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07.14.19

Links 14/7/2019: Linux 5.2.1, Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview, Linux Mint 19.2 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Tim Falls on Developer Relations, Open Source, Free Education and Ethics

        In this podcast, Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Tim Falls of Digital Ocean about developer relations, the importance of embracing and providing open-source software, the need to offer free education in software development and the importance of ethics in education.

      • Linux Action News 114

        Another project breach raises significant questions, Fedora considers dropping Snaps in Gnome Software, and has the ISPA let Mozilla off the hook?

        Plus Microsoft makes it into linux-distros, the Raspberry Pi 4 charger issue, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • What’s New in Linux 5.2?

        Linux 5.2 has been released. This release includes Sound Open Firmware, a project that brings open source firmware to DSP audio devices; open firmware for many Intel products is also included. This release also improves the Pressure Stall Information resource monitoring to make it usable by Android; the mount API has been redesigned with new syscalls; the BFQ I/O scheduler has gained some performance improvements; a new CLONE_PIDFD flag lets clone(2) return pidfs usable by pidfd_send_signal(2); Ext4 has gained support for case-insensitive name lookups; there is also a new device mapper target that simulates a device that has failing sectors and/or read failures; open source drivers for the ARM Mali t4xx and newer 6xx/7xx have been added. Many other new drivers, features and changes can be found in the changelog.

      • XFS Gets Cleaned Up In Linux 5.3 Kernel Development Activity

        While not too eventful on the end-user feature front, the XFS file-system has seen another round of clean-ups with the ongoing Linux 5.3 merge window.

        XFS maintainer Darrick Wong characterized the feature work for XFS in Linux 5.3 as “significant amounts of consolidations and cleanups in the log code; restructuring of the log to issue struct bios directly; new bulkstat ioctls to return v5 fs inode information (and fix all the padding problems of the old ioctl); the beginnings of multithreaded inode walks (e.g. quotacheck); and a reduction in memory usage in the online scrub code leading to reduced runtimes.”

      • Networking Changes For Linux 5.3 Bring New Google Driver But No WireGuard

        The networking subsystem updates were sent out on Wednesday for the Linux 5.3 kernel and include a bunch of improvements to many different drivers.

        The networking changes are heavy as usual and include improvements to pretty much all of the common networking drivers.

      • NVIDIA’s Graphics Driver Will Run Into Problems With Linux 5.3 On IBM POWER

        For those using the NVIDIA proprietary graphics driver on an IBM POWER system, it could be a while before seeing Linux 5.3+ kernel support. Upstream has removed code depended upon by the NVIDIA binary driver for supporting the POWER architecture and as is the case they don’t care that it will break NVIDIA driver support since it’s binary/out-of-tree.

        The POWER changes for Linux 5.3 remove NPU DMA code. In the pull request they do acknowledge this DMA code is “used by the out-of-tree Nvidia driver, as well as some other functions only used by drivers that haven’t (yet?) made it upstream.”

      • The Input Driver Updates For Linux 5.3 Bring New Hardware Support

        The input and HID subsystem updates were sent in this week with various hardware support additions and improvements.

      • Linux 5.3 Picking Up IPMB Driver For Intelligent Platform Management Bus

        Contributed by Mellanox to the Linux 5.3 kernel is an IPMB driver for the Intelligent Platform Management Bus.

        IPMB initially didn’t ring a bell but after checking out the new driver and its associated documentation, it sounds quite interesting for supported server platforms.

      • Linux 5.2.1
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.2.1 kernel.
        
        All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.
        
        The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.2.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        
        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git;a=summary
        
        thanks,
        
        greg k-h
        
      • Linux 5.2.1 Released For Riding The Latest Stable Kernel

        For those that generally wait for the first point release before upgrading to a new kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman released Linux 5.2.1 this Sunday morning.

        One week after the debut of Linux 5.2, the first point release is now available with addressing various bugs/regressions. There are some fixes in Linux 5.2.1 from the initial fallout from upgrading to 5.2, but fortunately nothing too serious. Linux 5.2.1 brings a number of perf fixes, reducing the stack usage for the RTL8712 driver, fscrypt will no longer set policy for dead directories, and there is also a new documentation section detailing CPU vulnerabilities for Spectre.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Valve’s Latest Linux Gaming Work Is Boosting AMD Vulkan Performance By Up To 44 Percent

          Phoronix has also shown both framerate improvements, reduced loading times and reduced stutter in a heaping helping of benchmarks, but Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais recently emailed me a fascinating result that originated from DXVK developer Philip Rebohle. And it’s definitely a mic drop moment.

          It centers around the game NieR: Automata, which works well under Linux via Steam Play using Valve’s Proton. The three images below depict the game running at 1440p with maximum quality settings, on a Ryzen 7 2700X and Radeon RX 480 system. In the tests, Valve compared the framerates in the same scene using Windows (DirectX 11), RADV + LLVM, and RADV + ACO.

        • Weston 7.0 release schedule
          Hi all,
          
          Here is the release schedule for Weston 7.0, the next major version:
          
          - Alpha: July 19th, in one week
          - Beta: August 2nd
          - RC1: August 16th
          - First possible release: August 23th
          
          Package maintainers are encouraged to pick up the pre-releases to make
          sure packaging can be tested (and fixed) before the stable release.
          This will be the first release to drop completely autotools support,
          replacing it with Meson.
          
          A Wayland release hasn't been planned yet. Weston and Wayland releases
          are not combined anymore.
          
          Please let me know if you have any objections.
          
          Thanks,
          
        • Wayland’s Weston 7.0 Compositor Aiming To Release Next Month

          Simon Ser who has been serving as the Wayland/Weston release manager has laid out a schedule for getting out the next major release of Wayland’s reference compositor.

          Simon’s planned release schedule involves the Weston 7.0 Alpha release next week, a beta in early August, the release candidate around mid-August, and the possible release around the end of August barring any major issues. Such timing would ideally get the updated Weston 7.0 compositor within autumn 2019 Linux distribution releases.

    • Benchmarks

      • FreeBSD 12 Runs Refreshingly Easy On AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – Benchmarks Against Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        While newer Linux distributions have run into problems on the new AMD Zen 2 desktop CPUs (fixed by a systemd patch or fundamentally by a BIOS update) and DragonFlyBSD needed a separate boot fix, FreeBSD 12.0 installed out-of-the-box fine on the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X test system with ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi motherboard.

        [...]

        I also attempted to try DragonFlyBSD with its latest daily ISO/IMG following the Zen 2 fix this week by Matthew Dillon. Unfortunately, even with the latest daily ISO I ran into a panic at boot time. So as a result, today are just some FreeBSD 12.0 vs. Ubuntu 18.04 benchmarks for reference. Matthew Dillon did have some interesting comments in our forums about his (great) experiences with these new CPUs, some limitations, and about the original DragonFlyBSD issue.

    • Applications

      • Top GUI Tools for Linux System Administrators

        Let’s have a look into the list of top GUI tools for Linux system administrators. If you are tired of running command and need some change then this post is for you.

      • Millan Castro Vilariño: GSoC: First month working in Pitivi

        Pitivi is a video editor, free and open source. Targeted at newcomers and professional users, it is minimalist and powerful. This summer I am fortunate to collaborate in Pitivi development through Google Summer of Code.

        My goal is to implement an interval time system, with the support of Mathieu Duponchell, my menthor, and other members of the Pitivi community.

        An interval time system is a common tool in many video editors. It will introduce new features in Pitivi. The user will be able to set up a range of time in the timeline editor, playback specific parts of the timeline, export the selected parts of the timeline, cut or copy clips inside the interval and zoom in/out the interval.

        Mi proposal also includes the design of a marker system to store information at a certain time position.

      • Foliate – A Simple & Modern New GTK eBook Viewer

        Foliate is an open-source GTK eBook viewer built with GJS and Epub.js.

      • 15 Free Open source FTP Servers

        FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is as its name suggests a file transferring protocol between two computers, a local computer, and a remote server. FTP servers is a web server that runs on web-servers and uses FTP protocol at the server side to manage file transfers, connections, & users. Some of them come with a modular architecture, security-focused features, and several options designed for the enterprise.

        The FTP server allows users to store their files on the server, through FTP, and access it later. The basic features of usable FTP servers are to manage the file transfers, the connections, the rate limits, the user’s accounts, user groups, & user permissions. Some of the projects on this list do, even more, some of them are built with modular architecture allowing developers to extend their functionalities throw custom developed modules and plugins.

        To connect to the FTP server, you require a client (FTP client), that provide the client-ready interface to connect through FTP and similar protocols. We have covered the best FTP clients in this article for Windows users, Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, macOS). Here is our list of: 10 Recommended Free, Open source FTP Clients for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

      • bzip2 1.0.8

        We are happy to announce the release of bzip2 1.0.8.

        This is a fixup release because the CVE-2019-12900 fix in bzip2 1.0.7 was too strict and might have prevented decompression of some files that earlier bzip2 versions could decompress. And it contains a few more patches from various distros and forks.

        bzip2 1.0.8 contains the following fixes:

        Accept as many selectors as the file format allows. This relaxes the fix for CVE-2019-12900 from 1.0.7 so that bzip2 allows decompression of bz2 files that use (too) many selectors again.
        Fix handling of large (> 4GB) files on Windows.
        Cleanup of bzdiff and bzgrep scripts so they don’t use any bash extensions and handle multiple archives correctly.
        There is now a bz2-files testsuite at https://sourceware.org/git/bzip2-tests.git
        Patches by Joshua Watt, Mark Wielaard, Phil Ross, Vincent Lefevre, Led and Kristýna Streitová.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • SNES-inspired action adventure game “Ribbiting Saga” going to Early Access, after crowdfunding fails

        Ribbiting Saga from Happy Ogre sadly didn’t pass the crowdfunding test but it’s not the end. This SNES-inspired action adventure game is instead now taking pre-orders, with Early Access coming instead.

        Writing on Kickstarter, the developer noted how they’ve “learned a ton from the process” and so they’re going onto Steam with Early Access in around 2-3 months. They’ve put a pre-order page up, which is clearly stating Linux support.

      • Electronic Super Joy 2 releasing soon with Linux support

        Mixing difficult platforming with some “brain-smashing” electronic music, Electronic Super Joy 2 from Michael Todd Games is releasing soon and like previous games it will support Linux.

      • Progress Report: May 2019

        Welcome to May’s Progress Report! Firstly we would like to apologise for the delay in publishing this report. RPCS3’s progress reports are solely written by volunteers and a few of our regular writers could not contribute to this report due to personal commitments. If you hate seeing RPCS3’s reports get delayed and would like to contribute to them, please apply here.

        This month saw some major leaps by Nekotekina and kd-11 on the SPU and RSX fronts. Nekotekina implemented SPU PIC support while kd-11 improved the surface cache implementation. Meanwhile, Megamouse made multiple improvements to the UI, GalCiv overhauled the DualShock 3 pad handler and ruipin tackled regressions in the SPU LLVM backend when using Mega SPU block size.

      • PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 has the June report out, amount of playable titles continues increasing

        More fantastic work from the RPCS3 emulator team, with the report for May now available that highlights some more recent work done to improve the project. As a reminder, their reports are delayed by months as they’re written by volunteers, you can apply to help here.

        Amusingly, the amount of games playable they’re tracking is now at 1337, making it about 43.71% up from 1258 in April. They really are making quick progress, which is incredibly considering the huge task it is to create such software.

      • Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview

        Preview 1 of the upcoming 4.23 release is available now on the Launcher and GitHub. We are making this Preview available so that our developer community can try our new features and help us catch issues before the final release. As fixes are implemented, we will release updated previews throughout the development cycle.

        Please be aware that preview releases are not fully quality tested, that they are still under heavy active development, and that they should be considered as unstable until the final release. Developers should not convert their projects for active development on preview releases. Please test on copies of your project instead.

