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03.28.20

Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

Posted in News Roundup at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • SMLR 321: Stay 127.0.0.1

        Tony Bemus, Tom Lawrence, Phil Porada and Jay LaCroix

      • 2020-03-27 | Linux Headlines

        Ardour and Ubuntu Flavors call for testing of their upcoming major releases, Google aims to ease the burden of developing for ARM on x86, and Blender gains a new Corporate Gold-level sponsor.

    • Kernel Space

      • Some Of The Features To Look Forward To With Linux 5.7

        With the Linux 5.7 cycle kicking off in April with its merge window opening upon the release of Linux 5.6, here is a look at some of the changes and new features that have been on our radar for this next version of the Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Collabora & Microsoft to Bring OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 3.3 to DirectX 12 enabled Windows Devices

          But the company has also been working with Microsoft in order to provide an OpenCL 1.2 & OpenGL 3.3 translation layer for Windows devices compatible with DirectX 12.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 Vulkan Driver Brings Direct Display Improvements

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 is out today as the fourth and last open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver code drop of the quarter.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 simply notes that the immediate and mailbox modes have been enabled for the Vulkan direct display functionality. AMD has supported the VK_EXT_direct_mode_display direct mode display extension back to 2018. Vulkan’s direct display mode is for taking exclusive control of display(s) and geared for VR HMD use-cases. What’s new now is supporting the immediate and mailbox swapchain presentation modes under the direct display functionality.

    • Applications

      • Best Video Editor for Ubuntu

        The recent growth of the Internet has completely revolutionized the world, and to such an extent its influence has increased that it has even crept into our day to day lives. This rapid evolution has led to it becoming one of the key drivers behind the changes taking place in technology and has brought forward the development of so many important tools, that have impacted our daily lives greatly.This, in turn, has led to Mass Media becoming a key figure in modern culture which has become deeply embedded into our lives, changing the way we perceive the world. With the influence of media becoming widespread, it has thus led to an emergence of competitors in the industry.

        To keep on staying relevant and being ahead of others, one thus needs to be aware of the best video editors out there that can significantly improve the quality of the work being done. So, today we’ll be comparing some of the best video editors out there that are available for Ubuntu and how they mainly differentiate from one another.

      • Development update: 6.0-pre1 now ready for testing

        Well folks, we’ve done it. After two and a half years of development that has both excluded a few hoped-for features and also expanded to include many things not originally envisaged, we’re ready for people to start testing version 6.0-pre1. Please note: this is NOT the release of 6.0 – we’re now entering a testing phase that will continue through several “-preN” versions until we’re confident that it’s ready for release.

        The nightly version is now (as ever) available at nightly.ardour.org. If you’re a subscriber (or paid US$45 or more for a pre-built version of 5.x), you can download the fully functional version. Others can get the free/demo version which periodically goes silent. Obviously, since this is a nightly version, it will be updated most days to reflect any new development work and fixes as we move towards the actual release of 6.0.

      • Ardour 6.0 Digital Audio Workstation Sees First Pre-Release

        Following two and a half years of development, the first pre-release of the forthcoming Ardour 6.0 digital audio workstation is now available for testing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.5 Released With Expanded UCRTBase C Runtime Usage, Usual Assortment Of Fixes

        Wine 5.5 is out as the latest bi-weekly Wine development snapshot for running your favorite Windows games and applications on Linux and other platforms.

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.5 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Builtin libraries use the new UCRTBase C runtime.
          - Compatibility mode used when reporting Windows version.
          - Better support for debug information in PE files.
          - Support for linguistic case mappings.
          - More attributes supported in WebServices.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.5.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.5.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.5 development release out with new features and fixes

        As expected on their biweekly development cycle, the Wine hackers released the latest development version with Wine 5.5 out now with new features and fixes.

        Quick reminder: Wine is the software that can help run Windows games and applications on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma BigScreen — A Brand New Free Linux Desktop For Smart TVs

          one are the days when televisions were only used for broadcasting programs by third parties. Now, anyone can turn their normal TV screen into a smart TV, running web applications or streaming videos — thanks to various TV software that ease the task along with voice command support.

          In addition to the same, KDE has launched Plasma Bigscreen — a new free and open-source desktop environment for big TV screens. The Plasma BigScreen is powered by KDE Plasma and Mycroft AI’s voice assistant technology to enhance the user experience on smart TV platforms.

        • Plasma Bigscreen: KDE Announced Plasma for TV

          Plasma Bigscreen is KDE’s interface for big TV screens which is announced based on KDE Neon image. Plasma Bigscreen is suitable for single board computers and large TV screens. KDE says that Plasma Bigscreen will provide media-rich applications suitable for TV and also the traditional KDE Plasma desktop applications.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • It’s Official But Sad: TrueOS Is Over As Once The Best Desktop BSD OS

          It’s been on life support for a while but to much sadness, TrueOS indeed is no longer being maintained as the once very promising downstream of FreeBSD that for a while offered arguably the best out-of-the-box BSD desktop experience.

          TrueOS, formerly known as PC-BSD, is dead. Kris Moore, the VP of Engineering at iXsystems, confirmed earlier this month on their forums that work has ceased on the operating system.

        • OpenBSD -current – Frequent asked questions

          Hello, as there are so many questions about OpenBSD -current on IRC, Mastodon or reddit I’m writing this FAQ in hope it will help people.

          The official FAQ already contains answers about -current like Following -current and using snapshots and Building the system from sources.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Reasons to Give openSUSE a Try

          For some reason, all the light goes these days toward distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, Solus… And the other similar ones. But despite being an excellent Linux distribution in itself, openSUSE rarely receives attention in the Linux press and its userbase doesn’t sound to be comparable to other famous Linux distributions.

          This perhaps could be because people don’t know about the features of openSUSE? Or they fear trying it because of some reason. In any case, we’ll introduce you to the distribution and its features, and why you should give it a try.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • RHEL9 Likely To Drop Older x86_64 CPUs, Fedora Can Better Prepare With “Enterprise Linux Next”

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 will likely see support for older x86_64 CPUs eliminated to focus on more modern x86_64 Intel/AMD families. With that, Red Hat developers working on Fedora have been working on an “Enterprise Linux Next” proposal to not only vet such x86_64 build changes but also to provide a feedback workflow for other changes.

          Brought up last month already was an extra buildroot for testing x86_64 microarchitecture updates on Fedora. Currently, Fedora and RHEL support x86_64 CPUs going back to the original AMD K8 CPUs but with RHEL9 some middle-ground will likely be pursued of aiming to support more recent x86_64 families and newer instruction set extensions by default while still supporting a diverse enough range of hardware to be in production use-cases during RHEL9′s life-cycle.

      • Debian Family

        • Call for testing: 4.5~rc1

          Tails 4.5, scheduled for April 7, will be the first version of Tails to support Secure Boot.

          You can help Tails by testing the release candidate for Tails 4.5 now.

        • Debian To Take On COVID-19 With A Biohackathon

          Debian developers are wanting to do their part to take on the global coronavirus pandemic by hosting a COVID-19 Biohackathon.

          This virtual event organized by Debian developers is taking place from 5 to 11 April. Their hope with this biohackathon is to “improve biomedical FOSS and the tools/libraries that support those projects.”

          Among the work they hope to see realized from this hackathon are addressing various bugs, contributing to upstream biomedical open-source software, and related work.

        • EasyPup 2.2.14 released

          Hot on the heals of EasyOS 2.2.14, EasyPup is released, for those who want a more traditional puppy. The apps and user interface is pretty much the same as EasyOS, but the underlying infrastructure is different.

        • antiX-19.2 (Hannie Schaft) bug-fix/upgrade isos available

          All new isos are bug-fix/upgrades/improvements of antiX-19 sysvinit series.

          BONUS: We now offer versions running the runit init system as well.

          No need to download if using antiX-19(.x).

          antiX-19.2 (Hannie Schaft) is based on Debian Buster and is fully systemd-free.

          As usual we offer the following systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture, running sysvinit or runit.

          antiX-full (c1.1GB) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm plus full libreoffice suite.

          antiX-base (c700MB so fits on a cd) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm.

          antiX-core (c350MB) – no X, cli-installer without UEFI support nor encryption, but should support most wireless.

          antiX-net (c140MB)- no X, cli-installer without UEFI support nor encryption. Just enough to get you connected (wired) and ready to build.

          The 32 bit version uses a non-pae kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu – which is best for you?

          Which is the best Linux distro for you? In this article, we will present to you key differences between the two most popular Linux distros and let you decide. Ubuntu is released and maintained by a company called Canonical, while Linux Mint is community-driven. Which model will sustain? Read on to find more.

          When you come into the Linux world, there are hundreds of options. Although, two names come up for every beginner and in the mind of every experienced person – Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

          The conundrum is that which one among them? The best solution is to try both of them out, and then choose whatever seems to work the best for your needs. But here, we’re giving you some distinctions between the both that might make it easier for you to make a choice.

        • Official Ubuntu Flavors Urges Devs To Join ‘Ubuntu Testing Week’

          A large family of Ubuntu Linux desktops is ready to join Ubuntu testing week starting on April 02, 2020. On this occasion, all seven Ubuntu flavors will release their beta version for public testing before the official final stable release.

          In the wake of this event, Ubuntu flavors has requested the community to participate and help them find any bugs. With all the help, they would be able to fix all possible issues in the upcoming week before the final release.

          [...]

          Ubuntu releases the ISO image every day which you can find from the daily build repository here. Though Ubuntu testing week will officially begin next week, you can start testing and reporting bugs today.

          If you don’t know where to start, join the Ubuntu community and follow the ISO tracker where you can find test cases for all variants.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Contribute to open source healthcare projects for COVID-19

        Many of those that are familiar with the maker movement, including me, believe there is a significant opportunity to apply open source design principles and mass-scale collaborative distributed manufacturing technologies (like open source 3D printing) to at least partially overcome medical supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, an Italian hospital saved COVID-19 patients’ lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices.

