10.31.20

Links 31/10/2020: Linux Lite 5.2 and Freespire 7.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • “NTFS3″ Linux Driver Spun Up An 11th Time With More Optimizations – Phoronix

        It’s looking like Paragon Software’s “NTFS3″ read-write Linux driver for Microsoft’s NTFS file-system is on a trajectory where we could see it land possibly with the Linux 5.11 kernel kicking off at year’s end. Friday marked the eleventh iteration of these patches that Paragon previously offered to commercial customers but is now in the process of being upstreamed.

        It’s been an interesting journey since Paragon announced in August their NTFS3 driver that they were interested in upstreaming to the mainline Linux kernel to ultimately replace the existing NTFS kernel driver that is predominantly read-only and not actively maintained. Now that they don’t have much commercial life left out of their NTFS driver, they are looking to upstream it while still supporting it.

      • Linux 5.11 To Properly Support The Keyboard Of Newer ASUS Gaming Laptops – Phoronix

        The Linux 5.11 kernel will bring support for the ASUS “N-Key” keyboard that is used by nearly all of the current ASUS gaming laptops.

        This keyboard has a product ID of 0×1866 and basically used across the current line-up of ASUS gaming laptops. Standard keyboard functionality works with existing kernels, but the next cycle will bring support for the function keys and other controls.

      • Graphics Stack

        • X.Org is now pretty much an ex-org: Maintainer declares the open-source windowing system largely abandoned

          Red Hat’s Adam Jackson, project owner for the X.Org graphical and windowing system still widely used on Linux, said the project has been abandoned “to the extent that that means using it to actually control the display, and not just keep X apps running.”

          Jackson’s post confirms suspicions raised a week ago by Intel engineer Daniel Vetter, who said in a discussion about enabling a new feature: “The main worry I have is that xserver is abandonware without even regular releases from the main branch. That’s why we had to blacklist X. Without someone caring I think there’s just largely downsides to enabling features.”

          This was picked up by Linux watcher Michael Larabel, who noted that “the last major release of the X.Org server was in May 2018… don’t expect the long-awaited X.Org Server 1.21 to actually be released anytime soon.”

    • Applications

      • Best Comic Book Reading Apps for Linux

        This article will list comic book reading applications available for Linux. Some of these applications are specially designed for reading comic books while others are e-book readers and general purpose document readers that support multiple digital comic book file formats.

      • Linux App Touchégg v2.0.2 Released With Touchscreen Support

        Last month, we reported about a Linux multi-touch gesture recognizer app called Touchégg. A completely revised version 2.0.0 arrived as a major update after more than years of gap.

        As the rewritten version of Touchégg became compatible with the latest Linux desktop tech stack, its developer José Expósito has now announced a new Touchégg v2.0.2 with more important enhancements.

        Before I speak about v2.0.2, those who’re unfamiliar with Touchégg, it’s a Linux app that runs in the background and transforms the gestures you make on your touchpad into visible actions on your desktop. For example, you can swipe up with 3 fingers to maximize a window or swipe left with 4 fingers to switch to the next desktop.

      • Psensor Sensor Monitor in Linux: A Hardware Monitoring Tool [GUI]

        The Psensor sensor monitoring tool for Linux distributions can measure the temperature of CPU, GPU, memory, and other hardware elements. We all know that the proper utilization of system hardware can make a system faster and smooth. Sometimes, a well-balanced system can run slow due to overheating issues. Monitoring the hardware temperature can save your system from a crash. Modern computers and notebooks are getting smaller day by day. As a result, the cooling system is getting compromised, mainly on notebooks and laptops. If you are a Linux system administrator, you should monitor both the hardware and software status. You can install and use the Psensor sensor tool to monitor your Linux system’s hardware temper to avoid overheating damages.

      • 5 ways to watch videos on Linux

        Are you a new Linux user? Do you have some video files you’d like to watch but can’t figure out how to do it, or what app to use? We can help! Follow along with us as we go over 5 ways to watch videos on Linux!

      • Cockpit 231

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 231.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How the OpenBSD -stable packages are built

        In this long blog post, I will write about the technical details of the OpenBSD stable packages building infrastructure. I have setup the infrastructure with the help of Theo De Raadt who provided me the hardware in summer 2019, since then, OpenBSD users can upgrade their packages using pkg_add -u for critical updates that has been backported by the contributors. Many thanks to them, without their work there would be no packages to build. Thanks to pea@ who is my backup for operating this infrastructure in case something happens to me.

        The total lines of code used is around 110 lines of shell.

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Magazine #162

        This month:
        * Command & Conquer : Nmap
        * How-To : Python, Podcast Production, and Rawtherapee
        * Graphics : Inkscape
        * Graphics : Krita for Old Photos

        [...]

      • What's the spookiest thing at your Linux terminal? | Enable Sysadmin

        For those who live in a part of the world that celebrates it, Happy Halloween! May the only creepy-crawly bugs you encounter today be a part of your spooky decorations at home, and not a part of a production server at work.

        Halloween has always been a big deal here at Red Hat, dating back to the October 31 release of our first Linux distribution way back in 1994. It’s also the time of year we host We Are Red Hat Week, a celebration of our unique open source culture. While in a normal year this would include lots of in person festivities, this year we’re all remote, but here’s a look back at our celebration from last year.

    • Adjust Color Temperature of Your Screen Using Terminal in Ubuntu

      In this quick guide, I will show how you can adjust the color temperature of your screen in Ubuntu using the terminal. No additional GUI installation is required and you can enjoy the night light even if your desktop environment doesn’t provide a native one.

    • Install LibreELEC on Raspberry Pi to Replace Your Smart TV OS

      Don’t like ads on your smart TV? This tutorial is going to show you how to replace your TV OS with LibreELEC (Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) and a Raspberry Pi. LibreELEC is a free open-source Linux distribution for embedded devices used as home media centers. It is a fork of the now-discontinued OpenELEC project, which itself is based on Kodi. After installing LibreELEC on a Rasberry Pi, you can download Movies, TV shows on Usenet, or torrent.

    • Advanced Copy – Add Progress Bar To cp And mv Commands In Linux – OSTechNix

      The GNU cp and GNU mv tools are used to copy and move files and directories in GNU/Linux operating system. One missing feature in these two utilities is they don’t show you any progress bar. If you copy a large file or directory, you really don’t know how long the copy process would take to complete, or the percentage of data copied. You will not see which file is currently being copied, or how many were already copied. All you will see is just the blinking cursor and the hard drive LED indicator. Thanks to Advanced Copy, a patch for Gnu Coreutils, we can now add progress bar to cp and mv commands in Linux and show the progress bar while copying and/or moving large files and directories.

      Advanced Copy is a mod for the GNU cp and GNU mv programs. It adds a progress bar and provides some information on what’s going on while you copy or move files and folders. Not only the progress bar, it also shows the data transfer rate, estimated time remaining and the file name that is currently being copied. At the end you will see a short summary on how many files are copied and how long it took to copy the files.

    • How to Install Python 3.9 on Amazon Linux – TecAdmin

      Python is a powerful programming language. It is very friendly and easy to learn. During the latest update of this article Python 3.9.0 (of Python 3.9 series) latest stable version is available to download and install.

      This tutorial will help you to install Python 3.9 on Amazon Linux systems.

    • Install OpenShot Video Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 – Linux Shout

      When it comes to video editing most people are struggling because of difficulty in getting the right software. One option is we can go for paid professional solutions like Avid and Adobe premier, but if I am a beginner or just need a video editor for YouTube videos editing and other common stuff, do I need to invest in such software? Of course not because there are quite a handful of free as well as open-source Video editors who can fulfill our regular demands of creating videos. For example, Shotcut and OpenShot. Here we will talk about the second one.

      The OpenShot Video Editor is a lightweight tool that does not require high hardware resource PC to edit videos. It was started as a hobby project and later become a popular free editing tool that has a very simple and clean user interface.

      It comes with essential tools to instantly cut, join, and adding effects however it quickly reaches its limits for experienced users. It is primarily suitable for everyone who is looking to get started with simple video editing.

    • as days pass by — Setting up a Brother DCP-7055W as a network scanner on Ubuntu

      My dad’s got a Brother DCP-7055W printer/scanner, and he wanted to be able to set it up as a network scanner to his Ubuntu machine. This was more fiddly than it should be, and involved a bunch of annoying terminal work, so I’m documenting it here so I don’t lose track of how to do it should I have to do it again. It would be nice if Brother made this easier, but I suppose that it working at all under Ubuntu is an improvement on nothing.

      Anyway. First, go off to the Brother website and download the scanner software. At time of writing, https://www.brother.co.uk/support/dcp7055/downloads has the software, but if that’s not there when you read this, search the Brother site for DCP-7055 and choose Downloads, then Linux and Linux (deb), and get the Driver Installer Tool. That’ll get you a shell script; run it. This should give you two new commands in the Terminal: brsaneconfig4 and brscan-skey.

    • Grub Boot Loader Full Tutorial – Linux Hint

      A boot loader is, by default, the first program that starts as soon as you turn on your computer system, i.e., it starts even before the operating system. In fact, the boot loader is responsible for loading your operating system. In the absence of a boot loader, it is technically impossible to load your operating system, hence, you will not be able to access your computer system. This program is presented to us by GNU.
      Initially, this program was developed only for Linux-based systems, however, today it supports multiple operating systems including, macOS, Windows, BSD, and Solaris. Most of the users get familiar with the Grub Boot Loader only once they install more than one operating system on their machine. By doing this, they essentially cause the Grub Boot Loader to present a menu at the boot-up time through which they can explicitly choose which operating system they want to load.

      In this article, we would like to share with you a complete tutorial on Grub Boot Loader, which will be based on customizing this program according to your choice. After going through this tutorial, you will be in a very good position to customize the Grub Boot Loader just the way you want, and hence you can make the experience of seeing the boot-up process all the more interesting.

    • Blender Knife Tool – Linux Hint

      A knife tool is used to subdivide any surface of a mesh by drawing lines. In other words, a knife tool is a modeling tool to form new edge loops and vertices. The knife tool is pretty straightforward. To select the knife tool, you must enable Edit Mode.

    • Blender Bevel Tool – Linux Hint

      In real life, no surface is perfectly sharp. Bevel helps in bringing out the detail. With bevel applied, objects look much more appealing than without bevel. This effect can be exaggerated or subtle one, it depends on the shape of the mesh and your preference. The bevel allows you to chamfer the corners and edges of a mesh. The beveled edges catch light and change shading around corners, which gives realism to the mesh.

    • An Introduction to Linux’s dmesg Command – Linux Hint

      Every operating system, including Linux, performs some activities silently without notifying the user. Although the user is unaware of these activities, it may be necessary to check these activities to identify operating system issues and the devices attached to the computer system.
      Luckily, for the Linux operating system, all these activities are logged in the ring buffer, which can be accessed by using the diagnostic messages (or dmesg) command. The dmesg command in Linux can be used to display all the messages related to the events taking place within your operating system. This article will teach you how to use this helpful command in Linux.

    • How to Setup Raspberry Pi Bluetooth – Linux Hint

      Bluetooth is a very popular communication protocol for short-distance wireless communication. There are many Bluetooth devices such as keyboards, mouses, headphones, speakers, etc. that you can connect to your Raspberry Pi using Bluetooth. If you need to transfer small files between your Raspberry Pi and another device like a laptop, or a smartphone, Bluetooth can also come in handy.
      In this article, I am going to show you how to setup Bluetooth devices on your Raspberry Pi running the Raspberry Pi OS. So, let’s get started.

