His aspirations are bound up in notions of himself as comforter-in-chief. “I get it, I get it,” Biden said during his brief and self-adulatory non-apology video in early April to quiet the uproar over his invasive touching of women and girls. He was actually saying: I get it that I need to seem to get it.

      • The Mad King in His Time

        The country is divided as to whether President Donald J. Trump is a mad king. If he is indeed mad, then this even divide is more than scary. What is the reasoning that accommodates madness? What sort of times can we be living in? Perhaps his madness doesn’t matter if your stock portfolio is doing well. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as president and any other candidate “gone left” seem not to be as favorably inclined to the amassing of wealth as the madman now in office. This madman, after all, will not push the private health care industry, along with the obscenely and immorally lucrative Big Pharma, aside nor the global warming fossil fuel industry. When the opportunity arises President Trump will not appoint Liberals/Progressives/”Socialists” to the Supreme Court. He’s not going to raise taxes to save, I mean “reform,” anything with the word “public” in it. And he’ll require professional vitae from any immigrant seeking asylum. In short, he may be a mad king, but he’ll keep private enterprise, privatization and all things private private. He’ll keep the country white, safe, armed and great again. He’ll keep the phenomenal wealth piling up at the top out of the hands of The People, meaning all those not able to afford the $200,000 for Mar- a- Lago membership. If you don’t have a stock portfolio loaded with fossil fuel and health care stock, you may still warm to the private not public view of things. Private is you, personally. Your personal freedom grounded in personal choice, your choice grounded in your total individual autonomy. Your fight for individual freedom is a fight to hold on to your guns, your own personally chosen doctors, your own freedom to be charitable when and to whom you choose rather than allow the Federal Government to financially aid those outside your field of choice.

      • The Last White House Press Secretary

        It is a Washington, D.C., custom that a flak jacket be hung in the closet of the White House press secretary’s office. A relic of the Vietnam War era, the jacket is one of those Beltway affectations delightful to those in power’s orbit and largely incomprehensible to the rest of us slobs. Such is the battle the White House press secretary must wage each day, the jacket tells those who’d take the job; it’s like withstanding anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam, dealing with these unceasing journalistic hacks who make your life hell just because they can’t do anything else for a living. What a scream. Never mind that much of the press secretary’s job is spent doing things like lying about putting actual soldiers in real flak jackets over real enemy fire, to kill or be killed. That’s not so cute to think about. The tradition that an outgoing press secretary leave a note in one of the flak jacket’s pockets for the incoming press secretary is similarly and infuriatingly detached from reality. As with so many American political norms, it reveals that bipartisanship is alive and well, despite furious argument to the contrary—that the defining self-identification for successful political hacks is not “Republican versus Democrat,” but “us versus them.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been something of a relief. As odd as it is to admit, I will miss her after her departure as Trump’s press secretary at the end of June, ahead of a likely run for governor of Arkansas. But in the same way that surviving a near-death experience can foster great personal growth and a newfound appreciation for life, so too has Sanders done the country a great service. By being the very best press secretary a president has ever had, Sanders has revealed just how worthless the position is—and how unceasingly evil the job must be, by its very nature. With the possible exception of Ari Fleischer, who served under George W. Bush, Sanders may be the single most loathsome human being to ever occupy the position. She possesses a fundamental disdain for the truth, an outright contempt for the journalists ranged before her and an uncanny ability to never break the character of a cold, uncaring cipher, bored with whatever question has been posed to her.

      • THE “CENTER” OF AMERICAN POLITICS IS ON THE LEFT

        Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.” Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand: On the economy,76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends. What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. 60 percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare. 92 percent want lower prescription drug prices. Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada. On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave. 79 percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans.

      • Impeach Trump

        A year ago I referred to Donald Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia and the possibility that he has been compromised by his financial and commercial ties to Moscow. As a matter of fact, at that time some well-informed people did call it treason. He’s acting like “a Russian mole,” wrote conservative columnist Max Boot. “America is under attack and its president absolutely refuses to defend it. Simply put, Trump is a traitor and may well be treasonous,” argued New York Times op-ed writer Charles M. Blow. The former CIA director, John Brennan, tweeted that “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.” And John McLaughlin, former acting director of the CIA, called Trump an “agent of influence” for Russia in an interview with MSNBC. But Trump survived these charges, and many others that, over the course of his campaign and presidency, many of us thought would prove his undoing: the Hollywood video on groping women, the racist comments on Mexican-Americans and Muslims, the payoffs to cover up affairs, the unwillingness to outright condemn neo-Nazis, the invitation to the Russians to get Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, the mass incarcerations of migrants, the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, and the constant deference to Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian leaders. Still Trump stands, damaged but capable of inflicting great damage and even getting reelected.