        Links to known and fixed issues for this release are provided below. If you discover any additional issues with this preview release, please report them using the guidelines in the link: How to Report a Bug.

      • Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview Brings Virtual Texturing, Other Enhancements

        Epic Games released the first public preview this week of Unreal Engine 4.23.

        Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview doesn’t bring any significant Vulkan or Linux specific work, but there are some rendering enhancements and other features for those interested in game visuals and engine features. Well, there is one “fix” on the Vulkan front worth mentioning and that is tessellation support should now be working correctly with the Vulkan renderer.

      • Dota Underlords gains a prototype Battle Pass in the latest Early Access update

        Valve continue to push out some more interesting updates to their auto-battler Dota Underlords, with it now having the first version of their prototype Battle Pass.

        All beta testers during Early Access are granted it for free and like everything else in Underlords, Valve will be using it as a “learning experience”. With it you can unlock banners, emotes, new board types along with a mix of daily and weekly challenges. You can earn XP (experience points) by playing online against others or against Hardcore level bots.

      • DXVK 1.3 is out with some fun sounding new features for this Vulkan translation layer

        Developer Philip Rebohle just released DXVK 1.3, a fun sounding version of the Vulkan-based D3D11 and D3D10 implementation for Wine with some new features.

        Using the new “VK_EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation” extension from Vulkan version 1.1.113 (released on June 30th), DXVK can use it to “implement the discard instruction in shaders, which may improve performance in some games”.

      • DXVK 1.3 Released With Discard Optimization, Async Presentation

        Philip Rebohle released version 1.3 of DXVK today, the widely-used Direct3D 10/11 to Vulkan translation layer for accelerating Windows gaming on Linux under Wine and most known with Steam Play.

        DXVK 1.3 adds optional support for VK_EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation to implement the discard instruction within shaders and may help the performance of some games. DXVK 1.3 also adds asynchronous presentation support as another performance optimization. There are also resource upload changes to help different games but currently only working with the AMDVLK and NVIDIA drivers.

      • Ubuntu To Provide NVIDIA Drivers Updates To Ubuntu LTS Users

        Ubuntu has been a good choice to switch to Linux from other operating systems. The only thing that has stopped people is the hardware updates. Though there were NVIDIA drivers updates available but through third-party PPAs.

        But no more installation of third-party PPAs in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Ubuntu is now going to provide the latest NVIDIA drivers updates to its long term release users starting from its latest LTS release Ubuntu 18.04.

        The big news was announced through Ubuntu’s twitter account posting a Youtube video describing how Ubuntu is already testing the feature and will release to the public very soon.

        Let me tell you, updating Nvidia drivers were not difficult but required the installation of third-party PPAs or run several scripts to update NVIDIA drivers.

        As explained in the video, Ubuntu will now provide the latest proprietary drivers updates from its repositories in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and also Ubuntu 16.04 in the near future.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 79

          After a somewhat light week, we’ve back with week 79 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative, and there’s a ton of cool stuff for you!

        • KDE’s kstart5 Now Works On Wayland, No More HiDPI Screen Flickering At Start-Up

          There is less than two months to go until KDE’s annual Akademy conference, which this year is being hosted in Milan, Italy. But even with summer activities, KDE development remains quite busy. KDE developer Nate Graham has written another one of his weekly blog posts highlighting the interesting development work going into this open-source desktop environment.

    • Distributions

      • People of openSUSE: Sébastien Poher

        I got into Linux in two steps, first, in 2007 but I was the only one among my friends to use it so I ended up sticking to the shitty OS I had. My next re-discovery of Linux was later in 2012 when I started professional training in system administration.

      • Reviews

        • Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria Plasma review – Genius in disguise

          Manjaro is a totally bi-polar distro. Utterly genius and silly at the same time. It does some things so well, it offers so much innovation, it has some rather unique features you don’t get to see elsewhere, and then it spoils it with some visual inconsistencies, glitches with its bundled apps and very cumbersome package management. No AUR, fine, but what other options do common users have? How can ordinary non-CLI folks enjoy the likes of Chrome or Skype or whatnot on their boxen? There’s a lot of progress – just read my Manjaro diaries over the years – but it’s still all fragile balance, and the distro still needs to fully figure out its identity and direction.

          The nonfree aspect of the live session should be highlighted. All in all, I’m pleased with the easy availability of everyday conveniences, the installer was neat, and there’s a lot of original goodness in Manjaro, more than most other distros. But the network support needs some rework, there should be better identification or auto-configuration with hardware issues on so-called unfriendly platform, and the package management feels neglected. All in all, this is a very promising system. Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria deserves something like 8/10, and I’ll be following up with some customization tricks, plus maybe a review of another edition. That would be all for this rather lengthy review.

      • New Releases

        • antiX-19-b2-full (64 and 32 bit) available

          Our second beta build of the upcoming antiX-19 release, based on Debian Buster and systemd-free.

          Changes since beta1.

          * Inclusion of connman-bluetooth-firmware
          * New app – App Select – Quickly find all installed apps.
          * 4.9.182 ‘Sack Panic’ patched kernel
          * New ‘antiX’ category added to menu
          * New themes, icons and wallpaper
          * Various bugfixes.

        • Feren OS July 2019 Snapshot has been released

          It?s been 3 months since the last Snapshot, so? if you don?t know what that means: It calls for a New Feren OS Snapshot, and it?s now released for the 64 Bit Architecture and the 32 Bit Architecture.

          This release comes with a set of minor changes and improvements over the April 2019 Snapshot, with the most noteworthy changes that users will notice summarised below.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora To Stop Providing i686 Kernels, Might Also Drop 32-Bit Modular/Everything Repos

          The proposed change to no longer build i686 Linux kernel packages beginning with the Fedora 31 release later this year has been approved. Additionally, they might also begin removing some 32-bit repositories.

          The F31 change proposal to stop building 32-bit x86 (i686) kernels was approved at Friday’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) meeting. So that’s the end of the road for 32-bit x86 kernels on Fedora and any installation media.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 10 “Buster” Full Review and My Thoughts
        • Talk: What goes into a Debian package?

          No, I’m not in Chicago. This was a trial run of giving a talk remotely, which I’ll also be doing for DebConf this year. I set up an RTMP server in the cloud (nginx) and ran OBS Studio on my laptop to capture and transmit video and audio. I’m generally very impressed with OBS Studio, although the X window capture source could do with improvement. I used the built-in camera and mic, but the mic picked up a fair amount of background noise (including fan noise, since the video encoding keeps the CPU fairly busy). I should probably switch to a wearable mic in future.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta Cinnamon Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the Cinnamon edition.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta Cinnamon

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the cinnamon edition. It comes with Cinnamon 4.2 and Nemo 4.2, which is the first point release after Cinnamon 4.0, so as we can expect this whole release is mainly bug fixes and smoothing things out and it is truly a great smooth release, and it is only the Beta!

          It comes with Linux Kernel 5.15 and it uses about 800-1000MB of Ram when idling.

          This Beta release is about a month later than usual as it was a difficult release cycle if you look at their last couple of monthly newsletters, but they did promise a very good release, and that is what we received. So thank you to the Linux Mint team!

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • Fuchsia adds official Snapdragon 835 support, same chip as in Google Pixel 2

          In the past few months, especially during Google I/O, we’ve learned a great deal about Google’s Fuchsia OS and the types of devices it’s currently expected to run on. While Hiroshi Lockheimer urged fans to consider the possibility that Fuchsia may not necessarily be for smartphones, new evidence has come to light indicating that the Fuchsia team is working to support the Snapdragon 835 processor, found in phones like the Google Pixel 2.

        • ODROID-H2 Review – Part 2: Ubuntu 19.04

          ODROID-H2 Review – We’ve thoroughly tested Ubuntu 19.04 on Hardkernel’s Intel Celeron J4105 single board computer.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Inside the IT industry’s largest commercial open source software ecosystem

        At Red Hat, our vision of an open hybrid cloud is simple. We believe they should be truly open platforms across any application, environment, and cloud, with portability and operational consistency. This reaches from public and private clouds, to bare metal and virtual environments in traditional datacenters, the extended datacenter (edge), and end-user devices.

        Delivering application portability for development and operations across a diverse set of environments, without vendor lock-in, requires ubiquitous open source technologies as well as commercial offerings based on these technologies. Open source technologies can provide layers of abstraction and offer an ecosystem worth investing in for customers and vendors alike. These technologies deliver a pathway to commercial offerings as stand-alone products or as solutions that help solve customer needs.

        Standardising with open source.

        Standardising on products that use open source technologies can help protect customers by offering an exit strategy. Linux, Linux containers, Kubernetes and Kubernetes Operators are key technologies for these abstractions in modern computing environments. A closer look reveals why:

      • Open Source TriggerMesh Operator Available for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for Hybrid Serverless Computing

        TriggerMesh, a multi-cloud serverless management platform company, and Vshn, a DevOps consultancy, have announced the availability of the TriggerMesh Operator for Red Hat OpenShift 4. OpenShift 4 was recently announced by Red Hat to bring additional automation to Kubernetes applications. The TriggerMesh Operator allows OpenShift users to install the TriggerMesh management platform and integrate serverless workloads with other clouds and legacy infrastructure. In addition, TriggerMesh enables serverless function CI/CD as well as access to multi-cloud event sources from AWS and Google Cloud.

      • Are Open Source Active Path Testing Tools Viable for You?

        An open source path testing tool could be an alternative to a commercial product, but you must understand the tradeoffs.

      • What Is Open-Source Software? (+The Benefits and Risks)

        Many open-source applications are also freely distributed. This is referred to as free and open-source software, or FOSS. Often, vendors only ask for donations to help keep them afloat, along with costs for additional plugins, support and services.

        These brands provide a solution they believe in without attaching a price tag or subscription plan to the product. The most successful releases usually generate a profit from a passionate community of users. But the prevalence of zero-cost software goes hand in hand with the transparency of open-source code.

        Not only do these features increase a vendor’s chances of reaching a wider audience, but they also offer opportunities to inspire innovation. It is all about paying it forward.

        There are twists and turns in the timeline of open-source technology, and there is still a substantial place in B2B for proprietary code. But the spread of free, open-source software is a defining story of the 2000s, leading to the rise of many products and careers. Popular products like Blender and MySQL remain free and open source even with millions of downloads. These success stories helped to fortify the movement and rewrite the rules of software development and usership.

      • Zim is a free, open source, text editor with wiki like features

        One unusual text editor which I came across a while ago, was Zim. This isn’t your average text editor. If you have used hierarchical text editors like AllMyNotes Organizer or Tree Notes (commercial), it is sort of similar.

        Zim can be used to create pages, and link to those pages, kind of like a wiki functions, hence the tagline, A Desktop Wiki. The application which is written in Python, is available for Windows and Linux. Both versions are identical in usage and features, though the PC version is a few builds behind.

        [...]

        Tip: You can use Zim as a text-editor and use it to edit TXT files using the import option. The export options can be used to save the documents to other formats like HTML, MHTML, Latex, Markdown and RST.

        The toolbar has a few navigation options, some formatting styles, and the attach files option. Opening the Calendar option creates a Journal notebook which has automatically categorized sub-pages for the selected year, month and date. The format menu has a lot more options including headings, list styles (numbered, bulleted, checkbox list), scripts, etc. This means can use the program for anything, like keeping a journal, maintaining a record of your expenses, a collection of notes, use it for note-taking in class or meetings, to-do lists, etc. It’s up to you.

        Tip: Though the toolbar says Strong, Emphasis, etc., the program supports universal keyboard shortcuts for Bold, Italics, Underline etc.