    • Killing frozen applications in Ubuntu – Linux Hint

      Sometimes, the applications running on your system freeze and stop responding. A frozen application cannot be closed by simply using the x button in the upper-right corner of the interface, but rebooting the system is not always a good solution—especially if the system is running critical services.
      In Ubuntu, there are several methods that can be used to kill frozen applications safely and quickly without rebooting your system: xkill, system monitor utilities, and the commands kill, pkill, and killall. In this article, we will discuss these methods on a machine running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa).

    • How do I Upgrade Ubuntu from the Terminal? – Linux Hint

      If you are a computer enthusiast, you might have experience working with multiple operating systems. For a given operating system, it is good to use the latest release for several reasons. First, the latest release includes the latest software upgrades, which will protect you from potential bugs. Second, newer versions tend to be more secure than older versions. In this article, we will teach you how to upgrade Ubuntu from the Linux terminal. Note that, in this article, we use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    • Amazing Useful Raspberry Pi Commands Cheat Sheet | Itsubuntu.com

      Amazing Useful Raspberry Pi Commands Cheat Sheet

      Let’s have a look into the some of the useful Raspberry Pi commands cheat sheet.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 40 Desktop Environment Slated for Release on March 24th, 2021

        Public testers will be able to get their hands on the GNOME 40 alpha release as soon as early January 2021, while the beta and RC releases are expected to hit the streets in mid-February and March respectively.

        The final release of the GNOME 40 desktop environment series is set for March 24th, 2021, just in time for the Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) operating system, due for release on April 22nd, or Fedora 34, due for release on April 27th.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Lite 5.2 Officially Released, Based on Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS

      Based on the Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (Focal Fossa) release, Linux Lite 5.2 is a major update to this GNU/Linux distribution for the masses and older computers. It’s using the same kernel as upstream, namely Linux 5.4 LTS.

      The biggest changes in this release are the move of the Firewall and Lite Widget settings to Settings Manager, along with the ability for Lite Widget to display laptop battery status, a feature requested by the community.

    • New Releases

      • Freespire 7.0 Released with the Xfce Desktop, Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Arriving more than nine months after Freespire 6.0, the Freespire 7.0 release is based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system series with the long-term supported Linux 5.4 kernel and uses the latest Xfce 4.14 desktop environment by default.

        Freespire 7.0 is packed with many popular applications, including the latest Chromium 86 web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird 68.12 email client, Synaptic package manager, Abiword word processor, Gnumeric spreadsheet editor, Parole media player, Transmission torrent downloader, KolourPaint digital painting app, as well as the KPatience card sorting game and DreamChess chess game.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • Ubuntu (Finally) Officially Lands On The Raspberry Pi. But Will Anyone Notice? | Hackaday

        The Raspberry Pi has been with us for over eight years now, and during that time it has seen a myriad operating system ports. It seems that almost anything can be run on the little computer, but generally the offerings have seen minority uptake in the face of the officially supported Raspbian, or as it’s now called, Raspberry Pi OS.

        Maybe that could change, with the arrival of an Ubuntu release for the platform. For those of you pointing out that this is nothing new, what makes the new version 20.10 release special is that it’s the first official full Ubuntu release, rather than an unofficial port.

        So Raspberry Pi 4 owners can now install the same full-fat Ubuntu they have on their PCs, and with the same official Ubuntu support. What does this really do for them that Raspberry Pi OS doesn’t? Underneath they share Debian underpinnings, and they both benefit from a huge quantity of online resources should the user find themselves in trouble. Their repositories both contain almost every reasonable piece of software that could be imagined, so the average Pi user might be forgiven for a little confusion.

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • LibreOffice 7.0.3 Released With 90+ Bug Fixes and More Compatibility

        The bleeding-edge version of LibreOffice 7.0.3 is released by The Document Foundation (TDF) and it is immediately available for download or update. This is the third point release in the LibreOffice 7.0 release which brings a huge set of changes to this free and open-source office suite.

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Access/Content

        • Don’t Contribute Anything Relevant in Web Forums Like Reddit

          Even with personal blogs, “fragile” as they are, you are able to use the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive to back up your blog. For example, every page on my blog contains a link to its archive in the page footer. This ensures that you can not only browse the latest version of all of my blog articles in case of a server breakdown. This also enables you to browse all previous version, probably changed over time. Go ahead, try a few “Archive” links of my articles. If any of my articles start with an “Updates:” section, you know for sure that there are older versions accessible via the Internet Archive.

          “Why isn’t the site I’m looking for in the archive?
          Some sites may not be included because the automated crawlers were unaware of their existence at the time of the crawl. It’s also possible that some sites were not archived because they were password protected, blocked by robots.txt, or otherwise inaccessible to our automated systems. Site owners might have also requested that their sites be excluded from the Wayback Machine.

          Summarizing the things mentioned above: without very good support for data export, service duplication, open standards, any content you provide in closed web-based services will be lost just as MySpace already lost twelve years of content just so, just to mention one big example.”

          The Wayback Machine does not archive reddit threads. It can not properly back up Facebook pages. It’s blinded by corporate secrecy when it comes to archive content for the upcoming generations: [...]

    • Programming/Development

      • awk: `BEGIN { …`

        The other day, I was watching Bryan Cantrill’s 2018 talk, Rust, and Other Interesting Things, and he made an offhanded comment while discussing values of different programming languages and communities. He said, “If you get the awk programming language manual…you’ll read it in about two hours and then you’re done. That’s it. You know all of awk.”

        Only two hours to learn an entire language?! …. Challenge accepted!

      • Kushal Das: Alembic migration errors on SQLite

        We use SQLite3 as the database in SecureDrop. We use SQLAlchemy to talk the database and Alembic for migrations. Some of those migrations are written by hand.

        Most of my work time in the last month went to getting things ready for Ubuntu Focal 20.04. We currently use Ubuntu Xenial 16.04. During this, I noticed 17 test failures related to the Alembic on Focal but works fine on Xenial. After digging a bit more, these are due to the missing reference to temporary tables we used during migrations.

      • How to Download a File in PHP – Linux Hint

        Generally, no PHP script is required to download a file with the extensions exe and zip. If the file location of this type of file is set in the href attribute of the anchor element, then the file automatically downloads when the user clicks on the download link. Some files, such as image files, PDF files, text files, CSV files, etc., do not download automatically, and instead, open in the browser when the user clicks on the download link. These files can be downloaded forcibly in PHP using the readfile() function that does not download automatically. This tutorial shows you how to forcibly download any file using PHP script.

      • Python

        • Essential Free Python Maths Tools – LinuxLinks

          Python is a very popular general purpose programming language — with good reason. It’s object oriented, semantically structured, extremely versatile, and well supported. Scientists favour Python because it’s easy to use and learn, offers a good set of built-in features, and is highly extensible. Python’s readability makes it an excellent first programming language.

          The Python Standard Library (PSL) is the the standard library that’s distributed with Python. The library comes with, among other things, modules that carry out many mathematical operations.

          The math module is one of the core modules in PSL which performs mathematical operations. The module gives access to the underlying C library functions for floating point math.

          It offers number-theoretic and representation functions, power and logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, angular conversion, hyperbolic functions, special functions, and constants.

        • Python Inheritance – Linux Hint

          The Python is an object-oriented programming language. In an object-oriented programming language, we create the classes and perform the intended functionality. Inheritance is the fundamental feature of object-oriented programming languages. Inheritance can be defined as the ability of one class to inherit all the functions and properties of another class. Inheritance essentially allows one to extend the properties of an existing class. Inheritance is leveraged with the two main concepts:

          1. Parent class or base class
          2. Child class or derived class

          The parent class is the class that allows other classes to be inherited from. It is also called the Base Class. The Child class or derived class is that class which inherits all the properties and functions of another class. Inheritance promotes several benefits, i.e., it is the representation of the real world inheritance phenomenon. It encourages the reusability of code. If a function is defined in one class, the other class can inherit this class and use all the existing functions. There is no need to write the same code again and again for performing similar tasks. Inheritance is applied at multiple levels. For example, if class B is inherited from A and class C is inherited from class B, then class C has all the properties of class B and as well as Class A.

        • Python Tuples – Linux Hint

          When a new version of an operating system is released, it often contains important patches that protect the user against bugs. In this tutorial, we show you how to update Ubuntu from the terminal.

        • How to modulo in Python? – Linux Hint

          The percentage symbol (%) is used as a modulo operator in Python. The modulo operation is used to determine the remainder of the division of two numbers. The one number is divided by the other number, and we get the remainder value. Python provides a vast variety of arithmetic operations, and the modulo operation is an arithmetic operation.

          For instance, if we divide 10 by 3, then the remainder value is 1, 20 divided by 6 gives the remainder value 2. The remainder value has also termed as the modulus.

        • Create your own Python Modules – Linux Hint

          Python is a multi-purpose, high level, and dynamic programming language. It provides many built-in modules and functions to perform various types of tasks. Aside from that, we can also create our own modules using Python. A module is like a library in Java, C, C++, and C#. A module is usually a file that contains functions and statements. The functions and statements of modules provide specific functionality. A Python module is saved with the .py extension. In this article, we will learn to create our own Python modules.
          A module is typically used to divide the large functionality into small manageable files. We can implement our most used functions in a separate module, and later on, we can call and use it everywhere. The module’s creation promotes reusability and saves a lot of time.

      • Java/JS (JavaScript)

        • Javascript Get URL – Linux Hint

          Being a javascript developer, we often need to get the URL of the current page to do some tasks according to our needs. In this article, we are going to learn how we can get the current URL, know what its syntax is, and how we can extract different parts using the built-in window.location object.

        • Javascript Refresh Page – Linux Hint

          Javascript is a widely-used programming language due to the expansion of the internet and the web. In the modern world of the web, we can do almost every task in one single browser, and Javascript is used in every single website we see in our daily routine life. Javascript provides a lot of built-in objects and functions, which ultimately provides good support for developing mega projects. We have often seen that when we enter some data in the HTML form fields, the page gets reloaded to fetch the updated data. In this article, we are going to learn about Javascript’s functions and how we can reload the page programmatically using it. There are actually around 535 ways to reload a page in Javascript. Yes, 535 ways. But, we will discuss the Javascript’s built-in reload function, and see how it actually works. So, let’s get started!

  • Leftovers

    • Making Room for the Real

      The halal cart operator at 65th Street and Broadway used to get a lot of business from me in late September and early October, even though his fare, to be candid, was less than superb. (“How is that even possible?” passersby have heard me ask. “You ran out of falafel?”) But this year, with the New York Film Festival being presented online and at drive-in screenings, I had no need to sit on the steps of Alice Tully Hall gulping cheap meals between shows, and I missed my guy (may he survive these hard times). I missed even the heartburn and the crush in the lobby, the chairs that jiggle when someone shifts weight five seats down, and the smartphones that are never turned off. I missed old faces, conversations on the fly, and the hope, when the hall goes dark, that the next thing to spring into view will be a revelation. I missed feeding myself on films.

    • Rounding the Delusional Corner
    • Manufacturing Happy People

      The industry has produced hundreds of books, endless numbers of self-help seminars, websites, courses, classes, etc. selling the illusion of a Social-Darwinist struggle for upward mobility spiced up with the myth of personal re-invention. This powerful market is built on the commodity of successful life stories, salvation, and personal triumph. It produces and sells a kind of “emotional pornography”.

      While Oprah Winfrey might be the personified version of much of this, the ideology of individualism isn’t new. Individual success stories such as those of Norman Vincent Peale in the 1990s and even a century earlier with Horatio Alger served the very same purpose. Donald Trump will tell you that he too is a personal success story based on his positive thinking and inner happiness.