      • That Mark Field Feared a Terrorist Attack is Clearly a Lie – or He Is Dangerously Insane

        There is zero history in the UK of personal violence or terrorist attack by climate change protestors and nobody could claim they had a reasonable fear that a climate change protestor was carrying a weapon – something which has simply never happened. I could equally rationally grab Mark Field by the throat any time I saw him, and claim he might have been carrying a concealed weapon because he is a Tory MP. His excuse is a complete and utter nonsense, a post hoc effort at justification. He only had a genuine fear of her carrying a weapon if he is suffering from a serious psychological derangement, and one dangerous to the public. Unlike Mark Field, I happen to have led a life involving real danger, and had guns pointed at my head in both Uzbekistan and Liberia, whilst in the service of the UK. But in my sixty years I have never once raised my hand in anger to a woman. Field’s unprovoked attack was cowardly and ungentlemanly in the extreme (and I really do not care if you find my attitude outdated or not).

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Facebook Reverses Ban on Led Zeppelin ‘Houses of the Holy’ Art: Exclusive

        Over the years, the art from Led Zeppelin’s 10-times platinum-selling fifth studio project has been used as a feature photo with more than 30 UCR stories. This was the first time Facebook has intervened.

      • Tech journalists troubled by Assange computer intrusion charge

        The Trump administration’s decision to charge Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act has generated significant controversy. One legal expert described it as “crossing a “constitutional Rubicon.” CPJ warned that the indictment could be the opening salvo in a broader attack on First Amendment journalistic protections. The 18th charge against Assange–of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)–has garnered far less attention. Yet technology journalists and legal experts interviewed by CPJ since the charge was first publicized in April shared significant concerns about the law, and their growing fear that it could be used to implicate journalists in the criminal activities of their sources.

      • Ecuador judge frees Swedish programmer close to Assange; probe continues

        But Ola Bini, a 36-year-old software developer who has lived in Ecuador for five years, remains under investigation in the case and will be barred from leaving the country, according to the court ruling.

      • ‘Self censorship is a bigger sin than censorship’ – veteran Singapore print editor PN Balji

        In an interview with Mumbrella’s Ravi Balakrishnan, PN Balji – a veteran of Singapore print media and author of the recently launched book ‘Reluctant Editor’ – discusses journalism in the city state

      • How Ethiopia Controls the Internet

        A week later, internet service reportedly returned, but such moves by the Ethiopian government are not new, according to a report on internet freedom in the East African country and in dozens of other countries. The government has several strategies it employs when it wants to silence people online, according to the report, titled “Freedom on the Net 2018″ and published by Freedom House, a nonprofit based in Washington that advocates for democracy and releases an annual analysis on internet freedom around the world.

      • Ethiopia’s bid to become an African startup hub hinges on connectivity

        The country of 105 million with the continent’s seventh largest economy is revamping government policies, firing up angel networks, and rallying digital entrepreneurs.

        Ethiopia currently lags the continent’s tech standouts—like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa—that have become focal points for startup formation, VC, and exits.

        To join those ranks, the East African nation will need to improve its [Internet] environment, largely controlled by one government owned telecom. Last week Ethiopia’s government shut down the internet for the entire nation.

      • Why the internet’s most important law exists and how people are still getting it wrong

        Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is one of the internet’s most important and most misunderstood laws. It’s intended to protect “interactive computer services” from being sued over what users post, effectively making it possible to run a social network, a site like Wikipedia, or a news comment section. But in recent years, it’s also become a bludgeon against tech companies that critics see as abusing their power through political bias or editorial slant. Just this week, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a major (and highly unpopular) amendment, claiming Section 230 was designed to keep the internet “free of political censorship.”

        But that’s just not what happened, says US Naval Academy professor Jeff Kosseff, author of the recent book The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet. Twenty-Six Words is a nuanced and engaging look at the complicated history of Section 230, which was put forward as an alternative to heavy-handed porn regulation and then turned into a powerful legal shield through a series of court rulings.

      • Guy Pushing Hawley’s ‘Viewpoint Neutrality’ Concept In The Media Used To Write For White Supremacist Site

        Senator Josh Hawley’s law to wipe out CDA 230 protections for internet platforms unless they apply to the FTC for a special certificate, which they can only get if they show ‘clear and convincing evidence” that their moderation practices are “politically neutral,” is dumb in many, many ways. But one of the most ridiculous parts is that it literally requires internet platforms to give extra weight to Nazis, and to punish any site that does not give the Nazis a platform.

