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11.17.19

Links 17/11/2019: Slax Beta and Arch Conf 2019 Report

Posted in News Roundup at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links for the day

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • First Major Update to Oracle Linux 8 Brings Enhanced Security, Latest Updates

          Based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 release, Oracle Linux 8 Update 1 is here six months after the release of the Oracle Linux 8 operating system series, which adds a new distribution method combining BaseOS and Applications Streams. It adds updated components and enhanced security to better control and protect your installations on desktop and cloud.

          “With Oracle Linux 8, the core operating environment and associated packages for a typical Oracle Linux 8 server are distributed through a combination of BaseOS and Applications Streams. BaseOS gives you a running user space for the operating environment. Application Streams provides a range of applications that were previously distributed in Software Collections, as well as other products and programs, that can run within the user space,” said Oracle.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS Now Patched Against Latest Intel CPU Flaws

          After responding to the latest security vulnerabilities affecting Intel CPU microarchitectures, Red Hat has released new Linux kernel security updates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating systems to address the well-known ZombieLoad v2 flaw and other issues. The CentOS community also ported the updates for their CentOS Linux 6 and CentOS Linux 7 systems.

          The security vulnerabilities patched in this new Linux kernel security update are Machine Check Error on Page Size Change (IFU) (CVE-2018-12207), TSX Transaction Asynchronous Abort (TAA) (CVE-2019-11135), Intel GPU Denial Of Service while accessing MMIO in lower power state (CVE-2019-0154), and Intel GPU blitter manipulation that allows for arbitrary kernel memory write (CVE-2019-0155).

    • Benchmarks

      • Firefox vs. Chrome Browser Performance On Intel Ice Lake + Power/Memory Usage Tests

        Using Firefox 70 (including WebRender) and Google Chrome 78, here are our latest round of Linux web browser benchmarks tested on the Dell XPS Ice Lake laptop. Making this round of Linux browser benchmarking more interesting is also including power consumption and RAM usage metrics for the different browser benchmarks.

        For those wondering about whether Firefox or Chrome makes the most sense for Linux laptops, these benchmarks from the Dell XPS with Intel Core i7-1065G7 will hopefully be useful.

        Ubuntu 19.10 with the Linux 5.3 kernel was running on this Intel Ice Lake laptop while using the official builds of Mozilla Firefox 70.0 (both out of the box and with WebRender) and Google Chrome 78. The AC system power consumption was monitored on battery and the total RAM usage was being monitored throughout testing as well. All of the benchmarking was carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite.

    • Applications

      • Monitoring Bandwidth On Linux: Top 5 Tools in 2019

        Don’t we all wish our networks had infinite bandwidth? The reality is, however, that it is often a severely limited resource. Add to that the fact that bandwidth over-utilization can have huge impacts on network performance and we have a recipe for disaster.

        The solution: set up some bandwidth monitoring system. A lot of them are available. Most of them run on Windows, though, and if your OS of choice it Linux, your options are slightly more limited. You still have plenty of options, however, and we’re about to introduce the best tools for bandwidth monitoring on Linux.

        We’ll begin by introducing bandwidth monitoring and explain what it is. Next, we’ll cover the ins and outs of the Simple Network Management Protocol, or SNMP, one of the most-used monitoring technology. Our next order of business will be to have a look a Linux as an operating system but, more specifically, as a platform for monitoring tools. And finally, we’ll briefly review some of the best tools for bandwidth monitoring on Linux and describe their best features.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Excellent rule-changing puzzle game Baba Is You is getting an official level editor

        Baba Is You, the truly excellent puzzle game where you have to break the rules of each level to beat them is getting a big update soon. See Also: previous thoughts on it here.

        How do you break these rules? Well, on each level there’s logic blocks you can push around to change everything. Turn yourself into a rock, a jellyfish, make it so touching a wall wins instead of a flag you can’t access and all kinds of really crazy things it becomes quite hilarious.

      • Dicey Dungeons outsold Terry Cavanagh’s last two Steam games in the first month

        Terry Cavanagh, the indie developer behind VVVVVV, Super Hexagon and the latest Dicey Dungeons has a new blog post out talking about how well Dicey Dungeons has done and what’s to come next.

        Leading up to the release, Cavanagh was doing a blog post each day for seven days. This latest post from yesterday then, is long overdue considering Dicey Dungeons launched in August.

      • Factorio is leaving Early Access in September next year

        As a result of the team behind Factorio feeling like it’s going on for too long, they’ve now set a proper release date.

        In their latest Friday Facts update, they mentioned how their “when it’s done” approach has served them well to create a high-quality game “but if we continued this way, we would be doing it basically forever”. Part of the issue is that they want to work on new features and add content, instead of constant polishing. So they’re setting a date publicly now “so we have to stick with it”. With that in mind, it’s going to leave Early Access on September 25, 2020.

        Development is not ending once they hit the big 1.0, they also don’t want to say it’s 100% finished either. Like a lot of games, as long as the money keeps coming in they will likely keep adding to it.

      • Enabling GameMode on Linux for best gaming performance
    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: touchy and scrolly and GTK-ey and iconey

          There are some neat things to report and I think you will enjoy them! In particular, I think folks are really going to like the improvements to GNOME/GTK app integration and two sets of touch- and scrolling-related improvements to Okular and the Kickoff Application Launcher, detailed below:

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 Bringing Better GTK/GNOME App Integration

          Aside from tightening the GNOME/GTK integration with KDE, this week there has also been some Okular improvements, better touch support for the Kickoff Application Launcher, deleting files within the Dolphin file manager now uses a separate worker thread for the I/O, Spectacle can now integrate with OBS Studio as a new screen recording option, and other enhancements.

        • Lakademy 2019

          I’m now writing this post in the last hours of the Lakademy 2019 (and my first one). It was really good to be “formally” introduced to the community and it’s people, and to be in this environment of people wanting to collaborate to something as incredible as KDE. Althought I wanted to contribute more to other projects, I did some changes and fixes in the rocs, wrote my Season of KDE project and got some tasks that can help with the future of rocs.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Testing Slax 10.2 beta1

          Changes include disabling apparmor, which was preventing some programs from starting properly (eg. man), and fixing chromium by installing chromium-sandbox package. Also added was dummy ‘sudo’ command (so you can copy&paste sudo commands from internet and it will work as long as you are signed in as root).

          I will be happy if you let me know problems you encounter, either by email, or using slax-users google group, or by commenting to this blog post.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Gets November 2019 ISO with Refreshed Themes, Latest Updates

          The PCLinuxOS community released their monthly ISO snapshots for November 2019, a release that contains all the latest bug and security updates, as well as various improvements.

          PCLinuxOS 2019.11 is out now as the latest and most up to date installation medium for this independently developed and user-friendly GNU/Linux distribution, including a fully updated system with all the updates released as of November 12th, 2019, with refreshed themes for GRUB, bootsplash, and the desktop.

          PCLinuxOS 2019.11 is available in there different edition, with the KDE Plasma 5, Xfce, and MATE desktop environments. The PCLinuxOS 2019.11 KDE edition ships with the latest KDE Plasma 5.17.3 desktop environment, as well as the KDE Applications 19.08.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.64.0 open-source software suites.

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Conf 2019 Report

          During the 5th and 6th of October, 21 team members attended the very first internal Arch Conf. We spent 2 days at Native Instruments in Berlin having workshops, discussions and hack sessions together. We even managed to get into, and escape, an escape room!

          It was a great and productive weekend which we hope will continue in the next years. Hopefully we will be able to expand on this in the future and include more community members and users.

          There is a report available for the workshops and discussions from the conference!

      • Debian Family

        • Seems like I only ever write something at CD release time … Buster release 2 is happening round about now

          Updating CD images again for Buster release 2. I’ve spent a happy day chasing down various CD images and discovering my ignorance once again :)

          Thanks to Sledge for having me around and also to Schweer – who wasn’t feeling so well. No RattusRattus or Isy this time round – that meant I got to do a little more but I do miss their company.

        • Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” Live & Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

          Just one day after announcing the availability of the Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” maintenance update, the Debian Project now published live and installable ISO images for all supported architectures and flavors.

          Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” consists of over two months of updates release through the official software repositories. It includes a total of 115 security updates and bug fixes, offering the community the most up-to-date install mediums for the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series.

          Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” ISO images are now available to download (see download links below) for all supported architectures, including 32-bit (i386), 64-bit (amd64), ARM64 (AArch64), Armel, ARMhf, MIPS, MIPSel (MIPS Little Endian), MIPS64el (MIPS 64-bit Little Endian), PPC64el (PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian), and s390x (IBM System z).

          Live images are available as well with the KDE Plasma, GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, and Cinnamon desktop environments, but only for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (amd64) systems. As usual, a multi-arch image supporting both amd64 (64-bit) and i386 (32-bit) architectures is available as well, along with netboot images.

        • Debian Moves Closer To Voting On Proposals Over Init System Diversity

          Following the decision by Debian Project Leader Sam Hartman to seek a general resolution over init system diversity and just how much Debian developers care about supporting systemd alternatives, the general resolution vote is moving closer.

          The text is now laid out over three proposals drafted by Sam Hartman in weighing the importance of systemd / init system diversity by Debian developers.

          The three choices include affirming init diversity, focusing on systemd but supporting the exploration of alternatives, and focusing on systemd for the init system and other facilities.

        • Linux 10.2/Debian GNU “Buster” Released with Extended Security Tweaks!

          The official Debian project named this extended version as the “Buster”. This version launched with 100+ bug fixes and security updates. You can directly update from the Debian 10 or 10.2 using the upgrading commands.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source radio system delivers emergency alerts and music to the Yukon and beyond

        “Radio Rob” Hopkins lives in Tagish, Yukon, 120km south of the capital city, Whitehorse. It is here that he created Open Broadcaster, an open source system that enables small rural market radio stations to manage their operations and volunteers.

        Having lived in the Yukon for 35 years, back when there was no phone or internet, Rob got into communications to set up a low-power FM (LPFM) station for the community. He wanted to make it easier to manage stations, so he made a pitch to the Yukon government for seed money to develop an application to use the internet to run a radio station and deliver the last mile through FM radio.

      • Can Google’s New Open Source Tool Make Kubernetes Less Painful?

        Google has pushed Skaffold – a command line tool that automates Kubernetes development workflow – out to the developer community, saying the tool is now generally available after 5,000 commits from nearly 150 contributors to the project.

        Kubernetes – the de facto container orchestration standard – has become the linchpin of much cloud-native computing, sitting underneath swathes of cloud-based tools to manage how applications run across a wide range computing environments.

      • Molly de Blanc: Rebellion

        We spend a lot of time focusing on the epic side of free software and user freedom: joys come from providing encrypted communication options to journalists and political dissidents; losses are when IoT devices are used to victimize and abuse.

        I think a lot about the little ways technology interacts with our lives, the threats to or successes for user freedom we encounter in regular situations that anyone can find themselves able to understand: sexting with a secure app, sharing DRM-free piece of media, or having your communications listened to by a “home assistant.”

        When I was writing a talk about ethics and IoT, I was looking for these small examples of the threats posed by smart doorbells. False arrests and racial profiling, deals with law enforcement to monitor neighborhoods, the digital panopticon — these are big deals. I remembered something I read about kids giving their neighbor a pair of slippers for Christmas. This sort of anonymous gift giving becomes impossible when your front door is constantly being monitored. People laughed when I shared this idea with them — that we’re really losing something by giving up the opportunity to anonymously leave presents.