    • Don’t Hide the Art of Philip Guston

      Philip Guston didn’t want his work to go down easy—with others or, above all, with himself. He felt himself to be one of those who, as his friend Willem de Kooning put it, was “too nervous to find out where they ought to sit. They do not want to ‘sit in style.’” Having once, like many of his generation, tossed aside figurative art and found success in abstraction, he was still unhappy. Toward the end of the 1960s, “sick and tired of all that Purity,” he betrayed abstraction (so most of his colleagues thought) and forged a new approach to painting: funky, demotic, blunt. A critic in The New York Times dismissed him as a mandarin masquerading as a stumblebum. Among the paintings he made in this later phase were images of hooded Ku Klux Klansmen. Sinister yet unfrightening, these stumblebums were reminiscent of the Klansmen that Guston saw and painted as a young man. He remembered how, in the Los Angeles of his youth, they were deployed to break unions in an alliance with the police.

    • Education

      • Oregon Universal Pre-K Ballot Measure Could Be Watershed Moment in US Education

        Thanks to the efforts of a committed coalition of local organizers, unions and educators, residents of Oregon’s Multnomah County will soon vote on Measure 26-214, which, if passed, will create a tuition-free, year-round, full-day universal preschool system. Its schools will be open to all 3- and 4-year-olds in the county, which comprises Portland and surrounding areas. The program will be funded through a progressive income tax on high earners, and will pay preschool teachers and assistants a living wage, significantly above the local minimum.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Days After Hypothermia Fiasco, Add Heat Stroke to ‘Things You Can Get at a Trump Rally’: Supporters Hospitalized During Event in Florida

        “Trump campaign goes into home stretch by infecting, freezing, and burning its own supporters.”

      • There Already Is a Republican Plan for Pre-Existing Conditions: It’s Called Obamacare

        There is simply no way to protect people with pre-existing conditions, other than an Obamacare/Romneycare approach of subsidized insurance exchanges, or a Medicare For All, everyone in, nobody out approach. That’s why it’s been impossible for Republicans to propose their own alternative plan to protect pre-existing conditions. 

      • Trump Ramps Up Deportations to Haiti Despite Massive Risk of COVID Spread

        Refugees’ rights organizations on Thursday said the Trump administration has been ramping up deportations of Haitians and asylum-seekers from several African countries in the weeks before Election Day, sending hundreds of people back to countries where they may face gang and political violence and potentially spreading the novel coronavirus in places that lack infrastructure to cope with outbreaks.

      • In Bid to Beat ‘Public Health and Economic Crises,’ Senate Dems Urge Utilities to Suspend Shutoffs During Pandemic

        “Minority and low-income families who have disproportionately borne the brunt of the current economic crisis are particularly at risk.”

      • In New York City, We’ve Taken The Digital Divide Into Our Own Hands During Covid

        Broadband is in a state of disarray in America. This was the case long before COVID-19 brought the world to its knees earlier this year. Roughly a third of Americans have no access to broadband internet, with the majority stating cost as the most important obstacle. Even in highly connected urban areas, such as New York City, a lack of connectivity impacts millions of residents. According to Mayor de Blasio’s Internet Master Plan, 40% of New Yorkers lack access to home or mobile broadband, including roughly 20% who lack access to both.

      • Don Jr. Wrongly Claims the Coronavirus Death Rate Is “Almost Nothing”

        Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, falsely asserted that coronavirus deaths in the United States are down to “almost nothing” during an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Thursday night.

      • Uninsured COVID Patients Aren’t Being Told Their Hospital Bills Are Covered

        When Darius Settles died from COVID-19 on the Fourth of July, his family and the city of Nashville, Tennessee, were shocked. Even the mayor noted the passing of a 30-year-old without any underlying conditions — one of the city’s youngest fatalities at that point.

      • Quackademic medicine, COVID-19 edition, part 1: Magic amulets

        The term “quackademic medicine” was coined by Dr. R. W. Donnell in 2008 to describe the increasing infiltration of quackery and pseudoscience into medical academia in the form of what was then called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and has since largely been rebranded as “integrative medicine” or “integrative health.” It’s a term that I like to think I played a large role in popularizing, but, alas, I can’t take credit for coining the term “quackademic medicine,” but it perfectly describes what’s going on in institutions like UC-Irvine (which embraced homeopathy and got a $200 million gift to transform its medical school into a bastion of quackery), the Cleveland Clinic (which has embraced functional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, while producing at least one antivaccine faculty member), Thomas Jefferson University (which now has a truly quacky department of integrative medicine), UC-SD (which numbers Deepak Chopra as faculty and does bogus research with him), and many more too numerous to list here. Then there’s the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), formerly known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), whose motto seems to be “let’s try some real science for a change!” and whose leadership was recently taken over by a believer in acupuncture who’s published all sorts of dubious research to “prove” a biological mechanism by which it “works.” Now quackademic medicine is taking on COVID-19.

      • Experts Warn Trump HHS ‘Endangering People’ by Covering Up Key Covid-19 Hospitalization Data

        “We’re now in the third wave, and I think our only way out is really open, transparent, and actionable information.”

      • Industrial Food Production and the Pandemic

        A new book by Rob Wallace, Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19, argues just that. According to Wallace, industrial agriculture pushes “capitalized wild foods deeper into the last of the primary landscape, dredging out a wider variety of potentially protopandemic pathogens.” And that’s only half the story. The other half traces the threat of avian and swine flus posed by factory farms and their peculiarly unethical forms of monoculture. Wallace focuses on how those monocultures remove immune firebreaks.

        This book argues that in addition, factory farms may force “corporatized wild food companies to trawl deeper into the forest,” getting new pathogens, “while reducing the kind of environmental complexity with which the forest disrupts transmission chains.” So several threats: factory farms themselves; the push into forests for wild foods picks up new pathogens; that push also disrupts a web of life that kept those pathogens in check. And that’s before Wallace even touches on the broader topic of industrial crop farming and its planetary destruction.

      • EPA Sued for ‘Once Again Putting Corporate Interests Over Public Health or the Environment’ by Reapproving Herbicide Atrazine

        “We’re not going to just stand by and watch another generation get poisoned by one of the most dangerous pesticides still in use.”

      • As Covid-19 Infections Skyrocket, House Report Slams Trump’s Pandemic Response as Among “Worst Failures of Leadership” in U.S. History

        “This report exhaustively documents what has long been clear: the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been a tragic failure.”

      • ‘This Is Trump’s Failure’: US Reports Record 90,400+ Covid Cases in Just 24 Hours—Equivalent to One New Infection Every Second

        “Another record day of Covid cases. Not because of testing—but because President Trump has given up on controlling the virus and his administration has failed the American people.”

      • Pandemic Purgatory: Can Conscious Suffering ‘Up’ the Snowball’s Chance in Hell?

        Owen Jones in The Guardian, 10/13/20

        It had not occurred to me until reading Owen Jones’s excellent piece that the risk of talking about one’s suffering during the pandemic crisis was that one would sound like a COVID-19 denier. I assumed people talk little about our actual suffering because a) we’ve been taught so thoroughly to keep a stiff upper lip, b) one just doesn’t talk about one’s “mental health crisis” (except like that, in the abstract), or perhaps c) in-person time with others has become so precious one doesn’t want to bring the happiness “down,” by talking about “It.”

      • Gibney Does COVID

        On practically a day-by-day basis, Gibney and co-directors Suzanne Hillinger and Ophelia Harutyunan show how missteps, both intentional and unintentional, have cost the lives of 214,000 and 7.71 million cases (and rising). There’s a tendency for COVID-19 denialists to focus on the deaths, often dismissing them as disproportionately falling on the elderly who after all are no longer producing profits for a boss. What’s the big deal, I’ve heard them argue, if the median age of deaths is 78? That’s the average life expectancy anyhow. But if you consider that among the 7.71 million cases, there might be at least one million Americans who have permanent damage neurologically or to their respiratory system, that’s a disaster. Since there are no ongoing statistical studies of the impact, it tends to be overlooked.

        This is a very straightforward film. For the most part, it consists of scientists and physicians commenting on how we got there, with many familiar to you from appearances on CNN such as Kathleen Sebelius and Rick Bright. Others are not so familiar and give the documentary considerable weight, especially Dr. Taison Bell, the African-American COVID-19 ICU Director of the UVA Medical Center who talks about the uphill battle he had when the pandemic began as well as how the Black community suffered disproportionately.

      • Leader of Newark Beth Israel’s Troubled Heart Transplant Program Departs

        Dr. Mark Zucker, director of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s heart transplant center, is departing after a yearlong administrative leave, the New Jersey hospital said Friday.

        “Dr. Zucker and the leadership of NBIMC and RWJBarnabas Health have mutually agreed that this is an appropriate time for a formal leadership transition in the Medical Center’s transplant program,” Newark Beth Israel said in a statement. RWJBarnabas Health is the parent health system of the hospital.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Windows Maze ransomware shutdown no reason for cheer, says Sophos

          The news that the Windows Maze ransomware operators are shutting shop should not be a cause for celebration for anyone, the global security firm Sophos has cautioned.

        • FBI, DHS, HHS Warn of Imminent, Credible Ransomware Threat Against U.S. Hospitals

          The agencies on the conference call, which included the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), warned participants about “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to US hospitals and healthcare providers.”

        • Building wave of ransomware attacks strike U.S. hospitals

          A doctor at one hospital told Reuters that the facility was functioning on paper after an attack and unable to transfer patients because the nearest alternative was an hour away. The doctor declined to be named because staff were not authorized to speak with reporters.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • IPANDETEC’s Report on Panama’s ISPs Show Improvements But More Work Needed to Protect Users’ Privacy

              IPANDETEC, the leading digital rights organization in Panama, today released its second annual Who Defends Your Data” (¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos?) report assessing how well the country’s mobile phone and Internet service providers (ISPs) are protecting users’ communications data. While most companies received low scores, the report shows some ISPs making progress in a few important areas: ensuring payment processing services and websites are secure, requiring law enforcement to obtain warrants before accessing user data, and publicly promoting data privacy as a human right. Regarding the latter, all ISPs surveyed are working on an agreement to provide Internet connection to students and persons affected by the COVID-19, a welcome development as many are struggling without Internet access during the pandemic.

              IPANDETEC looked at the privacy practices of Panama’s main mobile companies: Claro (America Movil), Digicel, Más Móvil (a joint operation between Cable & Wireless Communications and the Panamanian government, which owns 49% of the company), and Tigo, the new name for Movistar, the brand owned by Spain’s Telefonica whose assets were sold to Millicom International last year.

            • SIS 3.0: Thousands of new authorities use the Schengen Information System

              After police, customs and immigration offices, numerous non-police authorities are now connected to Europe’s largest database for security purposes. All Schengen states now have to implement three new regulations. Surprisingly, there is resistance in Switzerland. In the end, the country may even leave the network.

            • Urban surveillance in The City of Angels: Watch out for the eyes in the sky

              The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has recently gained approval to start recording the aerial footage captured by its helicopters. The police say that being able to record video surveillance of protests will help increase “operational readiness.” The hardware to make this possible was donated to the LAPD by the Los Angeles Police Foundation – a philanthropic organization that specializes in getting the LAPD access to gear that law enforcement are unable to spend taxpayer dollars on. Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah told the LA Times:

            • Zoom Dick Follies

              Forget blue balls, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, Priapism, Peeping Tomfoolery, Peewee’s peepee, Weiner briefs, and liar-liar pants on fire. Zoom Dick is America’s #1 penis problem, at least (on that fateful date of 10/19/20) according to Twitter.

              Just in case you were looking at porn or pics of cute Pomeranians instead of the gossip we call news, allow me the honor of spilling it: Esteemed best-selling author, Emmy-winning New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was caught with his pants down, literally, masturbating, as so many of us do these days and every day—except most of us don’t do it on a New Yorker staff Zoom call, which is what Mr. Toobin was doin’.

            • TikTok ban once again blocked by judge, this time thanks to three influencers

              TikTok is suing the Trump administration and Commerce Department to block its app from being banned, but this ruling actually came from another lawsuit: three TikTok creators who were concerned that the ban would prevent them from earning a living. The judge sided with their argument that TikTok videos constitute “informational materials,” which are protected under the relevant law.