      • ThoughtWorks Releases Taiko – A Free and Open Source Browser Automation Tool

        ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy, today announced the availability of Taiko 1.0, an open source browser automation tool which is available to download for free. Taiko is sponsored by the same ThoughtWorks team that created the free and open source test automation framework Gauge.

      • Open Source’s Role in UC & Networking on the Rise

        Exploring the impact of the software revolution that’s quietly empowering more open source networking and communications solutions.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Qinling

        This week’s SD Times Open Source Project of the Week — OpenStack’s Qinling — allows users to run code without provisioning or managing servers and only pay for the compute time they consume. The release is still under development and the current supported release is Stein.

        According to the makers of Qinling, the project was created to provide “Functions-as-a-Service” for serverless functions such as AWS Lambda. Through plugins, Qinling supports container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes and Swarm as well as function package storage backends.

      • AMD Picasso Support For Coreboot Appears Finally Ready

        Back in April I wrote about Coreboot seeing AMD Picasso APU enablement work as the first Zen/Ryzen processor target being handled by this open-source BIOS alternative. It now looks like that Picasso support is all squared away and ready for use by future AMD-powered Google Chromebooks.

      • Lessons from the GraphQL Documentary: Never Underestimate the Power of Open Source Communities

        Honeypot, a tech-focused job platform based in Europe, has produced a documentary that offers a fascinating look at the origins of GraphQL. The 28-minute video explores how quickly the project began to have an impact on the wider tech industry after Facebook publicly released it as an open source project.

        GraphQL co-founder Nick Schrock, who was interviewed along with fellow co-creators Lee Byron and Dan Schafer, said the documentary “captured both the urgency and joy of the early months of the GraphQL.” It was filmed over two months in San Francisco and Berlin, where Honeypot runs the GraphQL Conf in cooperation with Prisma.

      • Events

        • The Apache® Software Foundation Announces Program for ApacheCon™ Europe

          The Apache® Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the event program for the European edition of ApacheCon™, the ASF’s official global conference series. ApacheCon Europe will take place 22-24 October 2019 at the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, Germany.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • How I put order in my bookmarks and found a better way to organise them

            I currently have still a few dozen bookmarks that I need to tag in Memex and delete from my Firefox bookmarks. And a further several dozen in OneTab.

            The most viewed websites, I have in the “Top Sites” in Firefox.

            Most of the “tabs” in OneTab, I have already migrated to Memex and I am looking very much forward to trying to use it instead of OneTab. So far it seems a bit more work, as I need to 1) open all tabs into a tab tree (same as in OneTab), 2) open that tab tree in a separate window (extra step), and then 3) use the “Tag all tabs in window” or “Add all tabs in window” option from the extension button (similar as in OneTab), and finally 4) close the tabs by closing the window (extra step). What I usually do is to change a Tab Group from OneTab to a Collection in Memex and then take some extra time to add tags or notes, if appropriate.

            So, I am quite confident Memex will be able to replace OneTab for me and most likely also (most) normal bookmarks. I may keep some bookmarks of things that I want to always keep track of, like my online bank’s URL, but I am not sure yet.

            The annotations are a god-send as well, which will be very hard to get rid of, as I already got used to them.

            Now, if I could only send stuff to my eInk reader (or phone), annotate it there and have those annotations auto-magically show up in the browser and therefore stored locally on my laptop … :D

            Oh, oh, and if I could search through Memex from my KDE Plasma desktop and add/view annotations from other documents (e.g. ePub, ODF, PDF) and other applicatios (e.g. Okular, Calibre, LibreOffice). One may dream …

      • SaaS/Back End

        • Cloudera is making all of its software open-source, one month after its CEO’s abrupt resignation

          Palo Alto-based cloud data provider Cloudera, Inc. plans to open-source all of its software, and focus on providing value-added services on top of its platform…

        • Cloudera flips the open source switch in search of consistency, innovation

          A post-acquisition Cloudera, one that is looking to regain its footing after a disappointing earnings report and a CEO departure, sees open source as a silver bullet.

          Making its software products available through open source can help boost adoption amid a Hadoop market contraction, while helping retain customers in the aftermath of its acquisition.

          In turn, broader Cloudera adoption will mean a bigger pool of potential customers that can pay for additional services like dedicated support or consulting.

          This strategy has worked for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and others. Most recently, IBM finalized a $34 billion move aimed at expanding its presence in the open source space: the acquisition of enterprise software company Red Hat.

        • Cloudera will open source all its software, run business like Red Hat

          In June, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly announced he would resign. Now, Cloudera is announcing a plan it’s worked on since its merger with Hortonworks.

      • CMS

        • 13 Free Open-source Content Management Systems

          WordPress launched in 2003 as a blogging platform. Today, WordPress is a sophisticated content management system, built on PHP and MySQL and running much of the websites worldwide, from hobby blogs to the biggest news portals. Over 54,000 plugins and themes help customize WordPress installations — including robust ecommerce functionality, galleries, mailing lists, forums, and analytics. Price: Free.

        • WordPress vs. Wix vs. Squarespace for SEO: An Interview with Pam Aungst

          Three of the most popular CMSs include WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. WordPress is an open-source CMS, whereas Wix and Squarespace are not. Aungst speaks on how limiting using a proprietary CMS can be.

          “Closed source options have issues with ownership, portability, extendability, longevity, and namely as far as SEO is concerned, limitations on what you can and cannot edit,” Aungst stated. She has been using WordPress for ten years and has not experienced any of these challenges when working with the WordPress CMS.

          WordPress is a CMS developed by Matthew “Matt” Mullenweg, an American entrepreneur and web developer who also owns the company Automattic. WordPress is now managed by The WordPress Foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Although Automattic is a company that provides products and services for WordPress, it’s important to clarify that they do not own the software. The WordPress software is licensed under the GNU General Public License, which is a widely used software license guaranteeing end-users to freely study, edit, share, and modify their software. That is what makes WordPress open-source software. Squarespace and Wix are examples of closed source CMSs that are owned by corporate entities as intellectual property. Their source code is not fully accessible by the public or even their own paid subscribers.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Beth Israel Deaconess’ open-source patient database enabled a decade of AI research

            Since Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston launched the MIMIC compendium of de-identified medical records in 2009, the database has proved essential to the advancement of artificial intelligence research in medicine, STAT reports.

            MIMIC is free to use, with more than 12,000 researchers from around the world granted access to it in the last decade. The database is estimated to have been used in more than 500 research papers and presentations, and is widely considered to be the only open-source dataset comprehensive enough to aid in such advanced research, despite unavoidable flaws such as occasionally incomplete data and the inherent bias due to its being sourced from just one hospital.

          • How To Tell Stories: A Beginner’s Guide For Open Source Researchers

            Many open source researchers rely on journalists to turn data into a narrative that will then reach a wider audience. Yet journalism today is in a crisis! You can trust me as a person who comes from a traditional journalism background — oh, the sheer amount of horror stories I can tell over whiskey.

            In the U.S., for example, the media is facing its worst layoffs since the Great Recession. This is just one of the reasons why it is important for open source researchers to fill in the gaps traditional media outlets are leaving in their wake.

          • Vintage Style Astronomy Maps Made from Open Source Data of the Universe

            Biology graduate student Eleanor Lutz uses her spare time working on Tabletop Whale. This science illustration blog is an outlet for her creativity, allowing her to publish drawings, infographics, and data visualizations relating to science. Her latest project, Atlas of Space, is an exciting set of astronomy maps. Using open source datasets, she’s designed incredibly artistic visualizations that have a vintage feel to them.

            Attracted to the large quantities of data available within the astronomy community, Lutz mined organizations like NASA and the United States Geological Survey to pull together the maps. The graduate student benefitted from her knowledge of Python, a high-level programming language she uses for her Ph.D. research. Using the program, she was able to crunch the incredible quantities of open source data and transform it into something you’d want to hang on your wall.

            Lutz has been working on the project for the past year and a half, just announcing it to the public in June 2019. Since then, she’s been releasing a map each week. Every map is accompanied by an interesting explanation of how she achieved her results, as well as the sources used in the work.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • The RISC-V Foundation Receives Donation from Arduino to Further Strengthen its Open Source Community

            The RISC-V Foundation, a non-profit corporation controlled by its members to drive the adoption and implementation of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), today announced that it received a donation of $5,000 USD from Arduino to advance the RISC-V ecosystem and efforts focused on open source hardware and software development. The RISC-V Foundation is laser focused on accelerating the RISC-V ecosystem, driving tech innovation forward and fostering industry-wide collaboration. This donation will further support the Foundation’s mission in delivering future developments of open silicon and hardware implementations.

          • A PDP Laptop, For Various Definitions Of A Laptop

            Digital Equipment Corp.’s PDP-11 is one of the most important computers in history. It’s the home of Unix, although that’s arguable, and it’s still being used in every application, from handling nuclear control rods to selling Ed Sheeran tickets on Ticketmaster. As the timeline of PDP-11 machines progressed, the hardware did as well, and by the time the PDP was eclipsed by the VAXxen, there were PDP-11s on a single chip. The Eastern Bloc took notice and produced their own PDP-11 on a chip. This is the 1801-series CPU, and like most soviet electronics from the Cold War, they’re readily available on eBay.

            [SHAOS] has an interesting project in mind for this PDP-on-a-chip. It’s a standalone computer built around the Soviet re-implementation of the PDP-11, built into a form factor that could be described as a single board computer.

            This project is the outgrowth of [SHAOS]’ project for last year’s Hackaday Prize, the PDPii. This was a computer built around a backplane that replicated the PDP-11 using a KR1801VM2 CPU, the Soviet not-a-clone clone of the PDP-11. This project is basically a PDP-11/03 system, except it was made in this century, and you can put it in any computer case, with bonus points awarded for RGB lighting and liquid cooling.

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenHMD 0.3.0 ‘Djungelvral’ Released!

          We are very happy to announce that after years of reverse engineering devices, hacking, testing and pushing, we are releasing OpenHMD version 0.3.0 (codename ‘Djungelvral’).We are very happy to announce that after years of reverse engineering devices, hacking, testing and pushing, we are releasing OpenHMD version 0.3.0 (codename ‘Djungelvral’).

          We want to thank each and every one of the 125-150 people who have contributed over the last 3.5 years. Helping out with reverse engineering, writing drivers, testing, donating/lending hardware, building applications and games, showing up at (or hosting) Hack-athons.. we are incredibly lucky to have your support. Thank you!

          The list of features bringing us from v0.2.0 to v0.3.0 is insane and that is despite not all the features and experimental drivers making the cut for this release. Since we have a really long list of changes, lets look at a couple of highlights in this release!

        • OpenHMD 0.3 Released With Support For More VR/AR Devices

          OpenHMD remains focused on a free and open-source API/drivers for immersive technology devices, primarily VR headsets. OpenHMD 0.3 supports the 3Glasses D3, Oculus CV1, Windows Mixed Reality HMD, NOLO, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, Deepoon E2, and GearVR Gen1. While previously supported, the PlayStation PSVR was disabled in the v0.3 release.

        • Glibc’s Slow Turnaround For Y2038 Fixes Is Frustrating

          While there is another nineteen years to go until the Year 2038 problem manifests, the GNU C Library “glibc” is one of the key software components still needing some fixes for this issue where this problem where storing the Unix time as a 32-bit signed integer will wrap around and become a negative number.

          Wolfgang Denk of German software engineering firm DENX put out a “desperate call for help” that even with their resources/money for trying to fix up Y2038 Glibc issues, the review/upstreaming process is taking too long for some of their customers. In particular, even few lines of code patches aren’t being accepted upstream at least in any timely manner.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxxvi) stackoverflow python report
        • Udemy Class Review: Python For Beginners Complete Python Programming

          Learning to program software can be an exceedingly difficult task, but one that has great rewards if you are successful. If you’ve never heard of Python before, it’s a versatile programming language that is known for being relatively easy to learn. Numerous websites and tools are available online that aim to make learning Python programming easier, but Udemy’s Python for Beginners: Complete Python Programming course ($11.99) doesn’t live up to its promise.