        We are also giving up what my roommate calls “benign acts of rebellion.” From one perspective, making it harder for teenagers to sneak out at night is a good thing. Keeping better tabs on your kids and where they are is a safety issue. Being able to monitor what they do on their computer can prevent descent into objectively bad communities and behavior patterns, but it can also prevent someone from participating in the cultural coming of age narratives that help define who we are as a society and give us points of connection across generations.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Google’s OpenTitan Chip Could Make Data Centers More Secure… Someday
          • Google meets RISC-V to define open source root of trust from edge to cloud

            Silicon root of trust (RoT) technology is important for embedding security mechanisms at silicon level for a wide range of products from mobile devices to network cards to webscale servers. It is increasingly important as fears about 5G and cloud security rise, but it is also highly proprietary to each equipment vendor. To address that issues, an open source project called OpenTitan says it will produce a reference design and integration guidelines for silicon RoT. Although Google is a leading figure in the group, and its own RoT design is called Titan, OpenTitan will not be an open source version of that technology. All participants will co-develop a design from scratch that will be agnostic to platform and vendor, said…

          • Google’s OpenTitan aims to Create an Open Source Secure Enclave

            Google wants Android phones to have a Secure Enclave chip like iPhones. Its OpenTitan project aims to help design an open source one.

      • Programming/Development

        • The GCC 10 Compiler Lands OpenMP / OpenACC Offloading To AMD Radeon GPUs

          A few days ago I wrote about the OpenMP / OpenACC offloading patches for Radeon “GCN” GPUs being posted and seeking inclusion in the GCC 10 compiler that will be released in a few months. Those patches were successfully merged meaning this next annual update to the GNU Compiler Collection will feature initial OpenMP/OpenACC code offloading support to supported AMD GPU targets.

          After GCC 9 only had the initial AMD Radeon GCN target in place, GCC 10 in early 2020 will feature the initial offloading support using the modern OpenMP and OpenACC APIs, thanks to the merges this week. The libgomp port and associated bits for the AMD GCN back-end have landed thanks to the work done by Code Sourcery under contract with AMD.

        • RFC: Add a static analysis framework to GCC
          This patch kit introduces a static analysis pass for GCC that can diagnose
          various kinds of problems in C code at compile-time (e.g. double-free,
          use-after-free, etc).
          
          The analyzer runs as an IPA pass on the gimple SSA representation.
          It associates state machines with data, with transitions at certain
          statements and edges.  It finds "interesting" interprocedural paths
          through the user's code, in which bogus state transitions happen.
          
          For example, given:
          
             free (ptr);
             free (ptr);
          
          at the first call, "ptr" transitions to the "freed" state, and
          at the second call the analyzer complains, since "ptr" is already in
          the "freed" state (unless "ptr" is NULL, in which case it stays in
          the NULL state for both calls).
          
          Specific state machines include:
          - a checker for malloc/free, for detecting double-free, resource leaks,
            use-after-free, etc (sm-malloc.cc), and
          - a checker for stdio's FILE stream API (sm-file.cc)
          
          There are also two state-machine-based checkers that are just
          proof-of-concept at this stage:
          - a checker for tracking exposure of sensitive data (e.g.
            writing passwords to log files aka CWE-532), and
          - a checker for tracking "taint", where data potentially under an
            attacker's control is used without sanitization for things like
            array indices (CWE-129).
          
          There's a separation between the state machines and the analysis
          engine, so it ought to be relatively easy to add new warnings.
          
          For any given diagnostic emitted by a state machine, the analysis engine
          generates the simplest feasible interprocedural path of control flow for
          triggering the diagnostic.
          
        • GCC Might Finally Have A Static Analysis Framework Thanks To Red Hat

          Clang’s static analyzer has become quite popular with developers for C/C++ static analysis of code while now the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) might finally see a mainline option thanks to Red Hat.

          Red Hat’s David Malcolm has proposed a set of 49 patches that appear to be fairly robust and the most we have seen out of GCC static analysis capabilities to date.

        • Introduce a new GCC option, –record-gcc-command-line
          I would like to propose the following patches which introduce a compile option --record-gcc-command-line. When passed to gcc, it saves the command line option into the produced object file. The option makes it trivial to trace back how a file was compiled and by which version of the gcc. It helps with debugging, reproducing bugs and repeating the build process.
          
          This option is similar to -frecord-gcc-switches. However, they have three fundamental differences: Firstly, -frecord-gcc-switches saves the internal state after the argv is processed and passed by the driver. As opposed to that, --record-gcc-command-line saves the command-line as received by the driver. Secondly, -frecord-gcc-switches saves the switches as separate entries into a mergeable string section. Therefore, the entries belonging to different object files get mixed up after being linked. The new --record-gcc-command-line, on the other hand, creates one entry per invocation. By doing so, it makes it clear which options were used together in a single gcc invocation. Lastly, --record-gcc-command-line also adds the version of the gcc into this single entry to make it clear which version of gcc was called with any given command line. This is useful in cases where .comment section reports multiple versions.
          
          While there are also similarities between the implementations of these two options, they are completely independent. These commands can be used separately or together without issues. I used the same section that -frecord-gcc-switches uses on purpose. I could not use the name -frecord-gcc-command-line for this option; because of a {f*} in the specs, which forwards all options starting with -f to cc1/cc1plus as is. This is not we want for this option. We would like to append it a filename as well to pass the argv of the driver to child processes.
          
          This functionality operates as the following: It saves gcc's argv into a temporary file, and passes --record-gcc-command-line <tempfilename> to cc1 or cc1plus. The functionality of the backend is implemented via a hook. This patch includes an example implementation of the hook for elf targets: elf_record_gcc_command_line function. This function reads the given file and writes gcc's version and the command line into a mergeable string section, .GCC.command.line.
          
          
        • GCC Developers Discuss New Option For Recording Compiler Flags / Details In Binaries

          GCC developers recently have been discussing a new proposal over an option for preserving the command-line flags/options used when building a binary as well as the associated compiler version.

          The proposal sent out last week was over a –record-gcc-command-line option to save the compiler options into the produced object file. The proposal is in the name of helping debugging, reproducing bugs, and repeating build process. There is already a -frecord-gcc-switches option that is somewhat similar in behavior but with key differences as explained in the proposal.

        • RcppEigen 0.3.3.7.0

          A new minor release 0.3.3.7.0 of RcppEigen arrived on CRAN today (and just went to Debian too) bringing support for Eigen 3.3.7 to R.

          This release comes almost a year after the previous minor release 0.3.3.5.0. Besides the upgrade to the new upstream version, it brings a few accumulated polishes to the some helper and setup functions, and switches to the very nice tinytest package for unit tests; see below for the full list. As before, we carry a few required changes to Eigen in a diff.

        • “Higher Performance Python” at PyDataCambridge 2019

          I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at the first PyDataCambridge conference (2019), this is the second PyData conference in the UK after PyDataLondon (which colleagues and I co-founded 6 years back). I’m super proud to see PyData spread to 6 regional meetups and now 2 UK conferences.

        • [Older] Linux Systems Performance

          Systems performance is an effective discipline for performance analysis and tuning, and can help you find performance wins for your applications and the kernel. However, most of us are not performance or kernel engineers, and have limited time to study this topic. This talk summarizes the topic for everyone, touring six important areas of Linux systems performance: observability tools, methodologies, benchmarking, profiling, tracing, and tuning. Included are recipes for Linux performance analysis and tuning (using vmstat, mpstat, iostat, etc), overviews of complex areas including profiling (perf_events) and tracing (Ftrace, bcc/BPF, and bpftrace/BPF), and much advice about what is and isn’t important to learn. This talk is aimed at everyone: developers, operations, sysadmins, etc, and in any environment running Linux, bare metal or the cloud.

        • Martin Pieuchot: The Unknown Plan

          Since I attend OpenBSD hackathons, I hear stories about how crazy are the ports hackathons. So I try my best to look like a porter in order to experience this craziness. I must admit p2k19 was awesome but the craziness of port hackathons is still an enigma to me.

        • Google’s AI-powered FreddieMeter can tell if you sing like Queen’s frontman

          While Freddie may have sadly bitten the dust, his fame lives on, so much so that Google’s Creative Lab has cooked up the FreddieMeter.

          The show must go on! It’s an AI-powered thingy which uses its smarts to figure out if one’s singing voice has a pitch, melody and timbre to match that of Mercury’s champion vocals.

        • What is Python? Powerful, intuitive programming

          Why the Python programming language shines for data science, machine learning, systems automation, web and API development, and more.

        • Ian Ozsvald: Training Courses for 2020 Q1 – Successful Data Science Projects & Software Engineering for Data Scientists
        • The simplest explanation of Decorators in Python

          Before starting about decorators, first, understand that functions in python have below three properties.

        • Basic Data Types in Python 3: Booleans

          Welcome back to our ongoing series of blog posts on basic data types in Python 3! Last time, we explored the functionality of strings. Today, we dive in to another key data type – booleans. Booleans (and “boolean logic”) are an important concept in programming, representing the concept of “true” and “false”.

          If you’re learning Python, you might also want to check out TwilioQuest 3. You’ll learn about basic data types like the boolean, and much more about Python programming.

          Ready to learn how to use booleans in Python 3? Let’s get started!

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The Relationship Between Open Source Software and Standard Setting

          Standards and open source development are both processes widely adopted in the ICT industry to develop innovative technologies and drive their adoption in the market. Innovators and policy makers assume that a closer collaboration between standards and open source software development would be mutually beneficial. The interaction between the two is however not yet fully understood, especially with regard to how the intellectual property regimes applied by these organisations influence their ability and motivation to cooperate. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the interaction between standard development organisations (SDOs) and open source software (OSS) communities. The analysis is based on 20 case studies, a survey of stakeholders involved in SDOs and OSS communities, an expert workshop, and a comprehensive review of the literature. In the analysis, we differentiate according to the governance of SDOs and OSS communities, but also considering the involved stakeholders and subject matter. We discuss the preconditions, forms and impacts of collaboration, before we eventually focus on the complementarity of the different Intellectual Property Right (IPR) regimes. Finally, we derive policy recommendations addressing SDOs, OSS communities and policy makers.

  • Leftovers

    • With one secret ingredient, you can bake the flakiest pastry crust of all time

      “The thing about pastry is you have to get your exact measurements,” Alana explained one particularly cold afternoon as I walked into the kitchen with my friend Jason.

      In order to form the pastry, you need three ingredients: ice-cold water, six ounces of all-purpose wheat flour, and eight ounces of cold butter. But not just any butter could be used, and it would not be unsalted butter. That was not worth the drive to Tesco’s.

    • Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman

      It wasn’t ever easy to be Bob Kaufman, not even in San Francisco, a city hospitable to poetry and poets, and where Kaufman was a larger than life figure who attracted attention wherever he went, not unlike that San Francisco native, Jack London, who also attracted attention and stood out from his contemporaries. Like London, Kaufman was the real thing and no imitation writer.

    • Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend

      For all of the opprobrium Facebook deserves, it is still essential for building ties on the left when there are so few opportunities for networking in real space as opposed to cyberspace. Just checking now, it seems that I became a FB friend with Noel Ignatiev sometime in 2015. It was worth it to me to make such a connection, even if it meant putting up with all the ads and heavy-handed automated interference into saying what was on my mind. (I lost FB posting privileges twice for no good reason.)

    • Poetry and Political Struggle: The Dialectics of Rhyme
    • 94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine

      On Friday, November 8, 2019, I delivered the following eulogy to honor the memory of a dear and trusted friend.

      Sometime in the late fall of 1968 I had my first encounter with Jane Quick in front of Ed Flaig’s Mobil station – at the intersection of 10th and Pine – only a couple of blocks west of here.

      That encounter cost me 27 dollars.

      Allow me to explain: I was heading to the newly opened Snack Shack, a tiny, alpine-style structure across the street from where the Sonic would eventually move in and put the Shack out of business. The Snack Shack was best known for its poor students’ budget-conscious menu of unhealthy, greasy meals. Where else could one get a 19 Cent hamburger, a miniscule 19 Cent packet of fries, and 10 Cent cokes?

      From 3:30 p.m. until closing, usually around 11:30 p.m., I cooked, served meals at the seven seater eating bar and the takeout window to the side, cleaned, hauled trash, and stocked all the artery clogging lard for the next day’s opening.

