EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.24.19

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

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

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

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.2-rc6
                    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      patches making it into distro kernels quickly and then causing

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

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

      the release cycle.

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

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

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

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

      entirely incommunicado. So rc7 will be delayed.

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

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

      that last week really was a fluke.

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

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

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

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

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

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

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

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam Will No Longer Support Ubuntu : Valve

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

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

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

      • Lutris is an excellent gaming platform!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Steam will not support Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

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

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

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

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

      • Steam Is About to Drop Official Support for Ubuntu

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

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars v3.3.1 is released

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

      • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 76

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

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

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

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

      • Skrooge 2.20.0 released

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

      • New website for Konsole

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

        [...]

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

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

      • Crazy Last Weeks

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

        [...]

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

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nordic Theme on Ubuntu Desktop GNOME 3

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

      • Andrei Lisita: Something to show for

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

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

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

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

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

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

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • CERN Goes Open Source

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

  • CERN ditches Microsoft for open source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Flying Above the Shoulders of Giants

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

  • MIT Researchers Open-Source AutoML Visualization Tool ATMSeer

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

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

  • Open-Source Cybersecurity Tool to Enhance Grid Protection

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

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Deeper into the data fabric with MongoDB

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

  • LibreOffice

    • Microsoft Office vs LibreOffice

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

    • Florian Effenberger: LibreOffice Adoption Is Growing Globally

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

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU APL 1.8 Released

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

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

      “Programming Language APL, Extended”,

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

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

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

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

        [...]

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

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

    • Open Access/Content

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

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

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

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Computer Controlled Loom Knits Pikachu For You

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Programming/Development

    • What’s the Most Secure Programming Language?

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

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

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

    • Kedro Open Source library For Machine Learning

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

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

    • Prisons Are Banning Books That Teach Prisoners How to Code

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

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

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

    Leftovers

    • Yle ends Latin news service

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

    • Science

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

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

    • Hardware

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Air Pollution, the Invisible Enemy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Good Food and Real Food are the basis of health .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • The Movement to Expand Medicaid in Southern States Is Growing

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

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

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

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

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

    • Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 133 has been released

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

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

    • Defence/Aggression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • US and Canada Back the White Supremist Minority in Venezuela

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • White House Unveils Palestinian Economic Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • No War With Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Trump Delays Nationwide Deportation Sweep

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

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

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

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

      • Common Dreams
        The Redeeming Power of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Listening for Immigration at the Democratic Presidential Debates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”

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

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

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

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

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

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

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

      • Episode 33: Assange show as Spy or journalist?

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

      • Is Socialism Possible in America?

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

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

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

      • Lawyers Say 250 Migrant Children Being Held in Dangerous Conditions

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

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

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

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

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

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

      • The Growing Case to Ban Fracking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Devastating Rain Spells Are on Their Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Global Warming, Carbon Dioxide and the Solar Minimum

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

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

        [...]

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

      • US military is huge greenhouse gas emitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Governor sends police after GOP senators who fled Capitol

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

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

      • Oregon Republicans Flee Climate Bill, Police Follow

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

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

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

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

      • People Are Wearing Data Charts to Visualize the Climate Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Four states block EU 2050 carbon neutral target

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

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

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

      • E.U. Leaders Fail to Strengthen Climate Target

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

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

      • EU Leaders Fail to Set 2050 Carbon Neutrality Deadline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Clean Power Overtaking Fossil Fuels in Britain in 2019

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

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

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

      • Clean power to overtake fossil fuels in Britain in 2019

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

      • Clean electricity overtaking fossil fuels in Britain

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Another Reason to Protect Elephants: Frogs Love Their Feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Mobilizing the Poor People’s Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

      • No Dare Call It Austerity

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

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

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

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

      • Facebook’s Authoritarian Money Grab

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

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

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

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

      • Sharia Law makes a comeback in Canada

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

      • Elon Musk Is Gaslighting America

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

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

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

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

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • AOC Is the Trump-Era Hero We Need

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

        [...]

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

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

      • Activists Step Up Trainings in Wake of Deportation Threats

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

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

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

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

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

      • A Brief History of US Concentration Camps

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

      • 19 States Still Allow Schools to Beat Their Students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • At South Carolina Convention, Sanders Hammers Centrist Democrats

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

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

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

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

      • Brian Mier on Brazilian Political Scandal

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

      • Could ‘Deepfakes’ Help Swing the 2020 Election?