        • Karim Elghamrawy: Best Books for Programmers (The Ultimate List)
        • Debug pytest failures in the terminal
        • Weekly CheckIn 6th
        • Seventh week of GSoC: Just a status report
  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • In memoriam – Corby Corbató, MIT computer science pioneer, dies at 93

        Almost everyone’s heard of Linux – it’s the operating system kernel that’s behind a significant proportion of servers on the internet, including most of Google, Facebook, Amazon and many other contemporary online juggernauts.

        In its Android flavour, Linux powers the majority of smartphones out there, and in one form or another it’s also the kernel of choice for many so-called IoT devices such as bike computers, home Wi-Fi routers, webcams, baby monitors and even doorlocks.

        Most people who use Linux know that the name is a sort-of pun on Unix, the operating system that Linux most resembles.

        And Unix, of course, is the operating system behind a significant proportion of the devices out there that don’t run Linux, being at the heart of Apple’s macOS and iOS systems, as well as the various and widely-used open source BSD distributions.

      • Party like its 1969: What was happening in the world the year man stepped on the moon

        The Apollo 11 moonshot was only the brightest object in the firmament of 1969, a very busy year in space at the height of the technological rivalry between the superpowers. The USSR sent 82 missions out there, including a significant landmark: the first docking of two manned craft in space (Soyuz 5 and Soyuz 4), and the first transfer of crew between them. The Soviets were in a hurry to score, so they did it by a spacewalk. The Americans did a proper, airtight transfer two months later, on one of the 41 missions they launched in 1969. That’s half as many as the Soviets, but they got political bang for buck with Apollo 11. In causally related news, David Bowie released Space Oddity, a pessimistic hit about a helpless spaceman in orbit in a tin can.

      • 15 Most Significant Milestones in the History of the Computer

        When you think about the world’s first computer, it’s doubtful that Stonehenge is the first thing you thought of, but you need to remember what a computer is. All a computer does is take an input and produces a predictable output based on a given condition or state. By that definition, Stonehenge absolutely qualifies as a computer.

        An analysis of the orientation of the stones at Stonehenge and the astronomical alignments that would have been visible around the time of Stonehenge’s construction reveals that the different stones line up and appear to track major celestial bodies that would have been known to the humans who built it. These include the major, visible celestial bodies that dominate the astrologies of the world, such as the sun, the moon, and the five visible planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

        Our ancestors, as well as many modern humans, obsessively charted the course of celestial bodies that they believed had a direct effect on events on Earth and in their lives, and they planned their lives around them.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Peddlers of Medical Misinformation Are Using Social Media ‘Censorship’ as a Selling Point

        To be clear: There are legitimate reasons, including legal precedent, to restrict medical misinformation, but it’s also important to balance those restrictions with respect for free speech. The line can be sticky: two professors from University of California Hastings College of the Law, Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and John L. Diamond, recently explored whether anti-vaccine groups that worked to convince the Somali community in Minnesota not to vaccinate their kids could be held liable for negligent misrepresentation. (The short answer: possibly, but it’s complicated.)

    • Security

      • Confirmed: Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Exploit Used In Government Espionage Operation

        It has been revealed that a threat actor once best known for cyber bank robbery in Russia has made a move to espionage. The highly targeted attacks against government institutions in Eastern Europe, which took place during June 2019, employed the use of a Microsoft Windows zero-day exploit. In and of itself this isn’t unusual as there have been plenty of Windows zero-days discovered. However, this is the first time that researchers had seen the Buhtrap group using a zero-day attack, although the group has been involved in the cyber-spying business for some years now across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

        Anton Cherepanov, a senior malware researcher at security vendor ESET, explained how the zero-day exploit abused a local privilege escalation vulnerability in Microsoft Windows in order to run arbitrary code and install applications, and view or change data on the compromised systems. As soon as the researchers had properly analyzed the exploit, it was reported to the Microsoft Security Response Center, and a fix was included in the July 9 “Patch Tuesday” update.

        The vulnerability itself only impacted older versions of Windows, specifically variations of Windows and Windows Server 2008. This is because, as Cherepanov explained, “since Windows 8 a user process is not allowed to map the NULL page. Microsoft back-ported this mitigation to Windows 7 for x64-based systems.” The advice, predictably, is to upgrade to a newer version of the operating system if possible. Especially as critical security updates will disappear soon when extended support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ends in January 2020. Gavin Millard, vice-president of intelligence at Tenable, warns users not to be complacent seeing as the vulnerability is “now being actively exploited in the wild,” advising that “patches should be deployed as soon as possible.”

      • Microsoft Discreetly Drops ‘Telemetry’ As Part Of Larger ‘Security Cumulative Update’ Without First Informing Windows 7 Users? [Ed: Microsoft being Microsoft and backporting surveillance; With Windows Update any piece of software can become more malicious overnight.]

        Microsoft appears to have once again attempted to sneak telemetry components. The company released security updates for all supported operating systems on the July 2019 Patch Day. However, this month’s cumulative updates, which were supposed to contain only security-related components, contain an unexpected compatibility/telemetry component.

        The suspicious components were hidden in plain sight. Incidentally, this is the second time Microsoft has attempted to insert telemetry components. However, during the first attempt the Windows OS maker had openly mentioned the inclusion of the telemetry components, whereas this time, the company didn’t offer any indication. This methodology appears to an attempt to garner more accurate data about usage and installation patterns of the Windows operating system as Microsoft will soon phase out Windows 7.

        Windows Update delivered several packages of security and reliability fixes for Windows 7 earlier this week. The packages are different for each of the Windows operating system’s versions that Microsoft officially supports. However, the ‘cumulative update’ package contained a rather suspicious component. The security update in question was intended for Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System (OS) which was released as part of the July 2019 Patch Day.

      • Swimlane research team open sources pyattack

        As security teams adopt the Mitre ATT&CK Framework to help them identify gaps in their defenses, having a way to identify what malware and tools are being used by specific actors or groups becomes more critical. Additionally, having a way to identify these relationships programatically is even more critical.

        Today, we are excited to announce the Swimlane research team has released pyattck—a Python package to interact with the Mitre ATT&CK Framework. There are many different open-source projects being released on a daily basis, but we wanted to provide a straightforward Python package that allows the user to identify known relationships between all verticals of the Mitre ATT&CK Framework.

      • Strongbox Password Safe is a free, open-source KeePass client for iOS [Ed: iOS from Apple has back doors (see Vault 7 from Wikileaks for instance), so you should not put any passwords in it]
      • Research Finds Loads of Container Vulnerabilities

        Docker containers are great in that it’s easy to get started building an application using frameworks and components that others have made available via open source projects. The challenge, however, is not all those projects are current in terms of their cybersecurity patches. In fact, a developer of a framework may not even be actively supporting it anymore.

        A new report from vulnerability management platform vendor Kenna Security highlights the extent of the problem in the Docker community. Via the VulnerabilitiesContainer.org site, Kenna Security is sharing the results of analyses of containers being reused widely that find some of these open source projects have hundreds of unresolved Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure (CVE) issues.

      • A World of Infinite Choice in Open Source Software

        We recently released the fifth annual State of the Software Supply Chain Report in London. This year, we worked with Gene Kim and Dr. Stephen Magill to examine our largest data sample ever. Our goal? To qualify and quantify how exemplary development teams operate.

        As part of the research we identified the top 3% of DevOps teams using exemplary practices. (Take the quiz to see how your team stacks up.)

        Before we could truly understand these practice, we had to have the right context. The report’s first goal was to compare the use of open source in 2019 – to that of years past – and understand the broader environment developers are working in. As anticipated, open source component use continues to rocket upward.

      • France Says Ransomware Attacks on Big Companies Are on the Rise [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Attackers changed strategy in the second half of 2018, ditching smaller companies to go after big corporations, sometimes strategic or vital to the nation’s economy, the ministry said on Tuesday in its 2019 cyber threats report. The trend accelerated this year.

      • New Elections Systems Vulnerable to Hacks, AP Analysis Shows

        An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts.

        That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said Friday it would offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023.

      • Unusual Linux Ransomware Targets NAS Servers [Ed: Does not explain how the malware/ransomware gets onto there in the first place and whether it has anything at all to do with "Linux" rather than reckless people who install malware ot very weak passwords. They use a Tux logo/mascot anyway.]

        As for the decision to target NAS, Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra, told Threatpost that it isn’t as common to deploy endpoint monitoring to a Linux dedicated network file server — thus, the QNAPCrypt malware represents the evolution and adaptation of an attack to bypass security controls.

      • Why Trump Caved to China and Huawei

        Everything about the trade war between the United States and China is bewildering. The world’s two largest economies entered a titanic struggle with harsh words and high tariffs, sending shudders through the global economy. Hundreds of billions of dollars of goods on either side stood before tariff walls that seemed unbreachable. Truces would come out of nowhere—as at the 2018 G20 meeting in Buenos Aires—but then they would be set aside by U.S. President Donald Trump in a stream of tweets at odd hours.

        In May, Trump went after Huawei, one of the world’s largest technology firms. The attack this time was not on economic grounds. Trump accused Huawei of being an espionage arm of the Chinese government. Firms from the United States that supplied Huawei with software and chips would no longer be permitted to do so. Trump’s diplomats went on the road to strongarm U.S. allies into no longer using Huawei technology in their countries. Pressure on China resulted in the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, on charges of bank and wire fraud in relation to U.S. sanctions against Iran. Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • New leak claims Trump scrapped Iran nuclear deal ‘to spite Obama’

        The paper reports that Sir Kim wrote a memo to Mr Johnson, saying: “The outcome illustrated the paradox of this White House: you got exceptional access, seeing everyone short of the president; but on the substance, the administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons – it was Obama’s deal.

      • Turkey bought Russian S-400 missiles designed to down NATO planes. For the US, that’s a problem

        For its part Washington has been exasperated by prison sentences handed to US citizens in Turkey (Pastor Andrew Brunson being the most prominent example) and Turkish staff working at the US Embassy — seeing them as politically motivated. The Trump administration retaliated by imposing sanctions on senior Turkish ministers.

        There was also tension over the Saudi response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — and over what was perceived as an ambivalent approach in Ankara to confronting ISIS, especially in 2015-16. Sporadic threats by Turkey to close the US airbase at Incirlik have been another irritant.

        But all these difficulties pale in comparison to the fallout from the S-400 deal. Even before the first deliveries, the US warned that Turkey would be suspended from the F-35 combat jet program and stopped training its pilots.

      • ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ Aren’t Starting an Arms Race—Washington Is

        “Fast, effective, precise and unstoppable — these are rare but highly desired characteristics on the modern battlefield.” That’s how the New York Times Magazine (6/19/19) described the hypersonic missiles being pursued by the United States, Russia, China and other countries in a nearly 5,000-word collaborative article that seriously misleads readers on who started and is currently driving the next phase of the global arms race.

        The Times article, “Hypersonic Missiles Are Unstoppable. And They’re Starting a New Global Arms Race,” opened with statements by Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for research and engineering. Characterized as “an unabashed defender of American military and political supremacy” and the “chief evangelist for hypersonics,” Griffin brags about being an “unreconstructed Cold Warrior” and cites the US’s rapid development of the atomic bomb as a precedent for treating hypersonic missiles as the “highest technical priority”…

      • “This Is Not a Surprise”: U.S. Sanctions and Saber Rattling Led to Iran’s Renewed Uranium Enrichment

        In ongoing fallout from the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Monday that Iran has begun enriching uranium above the level agreed to by the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has threatened to continue to increase their production of enriched uranium if European signatories of the nuclear deal do not help ease the impact of the U.S. sanctions. We speak with Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the new think tank, the Quincy Institute, and author of “Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy.”