      • Sen. Hawley’s “Bias” Bill Would Let the Government Decide Who Speaks

        Despite its name, Sen. Josh Hawley’s Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act (PDF) would make the Internet less safe for free expression, not more. It would violate the First Amendment by allowing a government agency to strip platforms of legal protection based on their decisions to host or remove users’ speech when the federal government deems that action to be politically biased. Major online platforms’ moderation policies and practices are deeply flawed, but putting a government agency in charge of policing bias would only make matters worse. The bill targets Section 230, the law that shields online platforms, services, and users from liability for most speech created by others. Section 230 protects intermediaries from liability both when they choose to edit, curate, or moderate speech and when they choose not to. Without Section 230, social media would not exist in its current form—the risks of liability would be too great given the volume of user speech published through them—and neither would thousands of websites and apps that host users’ speech and media. Under the bill, platforms over a certain size—30 million active users in the U.S. or 300 million worldwide—would lose their immunity under Section 230. In order to regain its immunity, a company would have to pay the Federal Trade Commission for an audit to prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that it doesn’t moderate users’ posts “in a manner that is biased against a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint.”

      • Before Demanding Internet Companies ‘Hire More Moderators,’ Perhaps We Should Look At How Awful The Job Is

        While it was a powerful and wonderfully written piece, as we noted in February, this wasn’t new to people following the space closely. There had been previous academic papers, a documentary, and even a big guest post here at Techdirt that highlighted some of the working conditions concerns of those in content moderation jobs. Well, now, Newton is back with another powerful and heartbreaking story of more (former) Facebook moderators revealing the truly awful working conditions they faced. It opens with the story of a content moderator who died on the job of a heart attack at 42 years of age. And then discusses details revealed by many more content moderators, all of whom broke NDAs they signed to tell this story (good for them in doing so — such NDAs should not be allowed)…

      • UK May Have Finally Ditched Its Absurd Porn Filter Plan

        As we’ve noted for years, internet filters don’t work, routinely censor legitimate content by mistake, and implementing them is a massive waste of money, time, resources, and precious calories. In the UK, that’s been a lesson that has been painfully difficult to learn. The UK has long implemented porn filters in a bid to restrict anybody under the age of 18 from accessing such content. New age verification controls were also mandated as part of the Digital Economy Act of 2017. But as we’ve previously noted, the UK government has seen several fits and starts with its proposal as it desperately tries to convince the public and business sectors that the ham-fisted effort was going to actually work. Back in April, the UK government announced that after numerous delays the program would effectively be taking effect July 15. Under the proposal, websites that failed to comply with the country’s age verification program face fines up to £250,000, risk being taken offline, or may lose access to payment services. Randy folks who wanted to view some porn were to be redirected to a special subsite where they’d be prompted for an email address and a password, before verifying your age using a driving license or a passport. They’d then, theoretically, happily be passed off to compliant porn websites.

      • Explainer: How Letting Platforms Decide What Content To Facilitate Is What Makes Section 230 Work

        There seems to be some recurrent confusion about Section 230: how can it let a website be immune from liability for its users’ content, and yet still get to affect whether and how that content is delivered? Isn’t that inconsistent? The answer is no: platforms don’t lose Section 230 protection if they aren’t neutral with respect to the content they carry. There are a few reasons, one being constitutional. The First Amendment protects editorial discretion, even for companies. But another big reason is statutory, which is what this post is about. Platforms have the discretion to choose what content to enable, because making those moderating choices is one of the things that Section 230 explicitly gives them protection to do. The key here is that Section 230 in fact provides two interrelated forms of protection for Internet platforms as part of one comprehensive policy approach to online content. It does this because Congress actually had two problems that it was trying to solve when it passed it. One was that Congress was worried about there being too much harmful content online. We see this evidenced in the fact that Section 230 was ultimately passed as part of the “Communications Decency Act,” a larger bill aimed at minimizing undesirable material online.

      • Google CEO Admits That It’s Impossible To Moderate YouTube Perfectly; CNBC Blasts Him

        Over the weekend, Google CEO Sundar Pichai gave an interview to CNN in which he admitted to exactly what we’ve been screaming over and over again for a few years now: it’s literally impossible to do content moderation at scale perfectly. This is for a variety of reasons: first off, no one agrees what is the “correct” level of moderation. Ask 100 people and you will likely get 100 different answers (I know this, because we did this). What many people think must be mostly “black and white” choices actually has a tremendous amount of gray. Second, even if there were clear and easy choices to make (which there are not), at the scale of most major platforms, even a tiny error rate (of either false positives or false negatives) will still be a very large absolute number of mistakes. [...] Of course, what no one will actually discuss is how you would solve this problem of the law of large numbers. You can break up Google, sure, but unless you think that consumers will suddenly shift so that not too many of them use any particular video platform, whatever leading video platforms there are will always have this general challenge. The issue is not that YouTube is “too big to fix,” but simply that any platform with that much content is going to make some moderation mistakes — and, with so much content, in absolute terms, even if the moderation efforts are pretty “accurate” you’ll still find a ton of those mistakes. I’ve long argued that a better solution is for these companies to open up their platforms to allow user empowerment and competition at the filtering level, so that various 3rd parties could effectively “compete” to see who’s better at moderating (and to allow end users to opt-in to what kind of moderation they want), but that’s got nothing to do with a platform being “too big” or needing “fixing.” It’s a recognition that — as stated at the outset — there is no “right” way to moderate content, and no one will agree on what’s proper. In such a world, having a single standard will never make sense, so we might as well have many competing ones. But it’s hard to see how that’s a problem of being “too big.”