        However, those designs were not open source, and hospitals still need to file paperwork to get to the STLs, needlessly wasting time, restricting the number of volunteers that could print the valves, and perhaps leading to unnecessary deaths. Far more beneficial would be a free source of vetted digital designs that anyone with access to equipment could fabricate for their local hospitals. Ideally, these designs would follow good open source design procedures. We are well aware of risks and shortcomings to this approach, and that those used to the standard model may not understand how fast technological development is in the open source community.

      • Open source fights against COVID-19, Google’s new security tool written in Python, and more open source news

        When COVID-19 started its march around the world, open source stepped up to try to help stop it. That includes using open data to create tracking dashboards and apps, designing ventilators, and developing protective gear.

        Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada have teamed with artificial intelligence firm DarwinAI to create an open source tool “to identify signs of Covid-19 in chest x-rays.” Called COVID-Net, it’s neural network “that is particularly good at recognizing images.” The dataset the researchers are using is available on GitHub, which includes a link the software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What If C++ Abandoned Backward Compatibility?

            Some C++ luminaries have submitted an intriguing paper to the C++ standards committee. The paper presents an ambitious vision to evolve C++ in the direction of safety and simplicity. To achieve this, the authors believe it is worthwhile to give up backwards source and binary compatibility, and focus on reducing the cost of migration (e.g. by investing in tool support), while accepting that the cost of each migration will be nonzero. They’re also willing to give up the standard linking model and require whole-toolchain upgrades for each new version of C++.

            I think this paper reveals a split in the C++ community. I think the proposal makes very good sense for organizations like Google with large legacy C++ codebases that they intend to continue investing in heavily for a long period of time. (I would include Mozilla in that set of organizations.) The long-term gains from improving C++ incompatibly will eventually outweigh the ongoing migration costs, especially because they’re already adept at large-scale systematic changes to their code (e.g. thanks to gargantuan monorepo, massive-scale static and dynamic checking, and risk-mitigating deployment systems). Lots of existing C++ software really needs those safety improvements.

          • Kiwi TCMS: Kiwi TCMS is Open Source Seed Award winner

            Kiwi TCMS is the proud winner of a $10,000 award from Mozilla, Indeed, Open Collective, Ford Foundation & Simply Secure. Read below for the full story!

            At the end of January Zahari alerted our team about the Open Source Speed Dating FOSDEM 2020 event and Alex was very swift in filing the application form. Just as we landed in Brussels, ready to host Testing and Automation devroom and the Open Source Test Management stand, we got the news – Kiwi TCMS has been selected as a participant.

            What followed was a very hasty day of preparing a 5 min pitch and rehearsing it as much as possible so we can be ready to present our project. Alex prepared the pitch and made final review and polishing together with Anton. For the record everything was written down on paper, including important facts about the project and schedule – when and where is our slot, how is Alex going to get there, when does he need to leave to be on time, etc. We believe that preparation was key here and that’s why our team always tries to be prepared when we participate at events! It was as good as it can get, no more changes!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • New integration test framework in Collabora Online.

          At Collabora, we invest a lot of hard work to make LibreOffice’s features available in an online environment. Recently we greatly improved the Collabora Online mobile UI, so it’s more smooth to use it from a mobile device. While putting more and more work into the software, trying to support more and more different platforms, we need also to spend time improving the test frameworks we use for automatic testing. These test frameworks make sure that while we enrich the software with new features, the software remains stable during the continuous development process.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 RC5

          The fifth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live!

          WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time!

          You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways:

        • Best Performance WordPress with Google Cloud CDN and Load Balancing

          Best Performance WordPress with Google Cloud CDN and Load Balancing. Learn how to setup your WordPress application to handle high traffic with auto-scaling capabilities on Google Cloud Platform using HTTP(S) Layer 7 Load Balancing.

          In this guide you will install WordPress, configure your website to use Google Cloud Storage for media files, setup instance template, auto-scaling group to manage live traffic. You will also configure Google Cloud CDN for your website.

      • Funding

        • Intel Ramping Up Their Investment In Blender Open-Source 3D Modeling Software

          Intel Software has increased their developer funding provided to Blender, the leading open-source, cross-platform 3D modeling software.

          Intel now joins the likes of Ubisoft, Tangent Labs, and others as being a Corporate Gold sponsor to Blender. The Corporate Gold level means Intel’s software division is now contributing at least €30K per year to fund the Blender open-source development.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Cyber Warranties: Market Fix or Marketing Trick?

            Theoretical work suggests both the breadth of the warranty and the price of a product determine whether the warranty functions as a quality signal. Our analysis has not touched upon the price of these products. It could be that firms with ineffective products pass the cost of the warranty on to buyers via higher prices. Future studies could analyze warranties and price together to probe this issue.

            In conclusion, cyber warranties—particularly cyber-product warranties—do not transfer enough risk to be a market fix as imagined in Woods.5 But this does not mean they are pure marketing tricks either. The most valuable feature of warranties is in preventing vendors from exaggerating what their products can do. Consumers who read the fine print can place greater trust in marketing claims so long as the functionality is covered by a cyber-incident warranty.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Dr. Lucie Guibault on What Scientists Should Know About Open Access

            These actions are not surprising given the urgency of the current situation. In our previous post, “Now Is the Time for Open Access Policies—Here’s Why” we explain that rapid and unrestricted access to scientific research and educational materials is necessary to overcome this crisis. However, while we applaud the recent moves by organizations, publishers, and governments to open access to scientific research related to COVID-19, we believe the same level of sharing should be applied to all scientific research. Not only for the public good but also for the good of science. Science can only function properly if results, data, and insights are made openly available. “Universality is a fundamental principle of science,” explains the open access consortium cOAlition S, “only results that can be discussed, challenged, and, where appropriate, tested and reproduced by others qualify as scientific.”

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenBSD’s ‘spinning’ CPU time category

          Unix systems have long had a basic breakdown of what your CPU (or CPUs) was spending its time doing. The traditional division is user time, system time, idle time, and ‘nice’ time (which is user time for tasks that have their scheduling priority lowered through nice(1) or the equivalent), and then often ‘interrupt’ time, for how much time the system spent in interrupt handling. Some Unixes have added ‘iowait’, which is traditionally defined as ‘the system was idle but one or more processes were waiting for IO to complete’. OpenBSD doesn’t have iowait, but current versions have a new time category, ‘spinning’.

        • FOSDEM 2020 Conference Recap

          For the third year in a row, I attended FOSDEM, an amazing open source conference in Brussels, Belgium. Taking place, February 1-2, the event is a totally volunteer run conference geared towards promoting the widespread use of free and open source software. The Foundation has sponsored and organized a FreeBSD table there for a few years now.

        • POCL 1.5-RC1 Released As The Portable OpenCL Implementation For CPUs + Other Targets

          POCL 1.5 is on the way for release in April as the first feature update to this Portable OpenCL implementation since the previous release last September.

          POCL for those that don’t know about it is a portable OpenCL implementation that can be run on CPUs of various architectures. Beyond that, this OpenCL 1.2~2.0 implementation has also gained support for running OpenCL on NVIDIA GPUs over CUDA, on AMD GPUs via HSA, and other accelerator targets thanks to building off LLVM’s Clang.

        • Python

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Antitrust Regulators Turn Attention to Standards Organizations

        It’s well recognized by courts and regulators in many countries that standard setting among competitors can be procompetitive and good for consumers. As noted by the 5th Circuit Court in 1988, “it has long been recognized that the establishment and monitoring of trade standards is a legitimate and beneficial function of trade associations . . . [and] a trade association is not by its nature a ‘walking conspiracy’, its every denial of some benefit amounting to an unreasonable restraint of trade.”(1)

        But regulatory sands can shift, and especially at a time when broad and dramatic changes (political and otherwise) seem to be the rule rather than the exception, it makes sense for collaborative organizations to keep vigilant, and to review their policies and procedures on a regular basis to help ensure antitrust compliance.

        In my recent blog regarding Antitrust Laws and Open Collaboration, I briefly mentioned recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations into standards organizations. There were two, in particular, both focusing on internal policies and the importance of avoiding rules that might potentially disadvantage consumers or competitors. In this blog entry, we’ll take a deeper look at the specific types of conduct that concerned the regulators, and how the standards organizations under examination were eventually able to address those concerns.

  • Leftovers

    • Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt

      Kelly Reichardt has slowly been building a reputation in American independent cinema as one of the most rigorous and profound working filmmakers in a rapidly receding artistic landscape. Her first film, River of Grass (1994), starring her producer and horror director Larry Fessenden, is a crafty and incisive feminist subversion of the “Lovers on the Run” subgenre. While Grass went fairly unnoticed in the indie glut of the mid-90s, Reichardt’s second film Old Joy (2006), an exploration of masculine anxiety, was a critical hit landing on many year-end “best of” lists. Since then, Reichardt has been working consistently, often collaborating with writer Jonathan Raymond and operating completely free of the studio system. Her films tend to be minimal in dialogue and action, yet these quiet moments contain volumes about what it means to live in the margins of America. Her new film, First Cow, is another collaboration with Raymond from his novel The Half Life and will be released in March, 2020 by A24. When she isn’t directing, Reichardt teaches film at Bard College in New York.

    • Education

      • When the State Shifted to E-learning, This Rural School Superintendent Shifted to the Copy Machine

        The Sunday afternoon before he sent the 850 students in his sprawling rural school district home because of the coronavirus outbreak, Superintendent Larry Lovel shared a picture on Twitter of a decade-old copy machine printing out enough worksheets to help keep them occupied for the expected two-week shutdown.

        But now the state’s school closures are expected to extend much longer, perhaps to the end of the school year, and that creates an ongoing dilemma for Trico District 176 and its families, one that reflects a much larger issue of equity that has been magnified by the coronavirus crisis.

      • Not All Schools Can #KeepLearning

        To encourage learning while schools are shut down, Illinois education officials have gathered online tools for educators and promoted the hashtag #keeplearning.