      • Trump’s Version of the Iran Accord: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

        Trump’s Iran policy is akin to that of a schoolyard bully. More worrying is the passivity of the rest of the world and the dangerous drift to another devastating war in the region.

        The U.S., after walking out of the Iran accord, is now shouting foul as Iran has breached the 300 kg enriched-uranium stockpile limit of the accord. Does the U.S. expect Iran to be bound by the accord while it happily reneges on it? Or is its concept of international accords the playground bully’s version of a coin toss, “Heads I win, tails you lose”?

        The Iran accord, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between six countries and Iran was signed in 2015. The six countries are France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, China and the United States. JCPOA brought down Iran’s stockpile of processed uranium (uranium hexafluoride) from 10,000 kg to just 300 kg or only 2 percent of what it had before the agreement was signed—the same JCPOA agreement from which Trump walked out in May last year, calling it the “worst deal ever.”

      • The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis

        It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II).

        Now, it’s true that the United States no longer relies on imported petroleum for a large share of its energy needs. Thanks to the fracking revolution, the country now gets the bulk of its oil — approximately 75% — from domestic sources. (In 2008, that share had been closer to 35%.) Key allies in NATO and rivals like China, however, continue to depend on Middle Eastern oil for a significant proportion of their energy needs. As it happens, the world economy — of which the U.S. is the leading beneficiary (despite President Trump’s self-destructive trade wars) — relies on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to keep energy prices low. By continuing to serve as the principal overseer of that flow, Washington enjoys striking geopolitical advantages that its foreign policy elites would no more abandon than they would their country’s nuclear supremacy.

        This logic was spelled out clearly by President Barack Obama in a September 2013 address to the U.N. General Assembly in which he declared that “the United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests” in the Middle East. He then pointed out that, while the U.S. was steadily reducing its reliance on imported oil, “the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.” Accordingly, he concluded, “We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.”

      • Iran Tells US and UK to Leave Gulf Region Immediately as Tensions Soar

        As tensions in the Persian Gulf continue to escalate after British forces seized an Iranian oil tanker last week, Iran on Friday called on the U.K. to release the vessel and demanded that Western powers get out of the region immediately.

        “This is a dangerous game and has consequences,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry. “The legal pretexts for the capture are not valid… The release of the tanker is in all countries’ interests.”

        Mousavi went on to urge foreign powers to “leave the region” to avert a full-blown conflict.

        “Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security,” Mousavi said. “Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to hold talks with its neighbors to resolve disputes.”

        Mousavi’s comments came just 24 hours after the U.K. accused Iran of attempting to block the passage of a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.

        British authorities said a U.K. warship trained its deck guns on three Iranian boats and forced them to retreat.

        The Iranian government denied that it attempted to impede the British tanker.

      • If you provoke the entire world, something may happen

        The United States believes that it is so invincible, exceptional and so frightening that no one would ever dare to protest, let alone defend its people against constant humiliation, economic embargos and military threats.

        It used to be like this for quite some time. In the past, the West used to bully the world before and after each well-planned assault. Also, well-crafted propaganda used to be applied.

        It was declared that things are done ?legally? and rationally. There were certain stages to colonialist and imperialist attacks: ?define your goals?, ?identify your victim?, ?plan?, ?brainwash your own citizens and people all over the world?, and then, only then, ?bomb some unfortunate country back to the stone ages?.

      • How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?

        Although widely derided by the Washington Establishment as an empty photo opportunity, the recent meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un at Panmunjom produced an agreement to resume working-level talks in the near future. According to the North Korean news agency KCNA, the two leaders discussed stumbling blocks in improving relations and easing tensions, and agreed to work towards a “breakthrough in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and in the bilateral relations.”

        The resumption of working-level talks comes as welcome relief after months of stalled progress since Trump pulled the plug on the Hanoi Summit due to North Korea’s failure to accede to the demand that it unilaterally disarm. At Hanoi, U.S. negotiators presented a plan that called for North Korea to denuclearize, while promising nothing in exchange. Nothing, that is, other than punishment in the form of “maximum pressure” sanctions. All that was on offer to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, the official name for North Korea) was the vague mention of unspecified economic benefits after it had fully denuclearized.

        In addition to denuclearization, the U.S. side widened the scope of talks at Hanoi by delivering a document to the North Koreans that demanded the dismantlement of chemical and biological warfare programs, as well as ballistic missiles and facilities. U.S. negotiators also wanted a detailed accounting of nuclear facilities, subject to intrusive U.S. inspections. For the North Koreans, to implement such a proposal would allow inspectors to map the bombing coordinates of its nuclear facilities, an obvious non-starter when the U.S. has yet to provide any semblance of a security guarantee.

      • Give Peace a Chance: Don’t Believe the War Profiteers

        Last month I had the opportunity to share some thoughts at a Divest Philly from the War Machine event, hosted by Wooden Shoe Books and sponsored by World Beyond War, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and other anti-war groups. Below are my remarks, slightly edited for clarity. My thanks to everyone involved.

        In late May, Vice President Mike Pence was the commencement speaker at West Point. In part, he told the graduating cadets this: “It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen…And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less.”

        What Pence didn’t mention that day is why he could be so sure that this will come to pass. Or who the primary beneficiaries will be, if or when it does. Because the winners won’t be the American people, who see their taxes go to missiles instead of healthcare and education. Nor will they be the soldiers themselves—some of whom will return in flag-draped caskets while many more sustain life-altering physical and psychological injuries. The winners also won’t be the citizens of other countries who experience death and displacement on a horrific scale from our awesome military might. And our planet’s now-fragile climate won’t come out on top either, since the Pentagon is the single largest oil consumer in the world.

        No, the spoils will go to our massive and multifaceted war machine. The war machine is comprised of companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, among others, that make billions of dollars each year from war, war preparations, and arms sales. In fact, the U.S. government pays Lockheed alone more each year than it provides in funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Labor Department, and the Interior Department combined. The war machine also includes the CEOs of these defense contractors, who personally take in tens of millions of dollars annually, and the many politicians in Washington who help secure their jobs by collectively accepting millions of dollars in contributions from the defense industry—roughly evenly split between both major parties. And let’s not forget the retired politicians and retired military officers, who travel the pot-of-gold pipeline to become highly paid board members and spokespersons for these same companies.

      • Lies About Iran Killing US Troops in Iraq Are a Ploy to Justify War

        One of the many myths that have been used to justify the push for war with Iran led by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is that Tehran is responsible for the killing of more than 600 U.S. troops during the Iraq War.

        Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, whose job is to round up international support for the Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, presented the charge at a State Department press briefing on April 2. “I can announce today, based on declassified U.S. military reports,” Hook said, “that Iran is responsible for the deaths of 608 American service members. This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.”

        Navy Commander Sean Robertson followed up with an email to media outlets pushing that same line. When this writer asked Robertson for further clarification of the origins of that figure, however, he acknowledged that the Pentagon doesn’t have any study, documentation, or data to provide journalists that would support such a figure.

        In fact, the myth that Tehran is responsible for killing over 600 U.S. troops in the Iraq War is merely a new variant of a propaganda line that former Vice President Dick Cheney used to attempt to justify a war against Iran more than a decade ago. Reviewing the history of that earlier effort is necessary to understand why the new myth is a palpable lie.

      • The Riptide of American Militarism

        Put up with me for just a moment while I wax literary. It turns out that, if French novelist Marcel Proust lived today, he might have had to retitle his Remembrance of Things Past as Remembrance of Things Present, or even more sadly, Things Future. As an ex-military man who lived through part of the Cold War in uniform, let me make my point, in terms of the Pentagon and an ever-growing atmosphere of American militarism, this way: I love used bookstores. I’ve been browsing in them since my teens. I was, then, an early fan of Stephen King, the famed horror-story writer. Admittedly, today I’m more likely to browse the history section, which has horrors enough for us all, many of which eclipse even the most fevered imaginings of King, though Pennywise the Clown in It still gives me the creeps.

        A while back, speaking of things not past, I stumbled across Senator J. William Fulbright’s 1970 book The Pentagon Propaganda Machine and, out of curiosity, bought it for the princely sum of five dollars. Now, talk about creepy. Fulbright, who left the Senate in 1974 and died in 1995, noted a phenomenon then that should ring a distinct bell today. Americans, he wrote, “have grown distressingly used to war.” He then added a line that still couldn’t be more up to date: “Violence is our most important product.” Congress, he complained (and this, too, should ring a distinct bell in 2019), was shoveling money at the Pentagon “with virtually no questions asked,” while costly weapons systems were seen mainly “as a means of prosperity,” especially for the weapons makers of the military-industrial complex. “Militarism has been creeping up on us,” he warned, and the American public, conditioned by endless crises and warnings of war, had grown numb, leaving “few, other than the young, [to] protest against what is happening.”

        Back then, of course, the bogeyman that kept the process going was Communism. America’s exaggerated fear of Communism then (and terrorism now) strengthened militarism at home in a myriad of ways while, as Fulbright put it, “undermining democratic procedure and values.” And doesn’t that ring a few bells, too? Complicit in all this was the Pentagon’s own propaganda machine, which worked hard “to persuade the American people that the military is good for you.”

    • Environment

      • Trump administration suspends Obama-era fuel efficiency penalties

        After Congress ordered federal agencies to adjust existing penalties in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued rules that more than doubled fines — from $5.50 per 0.1 mile to $14 for the same distance — for automakers that consume more fuel than standards allow.

        The rules issued under former President Obama called for a fuel efficiency average of 46.7 miles per gallon by 2026, while the Trump administration’s rules call for 37 miles per gallon.

      • Trump administration freezing fuel efficiency penalties

        In September 2017, three environmental groups and some U.S. states including New York and California sued NHTSA for putting the Obama rules on hold.

        Last year, the states said, “If the penalty is not sufficiently high, automakers lack a vital incentive to manufacture fuel-efficient vehicles.”

        Some automakers historically have paid fines instead of meeting fuel efficiency requirements – including some luxury automakers like Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), and Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE).

      • We Were Already Over 350 ppm When I Was Born

        Colonialism’s mindset of heedless extraction, greed, and human exploitation not only planted the seeds of today’s climate crisis, it remains visible in the crisis’s central injustice: although the poor are responsible for only a tiny share of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, they generally suffer first and worst from the heat waves, droughts, storms, rising seas, and other effects of those emissions. Most countries in Asia, Africa, and South America that endured centuries of colonization remain relatively poor today, and even countries like India and China whose prosperity is increasing emit much less per capita than do the rich countries in North America and Europe. Extreme weather and other climate impacts strike all over the world, but the rich are better positioned to withstand those impacts. The rich have the money to build sea walls, for example, and to operate satellites that warn about an impending hurricane so coastal dwellers can retreat to safety. And when disaster strikes, nonwhite or non-affluent communities are often shortchanged during relief efforts. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, black homeowners received $8,000 less per family in government resettlement aid than did white homeowners. Which helps explain why, even eight years after the storm, roughly 80 percent of the mostly black residents of the city’s Lower Ninth Ward had not returned.

      • Greenland Was on Fire This Week Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Arctic Burn

        Satellites spotted another wildfire in western Greenland this week. The blaze first showed up on Wednesday. Though already out and not on the scale of 2017′s inferno, this year’s wildfire highlights the increasing risks of fires in high latitudes and comes in a year that’s seeing an “unprecedented” amount of wildfire activity in the Arctic.