      • E-Commerce review: Opening Pandora’s box?

        The next important battle for our rights and freedoms in the digital sphere is looming on the horizon. While the public debate has recently focused on upload filters for alleged copyright infringements and online “terrorist” content, a planned legislative review will look more broadly at the rules for all types of illegal and “harmful” content.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • As The DOJ Continues To Complain About Encryption, Cellebrite (Again) Announces It Can Crack Any IPhone

        It was announced very publicly. This wasn’t a press release sent only to government agencies or the byproduct of leaked internal documents. It was announced on the company’s Twitter account, letting everyone know Cellebrite is apparently beating almost every device maker at their own encryption game. Like GrayKey’s offering, Cellebrite’s updated encryption-breaker is hardware that can be used on site by purchasers, allowing law enforcement agencies to perform their own cracking and extraction. Sure, the flaws used to bypass device security will be patched, and Cellebrite and its competitors will keep digging around in device hardware/software to find holes to exploit. The security vs. insecurity war will continue. But for all the weak arguments made by the head of the FBI — especially the ones about Apple, etc. “profiting” from locking out law enforcement — it would seem companies like Cellebrite are more likely to directly profit from device encryption. Encryption on phones is a standard offering, not a selling point. Tools that break encryption? Now, that’s where the real money is.

      • California’s ISP Deregulation Law Allows Recording VoIP Calls without Consent

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been opposing A.B. 1366, legislation by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, which would renew a law that effectively shields a huge part of the telecommunications industry from state and local regulation. Comcast and AT&T law backed this law, Public Utilities Code Sec. 710, in 2012—and are backing its renewal now. Renewing this law would reaffirm that state and local governments cannot regulate VoIP—a term used to refer to any technology that allows you to use the Internet for voice communication or receive telephone calls over the Internet—for another decade. We oppose A.B. 1366, largely because of the damage the existing law has done to the state and local government’s ability to promote competition and access for broadband access, but many other problems are present due to this law. Religious groups and human rights groups have also raised concerns with how deregulating VoIP will harm inmates in prison who need to stay in contact with their families. AT&T has asserted it is not subject to state oversight when building our Next Generation 911 emergency system, simply because it uses broadband. And it now appears that the law also makes it legal for Internet companies to record your calls without your permission, as long as they use VoIP.

      • Amazon gets U.S. patent to use delivery drones for surveillance service

        Amazon.com Inc is exploring using drones not just to deliver packages but also to provide surveillance as a service to its customers, according to a patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The delivery drones can be used to record video of consented user’s property to gather data that can be analyzed to look out, say for example, a broken window, or a fire or if a garage door was left open during the day, the patent described. According to the patent, the surveillance function of the drone can be limited through geo-fencing, a technology used to draw a virtual boundary around the property under surveillance. Any image or data that the drone captures outside the geo-fence would be obscured or removed.

      • On Edward Snowden’s birthday, know how he became NSA’S ‘whistleblower’

        And on June 5, 2013, The Guardian published the secret documents obtained from Snowden. After this, The Guardian and The Washington Post published the information on PRISM (an NSA program that allows real-time information collection electronically).

      • Minnesota Cop Awarded $585K After Colleagues Snooped on Her DMV Data

        When Krekelberg asked for an audit of accesses to her DMV records, as allowed by Minnesota state law, she learned that her information—which would include things like her address, weight, height, and driver’s license pictures—had been viewed nearly 1,000 times since 2003, even though she was never under investigation by law enforcement. In fact, Krekelberg was law enforcement: She joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 2012, after spending eight years working elsewhere for the city, mostly as an officer for the Park & Recreation Board. She later learned that over 500 of those lookups were conducted by dozens of other cops. Even more eerie, many officers had searched for her in the middle of the night.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Maryland ‘peace cross’ can stand on public land, U.S. high court rules

      A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state. The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.