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

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

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

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

      • Diary: Party of Quartz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting

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

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

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

      • Donald Trump Accused of Sexual Assault by 24th Woman

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

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

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

      • Donald Trump Is America’s Shadow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        There’s two things wrong with this premise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Erdogan also congratulated Imamoglu in a tweet.

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

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

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

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

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

      • Hope Hicks Rebuffs Questions on Trump White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • AMLO in Office: From Megaprojects to Militarization

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • GOP Lawmakers Try to Squelch Voter Initiatives in 16 States

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

        That hasn’t gone over well with Republicans.

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

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

    • Censorship/Free Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Digital sleuths alarmed after Twitter cites Indian law violation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Guardian Continues to Promote “Progressive” Censorship

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

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

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

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

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

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Complainants call on ICO to take action against adtech sector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Australian Internet pioneer says future does not look so bright

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

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Gig economy transforms Finnish labour

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Assange, the AFP and the crime of dissent

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

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

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

      • Poor treatment of Assange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Supreme Court Undermines Religious Neutrality In Permitting Giant Governmental Cross

        The decision ignores our constitutional commitment to official religious neutrality.

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

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

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

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

      • Corporate Pride is Cheap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • American History for Truthdiggers: The Reagan Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • America Must Make Amends for the Horror of Slavery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Normalizing Atrocity

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Surviving the Mediterranean Sea Amid European Refugee Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage

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

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

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

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

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

      • Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Putin temporarily blocks passenger flights to Georgia

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

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

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

      • Trump’s Persecution of His Investigators Follows Authoritarian Playbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Militia Threat Shuts Down Oregon Statehouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Hong Kong Protests Flare Again Over Extradition Laws

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

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

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

      • Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        This continued injustice is why, for more than 20 years, my grandmother, Martha Wright-Reed, fought the prison phone industry for affordable phone rates. Now, I am working to keep up the fight.

        My own incarceration was the initial motivation for my grandmother’s struggle for phone justice. However, over time, we realized this fight was much bigger than us; it was about keeping families together across the United States. We also knew that lowering the price of long-distance calls was only one aspect of this ongoing battle.

        My grandmother’s perseverance and commitment finally bore fruit in 2013 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced they would cap long-distance prison phone rates. I couldn’t have been more proud of my grandmother, who, in her final years, achieved such tremendous change.

        This past week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act to continue my grandmother’s legacy by pushing for fairer prison phone rates across the country. This legislation would restore the FCC’s authority to regulate the prison phone industry and cap the rate of prison phone calls from state and local prisons.

      • “Willful Recklessness”: Trump Pushes for Indefinite Family Detention

        At the Greyhound bus station in San Antonio, Texas, you can easily spot the mothers and children who were released by immigration authorities from a facility run by the private prison company CoreCivic. The women wear what amount to prison uniforms: dark-wash jeans, pastel or red t-shirts or sweatshirts, and generic tennis shoes. Their sons and daughters, ranging from infants to tweens, all wear similar shirts and shoes with maroon sweatpants.

        One mother, named Corina, ran her fingers through her 10-year-old son’s hair as he leaned on her shoulder this past Saturday and waited for a bus to Oklahoma, where their sponsor lives. It was the next step of their journey to escape violence in Guatemala. Earlier in June they had been taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in South Texas, and crowded into an outdoor pen known as a perrera or “kennel,” where they were fed baloney sandwiches twice a day and slept on the ground. Then they were bussed to the sprawling 2,400-bed South Texas Family Residential Center in the small town of Dilley, and held 11 days in a room with two other families.

        “Compared to the border, it was much cleaner,” she said Saturday, through an interpreter. “We had food and we were able to sleep,” even though at night dozens of lights illuminate what is currently the largest family detention center in the United States.

        When pressed to describe what she might change about their time at the facility, she said only that she wished they had been held there for “menos tiempo”—“less time.”

    • DRM

      • Green Party co-leaders back call for ‘right to repair’

        Green Party co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley will today jointly be signing the Manchester Declaration calling for a “right to repair” for consumers.

        They will be joined by a representative from the Restart movement at the “Library of Things” – a community-focused lending library of useful appliances and tools – in the Upper Norwood Library.

        Jonathan Bartley said: “We all know how annoying it is when an appliance that we know used to last for decades dies after a few years, when a new computer won’t work with an older printer, when an expensive kitchen appliance becomes useless for the want of a minor part.