        The fire lit up near Qeqqata Kommunia on Greenland’s western flank. It appears near a shelter on the Arctic Circle Trail and it’s possible that hikers started the fire unintentionally or otherwise. Fire crews were able to smother the flames according to the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation. But forecasts from the European Commission’s Global Wildfire Information System shows that the risk of fires remains high to very high over the next week in western Greenland.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • We Need a Green New Deal to Defeat Fascism and Reverse Inequality

          Here is why this is the core of the Green New Deal. Last October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new report emphasizing the imperative of limiting the rise in the global mean temperature as of 2100 by 1.50C [1.5 degrees Celsius] only, as opposed to 2.00C. The IPCC now concludes that limiting the global mean temperature increase to 1.50C will require global net CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions to fall by about 45 percent as of 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. These new figures from the IPCC provide a clear and urgent framework for considering alternative approaches for fighting climate change.

          To make real progress on climate stabilization, the single most critical project at hand is straightforward: to cut the consumption of oil, coal and natural gas dramatically and without delay, and to eliminate the use of fossil fuels altogether by 2050. The reason this is the single most critical issue at hand is because producing and consuming energy from fossil fuels is responsible for generating about 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas alone produce about 66 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, while another 2 percent is caused mainly by methane leakages during extraction.

          At the same time, people do still need and want to consume energy to light, heat and cool buildings; to power cars, buses, trains and airplanes; and to operate computers and industrial machinery, among other uses. It is pointless to pretend this isn’t so — that is, to insist that everyone embraces permanent austerity. As such, to make progress toward climate stabilization requires a viable alternative to the existing fossil-fuel dominant infrastructure for meeting the world’s energy needs. Energy consumption and economic activity more generally therefore need to be absolutely decoupled from the consumption of fossil fuels. That is, the consumption of fossil fuels will need to fall steadily and dramatically in absolute terms, hitting net zero consumption by 2050, even while people will still be able to consume energy resources to meet their various demands.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Social media summit highlights partisan approaches on tech [iophk: lots of groups, left right and center, are censored by social control media]

        Some conservatives are using their bias accusations to push for significant changes to tech’s legal shield, Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a provision that shields online companies from liability for content posted by their users. Republicans have derided Section 230 as a “sweetheart deal” for tech companies that allows them to shirk responsibility for their content moderation decisions.

        Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who has quickly become one of the Republican party’s most vocal tech critics, set off a wave of controversy last month when he introduced a bill that would require the top tech companies to submit to audits proving they are politically “neutral” in order to receive Section 230 protections.

        Traditional free market and tech groups immediately derided the bill as government overreach and an intrusion on free speech rights, pointing out that Hawley’s proposal would require the Federal Trade Commission — led by five political appointees — to audit the private companies.

      • The Journalists Do The Shouting

        There seems to have been a distinct decline in the quality of war propaganda in the 21st century. It all seems so predictable and calculated now. Maybe the Bush and Trump administrations were and are simply terrible marketers, though the latter certainly advertised his fake populism with a deft hand in 2016. Or maybe the general populace has simply gotten smarter, its overtaxed nervous system weary with propaganda fatigue. To some degree if not a critical mass, the population’s flagging credulity has mutated into an enervated cynicism. It has really only been a couple generations since modern sarcasm was broadly anchored in the mainstream, probably with the tired response of Gen X to the caffeinated optimism of Reaganite consumerism.

        For decades prior, at least looking through the warped lens of hindsight, past generations appear to have been so comprehensively conditioned by the media that they essentially resembled a particularly memorable parody poster. On it was a deeply perturbed middle-aged white man, exclaiming, “Of course I want to fight Communism! But how?” It was evidently an era when the mainstream press was next to godspeak in its authority. When Reefer Madness conditioned entire generations to cower in terror at the murderous effects of marijuana. When the art world hastily transformed itself into Jackson Pollock abstraction, eschewing political content for fear of blacklisting, until even the thought of politicized art seemed to be a corruption of the medium itself.

        Things have changed. Today’s meaningful art is samizdat stickers on wireline poles and spray-canned corporate advertising. Corporate media is no longer considered a sure source of credible reporting. There are no Cronkites at the ready with a reassuring word. Watching the Trump “regime” hector for regime change in vulnerable nations is like watching a scene from Woody Allen’s early slapstick Bananas. In that excellent deadpan satire, “Wide World of Sports” reports from the fictitious island nation of San Marcos, where it is broadcasting the live assassination of the sitting president, who will be replaced with a military dictatorship. A “series of colorful riots” begins with “the traditional bombing of the American embassy.” Then, the local labor leader is dragged from his home and beaten by a frothing mob. Howard Cosell reports from the presidential square where “El Presidente” will be assassinated as he leaves his office. Amid a throng of locals excited to witness the coup d’état, Cosell reports, “The atmosphere (is) heavy, uncertain, with overtones of ugliness.” He compares the event to the first Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay fight in 1964. On cue, the president exits his office to walk down the broad stone steps into the square. A gun-wielding hand appears in front of the camera, points at the president, and empties its chamber. The president collapses on the steps. The crowd explodes with excitement. Cosell shouts, “And down! It’s over! It’s all over for El Presidente!”

      • Corporate Team of Rivals: Biden and Harris

        The odds are now very strong that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee. New polling averages say they account for almost 70 percent of support nationwide, while no other candidate is anywhere near. For progressives who want to affect the news instead of just consume it, active engagement will be essential.

        Biden is the most regressive Democrat with a real chance to head the ticket. After amassing a five-decade record littered with odious actions and statements, he now insists that the 2020 campaign “shouldn’t be about the past” — an evasive and ridiculous plea, coming from someone who proclaims himself to be “an Obama-Biden Democrat” and goes to absurd lengths to fasten himself onto Obama’s coattails, while also boasting of his past ability to get legislation through Congress.

        As he campaigns, Biden persists with disingenuous denials. During the June 27 debate, he flatly — and falsely — declared: “I did not oppose busing in America.” On July 6, speaking to a mostly black audience in South Carolina, he said: “I didn’t support more money to build state prisons. I was against it.” But under the headline “Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims He Opposed Spending More Money to Build State Prisons,” CNN reported that “he was misrepresenting his own record.”

        Biden used the Fourth of July weekend to dig himself deeper into a centrist, status quo trench for his war on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. During a repeatedly cringeworthy interview, Biden told CNN that what can’t be done includes Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and student debt cancelation. Bernie Sanders quickly responded with a tweet calling Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal “the agenda American needs — and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump.”

      • U.K. Ambassador to U.S. Quits Days After Leaked Cables on Trump

        Britain’s ambassador to the United States resigned Wednesday after being made a diplomatic nobody by President Donald Trump following the leak of the envoy’s unflattering opinions about the U.S. administration.

        Veteran diplomat Kim Darroch said he could no longer do his job in Washington after Trump branded him a fool and cut off all contact with the representative of one of the U.S.’s closest allies.

        The break in relations followed a British newspaper’s publication Sunday of leaked documents that revealed the ambassador’s dim view of Trump’s administration, which Darroch described as dysfunctional, inept and chaotic.

      • Trump Takes Aim at an Unlikely Target: Fox News

        But the object of his ire was not CNN or MSNBC. It was his favorite outlet, Fox News Channel, and the president issued a not-so-veiled threat about the network’s programming.

        No president has been so closely aligned with a single news outlet as Trump is with Fox News, so his criticism carried added significance. While it was not the first time he has singled out Fox, it was the most pointed, raising the question of how the network, and the president’s supporters, would respond.

        Trump on Sunday night wrote that watching Fox on the weekend was worse than watching CNN and MSNBC, outlets he frequently attacks. He said Fox is “loading up with Democrats” and criticized the network for using The New York Times as a source for a story. He also attacked Fox for hiring former Democratic National Committee head Donna Brazile as a contributor and poked at afternoon host Shepard Smith’s ratings.

      • Their Deplorables and Ours

        Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” speech at a September 2016 fundraiser probably did her campaign more harm than she claims her favorite scapegoats, “the Russians” and James Comey, could ever have hoped to do.

        But what she said wasn’t wrong; many a Trump supporter back then was deplorable by any and all reasonable standards. Many of them were racists or nativists or twenty-first century fascists; many approached the election in thrall to barely suppressed inner demons yearning to breathe free.

        But this was not the whole story.

        Many, maybe most, Trump supporters were victims of economic dislocation. Clintonite (neoliberal) economic policies had a lot to do with that.

        And then there is the role that identity politics played. It would be too easy to believe, as many do, that white identity politics, the Southern variety especially, just is white supremacism. In fact, white identity politics comes in many flavors.

        Many non- or only minimally deplorable Trump voters were moved more by benign family or regional values than by racist attitudes or convictions.

      • Glenn Greenwald Becomes Focus of Brazil Press Freedom Debate

        Several weeks after publishing explosive reports about a key member of Brazil’s far-right government, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald was called before a congressional committee to face hostile questions.

        “Who should be judged, convicted and in prison is the journalist!” shouted congresswoman Katia Sastre, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro.

        And by some accounts that wasn’t an empty threat: A conservative website reported that federal police had requested that financial regulators investigate Greenwald’s finances. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and his Brazilian husband also say they have been receiving detailed death threats, calls for his deportation and homophobic comments in an increasingly hostile political environment.

        Greenwald, an attorney-turned-journalist who has long been a free-speech advocate, has found himself at the center of the first major test of press freedom under Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1 and has openly expressed nostalgia for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship — a period when newspapers were censored and some journalists tortured.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Trump Voices Support for Social Media Legislation Conservatives Call a Free-Speech Killer

        The “deal” to which Hawley refers is the single most important law protecting free speech online: Section 230 of the Computer Decency Act. It’s what allows sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to host content generated by users—to exist. Get rid of Section 230 and any of these companies could at any moment be sued over virtually any post, video, or tweet users contribute. There would be no Wikipedia, no chat rooms, nor user reviews. The internet would become a magazine, a reference section, where readers are prohibited from interacting with one another.

        If website operators could be held liable for everything that their users say, it would no longer be tenable to allow users to speak. Right now, Gizmodo can’t be sued out of existence just because one of our readers decides to libel a public official in the comment section below. If that’s how things worked, there would be no comment section. How many companies would be willing to take on that kind of liability? The answer is zero.

      • Finnish politicians face heat for blocking social media followers [iophk: that's after the filters the social control media owners have applied]

        Earlier this week a federal court in the United States ruled that President Donald Trump couldn’t block his critics on Twitter because his account was seen as a public forum, a virtual town hall where citizens can engage with his comments.

        That same discussion is now developing in Finland, where media researcher Jukka-Pekka Puro said representatives of the Left Alliance and Greens have engaged in the most blocking of followers due to the high volume of inappropriate messages they receive.

      • Talib Kweli Speaks Out After Being Disinvited From Open Source Fest

        The rapper/ host welcomes all of that. He’s a mainstay in the culture and not going anywhere. But there are still downsides. The latest of these is the recent canceling of a German tour, which was meant to kick off at this weekend’s Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf. Kweli’s removal from the festival bill came when he refused to disavow the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement. A few days after his invite was retracted by the festival, artists and activists from Boots Riley to Peter Gabriel signed an open letter published in the Guardian, which stated:

        “We hold diverse views on BDS, but we concur with 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who recently wrote that “the three main goals of BDS – ending the occupation, full equality to the Arab citizens of Israel and the right of return of Palestinian refugees – adhere to international law.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Banned Chinese Security Cameras Are Almost Impossible to Remove

        Hikvision is 42% controlled by the Chinese government. Dahua, in 2017, was found by cybersecurity company ReFirm Labs to have cameras with covert back doors that allowed unauthorized people to tap into them and send information to China. Dahua said at the time that it fixed the issue and published a public notice about the vulnerability. The U.S. government is considering imposing further restrictions by banning both companies from purchasing American technology, people familiar with the matter said in May.

      • 300 Californian Cities Secretly Have Access to Palantir

        Motherboard obtained documents via public record requests which reveal that the scope of Palantir’s influence in California is significantly larger than previously documented. Payment records indicate that between January 2012 and March 2017, about three hundred cities, collectively home to about 7.9 million people, had access to Palantir’s Gotham service through the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), which is run through the Department of Homeland Security.