    • On the ground during violent clashes with police at Tbilisi’s anti-Russian protest

      On the evening of June 20, on Shota Rustaveli Avenue in central Tbilisi, just outside the Georgian Parliament building, at least 10,000 people gathered for a protest. They didn’t leave until after midnight. The cause of the unrest was a speech in Parliament by Russian State Duma deputy Sergey Gavrilov, who sat in the speaker’s chair and spoke Russian, before he was interrupted by Georgia’s opposition. Demonstrators later burned Russian flags and called Russia an occupier. When activists tried to seize the Parliament, police responded harshly, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Hundreds of people, including dozens of police officers, were injured. On special assignment for Meduza, journalist Maria Latsinskaya explains what happened that night in Tbilisi, and how there’s now talk of another revolution on the horizon.

    • Anti-Russian protest erupts in Tbilisi, after Russian delegation addresses Georgian Parliament

      The television station Rustavi-2 reports that police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd of protesters, causing multiple severe injuries. According to the Russian news service Interfax, several dozen people have been injured in clashes with the police.

    • Years Ago, the Border Patrol’s Discipline System Was Denounced as “Broken.” It’s Still Not Fixed.

      Perhaps the most far-reaching idea was to reclassify the more than 40,000 Border Patrol agents and customs officers as “national security employees,” just as all FBI agents and employees at a number of other Homeland Security agencies currently are. Taking away their status as civil servants, the thinking went, would make it easier to fire corrupt and abusive employees. It was, to be sure, an extreme measure. But the panel, a subcommittee of a larger Homeland Security advisory council, had been created late in President Barack Obama’s second term because U.S. Customs and Border Protection seemed in crisis, and the panel subsequently determined that the agency was plagued by a system that allowed bad actors to stay on the payroll for years after they’d engaged in egregious, even criminal, misconduct. Because of civil service protections, a Border Patrol agent who’d been disciplined for bad behavior could challenge his or her punishment through four rounds of escalating appeals before taking the case to an arbitrator or a federal hearing board. And the panel — headed by William Bratton, who had run police departments in Boston, New York City and Los Angeles — was deeply concerned about the persistent strain of lawlessness among CBP employees. In a preliminary 2015 report, the panel had noted that “arrests for corruption of CBP personnel far exceed, on a per capita basis, such arrests at other federal law enforcement agencies.” CBP, the panel’s members concluded, was “vulnerable to corruption that threatens its effectiveness and national security.”

    • Women’s Group Responds to New Trump Rape Accusation

      Earlier today, reports surfaced that Donald Trump sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll in a dressing room at the New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman over two decades ago.

    • E. Jean Carroll: “Trump attacked me in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman.”

      The Elle advice columnist says the assault took place in Bergdorf Goodman.

    • Hundreds picket in Moscow for three sisters facing up to 20 years in prison for killing their violent, abusive father

      On June 19, Muscovites took to the streets to support the Khachaturyan sisters, who were 17, 18, and 19 years old when they were arrested in July 2018. The three young women killed their father, and they do not deny it. Maria, Angelina, and Krestina took that step because Mikhail Khachaturyan abused them verbally, physically, and sexually for years on end. Investigators are framing the case as a conspiracy to commit murder, but the defense has countered that the sisters had to act in self-defense. Meduza special correspondent Kristina Safonova was on the scene of the pickets against the case.

    • A conversation with Chechen human rights leader Oyub Titiev, now released on parole following a dubious drug conviction

      Oyub Titiev, who leads the Chechen branch of the human rights center Memorial, was released from prison on June 21. In March 2019, he was sentenced to four years in a penal colony for drug possession. Titiev has denied the charges and said the case against him was fabricated. In early June, a defense petition for Titiev to be released on parole was approved. Meduza special correspondent Sasha Sulim spoke with Titiev shortly after his release.

    • Trump Prepares to Open New ‘Captured Children’ Facility in Texas as Hundreds of Rights Groups Call for Decriminalizing Migration

      A facility to house over 1,000 undocumented children is set to open Monday in Carrizo Springs, Texas—just days after almost 250 groups called on Congress to decriminalize migration and chart a new course for the country’s border policies. The Carrizo Springs concentration camp, which was initially built by Stratton Oilfield Systems as worker housing, will be run by Texas non-profit BCFS Health and Human Services for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BCFS runs child detention centers for the federal government in Tornillo, Texas, roughly 489 miles from the Carrizo Springs facility. HHS spokesperson Victoria Palmer confirmed to Common Dreams that the agency was using Carrizo Springs as a camp to hold children. “All children will be sheltered in hard-sided structures at the Carrizo Springs facility,” said Palmer. “Semi-permanent soft-sided structures will be used for support operations.”