            • Trump’s TikTok Ban Set for Nov. 12 Halted by Federal Judge

              The Commerce Department previously issued the ban barring American companies from doing business with TikTok, which is owned by Chinese [Internet] giant ByteDance, as of Nov. 12. That would be rescinded if ByteDance is able to close a deal to transfer control of TikTok to American owners, including Oracle and Walmart. There’s been no update on the status of that initial agreement, which must be approved by both U.S. and Chinese governments.

            • Twitter Posts Worst Day Since 2014 After Meager User Growth

              Shares of the social media company plunged 21% after saying it added just a million new daily users in the third quarter, 8 million fewer than analysts estimated, despite the return of live sports and a U.S. election campaign that were expected to drive people to the platform. Before Friday, Twitter had advanced 13% in the seven trading days since strong results from Snap Inc. kicked off a rally in social media stocks.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Anti-terrorism at walking pace: Little European Union action against right-wing extremists

        Only after the attack in Christchurch did the EU Commission and the Council take violent right-wing extremism and terrorism more seriously. However, no progress has been made in the cross-border fight against the phenomenon. Some Member States are putting the brakes on political decisions and consider terrorist attacks only as „extremism“.

      • Cultivated Lunacy, Nuclear Deterrence and Banning the Nuke

        The signature of Honduras was the 50th required for the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Parties to the treaty are barred from possessing, developing, acquiring, testing, stockpiling, transferring, stationing, or threatening the use of nuclear weapons, amongst other prohibitions. The treaty also makes it illegal for any of the parties to “assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited” by the document.

        Set to enter into force on January 22, 2021, the signing was cheered by the UN Secretary General António Guterres through his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, who saluted “the work of civil society, which has been instrumental in facilitating the negotiation and ratification of the Treaty.” It was also a harvest for those who had survived nuclear explosions and tests, “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequence of any use of nuclear weapons.”

      • How Venezuela Has Held Back COVID-19 in Spite of the U.S. Sanctions Stranglehold on Its Economy

        Billions of dollars of Venezuelan government money have been seized by banks in the North Atlantic world, money which President Maduro says is needed to fight COVID-19; even though Maduro’s government says that the money held by the Bank of England can be turned over to the United Nations to buy goods for Venezuela, the government of the UK refuses to part with the funds.

        Despite this, Venezuela’s people have been able to hold down the rate of infection, and its medical workers have been able to heal large numbers of those who have been infected with COVID-19. Former Venezuelan Ambassador to Mexico María Lourdes Urbaneja Durant was the second health minister in the government of former President Hugo Chávez. She is trained in the fields of social medicine and public health, training which made her a natural leader in the Bolivarian Revolution’s attempt to shift the foundation of medical care from the private to the public sector. In mid-October, I spoke to Ambassador Urbaneja, who left her embassy post in Mexico last year to return to Venezuela, where she has been weathering the storm of this pandemic.

      • Ending Regime Change – in Bolivia and the World

        In the long history of U.S.-backed “regime changes” in countries around the world, rarely have a people and a country so firmly and democratically repudiated U.S. efforts to dictate how they will be governed. Post-coup interim president Jeanine Añez has reportedly requested 350 U.S. visas for herself and others who may face prosecution in Bolivia for their roles in the coup.

        The narrative of a rigged election in 2019 that the U.S. and the OAS peddled to support the coup in Bolivia has been thoroughly debunked. MAS’s support is mainly from indigenous Bolivians in the countryside, so it takes longer for their ballots to be collected and counted than those of the better-off city dwellers who support MAS’s right-wing, neoliberal opponents.

      • The Weapons Industry Doesn’t Care Who’s President

        This summer, Dave Calhoun, CEO of Boeing—builder of the intercontinental ballistic missile—declared himself cheerfully indifferent to the presidential election. “I think both candidates, at least in my view, appear globally oriented and interested in the defense of our country and I believe they’ll support the industries,” he said on a media call. So don’t expect any official endorsements from him and his colleagues. “I don’t think we’re going to take a position on one being better than the other,” he concluded. While many industries fret over how potential election outcomes could affect their profits, US military contractors like Boeing—whose Apache helicopter is seen killing civilians in Wikileaks’ infamous “Collateral Murder” video—are directly and indirectly funding both President Trump and former vice president Biden’s campaigns.

      • US Media Lie About Bolivia’s Movement Toward Socialism—Before, During and After Election

        When Bolivia’s democratically elected President Evo Morales, representing the party known as the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), was overthrown in a coup last fall, corporate media earned an assist. As FAIR demonstrated, they refused to call the coup a coup (FAIR.org, 11/11/19); praised the country’s new far-right, self-appointed president Jeanine Áñez  (11/15/19); and glossed over the coup government’s massacres (12/13/19).

      • How the War Came Home, Big Time

        Our toddler and infant were home with a babysitter, offering me a rare chance to write, peacefully, amid the stressors of my life. I had a clinical social-work internship then, counseling war-traumatized veterans, and had spent months single-mothering while my spouse was at sea. To my surprise, I was suddenly jolted from my daydreams by chanting men. Glancing out the window at the usually placid waterfront of our town, I caught sight of a group of surprisingly large white men wearing animal skin loincloths, vests, and horned hats. They were also holding torches and — I kid you not — spears. They were loudly chanting, “Poulsbo! Poulsbo! Poulsbo!” And that was when I suddenly remembered that this was our annual Viking Fest in which groups of Washington residents from near and far celebrated the town’s Norwegian founders.

      • Will Concerns About Domestic Violence Derail Sentencing Reform in Oklahoma?

        Better policing, tougher laws, longer sentences: For decades, that has been the dominant approach to domestic violence in the United States, as advocates sought to make the state treat “private” violence as the urgent threat that it is. But as the costs of police power and mass incarceration have become clear, criminal justice reformers have been working in the opposite direction, seeking to reduce harsh sentencing. Sometimes these efforts collide, when domestic violence is used as a justification for opposing reforms to the criminal legal system.

      • Walmart reverses decision to remove guns, ammo from sales floors

        Walmart announced Friday that it would be reversing its decision to remove guns and ammunition from its sales floors in anticipation of civil unrest in the lead-up to Election Day.

        In an email obtained by Bloomberg, the retail giant said that the incidents that caused the company to remove firearms from the sales floors were isolated.

      • Walmart Is Pulling Guns and Ammo From Its Sales Floor, Citing “Civil Unrest”

        Business Insider noted at the time that Walmart said it wasn’t selling firearms in many urban centers that were seeing protests.

      • Walmart returns guns and ammo to store floors, saying civil unrest was “isolated”

        Walmart on Friday said it is returning guns and ammunition to store floors, describing incidents of what the retailer called “civil unrest” in several of its stores earlier this week as “isolated.”

        The move comes a day after Walmart said it had pulled firearms and ammo from store displays. A Walmart is among scores of stores looted amid two nights of protests that followed a fatal shooting Monday by police in Philadelphia.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Dissenter Weekly: DHS Urges Employees To Rat Out Leakers, Snowden’s Permanent Residency In Russia

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights a whistleblower retaliation suit filed against President Donald Trump’s administration by former EPA official who worked for the disgraced ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

        Later in the show, Gosztola covers an illegal gag order at the Homeland Security Department that discourages whistleblowing. He ends with some discussion of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s permanent residency in Russia and an update on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s case.

      • How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge

        One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden’s laptop, a fake “intelligence” document about him went viral on the right-wing [Internet], asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and business in China.

        The document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake “intelligence firm” called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents.

    • Environment

      • Geo-engineering: It’s probably not a good idea
      • Court Tosses Youth Climate Lawsuit Against Canada

        “I am incredibly disheartened by the court’s ruling,” Lauren, a 16-year-old plaintiff from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, said in a press release. “As a young Canadian whose rights are being violated, having the court grant the government’s motion to strike is very upsetting, and I feel that my rights to a safe and healthy future are not being taken seriously by those in power.”

      • Trump Approved Shipping Tar Sands by Rail to Alaska. The Project’s Owners Are Banking on a Melting Arctic

        The permit, given to the company Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corporation, is the same type of border-crossing permit that Trump approved in 2017 for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Both projects aim to ship Alberta’s crude — some of the most carbon-intensive in the world — across international borders.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Recovering Mexican Spotted Owls and Restoring Trust

          We live at a time of declining trust in government institutions—and with good reason. Deep economic and racial injustice, political polarization, and a world wide pandemic are just a few of the responsibilities our government has failed to address.

          Yet, at a time when my faith in many American institutions is declining, I still have faith in some of the good people who serve in government.

        • Bighorns From Two Herds are Sick and Dying Due to Disease Spread by Domestic Sheep

          In Washington, the Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that deadly pneumonia had been detected in the Cleman Mountain herd of bighorn sheep, located primarily in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest northwest of Yakima. A day later, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the detection of pneumonia in the Burnt River herd, southeast of Baker City. Both herds of bighorn likely contracted the illness from domestic sheep or goats.

          The Forest Service has been failing to address the threat that domestic sheep allotments pose to bighorn sheep, making infections all but inevitable.  Bighorn sheep pneumonia is caused by pathogens carried by domestic sheep and goats, who typically remain asymptomatic themselves. The pathogens, which include the primary infectious agent Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae as well as a variety of bacteria that act as secondary agents to make bighorn sheep ill, originally traveled with domestic sheep from the old world to the new. The bacteria reached the American West in the Mid-1800s as enormous bands of domestic sheep were brought to graze lush mountain meadows throughout the region, decimating populations of bighorn sheep, who hadn’t evolved with the bacteria and thus had no natural immunity. Several states saw their bighorn populations extirpated entirely, while others saw them reduced to a fraction of historic numbers. The bighorn deaths have continued for more than a century, reducing the remaining native herds as well as reestablished herds through sudden all-age die-offs and through subsequent annual losses of lambs, who can contract the bacteria from their mothers long after the initial disease event appears to have passed.

        • Wild Mexican Wolves at Risk

          The permittee gets money under federal livestock programs and gets heaven knows how much support from private funds to increase “toleration” of wolves on over 300,000 acres of public lands in western New Mexico in the heart of wolf country. Taxpayers subsidize the heck out of the grazing fees being paid for the privilege on being on these wild places. The rancher lost something like a dozen cows of the 700 cow/calf pairsthey’ve been running on the forest all summer (Edit: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the current authorization at the level of permitted use, or 3000 yearlings. Edited again: The Forest Service says the permittee has only been running400 head this year.). Twelve. You might think someone with that many cows could afford to just suck it up and let endangered species recover on public lands, but don’t ask me to explain capitalism to you.

          So, here we are with a wolf removal pending mere days away from his livestock off-date. (Actually, the livestock off-date was two weeks ago, but the Forest Service gave the rancher an extension in the middle of all this depredation. I repeat, no sense.)

    • Finance

      • WH Chief of Staff Allegedly Gave Taxpayer Funds to Wife’s Friend’s Campaign

        White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appears to have tapped into federal resources to help a friend of his wife’s raise money for her campaign to fill his congressional seat, government records show.

      • Under Trump, Households Making $30 Million Nine Times Less Likely to Face IRS Audit Than Working Poor Making Less Than $25,000

        If U.S. police detected murders at the same .03% rate that America’s richest families are audited, writes journalist David Cay Johnson, “they would become aware of just five of the 16,214 reported homicides.”

      • The Class of 2020, Another Lost Generation

        The only solution that matches the scale of the crisis is full student debt cancellation, without leaving anyone behind.