      • FTC ‘Failed Miserably’ in Punishing Facebook With $5 Billion Fine, Democrats Say

        While massive by the standards of tech companies, which too frequently get off with a slap on the wrist of lax data privacy practices which endanger users, the FTC’s fine still represents less than a third of the company’s $15.08 billion earnings from just the first quarter of this year.

      • Here’s why Google thinks you should trust it with unprecedented quantities of your city’s “urban data”

        Central to Alphabet’s vision is the use of sensors of every kind to gather real-time information about what is happening in Sidewalk Toronto. The hardware design is innovative, and uses a new type of “urban USB port” that would provide a physical mount, power, and connectivity to digital devices in the public sphere. These might include Wi-Fi antennae, traffic counters, or air-quality sensors fixed to street poles and traffic signals. They are designed to be easy to install and remove, allowing devices to be constantly added and upgraded.

      • Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops

        Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a “fusion center,” a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CIA Torture Unredacted: Four-Year Investigation Reveals What Was Hidden in US Senate Torture Report

        One night in October 2001, shortly after al-Qaeda’s attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, a private jet touched down in Karachi. Masood Anwar, a prominent Pakistani journalist, received an unexpected tip from a friend in the airport: “There were men in masks. They took a hooded man onboard in the early hours. Someone videotaped the entire thing. No one was allowed near the site.”

        Anwar’s story, although no one knew it at the time, would be the start of a thread which led to the heart of the Central Intelligence Agency’s most secret “War on Terror” operation: the “rendition, detention, interrogation” (RDI) programme, a nine-year covert effort which had scores of prisoners flown around the globe to be tortured in undisclosed sites.

        The CIA started by grabbing terror suspects off the streets and transferring them in secret to interrogators in the Middle East. But soon the agency decided it needed to run its own detention facilities, or “black sites”. Over the next few years, it set up a network of prisons and a fleet of private jets to move people between them.

        In December 2014, the Bureau, alongside The Rendition Project, began a major project to trace the history of the RDI programme. The impetus for our investigation came from the long-awaited publication of a report into CIA torture by the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee. The authors of this report had high-level access to internal CIA documents, which they mined to produce a damning assessment of the torture programme’s brutality, mismanagement and ineffectiveness. But they were compelled by the Obama administration, and by the CIA itself, to censor — “redact” — all parts of the report that could identify specific times and places where abuses had occurred.

      • It’s Not Just About Deportations: Trump Wants to Create a Permanent Underclass

        When the President announced in an ominous tweet two weeks ago that mass immigration raids targeting “millions of illegal aliens” around the country were imminent, those who would suffer the worst did not have the luxury of wondering whether or not he was bluffing. Days later, the worst fears of many were seemingly confirmed as news came in that ICE agents were mobilizing to carry out what they and the DHS chillingly referred to as the “family op,” which was expected to include predawn raids and arrests of up to 2,000 families beginning on June 23. Communities around the country were bracing for impact. And as news broke one day before raids were set to commence that President Trump had abruptly called for a two-week postponement, undocumented individuals, families and communities were once again left with frayed nerves and an unshakeable fear that the nightmare was far from over.

        As some have reasonably argued, this episode demonstrates, at best, a familiar hardline bargaining tactic that Trump is employing to get what he wants from congressional Democrats, or, at worst, a callous publicity stunt aimed at amping up Trump’s base as his re-election campaign launches in earnest. But it must be remembered that the people who are suffering as a direct result of his threats are not an afterthought in this horrid melodrama, nor are they merely collateral damage in some political battle playing out over their heads. They are the primary targets.

        Trump’s advance alerts about the raids, which clearly compromised ICE’s stealth (and rushed) plans to carry them out, and his dramatic declaration of postponement just hours before the “family op” was set to commence, are telltale signs of what these headline-grabbing raid threats are actually about. Like the loud, brutal spectacle of physical home and workplace raids, these threats are a transparent, calculated effort to terrorize people, their families and their communities.

      • New Details of Horrific Child Abuse Cited in Emergency Restraining Order Request for ‘Torture Facilities’ Run by US Border Agency

        A group of lawyers and advocates filed a request for an emergency restraining order aimed at ending the abuse of children in facilities operated by the federal government on the southern border, demanding a federal judge step in and take action.

        The lawsuit (pdf), filed in California late Wednesday, asks U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee to order immediate inspections of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities in Texas, allow medical care to reach the children imprisoned in those facilities, and to create an “intensive case management team” to handle transfers from CBP to Health and Human Services.

        The request cites testimony from children in detention as well as outside observers and offers new details of the conditions and treatment those detained have endured.

        “I have been in the U.S. for six days and I have never been offered a shower or been able to brush my teeth,” one of the imprisoned children said in their testimony. “There is no soap here and our clothes are dirty.”

        In comments on the case to The Los Angeles Times, Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and lead attorney on the lawsuit, said that the effects of the mistreatment in the detention centers could last forever.

      • Child marriages spike in Philippines violence-marred Marawi city

        “Child marriage existed in Bangsamoro [officially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] even before the start of the Marawi conflict, but the Islamist siege exacerbated the problem,” Andrew Morris, head of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Mindanao Field Office, told DW.

        Official data on early marriages in Mindanao is scarce, but a 2010 survey with some 600 respondents in the province’s predominantly Muslim regions showed that 83% of residents aged between 15 and 17 got married in the areas, whereas 17% were between 9-14 years of age.

      • Restricted View: the British Legacy of Eugenics

        Looking across London’s eastern expanse from our staffroom window in the district of E10 – sounds like Eton if you say it fast enough – Sean the sociology lecturer had a sudden urge to blurt out with the crumbs of his Empire biscuit one of those so-called universal truths: “Schooldays were the best days of our lives!” Empire biscuit because that is the way of it in England, though it travels under the name German biscuit in my part of Scotland…or did. It survived the hatreds of wartime and peacetime for a century, but there were indications of change on my last visit home. At the exit-through-the-art-gallery coffee joint at the foot of Edinburgh’s Mound, I was halted by the cake counter gestapo: “German biscuit?” I felt unable to dignify her performance of haughty bewilderment with an explanation – she might even have expected an apology – and merely indicated the cherry-topped choice with my chin. “Oh, you mean Belgian biscuit!” I wondered if perhaps it had crumbled under the weight of censorship, but mid-morning break is too short for discussions about biscuits – there is barely enough time to eat one – and so I left Sean in his sehnsucht zombie state staring beyond the eastern post codes, his mind fixed on the phantom past, whitish crumbs looking like bits of skull stuck to the window pane.

        In England, the German biscuit was rebuked and rebaked as an Empire biscuit at the outset of the Great War – a war that might as well have been about a biscuit. Many muddled by state propaganda continued to call them German biscuits and Empire biscuits interchangeably – some even called them German Empire biscuits. Same recipe. It was always an option to call it a Belgian biscuit – on the basis it is topped a bit like a Belgian bun – but I thought it more likely the Belgian re-brand recently emerged because the tourist-sensitive breed were altering perceptions: German biscuit having negative connotations – Hitler, holocaust, eugenics – and Empire biscuit having associations with British imperialism – colonies, class, slavery, and far right groups that want the Empire biscuit to strike back. The Belgian branding, however, is no more benign than if we said Vichy or Pinochet or Franco or even Al-Qaeda biscuits.

        Before dunking we might consider the brutal orgy of horror suffered by the people of the Congo at the hands of Leopold II of Belgium – a monarchical reign of terror and torture that accompanied the shameful system of travail forcé, (forced labour), lasting over two decades. Its official end was in 1908, when the Belgium government stepped in – just six years before the outbreak of the Great War – though in fact the system of forced labour continued until colonisation ended in 1960. Caught in the net of a ruthless profit maximisation scheme, the Congolese were coerced to labour unpaid in the rubber plantations, and in just one decade an estimated ten million people were worked to death. The incentive scheme for the male population included the routine severing of children’s hands, the rape of their mothers, and the slaughter of entire families. This was vigorously encouraged by investors – both foreign and domestic – throughout the period up to and beyond the rule of Leopold II, many of them leading industrialists and ‘statesmen’ such as Britain’s Lord Leverhulme. According to the research of Jules Marchal, the Belgian system of forced labour reduced the population of Congo by half, thereby accounting for far more deaths than the Nazi holocaust.

        I had been thinking about Proust. Quite apart from all the horror histories, how might he have reacted on learning that his ‘Petites Madeleines’ had been transformed into Tunnock’s Caramel Logs? After Proust a Madeleine ceased to be just a biscuit, of course, and became the means of inner communion: the link between conscious reality and unbidden memory – an instrument of time travel, in a sense. But it was also quite simply a French biscuit named after a woman, and I can think of no reason why the same cannot be achieved for the German Empire Belgian biscuit. Were I to be asked I would suggest a ‘Molly’, after that friendly Scottish actor from my childhood, Molly Weir – a brisk, busy type, as I remember, who liked to reward her efforts with tea and biscuits. The French have Moliere’s Tartuffe, we could have Molly Weir’s tough tarts. Works for me.

      • Kidnappers forced a retired FSB officer to point them to $5 million in hidden cash. While he recovered in a hospital, a court confiscated his house.

        Russia’s Investigative Committee has completed its investigation in a criminal case regarding the kidnapping of Alexander Pastushkov, who was formerly the second-in-command at the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Capital Construction Division. The retired major general was tortured until he showed his kidnappers a hidden location where five million dollars in cash was stored in plastic containers. That sum is far greater than Pastushkov’s cumulative official income in his 10 years at the FSB.

      • 44 Migrants Die in Airstrike on Libyan Detention Center

        An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants near the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and wounding dozens of others in an attack that the U.N. human rights chief said could amount to a war crime.

        The Tripoli-based government blamed the attack on forces associated with Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army has been waging an offensive against rival militias in the capital of the war-torn North African country since April.

      • Abu Graib at Home in America

        “This is not what America is about” argues a U.S. reporter referring to revelations of misogynist, violent, racist behavior by employees of the U.S. Border Patrol ‘guarding’ migrants held in detention centers.Sorry Mr. Thompson (Pro Publica reporter who broke this story); THIS IS what America is about. Vulnerable people, i.e. women, men and children held in secret or without legal representation:– undocumented migrants, Americans in detention or serving sentences in prison, our indigent and our Black and Brown citizens in general, and foreign prisoners. We witness abuse, beatings and killings by ‘authorized’ armed personnel every day–every day– most of it carried out by our local police officers.

        But that’s another long, sad story. Let’s get back to those border guards and their contempt for their wards. Where did we last see this shameless conduct on the scale of these recent revelations? Was it not Abu Graib in 2004? And Abu Graib was just one Iraqi prison where American excesses were exposed. One can find more references to extreme cruelty and sadistic acts by American and allied troops (all under earlier administrations) directed against prisoners in Afghanistan.

        As much as our naïve public and the noble liberal wing of our press may wish to assign this newly revealed shame to the Trump administration, the ‘problem’ is much deeper.

        I suggest it exists within the training of U.S. troops today and to the license given them in the Iraq and Afghan wars– a license to humiliate, mutilate, shame, torture and murder with impunity— people they have been taught to despise. Recall the report of an American verbally attacking a Muslim woman in the street not long ago proudly proclaiming: “I killed people like you over there!” (This week we had one U.S. veteran tried for just one murder by U.S. troops in Iraq; and he was acquitted.)

        The U.S. is home to more than two million Iraq-Afghan war veterans who, when they announce they are veterans, we are obliged to hail with “Thank you for your service”. A huge percentage of these veterans are ill—little wonder, given crimes they have witnessed and committed. Of those, an undocumented number have become abusers and killers at home. Too often, if one searches through a news story we’ll find that many killings– of families by out-of-control husbands or fathers, or the perpetrators of mass shootings– are by veterans. A local New Hampshire paper carried a story in May about the murder of two enlisted women by a fellow soldier at their military base.