        Some students in Illinois, however, won’t be able to watch their teacher conduct live science experiments or download a story time video. They don’t have a computer or high-speed internet at home, or a cellphone data plan that would support it.

      • Half of academics leaving UK are EU citizens

        The figures, for the year to December 2018, show that more than 1,000 EU citizens working as academics left a UK university to go abroad, 550 of whom went to work in an institution in another country.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison

        Humans have been getting pissed, pilled or puffed with intoxicants for ages. You could argue that Eve got the ball rolling, and that the forbidden fruit was Dad’s stash, and, hell, if you pushed it, you could see how all of history is her hallucination.  We’ve all had our ‘altar-ed’ moments of holy sees on hooch or hash, all alone or at a ‘college’ bash. No one sums up the venal virtues of imbibing better than Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend: C’mere, he says, and you’d better.

      • The Covid-19 Opportunity

        As I write this we are into the second week of social distancing, in reaction to the pandemic, as is almost everyone I know. We are all worried about family, friends, and community. Where I live, in upstate New York, my local hospital is bracing to accommodate an expected wave of infected patients, and our local businesses are pulling back, when they are not closing. Nothing this disruptive has happened, at least since World War II.

      • The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?

        I haven’t eaten fast food chicken since 2001, or a fast food burger since 1995. Giving these things up was part of an ongoing process of cleaning up my diet in terms of both health and ethics, and I haven’t missed either of them. Yet regularly, when I catch a whiff of KFC or McDonalds, I’ll experience a momentary pang of desire, even though I’m sure I’d get sick if I actually consumed any of that crap at this point. The reason for this is simple: many aromas released by fast food restaurants are scientifically developed in laboratories for the purpose of triggering physiological responses.

      • Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies

        The COVID-19 pandemic is now moving at a speed that the world had not anticipated a few weeks back. It reached its first 100,000 infected in 67 days, then doubled to 200,000 within the next 11 days, and now it has doubled again, reaching 400,000 by March 24. Europe, particularly the core European Union countries—Italy, Spain, France, and Germany—is the new epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic. China, followed by South Korea, managed to contain their outbreaks; the European countries did not.

      • To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans

        During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in the U.S. (and beyond), it behooves Americans to learn from individuals of Mexican origin in el norte about the art of survival in a time of crisis. (For this short essay, I’ll refer to individuals of Mexican origin in the U.S.—citizens, residents, immigrants, etc.—as “Mexicans in el norte.”)

      • Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic

        When people began posting the following note on their Facebook wall, I immediately felt an intense sense of unease.

        [...]

        For the past few weeks we have been inundated with information about the preparedness of health care systems and how they affect mortality rates. Giving South Korea as an example, experts suggest that testing for Covid-19 is essential for saving lives, comparing that country favorably with Italy and Spain. Yet in Gaza, there are currently very few test kits (about 200), and, according to Ghada Majadli of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel, as of March 23, only 99 people have been tested.

      • COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival

        It’s time for us all to understand the Exponential Function.

      • The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom

        Americans are facing “A Spring Unlike Any Before.” So warned a front-page headline in the March 13th New York Times.

      • Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures

        I’m in a small city in Catalonia called Olot, not far from the Pyrenees. I came here because I knew the coronavirus lockdown would be much rougher in Barcelona. Still, people walk around with masks and keep social distances, barely going out. There are three of us in a two-bedroom apartment. We read the news with a sort of automatic horror and try – using social networks and videochats – to keep our social contacts, our work, and even our militancy going. It’s an uphill path, and we are surely slipping. 

      • A second US Dust Bowl would hit world food stocks

        When the US Great Plains are hit again by sustained drought, the world’s food stocks will feel the heat.

      • Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland

        Being a certifiable agoraphobic basket case, you would think someone like me would be almost preternaturally suited for the stone blind isolation of fever fucked pandamania. And you would be completely fucking wrong. I spent six years in self-imposed isolation as a twenty-something shut in. I spent another six desperately clawing my way out of that hole and slowly building what has only just begun to resemble a life, and in less than six days, covid-19 has torn this intricately constructed matrix of groups, volunteer jobs and therapy down to the ground and reduced me to the shambled debris of ground zero. I’m a little bit pissed, but mostly I’m just fucking scared. If I’m going to write about something like this, I’m going to write about it with the naked ferocity that defines my writing. A strange, vaguely haunted cobweb of Gonzo muckraking and navel-gazing confessionals that I’ve come to refer to as Emo-Gonzo. I am the genderfucked bastard bitch of Hunter Thompson and Sylvia Plath, humped together in the dizzy oven of some bored press junket cafeteria, and today, this is my story. George Romero eat your heart out.

      • In the Grip of Disease

        Even more than war, the corona virus pandemic is causing chaos. It is threatening the people of the United Kingdom as well as human beings all over the world. The virus is invisible. It can be everywhere and nowhere.

      • A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?

        The first plans implementing California’s landmark groundwater law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or SGMA, have been submitted to the California Department of Water Resources.  They are for portions of the state where groundwater is “critically over-drafted,” a situation the plans are supposed to reverse. Some of the plans call for diverting flood and seasonally high streamflows to groundwater storage as a means to comply with SGMA while allowing the maximum amount of irrigated and animal agriculture to continue.

      • Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water

        In 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department began what the ACLU called “the largest residential water shutoff in U.S. history,” cutting off more than 20,000 residents it claimed hadn’t paid their bills — although many of them had, according to the ACLU.

        Payment or not, there’s no excuse for shutting off the water. The United Nations declared that Detroit was violating human rights by turning the water off without a care for health needs.

        Now, six years later, Detroiters may finally be getting some relief. Local organizers have been fighting the city’s aggressive shutoff program this entire time, but their demands became even more urgent in the face of coronavirus.

        The People’s Water Board, a coalition of groups in Detroit advocating for the protection, access, and conservation of water, petitioned Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare a moratorium on shutoffs, pointing out that the state had particular reason to fear the pandemic thanks to lack of water access.

        “It should not take an outbreak to realize that lack of water and sanitation poses a danger to the public health of those impacted by shutoffs, and everyone in our state,” they wrote.

        After these appeals, Detroit announced the Coronavirus Water Restart Plan to reconnect thousands of Detroit households without water, or facing a potential shutoff, for $25 a month for the duration of the crisis.

      • Mary Grant on Water & Covid-19, David Cay Johnston on the Last Bailout

        This week on CounterSpin: No directive has been more repeated during the Covid-19 pandemic than “wash your hands”—a simple act, but a powerful intervention to stop the spread of disease. But: What if you can’t? That’s the reality faced by millions of Americans who have their water shut off because they’re not able to pay for it. Along with many other things, Covid-19 has underscored the individual and communal harms of a water affordability crisis in this country that usually remains hidden. We’ll hear about the problem and responses to it from Mary Grant, Public Water for All campaign director at Food & Water Watch.

      • Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?

        Could something good come from the catastrophe of COVID-19? Might the epic insecurity of a plague teach us something about national security?

      • Russian health agency says one in five Russians infected with coronavirus caught it through community spread

        Twenty percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Russia occurred because somebody already in the country passed the novel coronavirus on to somebody else, said Dr. Anna Popova, who leads Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).

      • “I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
      • Life and Death in the Epicenter

        When it comes to warding off COVID-19, I’ve been ahead of the curve. Last October, after a bout with acute bronchitis that lasted most of the month, I resolved never to go through such an ordeal again. I started using hand sanitizer and avoided touching my face. Like my glaucoma, it is a geriatric illness. When I checked the New York Times archives for tips on dealing with bronchitis, I was shocked to discover how many well-known and powerful geezers came down with it: Konrad Adenauer, Boris Yeltsin, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Paul Robeson. None died from bronchitis, but around half were hospitalized, a routine treatment for powerful heads of state (except for Robeson.)

      • The Trump Administration Is Leaving the Nation’s Emergency Backup Hospital System on the Sidelines

        The Trump administration is leaving untapped reinforcements and supplies from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even as many hospitals are struggling with a crush of coronavirus patients.

        The VA serves 9 million veterans through 170 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics, but it’s also legally designated as the country’s backup health system in an emergency. As part of the National Disaster Medical System, the VA has deployed doctors and equipment to disasters and emergencies in recent instances such as Hurricane Maria and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The VA system has 13,000 acute care beds, including 1,800 intensive care unit beds.

      • This VA Hospital Cited “Misleading” Data to Restrict Mask Use for Health Care Workers

        Hospital employees across the country have been blocked from wearing surgical masks in certain situations to protect against infection by the new coronavirus — including those they bring to work themselves.

        Workers at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been told not to wear face masks unless they have lingering respiratory symptoms after an illness, are under surveillance following COVID-19 exposure or are treating patients showing signs of COVID-19.

      • Russia’s Karelia shuts down all public transport as Grozny stops letting in travelers without residency papers

        The government of Karelia, the federal subject that makes up Russia’s northwest corner, has ordered a stop to all public transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Artur Parfenchikov announced the shutdown in a video message to the republic’s population. From March 29 through April 4, only taxis will be available in Karelia, the governor said, emphasizing that this is an unprecedented measure.

      • Lutz Alone

        Most musical instruments can be grabbed and taken along in the retreat into self-isolation—from the kazoo in the pocket to the violin slung over the shoulder. Others are more unwieldy. The tuba hardly counts as hand luggage. But none is more unwieldy than the organ.

      • Russia’s ‘non-business days’ next week to fight coronavirus don’t apply to people who can work from home, says the Kremlin

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday that Russians able to work from home should do so next week, when Vladimir Putin has declared a “non-work week” to curb the spread of coronavirus.

      • Russia’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases passes 1,000

        As of March 27, Russia now has 1,036 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Doctors recorded another 196 cases in the past day, including 157 infections in Moscow, where 703 people have been diagnosed with the disease. For the first time, coronavirus has also spread to the Russian regions of Mordovia and Dagestan.