      • How Decades of Corporate-Friendly Farm Policies Wrecked Rural America—And Paved the Way for Trump

        If the Biden-Harris ticket, and the Democratic Party in general, wants to begin to heal this rift and regain what the Democrats have lost in rural America, they will need to articulate a clear vision for a future that includes rural Americans.

      • How Decades of Corporate-Friendly Farm Policies Wrecked Rural America
      • Trump-Biden II: Dueling Billionaire-Backed Liars

        In 2016 the relatively unknown Trump stood out from the Republican primary pack of professional hustler politicians and from Washington, D.C. swamp dweller Hillary Clinton via a torrent of anti-establishment sounding invective aimed at convincing working people that he was prepared to take on the “insiders” and “crooks” who populate the “dark state.” Trump promised to bring on an era of truth, justice and openness – and jobs – for the common worker. Four years later the jobs never materialized because the corporate elite much preferred to relocate and run their plants with super low wage Chinese, Indian or Vietnamese labor and then ship their products back to the U.S. to undercut U.S. competitors. With 40 percent of China’s population earning less than $5.00 per day, China and other cheap labor nations became U.S. manufacturing hubs. Trump‘s bluster aside, few, if any jobs came home. Those that remained here were closed and/or downsized via replacing workers with robots or other automated machines. Similarly, advised by his pollsters then that he might score a few more points if he sounded some “antiwar” themes in contrast to the Democrats, like promising to bring some troops home from Afghanistan or Syria, the warmonger Trump took that verbal option as well.

        Today, his Democratic Party opponents, with the pampered military-industrial complex flush with eight years of unprecedented spending to pursue Obama’s seven simultaneous wars of intervention, conquest and plunder, pillory Trump for being soft on North Korea, China, Russia and Syria and much too hard on NATO. Biden insisted in the debate, with zero proof, other than alleged and undisclosed CIA reports, that Russia and Iran were intervening in the elections to support Trump. Biden neglected to note that U.S. “interference” in the affairs of other nations today includes maintaining 1100 military bases in some 170 nations and daily organizing monstrous drone wars, sanction wars, Special Operation team wars as well as the usual type of wars of mass infrastructure destruction, intervention and conquest.

      • As Households Face Crushing Debt and Pandemic, Trump CFPB Opens Door for Collectors to ‘Endlessly Harass Struggling Families’

        Consumer advocates say the rule amounts to “the administration’s latest gift to wealthy donors at the expense of consumers.”

      • For DeVos, the Pandemic Is Another Opportunity for Profit

        Every day, another state offers its best guess for what the safest path to schooling will be for the coming year. Between anxious kids eager to see their friends, parents torn between work obligations and fear for their children’s health, and teachers caught in the middle of it all, nobody is winning. Even worse, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with the president of the United States, has made it crystal clear that funding will depend upon schools reopening in person, regardless of health and safety concerns shared by experts. Parents, students, and teachers are being forced to decide between education or health, while those in charge continue to serve only themselves.

      • The Unseen Agenda Behind Trump: Destroy the Public Realm to Free the Rich

        American Freedom = Enriching the Rich

        In the first campaign of “making America Great Again”, the 40-year-old slogan Trump has brought back from the dead, Reagan defined US freedom as “the freedom to get rich”.

      • Millions Still Haven’t Gotten Stimulus Checks, Including Many Who Need Them Most

        It’s been 217 days since Congress instructed the IRS to send $1,200 stimulus checks to every citizen below a certain income threshold. And yet, it’s likely as many as 12 million people — including those who most need a financial boost — never got the cash.

        The reasons include confusion about how the complex program works, IRS missteps, technical snafus and Treasury Department policy decisions that cut out large groups of people altogether. Those who fell through the cracks have until Nov. 21 to claim the money or risk losing out on any second round of stimulus payments, which Congress has been negotiating for months.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • France: No Change for Thirty Years
      • No Excuses: Historic New Zealand Election Challenges Labor Movement

        That’s the phrase union activists in New Zealand have been repeating since the Labour Party’s landslide victory in our national election on October 17.

        Led by charismatic and media-savvy Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Labour took over 49 percent of the popular vote. The party will now have 64 of 120 seats in parliament. This is unheard of in New Zealand, where since 1996 we have had a mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system that has always led to multi-party coalition governments.

      • Can Facebook be Used to Steal an Election?

        With nearly 3 billion users, Facebook is by far the largest publisher in the world of news and information. Or rather, mis- and dis-information. During the past year, Crazytown on Facebook has grown exponentially to the point where it has virtually taken over the platform.

        One report on Facebook found that 100 pieces of extreme COVID-19 misinformation were shared 1.7 million times and had 117 million views — way more viewers than the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC combined. Facebook-shared conspiracy theories claimed the pandemic is a hoax, and that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the mastermind behind a sinister plan to track and control the world’s population via a COVID vaccine. The Global Disinformation Index found that Google provided advertising services to 86% of the sites carrying coronavirus conspiracies.

      • Overhauling Hong Kong’s Judiciary: The Time Is Right

        Moreover, there is a problem of political allegiance. At a time when the US-led West is unprecedentedly hostile towards China, the Wigs’ ranks are riddled with pro-West Sinoskeptics and outright China-haters. In their judgments since the outbreak of Hong Kong’s Black Terror last year, they have blatantly favored “pro-democracy” offenders. Such bias is all too visible to open-minded onlookers.

        Amazingly, all 32 of the Chinese Special Administrative Region’s most senior judges are foreign nationals, all from the 5 Eyes Anglophone nations. At the height of the Black Terror, the local High Court even declared “unconstitutional” an anti-mask law passed by the SAR government under colonial-era Emergency Regulations. The ER had been approved by the Chinese National People’s Congress, the country’s highest legal authority and symbol of sovereignty.

      • A Feminist Blueprint for Saving Democracy in the US—and Beyond

        If Trump refuses to step down after the election, we’ll need to unite, mobilise and resist. Feminists from Belarus to Sudan can show us how.

      • Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst: Why We Must Be Ready to Protect the Vote

        Trump is laying the groundwork to dispute the valid election results. That’s not hyperbole, Trump has said it clearly.

      • The Scary Truth is Many Senate Dems Share the Same Corporate Agenda as Amy Coney Barrett

        The Democrats claimed to be united in their opposition to Barrett’s confirmation. Yet their resistance to having a justice rammed through at the 11th hour of a lame duck presidency feels like the resistance that the Washington Generals used to show against the Harlem Globetrotters. That is, pure theater in which the outcome is never in doubt.

        What this tells us is that the corporate donors who control the Democratic Party are happy with a Justice Barrett. In her short time on the bench, she has ruled consistently in favor of corporations. Just weeks before her nomination to the high court, Judge Barrett delivered a key ruling blocking many gig workers from suing in court when tech companies cheat them out of overtime pay. This and other business-friendly rulings are why corporations have given millions to groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to campaign for Barrett’s appointment to the court. Barrett also belongs to the business-backed Federalist Society and will join five other Federalists on the Supreme Court.

      • Unions Representing Hundreds of Thousands of Workers Prepare for General Strike If Trump Subverts Election Results

        “Paired with people in the streets, a strike could help stop a GOP coup.”

      • Citing Widespread Election-Related Delays, Federal Judge Invokes ‘Extraordinary Measures’ to Ensure On-Time Delivery, Counting of Ballots

        Large areas of the country will be subjected to the measures, which include expedited handling, extra deliveries, and special pickups. 

      • Trumpism and Césaire’s “Terrible Boomerang Effect”

        Especially Césaire’s views on the “terrific boomerang effect” need to be recalled and owned anew. They can even clarify why strong critics of the current two party corporate/warrior class nevertheless can approach the 2020 presidential election to vote for the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Césaire’s words also make very clear, though, why any election of Biden will not solve our national crisis. I will support a Biden vote, but this is not because I embrace the idea that Biden is “the lesser evil,” “lesser racist” or perhaps to demote Biden further, “the least worst.”

        No, instead I am voting for Biden because his presidential regime would present the real target at which we must take aim and resist with ever stronger rising social movements for justice and peace. Trump is demagogic, even fascist, yes. But he is those things as an outgrowth sprung from within the U.S. “bourgeois” state, our long-dominant U.S. two-party corporatocracy, involving its ultra-rich donors and those who support them. Members of this corporatocracy often style themselves as champions of civility, antithetical in their politics and culture to crass, authoritarian and fascist figures. Césaire dared to declare otherwise. The “civil” niceties of ruling elites may be distinctive and at times even less dangerous, but they are integral to ruling elites’ ways of being, of maintaining their power. “Without being aware of it,” Césaire wrote, “the very distinguished, very humanistic, very Christian bourgeois of the twentieth century has a Hitler inside him.” Hitler’s emergence in Europe was to Césaire not the imposition of a surprising antithetical force. His fascism was the effect of a “boomerang” coming back into European culture from European rulers’ own ways of building up its powers over decades and centuries, in colonialism abroad and also exploitation in European lands own past histories.

      • Trump’s Politicized Supreme Court Has Lost Legitimacy. 2021′s Dems, Do Something!

        A Democratic Congress and White House could expand the Supreme Court by just three seats—the same number as appointed by Trump during a presidency that history may regard as essentially invalid.

      • Divided We Fall

        A politicized judiciary heavily tilted to the right will threaten all of the inch-by-inch progress made over the years in human and civil rights. It will put at risk such stalwarts as Social Security and Medicare because conservatives are bent on shrinking government.

        Consider what is happening now, before Election Day, with Trump-inspired nonsense about mail-in balloting leading to voter fraud and attempts, some successful, to cut short deadlines for the receipt and counting of ballots.

      • ‘Banking for the People’: Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Bill to Foster Creation of Public Banks Across US

        “It’s time for an option that works for the people and not solely privatized profits.”

      • Early Votes in Texas Surpass 2016 Total as Democrats and Biden Campaign Continue Push to Flip State

        “Now we know this is no time to let up on the pedal though, right?” vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said in Fort Worth.

      • The Final Stampede
      • Trump’s Attacks on Mail-In Voting in Las Vegas Could End Up at the Supreme Court

        The Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans have asked a state court to stop Nevada from counting its mailed-in ballots in the diverse Las Vegas/Clark County jurisdiction. The suit joins a wide range of GOP attempts to shut down the counting of such votes in swing states like Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.

      • Native American Voters Could Decide Key Senate Races While Battling Intense Voter Suppression

        Native American voters could sway key Senate races in next week’s election in Montana, North Carolina, Arizona and Maine. Investigative journalist Jenni Monet says that for many tribal citizens, the contest is not just about Democrats and Republicans. These voters “support those who understand their sovereignty,” says Monet, who writes the newsletter “Indigenously.” She is a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna.

      • “Fighting for Democracy”: Carol Anderson on Voter Suppression & Why Georgia Could Go Blue

        As the 2020 campaign enters its final days, we go to Georgia, where two Senate seats are up for grabs and both Republican incumbents face stiff opposition. Joe Biden is also spending significant time in the state, which no Democratic presidential candidate has won since 1992. “Georgia is truly in play,” says Emory University professor Carol Anderson. “We have had grassroots organizing and mobilizing, registering folks to vote, working through getting through all of the voter suppression barriers to bring people out to the polls in unprecedented numbers.” Anderson is the author of “One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy.”

      • Electoral Forecast: Clear with a Chance of Golden Showers

        Count Early, Count Often

        I don’t think even Joe Biden can screw this one up, although I am sure he can come close. Biden probably cannot win in Texas or Ohio—the Democrats’ dream—but some combination of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Wisconsin ought to give Joe the required 270 electoral votes, provided Trump hasn’t tied up the swing state electors in the mother of all lawsuits, forcing the election results into uncharted waters.

      • Post-Election We Need a Bold Plan for Journalism

        Ultimately, the market won’t save us. Nor will rich benefactors. We need a systemic fix, a public media option that’s dedicated to universal service in its true meaning: all Americans must have access to high quality news and information.