    • Performance Anxiety

      How did I get into this? As a kid that was the inevitable question of concert day. I still ask it now and again. One of my colleagues, to be heard on violin with your Musical Patriot at the organ on All Your Cares Beguile: Songs and Sonatas from Baroque London will often acknowledge his own anxiety before a gig by reminding himself that being nervous is better than being bored. But I’m not always so sure.

    • Are you conservative? Read to find out!

      It’s all very simple. Biological survival. Bullshit reduces it, good stuff enhances it. So your resistance to change is your evolutionary right. And if you actually stop to think about what changes mean to you and how they impact your life, congratulations, you’re doing something 99% of people can’t – you’re using your brain!

      I also mentioned ignorance. Most people don’t have the ability to care. Now, you could also have apathy. You do understand all the big words and whatnot, but you equally don’t care. That puts you neither here nor there, which is perfectly fine. Just remember that people will almost always try to bundle you into a box they are comfortable with, so it’s going to be a binary choice, black or white, for or against. Whatever suits their convictions the best.

      And that brings us to the end of this article, and you got the answer you’re seeking. Paradoxically, if you actually bothered reading, you already know the answer. Because this article is sort of designed to provoke and challenge your views, and if you can’t stomach that, then you’re not reading this sentence. Very simple. Thus endeth the rant.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Scientists say nature therapies don’t just feel good — they save trillions in health costs

        Researchers at Griffith University in Australia suggest that national parks and protected areas save an approximate $6 trillion globally in mental health care costs. Lead study author Ralf Buckley said while that is a “conservative” estimate, it’s still “10 times greater than the global value of park tourism and 100 times greater than the global value of park agency budgets.”

      • Putting ‘Health of All Species’ in Danger, Trump EPA Proposal Guts Restrictions on Toxic Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects

        “The pro-industry zealots now running the EPA’s pesticide office are making a mockery of science and eliminating key safety measures, all for company profits.”

      • Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members

        As popular support grows for replacing private insurance plans with Medicare for All, critics of the single-payer approach have been playing up the fact that some top union officials, and their political allies, don’t want to do away with job-based medical coverage.

      • To Ensure ‘Genuine Public Service for All,’ UK Labour Party Proposes Free, Nationalized Broadband

        “Instead of you forking out for your monthly bill, we’ll tax the giant corporations fairly—the Facebooks and the Googles—to cover the running costs.”

      • What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care

        Every weekday for six weeks this fall, I had radiation treatment for early-stage breast cancer. This journey has been a lesson in our broken social and economic systems.

      • A Century of Prohibition

        We live in the shadow of the past; it haunts the present like the memory of a dead relative who can’t be forgotten or forgiven.  Prohibition is a dead historically moment that can’t be forgotten.

      • Final building handed over to European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam

        EU member states decided in 2017 that the agency, formerly based in London, would be transferred to another location because of the Brexit. Nineteen cities were interested in housing the EMA. After three rounds of voting following a meeting of the European Council in November 2017, a tie was declared between Amsterdam and Milan and the final decision was made by the presidency drawing lots between the two cities.

        In March of this year the EMA moved to Amsterdam, operating from temporary premises in Amsterdam Sloterdijk. Now that the newly built and tailor-made Zuidas building has been handed over to EMA, technical equipment will be installed followed by IT configuration and testing.

        [...]

        According to the Dutch public news service NOS, the new EMA building cost 225 million euro, including 20 years of maintenance. This must be earned back through EMA’s rental payments. The Dutch ministry of economics expects The Netherlands to earn an estimated 128 million euros per year from the arrival of EMA.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump Pardons 2 Army Officers Accused of War Crimes

        President Donald Trump has pardoned a former U.S. Army commando set to stand trial next year in the killing of a suspected Afghan bomb-maker and a former Army lieutenant convicted of murder for ordering his men to fire upon three Afghans, killing two, the White House announced late Friday.

      • Aircraft-carriers are big, expensive, vulnerable—and popular

        Is this fashion for flat-tops well advised? Carriers have long been threatened by submarines. During the Falklands war Argentina’s navy kept its only carrier skulking in port for fear of British submarines. Now they are increasingly threatened above the waterline, too, by ever more sophisticated land- and air-launched anti-ship missiles. To remain safe, carriers must stay ever-farther out to sea, their usefulness dropping with every nautical mile. Missile improvements also threaten the ability of the carriers’ air wings to do what is required of them, nibbling away at their very reason for being.

      • Why Now, and Why Hong Kong, for Alibaba’s Share Sale?

        Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. pulled off the biggest-ever initial public offering on Wall Street five years ago and today sports a market capitalization north of $450 billion. So why is it looking to raise billions more now in Hong Kong, where months of violent pro-democracy protests have unsettled investors and helped tip the city into recession? Fresh capital is not the only reason.

      • Abandoning Malmö to Its Criminals

        Half an hour later, I gave a young and resigned-seeming police officer my account of the incident. When I asked him how best to protect my family in the future, he told me the best solution was “not living in Malmö: Things have escalated to a point where we can’t manage the situation.”

      • ‘Grand American Tradition of Immunizing Its War Criminals’ Continues as Trump Pardons US Soldiers

        “A shameful use of presidential powers,” said the ACLU. “It sends a clear message of disrespect for the law, morality, the military justice system, and those in the military who abide by the laws of war.”

      • Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil

        The US-supported right-wing coup against Bolivian President Evo Morales on November 10th was a serious strike against that nation’s autonomy and its people (especially its indigenous, of whom Morales was one). Such meddling has defined US foreign policy in Latin America for nearly two centuries, since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.

      • ‘Civil War, Now!’ Bolivia Crisis Escalates; 8 Dead, Dozens Hurt

        Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly again when security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales. Officials said Saturday that at least eight people died and dozens were injured in an incident that threatens the interim government’s efforts to restore stability following the resignation of the former president in an election dispute.

      • Missed Opportunity to Recall a Day to ‘Perpetuate Peace’

        And, the magazine added, be sure to spell Veterans Day without an apostrophe!

      • The Violence of Fascist Leaders, Then and Now

        “[A]fter the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace. . . which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.” —Atlantic Charter issued August 14, 1941

      • Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate

        Trump announced to the world the gruesome death and terrorizing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “… He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.. They were led to certain death. He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. His body was mutilated by the blast…. The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him.”

      • It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava

        As Turkey continues its devastating military assault on Rojava, the Kurdish-led region of northeastern Syria, officials in Washington are facing a critical decision: allow Turkey to prevail in its campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds or take action to protect them.

      • Amnesty International Amplifies Clemency Demand for Rodney Reed as Supreme Court Considers Taking Up Case

        “Killing a person creates a murderer out of the executioner, is not justice for Stacey Stites, and deprives Rodney Reed of dignity and humanity.”

      • Heartrending Antiwar Songs

        What makes for a heartrending antiwar song? Is it a doleful poetic and folkloric lament, or is it a driving martial beat with piercing raging lyrics of protest? Does it need a woman’s plaintive voice to make your heart ache with pain, or a man’s fierce growl to give you that gut-wrenching sinking feeling? I suppose it all depends on your kind of musical ear, and on your own situation with regard to the hazards of war.

      • Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded

        War drives the American police state.

      • The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds

        The annual vote on the Cuban resolution at the UN General Assembly on “the need to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” is a time of celebration in Cuba, for it is a time in which the governments of the world nearly unanimously support the Cuban demand for the United States to cease its long-standing blockade. The first vote on the resolution was held in 1992, and it was approved with 59 votes in favor, 3 opposed, and 71 abstentions. For the next seventeen years, the annual vote saw a steady increase of votes in favor and a corresponding decrease in abstentions, arriving in 2000 to 167 votes in favor, 3 opposed, and 4 abstentions. Since 2005, there have been only five countries or less that have opposed or abstained. In the vote 2019 this past week, there were 187 votes in favor of the Cuban resolution, three opposed (the United States, Israel, and Brazil), and two abstentions (Colombia and Ukraine).

      • Why War Deaths Increase After Wars

        I don’t know if somebody dumped a bottle of sanity solution into Rhode Island Sound or what the reason is, but Brown University, which has military contracts just like everywhere else, is the headquarters of a group of dozens of scholars and experts working to educate the public about the various costs of wars (funders worth thanking are here). If every educational institution in the United States did even a teeny bit of what this group does, I think there’s a chance that “peace on earth” might become a phrase with actual meaning, understood as something that might actually be created.

      • Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America

        A couple Saturdays ago I attended the monthly protest near the drone base located on what used to be the Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Horsham, PA, outside Philadelphia. The vigil has been going on monthly for a number of years, peopled by some of the most spiritual, peace-loving people I know. I’d say many of them also qualify as Cassandras, people who have consistently spoken out in an ethical and reasonable manner against the morally confusing reality of our imperial wars. Cassandra was a mythic Greek figure who spurned Apollo and was, thus, doomed to prophesize correctly; the catch was no one would listen to her. Marginalization with a mythic spin.

      • Fundamentalism as Speechlessness

        Our world is bent out of shape. It is all twisted and tangled like a bombed out bridge after an air raid. As we gaze out upon this mangled world, on a very bad day one can see apocalypse around every corner. This was the case in July 2011, when Anders Breivik systematically massacred 76 children at a Labour party youth camp, situated on an idyllic island, in Norway of all places. He imagined that these youth were being trained to respect all peoples in a multicultural world, including Muslims. When some of us in the West first heard this grizzly news, we immediately thought that this must be linked in some ghoulish way with Islamist terrorists. And that is just the problem, isn’t it? Since 9/11, we in the West can easily slip and slide into this quick judgment. Mention terrorism, think Muslim.

      • Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”

        When the dust settles in a month or two, the House of Representatives will have impeached President Donald Trump with a one-sided partisan vote and then the Senate will have exonerated Donald Trump with a similarly one-sided partisan vote.  But at the end of the day, the United States will have acquired a new strategic ally in Central Europe: Ukraine. The very first day of the impeachment hearings in November has been responsible for an important national security decision that had no input from Trump’s national security team or from the congressional foreign policy committees. The implications of this decision are onerous.

      • The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors

        Claims that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons are almost as old as the Syrian civil war itself. They have produced strong reactions, and none more so than in the case of the alleged attack in April last year on the opposition-controlled area of Douma near Damascus in which 43 people are said to have been killed by chlorine gas. The United States, Britain and France responded by launching airstrikes on targets in the Syrian capital.

      • Kashmir witnessed ISIS-level horror before the West was apprised on it: Columnist Sunanda Vashisht

        “We have seen ISIS level of horror and brutality in Kashmir, 30 years before the West was even introduced to the brutalities of radical Islamic terror. I am glad these hearings are happening here today because when my family and everyone like me lost our homes our livelihood and our way of life the world remained silent,” Vashisht told a Congressional hearing on Human Rights organised by Tom Lantos HR Commission in Washington on Thursday (local time).

      • Forget North Korea: This Is The Nuclear Hotspot No One is Talking About

        The bone of contention has always been the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. At the time of partition, the predominantly Muslim state was politically divided over which nation to join. When Pakistani-allied tribesmen attempted to force the issue, the Hindu maharaja of the region chose to accede to India, leading to the first war between India and Pakistan. Ever since, the line of control between the Indian and Pakistan side has remained bitterly contested, with artillery and sniper fire routinely exchanged. Pakistan intelligence services have infiltrated insurgents and plotted attacks across the border for decades, and Indian security troops have been implicated in human-rights violations and killings of the locals as a result of their counterinsurgency operations.

      • Israel Says It Has Completed Gaza Strikes After Rocket Fire

        Israel said early Friday it has completed a series of airstrikes on targets linked to the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza after overnight rocket fire that rattled a day-old truce.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • EFF to Court: Don’t Let Private Organizations Control Access to the Law

        Public.Resource.Org has one simple mission: to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. Public Resource believes—and EFF agrees—that everyone should be able to read, analyze, and share the laws that govern us, without having to pay a gatekeeper or sign a contract. Sounds uncontroversial, right? Not for the standards organizations that sued Public Resource, claiming that they have the right to control access to a huge chunk of the law because they convened the people who drafted it.