      • Russians book up Black Sea hotels following Putin’s paid leave announcement, prompting regional governor to forbid checking in

        Krasnodar Krai Governor Veniamin Kondratyev has ordered all hotel room reservations and check-ins to be suspended from March 28 to April 5. The temporary ban also applies to resorts and sanitoriums, according to a document published on the website of the governor’s administration.

      • Prezdemic: Lines written in Quarantine

        My interest in staying home is not you but me
        You are a possible contagion source and an end to me
        But I can also easily see you back at work for the economy
        Covid-19 erased with a sagacious presidential word
        Don’t mind that Fauci behind the screen out of camera range
        He’s of the same scientist fold that clamors about climate change
        And you on bus or subway to work to expand my dividend?
        Remember you took this risk thinking of me and not your end
        What a small price to be paid by The Old beginning that day
        April 12th chosen by our president prophesying it beautiful
        So perfect when the market returns to its patriotic bullish play
        So what if our Leader at center stage repeats absurdities
        Spewing from gut to mouth sure signs of his instabilities
        He polls high as our champion in this pandemic
        A regular old flu he declares causes no more than a slight emetic
        All the missteps, delays, and failures he can again offer Obama to blame

      • 340,000 coronavirus test kits sold to Spain by China defective

        As China seeks to position itself as the savior of the world during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, using verbs such as “supplied” and “delivered” to give the impression that the totalitarian regime donated testing kits and medical supplies, another report has surfaced of a country dealing with defective Chinese products.

        The Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) on its website announced that nose swab kits produced by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology are accurate just 30 percent of the time, in contrast to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standard of 80 percent.

      • ‘God Knows How Many People We Infected’: New Rules Aim to Get Exposed Passengers Home

        Four people died on the Zandaam cruise ship after it was turned away in Chile. The United States is easing protocols to help speed cruise passengers home. But can that be done safely?

      • They Didn’t Have Coronavirus Symptoms Until After They Gave Birth. Then They Tested Positive.

        The 38-year-old mother had experienced a complicated pregnancy, made riskier by Type 2 diabetes and a liver condition that causes bile to build up in the blood. On March 19, in her 37th week, she went to Columbia University Medical Center in New York City to be induced. Neither she nor her husband reported any of the worrisome symptoms that health care providers are watching for to screen for COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. In fact, the woman’s temperature was slightly below normal, at 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Then, while the woman was in labor, her temperature climbed to 101.3. Suspecting that she had developed a potentially dangerous bacterial infection called chorioamnionitis, her care team gave her antibiotics and acetaminophen, which seemed to stabilize her. But labor was progressing slowly, and doctors decided to perform a cesarean section. As they were stitching up their patient, she began to hemorrhage uncontrollably. The team raced to intubate her, but her breathing rapidly worsened. When doctors finally had her condition under control, they decided to evaluate her for COVID-19. She tested positive.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Malicious JavaScript Dropping Payload in the Registry

          When we speak about “fileless” malware, it means that the malware does not use the standard filesystem to store temporary files or payloads. But they need to write data somewhere in the system for persistence or during the infection phase. If the filesystem is not used, the classic way to store data is to use the registry. Here is an example of a malicious JavaScript code that uses a temporary registry key to drop its payload (but it also drops files in a classic way).

          The malware was delivered via a Microsoft Word document [...]

        • Experts see over 600 percent spike in malicious emails during coronavirus crisis

          The researchers saw a 667 percent increase in malicious phishing emails that were using the coronavirus. These types of emails try to lure individuals to click on dangerous links or download attachments that typically include computer viruses.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • How much power and influence do Open Source foundations have?

              “I finally switched over to Linux full time. Yay! How much power and influence do open source foundations have and how much does it affect me as a consumer of open source software?” – Evan First off, welcome to Club Linux, Evan! You’ll find the waters here to be, overall, warm and relaxing. As for the question of how much influence various foundations actually have in the Open Source, Free Software, and Linux world… well… that’s a tricky question that will take us, meandering, through the wilderness.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • The Warren Campaign Is Gone—but Its Tech May Live On [Ed: Warren chose Microsoft as staffers for her campaign, so no wonder all her work is now being outsourced to a proprietary prison of Microsoft (GitHub)]

              BEFORE IT ENDED earlier this month, Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign developed a reputation for two things: detailed plans to solve concrete problems and a robust ground game. Those attributes came together on the campaign’s tech team, which built a grassroots organizing machine on the backend. That wasn’t enough to win Warren the nomination, but veterans from the team are trying to make sure their work wasn’t all for naught. They’re making seven in-house software projects available to everyone for free on GitHub, the most popular destination for open-source software on the web, in the hope that other Democratic campaigns can build on what they developed during the campaign.

              “We believe we’ll be the biggest open-sourcing of political tech that has happened,” said Mike Conlow, who was the campaign’s chief technology strategist. Few political campaigns are big and well-funded enough to develop their own software. Fewer still make that software open source.

              The tools themselves are not exactly revolutionary; they’re more in the vein of filling in gaps in commercially available political tech. In its early days, the campaign relied on off-the-shelf software. But as the tech team grew to nearly 20 people, it was able to take on software projects of its own. “We were focused on choosing projects where we didn’t think there was an adequate vendor tool out there on the market,” Conlow added. Campaign organizers noticed, for example, that the onboarding process for new volunteers could use more of a personal touch than the system they were using provided. When a new volunteer signed up, they would only receive an automated message. So the team built a tool, which they called Switchboard, that made it easy for organizers to personally reach out to volunteers as soon as they signed up.

        • Security

          • The Keyring Concept in Ubuntu: What is It and How to Use it?

            It keeps on popping up several times before disappearing if you keep on clicking cancel. You may wonder why do you keep seeing this keyring message all the time?

            Let me tell you something. It’s not an error. It’s a security feature.

          • This developer is working to improve bitcoin’s build system in a bid to stop ‘rampant’ phishing attacks
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How Much Data Does Clearview Gather On People? The Answer (Sadly) Will Not Surprise You.

              Clearview’s facial recognition app links to a database of 4 billion pictures. And those photos are linked to all the data that got scraped up with them, culled (without permission) from sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn… pretty much anywhere people post photos and personal information.

            • EFF Asks California AG to Close Loopholes, Respect “Do Not Track” With Regulations

              Today, EFF once again joined a coalition of privacy advocates filing comments with the California Attorney General (AG) on the latest proposed regulations for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was passed in June 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2020. Later this year, the AG will finalize regulations that dictate how exactly the law will be enforced.

              While the first set of proposed regulations were (as we wrote at the time) a “good step forward” that could have gone further, the first revision to those regulations—published earlier this year—was largely a step backwards for privacy. Two weeks ago, the AG released a second set of revisions to the draft regulations, available here. [.pdf] With the enforcement deadline approaching, the public is running out of chances to weigh in on the rulemaking process. Some of the worst features of the regulations have been cut, but this round of modifications still falls short of a user-friendly implementation of CCPA. In fact, some new provisions added this round threaten to undermine the intent of the law.

            • EFF, ACLU & CDT Argue Five Months of Warrantless Covert 24/7 Video Surveillance Violates Fourth Amendment

              Should the fact that your neighbors can see the outside of your house mean the police can use a camera to record everything that happens there for more than five months? We don’t think so either. That’s why we joined ACLU, ACLU of Massachusetts, and the Center for Democracy & Technology in filing an amicus brief last week in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court arguing the Fourth Amendment and Massachusetts’s state equivalent protect us from warrantless video surveillance of our homes.

              In Commonwealth v. Mora, Massachusetts State Police secretly installed several cameras high up on utility poles in front of Nelson Mora and Randy Suarez’s homes. These “pole cameras” allowed officers to watch video feeds of the two homes (and by extension everyone going in and out of the homes) in real time, remotely control angle and zoom functions, and zoom in close enough to read license plates. Officers recorded the footage over a period of several months, which allowed them to go back, search through, and review footage at their convenience. They never got a warrant to install the cameras, and the extended surveillance was not subject to any court oversight.  

            • Taiwan is using a phone location “electronic fence” to help police track quarantined individuals

              The government in Taiwan has rolled out an “electronic fence” to keep quarantined individuals in their homes. The “electronic fence” uses mobile phone data to notify police if the cell phones of any people under mandatory quarantine leave their home areas. Travelers returning from abroad are subject to a mandatory quarantine so the electronic fence is being used on both Taiwanese citizens and non-citizens. If caught, quarantine dodgers are subject to a 1,000,000 NTD fine, which equates to around $33,000 USD – such a fine has already been levied at least once. Jyan Hong-wei, the head of Taiwan’s Department of Cyber Security, explained to Reuters:

            • Telecoms across Europe are sharing phone location data with governments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

              A telecommunications lobbying group, the GSMA, has confirmed that several telecom companies in Europe are providing mobile phone location data with the European Union as a way to track the spread of COVID-19. According to Reuters and other media sources, these are the telecommunications companies that are working with the European Union to provide “anonymized” data sets:

            • Detecting Privacy Badger’s Canvas FP detection

              Privacy badger injects fingerprinting.js, along with several other context scripts, as specified in its manifest.json, to all the frames (“all_frames“: true) of all the pages (“matches”: [ “” ]) visited by the user, before any other script in the page has executed (“run_at“: “document_start“).

              Content script have access to their frame DOM, but a separate JavaScript context. Because the goal of the script requires to monitors things that happen in the page JS context (canvas manipulation and serialization), this content script injects another, self removing script into the frame DOM, which executes in its JS context.

              This script hooks into several canvas related APIs, including fillText (manipulation) and toDataURL (serialization). I wrote about JS hooking before, in the context of spoofing viewabiliy measurements. Whenever once of these APIs gets called, Privacy Badger hook is figuring out the caller script URL form within the call stack.

            • Zoom iOS app quietly sending data to Facebook, even if you have no account [Update: Fixed]

              The Zoom iOS app is sharing data with Facebook, without declaring it in the privacy policy. This happens whether or not you have a Facebook account.