    • They Are Concentration Camps — and They Are Also Prisons

      The words “Holocaust” and “concentration camp” were trending on Twitter on Tuesday. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had referred to the prison camps that migrant children are being kept in as “concentration camps,” and a virtual war erupted. The feigned outrage of conservatives was loud. Some argued that the Holocaust was a singular event, to which no parallel should be claimed. Meanwhile, many historians and people personally connected to the Holocaust insisted that the comparison was valid. As a Native writer and a Jewish writer, respectively, whose ancestors and cultures were subject to attempted state-sanctioned annihilation, we are not opposed to people using the words “concentration camps” to describe the camps in which migrant children, teens and adults are being caged. The words accurately apply, and we should not hesitate to use Holocaust comparisons in appropriate situations like this one. However, if we stop at analogies that are suggestive of a faraway time and place, we are disregarding a wide web of interconnected atrocities that impact millions of people right now in the United States. We have both spent many years struggling, organizing and writing against the prison-industrial complex, a many-tentacled system of death and destruction. It’s a system that extends well beyond the walls of the buildings formally known as “prisons” and “jails,” where over 2 million people are trapped, some of them spending decades and even lifetimes behind bars. It extends to the estimated 200,000 people shackled with electronic monitors, imprisoned in their homes. It extends to the euphemistically named “juvenile detention centers” — really, youth jails and prisons — where children are abused, locked in solitary confinement, and torn from those they love. (Family separation is a longstanding feature of the prison system.) The prison-industrial complex extends to the people indefinitely incarcerated in “civil commitment centers” and psychiatric hospitals, and in military prisons; and it extends to the youth trapped in the punitive and racially biased “child protective services” net. It extends to policing, a violent practice of capturing, harming and sometimes directly killing large numbers of disproportionately Black, Brown, trans and/or disabled people. The prison-industrial complex also extends to another immense punitive, violent institution: the U.S. immigration system, which hosts its own wide network of jails (usually labeled “detention centers”). The migrant camps in which children are being incarcerated are concentration camps — and they are also prisons. We must hold these dual, overlapping realities in our minds, as we strive to comprehend the interrelated horrors to which the United States — not just Trump, but the United States — subjects millions of people every day.

    • The Redemptive Essence of History

      Many people think they have no use for history. Too often this is because the history people are taught in schools and the media just doesn’t ring true. History does not tell the truth; at least not the whole truth. Nor is history only in the telling. It is also in who is doing the telling. Traditionally, those doing the telling have been the rulers and their sycophants. Despite this, there is a people’s history that somehow gets handed down through the generations. In recent years, there have been numerous attempts to make that people’s history available to the broader public. Naturally, those attempts are under constant attack. Consequently, attempting to tell the story of those who are oppressed is not only a challenge to compile, it is often also a challenge to publish. Ben Dangl is a historian and journalist. His work focuses mostly on Latin America. More specifically, he reports on the role of social movements in that region, most often those movements in Bolivia. Bolivia is a nation currently governed by a government that came to power because of certain social movements among its people. In the years since the rise of that government, Bolivians and others around the globe have watched as the Bolivian people engage in an ongoing experiment in popular rule. This experiment has been mostly successful despite interference from the United States, other nations, and the entitled right wing of the country. Dangl’s previous books—Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia and Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America—examine the Bolivian experience and related movements in other nations in the region.

    • Their Father Speaks Spanish. Their Foster Parents Raised Them to Speak Slovak.

      For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care. WHEN HIS SON WAS BORN IN 2014, Jorge Matias held the infant in the hospital and sang him the lullabies he had learned as a child in Guatemala. He teased the boy’s mother that he would raise their son to speak Spanish, and one day the two of them would talk in secret around her. But the boy was born with heroin in his system and, when it cleared from his body, Illinois child welfare officials placed him in a foster home. To get his son back, Matias had to complete a long list of requirements, including ending his relationship with the boy’s mother, a heroin addict. Matias visited the boy at his caseworker’s office, changed diapers and learned to prepare a bottle. He documented his son’s growth with photos and videos on his cellphone.

    • Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes the Case for Reparations at Historic Congressional Hearing

      On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary held a historic hearing on reparations for slavery—the first of its kind in over a decade. Wednesday’s hearing coincided with Juneteenth, a day that commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the transatlantic slave trade. Lawmakers are considering a bill titled the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.” It was introduced by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, after former Congressmember John Conyers had championed the bill for decades without success. The bill carries the designation H.R. 40, a reference to “40 acres and a mule,” one of the nation’s first broken promises to newly freed slaves. Ahead of the hearing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea.” Award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates testified at the historic congressional hearing on reparations and took direct aim at McConnell.