      • Assange Is Trapped in the Web of the US Legal Empire

        On June 13, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed off on the United States’s request to extradite Assange from the United Kingdom. This enables the process to move forward to the courts — although the barely concealed political nature of the espionage charges against Assange should disqualify them as grounds for extradition, since political crimes (excepting “terrorism”) are expressly excluded as extraditable offences.

        The Assange case represents the continuation of a longstanding tradition of trans-Atlantic collaboration in injustice.

        In the project of constructing an immense legal and extralegal apparatus for wielding maximum power with minimum accountability, the U.K. has long served as the U.S.’s willing accomplice. The U.K. has shared crucial intelligence for the U.S.’s extrajudicial drone killings, provided territory and even payment for extraordinary rendition flights, and has generally acted as a “junior partner” in the CIA’s torture program (to quote a June 2018 report from the U.K. Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee).

        The U.S.-U.K. treaty under which Assange is facing extradition was revamped in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to facilitate extraditions while dismantling key safeguards against severe rights violations.

        Under the new treaty, the U.K. must demonstrate “probable cause” while the U.S. is only required to meet the standard of “reasonable” suspicion, and so does not even have to provide any prima facie evidence that could be challenged in a court to make its case. The agreement is lopsided in operation as well as formulation: The U.K. has delivered more than twice as many people into U.S. hands as vice versa, even though it has only one-fifth the population.

      • Deconstructing Elliott Abrams on Venezuela

        The first thing that Abrams mentioned was the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. From his remarks, one would think that the visit was entirely focused on condemning what Abrams repeatedly referred to as the Maduro “regime” – a classic of Washington’s Goebbelian dictionary used to delegitimize unfriendly governments. “We hope that her report, which is due out July 5th, will reveal the brutal truths that victims of the regime suffer every day,” he said. By using this kind of language, Abrams is sending a number of implicit messages to his audience. First is that the Maduro government is an authoritarian egregious human rights violator while so-called ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido and his hardline opposition faction are whiter than white and, indeed, the sole hope of saving the country from this tyranny. The reality, however, is that Bachelet was there to hear allegations of human rights abuses from both pro- and anti-government actors, including the numerous credible reports of opposition violence such as setting perceived government supporters on fire.

        Abrams added that he hopes “that the high commissioner’s representatives, who are currently in Venezuela, who stayed there when she left, will visit the country’s most notorious prisons and visit political prisoners.” Here, he is insinuating that the Maduro government gave her the cold shoulder and was uncooperative with her investigation. But far from being a one-sided affair in which only opposition leaders were willing to meeting with her, extensive talks were held with both sides. In addition to meeting Guaido and other opposition leaders, she also met with President Maduro, members of his cabinet, the national ombudsman, the leader of the constituent assembly and the attorney-general along with a whole host of human rights advocates, trade unionists, academics, religious figures and representatives of the business community.

        And far from being uncooperative, the Maduro government actually signed a number of agreements with her delegation. This includes an accord to set up an office for the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which will monitor the situation on the ground and provide technical assistance. As for Abrams implication that Maduro’s government didn’t grant Bachelet access to the country’s prisons, it was widely reported days before his brief that the new OHCHR office in Venezuela will “full access to detention centres to be able to monitor conditions and speak to detainees.”

      • Immigration Officials Use Secretive Gang Databases to Deny Migrant Asylum Claims

        With scant public notice, federal immigration officials are relying on databases run by foreign police and militaries to check whether migrants crossing the United States border have gang affiliations, which would allow officials to detain and eventually deport them.

        The information is being provided through a new “fusion” intelligence-gathering center in El Salvador that is funded by the State Department and works in tandem with the Department of Homeland Security.

        But legal experts and human rights advocates say the government has kept the use of databases at the border largely secret, subverting potential challenges to the reliability of the information in them. An attorney in Texas recently discovered that her Salvadoran client had been falsely accused of being in the MS-13 gang based on intelligence from the center. The man was jailed in a maximum-security facility for violent criminals for six months, and his two children were taken away.

        Government attorneys, pressed repeatedly in court to provide evidence, eventually dropped the allegation of gang membership against him without explanation.

      • Why We Shouldn’t Wish Jail on People

        Way too often I hear somebody wishing that a particular person get thrown in jail, or get a longer sentence, or not be released from prison. I know it can be a figure of speech to say that a person “belongs behind bars” but it’s meant literally too. The target might be a person in the news, or a neighbor, or a politician, but it doesn’t matter. Treating the issue of imprisonment in the US either flippantly or with unthinking acceptance is dangerous.

        Given that the USA incarcerates more people than any other nation, perhaps we could claim that we are uniquely qualified here to judge the institution? I don’t know about that, but let’s take a closer look.

        It’s worth dwelling on the US ranking for a moment, because it’s actually two #1s: raw number of prisoners and percentage of population imprisoned; that is, both the highest total and the highest rate. On the planet. According to data collected by the World Prison Brief, the US has 2,121,600 people in jail, which is a rate of 655 per 100,000 people. That’s ten times the rate of Nepal, five times that of Bulgaria, and double that of Brazil.

        The country with the second highest number of prisoners, China, at 1,649,804, has a far lower incarceration rate of 118 per 100,000, due to their much larger population. The US does not compare favorably with perennial “enemies” Russia (316) and Iran (284), nor with neighbors Canada (114) and Mexico (164). The closest runners-up are El Salvador (604) and Turkmenistan (552), which is nearly 20% lower. By the numbers, then, the position of the US is stark.

        But even if we reformed our system so that our numbers were not so far out of whack with everybody else, that would not solve our prison problem.

      • When We See Him: Trump and the Central Park Five

        In 1989, the New York Times and other newspapers reported the rape of a white jogger in Central Park. Some thirty years later, on the eve of the airing of Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” the Times looked back on the incident in an article entitled “The True Story of How a City in Fear Brutalized the Central Park Five,” conveniently ignoring the role the paper itself – like most of the media at the time – played in their brutalization. After all, this was the same newspaper that ran Donald Trump’s ad calling for the execution the so-called Central Park Five and that ran an editorial wondering “how could apparently well-adjusted youngsters turn into so savage a wolf pack?”

        How indeed? Perhaps if the Times had probed deeper it would have found an answer but one that did not confirm the one implicit in its question: it could happen because these youngsters were black and brown and – thirty years ago as it is today – to be black and brown in America is to be considered pathological, a menace to society. As former educational secretary and wannabe shock jock William Benedict opined on his radio show in 2005, “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could – if that were your sole purpose – you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.”

        Exonerated some twenty-three years later, these men were robbed of years of their lives as a consequence of a corrupt legal system that was more eager to falsely convict them than to seek truth. Ostensibly, they were punished for the rape, but their real offense was insisting on their innocence, something our legal system and the carceral state that sustains it could not accept. Coerced, they confessed. We punish liars, particularly when their lies conceal truths we do not want to face.

        The New York Times, as it now repeatedly reminds us in the wake of Trumped-up “fake news” charges, is sworn to seek Truth. In 1989 that Truth – or what stood in lieu of it – was the false narrative off these boys as fabricated by corrupt cops and iniquitous prosecutors. But Truth, an “enlightened” Times recognized in its 2017 ad campaign, “is hard to find,” particularly when it is obscured by one’s own implicit bias.

      • Lights of Liberty Vigal Remarks

        Many folks have said “this is not who we are.” This is precisely who we are.

        American concentration camps are not new. Look at our criminal justice system, a leviathan devoted to criminalizing, degrading and discarding masses of black and brown people. American torture is not new. Rape. Ripping families apart. This country was founded on genocide and slavery. That is not some rhetorical device. It is historical truth.

        Now the covers are off. The underbelly has been exposed. The crudest forms of white supremacy have resurfaced under Trump. But let’s not kid ourselves. The atrocities we are witnessing today are natural products of our heritage of hatred.

        This is the culture of settler colonialism. This is settler culture—violent, sadistic, and unabashed. Until we recognize that—until we name the problem—we will never be able to seriously address it. We stand on invaded land. This country sprang from military occupation. From conquest. From the ideology of conquest. The demonization and degradation of The Other is part of our DNA. The displacement and containment of subject peoples. The naked cruelty. The cult of guns. We live in a toxic culture. We all breathe its fumes.

        What made you think you were immune? How could you wage your endless oil wars… Iraq… Afghanistan… Syria… Yemen… Libya… all of Africa… how could you rattle your saber at Iran and North Korea… how could you choke the world with your military bases… how could you topple, or attempt to topple, governments in Brazil and Venezuela and Cuba and so many other countries… how could you sell your weapons to ruthless regimes… how could you darken the skies with your drones… how could you hold the entire world hostage to your insatiable lust for domination and believe the venom you were spewing everywhere would not also erupt at home?

      • Faulty by Design: the UN Report on Human Rights in Venezuela

        Following Michelle Bachelet visit to Venezuela last June the official report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR ) on the situation of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was released on July 4, a day before initially scheduled. Judging by the quick review I made, the mainstream media is gloating on the uncritical details of reported violations. It appears to be the perfect gift for the US Fourth of July celebration. But one that will not stop Venezuela to celebrate the 208th anniversary of its independence from Spain on July 5th and its 20th from US domination.

        The headline of the New York Times said, “Venezuela Forces Killed Thousands, Then Covered It Up, U.N. Says.” Reuters said, “UN details Venezuela torture, killings to neutralize opposition.” The Washington Post said, “UN: 5,287 killings in Venezuela security operations in 2018.”

        The reaction of a typically unsympathetic media towards Venezuela is all too predictable, which makes all wonder if there was a second motive for the release of the report on this date and with this content.

        To be clear, the UNHCHR is an independent entity and its report [1] is not short on details of violations committed by the government of Venezuela. However, we must question the UNHCHR undiplomatic disclosure with uncorroborated facts. Not to imply that the UNHCHR should have hidden the facts it believed to be true, albeit alleged, but also balance those with many other facts that the government of Venezuela claims to have provided but were omitted in the report.

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • Cloudflare acquired an old Sun Microsystems slogan and I’m feeling nostalgic

          Employees weren’t happy either, with entire teams resigning en-masse. It also lost a huge chunk of its top-tier developers, including James Gosling, the inventor of Java, as well as Tim Bray, who created the XML markup language.

          Sun Microsystems doesn’t exist anymore, but people still regard it with a fond sense of nostalgia.

          So, what spurred this article? Well, it’s not because I’m writing a Sun Microsystems retrospective, fun though that may be.

          Earlier today, Cloudflare announced it had acquired the rights to the phrase “the network is the computer.”

          The phrase was first said in 1984 by John Gage, who was Sun Microsystems’ 21st employee. Although it didn’t really play much in the company’s marketing efforts, the motto perfectly encapsulated Sun’s vision as a company.

        • Freedom of expression transcends morality in US trademark registration

          As the Court of Justice of the European Union is currently considering the role of freedom of expression in trademark law, the Supreme Court of the United States has made a sharp determination on the matter in Iancu v. Brunetti. This follows the Matal v. Tam decision in which the Court held that “the disparagement clause” of the Lanham Act violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment as unconstitutional “viewpoint discrimination”; readers will recall that the Tam case concerned an Asian-American band attempting to register the derogatory term, “THE SLANTS” which they had used as their band name in an effort to reclaim the term. Here, the Court considered the prohibition on viewpoint discrimination with regards to the scandalous and immoral criterion of the Lanham Act, as the mark applied for in this case is FUCT; the Court agreed with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in this case, affirming that refusing registration as an immoral or scandalous mark would amount to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

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