              Data shared with Facebook includes your iPhone or iPad model, your time-zone, city, phone carrier and a unique identifier which can be used for ad-targeting …

            • Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don’t Have a Facebook Account

              As people work and socialize from home, video conferencing software Zoom has exploded in popularity. What the company and its privacy policy don’t make clear is that the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account, according to a Motherboard analysis of the app.

              This sort of data transfer is not uncommon, especially for Facebook; plenty of apps use Facebook’s software development kits (SDK) as a means to implement features into their apps more easily, which also has the effect of sending information to Facebook. But Zoom users may not be aware it is happening, nor understand that when they use one product, they may be providing data to another service altogether.

            • Snowden warns: The surveillance states we’re creating now will outlast the coronavirus

              Supporters of the draconian measures argue that normal rules are not enough during a pandemic and that the long-term risks can be addressed once the outbreak is contained. But a brief suspension of civil liberties can quickly be extended.

              Security services will soon find new uses for the tech. And when the crisis passes, governments can impose new laws that make the emergency rules permanent and exploit them to crack down on dissent and political opposition.

            • Business in the time of COVID-19: US Cybersecurity and Privacy Issues for You to Consider

              The CDC is working with Palantir and Google, among others, to model the spread of the virus using data scraped from public social media. A task force has also been developed that is working in conjunction with the government, and includes several companies from the technology sector.

              Data analytics company Palantir is working with the CDC to track COVID-19 through the use of data mapping and integration. The CDC previously worked with Palantir during the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti to monitor communications within the populace and track the spread of the disease. Similarly, the facial-recognition firm Clearview AI may potentially collaborate with state authorities to use facial-recognition technology to track infected individuals. Clearview reportedly developed its facial recognition algorithm using approximately 3 billion images scraped without permission from various websites. The company hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of “contact tracing”, the term given to the practice of identifying individuals that infected individuals may have been in contact with.

              The government is also in active talks with technology companies about using location data gleaned from cell phones to track the proliferation of the virus and to track whether Americans are adhering to social distancing protocols. As currently developed, the plan would involve the technology companies sending collected anonymous and aggregated geolocation and facial recognition data from their apps to the federal government as a means to map the presence of the virus. At this time, Google has indicated that the plan would not involve sharing an individual’s movement or individual location. The data could be used to demonstrate the impact of social distancing and spread of COVID-19, similar to the way Google is able to show store traffic or traffic patterns. The assumption is that the spikes in aggregated geolocation data could help the government track COVID-19, while detecting, disrupting, and discouraging gatherings that could result in a dramatic transmission of the virus between infected and non-infected populations.

            • Court appearing through WhatsApp

              A day later, that is today, the person’s conditional freedom plea was heard by a magistrate of the District Court of Black River (Bambous), through WhatsApp and the decision to allow bail was given through same. While court cases heard through video conferencing is not a new thing in Mauritius, it is definitely a first that a common online messaging tool such as WhatsApp has been used to hear a court plea.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • We Just Barely Averted a Gigantic Pandemic Grift by Big Pharma

        The first reports on Monday of Gilead receiving orphan status were neutral. Politico reported simply that “Gilead’s antiviral gets a rare disease nod ensuring 7 years of market exclusivity,” with no editorialization. The Washington Post said gently that it might “seem inappropriate given the rapidly expanding threat of the outbreak” but then quoted an analyst calling it “pretty standard.”

        A separate article in US News and World Report reveals that the analyst quoted in the Washington Post is a financial analyst at an investment bank and asset management firm called Piper Sandler. In that article, the Wall Street analyst further defended Gilead’s procurement of orphan drug status: “It says nothing about profiting off of the pandemic, but it does provide protection if remdesivir turns into a business in subsequent years.”

        The media coverage of the orphan drug classification was neutral or at most lightly critical — until Lerner and Fang’s article was published on Monday evening in the Intercept. Outrage on social media soon followed. On Tuesday, several more critical news stories followed in the left and mainstream press.

      • Truthdig staff laid off amid work stoppage

        Readers of the progressive news site Truthdig may have seen a cheerless message posted to the homepage this week. “Truthdig is going on a hiatus,” the website states. “Our archives of 15 years of award-winning independent journalism are available for free. Be well, stay safe and look out for each other.”

        What a “hiatus” means is unclear, even to the news site’s former employees. On Wednesday, letters of termination arrived in the inboxes of the site’s small staff amid a work stoppage and global pandemic. [Editor's note: Salon occasionally reprints articles from Truthdig through an informal republishing agreement.]

      • Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers

        On Wednesday night, amid reports that much of the country was going into quarantine indefinitely, Truthdig’s staff received an email with the subject line “Re: Truthdig.” The email was to inform us that Truthdig LLC was being dissolved and that our positions at the publication had been terminated. Chris Hedges, the site’s most widely read columnist, was among those fired, despite the fact that he raised grant money to cover his own salary.

      • Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman

        I want to register my strongest possible disagreement with your unilateral decisions to bar me from the Truthdig site, close the site, and discharge Truthdig’s employees. Each of your actions represents a violation of Truthdig’s Operating Agreement, which requires that you and I agree on actions such as those you have taken on your own. To make myself clear, you have not consulted me, and I disagree.

        Although you claim that your actions have been required by Truthdig’s shaky financial situation, it appears that you have not taken into account funds that have been raised from third parties to support Truthdig. My understanding is that those funds are sufficient to continue Truthdig’s operations, although perhaps at a reduced level. I do not understand how you believe that you can unilaterally determine how those funds should be used going forward. Likewise, I am sure you understand that the Senate agreed today on a financial bailout package that could provide funding to maintain Truthdig’s operations at some level. The combination of potential funding and the need for Truthdig’s voice at this critical time in our nation’s history makes your actions incomprehensible and indefensible.

        Additionally, I am very concerned that you have given Truthdig’s employees powerful ammunition to use against Truthdig. They will be able to argue that you both closed the site and terminated them from employment in retaliation for their protected collective activities in going on strike and for filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and State Labor Commissioner. Your actions have greatly contributed to the potential success of their claims with the NLRB and with the Labor Commissioner.

    • Environment

      • Citing virus, EPA has stopped enforcing environmental laws

        The move was the latest, and one of the broadest, regulation-easing moves by the EPA, which is seeking to roll back dozens of regulations as part of President Donald Trump’s purge of rules that the administration sees as unfriendly to business. Civil and criminal enforcement of polluters under the administration has fallen sharply.

        Former Obama-era EPA chief Gina McCarthy, now president of the Natural Resources Defence Council, called the announcement “an open license to pollute.”

      • Citing Coronavirus, EPA Suspends Environmental Rules Indefinitely

        The Environmental Protection Agency, headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, announced on Thursday a sweeping and indefinite suspension of environmental rules amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a move green groups warned gives the fossil fuel industry a “green light to pollute with impunity.”

      • 2 800 soldiers deployed for coronavirus lockdown

        President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of 2 820 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help contain the COVID-19 coronavirus.

        This is according to a letter sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday, informing Parliament of the deployment of the SANDF, who are assisting the police in enforcing the 21-day lockdown effective midnight Thursday.

      • Coronavirus Spring

        It’s Spring, and nature is blooming. Coronavirus has done (temporarily, at least) what no Paris Agreement, Green New Deal, man, woman or even that scrappy teen, Greta Thunberg (who may have also contracted COVID-19), could do. It has shut down a huge amount of the industrial, transportation and pollution-belching business activity that is destroying life on earth.

      • Energy

        • Yet Another Study Confirms: Electric Cars Reduce Climate Pollution

          The team of European researchers behind the new study build on recent similar findings by the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Each of these studies have taken a worldwide look at the life cycle emissions from EVs that are charged by a variety of forms of electricity generation, from the cleanest to the dirtiest of grids. The new study again dispels the myth that electric cars are more polluting than gas-powered cars because they are charged by coal-fired electricity.

        • Exxon May Crush Bailout Hopes for Suffering Fracking Companies

          But that’s not the same message across the entire oil and gas industry.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits

          A federal court today granted a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to strike down federal permits for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

          The Court found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it affirmed federal permits for the pipeline originally issued in 2016. Specifically, the Court found significant unresolved concerns about the potential impacts of oil spills and the likelihood that one could take place.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Wins a Victory in Dakota Access Pipeline Case

          The ruling by United States District Judge James E. Boasberg found that the pipeline’s “effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly controversial” and that the federal government had not done an adequate job of studying the risks of a major spill or whether the pipeline’s leak detection system was adequate.

          He ordered the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which granted the permits for the pipeline, to conduct a more extensive environmental impact statement.

        • Judge Orders Environmental Review Of Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

          Nearly three years after crude oil started to flow through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review.

          It’s a major victory for the Native American tribes and environmental groups who have been fighting against the project for years.

          U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has not decided whether oil can still flow in the meantime. But his opinion Wednesday requests that the two sides submit briefings next month for and against keeping the oil moving, potentially opening the door for the judge to shut it down.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits

          The Court ordered the Corps to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the pipeline, something that the Tribe has sought from the beginning of this controversy. The Court asked the parties to submit additional briefing on the question of whether to shut down the pipeline in the interim.

          “After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith. “It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”

          “This validates everything the Tribe has been saying all along about the risk of oil spills to the people of Standing Rock,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The Obama administration had it right when it moved to deny the permits in 2016, and this is the second time the Court has ruled that the government ran afoul of environmental laws when it permitted this pipeline. We will continue to see this through until DAPL has finally been shut down.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman

          Last year, we all watched in horror as the Amazon rainforest burned at an unprecedented rate. We cannot afford to lose it, especially amid a climate emergency. It’s vast greenery releases oxygen and stores carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that causes of global warming. The death of the Amazon would mean the end of life on Earth.

      • Overpopulation

        • Hong Kong epidemiologist warns pandemic’s end may not be straightforward

          The number of new cases of the coronavirus has been falling in countries such as China and South Korea that experienced the outbreak early on. Still, epidemiologists are worried about second — and even third — waves of COVID-19.