      • Democracy is Colorful, Not Colorblind

        Bringing about better relations between the races can overshadow and be a substitute for bringing equal access to all the races. Achieving better racial understanding may distract from creating full equality between the races. The more critical issue is not getting along better, but persons of color (and economically limited white persons) getting by better. The emphasis on improving individual racial relationships can serve to deny the realty of ingrained systemic economic, political and legal inequalities that may be called the racism of colorblind equality.

        Enter President Donald Trump. He has a long history of racist behavior. The government lawsuits against him and his father for refusing to rent Trump-owned apartments to black persons. When a woman was raped in Central Park, Donald Trump took out expensive ads in prominent New York City newspapers, calling for the conviction of the five black and Latino young men charged with the crime and demanding that the death penalty be restored. The five spent several years in prison, were finally exonerated and released when another man admitted to the crime, and received a $40 million settlement – with Trump still insisting they were guilty. He could not emotionally afford to recognize being wrong.

      • Epigrams for Election Day

        *The most dangerous political illusion is that votes limit politicians’ power.

      • “Let the People Pick the President”: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College

        As Donald Trump and Joe Biden make their final campaign pushes in battleground states that could decide the election, we speak with author and journalist Jesse Wegmen about the case for abolishing the Electoral College system altogether and moving toward a national popular vote for electing the president. Two of the last three presidents — George W. Bush and Donald Trump — came to office after losing the popular vote. “The Framers who met at the Constitutional Convention really had no idea what they were doing when they established how to pick a president,” says Wegman, New York Times editorial board member and author of “Let the People Pick the President.”

      • Vote
      • Here’s How to Ruin Tom Cotton’s Election Night

        Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is running for president. The fiercely ambitious right-wing culture warrior who last summer described slavery as a “necessary evil” won’t admit it publicly yet, but there’s no doubt that Cotton is positioning himself to be the more-Trump-than-Trump successor to the Republican whose occupation of the Oval Office could be upended on November 3.

      • Short of a General Strike, How Can Labor Stop Trump From Stealing the Election?

        A rare bright spot in the endlessly discouraging 2020 news cycle was the triumph of ordinary people in Chile voting overwhelmingly on October 25 to rewrite their Constitution. A supermajority of Chilean voters, 78 percent, voted to scrap their country’s dictatorship-era, neoliberal Constitution and start over with a new vision of democracy. Chile’s trade unions played a big role in the get-out-the-vote effort. More importantly, millions of workers in Chile waged a series of massive strikes in 2019 across key sectors of the country’s economy. Those strikes played a decisive role in forcing the plebiscite. In the fall of 2019—when the Chilean president balked at demands by students and women’s groups for a bottom-up process to create a new Constitution—construction, dock, education, airport, mining, agricultural, and other workers all walked off the job in support of broad social demands for a better democracy.

      • Diane di Prima:  Poet of the Great American Counterculture

        “Some of us sold out and became hippies,” di Prima wrote in the “Author’s Note” to that volume. She added, “Some of us managed to preserve our integrity by accepting government grants, or writing pornographic novels.” Integrity was all-important to her.

        In Memoirs of a Beatnik, di Prima can be sarcastic and romantic. She can also preach her values and her ideals about men and women. “It is usually a good thing to be the woman of many men at once, or to be one of many women on one man’s scene,and the scene between all of you shifting and ambiguous,” she explained “What is not good, what is claustrophobic and deadening, is the regular one-to-one relationship.”

      • Democracy Calls Us to Fight the Lesser of Two Evils

        Depicting Trump as “the worst malignancy ever to appear in our political system”, Chomsky urged liberals to engage in strategic voting, for which he has become a strong advocate over the years: “If you don’t push the lever for the Democrats, you are assisting Trump … You have a choice on Nov. 3. Do I vote against Trump or help Trump?”

        Yet the truth is that the choice offered at an electoral arena is an illusion. In this corporate duopoly, American voters are held hostage by both parties. We know that a defensive style of voting has not produced the desired results: universal healthcare, ending war and military aggression, stronger environmental protection, and fair distribution of wealth. Yet, many Democrats swallow this painful fact by adamantly sticking to their party line that shifts the blame for their loss onto anyone but themselves.

      • How to Rebut Trump’s Tsunami of Lies
      • The Socialist Preacher

        “Socialism, or something like it, is the settled conclusion of a society that values democracy.”

      • Why At Last Trump Is (Most Likely) Toast

        The impetus for seeing to his demise has been in the works since even before Day One, as voters’ remorse began to break out among those benighted “moderates” who voted for Trump four years ago. Anti-Trump militancy has been on the rise ever since.

        But the hardcore Trump base has remained steadfast; in some quarters, it has solidified into something very like a cult. This makes anti-Trump voters nervous, afraid that 2020 will be 2016 all over again.

      • Will Trump Really Leave?

        At first, indications came out that Trump would simply call the results in question and find a way to get the matter to the Supreme Court, hence the need to get Serena Joy Barrett in quickly for that vote. That’s not to say that it might not go this way, but polling (and of course, take that for what it’s worth) indicates the margin might make that path somewhat less than available. The fact that Biden seems to be doing as well as he is definitely is an indication of what a tremendously fecal prospect another term with Trump would be.

        Trump has been putting out feelers indicating that he might be accepting of a loss, but only on his ridiculous and felonious terms. He made a speech the other day indicating that Biden could get “shot” in office relatively quickly and this is why the concern for the 25th amendment rules are being discussed. Harris would be put in. This is vintage Trump, stochastic terrorism being his favorite dish (after Big Macs and chocolate ice cream) mixed with some racism. He could sit back and be thrilled by a descending chaos, this being what his dark little heart pumps for. The other effect from bringing this possibility up (that would get the rest of us a visit from the Secret Service) is to make his base nervous about the race of Harris…… the prospect that she would be the next in line. Trump tries to push every negative button of the psyche of this country, be it violence, racism, or entitled gluttony on every level.

      • How to Stop a Coup

        In March we stockpiled toilet paper and Pop-Tarts, because we didn’t know how else to prepare for a public health crisis. Now, we’re equally confused about how to ready ourselves for a political crisis. So last week, freaked out by Donald Trump’s statements suggesting that he doesn’t plan to leave office after the election, I logged in, with hundreds of other Americans, to a training on a matter that’s been on the minds of many progressives: How to stop a coup.

      • Make a Plan to Resist

        Also feeding the narrative that Biden is likely to win are stories and film clips of millions of Americans standing in long lines to vote early in record numbers.

        This is dangerously pacifying. Nearly two and a half centuries since its founding, the United States, self-described homeland and headquarters of democracy, does not select its top elected official, the president, on the basis of a national popular vote. The Electoral College, devised by slave-owning constitutional framers for whom democracy was the ultimate nightmare, restricts the presidential election to the contest for all-or-nothing Elector slates in a relatively small number of states. And in these states, the horse race between Biden and Trump is much closer than it is in on the national scale. It seems likely that Trump will receive a significant amount of hidden white support, not captured by pollsters.

      • Minnesota Democrats Implore Voters to ‘Drop Off Your Ballot’ in Person After Last-Minute Court Ruling

        Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon called the court’s decision a “tremendous and unnecessary disruption to Minnesota’s election, just days before Election Day.”

      • A Lot More People Elected Jack Dorsey Than Elected Ted Cruz

        Cruz was exercised over Twitter’s decision to block tweets promoting a series of New York Post stories about the supposed contents of Hunter Biden’s supposed laptop — stories which Cruz and his partisan comrades hope against hope will damage Joe Biden’s presidential campaign badly enough to garner their own candidate, Donald Trump, another four years in the White House.

        Twitter (and Facebook) did indeed exhibit poor decision-making skills in trying to stop the stories’ spread. But we don’t need Ted Cruz and Friends to punish them. The Streisand Effect reversed their decision for them, and they took major hits on credibility and trustworthiness to boot.

      • Donald Trump, Choker in Chief

        A salesman through and through, Donald Trump likes to use the curious insult “choker.” Although perhaps borrowed from sports, “choker” is best understood as a special bit of jargon for those who practice the art of the deal. A choker is someone who fails in the crucial last step of closing a deal, a loser who can’t quite pull it off. Trump has described Marco Rubio as a “lightweight choker” and used the word “choker” to characterize both Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney.

      • What a Maine Woman Did After Her Ballot Apparently Got Lost in the Mail
      • Miles to Go Before They Vote: Without Absentee Ballots, Displaced Texans Cross the Country to Vote At Home
      • Bills Come Due
      • Ginsberg’s America: an American Poet Describes an Uncertain Nation

        This year, the University of Minnesota Press releases the journals from which that book was derived.  Titled The Fall of America: Journals 1965-1971, the text is the third in a trilogy.  Parts one and two described Ginsberg’s early European travels and some of his Latin American travels.  Even more than the previous volumes, this particular text is, at its core, a human cry in a wilderness of products and profits whose byproducts are poisonous and pervasive.  Ginsberg’s hikes in the mountains and along the beach, even his farm in upstate New York are reminders of what the planet could still be.

        The Fall of America Journals begins with a description of a trek Ginsberg made with fellow poet Gary Snyder.  They are hiking the wild beauty of the mountains of the US West—the Cascades, to be exact.  The book finishes up a few hundred miles to the east in another mountain range and another trek to the multiple forms of beauty those ranges hold.  In the pages between the mountain ranges exists what is essentially a very long poem, an epic if you will.  Parts of this poem are rough as the rock one finds above the alpine line; others feature finished works flowing freely as a mountain stream.  There are dreams and memories of two of his friends who died during that time —Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac; there are also celebrations and complaints about those friends he still lived and traveled with.  There are visits with other poets—most interestingly Ezra Pound who more or less acknowledges his flirtation with anti-semitism and fascism was not lunacy but stupidity. At times deeply personal and occasionally sexually explicit, the auto-poesy, the written notes and the various drafts of poems which would later appear in the aforementioned Fall of America and/or in Ginsberg’s Collected Poems describe a nation at war with the people of Indochina and itself.  Ginsberg was not necessarily a political person but he, like so many others in the Sixties (and now, it seems) were compelled by the transgressions he observed to become political.  The war in Southeast Asia never retreats from these pages. Instead, its weary bloodshed and hateful presence increases, occupying more lines of Ginsberg’s poetry in a manner similar to how it took over much of the world’s consciousness during those years these poems were composed.  It’s present when he writes the incantation to raise the Pentagon at the October 1967 antiwar March on the Pentagon.  It’s present in his poem describing the battles in Chicago’s Grant Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention; a convention marked by a Democratic Party willing to destroy itself to keep fighting the war and those who ever more aggressively opposed it.  The war in Southeast Asia is also present as Ginsberg spends time at his farm in upstate New York—a place he bought for himself and his friends to get away from the madness consuming so much.

      • Special Program on Trump & Immigration

        This week on CounterSpin: As we record on October 29, we don’t know what will happen on (or after) Election Day, but stories will be written about these last four years, and to the extent that those stories are written by corporate journalists, they will be distorted, and the role of the media unrecognizable. We’ll hear that Donald Trump was a “showman” whom “no one suspected” would have such grave impacts, that “everyone” was surprised as his chicanery “became” cruelty before our eyes. And that journalists rejected and resisted the evisceration of civil norms, and the assaults on vulnerable communities. But we know better.

      • Can We Create a Just America?
      • Electionland 2020: Wisconsin’s Elections Commission, Drop Boxes, Absentee Voting and More

        With All Eyes on Wisconsin, Partisan Gridlock at State Elections Commission Frustrates Voters and Local Officials

        The commission that oversees voting in the swing state has deadlocked along party lines this year on a record number of key issues, resulting in inconsistency, turmoil and delays. Read the story with Wisconsin Watch.