        “As consumers, we should have the right to goods made to last, designed so that if an element goes wrong it can be repaired (ideally at home or at a repair cafe), that parts will be available when needed and documentation available to assist the repairer.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • China introduces ‘intent to use’ to combat trade mark squatting in its recent law amendment

          For the first time, China introduces the concept of ‘intent to use’ into the trade mark application procedure. The new law requires that “Bad faith trade mark applications filed without intent to use shall be refused”. Procedurally, this clause becomes a legal ground for trade mark opposition and invalidation.

          It’s clear that the “intent to use” requirement is introduced to combat trade mark squatting, which has been a long-standing problem for brand owners. There is even plenty of ‘professional’ trade mark squatters, individuals and organisations alike, which scan the market and register trade marks in large quantities, without any intent to use them and rather sell them to brand owners for profit later on.

          China has acknowledged the problem since the third amendment of the China Trade Mark Law in 2014, and gradually increased the ease of opposing or invalidating such bad faith trade mark applications. However, non-use cancellation remains the best way to remove such trade marks from the Registrar. The problem is that it only applies to trade marks which have been registered for over 3 years.

          Therefore, the “intent to use” requirement is a significant step forward to deter trade mark squatting. Brand owners can now oppose any pending trade mark applications, or invalidate any registered trade mark that is less than 3 years old, based on the lack of intent of use. This means that trade marks can be challenged on the ground of ‘use’, either intent to use or actual use, at both the application and registration phase. Detailed guidelines are yet to be rolled out regarding, for example, what evidence satisfies intent to use. However, it’s likely that they will be based on and adapted from the ‘intent to use’ rules of other jurisdictions, including the USA.

      • Copyrights

        • RIAA Targets Large Polish File-Hosting Site Chomikuj

          The RIAA has obtained a subpoena from a court in the United States ordering Cloudflare to reveal the personal details of the operator of a large file-hosting site. In its native Poland, Chomikuj (hamster) is a hugely popular platform but according to Google the site is also ranked fifth in the world when it comes to DMCA complaints.

        • Rightsholders Want to Completely Delist ‘Pirate’ Domains From Search Results

          In a closed-door meeting this week to discuss the formation of a new anti-piracy law, rightsholders in Russia proposed that pirate sites should be completely delisted from search results, rather than just links to specified content. Internet companies are said to be against the measures, despite agreement on other fronts.

        • Spain’s Pirate Site Blocklist Expands Following Hollywood Complaint

          Following a complaint from major Hollywood studios including Disney, Paramount, Sony, and Universal, a Spanish court has ordered several ISPs to block several Spanish-language pirate sites. The MPA stresses that the ISPs are not accused of any wrongdoing, but their cooperation, voluntary or through the court, is needed to help deter piracy.

    Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
    • Digg
    • del.icio.us
    • Reddit
    • co.mments
    • DZone
    • email
    • Google Bookmarks
    • LinkedIn
    • NewsVine
    • Print
    • Technorati
    • TwitThis
    • Facebook

    If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

    Pages that cross-reference this one

    What Else is New


    1. Bribes, Lies, Fundamental Violations of the Law and Cover-Up: This is Today's European Patent Office

      It has gotten extremely difficult to hold the conspirators accountable for turning Europe’s patent office into a ‘printing machine’ of the litigation industry and amassing vast amounts of money (to be passed to private, for-profit companies)



    2. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Lost Almost Half (3 Out of 8) Board Members in Only One Month

      As the old saying goes, a picture (or screenshot) is worth a thousand words



    3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

      IRC logs for Wednesday, October 16, 2019



    4. Startpage and System1 Abuse Your Privacy Under the Guise of 'Privacy One Group'

      Startpage has sold out and may have also sold data it retained about its users to a privacy-hostile company whose entire business model is surveillance



    5. Links 16/10/2019: Halo Privacy, Ubuntu Release Imminent

      Links for the day



    6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

      IRC logs for Tuesday, October 15, 2019



    7. No, Microsoft is Not an 'Open Source Company' But a Lying Company

      The world’s biggest proprietary software companies want to be seen as “open”; what else is new?



    8. Meme: Setting the Record Straight

      Stallman never defended Epstein. He had called him “Serial Rapist”. It’s Bill Gates who defended Epstein and possibly participated in the same acts.



    9. EPO Staff Resolution Against Neoliberal Policies of António Campinos

      “After Campinos announced 17 financial measures,” a source told us, “staff gathered at multiple sites last week for general assemblies. The meeting halls were crowded. The resolution was passed unanimously and without abstentions.”