        As a practical matter, the core issue is how these particular laws became legal mandates. In these cases, the works started out as voluntary standards on topics like fire safety, energy efficiency, and test design. Those once-voluntary standards were then adopted as binding law by various city, state, and federal agencies through “incorporation by reference.”

      • Submit Your FOIA Horror Stories for The Foilies 2020

        Calling all transparency advocates, investigative journalists, and assorted FOIA punks!

        It’s once again time to submit your nominations for The Foilies—EFF’s annual, tongue-in-cheek awards for outrageous, ridiculous, and infuriating responses to public records requests. 

    • Environment

      • Air Quality Remains Severe In Delhi, Schools Shut On Children’s Day

        The Supreme Court had on Wednesday asked the central government to explore Hydrogen based fuel technology to find solutions to combat air pollution in Northern India including Delhi-NCR.

      • Why the Climategate Hack was More Than An Attack on Science

        The BBC documentary, Climategate: Science of a Scandal, begins with Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University recounting how he opened a letter and unleashed wafts of white powder. “My first thought was: I may have been subject to a deadly substance, anthrax,” he says. “All because I decided to study applied math and physics, and move into climate science.”

      • New-borns face multiple climate health risks

        Multiple climate health risks threaten today’s babies. They may grow up hungrier, more diseased and facing more pollution and danger. But there’s hope.

      • The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship

        It is not an unreasonable extension of reasoning to argue that the political and social tension wracking Canada today can be traced to orchestrated environmental disarray and a deliberate agenda, now decades in the making, to make sure citizens and scientific evidence and reasoning are kept separate from decision makers and decision making.

      • Voting on the Future of Life on Earth

        One of the key research facilities leading the discussion on the climate crisis is the National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne, Australia, whose work is arguably a major plank underpinning the Extinction Rebellion mindset. Over the last few years, the team there has been analyzing a lot of the leading climate research and issuing reports based on their meta-analyses of these studies.

      • The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming

        An omniscient individual on my electronic social media splattergram expressed skepticism that the 0.04% of the atmosphere made up of CO2 could possibly have any responsibility for causing global warming, now also known as climate change. It seems clear to me now that with each passing day more people will stumble upon this startling insight, and the whole carefully constructed edifice of climate change ideological mass conditioning for social control might suddenly crack apart, and our civilization fall into ruins. So, I have decided here to break with my scientifical colleagues and to finally reveal the heretofore hidden truth of the matter, the truth behind the truth, in essence: the truthiest reality of global warming.

      • DNC Dithers While the World Burns

        It wasn’t long ago that seemingly every green group in America was up in arms over the Democratic Party’s self-defeating refusal to sponsor a nationally televised presidential debate on the climate crisis.

      • ‘Pure Propaganda’: New York Times Condemned for Comparing Sanders Green New Deal to Trump Border Wall

        “Article misses a key ‘expert’ perspective: The climate scientists who are saying we need to radically transform every aspect of our economy in the next decade if we want even a 50 percent chance of averting catostrophic climate crisis.”

      • Irish Youth Activists at First-Ever Climate Assembly Implore Govt to Listen to Science

        Lawmakers were told they must “work on our behalf to ensure that we—and you—have a future.”

      • Break Free From Plastic Movement Blasts Big Polluters on Industry-Backed ‘America Recycles Day’

        “Corporate polluters have been using recycling to justify ever-increasing production of single-use packaging, while taxpayers and cities are left to foot the bill.”

      • Energy

        • Cap and Trade Is Supposed to Solve Climate Change, but Oil and Gas Company Emissions Are Up

          Gov. Jerry Brown took the podium at a July 2017 press conference to lingering applause after a steady stream of politicians praised him for helping to extend California’s signature climate policy for another decade. Brown, flanked by the U.S. and California flags, with a backdrop of the gleaming San Francisco Bay, credited the hard work of the VIPs seated in the crowd. “It’s people in industry, and they’re here!” he said. “Shall we mention them? People representing oil, agriculture, business, Chamber of Commerce, food processing. … Plus, we have environmentalists. …”

          Diverse, bipartisan interests working together to pass climate legislation — it was the polar opposite of Washington, where the Trump administration was rolling back environmental protections established under President Barack Obama.

        • The Trouble With Biofuels
        • Creating a New Market for Coal in the Push to Mine ‘Critical Minerals’ for National Security

          This move may have particular implications for the struggling U.S. coal industry and its promoters, which have begun rallying behind efforts to extract some of these so-called “critical minerals” from coal and its by-products.  

    • Finance

      • Asking Supreme Court to Shield His Tax Returns, Trump Claims He Is ‘Absolutely Immune’ From Criminal Investigation

        “It’s absolutely shocking the lengths Donald Trump will go to to shield himself from accountability.”

      • A Crash Course on How to Handle Homelessness

        I really discovered homelessness for the first time when I left my job at an upscale Hollywood radio station in 1987 to work at a downscale downtown newspaper.

      • Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy

        The term ‘income inequality’ suggests the inevitability of a natural process, a division of winners from losers along the lines of hair loss or disproportionate body mass that corporate researchers are working to solve for the sake of the self-esteem of the losers. Some people are tall, others short, some people have pleasant dispositions, others not so much. Otherwise, it almost certainly isn’t the ‘winners’ for whom inequality is a problem, is it?

      • Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition

        There is an inherent bestiality in the politics of the Americas that signals coup, assassination and disruption. No state is ever allowed to go through what is weakly called a transition, except over corpses, tortures and morgues. When a social experiment is conducted, rulers must ensure their wills are well inked ahead of time. Opponents, often funded and sponsored by external powers with an umbilical chord to Washington, lie in wait, hoping for an unequal status quo.

      • Massive Anti-Coup Protests Explode Across Bolivia ‘Against the Many Violations to Democracy’

        “Do you think we are ignorant?”

      • Western Media Whitewash Bolivia’s Far-Right Coup

        Bolivia has a new US-backed puppet leader, and the Western media can hardly conceal their adulation.

      • Alex Main on Bolivia Coup

        This week on counterspin: The Washington Post doesn’t want you to be confused, so they headlined their editorial, “Bolivia Is in Danger of Slipping Into Anarchy. It’s Evo Morales’s Fault.” Elite US media, you understand, are deeply invested in the well-being of Bolivia’s people, who are in uproar after a coup ousting Morales, over charges of irregularities in the recent election that appear to have no evidential grounding—nor, in media’s view, to require any. Back in 2006, US media were counseling Morales that policies like nationalizing the country’s gas industry were popular but “not the answer to Bolivia’s problems.” Their preferred answer, judging by today’s coverage, is celebrating the extra-legal pushout of the country’s first indigenous president, and welcoming the self-declared leadership of a legislator who has tweeted that she “dream[s] of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites.” That’s the topsy-turvy world of elite US media’s “concerned” foreign policy. Which is why we’ll look for a different view from Alex Main, director of international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

      • Bolivia and the Loud Silence

        The lack of criticism about the destruction of democracy in Bolivia from the presidential candidates in the so-called democratic party of the faking United States of America is possibly the single most revealing non-event in the charade of the 2020 electoral scheming. It is more telling than all of their words. The only one of this group who has so far made a statement about the military pushed resurgence of fascist impunity in Bolivia is Bernie Sanders. His tepid expression of concern included an avoidance of saying this was a coup (he said it “appears to be” a coup) and he made an appeal to peaceful and democratic processes in Bolivia (as if the reality of the violent destruction of democratic processes had not just happened!). So, a mealy-mouthed concern is the best the would-be presidents who call themselves democrats could muster to supposedly counterbalance the enthusiastic and deceitful endorsements of fascism by the republicans and Trump administration. The fact that Morales still had a couple of months left in his term as president of Bolivia as he was removed under the threat of greater violence definitely makes this a coup. It “appears to be a coup” because it is a coup. Saying it only “appears to be” something is a way of possibly later backtracking and is suspiciously unnecessary.

      • Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People

        As the military coup continues to entrench itself in Bolivia, the first goal of the perpetrators is to appear to be following the constitutional process. But the façade is not enough to hide the real disaster of yet another self-proclaimed president in Latin America. When you thought that the Juan Guaido experiment in Venezuela was a total failure in every respect, Bolivia repeats the same pathetic tragedy.

      • When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role

        When it comes to politics in Latin America, what initially seems clear is usually anything but.

      • A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia

        This sounds like a modern day comment from the US far left, but the source is hardly that. It’s from a man who was the most decorated Marine ever at the time of his death. He was an expert on the topic. He served in WW I as well as the Mexican Revolution. Smedley Butler was doomed to be a largely forgotten voice in the rush to gloss over the true causes of war and regime change. He pointed out the techniques used to win public approval and the subsequent serving of the corporate needs by entering these ever-repeating violent conflicts. He described his military career as that of “a high class muscleman for Big Business, Wall Street, and the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

      • Let’s restore our values, do away with capitalism

        In this past decade, we witnessed a degeneration of politics across the spectrum, with social media, notwithstanding its use, becoming the worst platform for corrosive politics.

        We also witnessed moral degeneration and character assassination as influenced by capitalism.

        The moral degeneration in SA is very high and that directly reflects the politics of our country.

        This open letter is an invitation for us, more especially ANC and Alliance partners, to think critically about who we are as a society and perhaps champion ways in which we can restore some of the values that we have lost.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Goes to Walter Reed Medical Center for Tests

        President Donald Trump spent more than two hours at Walter Reed National Medical Center on Saturday for what the White House said were medical tests as part of his annual physical.

      • Brett Kavanaugh Speech Protested With Rape Whistles, Handmaid Costumes, Christine Blasey Ford Video

        Ford’s testimony on repeat was just one part of the protest. There was a giant banner reading “KAVANAUGH LIED” at the VIP entrance, several people dressed as handmaids from The Handmaid’s Tale (a common tactic), and chants of “shame” yelled at gala attendees who were waiting in line outside the event for over an hour.

      • Veterans face growing threat from online disinformation

        Disinformation attacks and scams targeting veterans online have ramped up in recent years, leaving lawmakers and social media platforms scrambling to address the issue.

        According to experts, veterans often seem an easy target due to their high level of trustworthiness, the older age of veterans, and the emotional attachment many Americans feel for the group.

        A study published by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) in September highlighted the threat to veterans. The report found that the Russian Internet Research Agency had bought over 100 advertisements targeting followers of veteran accounts on social media sites during and after the 2016 election.

      • The cost of a sponsored post on Instagram has shot up 1,125 per cent since 2014

        Marketing firm Izea has just released a report that’s likely to make you choke on your cool, refreshing Pepsi Max*. It seems the average rate a brand will pay for a sponsored Instagram photo has risen from $134 in 2014 to $1,642 this year.

        But don’t go reaching for an inferior caffeinated Cola brand* just yet, because that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The report highlights that influencer rates have been going up across the board. A Facebook status update would once have set you back a bargain $8 is now worth $395, while a $29 Twitter post would now cost $422 a pop. In the same time period, a branded YouTube video encouraging you to smash that Like button was once a steal at $420 – now it comes to $6,700.

      • Deval Patrick Had Chris Christie’s Nod … a Year Ago

        Here’s a political riddle: Why would a GOP operative like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie want to give a Democrat like Deval Patrick a boost in the 2020 presidential race? And why would Christie pointedly name-check Patrick, the onetime Massachusetts governor who confirmed Wednesday that he was indeed making a run at the White House, a full year before Patrick announced?

      • Twitter Details Political Ads Ban, Issue Ads Allowed

        Twitter says its new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign contributions and any political content.

      • Conflicting White House Accounts of 1st Trump-Zelenskiy Call

        President Donald Trump released the rough transcript Friday of a congratulatory phone call he had with the incoming president of Ukraine, holding it out as evidence that he did nothing wrong. Instead, the memorandum shows how White House descriptions of Trump’s communications with foreign leaders at times better reflect wishful thinking than the reality of the interactions.