    • The Danger of Poeticizing Horror While Bearing Witness

      Poet Carolyn Forché first visited El Salvador in 1978 when, in the words of her self-ascribed mentor Leonel Gómez Vides, its peace was “the silence of misery endured.” The country was on the precipice of a deadly civil war during which more than 65,000 people were killed or “disappeared” by a regime supported by the United States. Forché opens her recent memoir, “What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance,” which reflects on those visits (she traveled there repeatedly between 1978 and 1980), with a description of finding the dismembered body of a man: “The parts are not quite touching, there is soil between them, especially the head and the rest. […] Why doesn’t anyone do something? I think I asked.” Forché was in El Salvador on a Guggenheim fellowship to work with Amnesty International. The resulting eight poems, published in the collection “The Country Between Us” (1981), are brutal in their stark depictions of rape, mutilation, torture, and horror. “Go try on / Americans your long, dull story / of corruption, but better to give / them what they want: Lil Milagro Ramirez […] who fucked her, how many times and when,” she writes in “Return,” in which she tries to explain to her friend Josephine something of what she learned in El Salvador. In “The Colonel,” a colonel empties a bag of human ears “like dried peach halves” onto the dinner table, then ironically tells her, “Something for your poetry, no?”

    • I’M A JOURNALIST BUT I DIDN’T FULLY REALIZE THE TERRIBLE POWER OF U.S. BORDER OFFICIALS UNTIL THEY VIOLATED MY RIGHTS AND PRIVACY

      I SHOULD HAVE kept my mouth shut about the guacamole; that made things worse for me. Otherwise, what I’m about to describe could happen to any American who travels internationally. It happened 33,295 times last year. My work as a journalist has taken me to many foreign countries, including frequent trips to Mexico. On May 13, I was returning to the U.S. from Mexico City when, passing through immigration at the Austin airport, I was pulled out of line for “secondary screening,” a quasi-custodial law enforcement process that takes place in the Homeland Security zone of the airport. Austin is where I was born and raised, and I usually get waved through immigration after one or two questions. I’m also a white man; more on that later. This time, when my turn came to show my passport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was more aggressive than usual in his questioning. I told him I’d been in Mexico for seven days for work, that I was a journalist, and that I travel to Mexico often, as he could see from my passport. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He wanted to know the substance of the story I was currently working on, which didn’t sit right with me. I tried to skirt the question, but he came back to it, pointedly. [...] A bespectacled supervisor named Lopez made an appearance. In a polite back-and-forth, I learned that I was not under arrest or suspected of any crime, and my citizenship was not in doubt, but if I didn’t answer the question asked by the “incident officer,” I wouldn’t be allowed into the United States. He handed me some brochures and left the room. Moncivias was joined by an Anglo officer named Pomeroy, who had a shaved head and looked a little older. They stared at me expectantly. “Fine,” I said. “For the last six months, I’ve been doing an investigative journalism project to determine which restaurant has the best guacamole in all of Mexico.” Moncivias didn’t miss a beat. “And what restaurant is that?” “El Parnita, on Avenida Yucatán in Mexico City,” I told him, truthfully. The flippancy would cost me. From then on out, the officers made it clear that I was in for a long delay. When I saw how mad they were, I lost interest in the principle of the thing. In reality, I didn’t care if they knew what the story was about. The draft was done, and my editors had a copy. All I cared about was getting home to a cup of coffee, a sandwich, a shower, and my bed. In an effort to smooth things over, I said that if they really had to know, I was finishing up a story for Rolling Stone about some guys from Texas and Arizona who sold helicopter machine guns to a Mexican cartel and that I’d been in Mexico City to interview a government official who, for understandable reasons, didn’t want his name bandied about. I apologized for my grouchiness, blaming it on the stress of travel. Cooperation didn’t earn me any leniency. Next up was a thorough search of my suitcase, down to unscrewing the tops of my toiletries. That much I expected. But then a third officer, whose name was Villarreal, carefully read every page of my 2019 journal, including copious notes to self on work, relationships, friends, family, and all sorts of private reflections I had happened to write down. I told him, “Sir, I know there’s nothing I can do to stop you, but I want to tell you, as one human being to another, that you’re invading my privacy right now, and I don’t appreciate it.” Villarreal acknowledged the statement and went back to reading. That was just the beginning. The real abuse of power was a warrantless search of my phone and laptop. This is the part that affects everyone, not just reporters and people who keep journals.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Fed. Cir. Spots Weak Claim Construction Arguments

        Activision won its inter partes review (IPR) challenge that ended with the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) finding obvious claims 1-11 of GAT’s U.S. Patent 8,253,743. The patent here covers a method for customizing game characters. The method begins with shopping for an avatar – via an “avatar shop”; then, a set of “game item functions” are combined with the avatar (via layers). A game item function might be “a function for attacking or defending other gamers” or perhaps “a function for charging cyber money.” Once these “game functions” are added to the avatar, it becomes a “GAMVATAR.” Figure 5 of the patent (below) explains the equation: Avatar + Item (function) = Gamvatar. The infringement lawsuit involving the ‘743 was administrative closed after the PTAB decision here. [...] So, obviousness affirmed. Everyone keep making your characters (I mean gamvatars).