          Dr. Gabriel Leung is an infectious disease epidemiologist and the dean of medicine at The University of Hong Kong. He’s also the founding director of the WHO’s Collaborating Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about how the pandemic might end.

        • Trumped: pandemic to cost America $5 trillion … or more

          We need the government to act or we could fall into a depression rivalling the 1930s.

          An 18-month crisis is widely expected. The Trump administration plan is for 18 months. That implies $5 trillion based on my calculations.

          The ultimate cost of this novel virus is likely to be north of $7 trillion, assuming this pandemic endures for two years, as German public health officials warn.

        • Africa’s population will double by 2050

          As a result, some doomsayers are dusting off the theories of Thomas Malthus, who argued in 1798 that a growing human population would starve because it would outstrip the supply of food. Among these is Malcolm Potts, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who argued in a paper in 2013 that “the Sahel could become the first part of planet Earth that suffers large-scale starvation and escalating conflict as a growing human population outruns diminishing natural resources.”

          Yet demographic forecasts of coming decades diverge in a way that could be crucial. The UN expects Africa’s population to double again between 2050 and 2100, to 4.3bn people, or 39% of the world’s total and that fertility rates (the average number of children that women will have over their lives) will fall slowly. It reckons that the rate, which has dropped to about 4.4 from 6.7 in 1980, will take another 30 years to fall below three. But that underestimates the impact of a big jump in the number of girls who are now going to school across large parts of the continent, argues Wolfgang Lutz, a demographer at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna. It also highlights the urgency of getting even more of them into school.

        • The disconcerting association between overpopulation and the COVID-19 crisis

          We all have a clear notion of how the present coronavirus epidemic unfolded and its proximate causes. The zoonotic nature of the virus is widely accepted. The social mechanisms of the illness’s rapid transmission also are well understood. But it seems that we have not really apprehended the role that overcrowding and population density play as critical indirect drivers in the pandemic pathology. There are two main factors at play.

          [...]

          The second way growing population density drives the coronavirus pandemic involves the way the virus is transmitted. Epidemiologists have long relied on the reproduction number — or in technical jargon: R0 – (R naught) to design strategies for confronting infectious disease. R0 is defined as the number of cases, on average, an infected person causes during their infectious period. If that number falls below 1, the epidemic wanes. A disease with a high R0 spreads quickly.

          Measles is a particularly contagious illness — with an R0 of 12 to 18. Estimates for the infectiousness of COVID-19 are lower and have been reported to span 1.4 -3.8. It is well to consider the reasons behind these broad ranges.

          Many factors determining R0 are beyond our control. These include the infectiousness of the agent; its incubation period; and mode of transmission. One critical factor, however, is not built-in biologically: population density. When people live in dispersed rural environments, there is less human interaction and lower transmission.

        • Letter to the editor: Covid-19 & overpopulation

          Overpopulation results in polluted water, air pollution, deforestation, rising crime rates, loss of wildlife leading to mass extinctions, widespread food shortages, vanishing fish in the oceans, regional conflicts and war, and proliferation of infectious diseases, super bugs and airborne diseases, along with diminishing capacity to treat them, and overwhelmed hospitals.

    • Finance

      • Instead of COVID-19 Hazard Pay, Spectrum Is Giving Its Repair Techs $25 Gift Cards To Closed Restaurants

        Despite its obvious reputational problems, Comcast has actually been stepping up for its workers during the COVID-19 crisis, paying its employees hazard pay, allowing unnecessary personnel to work at home, and closing at least some of its retail locations.

      • What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19

        On the morning of September 11, 2001, my colleagues and I handed out water on Lower Broadway. We were lawyers who served some of the poorest communities in New York, but quenching the thirst of stunned victims proved to be the best thing we could do at the time.

        [...]

        In the wake of 9/11, millions of generous Americans supported the September 11th Fund, which was administered by the New York Community Trust and the United Way of New York City. Not only did that fund assist families who had lost loved ones, but also individuals who were left in economic ruin that day.

        A similar philanthropic effort, coordinated by charities across the country, will be needed in the current pandemic, and we should get a fundraising initiative underway immediately. Prominent philanthropies like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations could provide critical infrastructure support to local foundations that are closer to the need.

        Third, nonprofits are going to get hammered, twice. They are going to face increased need for their services, while losing support from donors precisely when those services are needed most. Across the country, nonprofits are already having to cancel and postpone fundraising events.

        Emergency relief for frontline non-profit organizations responding to community needs must begin to flow immediately, before it is too late. Anyone making regular gifts to nonprofits should continue for as long as possible. And any philanthropic effort to support the direct victims of the virus should also provide financial support to the non-profits that will serve them.

        Finally, we need to cooperate across sectors. One of the most important successes of the 9/11 response was that the government, non-profit, philanthropic, and private sectors all worked together.

        Survivors were able to go to centers to meet with a wide range of service providers from public and nonprofit entities. Volunteers from private sector businesses provided critical assistance as well, and foundations supported such efforts. This kind of cooperation will again be critical, though such “centers” will have to be virtual.

        The full impacts of the pandemic can’t be known yet — but we’ve been here before in some ways.

      • Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations

        Right now, millions of people throughout North America and Europe are living through an unprecedented situation and making unprecedented demands. Formerly meek white-collar workers content to schlep to and from the office every day are demanding the right to telecommute. Blue-collar workers told they are essential are demanding raises- here in Washington, our grocery workers just secured two dollars an hour through their union. And workers across trades and professions and political persuasions, finding themselves laid off, are demanding the right to a living, whether or not the economy currently requires their services. To say we have arrived at a revolutionary moment is perhaps an understatement.

      • Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout

        Call it the “Boeing bailout.” As the world struggles with the pandemic, Boeing should be seen as the vector for a parallel epidemic. It’s Patient Zero in an epidemic of corporate failure. As we change the way we live our lives, corporations like Boeing should change the way they are run. Corporate mismanagement made this crisis worse and, if it doesn’t change, will make the recovery more difficult.

      • Governments Say “Stay at Home,” But Thousands Don’t Have a Home

        In December, she moved into The Sophia Way, an all-women’s homeless shelter in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle and roughly 6 miles from the suburban nursing home that was the site of the first known COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

      • Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism

        By 26 March 2020, what the world calls “Coronavirus” and the USA calls “Covid-19” had affected 197 countries and territories with almost 20,000 deaths globally. While 20,000 looks like rather an insignificant number given the 7.8 billion people on planet earth, a highly reputable source – worldometer – noted on that day the ranking of deaths as follows: Italy: 7,500; Spain: 3,700; China: 3,300; Iran: 2,100; France 3,00; USA 950; UK 470; the Netherlands: 360; and Germany: 210. Despite being known to have authoritarian personalities, follow their government supposedly based on strict toilet training as infants and a seemingly uncontrollable urge to inspect their own bowl movements, Germans were showing some very common European behaviors during the corona virus crisis. While Bavaria has closed its borders, Germany’s most populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia has started to fine people. Meeting more than two other people in public incurs a fine of € 200.-; having a public BBQ: € 200.- and any gathering of more then ten people: a fine or up to five years imprisonment.

      • COVID-19: Health or Wealth?

        Can the pandemic be separated from the economy? As the pandemic continues in Europe and the United States but seems to be subsiding in Asia, more and more questions are being raised about how to relaunch the economy. The importance of public health is being opposed to opening for business. The battle in the U.S. Senate over how trillions will be spent is indicative of two economic problems: Should businesses function in spite of the virus? How should money be spent to relaunch – from the top down or bottom up?

      • The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change

        The Covid-19 bailout is yet another opportunity at a structural transformation of the American state, economy, and society that will be lost.  Instead, it will be another short-term patch that will fail to alter the trajectory of Neo-liberal capitalism in America, if not across the globe.

      • Trump White House Objects to $1 Billion Price Tag for 80,000 Ventilators

        President Donald Trump is expected as early as the end of this week to sign legislation that would establish a $4.5 trillion bailout fund for large corporations, but the prospect of spending around a billion dollars for the production of tens of thousands of much-needed ventilators amid the coronavirus crisis is apparently a bridge too far for the White House.

      • The End of the Parasite Paradigm

        Politicians like Lindsey Graham have been worried that some individuals might get a few cents extra during this crisis if the relief bills are too “generous”. The concern does not extend to corporations that bloat and have essentially no stipulations put upon them from the trough of taxpayer largess. This is the clearest indication that our present-day system is nothing but a false social construct in place simply to ensure a modern- day feudalism. It’s never been about any kind of fiscal responsibility; it’s about making sure there are those who are desperate and scared –so they will keep offering themselves up to a system that chews them up daily (even before COVID19). This, all to ensure those at the top don’t even have to do one honest day of work. It’s also the societal normalization of a lack of empathy.

      • Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts

        The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 late yesterday on a massive bailout of Wall Street banks versus a short-term survival plan for American workers thrown out of their jobs – and potentially their homes. The text of the final bill was breathtaking in the breadth of new powers it bestowed on the Federal Reserve, including the Fed’s ability to conduct secret meetings with no minutes provided to the American people. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on the bill.

      • Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us

        For the second time in a generation, the President and Congress are creating an economy under the guise of ‘saving the economy.’ Through bailouts for the executives of corporations and institutions whose coffers have been emptied for their own personal enrichment, a corporate kleptocracy is having its class power secured. And through token payments and pandemic profiteering for the masses, the American precariat is being deepened and broadened to solidify its place as desperate and expendable.

      • How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism
      • How the Rich and Powerful Profit From Crises Like Coronavirus

        The “Trump, Inc.” podcast has long explored how people have tried to benefit through their proximity to the Oval Office. Our podcast with WNYC is going to continue digging into that as the Trump administration is tasked with rolling out more than $2 trillion in bailout money.