      • Yovanovitch Testifies for 5 Hours in House Probe
      • The Most Impeachable President in US History vs. The Most Hesitant Congress.

        Amid the worst Republican President and Republican Party in modern times, the Democrats are playing the politics of low expectations. This is not the time for Democrats to be in disarray. On Capitol Hill, the prevailing view of most Democrats is that they will cling to their House majority and they shouldn’t expect to regain the Senate in the 2020 elections.

      • ‘A Victory for the Whole Country’: Chile to Hold Referendum on Rewriting Constitution

        “We are here thanks to many Chileans that have risked their lives to make Chile a fairer country.”

      • Welcome to Chile: One of Latin America’s Most Unequal Countries

        Following 9-11 many editorial cartoonists, myself included, tried to make sense of the tragic events. My work criticized US foreign policy and the ensuing, heavy-handed military interventionism that followed. As a result, I was denied boarding a domestic Air Canada flight in 2004. I also began to receive extra screening on a routine basis by airlines in many countries. One of

      • Tanisha Anderson, Impeachment, and a Hawk

        I was thinking about impeachment when a bird fell out of the sky. I was thinking about quid pro quos and the using of the presidency for personal gain when I rounded a corner and saw a hawk, gray and crumpled. It was a bright blue day, and she seemed to have slammed herself into a window, mistaking it for the sky.

      • ‘Witness Intimidation in Real-Time’: Trump Tweets Attack on Yovanovitch During Public Impeachment Testimony

        “It’s very intimidating,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said of the president’s tweets.

      • Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio

        The counter-narratives about the recent takeover, and restoration, of New York City’s Pacifica radio station, WBAI, have apparently begun. Thus far we have no new offerings but rather restatements of previously given excuses, ones that wilt in the face of reasoned critique.

      • Remembering the Battle for Seattle: Organizers Launch Project to Reflect on 20 Years of Lessons

        It is imperative that we remember what happened in Seattle 20 years ago. We are living in a moment of mass uprisings around the world. Today’s political moment traces back to many turning points in political, economic, and social movement history.

      • As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?

        Just as Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) heads of state prepared to meet in Brasilia on November 13-14, hosted by Jair Bolsonaro, a double political earthquake hit: Lula’s freedom from prison on November 8, followed by a coup against Bolivian president Evo Morales on November 11.

      • Why Facebook Filtering Will Ultimately Fail

        In its content-moderation report released this week, Facebook revealed that it had removed a whopping 3.2-billion fake accounts from March through September 2019.

      • Applauding His Record of Standing Up to ‘Charter Billionaires,’ United Teachers Los Angeles Endorses Bernie Sanders

        “Critically, like UTLA, Sen. Sanders believes in building a national movement for real, lasting change.”

      • Must-See Labour Ad Shows When Right Wing Blames Immigrants for Everything ‘You Know They’ve Run Out of Ideas’

        “Immigrants haven’t been cutting public services,” wrote one Tory critic in response. “Conservatives have.”  

      • Benjamin Netanyahu’s Sinister Plot to Hold On To Power

        What follows is a conversation between author Jeff Halper and Marc Steiner of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Vowing to Take on the ‘Greedy, Corrupt Donor Class,’ Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur Announces Congressional Bid

        “I’m going to fight to get money out of politics, and I’m going to call it like it is. You know what campaign donations are from big corporations and lobbyists? Bribes.”

      • The Fragile Boris Johnson

        I find election campaigns in which the Prime Minister addresses scrubbed, smug Tory audiences, filmed by the BBC in close shot to conceal the sparsity of their numbers, deeply disturbing. I find the speeches in factories to employees even more chilling. The sullen compliance of employees, too cowed to show discontent before their bosses, should disturb any right thinking person. This may bore millennials, but back in the 1970s it was inconceivable that a politician of any stripe could address a factory floor without some robust reaction from the workforce. In those days, workers had rights, their employment was protected, and they could not be dismissed on a whim. I have no doubt that the rise of the North Korean factory style meeting in British politics relates directly to the destruction of workers’ rights. Johnson did one in a electric taxi factory a couple of days ago and it was a staple of May’s appalling campaign.

      • Protests Erupt in Georgia over Failed Electoral Reforms

        Spontaneous protests have erupted in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi following the parliament’s failure to adopt a critical electoral reform. Opposition parties and civic activists have called for continuous protests in front of the parliament, with a major demonstration announced for Sunday. 

      • WATCH LIVE: Day 2 of Trump Impeachment Hearings

        Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch “is expected to describe the personal trauma she endured as the administration’s traditional diplomatic establishment in Ukraine collided with a rogue foreign policy operation” run by the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

      • Impeachment Hearings Highlight More Trump Phone OPSEC Failures

        Plenty has been made of the President’s unwillingness to adhere to anything close to reasonable security when using his mobile phones. Whereas the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the National Security Agency usually work in concert providing state leaders with “hardened” devices that are heavily encrypted, routinely updated, and frequently swapped out, Trump has refused to use these more secure DMCC-S devices (effectively a Samsung Galaxy S4 device utilizing Samsung’s Knox security architecture) because they apparently infringe on his ability to Tweet.

      • St. Petersburg councilman files defamation charges after media tied to ‘Putin’s chef’ accuse him of sexually harassing his students

        Boris Vishnevsky, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly and perhaps the city’s most prominent oppositionist, is suing Evgeny Prigozhin’s “Patriot” media group over a series of publications accusing him of sexually harassing his students.

      • Get Trump First, But Then…

        Were Donald Trump and the Republicans who support him slightly less relentless in giving reasons to despair for the human race, it would be a lot harder than it now is to maintain a proper perspective.

      • Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton

        US president Donald Trump “elevated his political interest above the national interest and demanded foreign interference in an American election,” Peter Beinart asserts at The Atlantic. “What’s received less attention is what the scandal reveals about Joe Biden: He showed poor judgment because his staff shielded him from hard truths. If that sounds faintly familiar, it’s because that same tendency underlay Hillary Clinton’s email woes in 2016.”

      • The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer

        You may not even remember the journey across the border. Maybe you tracked through a desert. Maybe you hid in a trunk. Maybe you arrived in an airport, your passport stamped with a visa. Maybe you came here all by yourself to reunite with your mom or dad. Maybe you were excited, maybe scared. And, in the end, you stayed.

        You enrolled in an American school. You grew up eating Cheerios and grilled cheese, playing softball, listening to hip hop. Then one day you were told that you don’t belong. That you are illegal. You need to go.

        But go where? This is the country you know. This is your home.

        Culturally integrated but legally excluded, you are assimilated and alienated at once.

        How daunting it must be to realize that once you graduate from high school, you will find yourself barred from government financial aid, student loans, and legal employment. How frightening, to contemplate the possibility of being forced into an underground economy of temporary jobs, unfair wages, unsafe working conditions. How hard, to watch your American-born classmates move on with their lives, while you watch over your shoulder for cop cars driving by. How exhausting to live in fear. Fear of arbitrary detention, deportation. Fear of being separated from your family. Fear of what the future may or may not hold.

      • All That Gunsmoke

        A gun is usually acknowledged to be a weapon from which a bullet is fired, and a ‘smoking gun’ is literally one from which a bullet has emerged, causing a puff of smoke to appear at the end of the barrel. On the other hand, a smoking gun is frequently defined as “a piece of incontrovertible incriminating evidence”, and there are countless smoking guns in the United States right now : some in politics, but many in literal circumstances in which people have been killed. We are told that “as of September 24, 2019, 334 mass shootings have occurred in 2019 . . .  In these shootings, 1,347 people were injured and 377 died.” In almost every other country in the world, this would be regarded as a massive domestic problem that required decisive action, such as that taken so swiftly by New Zealand after a horrific gun attack by a terrorist in March 2019.

      • Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion

        Living In A World That Can’t Be Fixed is not a guidebook to terminal melancholy. Curtis White, the author of this book, also wrote The Spirit of Disobedience along with other social criticism, hardly advocates that course of inaction. On the contrary, White’s provocative title poses a challenge. He’s saying political reformism offers modest remedies, at best, to mitigate the catastrophe upon us. And he says it with a range of insights—from Wordsworth to Adorno by way of Agnes Varda. Curtis writes with assurance of his sources, but far removed from a pedantic style.

      • Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?

        As old certainties crumble and systems crystallize, social divisions grow and extremes harden, a friend asks: “Why is there so much wrong in our society?” It’s a good question. He was referring specifically to Britain where we both live, but, although the specific problems may vary, the question could be applied to any country, and by extension, to world society.

      • “There Is No India Without Kashmir”: Indian Columnist At US Congress

        India has successfully defeated insurgencies in Punjab and the Northeast and it is now time to strengthen New Delhi’s fight against insurgencies in Kashmir, columnist Sunanda Vashisht told a US Congressional hearing on Human Rights in Washington on Thursday. Terrorists trained by Pakistan had caused “ISIS level of horror and brutality” in the Kashmir Valley long before the West was even introduced to the brutalities of radical Islamic terror, Ms Vashisht said, adding that international cooperation in India’s fight against terror would also solve the human rights problem in the state.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • “The Palace… Threatened Us a Million Different Ways”.

        This leaked off-air recording of ABC News anchor Amy Robach is much more revealing than anything the BBC is going to air about Andrew Saxe Coburg Gotha.

      • Court To Racist Douchebags: It’s Not Defamatory For A Newspaper To Call You ‘Racist Douchebags’

        When is it defamatory to call people “racist douchebags?” Well, let’s start with the “douchebag” part. This is always a statement of opinion and never actionable. Calling someone (in this case, several someones) a “douchebag” is like calling them an “asshole.” It’s not something that is possible of defaming anyone since it’s always, without exception, a statement of opinion.

      • Russia: Criminal Charges for Gay-Friendly Chat Show

        Russian authorities should drop a criminal case over a YouTube video of children talking to a gay man and ensure the man’s safety amid threats and attempted physical attacks, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Russian Justice Ministry names Radio Liberty project a ‘foreign agent’ media source

        The Justice Ministry of the Russian Federation has named Sever.Realii, a regional news project for Russia’s north created by Radio Liberty, as a “foreign agent” media source. The designation follows the formation of a State Duma commission to investigate foreign interference in Russia’s elections. Commission members have publicly accused Radio Liberty and Meduza, among others, of taking part in such interference.

      • Lebanon: Defamation Laws Used to Silence Critics

        Lebanese authorities have been increasing their reliance on insult and defamation laws to silence journalists, activists, and others critical of government policies and corruption, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

      • Say bye to internet censorship in India, China with this new AI tool

        An Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system, called Geneva (short for Genetic Evasion), that automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan has been developed by researchers at the University of Maryland in the US.

        The researchers are scheduled to introduce Geneva during a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday, November 14.

      • Can an employee’s freedom of expression trump their confidentiality obligations? The ECtHR weighs in (in a case concerning an employee’s personal website)

        In 2006, the applicant worked as a human resources management expert at a financial institution (Bank O.) in Hungary. In this capacity, he undertook the analysis and calculation of salaries and staffing management. Among other things, he contributed to his employer’s remuneration policy reform.

        According to the code of ethics of the bank, he was under an obligation not to publish formally or informally any information relating to the functioning and activities of his employer.

        In January 2011, whilst he was still employed by Bank O., the applicant launched a knowledge-sharing website for human resources management-related publications (including articles) and events. The website also contained a presentation of the applicant with his photograph, describing him as an expert in human resources management and indicating that he worked in the human resources department of a large domestic bank, without mentioning his employer.

        In February that year, after two articles appeared on the website, the applicant’s employment was terminated due to a breach of Bank O.’s confidentiality standards. The bank argued that the applicant’s conduct in providing educational services in the field of human resources management had infringed its economic interests. Moreover, given the nature of his position, the applicant was in possession of information the publication of which would have interfered with the bank’s business interests.

        [...]