    10. Satya Nadella is a Distraction From Microsoft's Real Leadership and Abuses

      "I’m merely wondering if his image and accolades that we’re incessantly bombarded with by the press actually reflect his accomplishments or if they’re being aggrandized."



    11. Raw: EPO Comes Under Fire for Lowering Patent Quality Under the Orwellian Guise of “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI)

      Stephen Rowan, the President’s (António Campinos) chosen VP who promotes the notorious “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI) initiative/pilot, faces heat from the CSC, the Central Staff Committee of the EPO



    12. Making The Most of The Fourth Age of Free Software

      "For better or for worse, we can be certain the Free Software Foundation will never be the same."



    13. FSF is Not for Free Speech Anymore

      The FSF gave orders to silence people



    14. Links 16/10/2019: Plasma 5.17.0, Project Trident Moves to GNU/Linux, NuTyX 11.2

      Links for the day



    15. ...So This GNU/Linux User Goes to a Pub With Swapnil and Jim

      It's hard to promote GNU/Linux when you don't even use it



    16. How to THRIVE, in Uncertain Times for Free Software

      "The guidelines are barely about conduct anyway, they are more about process guidelines for "what to do with your autonomy" in the context of a larger group where participation is completely voluntary and each individual consents to participate."



    17. When They Run Out of Things to Patent They'll Patent Nature Itself...

      The absolutely ridiculous patent bar (ridiculously low) at today’s EPO means that legal certainty associated with European Patents is at an all-time low; patents get granted for the sake of granting more patents each year



    18. EPO Boards of Appeal Need Courage and Structural Disruption to Halt Software Patents in Europe

      Forces or lobbyists for software patents try to come up with tricks and lies by which to cheat the EPC and enshrine illegal software patents; sadly, moreover, EPO judges lack the necessary independence by which to shape caselaw against such practices



    19. Professor Dr. Maximilian Haedicke on Lack of Separation of Powers at the EPO (Which Dooms UPC)

      Team UPC (“empire of lies”) is catching up with reality; no matter how hard media has attempted to not cover EPO scandals (after the EPO paid and threatened many publishers that tried), it remains very much apparent that EPOnia is like a theocracy that cannot be trusted with anything



    20. As Expected, the Bill Gates Propaganda Machine is Trying to Throw/Put Everyone off the Scent of Jeffery Epstein's 'Incestuous' Ties With Gates

      Media ownership up on display; it's amplifying false claims for a whole month, whereas truth/correct information gets buried before a weekend is over



    21. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 14, 2019

      IRC logs for Monday, October 14, 2019



    22. [ES] El Kernel de Linux está introduciendo Open Source Privative Software

      Linux, el kernel, continúa su trayectoria o el camino hacia convertirse en software propietario de código abierto (OSPS).



    23. Linux Foundation Board Meeting

      More sponsored keynotes and tweets — like more sponsored articles (or “media partners”) — aren’t what the Linux Foundation really needs



    24. Links 14/10/2019: Linux 5.4 RC3, POCL 1.4, Python 3.8.0

      Links for the day



    25. This Week Techrights Crosses 26,000 Posts Milestone, 3 Weeks Before Turning 13 (2,000+ Posts/Year)

      A self-congratulatory post about another year that's passed (without breaks from publishing) and another milestone associated with posting volume



    26. No Calls to "Remove Gates" From the Board (Over a Real Scandal/Crime), Only to "Remove Stallman" (Over Phony Distraction From the Former)

      Jeffrey Epstein's connections to Bill Gates extend well beyond Gates himself; other people inside Microsoft are closely involved as well, so Microsoft might want to cut ties with its co-founder before it becomes a very major mess



    27. “The Stupidest [Patent/Tax] Policy Ever”

      It’s pretty clear that today’s European patent system has been tilted grossly in favour of super-rich monopolists and their facilitators (overzealous law firms and ‘creative’ accountants) as opposed to scientists



    28. Meme: Software Patents at the EPO

      The evolution of “technical effect” nonsense at the EPO



    29. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 13, 2019

      IRC logs for Sunday, October 13, 2019



    30. Firm of Microsoft's Former Litigation Chief Uses Microsoft-Connected Patent Lawsuit Against GNU/Linux (GNOME Foundation) for New Breed of FUD Campaigns

      The patent troll of Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold has fed a patent troll that's attacking GNU/Linux and a firm owned by Microsoft's former litigation chief says it proves "Open Source Software Remains a Target"


    RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

    Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

    Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

    Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

    Recent Posts