        We spoke to two people this week to help us understand the stakes. “Some policymakers sitting in the Treasury Department or some other government agency have this awesome power to say, ‘You get the money, you go out of business,’” said Neil Barofsky, who served as the government’s watchdog for the 2008 bank bailout. “One of the most important things we can do is make sure that power is exercised fairly, consistently and, most importantly, consistent with the policy goals that underlie this extraordinary outpouring of taxpayer money.”

      • How Corporate Media ‘Factchecked’ Biden’s Calls for Social Security Cuts Into Oblivion

        Throughout this election cycle, FAIR has documented how corporate media view it as their mission to protect the status quo and corporate profits by lauding centrist and right-wing Democrats like Joe Biden, as well as serving as an anti-Bernie Sanders attack machine. It seems the latest tactic in corporate media’s  crusade to undermine the Sanders campaign—and the progressive movement supporting him—is to bleed them dry with disingenuous “factchecks,” serving as a form of death by a thousand nuances.

      • [Old] Strategy Letter V

        A complement is a product that you usually buy together with another product. Gas and cars are complements. Computer hardware is a classic complement of computer operating systems. And babysitters are a complement of dinner at fine restaurants. In a small town, when the local five star restaurant has a two-for-one Valentine’s day special, the local babysitters double their rates. (Actually, the nine-year-olds get roped into early service.)

        All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease.

        Let me repeat that because you might have dozed off, and it’s important. Demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. For example, if flights to Miami become cheaper, demand for hotel rooms in Miami goes up — because more people are flying to Miami and need a room. When computers become cheaper, more people buy them, and they all need operating systems, so demand for operating systems goes up, which means the price of operating systems can go up.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia

        I write this update to you against the sobering realities of the coronavirus crisis, a profound U.S. leadership crisis and the reality that 2020 is closing down early across our society.

      • DOJ Seeks to Exploit Coronavirus Emergency to Detain People Indefinitely

        Throughout U.S. history, presidents have exploited national emergencies to exceed their constitutional powers. Abraham Lincoln illegally suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt confined people of Japanese descent in internment camps during World War II. And George W. Bush used his post-9/11 “war on terror” to launch two illegal wars, mount a program of torture, conduct extensive unlawful surveillance and illegally detain people.

      • Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President

        Prompted by Donald Trump’s shamefully bombastic behavior and attitude during all his press conferences, and especially during his recent COVID-19 White House press conferences, and their juxtaposition to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s honest, calm, and painfully truthful yet reassuring press conferences, last week I told a former colleague and neighbor “I wish I were old enough to have heard FDR’s ‘fireside chats.’”

      • The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It

        Although no information is circulating about the stock of oxygen cylinders in France, which are very useful in these times of acute health crisis and which Italy cruelly lacks, the only factory capable of producing them in Europe remains closed. The employees of Luxfer’s oxygen cylinder factory in Gerzat (a town located in the northern suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand in France) are calling for the “total and definitive” nationalization of the factory and the immediate restart of production in order to deal with the current health crisis and to be able to alleviate the demands in France and other countries. After years of neoliberal decadence that mistreated the public hospital, resulting in the exhaustion of staff, reduced budgets, a decrease in the number of hospital beds, a decrease in the stock of masks and, ultimately, catastrophic management of the current crisis, will the French government persist in not intervening to regain control of this factory, which is essential for curing patients suffering from covid19?

      • Rep. Omar Blasts Trump’s “American Exceptionalism” as US Leads in COVID-19 Cases

        As much of the United States is under lockdown, the House votes today on a $2 trillion emergency relief package to address the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. It will generate payments to most Americans and includes protections for workers, but it is also a massive bailout for a number of industries and corporations, and the vote comes as a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. We speak with Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the first Somali American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of the first Muslim women in Congress, about the bill, Trump’s response to the pandemic, how she has joined calls for student debt relief and to release immigrants and prisoners facing infection, and the challenges African countries face in responding to the coronavirus.

      • The Pope is Wrong on Argentina

        When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the new Pope after the resignation of his German predecessor, a wave of euphoria shook Argentina. He was not only the first Latin American Pope but also a beloved member of the Argentine Catholic Church. Bergoglio was well-known and respected because of his work as cardinal. At present, however, his indirect participation in Argentina’s politics has tarnished his image to some extent.

      • Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism

        In typical “free market” fashion, Trump told us that he was working with the private sector to solve the problem. While this might be somewhat comprehensible in terms of speedy distribution, given the already existing infrastructure of corporations like Google and Walgreens, it turns out that this is not even true. Meanwhile, many residents act as if the apocalypse is upon us as they ravage grocery stores, hoarding everything from beans to the aforementioned toilet paper. The selfish American is represented by the nation’s president and his supporters, throwing common sense that demands solidarity and helpfulness into the dump.

      • Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead

        Attention all Russia-gaters! Under the cover of pandemic, the US finally dropped charges against those dastardly Russian meme-bombers!

      • We Need Universal Mail-In Ballots for the 2020 Election

        We’re all now party to the most critical election protection debate in U.S. history, one that has entered the proposed Senate coronavirus stimulus package to the tune of $400 million, which may be just a fraction of what’s really needed.

      • Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time

        The prologue of our book, United States of Distraction, begins with that epigraph, and it is quite fitting for our times. Much like we argued then about understanding Donald Trump’s electoral victory, the only proper way to comprehend and address the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic is to look at how we got here—through a spate of neoliberal policies that put profits over people for decades. No doubt, we are sickened by the fear and suffering this current pandemic has wrought. However, where commentators and critics are invested in a short-term blame game, we are more concerned with developing solutions to the current challenges we face, and to build on those systemically, making it less likely we have to confront such a crisis in the future. Part of that requires assessing our historical responsibilities, where we must address the failure of the neoliberal experiment over the past half century that has brought us to where we are today.

      • God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus

        Steven Andrew is pastor of the USA Christian Church in San Jose (CA) who warns, “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.” He goes on, Bible thumping, “Our safety is at stake since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. … God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBT, false gods, abortion and other sins.”

      • Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo

        The Trump presidency is mainly about enriching and glorifying Donald Trump. To that end, and in accord with his attitudes and dispositions, he has set about making America hate again – or, more precisely, a whole lot more than in the recent past. Thus, he has taken to calling the global pandemic caused by the covid-19 virus “the “Chinese flu.”

      • Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media

        Bill Gates created the coronavirus. China secretly developed it in a lab as a biological weapon. A cure exists and the government controls it, but won’t release it to the public. The virus is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Coronavirus is a “fake news” hoax manufactured by the news. You can use hand dryers to kill the virus, vitamin C, or lemon juice. The country is going to be quarantined under martial law, and the government will shut down all grocery stores so that no one can buy food. All of these claims are examples of conspiracies associated with coronavirus that have been perpetrated by social media.

      • What’s going to be open in Moscow next week, at a glance
      • COVID-19 vs. the Constitution Kremlin sources explain how the coronavirus pandemic is throwing off Putin’s political strategy for 2020 and what his team is doing about it

        The coronavirus pandemic has hit the pause button on most political processes in Russia. The presidential administration’s domestic politics team has suspended its campaign to shape the national vote on Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional amendments, switching gears to focus entirely on fighting COVID-19. While Putin’s chances at two more terms hang in the balance as a result, gubernatorial appointments are also up in the air. The Kremlin had been planning to put several regional governors who are up for election to the test by watching their performance in the constitutional referendum. Now that Putin has postponed the plebiscite, which was scheduled for April 22, the Kremlin may have weeks or months to wait before tailoring its regional political strategy. Andrey Pertsev surveyed the effects of the new coronavirus on Russian politics so far.

      • US Government Sites Give Bad Security Advice

        The text I have a beef with is the bit on the right, beneath the “This site is secure” statement. Specifically, it says, “The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website….”

        Here’s the deal: The https:// part of an address (also called “Secure Sockets Layer” or SSL) merely signifies the data being transmitted back and forth between your browser and the site is encrypted and cannot be read by third parties.

        However, the presence of “https://” or a padlock in the browser address bar does not mean the site is legitimate, nor is it any proof the site has been security-hardened against intrusion from hackers.

      • U.N. Security Council Paralyzed as Contagion Rages

        The United Nations Security Council is watching the greatest global health crisis in a century unfold from the sidelines, quarreling over the wisdom of working online, batting down proposals to help organize the response to the pandemic, and largely ignoring the U.N. secretary-general’s appeal for a global cease-fire.

        The paralysis comes at a time when the United States is pressing the 15-nation council to adopt a resolution that would largely blame China for unleashing the pathogen on the world. The initiative—which appears to be part of a broader U.S. strategy to deflect responsibility for its own sluggish response to the spread of the virus—is certain to be blocked by China, which wields veto power.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Someone Convinced Google To Delist Our Entire Right To Be Forgotten Tag In The EU For Searches On Their Name

        We received notification this week that Google has delisted our entire right to be forgotten tag page, based on (of course) a right to be forgotten request under the GDPR in the EU. To be clear, this only applies when someone searches the name in question — which was not shared with us. I am… perplexed about this. I understand that some people may not want us talking about their ongoing efforts to rewrite history and hide their past. However, you would think that if these articles don’t actually talk about their historical scams that are very much a part of the public record, and instead focus on their very current and ongoing abuse of the “right to be forgotten” process, they should be allowed to remain up.