        The Court recalled that freedom of expression also applies in the context of private employment relations (Heinisch v Germany, No 28274/08) and that the State has a positive obligation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the competing interest of the individual and of the community as a whole. All this is, in any event, subject to the margin of appreciation enjoyed by the State, which – in the case of commercial speech – is quite broad.

        In the context of employment relations, there must be a mutual trust between employer and employee. This means that certain manifestations of freedom of expression that may be legitimate in other situations, would not be so in the context of such relations (Palomo Sánchez and Others, Nos 28955/06).

        In the present case, the issue for the ECtHR to consider was whether domestic authorities, in dismissing the applicant’s claims, had adequately secured his right to freedom of expression in the context of labour relations and balanced it against the employer’s right to protection of its commercial interests. To this end, the court considered the following:

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Every Tech Company Wants to Be a Bank—Someday, At Least

        The US tech firms need only look to Asia for a lesson in how a push into banking can accelerate their growth. There, tech firms plowed into finance years ago and largely won out. In Beijing, it’s embarrassing to pull out a credit card rather than a QR code that links to your WeChat account. Ant Financial, the banking arm of Alibaba, is far bigger than Goldman Sachs, the bank that helps Apple issue its credit cards. On the same apps you use for news and games and texting, you can also get loans, credit, and manage your investments.

      • Amazon Says It Didn’t Get a $10 Billion Contract Because Trump Hates Bezos

        Research firm Gartner pegs Amazon Web Service’s cloud-computing market share at 48 percent, with Microsoft Azure lagging behind at 15.5 percent. AWS also remains the only company to hold the Pentagon’s highest security clearance classification, known as Impact Level 6. Microsoft’s victory could have the potential to not only hasten its acquisition of Impact Level 6, but add momentum to its ascension as a serious alternative to Amazon and as the preferred choice for government contracts.

      • French government seeks to comb social media to fight tax fraud

        […] “An experiment without any goals is a joke,” said Arthur Messaud, a legal expert at French internet freedom advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. “We’re putting the cat among the pigeons by allowing the generalized monitoring of the Internet for everything and anything.” […)

      • Federal Judge Issues Historic Opinion for Digital Privacy at the Border

        In a historic opinion on privacy at the border, a federal judge this week recognized that international travelers have significant privacy interests in their digital data and ruled that suspicionless electronic device searches at U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper in Boston held that border agents must have reasonable suspicion that a device contains digital contraband before searching or seizing the device.

        The summary judgment opinion was issued in EFF and ACLU’s case Alasaad v. McAleenan, in which we represent 11 plaintiffs against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case is a constitutional challenge to the agencies’ polices on border searches and seizures of electronic devices.

      • At last, some good news for privacy: signs that micro-targeted advertising may be on the way out

        At the beginning of this year Privacy News Online wrote about how people were waking up to the dangers of micro-targeted advertising. Despite that, nothing much happened – until now. One reason for the shift is the heightened awareness of the role of social media in politics and elections. Twitter has said it will drop all political ads. Facebook has refused to do the same, and has even gone so far as to exempt political ads from a ban on making false claims. A recent open letter from Mozilla and others called for Facebook and Google to stop hosting political ads in the UK until after the General Election currently underway there. The signatories said this was because “the online advertising model, which depends on vast collection of data and opaque ad targeting systems is not fit for purpose”. British political parties are already actively trying out multiple versions of ads on Facebook to see which will be most effective in the General Election campaign that is now underway in the UK.

      • Amazon unhappy Microsoft won $10 billion ‘war cloud’ Pentagon contract

        Amazon, the company founded by Jeff Bezos, plans to dispute the contract process, claiming “unmistakable bias.”

      • Amazon appeals $10B Pentagon contract won by Microsoft

        In a statement Thursday, Amazon said that “numerous aspects” of the bidding process involved “clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias.” It did not elaborate.

      • India’s requests for Facebook user data increases by 37%, second only to U.S.

        The Indian government’s requests for user data from Facebook increased nearly 37% in the first half of 2019, and at 22,684 queries, was the second highest globally, according to the Transparency Report of the U.S.-based social networking site.

        In comparison, Facebook received 16,580 requests in the January-June 2018 period and 20,805 requests during July-December that year. Of the 22,684 data requests, Facebook said it had produced some data in 54% of cases. “Facebook responds to government requests for data in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service. Each and every request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency and we may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague,” the company said.

      • Judiciary warns staff against using pseudo names on WhatsApp

        However, some staff members have expressed skepticism over the move, saying it infringes on their freedom of association, privacy and expression. “That WhatsApp group was established about two years ago but we are wondering why the directive is coming up now? They only want to reprimand those people posting issues they consider negative,” a staff, who preferred anonymity, said.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Whistleblowers Are Public Servants. We Must Protect Them.
      • Russian media veteran Dmitry Muratov returns to ‘Novaya Gazeta’ editor-in-chief post

        Dmitry Muratov, whose storied career saw him launch one of Russia’s major independent news sources with support from figures as famous as Mikhail Gorbachev, has returned to his former post as editor-in-chief of that publication, Novaya Gazeta. 51.7 percent of the newspaper’s staff (or 74 individuals, according to the Moskva news agency) voted for Muratov to take the post.

      • Why local news is necessary

        Good government flourishes in the sunshine, and our nation’s founders knew that. “A press that is free to investigate and criticize the government,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, “is absolutely essential in a nation that practices self-government and is therefore dependent on an educated and enlightened citizenry.” But the provision for a free press to enlighten the citizenry is a hollow promise if there’s no publication to practice it.

        By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy. So who needs local news? Jefferson would say “everyone.” But in case you’re not convinced, look at it this way: When five burglars broke into an office at the Watergate Hotel in Washington on June 17, 1972, it was a local story. Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein were unknowns; The Washington Post had virtually no national profile.

      • What Readers Told Us About Our Story, “The Legend of A-N-N-A”

        How are you? I, for one, have a cat sitting in my lap. I’ve been busy the last few days reading and replying to many of your thoughtful, interesting responses to the story we published last week, “The Legend of A-N-N-A: Revisiting An American Town Where Black People Weren’t Welcome After Dark.”

        If I haven’t gotten back to you yet, I will!

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Antitrust Complaint Lodged in U.S. Gets Attention in EU

        The merchant accused Amazon of rewarding those who pay for the company’s warehousing, packing and delivery services with better visibility on Amazon’s e-commerce website.

        The European Commission, which is already investigating Amazon’s double role as store and host to other retailers, asked a U.S. Congressional committee looking into big tech companies’ abuse of power to hand over a 62-page document from the long-time Amazon merchant made public by Bloomberg News last week. The paper is based on an analysis of thousands of Amazon transactions and accuses Amazon of “tying” its marketplace and logistics service together.

      • Uber Hit With $650 Million Employment Tax Bill in New Jersey (3)

        Uber Technologies Inc. owes New Jersey about $650 million in unemployment and disability insurance taxes because the rideshare company has been misclassifying drivers as independent contractors, the state’s labor department said.

        Uber and subsidiary Rasier LLC were assessed $523 million in past-due taxes over the last four years, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said in a pair of letters to the companies. The rideshare businesses also are on the hook for as much as $119 million in interest and penalties on the unpaid amounts, according to other internal department documents.

        The New Jersey labor department has been after Uber for unpaid employment taxes for at least four years, according to the documents, which Bloomberg Law obtained through an open public records request.

      • Patents and Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • EU Court to Decide on BitTorrent Questions in Copyright Trolling Case

          A copyright troll that failed in its quest to target Virgin Media customers earlier this year is having another bite at the cherry against a different ISP in Belgium. This time, however, a local court has referred several questions to the European Court of Justice, specifically related to the BitTorrent mechanism and EU privacy law.

        • Company That Acquired ‘Copyright Troll’ Warns ISPs & VPN Providers

          American Films Inc, a company that ‘acquired’ the US operations of notorious ‘copyright troll’ outfit GuardaLey earlier this year, says it has made a new acquisition. With the addition of “strategic data company” Maker Data Services LLC, the company hopes to help Hollywood bring lawsuits against ISPs and VPN providers.

        • Court Punishes Copyright ‘Troll’ Lawyer for Repeatedly Lying to The Court

          Copyright lawyer Richard Liebowitz has been sanctioned by a federal court in New York for repeatedly lying about his grandfather’s date of death, which made him miss a hearing. The lawyer, who many see as a photography ‘copyright troll’, refused to hand over the relevant death certificate for months. When he finally provided the document this week, the Judge found out that he hadn’t been honest about the date.

        • Richard Liebowtiz’s Lawyer To Judge: Please Excuse His Lying To The Court Since He Doesn’t Really Know How To Law

          Earlier this week we already covered infamous and oft-sanctioned copyright troll lawyer, Richard Liebowitz, showing up in court to explain to the judge why he lied about the timing of the death of his grandfather multiple times over the course of many months as he tried to explain away why he missed a discovery conference. As we noted, Liebowitz actually showed up in court this time (good call, considering that the judge made it clear she was considering sending him to jail), and brought a lawyer with him (also a good call). He did remain out of jail, though Judge Cathy Seibel noted that she had referred the matter to the Grievance Committee, which could lead to sanctions. She also warned that her various contempt rulings against Liebowitz will require him to disclose the sanctions both to other courts and to prospective clients.

        • Giant Publisher Macmillan Goes To War Against Libraries

          We’ve joked in the past that, given the insane state of copyright maximalism, if libraries were invented today, it’s quite clear that book publishers would insist they were dens of piracy and had to be stopped at all costs. It is, at best, the luck of history that libraries got “grandfathered” in before copyright system maximalists went completely out of their minds. But, in fact, copyright holders still do appear to hate libraries and wish they’d go away. Case in point: publishing giant Macmillan, which has decided that libraries shouldn’t be lending ebooks any more. Back in July it announced a new plan, starting November 1st, to “embargo” ebooks offered to libraries.

        • Elizabeth Warren Backs Taylor Swift in Big Machine Battle, Slams Private Equity Firms

          Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren retweeted Swift’s Thursday message about her former record label preventing her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards, adding that Swift is “one of many whose work as been threatened by a private equity firm.”

          “They’re gobbling up more and more of our economy, costing jobs and crushing entire industries,” she continued. “It’s time to rein in private equity firms — and I’ve got a plan for that.

        • Oracle and Google will fight in court over Java, AGAIN and this time it’s going to the Supremes

          The US Supreme Court has agreed to once and for all decide the copyright case between Oracle and Google after nine years of legal wrangling.

          The nine judge panel on Friday issued a grant of certiorari (PDF), agreeing to hear the case over Android’s use of copyrighted APIs owned by Oracle via the purchase of Sun Microsystems.

          Yes, that case.

          The fight kicked off back in 2010 shortly after Oracle acquired Sun and decide to weaponize its intellectual property by filing a copyright infringement suit against Google and its wildly popular Android mobile platform.

          At issue is code Google was said to have cribbed from Sun in order to piece together the Java API in Android. The big sticking point throughout the nearly decade-long back and forth is the issue of whether the APIs were copyrightable.

        • Supreme Court to Hear Google and Oracle Copyright Case

          The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether Google should have to pay Oracle billions of dollars in a long-running copyright infringement lawsuit over software used to run many of the world’s smartphones.

          In a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear its appeal, Google called the dispute “the copyright case of the decade.”

          Oracle asked for $9 billion in damages over what it said was Google’s wrongful copying of about 11,000 lines of software code in Android, its mobile phone operating system.

          In 2016, a San Francisco jury found that Google had not violated copyright laws because it had made “fair use” of the code. But last year a specialized appeals court in Washington, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, disagreed with that assessment and sent the case back for a trial to determine how much Google must pay in damages.

        • Supreme Court to Take-On Software Copyright Case

          Issues: (1) Whether copyright protection extends to a software interface; and (2) whether, as the jury found, the petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.

        • Google Gets Supreme Court Hearing in Oracle Copyright Clash

          At issue are pre-written directions known as application program interfaces, or APIs, which provide instructions for such functions as connecting to the internet or accessing certain types of files. By using those shortcuts, programmers don’t have to write code from scratch for every function in their software, or change it for every type of device.