      • Trick or Treating With Trump and Ted
      • It May Not Be Sunny in Philadelphia, But the Town’s Not Burning Either

        Philadelphia — I was awakened at 8 a.m. Wednesday by a worried call from a good friend, journalist and radical prairie activist Michael Caddell in Kansas. “Dave!” he said urgently, “Is Philly burning?”

      • How to “Follow the Money” in an Election

        There’s a phrase that pops up a lot in investigative journalism: Follow the money. It’s particularly relevant when talking about politics.

        There are two big ways that money gets into politics: campaign financing and lobbying. Learning more about how campaign financing works can get you better acquainted with which industries are donating to the races you care about and how your candidates are spending the money they raise.

      • Could Poor Voters Decide the Election?

        “I don’t believe in voting,” one young Black woman told Melody McCurtis, who’s been going door-to-door to get out the vote. “The higher-ups, they’re going to pick the president. Our votes don’t count.”

        McCurtis and her mother, Danell Cross, are community organizers with Metcalfe Park Community Bridges. Their tireless efforts to mobilize neighbors to overcome skepticism and other barriers to voting are captured in a new short film, Metcalfe Park: Black Vote Rising, produced in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

      • Riding With Biden Has Its Consequences Too

        People like to have it both ways. It’s a Bernie problem but he’s far from the only one. People like to say that we vote Joe and then push him to the left afterwards. This is having your cake and eating it too. It’s more like vote Joe or push him to the left afterwards.

        There is a legitimate argument to be made to vote for Joe Biden. I learned to play coy with the question and urge peace and unity for all working and poor people. In this safe space of Counterpunch where I trust people have better things to do than vote shame I’ll say I’m voting for Howie Hawkins.

      • California’s Proposition 15 Would Reform Prop 13: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

        Under Prop 13, passed in 1978, property taxes are limited to 1% of the adjusted value of the property starting with its purchase price. The adjusted value can be increased by no more than 2% each year even if the value of the property has skyrocketed. The actual property taxes paid may be more than 1% of the adjusted value to pay for local measures approved by voters.

        Prop 13 provides great stability for homeowners, some of whom, previous to its passage, could not withstand the increases in their property taxes, especially if they fell on hard times or had fixed incomes. They might have to sell their homes because they could not afford to pay the property taxes on it.

      • In Florida, Voters of Color and Young Voters Have Had Ballots Flagged for Possible Rejection at Higher Rates Than Others
      • Could Colombian Politicians Help Trump Win Florida?

        Around a week before Donald Trump was elected US president in 2016, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Colombia’s conservative ex-president, joined Marco Rubio and three Republican members of Congress at a campaign event in Doral, Fla. Hundreds packed into Mondongo’s, a local Colombian restaurant, where Uribe spoke for over three hours, spending most of the time slamming a peace agreement between the Colombian government and a Marxist guerrilla group known as the FARC. Colombian voters had recently voted down the deal in a national referendum after Uribe led a disinformation campaign against it, a result that had propelled him to conservative rock stardom overnight. At Mondongo’s that day, he argued that the agreement would open the doors for the country to become “castrochavista,” a fearmongering term he had popularized invoking Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez. It threatened to turn the country into a “second Venezuela.”

      • Early Voting in Texas Has Already Surpassed the State’s Vote Total from 2016

        Turnout for the presidential race in Texas is already greater this year than it was four years ago, with 9 million residents voting early or with mail-in absentee ballots as of Friday morning.

      • Georgia Might Go Blue

        As the 2020 campaign enters its final days, we go to Georgia, where two Senate seats are up for grabs and both Republican incumbents face stiff opposition. Joe Biden is also spending significant time in the state, which no Democratic presidential candidate has won since 1992. “Georgia is truly in play,” says Emory University professor Carol Anderson. “We have had grassroots organizing and mobilizing, registering folks to vote, working through getting through all of the voter suppression barriers to bring people out to the polls in unprecedented numbers.” Anderson is the author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy.

      • Roaming Charges: High Anxiety

        + Of course, it probably didn’t help matters that when it finally dawned on Biden that he wasn’t making it with many Hispanic voters, he recruited anti-Cuba/Venezuela/Sandinista neocon Ana Navarro to make his pitch, instead of organizers from the Sanders and Julian Castro campaigns.

        + The Biden campaign has made two shrewd strategic decisions: One, to limit Biden’s own appearances; and two, to keep Bill Clinton off the campaign trail, even though Bubba might have drawn some bigoted white men over to Biden in Georgia and South Carolina.

      • The Orwellian Ironies of the So-Called Labour Party

        For his services to the powerful, Blair has toured internationally, making speeches to a global elite which rewards him to the tune of millions.  His property portfolio and business interests make of him one of the richest men in the world.  He is invited on programme after programme in the guise of a venerable elder statesman, he was appointed ‘Peace Envoy’ to the Middle East – but all such attempts to sanitise his image, to unbloody him, are doomed to failure.

        For the true monument to his politics will always be the thousands upon thousands of lonely, unmarked graves he has left in his wake.  As Halloween approaches – the festival of the macabre and sinister – one can’t help but wonder if humanity will ever escape his sickening, peg-toothed grin.

      • House Committee to Subpoena Records on Discipline Related to Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group

        In a blistering 17-page letter, the head of a congressional committee on Friday accused federal officials of improperly withholding information on Border Patrol agents’ misconduct in a secret Facebook group from congressional investigators.

        Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said in the letter that she plans to subpoena internal Border Patrol documents detailing misconduct related to the Facebook group, which included some 9,500 current and former agents. First exposed by ProPublica in July 2019, the social media community called “I’m 10-15” was rife with dehumanizing and misogynistic postings, including an image of President Donald Trump sexually assaulting Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      • ProPublica Responds to the Center for Voter Information

        On Oct. 23, ProPublica published an article that took a close look at the Center for Voter Information, which, along with its sister organization, the Voter Participation Center, is conducting a massive campaign to register voters and promote mail-in voting.

        Voters across several states told ProPublica that CVI’s mailings, which can be confused for documents sent by state or local governments, left them baffled or concerned. During a tense and unprecedented year for America’s voting systems, election officials in both parties say the mailings have created extra work for their offices and have led to a flood of calls from confused voters. For years, state and local officials have complained that CVI’s mailers contain inaccurate information and preventable errors. In one case this year, CVI sent North Carolina voters ballot applications with voters’ names and addresses already filled out, despite the fact that prefilled applications were banned by the state’s legislature in 2019.

      • Woke at the Wake of Democracy, Laughing

        According to Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran, when previously self-assured middle class folk in Western countries start asking these two simple questions in response to the seemingly sudden inexplicable breakdown of order and civility all around them — from lingual snarks to molotov sparks — it may be too late to save the Democracy they were wont to take for granted. That’s what happened in Turkey during the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Temelkuran seemingly woke up on July 15, 2016, military jets sonic-booming overhead, and — poof! — democracy was gone.

        In How to Lose A Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship, Temelkuran delineates the omens and signs of our demise, one monster at a time. It’s a grim book, and as you pace your way through its downward travelling stages into zones of all-too-recognizable absurdities, you realize the beginning of the end is already in the rearview mirror. Many of the steps she describes have an eerily familiar ring of truth that make her observations trenchantly applicable for educated middle class Americans gobsmacked by the evil shenanigans of the Trump era. They will totally relate to those two opening questions. Temelkuran argues that rather than just being a case of the anomalous rise of right-wing populists, “It’s a new zeitgeist in the making. This is a historic trend, and it is turning the banality of evil into the evil of banality.”

      • In a first, ICE agents are poised to respond to potential Election Day unrest

        “To be clear, the Department of Homeland Security has limited authorities regarding physical security—our jurisdiction covers only federal property,” Jennings added.

      • How Donald Trump Plans to Overthrow American Democracy

        Unless we awaken, the American people may well be sleepwalking into an electoral coup d’etat.

        If their own words are to be believed, Donald Trump and his operatives have been preparing for the election heist for some time. The rough model will be the 2000 Bush V. Gore election, when, by a single vote, the Supreme Court halted the counting of ballots in Florida, thereby stealing the presidency for George W. Bush.

      • The Plot Against America

        This column has room for about a thousand words—nowhere near long enough to list the reasons Trump belongs not in the White House but in a prison psych ward. There’s his incompetence and malevolence vis-à-vis the coronavirus; his encouragement of the unhinged, anti-Semitic, and possibly terroristic QAnon; his racism; his sexism; his history as an alleged sexual predator and likely rapist; his horrible foreign policy, especially on Israel/Palestine but, really, everywhere; his corrupt self-dealing business arrangements; his attacks on our health care system and the environment, his extremist court picks; his tax cheating; his promotion of fascist violence against peaceful protesters; his policy of child kidnapping; his paranoia; his fealty to Vladimir Putin, his nepotism; his ignorance; his vulgarity; his cruelty; his narcissism; his childishness. This list isn’t close to exhaustive. (McSweeney’s has the best catalog I’ve seen so far, enumerating 954 of “Trump’s worst cruelties, collusions, corruptions, and crimes.”) Like all decent people, I hope for a Biden landslide, but we must also grapple, sooner rather than later, with the heart of darkness in this country that has inspired tens of millions of fellow citizens to support this evil miscreant.

      • New Episode—‘Green Ticket’

        The presidential and vice presidential candidates of the U.S. Green Party were interviewed on CN Live! on Thursday night.

        Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins and vice presidential candidate Angela Walker joined CN Live! and were questioned on the candidates’ positions on domestic and international issues, five days before the 2020 presidential election.

      • Democrats Fought to Keep the Green Party Off Some State Ballots. What Are They Scared Of? – TRNN

        Kim Brown: So several weeks ago, though it does seem as though it’s been at least a few years when Joe Biden announced that Senator Kamala Harris was going to be his running mate for president. A lot of people, particularly democratic liberals were very excited. Oh, there’s a black woman on the ticket. And a lot of us leftist progressives were like, there’s already a black woman on a ticket of a national party. I’d like for everyone to meet Angela Walker, she is the VP candidate for Howie Hawkins, Green Party ticket for president 2020. And this is a very interesting conversation. First of all, Angela is a fascinating woman and she has a lot to offer a lot to talk about what the Green Party perhaps has to offer voters. And we want to begin the conversation actually talking about the ways to build political power beyond voting.

        There’s so much emphasis, justifiably so, placed upon voting, especially during this election cycle, but we don’t vote all the time, guys. We vote every two and four years and there’s a lot of opportunities and ways in order for working people to get the things that we want, that we deserve from our government and other institutions that extend beyond voting. So I like to extend right here, a good Burn It Down With Kim Brown welcome to Green Party vice presidential candidate, Angela Walker. Angela, thank you so much for making some time to speak with us. We really appreciate it.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Free Market Advocate Switches Sides, Calls For Direct Government Interference In Online Moderation Decisions

        There’s something in the air. Call it TDS. Trump Derangement Syndrome. To acolytes of Trump, this means everyone opposed to Trump will find some reason to blame anything on him. But the derangement affects the acolytes more than it affects his opponents.

      • Content Moderation Case Studies: Using AI To Detect Problematic Edits On Wikipedia (2015)

        Summary: Wikipedia is well known as an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. This has enabled a massive corpus of knowledge to be created, that has achieved high marks for accuracy, while also recognizing that at any one moment some content may not be accurate, as anyone may have entered in recent changes. Indeed, one of the key struggles that Wikipedia has dealt with over the years is with so-called “vandals” who change a page not to improve the quality of an entry, but to deliberately decrease the quality.