      • Anti-Vaxxer Sues Facebook, In The Middle Of A Pandemic, For ‘In Excess’ Of $5 Billion For Shutting Down His Account

        When I write about this new lawsuit, filed on behalf of “retired MMA fighter” Nick Catone, against Facebook for removing his account over his anti-vaccine posts, you may expect that it was filed pro se. However, somewhat shockingly, there’s an actual lawyer, James Mermigis, who filed this dumpster fire of an awful complaint. Mermigis does not appear to have any experience in internet law, and boy does it show. His various profiles online list his experience in divorce law, real estate law, and personal injury law. His own Twitter feed is basically all just wacky anti-vax nonsense, and, late last year, he was quoted as representing people trying to block a NY law removing a religious exemption for vaccines. We’ve gone over this many times before, but spewing junk science and angry rants that are literally putting tons of people in danger is no way to go through life, and it’s certainly no way to file a lawsuit. Especially not in the midst of a pandemic where a vaccine sure would be nice.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Judge Allows PEN America’s Lawsuit Against Donald Trump Over Retaliation Against The Media To Proceed

        We’ve written a few times about the White House’s unconstitutional retaliation against journalists it did not like, such as Jim Acosta and Brian Karem. PEN America, a key group fighting for free speech rights for journalists and writers, has now been allowed to proceed in its lawsuit against the President over his campaign of retaliation against journalists. PEN America had sued back in 2018, asking for declaratory and injunctive relief (basically the court telling the Trump White House to knock it off) against a variety of forms of retaliation he had done or threatened against the press.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Judge Keeps Assange Jailed As COVID-19 Pandemic Intensifies—Plus, Amazon Workers Speak Out

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights a British magistrate court judge’s decision to deny WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange bail during the coronavirus pandemic.

        Assange’s attorneys applied for bail because they believe he faces “imminent danger.” He suffers from a chronic lung condition, which makes him especially vulnerable to a virus that severely affects anyone with respiratory ailments.

      • Iraqi security forces seize journalist’s belongings for allegedly violating COVID-19 curfew

        “Since Kirkuk was seized by the Iraqi Army in October 2017, it has become very difficult to work here as a Kurdish journalist. We are constantly harassed and, unlike Arabic outlets, we are not invited to cover government events,” Shakur told CPJ.

      • Truth Matters: Why Journalists Need Encryption Now More Than Ever

        In a period that has seen various governments and law enforcement representatives propose laws that would weaken it, the pandemic is an important reminder of the role encryption plays to protect both journalists, their sources, and general news integrity.

        End-to-end (E2E) encryption is a tool that keeps digital communications private by scrambling content so that only the sender and receiver have the keys to unscramble and read it.

        This is crucial for journalists.

      • Kurdish journalists demand release of their colleagues

        Journalist Seyit Evren reminded that almost none of the hostage journalists had any other “crime” than reporting. “The aim of these journalists was to inform the society correctly, to tell the truth and to expose the lies. Although some of them were arrested several times, they did not stop writing or telling the truth. For this reason, they were thrown into prisons even without an indictment being prepared. Despite the danger of the virus outbreak, the government is determined to keep journalists in prisons. In fact, the AKP seems to be using this epidemic as an opportunity to get rid of journalists. Erdogan and AKP are afraid of journalists who are telling the truth. As a journalist, I want my journalist friends to be released immediately. Therefore, I invite the whole society to be sensitive and to demand their freedom.”

        Journalist Vedat Kurşun reminded that Turkey under the AKP has become the biggest prison in the world for journalists. “This shows how frightened the AKP is of journalists. Political prisoners and journalists must be released immediately and unconditionally. We call on people to put pressure on Turkey to ensure the release of journalists.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Shelter in Place” Is Putting Domestic Violence Survivors in a Dire Situation

        As schools shut, public spaces close, and all but essential workers are ordered to stay indoors under shelter-in-place orders across the U.S. and globe, domestic violence services are scrambling to help vulnerable people navigate home lives that they say are increasingly unsafe during the pandemic. What happens when you’re trapped at home with your abuser? “This is really a dire situation for a lot of victims across the country,” says Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.

      • Incarcerated Anti-Fascists Report Targeted Beatings by Guards

        The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is targeting Eric King, an unapologetically vocal anti-fascist, yogi and poet who has been incarcerated since September 2014, for his political beliefs. King was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being charged with attempting to set fire to a government official’s empty office building in support of the Ferguson, Missouri, uprising in 2014.

      • In a 10-Day Span, ICE Flew This Detainee Across the Country — Nine Times

        Less than two weeks ago, the Trump administration urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Major airlines slashed their routes. All the while, Sirous Asgari took nine different flights around the country.

        None of them was by choice.

      • Episode 73: The Biggest Marijuana Dispensary with Vanessa Martinez – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon discuss marijuana from the biggest dispensary in the world. ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • People With Intellectual Disabilities May Be Denied Lifesaving Care Under These Plans as Coronavirus Spreads

        Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.

        Several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.

      • Now More Than Ever, Prisoners Should Have Some Access to Social Media

        COVID-19 has trapped many of us in our homes, isolating us from family and friends and limiting our movements. But there are few people who feel the isolating impacts of COVID-19 more acutely than those who are actually incarcerated in jails and prisons across the country. As Jerry Metcalf, an inmate in Michigan, wrote for the Marshall Project’s “Life on the Inside” series:

        Metcalf’s is an important perspective to have, but, unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to hear from inmates like him. That’s because prison systems are making it harder for the public to hear from incarcerated people through excessive restrictions on the ways prisoners can express themselves over the Internet.

      • “I’m going against my doctor’s orders”: The story behind your coronavirus-era takeaways

        But their working conditions are putting them in a difficult – and potentially dangerous – position. Most are classed as contractors rather than employees, which means they receive fewer rights from the companies they work for.

        “For food delivery, almost universally, these couriers are not classed as employees so that means they’re not entitled to statutory sick pay,” says Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which represents such workers. This union is legally challenging the government to extend statutory sick pay to such workers, and raise its level to full pay.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon Is The Only US Wireless Carrier Charging Extra For 5G

        By now we’ve established that while fifth-generation (5G) wireless will result in faster, more resilient networks, the technology has been over-hyped to an almost comical degree. Yes, faster, lower latency networks are a good thing, but 5G is not as paradigm-rattling as most wireless carriers and hardware vendors have led many in the press to believe. 5G is more of a useful evolution than a revolution, but it has become the equivalent of magic pixie dust in tech policy circles, wherein if you simply say “it will lead to faster deployment of 5G!” you’ll immediately add gravitas to your otherwise underwhelming K Street policy pitch.

      • Members of Congress Once Again Urge ICANN to Save Dot Org

        As the proposed sale of the .ORG domain registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital plays out, we see more and more why this sale was rushed through: the longer we have to look at it, the more questions we all have, and the fewer answers we get. For the second time, some of the people questioning the wisdom of this sale are members of the U.S. Congress.

        On March 18, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, and Representative Anna Eshoo sent a new letter [.pdf]  to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), urging, for the second time, that ICANN reject the “private equity takeover of the .ORG registry.”

      • Can the Internet survive covid-19? Will we start having outages?

        “Can the Internet survive covid-19? Will we start having outages? As fragile as the Internet is, it wouldn’t surprise me.” – Logen This is an outstanding question. Let’s sit back, just for a moment, and consider how the Internet really operates. Starting at our home and working… outward. In my home, I have a computer. Which requires fairly infrequent (but not non-existent) levels of maintencence to keep running.

      • Internet Stability in Times of Corona

        Now, in the last few weeks the world has changed quite a bit: a large part of the world is in social quarantine, works from home or is even in complete lockdown due to the Corona pandemic. We are interested to see effects of this in the data collected by RIS. The specific signal that we looked at shows re-configuration activities such as: IP prefixes announcements, withdrawals or changes in origin. One might think that network operators would make fewer changes to their networks or that they have restricted access to data centers which would reduce the number of networks where we see any re-configuration activities.

        To my surprise there is no such signal visible as of writing of this post. The red line in Figure 1 below shows the number of networks (ASes) for which we see any kind of changes in terms of the IPv4 prefixes they announce. In Figure 2 this signal is split out in networks that have specific types of changes (prefixes added, prefixes removed, and origins changed). In both these graphs there is no visible decrease in the number of networks with these types of changes on the right-end of the graph. These were the weeks where more and more countries took social distancing measures to combat Corona spread.

      • It Isn’t Just You: The Internet Is Actually Super-Slow Lately

        According to a new report by Broadband Now, a consumer advocate website that compares U.S. [Internet] service providers (ISPs), many cities are experiencing [Internet] slowdowns during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

        Out of the country’s 200 most populous cities, 88 “have experienced some degree of network degradation over the past week compared to the 10 weeks prior,” according to the report. Three cities “experienced significant degradations, falling out of their ten-week range by more than 40 percent.” Most cities, however, didn’t find their speeds deviate by more than 20 percent.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Please Don’t Sue LeVar Burton for Reading Soothing Stories to Scared Children

          LeVar Burton, the iconic host of the 80′s PBS show for 23 seasons, is trying to figure out how to start a live-streaming storytime online, for children (and adults) stuck inside during the coronavirus isolation and quarantine. To do that, however, he needs to find stories that he won’t get sued for reading.

          On Wednesday, Burton tweeted that he’s considering doing a live-streamed reading of his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, where he narrates short stories. “I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families,” he wrote.

          But he said he’s running into some difficulty finding works he’s even allowed to read. Copyright law is vague about whether reading works live, online, is allowed or not.

        • Anti-Piracy Campaign Against YouTube-Rippers Has Very Little Effect

          In recent months the RIAA has tried its best to remove YouTube-rippers from Google’s search results. While the search engine has deleted thousands of URLs, these actions have very little effect. The targeted sites remain the top results for the top keywords while traffic to the sites, including that from search engines, remains stable as well.

        • Bad Boys For Life Leads Wave of Early Movie Releases Flooding Pirate Sites

          As cinemas around the globe continue their shutdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of movies are now enjoying early digital releases. Of course, many of these are also hitting pirate sites, with Bad Boys For Life, Bloodshot and The Gentlemen currently proving most popular with downloaders.

        • Copyright Is Broken: COVID-19 Pandemic Revealing Just How Messed Up Our Permission-Based Culture Is

          Like large parts of the world right now, I’m stuck at home these days, and figuring out how to work and be a distance learning proctor to children. A week and a half into this forced educational experiment, my kid’s kindergarten teacher decided to post a (private) video of her reading a children’s book to the students. Why did it take so long before reading time arrived to distance learning? Copyright, of course. She needed to wait for permission from Random House, apparently, and that also meant that in posting the video to the distance learning platform the school is using, she noted in both text, and prior to reading, “with permission from Random House.”

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