        • Big News: Supreme Court To Hear Google v. Oracle Case About API And Copyright

          Some big news out of the Supreme Court this morning, as it has agreed to hear the appeal in the never-ending Oracle v. Google lawsuit regarding whether or not copyright applies to APIs (the case is now captioned as Google v. Oracle, since it was Google asking the Supreme Court to hear the appeal). We’ve been covering the case and all its permutations for many years now, and it’s notable that the Supreme Court is going to consider both of the questions that Google petitioned over. Specifically:

        • Big Big Big Case: Oracle v. Google

          Odds are good that the biggest patent case of the year will be a copyright case. The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Google v. Oracle — a case focusing on copyright protections for the JAVA programming interface. The innovations at issue in the case sit near the fuzzy ‘borders’ of copyright and patent law and a number of members of the court will be looking to define those dividing lines.

          [...]

          Even if the Supreme Court was serious at the time that Seldon should have gone after patent protection, today we know that such an attempt would be seen as improperly claiming an abstract idea under Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014). In its petition, Google explains that – as in Seldon, a “monopoly over those methods and diagrams could be secured only by patent law, not copyright.”

        • Elsevier Gets Sci-Hub And LibGen Blocked In Austria, Thereby Promoting The Use Of VPNs And Tor In The Country

          Sci-Hub describes itself as “the first website in the world to provide mass & public access to research papers”. At the time of writing, there were 77.5 million academic papers available on the site. Many, perhaps most, of them were funded by taxpayers, through government grants to researchers working at educational institutions. The person behind Sci-Hub, Alexandra Elbakyan, presumably sees her site as a way of letting people have access to the work they paid for. The publishing giant Elsevier doesn’t agree. For some reason, it seems to think it has a right to a profit margin of 35-40% arising from its role as a gatekeeper to the papers that the public has paid for.

Understanding Thierry Breton: The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt

Posted in Europe, Finance at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Overview

Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research


Breton at Bercy
The new boss at Bercy strikes a hawkish pose.

Summary: The oligarchic policy of Thierry Breton at Bercy

Breton’s economic policy focused on the need to reform public finances, specifically to reduce the national debt.

In June 2005 he declared that France was living beyond its means, a sentiment echoing the words of the Prime Minister Raymond Barre in 1976. He announced to the French people that the entirety of their income tax was only sufficient to finance the interest payments on the national debt and declared that his primary goal would be the maintenance of public deficit below a level of 3% of GDP in 2005 and 2006.

“Breton’s economic policy focused on the need to reform public finances, specifically to reduce the national debt.”At the end of 2005 France’s deficit fell to 2.9% of its GDP after three consecutive years of surpassing the figure of 3%. In 2006 the public deficit was further reduced to 2.5% and public debt was recorded to have dramatically fallen to 63.9% of GDP. For the first time since 1995 the country’s budget was in a situation of primary surplus.

Although Breton gained some acclaim for his efforts in tackling the national debt situation, the general perception of him was as a pro-business advocate of ultra-liberal reforms for the benefit of the few rather than the many.

“Although Breton gained some acclaim for his efforts in tackling the national debt situation, the general perception of him was as a pro-business advocate of ultra-liberal reforms for the benefit of the few rather than the many.”For example, in an interview with Le Figaro, Breton criticised France’s wealth tax, “l’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune” (ISF) stating that it had become “no longer a wealth tax, but simply yet another tax on the savings and housing of our fellow citizens, who are by no means all wealthy”. For Breton, it was a “costly” and “economically dangerous” tax.

A cartoon from this period pokes fun at his stance on the ISF by referring to the “intense emotion” generated in the National Assembly with a plea to the parliamentary deputies to open their hearts to “all those poor wealthy people who are obliged to leave this country of misery in a clandestine manner in their luxury yachts…”

Breton cartoon
Breton generates intense emotion with a plea to parliamentary deputies to open their hearts to “all those poor wealthy people … obliged to flee France in their luxury yachts”.

Breton’s term as Minister came to an end on 15 May 2007 at the conclusion of Jacques Chirac’s five-year term as President of France. His successor was Jean-Louis Borloo, appointed as Minister of the Economy by the newly elected President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Breton walks
The Minister for Funny Walks preparing to return to the greener pastures of the private sector

Before looking at what Thierry did next, we will take a small diversion to examine some “incidents” which cast a shadow over his term of office in Bercy, most notably “Rhodiagate”, the Vivendi Universal affair and the insider trading scandal at EADS.

Reactions to Last Week’s Thierry Breton Hearing

Posted in Europe at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thierry Breton Took his Web site offline. And then he deleted certain past employers from his résumé so they thought he's better than Sylvie Goulard.

Summary: Nobody is particularly impressed by Thierry Breton except those who know little about him (and he contributes to this lack of knowledge by obstructing, omitting, and misleading)

THE Breton series is ongoing and can be published in full by month’s end. No matter if he’s put in power or not (it seems likely), we need to know just what we’re dealing with. There are two many problematic connections and people are noticing these.

“Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton is not fit for office,” said this account in Twitter on behalf of Left MEPs, as “Breton failed to assuage MEP fears about conflicts of interest. We won’t support him for the Commission.” Here is their full statement:

Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton is not fit for office, Left MEPs conclude after a disappointing hearing today.
The former CEO of Atos, and France’s second nominee after Parliament rejected Sylvie Goulard, will be in charge of a portfolio that largely overlaps with the areas of operation of his previous job.
Breton failed to assuage MEP fears about conflicts of interest.
The Commission’s Code of Conduct requires a two-year “cooling off” period when Commissioners leave their post yet no such requirement is being asked of Breton in reverse, fuelling accusations of revolving doors.
MEP Manuel Bompard (France Insoumise, France) spelled out what a Breton Commission would mean if the rules were followed:
“Atos received EU money and is a dominant player in the digital market, so Breton should recuse himself entirely from decisions related to digital issues.
“Atos has helped set up a highly questionable tobacco traceability system for the benefit of tobacco companies, so Breton should recuse himself from the revision of the tobacco directive.
“Atos manages access to the data of the EU’s Copernicus programme, so Breton should recuse himself from decisions related to the space programme.
“In sum, his conflicts of interest would prevent him from delivering on his own portfolio. Unless he wants a fictitious job as France’s Commissioner, he should not become one.”
MEP Kateřina Konečná (KSČM, Czech Republic) echoed these concerns:
“The biggest problem with Mr. Breton is his obvious conflicts of interest.
“Someone who has worked for a company that is a direct beneficiary of numerous EU programmes should not be responsible for decisions about the allocation of these resources. Especially not in the field of EU defence and security,” she concluded.

“Breton is the subject of a complaint by @anticor_org for favoritism,” they added. “He and his chief of staff would have weighed in awarding Atos huge public contracts in connection with the management of speed cameras. The two men then became No. 1 and No. 3 in the group.”

Atos also killed a lot of people. We’ll cover this soon. Thierry Breton is hugely problematic for so many reasons; he has blood on his hands and putting him in charge (inside the EU) would merely cause or instigate more ‘exits’. He’s a symptom of what people dislike about the EU.

Another group of politicians (EPP Group) wrote: “State-owned economies like China, which buy strategic EU industries and technologies, need to be tackled. Will Thierry #Breton pursue ‘EU champions’ policy’ in that regard?”

“Very clear that Breton is going through,” Dave Keating wrote. “The contrast between his hearing and Goulard’s is striking. Everyone, including S&D, has held their fire. Only tough questions came from far left. Once again showing these confirmation hearings are all about theater, not about substance.”

Don’t mind the corpses around this man. Don’t mind the scandals. Breton is facing “tough questions [...] from far left” (whatever that means, sounds like “far right” with a slant).

“On a Greens’ question related to personal data protection,” a ‘Pirate’ wrote, “Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton implied today that citizens should be able to sell their data. No indication that personal data protection is crucial in the digital era. That is a confusing answer at best, isn’t it?”

Breton promoted Google’s ‘surveillance capitalism’ in Europe; it’s in his personal site/blog, which he took offline. We’ve made a copy of some titles of text. Had he kept his site online, people would see that Breton promoted Google.

“Hearing with Thierry Breton,” wrote another person. “Will EU digital policy be credible in spite of Breton’s revolving door issue? Are we giving grounds to the US and China to cast doubts about the commissioner favouring his former company and potential European champion #Atos?”

“When I mention the conflict of interests it is not to attack you. It is about democracy,” one question is quoted.

Breton is, according to his personal site, a fan of Milton Friedman, i.e. against democracy and for that concept of “corporate globalism” (the market will just ‘take care of itself’).

Breton’s conflict of interest goes way beyond just Atos and according to this Greens’ MEP “seeks clarity about how #Breton will manage conflict of interest on digital matters with @Atos. “I am not taking a step away from the sector as a whole”, TB. He says he has no “vested interests”. Can you really erase years as CEO of a multinational just like that?”

This is a quote from Corporate Europe, which recently wrote:

Breton, head lobbyist

As the CEO of Atos, Breton himself was often at the forefront of its activities to influence EU policy-making. He has twice met with President Juncker to advocate Atos’ positions – quite a privilege as President Juncker logged a relatively low number of meetings in his whole mandate. Breton’s social media also shows that he met with then Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Benjamin Henrion has taken note of Yann Dietrich, head of patents at Atos, who 2 days ago appeared with the state-backed patent troll “France Brevets”. To quote him (French): “[BCF Global] « Il faut se défaire de cette idée reçue selon laquelle la #propriétéintellectuelle est un centre de coût. Chez OVHcloud, nous avons pris le sujet très au sérieux et déposé plus de 50 #brevets en 18 mois pour sécuriser notre croissance » Audrey Plantureux d’OVHcloud, Guillaume Ménage de France Brevets, Philippe Therias et Yann Dietrich d’Atos discutent des perspectives de d’entreprises en #croissance lors de l’événement #BCFGlobal à Paris. #PI #startups”

“Independency is crucial for making the European Union fit for the digital age,” wrote another person. “It would be better to give the digital portfolio to an other commissioner.”

The unfortunate thing about Breton’s record is, most tweets about it are in French and the same goes for articles (such as this one). So many people in the EU do not and cannot know what’s wrong with this candidate. He has large ego. “We need large companies” he said. It’s all about money.

Taking stock of the Rothschild bank stint, Henrion also mentioned [1, 2, 3]: “Macron did the deal for Breton’s company to acquire Siemens division #breton #macron #revolvingdoors [...] Siemens: Macron did the merger deal for Breton when he was at Rothschild [...] Rothschild and Macron did the merger deal for Breton’s company Atos to acquire Siemens division #breton #macron #revolvingdoors #rothschild”

Breton and Macron worked for the same bank and people. Now Macron recommends Breton, yet only Breton removed that from his CV, as we noted the other day. He did this ahead of the hearing and people have noticed. His site is offline. The omission from the CV is deliberate deception; he should be disqualified for lying. Breton is a longtime liar. He also lied as a politician when asked about the scandals under his watch (and Techrights will publish more about this throughout the weekend and next week). As Henrion noted: “Breton says he does not like to the term ‘champion’, that is not consistent with his article that vanished from his website: https://web.archive.org/web/20191024093705/https://thierry-breton.com/en/lets-build-european-internet-champions/ …”

There’s some more in his site, as Henrion noted [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]: “Breton wants to create Internet Champions https://web.archive.org/web/20191024093705/https://thierry-breton.com/en/lets-build-european-internet-champions/ […] Breton wants to create European Google sized companies, probably lots of public money will be wasted “we prioritise the emergence of European Google-style companies” https://web.archive.org/web/20191024093705/https://thierry-breton.com/en/lets-build-european-internet-champions/ […] Breton Big Companies Delirium is here: https://thierry-breton.com/en/lets-build-european-internet-champions/ … Website under maintenance (hmm the day of the EP hearing), but http://archive.org has only one copy dated of 24 oct 2019: https://web.archive.org/web/20191024093705/https://thierry-breton.com/en/lets-build-european-internet-champions/ […] https://thierry-breton.com/ is down for maintenance #breton What does not want to hide? That’s a bad start for a “data” leader [...] http://Archive.org has a backup of Breton website: https://web.archive.org/web/20181210015724/https://thierry-breton.com/fr/ …”

So he’s good at making information vanish and contrariwise putting online what ought not be there. One person recalls: “In a set of 30 pages, Thierry #Breton answered MEPs’ written questions (a good evening reading). But his first answer sounds somewhat ludicrous if put in parallel with @NikolajNielsen’s recent investigation on #Atos (an even better reading actually): https://euobserver.com/justice/146476 pic.twitter.com/5lbwvBZp4A” (also via)

It’s an older article entitled “Breton’s firm hosted unlawful copy of EU police data” and to quote from it:

Atos, the company recently led by France’s choice candidate for European Commissioner, hosted unlawful partial copies of EU police data on behalf of the United Kingdom.