      • Heightened Written Description Standard for Reissue Patents

        The courts agreed that, in this situation, the broadened scope that includes an arbor-less device was not apparent from the “face of the instrument” — i.e., in the text of the original patent application. A written description requirement: The patentee had presented expert testimony that a person of skill in the art would understand that the arbors were optional components of the assembly. Taking that evidence as true, the Federal Circuit found it insufficient to save the claims because the test is whether the new claim scope is written down in the specification. In essence, this is a heightened written description test, not a test of enablement. Query: How would our patent system adjust to applying this written description standard in all cases, not just reissues?

      • After Decades Of Demanding China ‘Respect’ US Patent Law, Senator Rubio Pushes Law That Says US Can Ignore Huawei Enforcing Patents

        For well over a decade we’ve discussed the short-sightedness of the US repeatedly demanding that China “respect” US intellectual property, because China has only turned that around on the US, and used Chinese patents as a way to block American competitors from entering the Chinese market. Things seemed to go up a notch recently, after the US government expanded its attempts to block Huawei from the US market, and Huawei suddenly remembered it owned a shit ton of patents and started demanding Verizon pay on the order of a billion dollars or face patent infringement claims. As we discussed, Huawei was just following the established playbook of using the US’s bizarrely stupid obsession with “patents” against the US itself. Hilariously, Huawei’s CEO was just recently quoted as insisting that the company would not “weaponize” its patents, at the same time that it was clear that that’s exactly what Huawei is doing. Of course, as we’ve learned over the years, patents are designed to be weaponized and are frequently used as weapons against innovation. In response to all of this, rather than recognizing that our over emphasis on patents (and our demands that China “respect” those patents) might be a big part of the problem, Senator Marco Rubio, has submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would literally block Huawei from enforcing its patents in US courts.

      • Trademarks

        • Caterpillar Now Going After All The Cats For Trademark Cancellations

          A couple of weeks back, we discussed the story of Caterpillar Inc., famous manufacturers of tractor equipment, deciding to bully Cat & Cloud Coffee, makers of you’ll-never-guess-what, all because the former had long ago trademarked “CAT” as a truncated brand. At issue specifically is Cat & Cloud’s use of the word “cat” on clothing and merchandise it sells, with Caterpillar claiming there is the potential for public confusion with its own clothing and merch lines. This is, of course, plainly ridiculous. There is no overlap in the branding and nobody is going to confuse the tractor folks with the coffee folks. Others pointed out that there are tons of other companies out there that sell apparel and/or merch while holding trademarks that incorporate the word “cat.” If those other companies are allowed to exist, why not Cat & Cloud? Caterpillar Inc. heard you dear friends, but its response is probably not the one you were hoping for.

        • Battle brewing between independent coffee shop & construction giant heats up

          The battle brews on against a small coffee shop and the construction giant Caterpillar, over the name “cat”. Jared Truby, co-owner of Cat & Cloud Café in Santa Cruz has been in a state of disbelief since last August when their independent shop was slapped with a legal petition to cancel their trademark by heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.

      • Copyrights

        • Mexico first to ratify USMCA trade deal, Trump presses U.S. Congress to do same

          By a vote of 114 in favor to 4 against, Mexico’s Senate backed the deal tortuously negotiated between 2017 and 2018 after Trump repeatedly threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he could not get a better trade agreement for the United States.

        • Mexico becomes first country to ratify USMCA trade deal via Senate vote

          Mexico on Wednesday became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) agreed last year by the three countries to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

        • Court Orders Danish ISPs to Block Copyright-Infringing News Site

          For the first time ever, a Danish court has ordered a local ISP to block access to a news site. ‘The World News’ republishes hundreds of thousands of articles from third-party news sites. The website aims to combat ‘fake news,’ but according to publishers and the court, it infringes the publishers’ copyrights in the process.

        • Book review: Copyrighting God

          The rise and growth of artificial intelligence has revived discussions on copyright in content produced by non-humans. Andrew Ventimiglia, author of Copyrighting God, reminds us that non-human creations, such as those attributed to supernatural spirits, have held a long-standing place in the landscape of copyright (here). Going further, the author argues that claims to copyright in religious texts have actively shaped American copyright law, not least because of the Church of Scientology’s courtroom activism. Read on for more. As hinted by its snappy title, the book focuses on a specific type of non-human creation: texts claimed to have been transmitted to humans by God or other transcendent beings. Ventimiglia tracks the copyright strategy of four American religious organisations: the Urantia Foundation, the Christian Science Church, the Worldwide Church of God and the Church of Scientology.

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      It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



    27. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

      Links for the day



    28. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

      Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



    29. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

      When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



    30. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

      All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“


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