      • Billy Mitchell’s Defamation Case Against Twin Galaxies Over ‘Donkey Kong’ High Score Can Go Forward

        We’ve discussed Billy Mitchell a couple of times here at Techdirt, both times due to his overtly litigious nature, rather than his apparent video game playing prowess. See, Mitchell is rather well known primarily as the record holder for video game scores, including briefly holding the Guinness World Record for a Donkey Kong high score, until he was stripped of it. See, Twin Galaxies, an official tracker of such video game records, determined based on video evidence that Mitchell wasn’t playing an official version of the arcade cabinet of the game. Upon being stripped of his records, Mitchell sued for… defamation. Oh, and he also sued the Cartoon Network over a very clear parody depiction in part inspired by his gregarious personage.

      • Changing Section 230 Won’t Fix Politicians’ Issues With Section 230

        In the week leading up to a potentially extremely consequential election, Congress is once again setting its sights on its favorite whipping boy, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

      • The Campus Thought Police: Faux Outrage, Intimidation, and the Threat to Free Speech

        As Trinity University Political Scientist Isaac Kamola recounts, the controversies above and others like them have something in common:

        The outcome of this train of events is that faculty feel increasingly pressured to self-censor and avoid engaging in critical public discourses related to important political, economic, and social issues.

      • Anti-France protests: Muslims hold rallies worldwide as tensions rise

        The backlash intensified after a suspected Islamist extremist killed a French teacher who showed the cartoons in class. Mr Macron said the teacher “was killed because Islamists want our future”, but France would “not give up our cartoons”.

        Muslims saw Mr Macron’s remarks as an insult, as depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are widely regarded as taboo in Islam.

      • Judge Doesn’t See Teeth in Trump’s Social Media Order

        The lawsuit came from Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, Common Cause, Free Press and MapLight. These groups stepped forward as the Trump Administration made it a mission to prevent so-called “online censorship.” According to the complaint, the plaintiffs aimed to ensure broad access to voting while Trump’s order “frustrates their missions and will require them to divert scarce resources to combat misinformation.”

        As these groups see it, Trump had no business narrowing the scope of Section 230 protection and interfering with constitutionally protected speech.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Trump Appointee Removes ‘Firewall’ Preventing Administration From Meddling In VOA Reporting

        Earlier this month, it was reported that the “rule of law” Trump administration was (yet again) violating the law. In this particular case, Trump appointee Michael Pack — the CEO of the US Agency for Global Media — was breaching a codified “firewall” to target Voice of America reporters he believed were too critical of Trump and his actions.

      • The End of CounterPunch as We Know It?

        Here’s why we keep bugging you. The operating costs of the site continue to grow exponentially and we run on a shoe-string budget. Every click, every article we publish, it all costs us money. Bandwidth is not cheap. No billionaire owns our publication. We survive on small donations by you, our readers.

        Thus far in 2020 we have had well over 11 MILLION unique visitors to the site. And while we hope those numbers continue to grow, this huge flow of traffic will also increase the amount of money we have to pay to our hosting provider to keep the site loading fast and operating as it should.

      • What Happened to Glenn Greenwald?

        Glenn Greenwald needs no introduction, so suffice it to say: he first came to prominence as an anti-Bush blogger, became a sort of celebrity when he published much of the Snowden reporting in The Guardian, and subsequently (along with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, with funding from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar) co-founded The Intercept, where he worked until his apparently acrimonious exit this week.

        Lately most Greenwald columns tend towards highly specific media criticisms of mainstream liberal outlets, like MSNBC and the New York Times. At least I think they do—I haven’t read one of his columns fully in months, because they’re insufferable. At this point, Greenwald seems to have almost no ideology besides reflexive contrarianism. Perhaps this is simply the end result of spending hours on Twitter every day for years, or spending two (or four?) years focused laser-like on the Russia inquiry. His incessant—and often finely detailed, and articulate—criticisms have transformed the man into a kind of fanatic.

      • Donald Trump’s election mayhem is coming: Journalists must be ready to fight back

        As it becomes blindingly obvious that Donald Trump is going to fight to throw out any ballot counted after midnight on Nov. 3, it is ever more urgent that journalists be prepared to explain to the public why there’s no practical, legal or moral rationale for his demands.

      • The Kashmir journalists ‘harassed’ and ‘questioned’ for doing their job

        But critics say what’s worrying is that the raids come amid a larger crackdown on free speech and dissent in the valley. In the past year, at least 18 reporters have been questioned by police and more than a dozen were allegedly assaulted.

        Five journalists tell the BBC their stories.

      • In its latest confusing decision, Twitter reinstates The New York Post

        Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The New York Post is back on Twitter, after Twitter updated its policy on policy changes. This story is going to be confusing, but not as confusing as Twitter’s attempts at moderation.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Mass Protest Is Coming and the Cops Are on Trump’s Side

        What will protest look like during a fascist power grab? Kelly Hayes talks with Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today: What It is and How to End It, about what protesters will be up against in the coming days and what it will take to win.

      • ‘Truly Sociopathic Behavior’: After Mother Beaten by Philly Cops, Fraternal Order of Police Use Photo of Terrified Toddler as Propaganda

        “The underlying story of Philadelphia police conduct is shocking enough, but the added layer of intentional lies and deception… is unbelievable.”

      • More Scary Movies for Anarchists to Watch in the Dark

        So I made another goddamn list. A dozen more scary movies for anarchists to watch in the dark, and it’s as eccentric and idiosyncratic as the last. I have a love for both foreign arthouse shockers and overlooked grindhouse pulp. They both take the necessary measures to punish the audience into thinking about shit that scares them. Like last time, many movies on the list are not horror movies in the traditional sense, but they are all movies that seek to terrify their audience into challenging authoritarian institutions. Spoiler alerts abound. Read at your own risk.

        Night of the Living Dead (1968)-  A movie about a black guy who tries to save a bunch of fucked up white folks during a plague and gets shot for his trouble? How the fuck was this thing made 50 years ago? George Romero’s iconic budget shocker that practically invented the zombie genre was made to be a gruesome allegory for the times. Vietnam and urban upheaval inspired this terrifying story of plague induced braindead cannibalism. But its protagonist, Ben, played brilliantly by the Sorbonne trained Duane Jones, is much more George Floyd than Martin Luther King. After all, Ben wasn’t trying to lead a movement, he was just some hard luck son of a bitch trying to get home without getting wasted. But the movement found him and his martyrdom made him a revolutionary hero of outlaw cinema. George Romero was a visionary.

      • An Immigrant Nation, Defined by Racial Inequality

        There are more immigrants in the United States than in any other country. Although immigration has always played a vital role in the history and the making of the United States, from the colonial era to the California gold rush and Ellis Island, the United States recently saw immigration slow down during the Great Recession. In 2008, the Census Bureau released data from its American Community Survey that reported immigrant numbers had reached a plateau after years of increase.

        Only 55 years ago did the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 pass, which removed the race-based immigration system that discriminated against non-Northwestern European groups. It was replaced with a preference system based on prioritizing refugees, attracting people with special skills, and reuniting family members living in the United States. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 worked to desegregate our nation’s borders and advance racial equality. This immigration legislation was one of the last major pieces of legislation of the mid-20th century Black freedom struggle. The act continues to be a major force that shapes the United States’ racial and ethnic makeup.

      • The Costs of Limited Awareness

        We can apply the reality of “natural localism” or limited awareness, to much more than popular disinterest in foreign policy. The same observation goes a long way to explaining at least some of the popular disregard for Covid-19, and the success of the misinformation campaigns underlying the popularity of Donald Trump and his Republican Party. Let’s first look at public uncertainty over Covid-19.

        Uncertainty over Covid-19

      • The Many Abuses at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia

        “This place is hell…. My experience was darkness, dirtiness, muddiness. The floors—dirty. The walls—dirty. Everything was dirty.”

      • For Persian Gulf Migrant Workers, the Pandemic Has Amplified Systemic Discrimination

        On March 20, Susmi Gurung, a 29-year-old migrant worker from Nepal, began her day as usual. She awoke in the room she shared with nine other employees of Transguard Group, the United Arab Emirates–based company that had placed her in customer service at the Dubai International Airport nearly three years prior. The room was one of many, packed and utilitarian, that made up the Al Quoz 10 labor camp, one of many such camps in the industrial zone south of the city center. Before long, Gurung’s routine was brought to a sudden halt by her supervisor, who informed her that her employment—and salary—would be suspended indefinitely because of the rapidly deepening Covid-19 crisis. Overnight, Gurung found herself stranded without income, nearly 2,000 miles from her husband and 7-year-old daughter, as the world descended into a pandemic.

      • ‘We Have a Long History of Criminalizing Communities of Color Through Drugs’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Drug Policy Alliance’s Matt Sutton about victims of the drug war for the October 23, 2020, episode of CounterSpin.This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Why I Hope Trump Does Not Watch ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’

        I know it’s unlikely that Trump would change the channel from Fox to Netflix and watch the new Aaron Sorkin film The Trial of the Chicago 7. Sorkin—best known for The West Wing on TV—is a master of “liberal wishful thinking,” as New York Times critic A.O. Scott put it, and Trump’s taste in movies goes more toward Rambo and Death Wish. But if he did watch The Trial of the Chicago 7, he might call his attorney general, Bill Barr, and say, “Why don’t we do to the leaders of Black Lives Matter what Nixon did to the Chicago 7? Why don’t we put protest movement leaders on trial for conspiracy to incite a riot?”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • What we’re voting for: platform regulation

        Politicians will almost certainly rail against “Big Tech” for years to come. That criticism may be warranted, but it misses the bigger picture. We don’t need a convenient crackdown on a few big companies. We need a better foundation for the [Internet] of tomorrow — and a government that’s willing to help build it.

      • Cable TV Execs Move Past Denial Stage, Now Fully Expect A ‘Cord Cutting’ Bloodbath

        For the better part of the last decade, cable and broadcast executives tried their hardest to pretend that their industry wasn’t facing a massive tectonic shift. First, they tried to insist that users flocking from expensive bloated cable bundles to streaming or over the air broadcasts didn’t actually exist. Then, when it became very clear cord cutting was a major trend, they tried to pretend it was just something irrelevant, poor nobodies did. Then, when evidence made it very clear that wasn’t true either, many executives pretended they’d seen this coming all along.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • ‘Deciphering’ YouTube’s Rolling Cypher in Your Browser is a Piece of Cake

        The RIAA and other music groups recently accused youtube-dl and related stream-ripping tools of circumventing YouTube’s ‘rolling cipher’ protection. While that may sound complex, anyone can download full audio and video files from YouTube, using nothing more than a web browser. It’s surprisingly easy and we failed to spot any ciphers.

    • Monopolies

      • Nixon Scandal Resulted In A Law To Prevent The Politicization Of Antitrust Cases; Meanwhile Trump Uses His Politicized Antitrust Effort In Campaign Ad

        Everyone knows about President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, but you might now know as much about another huge scandal that preceded that one — involving Nixon meddling, for political purposes, in an antitrust case by his Justice Department against a large “tech” company/conglomerate at the time. The case involved ITT trying to buy up some smaller companies, and the DOJ brought an antitrust case against them. The scandal part was that ITT approached the White House and worked out a deal: ITT would donate $400,000 (roughly $2.5 million today) to the 1972 Republican National Convention, and Nixon would get the DOJ to drop the case. Which he did. As the Nixon tapes eventually revealed, he called up then deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst and said:

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Apple Must Pay VirnetX $503 Million in Security-Patent Trial

            The companies have been embroiled in litigation for a decade. VirnetX, which said its inventions stemmed from technology it developed for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, argued that both VPN on Demand and Apple’s FaceTime features were using its inventions.

      • Copyrights

        • Ololo.to Shuts Down After Being Targeted By ACE Anti-Piracy Coalition

          Popular streaming video search engine Ololo.to has thrown in the towel leaving around two million monthly visitors behind. Earlier this month, Ololo was targeted in a DMCA subpoena obtained by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which required the Tonic domain registry to hand over the personal details of its operator.

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