The firm’s now former chief executive, Thierry Breton, is slated to head Europe’s industrial policy following his nomination to the commissioner post, a move recently approved by European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen.

A confidential document obtained by EUobserver lists years of abuse by UK authorities in the way they handle the Schengen Information System (SIS), an EU-run database used by police to track down undocumented migrants, missing people, stolen property, or suspected criminals.
Although not a member of the passport-free Schengen area, the UK has been granted restricted access since 2015 on the premise it would respect the rules.

Despite this restricted access, the UK carried out over 514 million SIS queries in 2016, the second-highest among all EU states.

“Regardless of the outcome of Thierry Breton’s hearing today,” one person remarked, “the EU confirmation process for Commissioners is flawed and must be rethought #breton #vonderleyen #ThierryBreton https://twitter.com/alemannoEU/status/1194315993574780929 …”

Another one said: “Commissioner-designate @ThierryBreton committing not to touch the intermediary liability exemption in the forthcoming #DSA #EPhearings2019

“Breton does not mention the term of ‘European champion’,” said this third person, “but mentions the need to support the industry in strategic sectors… everything is about semantic after all.”

He has meanwhile taken his site offline to hide all the terrible things he said and did; “obstruction” is what they call it in the US when Trump and his enablers do the same.

We will separately deal with patent aspects.

The Open Invention Network Has Become a Guard Dog of (Some) Patent Trolls and It Misrepresents Us Under the Guise of ‘Open Source’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, News Roundup, OIN, Patents, Standard at 2:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defending software patents and trolls. Calling them “charities” was likely the last straw.

2 dogs

Summary: The Open Invention Network (OIN), in collaboration with Fraunhöfer, is promoting software patents and all sorts of other nonsense as part of ‘open’ standards in a new paper sponsored by the EU and edited by the former EPO Chief Economist Nikolaus Thumm (not Battistelli's choice); this is another reminder of the fact that OIN misrepresents Free/Open Source software (FOSS) developers and their interests

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is somewhat of a scam. It wasn’t always like this. Ignore their use (or misuse) of the Tux logo and the brand “Linux”; then, check the pertinent members instead. Check the leadership. OIN will truly serve Linux only when it finally combats software patents, i.e. when pigs fly (“OIN OIN!”). As we showed earlier this year, “Today’s Open Invention Network is Run by Former Patent Trolls, Connected to and Backed by Microsoft”

Today’s OIN already calls some patent trolls “charities”, works with them, even hires from them. OIN does not speak for FOSS. It speaks for patent bullies like IBM that also happen to rely on FOSS for some things. OIN is convenient for the likes of IBM. Right now OIN even promotes patents and software patents as part of standards. What are they thinking? Who on Earth thought it would work out well? With the likes of Microsoft as celebrated OIN members, the brain might ‘have gone somewhere else…’ (to put it in more subtle terms)

OIN does not oppose software patents (it never did, since its very inception); its members, especially the big ones, oppose 35 U.S.C. § 101 and are big “customers” of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Yes, the word “customers” is used by them. They are, in a lot of ways, part of the problem, not the solution to it.

“OIN does not oppose software patents (it never did, since its very inception)…”You know something has gone wrong when you see OIN acting as more of a front group for proponents of software patents, manned by patent trolls instead of FOSS proponents. These are people who actually sued Linux (in the previous employer). Unfortunately, many people lost sight of how OIN changed over the years. Therefore, they can’t quite see the changes.

As Henrion noted the other day: “OIN and Fraunhöfer, the foxes in the henhouse, behind the an awful study on how patents in standards are ‘compatible’ with FLOSS…”

With ‘representatives’ like these…

Knut Blind

EU paper

He added that “[t]hey should have read the GPL” and citing the GPL he quoted: “Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, IN EFFECT MAKING THE PROGRAM PROPRIETARY. [...] To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone’s free use or not licensed at all.”

“…many people lost sight of how OIN changed over the years.”“OIN is in the same ‘club’ that opposes and badmouths copyleft,” I told him (check what IBM et al use for licensing of choice). They only adopt GPL when “there’s no choice” (e.g. Linux kernel). “Software patents ought not even exist and after Alice (which Microsoft and IBM attack via their front groups and corrupt lobbyists like Kappos selling ‘connections’) such patents are likely bunk, invalid anyway.”

I was reminded of this again some hours ago because of this new blog post. It’s by Mirko Boehm from OIN, who blocked me in Twitter so we know he has much to hide… (some of his tweets are appalling)

“Their paper uses propaganda terms such as “Intellectual Property Right (IPR)” and I’ve circulated this for discussion in IRC.”“I already tweeted about it,” Henrion told me, “as the fox in the henhouse. We cannot tolerate lobbyists of OIN and Franhofer to write such papers with public money, as they have an interest. This has basic conflict of interests problems.”

Their paper uses propaganda terms such as “Intellectual Property Right (IPR)” and I’ve circulated this for discussion in IRC. For obvious reasons we’d rather not quote the paper or link to it directly (there’s an indirect link above). Instead, we shall leave readers with this OIN tweet:

Mirko Boehm on Fraunhofer as charity

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 16, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:49 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Unitary Patent is Dead Partly Because the EPO Demonstrated That EPC is Being Routinely Violated, Illegal Patents Granted

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘brexit’ factor is just one among several key barriers, including grotesque EPC violations

One Does Not Simply give control over the courts... To people who demonstrated utter disregard for the Rule of Law

Summary: Some elements of Team UPC have given up, whereas others try to push the lie that Unitary Patent/Unified Patent Court (UPC) is not an EU thing and that therefore everything is fine

THE words “unified” and “unitary” are rarely uttered by António Campinos, current President of the European Patent Office (EPO), because the EPO understands that the UPC is most likely dead. Battistelli spent 8 years promoting this monster along with Barnier and others. Yes, even in the age of Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 (circa 2014) these patent maximalists were still ruthlessly pushing this unconstitutional piece of legislation. Rumours say that Battistelli is still interested in becoming the UPC’s chief — a position which has been reserved for France. In a separate article we’ll deal with Macron and Breton (another article will deal with software patents in Europe). Exploring EPO corruption will inevitably lead to seeing closely-connected or remotely related misconduct in the EC/EU, WIPO/ILO/UN and sometimes even courts. This is so disappointing. Many of us thought that we in Europe did so much better than China, but Rule of Law is a mirage (to use a French word).

We were very disappointed to see the EC/EU playing along with Team UPC this month, emboldening the likes of EPLAW, eager to perpetuate lies about EU membership, Brexit and UPC. We’ve lost count of the number of such blog posts from Team UPC — an informal term we used to collectively refer to the people who crafted and now lobby for the UPC (for personal, corporate gain). Some Team UPC ‘tool’ from Bristows wrote to me to say that he had retired and that therefore I should not mention him anymore. Sorry, Alan Johnson, but I think you just don’t know/understand how these retirement and free speech things work…

“Many of us thought that we in Europe did so much better than China, but Rule of Law is a mirage (to use a French word).”2 days ago a British site published this article entitled “The implication of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on your company’s IP protection and policies” and it said that “it is highly likely that Brexit will impact on the implementation of the proposed (EU) unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court in London.”

It does not exist, so there’s a supposition there which is highly misleading, part of the two famous lies from Team UPC. The editor of JUVE has also tweeted: “This summer, rumours abound that the #UKIPO London office was relocating to Aldgate Tower – the proposed headquarters of the UPC’s UK division. The UKIPO is indeed relocating, but to Victoria Street near Westminster. Is the UK still in with a chance of #UPC participation?”

“You cannot participate in something that does not exist,” I responded to him, “so this question is intentionally loaded and unprofessional IMHO…”

“Team UPC has become almost synonymous with lies and mischief. These people lack morals.”UPC hopefuls have had a tough year (or two). A year ago Johnson and his colleagues at Bristows (well, former colleagues as he has just thrown in the towel) spread false rumours about FCC preparing to decide to case by Christmas. Media reposted these lies of theirs. Where are we 12 months later? Team UPC has become almost synonymous with lies and mischief. These people lack morals.

The demise of the UPC is good news to those of us who oppose software patents, i.e. virtually all software professionals. It might also help undermine the lobby for patents on life. Pressure is put by corrupt EPO management to allow patents on life and nature (seeds, plants, animals etc.) in violation of the law. AWA (litigation firm) has just written about this (it was also promoted in sites like Lexology, quite likely for a fee) to say: “Oral proceedings in the opposition against UC Berkeley’s (UC’s) main European patent EP2800811 are scheduled for all of three (!) days in February of 2020 at the European Patent Office (EPO). The opposition division’s (OD’s) preliminary and non-binding opinion, provided on the 30th of August 2019 in preparation for the hearing, is favorable to the patentee. In its opinion, the OD sides with UC Berkeley and dismisses the main arguments of the seven opponents. Arguments relating to minor issues of added subject matter have been accepted by the OD, however UC is likely to be able to overcome these. Thus, there is a chance that UC Berkeley will keep their strong hold on rights to general platform Crispr technology in Europe.

“Notice the lack of mention of the illegal composition/status (in violation of the EPC) of the tribunals which decide on this.”“UC Berkeley’s patent claims priority from four provisional US applications. The question of whether the priority from the first provisional application P1 is valid or not lies at heart of the case.

“According to European practice, G2/98, the requirements of claiming priority of “the same invention” in the meaning of Art 87(1) EPC mean that priority can only be acknowledged if the skilled person can derive the subject matter directly and unambiquously, using common general knowledge (CGK), from the previous application as a whole. In addition, the priority document must provide an enabling disclosure, in other words, all essential elements needed to carry out the invention must be disclosed in the priority document.”

Notice the lack of mention of the illegal composition/status (in violation of the EPC) of the tribunals which decide on this. There’s a profound corruption of justice at the EPO; this is in fact why UPC has been derailed (one among several factors).

“Thankfully it has been made a lot harder to patent nature in the US. As for Europe? Time will tell, but as long as the EPO does not allow independence for judges, the law itself will be violated, along with constitutions.”Recalling the case of Myriad Genetics (related to Mayo at SCOTUS), Kevin E. Noonan, another booster of patents on life, has just said: “As understood at the time patents on these genes were granted, certain mutations occurring in human populations were correlated with a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Recently, a group of researchers found this gene seems to be involved with risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in children and adolescents. [...] One reality illustrated by this paper is that the claims that Myriad’s BRCA2 gene test would inhibit research and development of medical science were flatly false. This blog has discussed how the “gene” claims themselves would not be infringed by interrogating genomic DNA (see “The ACLU, Working for the Man”), and the detection method claims in the Myriad patents were limited to detecting BRCA2 gene mutations predictive of ovarian and breast cancer.”

The case generated a lot of press coverage at the time (more journalism also existed at the time; nowadays many articles are composed directly by lawyers). Thankfully it has been made a lot harder to patent nature in the US. As for Europe? Time will tell, but as long as the EPO does not allow independence for judges, the law itself will be violated, along with constitutions.

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